Like many people these days, I have two lives.
I don’t mean I am a different person, leading two different lives. What I mean is I have a “Real Life”, and and “Online Life”. My Real Life consists of my son Anthony, my boyfriend Sander, my best friends – Christine, Laurie & Scott, and the people I work with. My Online Life consists of some of my “real life friends”, but for the most part, with people I have met via social networks such as Google + and Facebook.
With the exception of my son, and my boyfriend, the rest of the people in my real life are religious in some form or fashion. However, on both G+ and FB, I have a lot of Atheist/Secular/Anti-Theist friends. We communicate daily on issues that interest the secular community as a whole. There are posts, informational links, educational links, book discussions, images, personality discussions, politics, plus issues on topics such as birth, death, raising children, dealing with religious family or friends, and even more generally, an outlet for frustration that sometimes (many times) occurs because of religion.
In addition to G+ and FB, there are many blogs and websites that are secular, atheist, and science related that I visit weekly, if not daily. I find them all a great help in the sometimes lonely world of atheism.
Because being an atheist, even in the liberal north east United States is isolating. My “real life” friends accept the fact, (even if they disagree), that I am an atheist. I can’t imagine living someplace where I had to hide or disguise my feelings regarding religion and gods.
All that being said, it’s fucking lonely. The only thing I think churches have over secularism is the gathering together of like-minded people, to talk about their thoughts, the needs and wants of the community as a whole, and for individuals who may need support, if not just acceptance. We just do not have that sense of community, even when it is needed. These days, with secularism on the rise in the US, (and perhaps, finally becoming more accepted, if not really understood (we really don’t eat babies, you know), there are more of us to be found. Yet, still, so few out and about in the “real life” world.
Which is what brings me to the point: The Reason Rally (March 24, 2012 in Washington, DC). The largest gathering of nontheist, secular, atheists to ever happen. And I reallllllly want to go. But.. My son, though he is an atheist, could care less (girls, video games, and friends are more important than going with “HIS MOTHER” ….. anywhere, really). My boyfriend is 4200 miles, an ocean, a continent and 7+ hours away from me, and is therefore rather unavailable. And….that leaves the only atheist I know (myself), to go alone.
Well, that just sucks. I want to share this experience with somebody who will be freaking excited to hear Dawkins (OMG!!! Dawkins?!) speaking, or Minchin sing, or PZ Meyers or Hemant Mehta or all of the other speakers who will be there. And really, I want to be a part of this, the largest secular gathering to have happened, ever.
Not one to shy away from anything, let alone something I really want to do, I’m still a bit leery of a 6+ hour drive, all day in DC, and another 6+ hour drive home, by myself. I still have a bit of time to think about it. Hopefully, my dread of 12 hours driving a car will be overcome by the fact that I’m more excited about the possibility of going to the Reason Rally than I am to the Roger Waters ‘The Wall’ concert in June. And if you know me, you’ll understand how excited that really makes me.