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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Falling

The rain has arrived and so has fall. Along with the leaves,  I’m falling ever so gradually into a new and unfamiliar lifestyle. Living alone. Bit by bit, I’m falling out of loneliness and into being okay by myself. My two cats keep me company and my home is small enough that I don’t feel lost.

Many years ago, I joined a communal life after having lived in a large family with seven other siblings. Then I  lived shoulder-to-shoulder and elbow-to-elbow within a community of nuns for nineteen years. After that, I continued to live with others–in and out of relationships–until now. I only lived alone for a brief time in between two of my relationships.

So it doesn’t feel right.

Friends tell me I should enjoy it, but I don’t.

Of course, being with someone doesn’t mean I was never lonely. I mostly felt alone in the convent, even though surrounded by others. I go into detail about this in my book. Which I’m still presenting to potential publishers. Eventually. By then, maybe I’ll be happy living by myself.

Until then, I continue to sometimes stumble

and fall.

Crowds

I’ve rarely lived alone and have no desire to. It doesn’t take living in a separate house to feel isolated. All those years in the convent taught me that. We had rules back when that forbade us to get close to anyone. . . even one another. The only one we were encouraged to get closer to was God, and that could be pretty lonely. That was often my experience, even though I was surrounded by nuns.

Loneliness is a recurring theme in my yet-to-be-published book, Once Upon a Convent