Thursday, September 9, 2010

Street Side Confessionals





--Adrienne Miller


I’m going to go way out on a limb here and assume that you’ve never killed a guy in a knife fight in the alleyway behind a Gas-N-Sip. I know, it’s a big show of faith. Especially for some of you. I don’t need to name names. You know who you are. 
And if you did, I don’t want to hear about it. People have called me all kinds of names, but I’m still pretty proud that “accessory after the fact” hasn’t been one of them. 

unless you’re Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news crew, I don’t want to know about it
Chances are your secrets are more banal. You lust after someone who’s off limits. You daydream of forgetting all your adult responsibilities and indulging in all manner of reckless and drunken revelry. Maybe you get a little thrill every time you forget to empty everything out of your basket at the store. 
What ever your particular kink is, how tiny or big, chances are that there are legions of others that share it. But it sure doesn’t feel that way at the time, does it? While your dirty little secret is burning up inside you, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a freak, and, if anyone--anyone normal, that is-- were ever to ferret out your secret shame, an outcast.
While I’m not Catholic, most of my father’s family is, and I grew up intrigued by all the ritual and symbolism of the faith. What really fascinated me was the confessional. Every week my grandmother stepped in to that little box and let out all of her secrets. Then she would come out, kneel down for a while, fingers and lips moving in tandem around her well-worn rosary beads. And that was that. All transgressions forgiven. She was done, and off we went into the van for a day a fun. 

Now, I’m sure there are layers of complexity that my mind didn’t fully wrap around. Shades of shame and judgement that as a non-participant I glossed over. But, hell, I still love the basic concept.
I don’t want to offend, but imagine a secular confessional, a place that you could pop in and anonymously unburden yourself. I don’t mean like therapy, nothing too deep. Surface guilt only. Just the little candle flames of private shame, that if left alone will build over time into a raging wild fire. I'm imagining instant, soul-relieving gratification. Something along the lines of,
“I didn’t want the guy at the drive thru to think I was a fat pig, so I made it sound like one of the two hamburgers I was buying was for someone else.”
“I pretended that someone was beeping through on call-waiting so I could get off the phone with my mother again.”
Or if you’re me,
God knows I want to be cool, but I just can’t stop loving Bryan Adams. Seriously, have you tried not singing along to Straight from the Heart? It’s nearly impossible!”
don’t judge me

12 comments:

Moonsanity said...

I would never judge a Brian Adams fan-- are there people who DON'T sing along to Straight from the Heart?

I secretly want to become a Goth-- I turned 50 in June and I'm just mad that when I was in high school Goths didn't even exist yet. I would be such a cool moody, dark, yet whimsical gal dressed in black and quotes Poe.

Sophie Littlefield said...

moonsanity, I'm 47 and still working up my courage to be goth. srsly we can shop together for black stuff. I want a longsleeve hoodie that goes way past my wrists and that i'll pull up over my head on the subway. cause that's part 2 of the plan, live somewhere with a subway.

adrienne, love the secular confessional. i have such a love-HATE relationship with the concept. when i think of ANY priest i have ever known being privy to my secrets, rage bubbles up in me...but i'm amused thinking it would be someone as cool as you on the other side of hte screen, going "yeah keep it comin' yawn that doesn't come close to the last guy..."

Juliet Blackwell said...

Yes, love the secular confessional too, though I find that a drink or two with friends results in the same end. That's when I always dump all my stupid little transgressions, and since they're my friends, they always laugh and give me absolution. Works for me ;-)
And *I* wanna be a goth too!!! I want to be SO Goth that I could wear pink and still make it seem like a comment on the hopelessness of society.

Adrienne Miller said...

Ohhh...I LOVE this. That's it. The four of us are all going to our local Goth Emporium and hitting the scene. Poor anemic kids won't know what hit 'em. :-)

Moonsanity said...

*snort* I think pink would be okay as long as it had skulls on it, and you still had plenty of black. You could wear a pink tutu:)

On ebay they have this one seller than sells sort of Celtic goth stuff-- reminds me of Stevie Nicks but darker. Sort of like chic goth. LOL

Wait...Adrienne-I don't have to be anemic though right? I might have to work at that- just saying:)

Rachael Herron said...

Ha! I was always, always, always drawn to Catholicism because I just wanted to get into that booth. That place of secrets, out of which people come feeling clean and new.... I still want that, actually.

Gigi Pandian said...

The Irish Bank Bar in San Francisco has a confessional as one of its tables. I went with a friend once who was raised Catholic and it totally weirded him out!

L.G.C. Smith said...

Put me on the Goth bandwagon, too! The trend didn't come along until I was out of high school, too. And look how durable it's been. Where was it when I needed it?

Maybe I'll be a fat old Goth for Halloween this year. Talk about scary!

Moonsanity said...

LGC- I was thinking of doing that at Halloween too! I feel very cheated that I couldn't be a Goth in HS-- it was the 70's- ugh. LOL

Martha Flynn said...

Okay I need to go download this bryan adams guy and see what all the fuss is about...

Adrienne Miller said...

LGC & Moonsanity, let's get this Goth train rolling!

Martha - Wha? No Bryan Adams? Oh, I can change that.

Moonsanity said...

I'm still thinking about a Goth costume for Halloween. My teens are having a bonfire, and then we are taking our ten year old trick or treating:) Black eye makeup,and lipstick should be easy, then I could put a pink streak in my hair. I just have to get to a thrift store for the clothing. *snicker*