Well, yes I do. I'm trying to learn, to understand, and to somehow find a way to stop hurting so much.
My name is Chandler, I'm seventeen and living in Texas. I only began looking into Buddhism about a month ago - I'm not sure what made me do it, some sort of whim, a stray thought. But what I found was astounding. I was raised in a very Christian home, my brother being a Baptist minister and everything, and for years I thought that I was a good Christian boy. Then I discovered I was gay, told my family, was rejected, and gave up on a teaching that I found to be 1)Illogical, because I could see no proof of a god, and 2)Evil, for what it had done and is continuing to do in the world. I embraced atheism with all my heart, began to uphold logic and reason as virtues, and thought that was the end of it. I'd spend the rest of my days as a secular humanist.
But then things changed. About two years ago I sank into a terrible depression. I've always had a problem with self-image, but this twisted it into something else entirely. I began to truly hate myself - who I was, the person I saw looking into the mirror everyday. The depression led me into a lot of other things - drugs mostly, but anything that I could find to numb the pain, to shut these thoughts up. I felt entirely lost in my suffering, and I wanted desperately to find a way out.
And then I found Buddhism, and for the first time in so long, I could see a light at the end of a tunnel. It was a structure that I felt I needed. It was a morality that rang true to me. It upheld enlightenment and discovering truth for yourself. I started meditating and found, for the first time in so long, that I could make the thoughts stop, at least for a time.
I read up on several different practices, but I'm still very confused as to what everything means. Parts of the teachings - such as reincarnation and karma - I find hard to accept, and I have seen references to brahmins and such that I reject outright as a mixing of Hindu practices. I cannot believe in a higher power, but perhaps I can believe in myself.
What I want from this site is understanding. I need someone to guide me along this path - I need a teacher, and that is almost impossible to find in this small, podunk little town I live in. Because this... this... I don't know what to call it, religion? Philosophy? Whatever it is, it's given me hope. And I want to pursue it.
But who knows? This may just be a whim of mine. I fall into fads every now and again, so why wouldn't this be any different? I know, though, that I don't want it to be a fad. I want to change my life.
I don't know if any of this makes sense or if I'm just rambling, but I could use some guidance. Buddhism is... a bit daunting, trying to delve head-first into it. If I could, I would travel to a center or temple and just ask questions, but that's out of my reach. I want to find a teaching that I can follow, but I have no idea if that is Theravada or Mahayana. I need understanding first - and yes, I should learn some patience.