I think I’m learning that we never beat anything; we just keep on deciding to stay away from the things that beat us. I haven’t beaten smoking, but I haven’t smoked in a few weeks now and I feel fine about it. No cravings, no huge loss of self-reflective moments, no panic attacks or fitful, sweaty nights. In fact, nothing has changed except that when my throat hurts I know it’s not from burning it with an oral ember, and my extremities don’t hurt as much.

I haven’t been drinking nearly as much, though I had a few beers over the weekend. When I had a few beers over the weekend, I felt a hushed desire for a cigarette. It was obvious why I could never stay off nicotine; I hadn’t quit alcohol yet.

I’ve been working out regularly and eating relatively clean – I went to the fair yesterday and ate junk, but c’est le vie- and I’ve lost 6lbs in eight days. I still have my cravings for carb loaded, cheese gooped nonsense, but I’m trying to make the right decisions each day. I hope to lose 15lbs by August 20th, though 10 may be more reasonable.

I do feel better about where I am in life. I always have this unsure voice in the back of my head, wondering if I’m settling or mucking up my future or if I’m just in the wrong place. But, I think that has to do with juvenile uncertainty and the human habit of always chasing after “better”, or thinking others have it “better” or visualizing some unattainable future as possibility. I am happy in the quiet moments; the rest is instinctual – the need to survive- mixed with the old remnants of a young romantic – don’t just survive, but survive adventurously.

I have been thinking a lot about marriage and kids lately – I’m always so up and down on the topic. Do I want those things, really want them? But I’ve decided I do. I know I’ll be a good wife, and I hope I’ll be a good mother one day. I talk to Mark about these things; I sound like a girl I never thought I’d sound like, “When we get married…”, his eyes rolling and him jokingly telling me to hush- but I think we are getting to place in our relationship where that will eventually make the most sense. Maybe a year from now, I don’t know.

My religion is dead. I can’t subscribe to Christianity anymore unless I want to turn my back on intelligence – honestly, it’s a lie, it’s used to take money from those who need it and the stories and books are written by man. I fully support those who do follow Christianity though, to each their own and faith is a beautiful thing. I mourned the loss of my faith for a while.

My spirituality is waking. Now that I feel I have come out from under the rouse and no longer feel guilt over doubting, I still feel this connection. Faith, in something. There is God, though I don’t know anything else of him, or it, or whatever. I still feel connected by this love for God, and I want to maintain that. I’ll slowly figure out what I need to figure out over the course of my life. My only concern is kids: I have no idea how I will raise them. Mark wants to raise our kids faithless, intelligent and aware of the wonders of science. I want them to experience faith, but a good faith, one that doesn’t leave young adults beating themselves over the head for having sex with the ones they love and one that doesn’t leave children scared of a devil or burning hell that’s out to consume them.

I haven’t told my parents about my departure because it would worry them and bother them and I’d have to explain it. I like my dad’s enthusiasm as he recounts what he’s recently studied in the bible, and my mom’s faith that prayer will fix everything. Why would I want to tarnish that?