The *Life After is the voice of many.
I created The *Life After years after I left the Christian Church. I was an extremely dedicated Southern Baptist, Bible-reciting, degree-holding, constantly-praying Christian, but over the years my mind began to shift under uncertainty after the actions of the people around me. For much of my journey away from my church lifestyle, I felt alone until I saw so many that I knew on the same path. Eager to hear their stories, I met with them, rekindling friendships and making new ones. After these conversations, I realized I wasn’t the only one benefiting from talking about these things. Starting a podcast seemed like the next step because then others, some who may be too afraid to voice their thoughts yet or some who don’t have someone to speak with, could hear about our new lives and how we got there.
Though our different experiences are one-of-a-kind, I’ve seen how similar we are. Many of us have experienced Religious Trauma Syndrome, “the condition experienced by people who are struggling with leaving an authoritarian, dogmatic religion and coping with the damage of indoctrination” (journeyfree.org/rts). The effects of this syndrome are much like PTSD. In my case, I was in very toxic religious environments that included public shaming, illegal sexual acts, emotional manipulation, and more. Perhaps worse were the thought patterns and self-shaming created by those of us within these environments. These environments often left us feeling uncomfortable and ashamed of who we were. Our minds became inescapable prisons.
When I was a teenager, I was drawn to chat rooms. I made the friends on those sites who I wouldn’t be able to be close friends with in the real world. Chat rooms were places I felt free to be my inner self, even though still hidden under the mask of the internet. While chatting, I often found my brain going faster than my fingers, and when I made a typo, I learned to add an asterisk before the corrected spelling. It was my way of telling whomever I was chatting with that I’m taking back what I said and replacing it with something better.
That’s who we are and that’s what we’re doing.
Welcome to The *Life After.
Founder of The *Life After