The Pedestal

pedestal

Once I left the convent, I wanted to consider myself normal. I lived in the regular world, had a boyfriend-soon-to-become-husband, a job, and lived a regular house. Everything seemed unremarkable and normal to me. But I was soon to discover I was anything but. My family didn’t want me to be regular. They bristled at the fact that I moved from the convent to a live-in situation with my boyfriend. They were shocked that I’d given up my faith, since my parents and most of my siblings were faithful Catholics. How could I NOT be, when I’d been a nun for so long?

They had put me on a pedestal and then eventually forgotten I was real.

In the meantime, I’d spent too many years breathing the rarified air from the top of a pedestal and found it lonely and uncomfortable. I’d learned to  obey without question and respond immediately to the call of the bell. I became a dutiful nun. A good girl. A saint–a woman worthy of praise.

Having finally rediscovered my humanity, I began listening to my own voice and gradually fell down from the pedestal.

Though I have had to learn to live in its shadow.

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Even the Bartender

Last Saturday was the grand celebration of my book, Once Upon a Convent. Sue rented The Secret Society and invited her band, Mango Nights, to perform.

Mango Nights

Friends from every avenue of my life came to help me celebrate: my sister, niece, her hubby & nephew; members of my new recovering-Catholic group (Journey Koinonia); a condo friend; two friends from Sherman County (where I lived for nine years); my writing circle (Chrysalis Women Writers); a large group of Lesbian friends, and others from the greater Portland area.

A deep sense of satisfaction overtook me, as I stood before the crowd–a new sense of accomplishment and pride. It felt unreal to be so accepted.

speaker

Before I could could begin reading passages from my book, the hands went up. I answered questions for awhile, then declared it time for the music.

“Let it begin,” I said.

And it did.

And so did we.

We celebrated.

We ate, drank, and danced, tossing off our dignity and gyrating across the floor.

We danced our Souls.

dancing 1crazy dance

I opened up and let the joy into my heart.

I am deeply humbled and profoundly grateful.

(Oh, and I sold all the books I brought along, and had to take orders. Even the bartender wanted one.)