“You’re an Atheist. So How do you Cope?”

Omi’s Note: Originally, I posted this piece on my medium account several years ago. Eventually, I plan on taking down all of those posts and placing them on the site. Thank you for reading.

I have to point out that I do not speak for all atheists. I don’t have all the answers. As soon as someone learns I am an atheist, they start asking questions about all kinds of things that are outside of my realm of knowledge. Lately, I have been hearing people lament “how can atheists cope with everything that is going on?” We are like everyday people. I know it sounds unbelievable. We laugh and we cry. We have fears and hopes. We dream and work. We lose and win. There is nothing we possess or know that makes us more exceptional or less than anyone else. Outside of not believing in the supernatural, we are not smarter than anyone else. 

I am privileged to have a loving family. My mother, my siblings, my life long partner, and my wonderful children have always been amazing to me and to everyone else in my circle. I have several aunties and uncles who are in my corner. They all encourage me and support me. They hold me accountable when I act a fool. They keep me grounded in love. 

I surrounded myself with a group of friends and colleagues that are reliable and uplifting. I have elders who give great advice and guide me through several life decisions. Some I have known for years and others almost a lifetime. Honestly, there are moments when I wonder if I am deserving of any of them. We chose one another and it has been an adventure. My greater community has always been welcoming. My adopted city has treated me like a long lost son. My community work is rewarded with love and good fortune. 

Again, I am privileged to work in a field with amazing colleagues. The work is fulfilling. My students are the best in the world. Many continue to do the community work I always asked them to do. While the money could be better, the rewards and possibilities are endless. 

As a life-long breakdancer and longtime Capoeirista (a practitioner of Capoeira – an African Brazilian Martial Art), I am a part of communities that span the world. Those connections have taught me so much about myself and the world around me. I have developed life-long friends and fostered relationships across generations and countries. 

I would be arrogant to claim that I did all this work on my own. No one is an island. As human beings we are interdependent on one another. Nearly everyone I encountered had a hand in my growth and development. Ultimately, my faith is in my community and the people I love. They are not perfect but they are enough. They are also real. While the work is worthwhile it is also hard. Yet the best things in life are worth the work. 

This is how I do it. This is how I cope with the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s not rocket science but oftentimes it is “magic.” The kind of magic we do together and the kind we find in ourselves.