Disclaimer and content warning: This is my story about my religious journey. I don't mean any disrespect and I'm sorry if this story offends anyone. I will talk about mental illness and self-harm.
From a very young age, my family had a specific view on religion. We all had to believe and follow it, no matter what. As a Peruvian-American girl, I was expected to believe in Catholicism, go to church, and follow the ideologies my family had imposed on me.
It's definitely safe to say that I've struggled with finding faith as I was severely bullied growing up. I used to believe that I had done something wrong and God was punishing me, the way he punished bad people. I believed this whole-heartedly because I couldn't figure out why things in my life were going so poorly.
This is the first time I began to doubt my religion. I would look at all the stained-glass windows every Sunday and question whether or not Jesus existed and whether or not he really did die for my sins like my mother had told me.
By the time I reached 13, I had completely given up. I lost hope in the thought of God being there for me and became an atheist. This is also the same moment I became suicidal. After pretty much giving up on myself, I met my first boyfriend who was very religious. He invited me to his Christian church after seeing my self-harm scars.
I felt like I should try it if my boyfriend at the time believed it would help me feel useful. So for almost 3 years, I attended a Christian youth church and I believed that I was actually being holy and positive. I was even baptized as a Christian.
Unfortunately, I began to feel like I was cheating myself. Like I had committed to a relationship with God and I didn't believe in it with my heart.
After my relationship with my boyfriend at the time ended, I felt the same way I had before I dove into Christianity. It was here when I was split between believing in God and believing there was no God.
I went back and forth in my mind and I didn't know what to believe. Today, I am agnostic. I don't know what's out there, but I definitely feel like there is something above us. A supernatural or divine God is possibly behind our existence, but I don't think I'll see it until I die. That's when we all discover what the afterlife has to offer.
I may not be religious, but I still respect my family's religion and I know that though they may not understand my agnostic views, they still love me.