Monday, July 4, 2011
BLESS ME, FATHER, for I have sinned.
Gosh, I wonder how many times I uttered those words in a dark confessional. Every Saturday for several years, then every other Saturday. Then once a month. Then every six months. Then, it was over. I don’t remember the last time I went to confession. I can’t remember the time I made a conscience decision not to. It was sometime in college, probably my senior year, when it all stopped making sense. Not just confession; the whole thing.
There was a lot of fear involved. The first few years, it was the fear that I wouldn’t have enough sins to confess to the priest who sat in the next cubicle, probably bored as hell. Often I’d make up sins. “I said five bad words,” for instance, which was a lie (and a sin, probably, but I never confessed that sin) because as a kid I never said carbron, chingado, pinche, puto, culero, and all the other cusswords that my friends, classmates, and even siblings used on a regular basis. Even now, I find it difficult to cuss in Spanish. It doesn’t seem or sound natural to me, so I don’t (I have no problem doing so in English; in fact, I probably do it a bit too much).
I rarely disobeyed my parents, teachers, nuns or any other authority figures, so I couldn’t very well tell the priest I failed to honor my father or mother. I did lie, but it was only to make people feel good, or to get a laugh from my sisters. I didn’t steal (well, I did once: I took a nice plastic ruler from a classmate’s desk in first grade once, but I returned it a few days later, so I couldn’t even count that one). I never missed Sunday mass, and many times I even went to daily masses, especially during Lent.
Later, when I finally discovered a particularly pleasurable sin, I ended up having to lie to the priest again. Not about doing it, but about how many times I did it. Surely, I thought, nobody else did it as often as I did, and it was more embarrassment than guilt that kept me from being honest. That and the terminology. I mean, why didn’t the priest tell me the first time that masturbation was the sin, not uttering the word? “Bless me father for I have sinned: I played with myself 14 times.” Talk about feeling small! Playing with myself? Rubbing my earlobes, fingering my toes. toeing my fingers – that’s playing with myself. That you can stop doing. Not that!
The four Our Fathers and six Hail Marys assigned as penitence may have been enough to wipe away the guilt, but not the embarrassment. (There’s the language thing again: why in the world did the nuns and priest insist on using “penitence” with six-year old Mexican kids whose primary language was Spanish? What was wrong with “punishment”? I don’t think I found out what the word meant until I was in junior high.)
BLESS ME, READERS, for I have strayed.
No, not that kind of straying; I’m through with sin. I mean the literary kind, as in this post was not supposed to be about whacking off. It’s supposed to be about eating and I wanted to get to this: “Bless me my Weight Watchers village, for I have sinned.”
If you’ve been reading my FaceBook posts the last few days you know that I hosted a small but elaborate brunch over the weekend. Much of the food I prepared and helped eat was healthy, but some of it wasn’t, and I ate more than I should have. And I didn’t even bother to keep count of the points, so I have no idea where I am, points-wise. And, aside from cooking and cleaning, I didn’t exercise.
Not a good way to start a week, especially one that is going to offer few opportunities to exercise and includes a birthday. But it’s OK. I made a willful decision to have a good time and enjoy a great meal with good friends. I have no regrets at all. If I gain a pound or two, that’s OK too, for this is not a speed race. It took a long time for me to gain this weight and it’s going to take a long time to lose what I want to lose.
In the past, this would have signaled the beginning of the end of my latest Weight Watchers attempt to lose pounds. At this point, I would be feeling defeated, dejected, depressed and very pissed at myself. I would probably have convinced myself that since I had already misbehaved for part of the week, I might as well go ahead and blow the rest of the week and start fresh the following Saturday, after weighing in. And I would proceed to make a pig of myself every hour of every day. And then, Saturday morning would arrive and I’d be so terrified of what the scale would say that I’d convince myself to stay home, and vow to be very, very good the next week so that when I did go weigh myself the following Saturday, all the pounds I’d gained would be gone. Of course, that would never happen and I’d keep on gaining and gaining and gaining.
As I said, that was the old days. That was when I didn’t have you. Today, even though I’ve not been true to the program the past two days, starting tomorrow morning with breakfast, I will go back on program.
How do I know that? Because tomorrow evening, those of you who care will ask me how I did, that’s why.
Thank you in advance.
So, indeed – and please — bless me, Village, bless me.