Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Doctor-Tweets and Evil Nuns

...There were a few other things about which I wanted to write recently, but they didn't really fit in with my last post... Randomness follows...

For one, I mentioned recently, in speaking of my (needless) fear of the impending doctor appointment, that the new doctor had been Twittering about odd things. Well, as you know, I recently dumped my Twitter account, but before I did, I checked out his latest stuff, and it was back to normal. Normal for him is posting information about headache studies, supplements that are helpful for headaches, um, just everything you ever wanted to know about headaches in general. But on that one weird day, he was sort of going off, as much as you can do so on Twitter. He spent like 5 posts (as you might or might not know, Twitter allows only 140 characters per post) saying stuff about how "those" with borderline personality disorders or other mild (and therefore, often mis-diagnosed or undetected) personality conditions can "wreak havoc" on a medical office. He went on to "Tweet" that these people are often treated with a rapid succession of anti-depressants "with predictably poor results." I just thought it was strange. For one thing, it was the only posting I'd ever seen from him that had any sort of personal emotion to it. I mean, it wasn't much, but he seemed to be complaining, like maybe someone (patient? staff member? FORMER DOCTOR????) with such a disorder had recently "wreaked havoc" on HIS medical office. He ended this little mini-rant with "to be continued," but as far as I know it never was, in fact, continued. Oh well. He was good to me when I met him today, so I don't care about anything else, quite frankly. :)

SO that was that. I'm over it. I just want to be done with the worry! I did it to myself in a way, as I wrote in my last post, but I also have been through so much that I give myself a little leeway to be anxious about such things. I have never been a drug-seeker, for all my faults, never gone to a doctor will fake intentions or things like that ... and when a person is suffering genuine pain and doesn't know what to do and is begging for help, guidance, treatment ... You just need to be humane, need to have "people skills" in addition to that medical degree. I'm so thankful (again, again, can't say it enough!) that I have found this clinic and this doctor.

So what else? Oh, well, I wanted to speak about my faith, not that anyone asked or anything :) It's just been on my mind. I suppose I'm like many people in that when times are extremely bad or extremely good, I really think even more (because I'm an over-thinker at all times, to be sure) about the meaning of things, who or what is in charge, how is that proverbial wheel in the sky kept turning (ode to Journey and the book of Ezekiel, take your pick, I like 'em both).

So what do I believe? I feel, more and more lately, that I need, that I want, to sort this out. Well, I was raised Catholic. That had a large impact on my life, especially when I was being forced to go to church until the age of 18 (house rules in my family), and that impact was mainly negative. The single, and most terrifying and damaging thing that took place -- although it was by no means the only one -- was in 4th grade Catechism class, where we had an absolutely ancient nun for a teacher. (Quick note for the uninitiated: on Sundays, we were supposed to attend Catechism, we called it "C.C.D." and I don't remember what that stood for, if we attended public school during the week; those who attended Catholic school didn't have to do this.) So this nun was at least 197 years old, and she was nasty. I mean it. She was mean, she had no teacher's training that was relevant to children our age from our background (if she had any teacher's training at all; it certainly wasn't a requirement). She regularly yelled insults at kids who didn't have their books or supplies or whatever; I remember it was kids who had to shuffle from parent to parent on weekends, things like that. ...You know, kids whose parents might have been going through their own crap and didn't think to send the student to CCD with his pencil or his workbook or whatever. A lot of the kids were poor; that's why we didn't attend the private Catholic school in the first place. She couldn't care less who we were though. She was merciless and joyless and loveless. She didn't want to be there with us, teaching us the beauty and meaning of the Catholic religion, the love and joy and meaning that could be ours if we lived accordingly ... Oh, is that not what teaching children their faith is about? I could be mistaken. Anyway, I don't know where she wanted to be. She was ugly inside and out, that bitch. Mmm-hmm, I said it. I called that nun a bitch.

Well, the thing she did that destroyed me personally was this. One bright young Sunday in my life ... she somehow got onto the subject of SIN. That was not mentioned in-depth in the 4th grade reading books, I assure you. But of course, she probably didn't even read those books. And, if you know anything at all about Catholicism, you know that SIN -- determining what is a sin, and what kind of sin it is, which sins send you to hell, which might be forgiven and which cannot ever be forgiven, etc., this is a big chunk of what it's all about. So Sister Imelda (yep, her real name, I don't give a damn) starts in about sin. And then she goes there. She starts telling us about sexual thoughts and feelings and (gasp) actions. She explains to the aghast/bored/giggling/variously-occupied-with-anything-but-listening-to-her 8 and 9 yr olds that while we might just be interested in looking at each other, it's a SIN to think about things like touching private parts: someone else's OR our OWN!!! Yes, kids, touching others' private parts is a sin, ok? And furthermore, touching your OWN private parts is also a sin. Got it? Good. ... NOW, lest you get the wrong idea, don't even think that you can get away with thinking about touching anybody's private parts! Why? It's a SIN!!!!!!! And it isn't a "venial" sin (that's the kind that God can forgive if only you go and confess it to your local priest). Nope, it's not that kind at all. Rather, touching body parts, yours or others' and also thinking about touching body parts ... these are mortal sins, children!!!!! They separate you from God, and you go to HELL!

With God as my witness, she said it to us. She said these exact things, and my traumatized, sensitive, precocious 9-year-old self remembers it like it was yesterday ... NO... Like it was earlier today. I don't remember a lot about what the other kids did or how they reacted or whether they were even listening. I do recall one particularly mischievious boy laughing and making snide comments. How many times I have wished for that sense of humor, sense of caprice, personality ... whatever it was that allowed him to laugh rather than fall to pieces the way I did. Because that shit was no fuckin' joke for me. I died that day. I was never, ever the same.

I am not going to make this about my sexuality and when and how much I knew and all that (not right now anyway). But at that age, I was aware of cute boys, was aware that one day, I would do that stuff that makes babies with them, and was vaguely aware of my own body parts (you know, those ones). And so, while some kids might have been at different stages with their knowledge and development at that age, that's where I was. And because of this, because I had noticed and thought about, and been curious about, myself and other kids and cute boys and all of that ... well, I had just been informed that God was angry and that I had committed a sin which was going to send me to hell when I died one day. I was nine. It was already over. I had ruined my life. And my afterlife. OH. MY. GOD!

The fallout was tragic and long-lasting. I guess, since I'm writing about it at great length and feeling angry yet again here and now, it's still resonating with me even today, these TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER!!!! I remember that day, we went to my grandma's after church for donuts, per family tradition. I don't know how I must have behaved, but I was a child of an alcoholic and already well-trained to behave as though nothing was wrong when everything was. I guess that's how I made it through that day and many after it. I never spoke of what was on my mind. I never spoke to my parents about what I had done, my terrible thoughts, my sins, the fact that I was a terrible demon in God's eyes and would not join them in Heaven when I died. I kept it inside my little mind, my little heart. THAT. BITCH. I was a little girl. I didn't understand. Well, obviously. Let me just say, as my adult self today, that if someone ever did something like this to a child of mine (which I don't currently have any of), and really, even if there was a way for me to travel back there and protect THAT child, ME, via time machine or something ... I would beat this lady physically, I think. I really believe that. Wanna talk about sin, bitch? I'll show you some mortal effin sin up in here.

And no, that wouldn't make me right. And it wouldn't teach the old cow anything. And yes, it is my belief that the God I NOW believe in would be unhappy I did that. But I think my rage and the years that went by before I knew better or felt better about that incident would just ... that's what would happen, that's what I would do. I'd have to sit down and talk with the Big Man Upstairs about it after. Good thing there are no time machines anywhere around here.

Okay, so I wanted to write about my faith. And that was my first introduction to "faith." But it isn't faith as I know it now. I think for tonight I have written enough, if anyone is even still reading. The wonderful and beautiful thing is that today as a grown woman, I have had amazing experiences, I have learned and seen and sensed true divinity in ways that defy my explanation sometimes. From these, I draw my spirituality. From these, I set out upon my journey to know my God. I do believe in Him. I do believe we can do things to separate ourselves from him, as we can do things that draw us nearer to Him. Oh, and I'm using "Him" as the pronoun to describe a God I know, but I do not actually believe there is a human-type gender that embodies the divine. It's just the usual literary device, so I stick with it. I'm okay with using "Him." To say "It," for example, does not respect the personal presence that I have known and experienced at times. So next time I write about faith, let me write about these things... These things which are good and (I believe) true and beautiful. Because, that was a horrible day in my childhood, and I think, a horrible thing for a human being to do to a child. And let me also just say, that while I still do not wish to re-join the Catholic faith, I do not tell this story as a means of describing all nuns or all Catholics or any of that. Don't even go there with hate comments about all that. I know that the woman described above was one of a kind. And her evil was her own ugly thing.

No comments: