I couldn’t exactly remember how many times I confessed back when I was still in school, but there’s one sin I couldn’t bring myself to admit even in front / especially in front of a priest.
I was just another Catholic schoolboy. I studied in schools that were named after famous saints. Our curriculum was integrated with principles based on Christianity. Our teachers taught us to follow Jesus Christ’s footsteps and live our lives according to His examples. And we’re taught to ask for forgiveness and to forgive seventy times seven.
We’d pray before each and after every class. We’d sing hymns of praise and worship. We’d memorize the names of all the saints and the apostles. We’d attend all first Friday masses and then write about it afterwards on our reflections notebooks. And lastly, we’d all be required to confess our sins on a regular basis, hoping to be cleansed from all unrighteousness that beset us.
Every year during lent our teacher would instruct us to prepare a list of all the sins we’ve committed so when it’s time for us to face a priest to confess, we don’t have to try too hard to remember everything all at once. On my list you’ll find:
- Cheating on quizzes and exams, specifically in Math
- Cursing like a fucking sailor
- Disobeying my parents, my teachers et al. / talking back to adults and being totally disrespectful (in my defense, I only talk back when I feel the need to defend my right and what’s right – I’m a very opinionated kid and I’m not afraid to speak what’s on my mind, but not anymore though, I’ve learned to control my temperament)
- Wishing something bad to happen to someone
- Fighting – since I’m a pacifist this is more verbal than physical that’s why I’m #4
- Lying – who doesn’t?
- Masturbating – for some reason I had the guts to say this but never disclosed who I was thinking of, wouldn’t matter anyway
- Failing to go to church on Sundays
- Being lazy or whatever and so much more
I never confessed about my sexuality or how I felt about the other boys in our class partly because I had no idea how to explain what I was feeling and partly because I had no idea how to begin.
I was confused but I was also deeply ashamed to the point where even a man of God wouldn’t understand what I was going through. I didn’t want to be lectured on why homosexuality was wrong or why I should change, I’ve heard it and read it a hundred times before from people who claimed to know better and I wasn’t in the mood for yet another series of preaching. That’s why I wanted someone like me who could help me understand who I am (which I guessed, was too much to ask). I didn’t need someone to tell me that I was going to burn in hell because of something I had no control of. Maybe I couldn’t trust even a priest to help me deal with what I’m going through because they’re not in my shoes. They don’t know what it feels like to watch someone get teased and fear that they could do the same to you when they find out. I feel like I already know what they’d say anyway so why bother.
So I guess you can’t blame me or people like us who’d prefer to stay inside the closet especially when there are still close-minded people out there who’d insists that you change or else (what?). I didn’t choose to be like this. I didn’t just wake up one day and decided I was going to be like this. It’s not my fault if I like men the same way I like women. Why is it so wrong to have the best of both worlds.
I’d talk to God every now and then. I’d still pray to Him every night. But I did stop going to church every Sundays. It’s hard when the same people who support the same God as you couldn’t accept you for who you really are. But then again, what if they’re right? What if you’re a mistake in the grand scheme of things? What can you do? What should you do? How should you live your life then?