Thursday, December 28, 2006

I almost became a nun once.

Seriously.

The people who know me well just spit their coffees all over their computers.

I was in my mid-twenties, and was struggling. I was a college drop-out. I was a portrait artist (try making a living doing that). I went back to school for a bit to study graphic design, but was so unmotivated that I dropped out of my courses. I was dating really "inappropriate" guys, for lack of a better word. I felt so unconnected to the rest of the world. My job at an extremely sexist, almost all-male ad agency stank. My good friends knew I was in trouble emotionally, but couldn't figure out how to reach me.

I knew one of my mother's friend's daughters had become a nun, so I finally asked my mother if she could find out how I could talk to someone in the convent about joining. My mother was a very religious Catholic, so that wasn't such an odd request to her. She contacted the friend, and I got a phone number, called, and made a date to go to the convent to see about joining. Anything had to be better than the way my life was going. Don't even ask me what I thought I was going to do about sex, or lack thereof.

About a week before my interview date, I was wandering around my apartment and remembered the name of a psychiatrist I had seen for a few visits when I was in my early twenties. I called him, and he remembered me. I asked if I could have an appointment to see him, and he set one up for a couple of days later.

I had forgotten how unusual-looking he was. He was very short, and had trouble walking correctly, due to some childhood illness. He kind of waddled from side-to-side -- looking like a cross between Freud and Toulouse-Lautrec. He was very somber -- that was his style. We sat across his desk from each other, and I poured out my problems. When I got through talking, he said "Well, you're not crazy. You do obviously have problems dealing with various situations that arise in day-to-day living. I can help you with that."

With those words of hope in my head, I began my lifelong quest for "normalcy". I've seen a few different mental health professionals since then. My dear first shrink, who I credit with having given me a life, has since died. I've married a man who is a tremendous support to me. His children, now my children, have also contributed immeasurably to my happiness.

I hope I make them happy, too. Having watched my parents careen through life like two billiard balls, banging into each other and other people without much thought about what they were doing, I want to do things differently.

I want to be a support to the people I love. I want to be a good wife, stepmother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. I want the people I love to love me back, and to feel as though they can come to me for anything.

So anyway, I never kept that appointment with the convent. It was thirty years ago, and I look back with a sigh of relief, and with gratitude to the man who opened the door of hope for me.

24 comments:

Not so little sister said...

I've been thinking I need to see a therapist myself, so hearing your story is really inspiring. And from what I've seen in the blogsphere, you love and are well loved in return.

grandma blue said...

NSLS, I hope you find someone who helps you if you need it.

Mykal said...

Yea! Great start to the blog.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Great post. I didn't know MZ had died! I remember him clearly, and I will always love him for the freedom he brought to your life.

XOXOXOXO

grandma blue said...

Yup. He was quite young when he died. I just remembered that you met him. Boy, were we young then.

Camera Obscura said...

Ah hah! I think I finally tricked Beta into recognizing me...

Oh, and great post!

DebbieS said...

Best first blog story, bar nun ;)

grandma blue said...

Debbie, that's so funny!

Marie said...

Glad you didn't become a nun. I'll bet nuns can't have blogs.

LiberryAir said...

Thought nuns could have blogs as long as blogging didn't become a habit.

ok, it was irresistable!

Lee said...

Grandma Blue, if you're so inclined, I'd love to see some of your artwork -- portrait or otherwise!

susan said...

welcome to the having-a-blog part of the blogosphere, Grandma Blue!

What a great pair of posts to inaugurate your new space. I'd never have pegged you for an almost-nun.

PPB said...

welcome to the blogosphere (even though you've been visiting for a long time.) And one of the revgalblogpals is a nun. So apparently one is allowed to blog as a nun. But I still think Papa Go Blue sounds more fun (except for that whole Michigan thing)

KathyR said...

Oh, you were so lucky to find someone good in the early going! I had to weed through a lot of clunkers for years before I found my shrinky match.

Jenevieve said...

Great story! I actually visited a convent in high school as part of a course I was taking, and I though about joining, too. Just to have that sense of order and peace made it appealing. I'm glad I didn't, too.

Chaser said...

I have seriously considered becoming a nun, too, and I have not ruled it out should I find myself widowed. A community of women can be very appealing, but it's not a place to run from the real world, and as you note, there are lots of ways to contribute, lots of ways to build community/family.

However, you can have a blog as a nun. If you google "nun blog" you will find some. :-).

Jane Dark said...

Lovely post.

grandma blue said...

Ppb, Papa Go Blue is definitely more fun than a convent. I'm with you on the MIchigan thing. I went to a big football university (for two years) and never went to a game.

grandma blue said...

Kathyr, I had my share of clunkers, too. I had one therapist who used to start sleeping while I was talking. Nothing more demoralizing than paying someone to sleep while you pour your heart out.

grandma blue said...

Susanr, if you had told some of the people that I dated that I had considered being a nun they wouldn't have believed it.

grandma blue said...

Susanr, if you had told some of the people that I dated that I had considered being a nun they wouldn't have believed it.

Yankee T said...

You know, I actually considered it, too...
Oh, well, I got my houseful of women, didn't I!

liz said...

I'm glad you didn't join the convent, we probably wouldn't have gotten to know you!

Scrivener said...

Seriously, what a fantastic way to start off your blog. How did you ever resist blogging for so long?