Before moving back in with my father, my friends would ask whether I was nervous about having to go to church. For many reasons I had discontinued my faith, however the feeling of kinship is still etched in my veins. My family, on the other hand, is still deeply religious.
Whether or not you are of faith, black churches have always ensured to make visitors feel equally welcome. They are a staple in our communities and for some a second home. For those of us who crossed oceans to live on foreign land, they were a first home, with the lines between church members and family blurred. So I told my friends I didn’t mind: though I am not a worshipper, the church is still an all-round enjoyable event and I have fond memories of my childhood weekends, so I wasn’t nervous at all.
But it has been five months now, and the transition has been difficult, though not for the reasons you would think. Returning to church I expected many things, but in my youth I seemed to have neglected to make a mental note of how churches seem to cater explicitly towards extroverts, from being instructed to “speak to your neighbour” to the promotion of non-consensual touching. But my age and introversion have grown concurrently together, which could explain why I am more sensitive now than before.