I was pretty religious once; Bible study, youth group, church camp — I was signed up for everything. I was saving myself for marriage, and fully believed what I was selling, which is weird because my parents weren't religious — still aren't. But I'd turn up to break-time Hail Mary's with the Catholic kids, and the teachers would act all surprised, especially when I dragged my sister to it. I was, like, seven. I've felt guilt forever; religion only aggravated it.
I'm not religious anymore. Not about god anyway. Whether or not there's a god is anyone's guess, but I veer on the side of not these days. Too many completely shit things have happened to me and the people I love, and I can't stomach that bullshit phrase about god giving you only as much as you can handle. If there's a god, he's shit on me, my family, and most of my Facebook friends. That's a club I can live without.
TV has always been my true love, and the perfect binge-watch is the only way to spend a Saturday. Binge-watching started way before Netflix, with box sets and VHS tapes with TV recordings of Dawson's Creek and Buffy The Vampire Slayer on them. But Netflix makes binging easier and eliminates the stigma. Because once, kids, it was controversial to spend your days indoors watching multiple episodes of awesome shows that you love. It seems shocking now — what else is there to do but scroll through Netflix categories finding the perfect thing to put on?
The Bible used to feed me. Netflix does now. Blasphemy? Probably. But my god is my god, OK?
Television's the obvious replacement drug for me, the only fulfilling substitute I can think of. Netflix is the equivalent of the self-help section in the bookstore. If you have a problem, there's a show that can fix it. I'm not shitting you — every epiphany I've ever had occurred during an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Wisdom isn't limited to books.
The worst break-up of my life wasn't fixed with prayer; I found the fix in Sex and The City. I watched every episode in which those fuckwits fucked up until I felt better. And I did, eventually.
TV breaks my heart time and again. It's got a power nothing else has. Advice for writers is always to read books, but I think TV's better, because TV doesn't disappoint me. And with Netflix, there's always more of it. Recently added titles, new releases, personal recommendations. If there's a Bible verse for every occasion, then there's a Netflix title for every occasion, too.
Netflix is god because its rules aren't finite. The Christianity I had wasn't flexible, didn't bend to my wants or needs. And if I failed it, it demanded apologies, constantly. Inherently sexist, and subtly demeaning, breaking free was like leaving an emotionally abusive relationship, or like scraping Brie from its crust. I realize that not all churches are like this, that some people have gods that let them fuck who they want, do what they want, be who they are. But of the 20 different churches, groups, and camps I attended, this was never the message. I needed to be who I am, even if I'm awful.
I don't fit church, or it doesn't fit me, but whichever it is doesn't matter, ultimately. I know who my god is, and I'm good with it. Netflix makes my days fuller, tells me stories I'd never dream up, fills my brain with quotes twice as good as Bible verses. I've got a scripture, and I'm ready to preach it. If I need to know what love is, and what it isn't, I'll watch The Good Wife. When I need to know survival is possible, I'll watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Netflix is everything, and it's always renewing. There's always more, just when you think that there's not.
From anxiety fixes, to morality tales, to relationships I'm ready to fight for even though they're imaginary, my god is a wholesome Communion, and I'm ready for seconds. Keeping Up With The Kardashians solves everything. And when it doesn't, Netflix has something, is everlasting, the only constant in this world, and you know that I'm right.
One day, I'll be ready for Baptism. I won't pretend to believe in something I don't anymore, or be bound by sexist and questionable morals, taught by people breaking the rules on their own time (which was my experience, though not necessarily yours, and that's OK, too). Maybe I was unlucky. But one thing I know is that I'm not the only one looking for alternatives, ready to admit that they're committed to something other than a male savior. I don't need a religion tied to Prince Charming any longer. My spirituality is mine and mine only. And I choose Netflix. Praise be, Amen and whatever.