The Name I Gave My Nightmares will be going on maternity leave at the end of December.
Seriously. Thank fuck.
I know it makes me a bad person, but last week I counted the work day I have left with her. I texted KP with the information and now we’ve taken to making signs and sending pictures to each other, counting down the time left in my own personal purgatory. At the time I just needed to know how much longer I had to deal. After today, well, I’ll have to think of some way to celebrate, because IF I still drank I would get loaded on the last day. (I don’t, and I won’t.)
We were talking today, and I mentioned how certain chapters of the religion book seem oddly structured to me. The writers grouped together some commandments that I think should be handled separately, specifically a chapter on purity and stealing. I’m sorry, I just don’t like teaching a chapter to 3rd graders on purity. It makes them and me uncomfortable. It’s too big a subject for them. So to link it with something fairly straightforward like stealing seems like a poor editorial choice, in my opinion. Well, apparently I’m wrong. She told me that, you know, the last two commandments go together, about not coveting your neighbor’s goods or your neighbor’s wife, so it makes sense, because:
“Purity is keeping people from coveting you.”
Please, everyone, take a moment to absorb that. That is a direct quote.
My immediate “NO IT ISN’T!” had her backtracking to “well, that’s what modesty is.” And that was when I died just a little on the inside, pulled out my phone, and started talking about the weather. I just didn’t have it in me to fight with so much stupid. I believe that the institute from which she earned it should revoke her Master’s degree in Theology. I believe she should buy a dictionary.
And I believe she should go on maternity leave tomorrow.
Just to clarify, because for all my lack of knowledge on Catholicism, I do know some things, modesty is being circumspect and restrained in your behavior. While that includes clothing, it also includes what you say and to whom. It is an attitude of privacy, of retaining your dignity as a human being. It is much deeper than the avoidance of being sexual objectified by refusing to wear scandalous clothing. Purity is something else all together. Purity is devotion in mind, heart and body to God. It is ordering your desires to the will of God so that you may love him above all other things. It is very easy to believe that these are virtues confined to sexuality and sexual behavior, but they aren’t. The mind can be as easily corrupted with excessive violence as it can will excessive sexuality. And one can easily be covered head to toe, but be immodest in speech.
Now, yes, it is difficult to cultivate purity without modesty. But it is not that difficult to appear modest and not be truly striving towards purity. And the trappings of modesty is all you have with a definition like “keeping people from coveting you.” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Seriously. Again, that is modesty only in the sexual sense. But also, how is that to even be achieved? I dress for the most part in a way that could be described as VERY modest. I’m super white and get sunburned in the winter, so I don’t show a lot of skin, ever. I don’t show off my cleavage, my skirts are down to the knee or just above, I rarely wear terribly high heals, and it would never occur to me to buy something I couldn’t wear with both underwear and a bra. My makeup is subdued, my hair is usually up in a bun. The only eye-catching thing about me is my earrings; I really like big, weird earrings. Oh, and I have tattoos on my wrists and on one ankle, people do tend to notice those. But, generally, nothing about my appearance incites lusty thoughts of “wow, she is totally bangable!” Nope. And that is how I want to be. So according to she-of-all-the-wrongness, I have achieved maximum modesty, because I have prevented any man from every coveting me on looks alone.
But, here’s the thing. I don’t know for a fact that that is true. BECAUSE MODESTY IS A PERSONAL INTERNAL DISPOSITION! It isn’t about what I do to men, but about how I look at men. I can be as dressed down as I like, in lounge pants and a sweatshirt (like I am now!), but if I’m scanning pinterest looking at pictures of Tom Hiddleston in a suit, he might be fully clothed, and I might be fully clothed, but it is a good bet that I am sexually objectifying him in some way. (You know, just a little, because, damn, God did good on that boy.) And that isn’t being modest. (I think I might need to go to confession seeing the picture of Zachery Levi, Nathan Fillion and Tom Hiddleston from the Thor: The Dark World premier.) Making sure I wear a potato sack to work won’t make a damn bit of difference if I look at other people as objects, or if I behave in a way the dehumanizes myself.
I swear all the fucking time. And it’s a lack of modesty. I choose to put forth the most vulgar version of myself because I do not wish to cultivate the restraint it would take to clean up my language. But this is the fundamental dispute between her and I: she wants to make it about everyone else, I want to make it about me. I have no interest in being responsible for the amorous thoughts of strangers. I won’t do much to encourage that, because I’m not interested. But for all I know some dude I’ve passed on the street is really into cubby women with glasses and a love of knits. How can I possibly know if someone has coveted me? How can that be the measure of my modesty? But I sure as hell know when I covet someone. I know when I’m treating someone as less than a person. It both baffles and infuriates me that her definition leaves one entirely morally powerless, at the mercy of another’s taste or whim or state of grace.
So, yeah. If one comment of hers can get my goat this bad, I’m going to count down every damn day that I have left with her damn stupidity.
And not get loaded the day she leaves.
But I will eat a cake.
(2 Years, 1 Months, and 23 Days Sober)