Truth - The older you get, the finer the line that separates truth from lies. It's rather uncanny the things that we can convince ourselves of, if we believe hard enough. Sometimes the lies we tell ourselves can become the truths that we accept. Little white lies growing bigger and bigger until they threaten to consume to the entirety of who we are. Then there is the guilt that plagues us as we do so. Our conscious reprimands in cross quips of chastisement. Our hearts can't take it. Our minds have trouble keeping up. It all leads to one big blabbermouth reveal. This is confession.

"Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession" Mahatma Ghandi
Catholicism is an orthopraxy denomination of Christianity. That word "orthopraxy" means to emphasize correct practice or conduct in both the ethical and liturgical sense. It serves as antithesis to orthodoxy which is a valuing of belief and ritual. It has always struck just how different my experience with organized religion has been existing in the realm of a Protestant sect of Christianity rather than the Catholic one (Catholic means universal, ironically). It is such a common occurrence, particularly in the college environment for me to come across those who were raised and indoctrinated into Catholicism only to later reject it and turn to atheism, agnosticism, or another belief system all together. The emphasis on doing rather than believing it seems is what turned people, especially young people away. The connection to the ominous higher power was decentralized. In that same way, the practices were rather stringent and left little room for personal divergence. One of those practices is that of the infamous catharsis that is confession.
Confession has long been depicted in the media and historically as the divulging of personal thoughts, or actions, usually but not exclusively negative to presumably, an agent of the church. The confession trope is a commonly used literary device used for revealing information. It's everywhere from those iconic deathbed scenes to even reality TV confessional cams like in the Real World, the Bachelor, or Jersey Shore. Some might say our society is obsessed with exposing our darkest and deepest desires. From Gossip Girl, Unreal, and Daredevil to Gran Torino, Don Jon, and even the Sound of Music feature characters confessing to priests, real and fake, their not so righteous deeds. Why all of this coming clean, being straightforward, and holding nothing back? Maybe it points to a natural human tendency to tell the truth. Why then do we lie in the first place?
What is the difference between telling a lie and withholding the truth? Is there even one? Do you ever ask yourself when you started telling so many lies, or when you actually started believing them yourself? Oh how easy it is to hyperbolize here, and stay quiet there, and all of a sudden it's all you do. It becomes second nature to you, almost like a survival instinct that you just share the versions of the truth that you are most comfortable with. Maybe it's a control thing. That might make sense for me. If my personal truths are the one thing I have absolute authority over, then I have to leverage my self-determination to present myself in the ways that I find most acceptable. I think of all the times I refrain from saying my piece, or speaking my mind. I think of the times where I smile when I really want to give a "meh" face or just downright frown or scowl. I think of the times where I pretended to be okay even though I most definitely wasn't. But why though? There must be some sort of performativity to regulating emotions. I am realizing more and more that it's more about how other people perceive us and less how we actually feel. What can other people handle? What is socially acceptable? What is easily digestible? What is okay to say and not say? When do you confess?
There are the questions that I constantly think about. In general, I think what happens for me most often is I'm worried about how others view me and how that impacts their interactions with me. I know it's what is whispering in my ear when I contemplate being frank, honest, or just blatantly blunt. Always having to have decorum or be put together is exhausting. Holding all the chaos, the confusion, and the cries in can be so taxing. It's funny because in some ways this blog in and of itself is my confessional. I spill my secrets, share my thoughts, and write deeply personal sentiments. Anonymously the world gets to read about the entirety of me minus the hail Mary's, repentance, and rosary beads. I think it's another one of those lifelong processes where I'll have to figure out who I can confess to, when, where, and how. All of these factors play in to how it goes down. All I know for sure is that confession is a natural part of our existences. It's what helps us regulate and keeping from imploding. Sometimes we just have to tell someone or speak it out loud just so we don't have to keep it all in. It's noticeable how much different I feel after it's all been said as if I'm lighter, and more calm. That's what happens when the world is your confession booth.
What's the life lesson in all of this rambling? There might not be one, and that's okay. It just struck me how often we see people letting truth bombs drop. People coming out, revealing past indiscretions, or letting comments loose slamming others. It's kind of wild. If had to give you some magical closure, I would say as after as you are able, tell the truth, and skip the confessional. The thing about it is that it is in retrospect but it's unnecessary if you proactively keep it real. Confession has it's place and purpose though. Find your trusted confidants and be prepared to be that for others as well. Trust is so important and some things really are meant to be kept secret. X


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