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Good Girl Bad Girl
Lessons in acceptance
Beware, your child’s Sunday school teacher may be really hungover.
In fact, she may have arrived at the church straight from the night before, intoxicating your lovely child with her breath while reading a bible story and having them ‘color’ because she has nothing prepared for the lesson (again).
I learned a lot at my Sunday school, both as a student and the hungover teacher in my teens but most of those lessons took many years to sink in…
Gratitude was one lesson. I am thankful for the liberal church I in which I was raised. Not liberal in that they were okay with a drunk teenage teacher or certain debacles (I use that term very lightly!) in the youth girls group - they were very much not ok with that! It was liberal in that they had women in the pulpit in the early days and were the first to ordain gay people. I am thankful I don’t need a lifetime of hard emotional work to get over the damage my church did to me as happened to so many other folks of my generation.
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Affirmation of the whole self was another lesson. The knowing that I can be a wild child of the 80’s (big hair anyone?) and an upstanding community member at the same time. I can feel broken yet be truly whole at the same time. I can be in deep grief and find myself enjoying the sun on my back at the same time. Acceptance of the whole. This entire lesson did not come from that church, but the seed was planted there.
Reconciliation of one’s whole self is a lifetime of work. Recognizing that being human means we show up with many sides to us that our culture tells us cannot coexist, such as hungover/drunk and Sunday school teacher. All these fragments are part of us, yet we tend to compartmentalize and label them from the get-go. ‘Bad’ teenage party girl, ‘good’ Sunday school teacher.
Sidebar – before the internet goes hairy on me about this please know that I am NOT condoning the abhorrent actions of any church, nor am I saying anyone gave me permission to show up and teach Sunday school probably still under the influence. The only moral of this story is that we all have many sides to us…I am referring to the individual and used the church as an illustration. Also, to let you know that I was raised in the Christian faith and remain a deeply spiritual person, although not only Christian.
Back to the story…we need to become our own best friend. This sounds so much like an internet platitude that you may tune it out, but I don’t know how else to say it! Think about the person in your life you accept fully without judgement. (If there is no one like that then please go have a think on what that is reflecting back to you Darling, you likely have important work to do). Consider how it feels to wholeheartedly accept them even when you don’t agree with them? When I think of that I feel freedom and relief. Whew, our bond stands no matter what. Your Being has reconciled all their parts and in doing so you move forward together and it’s beautiful.
Please do this for yourSELF.
Use your conscious, thinking mind to acknowledge you are doing the best you can, there are reasons for your actions and what appears to be a screw up means you will do it differently next time. Don’t get me wrong, this is no excuse for bad behaviour or spending your life on the couch, eating Doritos and surfing crap – you are better than that. You are responsible for your own life.
This is about owning the human fact that we are all things at the same time.
Catch yourself when you’re thinking divisive things about yourself. If you feel a little sick or run down tell yourself, you can still have happy moments or a good day. You can have an anxiety attack yet feel safe, you can be super busy but remain calm at the same time. You get the idea…just go be all the things (haha, if I was a Tweeter that might be one). Sweetheart, be all the things!
There are wonderful side effects of doing this work, namely that you settle into your SELF more deeply and in no longer judging & dividing yourself you stop judging others as much.
So, I’m over here no longer doing anything hungover and working on allowing for all the broken pieces to co-exist. I’m going for greater personal peace and freedom. A lofty goal…I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here with me, you have no idea how much it means.