Yesterday was the most emotional moment I've had in preparing for the launch of LOR. I finally recorded my story as the premiere episode. The episode to be labeled 000. You may be thinking, "Big deal Zac."
But what you don't realize is that I have not wanted to record this episode. In fact, I have procrastinated on doing it so much that I have recorded episodes 001-006 before even finally scheduling a time to record 000.
The purpose of Episode 000 is to lay the foundation of the show for all those that may listen now and in the future. This first episode is there to help the citizens that listen to LOR get to know me, hear my story and hear the hopes and goals of why Losing Our Religion exists.
I am very grateful for my dear friend Taylor Hughes. During the recording of his episode yesterday (Episode 006) I mentioned to him that I had not had the guts to record my story yet. We discussed why, and he offered to help me any way he could.
WHY I HAVEN'T WANTED TO RECORD MY STORY
Preparing for the launch of LOR has given me the joy of listening to others stories, by which I could hide from my own. I have always been fine telling my story to neighbors, friends, and strangers in one on one settings, even in bars and public spaces that others could overhear. But recording it, posting it on the internet, with the same honesty, candidness, and vulnerability that I share it in intimate settings? No, Thanks!
There is no substitute for sitting down in person with people. Hearing their story, and feeling the emotion and energy of the moment. Over the internet, you just don't feel the same things. There are trolls on the internet; there are people that will misjudge, and not understand the context of my story. There are religious freaks that will throw their digital hate towards me, and there will be people that care for me that hear my unabridged story for the first time. They could be hurt by what was done to me, and take on an offense that is unnecessary and doesn't concern them or help them.
Those are hard for me to deal with because the nature of the show is to create unity, not offense. I feel no offense towards the religious institution that hurt me, but like everyone's crazy uncle, I just don't want to hang out with them anymore. Some are family, but we have nothing in common now. So why force what is unlikely going to happen organically.
I have no need or pressure to protect the organization, my reputation, or my relationship with my crazy uncle. However, those corporate controlling thoughts still linger in the back of my mind and make me feel nervous about just being myself. FUCK THAT! Besides, I know that they've already written me off as the crazy cousin that can only be seen on milk cartons now. I'm ok with that. I'm grateful for what I learned there. I'm grateful to be the crazy cousin, cause, well, I am free to just be me without the pressure to protect the institution's reputation or my absurd paycheck.
THANK YOU TAYLOR
As Taylor and I discussed how he could help me with Episode 000. I realized it would be helpful to have a friend be on the recording with me, asking me questions to help draw out the truth of my story, and ultimately the beauty of my story. So after recording Taylor's Episode 006 we decided we would record Episode 000 together. I let the values of the show be my guide (CANDIDNESS - TRANSPARENCY, HONESTY, VULNERABILITY), and I talked about things that were hard to share in such an open forum. I used specifics, and candidly shared my story.
I hope that LOR can be a voice for those that have been denied a voice. I hope LOR will shine the light onto how we humans are more alike than different. I hope someone feels less crazy after hearing how crazy I am. I hope unbelievers and believers find solace together in life and relationship. I hope we stop referring to each other as Christian or Non, as black or white, as Muslim or Jew, as gay or straight. But simply refer to each other by our human names.
I hope you join me on the Losing Our Religion journey. Godspeed!