As I ran my hand under the automated towel dispenser in the cafe's bathroom FOR THE THIRD TIME, I could hear Sr. Catherine in my head. I heard Mother Teresa. (No, not SAINT Mother Teresa, a different one -a bipolar freak who was placed in the position of Sister Superior.) I don't like these voices in my head.
If you've ever read about or been exposed to destructive cults, you know the tricks they use to keep their members in compliance. Shame is one of their most effective tools. It was used to try to bring me into submission time and time again.
Shame on you, Miss Urban, for using to much tape to hold together your May crown. Kneel for class.
Shame on you, Miss Urban, for chewing gum. Put that gum on your nose and leave it there till I say you can take it off.
Shame on you, Sr. Frances, for using too much water to rinse that lettuce.
Shame on you, Sr. Frances, for not being more vigilant and watching that garlic bread. Now, it's all burned. You will eat nothing else until you have finished it all by yourself.
Shame on you, Sr. Frances, for not using that kleenex until the entire thing is saturated with the discharge from your nose.
I got a nasty cold a week ago, right after arriving in Hillsboro. The final shame that I mentioned above has come back to me again and again. As I blow my nose into the kleenex one time and pitch it into the garbage, it's kind of like flipping off all those voices in my head trying to shame me for being so wasteful. I smile every single time. The young girl that was subjected to it didn't have the strength to react that way. Fifty years later, I can.
It has taken a lot of work to get beyond the shame. It is interesting, because I no longer have anyone shaming me. They did a good job. For years & years, I could do it all by myself. Shame on me for not being the perfect body type society expects. Shame on me for not being perfectly put together every time I left the house. Shame on me if the house wasn't perfect every day all day. So. Much. Shame.
Thanks to a wonderful counselor that I met 2 years ago, I am shedding the shame, one incident at a time.
So, going forward, I will use as damn much water as I want to rinse my lettuce. I probably won't burn the garlic bread, because that just makes the house smell bad. And, with flourish, I will blow my snotty nose into a kleenex once and pitch it into the garbage while grabbing another. And, tape? Tape? Just ask any of my family how damn much tape I use on their Christmas presents.