In my job I always dedicated myself and did the best I could at the time. This allowed me to earn promotions and get a job at the age of 25 most people attain much later in life. This can be both a blessing and a curse since human nature takes over and I begin to expect more. Not playing dumb at work allowed me to bite off more than I could chew sometimes but that was the only facet of my public life I would ever do that in. At home I taught myself plumbing and auto repair but never told anyone about it.
My whole tenure as adult at the old church I would go and be quiet since I trusted no one there. If my wife chatted after service I went and sat on a couch and waited for her to be done. I even know how to navigate that place so I can walk in and get to certain parts of the building without being noticed. I realized that once we left and started visiting other churches I wasnt doing any of this avoidance stuff. It was then I realized the building itself messed with me and is one of the million reasons I could never go back.
I even got confirmation from an elder from the old place recently when he told me he thought I was just a dumb gearhead and he never realized how smart I was. The thing no one wants to admit is, someone who is a centerist and thinks for themself isnt welcome there. You become a project to be molded into the perfect disciple that can keep perpetuating the unhealthy theology to the next generation. If anything I hope they realize the people they have run off over the years and the people that stay really are the elect to use their Calvinist terminology. If I were to simplify I would say the leadership are the carnies that play a role to take money from the rubes they are catering to. Which are scared white upper middle class indivduals that buy into the hype of the religious right and the gospel coalition. Nobody there can see the fear that is being used to control them and they think they have the inside track to heaven. Just the idea of what it was like to be there a year later is scary and the burden very heavy.
Not having the negativity in my life has been huge. I still need to vent sometimes but overall I dont have the bottled up anger I once had. Just identifying what was messing with me and distancing myself from it was a huge relief. Even if it isnt a shitty church in your life just realize confronting that which makes you miserable makes a huge difference. Now I don't have to play dumb anymore since I am in a place where I am wanted and appreciated for who I really am anf not some fake person I have to be to fit in.