Today is First Friday and I want to confess about burnout.
As some of you know, I haven’t been back to the Catholic church for long (just since December 2014) and have been reading at the Mass for much shorter than that.
Some of you are living testimonies of how I loved it. There was a time I felt everything else – daughter duties, work, leisure, relationships, self-love – was sagabal to my service, and if I could only be in church every minute of my life, I would. I could stand not eating on Sundays. I bought books that taught how to read and practiced everytime I can. I researched the context of each reading to properly convey the right emotion. My copies of Sambuhay had marks indicating emphasis and where to have eye contact, pause, or stop.
But I’ve lost it. It’s only been two and a half years but I don’t love it anymore.
Today, getting myself to wear the uniform I once thought were the most beautiful pieces of clothes ever designed is a struggle. Dati, I would spend half an hour doing my face and my hair so I would look at least presentable (and hopefully sophisticated) but now I just don lip balm and tie my hair in an effortless ponytail. There were even mornings in the recent past that I don’t shower or even wash my face. Now I don’t even polish my black heels.
At our monthly meetings, I’d rather stay in the back, wishing I were somewhere else. I’d wish we’d just go straight to the schedules and adjourn. Then, when I see how many serves I have, possibly more than anyone, I’d curse inwardly. Always on the verge of crying and breaking down, I secretly (but not anymore now) hate that I’ve been doing First Fridays ever since I learned how to. I’d scream inside: ano bang tingin niyo saken, walang pamilyang kailangan asikasuhin sa umaga?! Or, alternatively, kayo lang ba ang busy?
I learned to despise Kuya Sarsi’s “lika n holy hour ngaun” messages. When I used to be at church at least twenty minutes before the Mass, I’m now a buzzer beater. I don’t even have time to, or bother to, pray the Panalangin Bago Magmisa.
Then came the judgments. It turns out, for some, I’m not good enough. In the beginning, I only cared about the idea that God was smiling at me for what I was doing. I didn’t care whether I was appreciated by people because I knew God appreciated my efforts. But later the criticisms and gossips and parinig and sumbong just turned too much, eventually alienating me, numbing me, making me think, if you’re so good why don’t you do it?, making me wish they’d just kick me out instead.
And then came the envy. I started to envy the people who have lives, who own their mornings and their weekends. I envy the anonymous parishioners who have the freedom to be at the Mass without the fuss. I even started to envy those who do my much-needed yoga… because apparently Catholics must not.
Gone is the reader who Father Peter praised to be “very good,” coupled with his happy smile and two thumbs up. In her place is this spiteful, empty robot who can’t even remember the readings of the day when she leaves the church. In her place is this person who wishes she can go back to the invisible anonymous churchgoer.
I’m so tired.
Today is First Friday. On First Fridays, we confess. This was what I confessed and I’m confessing this again now.
I’m sorry for feeling this way.
I’m sorry for being ungrateful.