I have been a skeptic since a young age, but was reared in a devoutly religious community in the aptly-named Bible Belt. Telling people I was atheist was somehow harder even than coming out as gay. Having been kicked out of my home after high school, I now work to support myself and am trying to put myself through school for a Mathematics degree one course at a time.
Because of my work schedule, I haven’t been able to really spend much time with atheist communities–it feels like they’re worlds away. But I keep trying. And I want to connect to others who, even though they have differing opinions, still apply due scrutiny to beliefs that are unquestioningly considered “truth” by others. Sometimes it feels like I live in some funhouse world where people say and believe nonsensical, contradictory superstitions and force me to pretend to follow their odd sense of logic. So I spend a lot of time on the computer, talking things out with other helpful people around the world, but they still somehow seem so few and far between. Other than that, I have some episodes of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit that I watch regularly, helps keep me sane when everyone around me still thinks I’m some kind of backwards heathen.
It’s difficult to develop relationships with a lot of people when I’m never really free to express my views, opinions, or thoughts with them. It’s like being alone in a crowded room, sometimes. I’d love–LOVE–to have a chance to meet other skeptics and atheists in person and perhaps build some real connections with people. I wanted to go to the Reason Rally for the same reason, but was unable to because what little money I have left over after bills goes straight toward tuition and textbooks.
I’d have to take a hit, monetarily speaking, just to take the few days off to go–those days are all unpaid–much less paying for the expense of the trip. But I’m trying to not let that stop me. I’m trying to scrape together any money I can. I’m holding a garage sale next week, but I don’t have much stuff left to sell. I’m trying to to get there any way I can. :-)