Sunday, October 21, 2012

Conformity Drop Out

I have not attended church on Sunday for at least a decade. Much longer if Easter Sunday doesn't count.

Random fact:  I have not celebrated Easter for about the past 5 years. I've never liked the holiday really. No offense family but I just saw you people like, 4 months ago. I haven't done anything interesting since then and you probably haven't either. Don't worry, we're cool and everything. I just wanna stay home. I'm tired.
(As far as the religious significance, I am all for it. Go Jesus Go! Way to come back from the dead only to be even more awesome!)
Anyway, as a kid I kind of liked to go to church sometimes even though I had no idea what it was actually about. (Clearly as evidenced above.) I just liked the way it smelled in there. And singing. And taking communion because that meant you were at least 85% done and that much closer to donuts after church!

As I grew older and the value of donuts decreased on my priority list (slightly) the allure of church kind of faded. Not to mention I had finally cottoned on to the fact that the Church and I deeply disagreed on all sorts of issues. And that I hated CCD (our version of bible study) and had no desire to make my confirmation. Which would declare me official and allowed to get married in the church. Guess what? Fifteen-year old me was absolutely right! Thank God (pun not intended) I didn't go through that. I'm pretty sure you can't un-ring that bell.

Anyway, I stood in a church today by my own choice. Something inside me, however, stopped me from participating fully. My introvert self just froze right up when confronted with completely new circumstances and expectations. I actually found myself kind of missing the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic mass. Not for anything spiritual, purely for the comfort of something familiar.

It amazes me every time I am confronted by the truth of my human nature. I, just like everybody else in the world, prefer comfort over whatever new thing I am being met with. The comfort of ritual is something I can't deny. At the same time, it totally icks me out. People acting en masse is something I only really enjoy while watching flash mob videos on YouTube. Other than that, large groups of people making identical gestures and speaking in unison make me think of the military. Which immediately flashes me PTSD-style to my ex-husband's graduation from Air Force basic training. It was beyond hot. San Antonio in May is stifling, I had no idea Texas could be so humid. I remember being hot and being totally uncomfortable on base. The graduation ceremony itself was huge - easily 500 graduates. All moving in perfect unison, in line, dress blues, black dress shoes gleaming and creating perfect line after line of identical soldiers.

I also flash to every WWII movie I have ever seen involving shots of Nazi soldiers organizing.

Creepy. Threatening even. That's how those displays make me feel. It's not my fault I suck at conforming or working in groups. I clearly fail at conformity. Even when it's warm and fuzzy and everybody's really nice. I think this is part of being an introvert. We can acknowledge that life may be enriched by involvement in something bigger than ourselves, but find it totally uncomfortable to actively display outward shows of spirituality or personal revelation. At least, in front of other people. Once we're home and neatly tucked away into sweatpants and back behind our front doors, we (well, me at least) are free to think, feel, and react authentically.
Yeah, yeah I know...

No comments:

Post a Comment