When I was in high school, I liked to draw and paint. I could never get down exactly what was in my head, rather frustrating. And I was very devout. I couldn’t decide whether to go into Chemistry or Math – but I also had a secret dream of being a missionary’s wife. I always felt odd and out of place in high school, and I hated that no one talked about mortality, death, the afterlife, the meaning of it all. Due to a dying man’s wish, I looked into going into a Christian college, and indeed, that’s how I ended up in the Midwest. I thought that it would be the place where I would find my tribe.
But whatever I expected from attending a conservative Christian college, I soon found out I didn’t fit in there either. I ended up dating a guy from a different university who introduced me to his role-playing friends, and we would play “Dr. Who The Role Playing Game” on Friday nights. And then my roommate, who loved fuzzy sweaters and proudly displayed “Jesus Loves You” posters found some of my artwork.
I had a piece I had done somewhere between 16-17 that I loved. It was supposed to be allegorical, the world in the claw of sin, separated from the snake of Satan by what I considered a bad-ass sword of Christ. And to top it all off, I translated a Bible verse into Tolkien runes that I had transcribed from my dad’s red-leather bound version of “The Lord of the Rings.” This was the epitome of my feelings as a warrior for Christ.
I found myself called into the office of the Dean of Residential Affairs to explain myself. Specifically, was I a pagan *cough, cough* Satan worshiper? They brought up the drawing and I explained it, and the Bible verse. They brought up my off-campus boyfriend and how I was hanging out with a bunch of non-Christian guys on Friday nights. They brought up the role-playing. I explained that the Dr. Who didn’t have any spellcasting, not even the fake kind. It was science-fiction based. And I was back by the midnight curfew, regardless.
I later found out that my RA stuck up for me and told them I went to chapel every day (which I was), was taking the college van to services every Sunday, and it hardly seemed likely I would be doing that if I was actually worshiping Satan. But I was stunned. Naive, I know, but I really believed in non-judgement. That was Jesus’s affair to judge me. Heck, I thought I was doing a public service, I was a positive witness for Christianity. You could wear black and role-play and be yourself. I can laugh at the incident now, but it was the beginning of the end of my being a conservative Christian.