Saturday, August 04, 2012

Breaking the Rules: Confession and Revelation

Someone recently summed me up when I revealed my Catholic encrusted childhood. That knowledge muddies the waters in any relationship carrying with it preconceived notions of stereotypical neuroses. Guilt is one. Sexual addiction is another. Together they form their own twisted helix of desire and denial. Totally not me. Really. There is neither room enough nor time enough to properly examine the subject, and I hate long blogs.

The question at hand is Breaking the Rules, which for both Catholics and Buddhists segues into confession and revelation. The former lets you off easy, the latter involves learning something about yourself.

A confession: I delight myself when I break rules.

Wish I could say I'm an original, but both my parents were sociopaths. Mom taught me how to peek at presents before Christmas and Dad told me to pick up a brick and hit the kid next door with it the next time she beat me up.

The Church wouldn't give Mom communion when she divorced, but she took it anyway. They wouldn't let my aunt take birth control, even when the infant she bore every year had increasingly disturbing problems. Mom took her to a clinic for b.c., but my aunt was afraid of God, so she drank instead. She drank to the point that my uncle lost interest in bedding her and the babies stopped. Maybe the Church won that round because then she was abstinent. He wasn't.

My last confession was when I was twelve. Went with a group of girls and when it was my turn I confessed to playing a kissing game with boys. The boys and I played baseball everyday, and the kissing was a new and exciting after game activity. Certainly it was a sin of the impure thought variety, although I wasn't exactly clear on that aspect. I expected to have to say lots of rosaries, and get on with my day, it being perfect baseball weather where the games lasted until we couldn't see the ball and/or we took an afternoon break and hung out in whoever's house was empty of adults. Revelation: I had a typical Catholic's understanding of the machinery of confession since I had every intention of kissing my team again.

The priest on the other side of the confessional screen had different ideas. He asked me questions about tongues and probing hands in panties. His breath was halting and heavy, too, kind of trembly in an unpriestlike way, and I got all sweaty with the rising humidity in the confessional. Very creepy. Worst of all is I knew it was taking way too long and people were going to start to wonder about Sandra and her Sins. Finally I told him I was feeling sick and he dismissed me in a sad, resigned way with only three Our Fathers and three Hail Mary's. My girlfriends gave me the what the hell squint when I came out. It was so embarrassing.

Confession implies guilt and censorship and is a bit dirty. It can be demanded and enforced, and foments revolution in Sandraland. The rules are imposed. Revelation involves sharing and openness, and should flow in a natural exchange of thoughts, philosophies, and experiences where unfinished people learn something about each other and themselves.

My last official confession was when I was twelve. Revelation is an ongoing process.


A short story:  Against the Rules