The Summer We Confessed

 

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This past summer I noticed a burgeoning trend within my family. Fyi, that’s when three or more members start behaving uniformly. It happened mostly after lunch (but dinner and breakfast vied for their place too). One by one, people would start confessing to what they had eaten. A long inventory – because who doesn’t love a good list to help you feel in control – of various food groups sprung forth from satiated lips with a vague sense that somehow, somewhere, they were disappointing someone and not just themselves. It was funny, we laughed, and the fare was really really good.

I went to an all-girls school in London that had a chapel adjacent to it and would go up for communion whenever I attended. We were taught to not receive Holy Communion until we went to Confession, but clearly that was one step too far for me. I was 11 and Jewish. I remember a teacher hissing that “we needed to be properly educated about this to appreciate the sacrilege of our actions.” I also remember vividly what I learnt.  Catholics are born with Original Sin and “wrong” and “flawed” are part of the lexicon from the get-go. Jewish guilt in stark contrast seemed to me to be more about insufficiency. Have you lived up to the standards and expectations of your people? Your family? Catholics are eternally damned, Jews are ostracized. Weighty learnings for mine and my girlfriends’ younger selves.

But back to this summer. After a 15 course dinner we shaved white truffles on top of pizzas and tucked in. We didn’t. But we may as well have. When I once ate two tins of brownies with my best friend in less than half an hour, I wish I could tell you that I felt some form of self-hate and disgust, but really, I (and her) regret absolutely nothing.

 

source: Alexander Straulino

 

 

 

 


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