Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Catholic Guilt

Growing up I was "that girl". I was shy. I was quiet. I was reserved. I wanted to be outspoken and crazy but it never seemed to fit quite right, so instead I was the "goody two shoes". I never really had a problem with it. I loved church. I loved God. I loved religion. I loved mass. I loved Catholicism. I loved singing. I loved me.

Being naïve was always a little bit annoying. I rarely had any idea what was going on after everyone hit puberty. Although I mastered he convincing laugh to inappropriate jokes, I didn't start getting them until I was about 19 and, well, lets be honest, I still don't know what people are talking about half the time. My "x-rated" knowledge seems to be a lot of peoples "PG-13 rated" knowledge. Just the other day some folks were talking and I asked a friend what something meant and she just laughed and said "Oh lauren." Most people seem to want to keep me as naïve as possible. There is the occasional person who resembles my high school ex-boyfriend's brother that wants to tell me every inappropriate thing in the universe, but those people seem to be dwindeling as we get older.

I didn't swear until I was in college, and even know, I say it out of habit, but I still feel guilty.

Many days I miss the girl I used to be. The thing is, I kind of like the girl I am now. I like being able to speak my mind a little more and not always blend into the wall. However, I can tell the self-conscious, naïve person is still with me.

Nearly everyday the thought crosses my mind "how do I get back to her?" How does sinner mesh with the do-gooder. Growing up I rarely sinned, in fact, I can't think of a time when I did anything more than lie to my mom about cleaning my room. I was so terrified of upsetting God and disappointing myself. My senior year of high school my life changed, everything changed. As much as I still loved the Lord, I lost faith in my church. I'm not sure I've ever written or said that out loud before, but I lost faith in my church. Instead of choir being led by a volunteer from the congregation they hired someone who wasn't even Catholic. my ex-boyfriend still participated in the band even though he no longer believed in the religion. People started wearing sweats to church instead of dresses or nice dress suits. Among these were a plethora of other changes and I started to realize the old fashioned Roman Catholic Church I grew up in, the one I knew and loved, the one that defined me, was gone.

I tried to hang in, but I was so strict and felt like everything was wrong. I sang in the choir an participated as an alter sever until I started at the university. I began attending church less and less. At school I was introduced to alcohol, I had more people willing to explain those things to me that turned my cheeks red, curse words were more popular than in grade school and I began to sin. I felt guilty about it at first, terribly, terribly guilty. After a while some things became habit. A night out with the girls with alcohol, a minor curse word here and there; I could feel myself turning, but every step of the way the quit, naïve, church mouse from my past was echoing through my mind.

I want to go back to church. I want to sing again. I want to feel care free and good again. When I go to a church I feel out of place, nothing seems quite right and I feel like a heathen. I know deep down in my heart that the two sides of myself could potential merge into one unified being and I could stop feeling so guilty, and start being more ... "me", but I often wonder "Have I strayed to far?"

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