I’d like to preface this by apologizing, because I still feel the need to apologize before writing about difficult subjects especially when there are feelings I’m still working through about Big Issues and Changes I’ve undergone in the last six months. This post was inspired by a sociology project where I was instructed to go deep into a memory, and recall as many details as possible in hopes you can uncover some new details about your memory and feelings. This recollection is about the first time I went to Sunday school as an adult.
why didn’t i eat breakfast this morning? i rolled over too early to answer a phone because i’ve been instructed to sleep alone because jesus might not like it if i had someone else roll over and try to wake me up. i’ve walked into church this morning like a turtle- i walk like a turtle anyway, i think. my head was tucked under my neck, like the time i was once told to hang my head because my boyfriend and i were both registered democrats. i can feel the stupid fluid building up behind my ears like i’d jumped into a pool so i could have a cheeseburger later after swimming lessons.
my significant other drove like he was bored. he drove to church like he was bored with the system- or so i thought at the time. he’s not my significant other any more but he’s okay with me writing this because we’re nice to each other, and he knows i really admire his driving. he was really bored that day because i swear he could tell i was breathing like i was talking to myself in my head. stay alive, because a lot of people get solace out of weekly drives to church. it’s as big of an event like kentucky basketball. people treat their brunch like a holy excursion. like the one i was about to go on, but the coffee was too bitter. i will be too bitter if he rolls his eyes again. i can’t tell if he is in his own head, or he just knows i’m terrible.
services are services. i can disappear and be quiet like in a college lecture. i am good at sitting in the back and standing up and sitting down. i can lip-synch really well because i love pop music. i don’t know the words to these hymns but they’re hymns and i love words. i don’t have to understand. i like how words sound together. i like certain combinations of words, and i like how my boyfriend and i kind of were on the same page- he’d lip synch a little and i would a lot. but god, this morning, i was super hungry and i could see some black swirlies in my eyes prompting me to wonder if this was rapid aging?
i can go along and digest difficult situations, and there was a time i was comfortable because i could look into his eyes and he seemed to get why everything was so unrelatable and i have always concerned myself with fitting in. i really thought so, but this morning i had to go meet new people in a small setting, and i was warned and conditioned so many times before this. are they going to know that we’d listened to the first Clash album on the way here, and does jesus like punk rock? i really have a headache, woah.
i talked to my mom once about how i felt that the children’s wing of a church always smelled like urine and i was right today. i’m sensing a “cradle to the grave” vibe as i walk through the children’s hallway and question whether my apprehension had to do with the fact i was never a product of that notion. socialization has reared its ugly head on me now. i don’t want to go home, because i can handle this. i’m just wearing a skirt instead of the elvis costello t-shirt i slept in, and i would much rather vomit in my skirt that i guess jesus wants me to wear?
suddenly i have a ton of questions about the different stages in life as we walk into the classroom. all of our college age peers are tall, beautiful, and so very married- none of which we are. well, he was a little taller than me. god, i miss him sometimes, but i do not miss this. i really do not miss this.
but my point is- do we have to be all of these things before we’re able to get what we need from church? my logic and stereotypes tell me so, but also i am admittedly close minded due to previous experiences, and also because i will die if i don’t eat this biscuit that is hard as a rock.
the ladies are looking at me. they’ve seen me before, but they don’t like me because i didn’t press my boyfriend’s sunday best. oh, god, the wrinkles in his shirt are now really bothering me. why didn’t i iron his shirt before we left? am i supposed to? i wonder if they think so.
my boyfriend is slumped on this faux leather couch for the sunday school discussion. we’ve been here before. he just really doesn’t care (or so i thought) and he’s on facebook. i have the textbook dutifully spread open on my knees. am i supposed to “do” this? i don’t want to think like this! i know the answer already! i don’t want to think like this. i just need to eat this really rock hard biscuit. is this what jesus means by breaking bread?
my glances go around the room because i am searching for an understanding like these people are, but i don’t know if it’s really the same type of understanding. these other young ladies seem pretty nice. i smile softly, they know i am going to drink glasses of wine later as i whine about my experiences. i am really trying to understand this lesson about forgiveness and kindness tailored to the young adult, but damn it, if my boyfriend lets the Sonic the Hedgehog ring out of his phone speakers, like i could feel in my gut that he is about to do, i am not showing patience and forgiveness.
my inner monologue is so loud right now. it’s louder than this class discussion that it not getting off the ground. the teacher (professor? preacher?) is answering his own questions because he can tell we’re not going to be the first to speak because what happens if you get a question about jesus wrong?
i swear i am going to cry if this girl with the giant engagement ring doesn’t stop staring at me. i might throw a biscuit at her. my boyfriend says she transferred a few weeks later. she’s being judge-y as Dolly Parton would say, but good lord! i am too! please understand that i am an individual still learning her place in the world and practicing patience in her own way, and i am so sorry that my boyfriend looks so dissatisfied oops, i guess it’s my fault. so if i reject your invitation to the bowling night on wednesday, it’s because i am trying to open my mind and get over the rejection of living an uncrucified life, as my boyfriend’s mom would later say.
i ate my food and changed into some pants, but i’m still learning. i swear not to have any more headaches at church until i finally figure out who i am, and stop asking questions about others and their form of sunday morning solace.