Sometimes I feel the need to demonstrate to people what a terrible person I am. More often than not, their response is to downplay my awfulness. "You're not that bad!" "You're really a kind person, I can tell."
First off, if you just met me you can't tell you're just guessing, and you're guessing is disproportionately informed by the fact that I am female and not ugly, which is bullshit because women are completely capable of being evil and so are pretty people but you don't even know what the halo effect is or why it's the only thing relevant to the garbage streaming out of your mouth. "You don't look like a terrorist" shut the fuck up you ignorant twit.
But sometimes it comes from a person who knows me at least well enough that I can't shrug off their attempts at comforting me with wikipedia references, and it bugs me more. Clearly you don't know me all that well, if you're still arguing that I'm a nice person. But [REDACTED], you care about people and stuff! Like that's some kind of measure of goodness, like it negates the bad things that live in my head that are still me whether you call them "demons" or "depression" or "brain weasels." Still me. Still my responsibility. I am not so broken that I cannot be bad.
And I wonder why it bothers me so much that people don't believe that I'm terrible, and why they feel the need to assure me that I'm not. And I think it comes down to religion. Because I know I'm terrible. I can catalog for you every time I have been needlessly cruel to someone, every time I was manipulative, every time I didn't give a shit, or enough of a shit, about things that mattered. All the things I failed to do. It's there and it's real and don't you dare try to pretend that none of that mattered because I did that. It's mine. It belongs to me. It may not be pretty or nice or even not-terrible, but it's all that I have. It's my shitty life and you can't take it away from me for editing and rewrites.
It's not just that they don't understand me. I am not sixteen and this is not shitty goth poetry night. Whether or not anyone can truly communicate their "deep inner life" is inconsequential to the problem at hand. When people try to whitewash me, especially people who are not strangers, I am terrified that they are taking away something precious from me. That somehow, if they remove my awareness of the wrongs I've done, I will be damned. They point out all the good that I've done, or make blanket statements about the inherent worth of life and humanity and it's all the wrong thing.
They tell me I will be okay, that I am okay. That there is such a thing as "good enough." Like there's some magical amount of not terrible that will save me. Like if I do enough good in the world it will make up for the bad. Like someone can do that calculus and my heart will be lighter than the feather.
I left catholicism when I was young, but I still have that running tab of all the bad things I've done and am continuing to do. I had to accept myself as a terrible person, not throw myself before a god I abandoned, but to take stock myself and accept who I was. If I pretended that I was "good enough" then I could lie to myself about being saved anyway. That I could still get a pass to the magical sky castle without all the churchiness. But that wouldn't really be leaving, now would it? I still would have one foot in the door, still convinced I would receive all the benefits from a lifetime of faith without doing the hard part. They could have sucked me back in.
I'm gone. I'm not saved. I'm not going to party with you after we all rot. Whatever happens, I am on a different trajectory now. I don't need your god or any god to come down and forgive me for my sins anymore. They are my sins. They are my weight. Jesus can carry everybody else, I'm gonna do me. And leaving broke more hearts and added more weight and I literally do not give a fuck because its what I needed to save myself. I am here, I am breathing. That's enough.
I'm not coming back. I'm okay with being terrible.