So I’ve mentioned here in bits and pieces that I was very religious as a teen. Youth group, church, conventions, no drugs, alcohol or sex, the whole bit (and a bit of self-righteousness I now cringe at).
These days I’m not sure where I stand. I’m definitely not the ‘good girl’ I was in high school. I’m living in sin with my fiance (well at least I will again once his training’s done). I drink. I haven’t been to church in over a year. I swear (I did in high school too, but I tried not to).
But I’m not here to talk about all the ways that I’ve ‘fallen’. For the most part these things don’t bother me (to be honest, they bother me a little, when you immerse yourself in something so deeply as I did with Christianity as a teen, it kind of gets into your core. I still have residual guilt about things…). But something that I find interesting is this little thing that happens in conversation when I run into somebody from my past. Somebody I know only through church. It’s a very minor detail, but I always feel badly about it after the conversation’s over.
See, I live in a pretty small town. And I’ve been in the area since I was Squirt’s age. Going to church the whole time. Actively involved in youth activities for years. It’s inevitable as I go about my days still in the same small town that I run into people from my church days. And 99 times out of 100, I’ve got Squirt on my hip. So we make the small talk that you always do when you run into a ghost from your past. Of course the main part of the conversation is directed about Squirt. If they use their Facebook it’s always, ‘Wow! I finally get to meet him! He’s gotten so much bigger!’ if they don’t have one, or don’t use it it’s ‘Is that YOUR baby?’. It’s cool. We do little catch ups. ‘What are you doing now?’ ‘This is what I’m up to’.
But then Pte Goof comes up. And I tell them about the army and yadda yadda. The difference between when I’m talking to someone I knew from church and someone I knew from anywhere else. I don’t say ‘my fiance’. I say ‘Squirt’s’ daddy.
That’s a phrase I tend to use here and there as it is. But if I’m talking to someone who knew me solely through church related stuff, it’s never ever my fiance. I mean. It’s no secret. Everyone knows I had a baby out-of-wedlock. But I still say it every time. And I feel like crap when I do because I shouldn’t be ashamed. I fell in love. We had a baby. We are still deeply in love and raising that baby in a loving home. Things to be proud of, if you ask me. We just haven’t signed a paper yet.
Yet, I still feel a little ashamed. (and I’m totally ashamed that I feel that way). The Christian girl inside me who swore never to let a boy touch her there until she had walked down the aisle still feels like she’s let people down. That she’s let down herself and the plans she had. And it’s totally stupid, and all you liberal internets people likely won’t really have a reference point to this post, but I still feel that way. Not all the time. But here and there. And when I run into somebody who pulls that teenage me back to the surface.
It’s kinda funny how incredibly deeply embedded these feelings of guilt are. Part of it probably stems from my unresolved-ness about my faith. But darn it! I don’t want to refer to Pte Goof as ‘Squirt’s Daddy’ out of old shame anymore!