Ok so. Start with last year. Last year I was dating (A little over a year) one of my good friends (Who I knew for around 10). It ended horribly and being the weirdo/hopeless romantic I am, it hit me real hard. Super depressed and in a miserable funk. 2015 was not my year. I’d go to work and not go out, wouldn’t talk to anyone, was just no fun to be around. And I’m typically not that person.
I’ve been an atheist since I was about 18. I was a senior in high school when 9/11 hit and that’s what finished my journey. I went to the first Reason Rally in 2012 because it sounded fun. There was going to be one in 2016 and I was going to go to that too. Living in Pittsburgh, it’s no big deal.
And for some reason I saw a news article about the head of the organization was writing a book called “Fighting God” and I bought it on Dec. 21, 2015. It was finished by Dec. 23, 2015. And on New Years Day, I became a paid member of the American Atheists.
That book lit a fire under my ass the likes of which I’d never known. Growing up I was always intelligent (And modest too, mraow) so work never was something I did, school work came easy to me. That trait hurt me through college, but now…I wanted to work. I craved work. I want to work for this cause. It spoke to me and for all intents and purposes, it was my calling. So I did what I always do, downloaded podcasts.
I’m now subscribed to over 20, and at least 5 I am a patreon of. That’s what led me to the idea of there being an atheist community. I had no idea it existed. I searched Meetup.com (Previously used for fun bar crawls) and found there was a local group. After a year, I’m now poised to be on the board next year and I run all their social media.
Through that group I’ve met a ton of interesting people and have made, what I believe, I genuine life-long very close friend. I was able to come out of my depressed shell and I can be the loud shouty person about atheism I always was inside. One of the best moments this year with my local group was marching in our LGBT pride parade. I got to lead and hold the banner and the feeling was overwhelming. Everyone out being happy for who they were, whatever that might be, just being themselves. I got to walk around with knee high fucking shitkicker boots, my kilt, and my atheist t-shirt and felt like I could take on the world.
Smash cut to Reason Rally (http://wp.me/p7jqTy-15)where I met a bunch of people I was a fan of. The first one I went to learn, this time I went to connect. I wanted to be out there tweeting like mad all the pictures I could take. I was exhausted and loved every moment of it.
Then came the FFRF convention which was in my home city and where I got to meet so many great people. One of which was a person who also inspired me to get off my butt and do something.We talked for over an hour and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor. To go out and find those injustices that surely exist and fight for what’s right. I was empowered like I never before thought possible, little did I know that a fight was coming.
My license plate debacle (http://wp.me/p7jqTy-15) provided the fruits of my hard work. It showed me that fighting for what’s right can lead to change. And that change can, in fact, inspire others. In my heart, while I love my license plate, I’d give it back to the state to help one more person be as an out of the closet atheist as I am. It felt so unbelievable to hear people tell me how much what I was doing meant to them. I never want that feeling to go away. I want to keep fighting. Fuck that, I will keep fighting.
So to summarize, 2016 was one of the best years of my entire adult life