Monday, March 31, 2008

The Guilt Trip that lasts a lifetime

Just a moment ago, well now it's been about half an hour, my Dad came upstairs while I was busy facebooking (that is so a verb) my friend Theresa about how much I hate a certain teacher and said in passing, "So, you've been lying to us?" I know what I'm about to say sounds bad, and that I'm a cruel person and want my parents to suffer, blahblahblah, but I smirked. Because I knew exactly what he was talking about. Seminary. (that mormon class that I've gone to most school days for the past four years)

I don't hate anything more than getting up earlier than I have to on a school day. I don't have to be at school until 8:30! I should be able to go to be every night at midnight and get a full eight hours of sleep. BUT, NO! I have had my sleep interrupted every day at approximately 5:40 AM by my dad. Seriously, is that really necessary? He opens my door (one would think he would knock after a certain incident a few years ago, how does he know that last night wasn't the night that i started to sleep nekid? how does he know if I've got my knickers on?), turns on the light, let's Emmy out (the dog), leaves my door open, proceeds to walk by my door about 23984729 times saying, "TIME TO GET UP!" OR "TIME FOR SEMINARY!", each time a little louder, a slight aggitation in his voice, until i get up - go to the bathroom and proceed to pretend that I'm relieving myself when really I'm catching a few more Z's.

And everyday, I leave. I might go, I might not. The 'rents don't know. They just assume such, because, where else do i have to go? Nowhere. And they would be right. I don't go anywhere, except maybe Panera for the occasionaly bagel, or the gym, but mostly I just drive and listen to my music - and make sure I'm back by seven.

I've been pretending to go to avoid the argument. I'm not generally a passive person, in fact I'm quite the opposite, but when it comes to things religious, no matter how trivial, I just assume avoid it completely to keep the peace. And, eventually they will find out, be disappointed and feel that they have failed and that there is nothing they can do anymore. In layman's terms, I've won my battle.

So, going back to my dad's comment. I didn't lie. I simply left every morning. They were the one's assuming that i was going to seminary, I never actually said, "I'm going to seminary." But then, of course those that feel the need to be technical will point out that this was a "white lie," a lie by omission, that I did this with the intention of being deceitful. They would be right, but I've never been one to stick to technicalities.

Here's the deal about this whole Mormon Thing, as I call it. I don't hate the Church. I don't hate the people (well, not most of them anyway) I simply have a difference of opinion, and wish to leave it at that. I've tried explaining myself to everyone, multiple times, but it's useless and it's a waste of everyone's time. I just wish that my parents wouldn't down themselves so much or feel that they've somehow failed me as a parent because I didn't end up how I was supposed to.

Unfortunately, my parents will make me feel guilty about this for the rest of my life. For example, "You'll be the first Pittman not to graduate from seminary." I will also be the first Pittman to function a bit better because I will be waking up at least an hour later and therefore putting myself in a better mood for many, many, days in the near and distant future. I will also be sick less. I will also be putting this precious time to good use, for things such as sleep, catching some Z's, catching more Z's, occasionally waking up that early anyway to do homework, eating breakfast, sleeping, and getting enough sleep. (One would think that my dad would understand how important sleep is considering his admiration for it)

My parents don't say or do things directly to make their kids feel bad. Ever. And anyone who knows my family should know. My parents go out of their way. They ask us to read the scriptures, even those of us who haven't been to church in ten years, when it's obvious we don't want to be there. Or they'll ask us to say the prayer when our friends are over. Or ask us to help them with the dinner they're making for that family in the ward whose mother is sick, and isn't it so nice that our church has that type of community? that we know we can rely on one another? isn't it great? Well, Mom, no It's not because I don't know her, or her husband...he's the tall guy with the brown hair that he...or her kids, nor do I care. I'm sorry, but I DON'T KNOW THEM! Why aren't they're friends helping them? we are their friends... no, no we're not. I am not thier friend. I didn't even know who they were until today...

And it goes on for awhile like that.

I really wish that I went to one of those churches where everyone magically appears for an hour and then launches out the front door as soon as the service was over. Instead, everyone knows who I am, that I'm a Pittman, that I did not go to mutual this past week, or to the dance last night. They know everything, and for awhile, I was okay with it, I know how to deal, but really, should I have to? Should I have to do something just to maintain the peace? Should I have to pretend to like people I can't stand? Should I have to make friendly conversation with someone who likes my dress, and thinks I'm pretty, but is thinking "what a skank" in their heads? I know this by the looks I receive, by the hushed comments relayed as I pass a group of gossips - gossips who believe in being kind, and non-judgemental, and are just so humbled - bullshit.

I hate having people that I don't want or choose to know, know who I am, who I'm related to, where I live, etc. I didn't invite these people into my life, and somehow they feel it's their right to ask me what grades i got on my report card, or mention that Johnny told them that "Amanda sleeps in seminary."

Mind you, because of my upbringing I have my closest friends, some church-going, and some not, others just go for the food.

I hope that when I have kids of my own, I'll remember this, and I won't (to quote a church hymn) "force the human mind."

And so, Amanda the last hope, has done it once again, she's disappointed the people that love her most. But for the record, she didn't do it on purpose and she does feel bad that they're hurt and she hopes that one day they'll stop beating themselves up about it.


ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ben said...

weak...I deleted my comment, but it left evidence of it.

Anyway, my comment ranted a little on the level of selfishness expressed in this post. "Why should I have to...", "I should be able to...", etc.

I am amused by the paragraph talking about technicalities, mostly because you're the one who is invoking the technicality. You purposely misled your parents. It's 'technically' not a lie...

Oh yeah, the paragraph about "I'll function a little better because I got a little more sleep" is a total cop-out.

amanda-rants said...

Ben - I never claimed not to be selfish, or deceitful, etc.

as for the cop-out, well, i would expect no less from you.

i also ran into sis. freeman at the gym the other morning.

AND i'm pretty sure you were not a fan of seminary. actually, i think all that are fans of it should get checked out.

I do not understand morning people.

Doing something simply because you're expected to doesn't make you somehow appreciate it, become interested in it, like it any more.
Doing things because you're expected to doesn't do anyone any good in the long run. People should do what makes them happy. Sleeping, catching up on homework, going to the gym, things of that nature - may not make me happy, but they sure as hell keep me content instead of full of contempt.

ben said...

My comments came off a little more judgemental than I intended.

I'll gladly agree that I wasn't a big fan of seminary. Even when it was in my basement I was the last one there.

I'm not sure what this line means:
"as for the cop-out, well, i would expect no less from you."

I was just saying it's a pretty weak argument, so you're saying that you expected me to say so?

Also, I agree that doing something that you're supposed to doesn't make appreciate or enjoy it, but there are things that you should do even if you don't enjoy them. For example, most kids don't enjoy school. If all kids who didn't enjoy school just didn't go, the world would be a far dumber place and those kids would be far less happy.

So, in the long term, doing some things that you don't enjoy does do someone some good. Whether seminary is one of those things is an argument you can make, but the blanket statement is not true.

Another thing that I think you should do, whether or not you enjoy it is being kind (or at least polite) to others and helping others in need, even if you don't like them or even know them.