Thursday, November 30, 2006

Red

My earliest memory of what I wanted to be when I grew up was a nun (obviously the financial aspect of such an endeavor never entered my mind.. I also wanted to become a librarian at one point.. yes, big, big dreams I had..). There was something so crisp and clean about a nun's habit, something very sweet about an elderly woman who would softly put her hand on your cheek, smile at you very grandmotherly, and bless you all at the same time. My father and my uncles would probably disagree having gone to Catholic school when they were kids and with that, experienced a different kind of nun than I knew who punished them with the smacking of many a ruler across their knuckles for various degrees of misbehaving. I just didn't know anything other than the pleasant-looking nuns that I saw in church every Sunday. They seemed so kind and their lives so serene. I thought how wonderful their lives must be and what a wonderful relationship with God they must have. They were second in line to speak to Him, right after the priests, of course. I thought that must be pretty special.

Growing up Catholic was confusing. I didn't understand why everything was a sin. If you miss church for some reason, it's a sin. If you miss confession, it's a sin. Heck, you are taught that you are born a sinner and I thought what a responsibility to be put upon a newborn after entering the world and being smacked on the ass, he or she was then required to ask for forgiveness for the rest of his or her life - just for simply existing! Nothing like adding insult to injury.

I just didn't see it that way. I never bought into the Old Testament, fire-and-brimstone sort of God. The 'all-loving' phrase always stuck with me and I would constantly think that a god that is 'all-loving' cannot pass judgment. A god that allows free will cannot exact punishment upon you for having chosen 'incorrectly'. Logically, these just didn't make sense to me and I started to form my own opinions of what I believed spirituality should be about. This often conflicted with what Catholicism preached and made me feel like a hypocrite to attend mass. I never expressed this to my family because we were required to attend whether we wanted to or not. You just did it. You didn't ask why.

As a child, I truly believed there was a hell where I would go when I died if I wasn't obedient, if I didn't get good grades, if I lied, stole, or didn't say my prayers. I also thought there was a bright and burning fire just below the ground we walked on that was part of the Devil's domain and water that seeped down thru the grass was helping to put it out. Any chance I had, I would do that.. changing the dog's water, gardening with my mother - and I thought I was doing good and that God would notice. I thought it could help make up for the times I was impertinent or sassed my mother. But I was still punished when I was bad.. I just figured God would make up for it once I arrived in Heaven.

Still there were times that my parents were wrong, rules seemed unnecessary or out of whack, and I didn't like the fact I was supposed to obey simply because someone told me I had to. I became quite the sneak. I once convinced my best friend in 4th grade to come to the restroom with me even though the teacher said we couldn't go together. He left the room for some reason, I made her come with me and, of course, we were caught. She cried. I thought she was taking it rather hard and rolled my eyes. I realized at that moment I wasn't exactly going to walk the path of the straight and narrow because being a good girl..? Yeah.. it was boring.

I still have a strong faith in some sort of power and within myself, but I don't go to church and I don't believe in Hell anymore. Obviously, becoming a nun was never the path for me. I question authority, more assertively than most, speak my mind, more often than some, and regularly break rules since that seems to be what they are meant for. I still do my best to put out the negative fires that may occur in life by simply trying to be a good person, but this higher power knows I'm only human and therefore, not always perfect.

This world is so black and white at times, always having to choose right or wrong, good or bad. I just think we need a good shaking up once in a while and adding the shiny red question mark of temptation creates balance on the teeter-totter of choice and helps determine where to put all our weight. Not that it makes things any easier, but it’s certainly more fun.

Should I or shouldn’t I? What color will you pick?

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Angel is a single and newly 35-year old resident of the beautiful city of Seattle. She uses ellipses (yes, only 2-dotted ones, leave her alone!) and exaggerations to tell her mostly truthful stories of her overly-dramatized life and may tell them in length. She's not necessarily a good girl gone bad, but Angel is only the name. Her parents were merely hopeful. Her site, Miss Devylish, is where you can find her regularly. Please find Ms. Heather, of Cool Zebras, kindly filling in for her today with her take on the topic.

This post is part of December's Blog Exchange. The only rule this month was to choose between a title of Red or Green. You can find the full list of participating blogs there. Check them out!

15 people like me!:

Heather said...

I've already told you, I enjoyed your take on the topic. It's been fun exchanging emails too. Hope you've enjoyed your first blog exchange!

Miss Devylish said...

Aww.. thanks so much! I dig yours..and I like how both are totally different. Thanks for your patience and for helping me w/ all the details! Yay no more a BE virgin!

ECR said...

I love all these diverse takes on the same word.

My color would be bright yellow.

Kate said...

As a product of 12 years of Catholic school, I can whole-heartedly say my color is red. Good thing I've finally gotten over all that fear of God crap (whoops, I'm going to hell in a hand-basket...)

lady miss marquise said...

Oh, and Miss D... this was a fantastic post.
Loved it!

lady miss marquise said...

Blogger is eating my comments!
I was saying before how confused I was before I got to the end of the post, as there was all this talk of boyfriends and crimson nails I didn't know you had and I just thought I was a bad bad friend!

TB said...

I'm with you... I'd rather have fun :o)

Mombat said...

I love the image of the big red question mark! Nice post. Good to meet you.

Miss Devylish said...

ecr: I'm loving that too.. I got to see a few today that were really good. Haven't gotten thru them all.

kate: I'll be in that hand-basket w/ you!

ladymiss: I knew people might be confused and I sorta relished that idea. And then you suddenly realize it's a story and I love the visual at the end. Heather's pretty rad. ;)

tb: It's the best way to be. :)

mombat: Thanks! You as well. I started on your site and your trade off person but didn't get to finish them today. Will view more tomorrow I hope!

A. Elliot said...

I also grew up Catholic and I remember being shocked when I found out as a teenager that not all religions believe in hell. Now I'm a Unitarian :)

Her Bad Mother said...

I totally agree that that question mark should be big and red. And glowy. Maybe lit up with big red lights. SO that we never forget that it's there.

Kristen said...

Um. What HBM said...

Seriously. I think we take what we want of religion and make it positive in our life.

If we think we're going to hell all the time, what good does that really do?

Miss Devylish said...

a.elliot: It's shocking when all you know you realize isn't actually anything more than subjective, isn't it? I'm leaning towards Buddhism myself.

hbm & kristen: I was going to go w/ sparkly, wearing drag-queen shoes and a bright blinking arrow pointing towards that question mark as well, but you can only comma so often.

kristen: I think hell is what we make of this world and when you finally get thru it all, we'll all get to heaven. That's the least they/he/she could reward us with.

Heather said...

Hope you had fun Angel!

(yeah I had to comment because I can't leave it at 13 comments... just like I can't leave the radio at volume 14 or the tv...
yep. More evidence that I'm CRAZY!)

pixelpoke said...

Heather and Angel:

Great job to both of you!

Kudos to all. Neat idea, well executed.

 
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