Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Laina's Story

After leaving the PC I felt a lot of peace and relief, and though I got angry and felt unwanted and rejected, it was a slow build over time. During the following two years it crept up on me that my life at the PC, though beautiful in many ways, and valued, was harmful and left me broken. I also kept in close contact with a few other disgruntled PCs, even rooming with a couple of them, and I think hearing their anger and frustration made me feel both understood, and also not as bad off. I was able to move past it and leave it all behind. Not necessarily in a forgiveness act, but just because my two years at the PC feels like a different life, a different world, and I was certainly a different person living it out. It's easier to just leave it where I don't have to look at it anymore. One of the hardest things for me was the restriction on relationships. The silence between sections. The disappearances. That topic is difficult to discuss still to this day. But here are the two things that come to mind when I reflect on the PC.....

1. What saddens me is the complete lack of attention my specific gifts and talents were given. (and every other girl's unique offerings) It seemed there were a small handful of favored PCs who were given privileges, and a small group of "talented" PCs who were the go-to singers or writers and so forth. But there were so many hidden gems who were never encouraged or recognized for their unique qualities. It was always about molding to the type, silencing anything that differed. It's almost humorous to me now, seeing where I have come at the end of all that. As a PC I was told often that I could not sing; my creativity was never used. I remember DESPERATELY wanting to help prepare the Christmas room, or even sing in the choir. But I was never considered "creative." Now, I run an artist collective, I am a producer in a reputable film company, I run a non-profit artist collective, I sit on the board of an International Film Festival, I am a booking agent for a venue that brings in major bands, and I tour with my band which has released two albums. That sounds horrible egotistical and boasting and I PROMISE I am not trying to sound that way.... there are so many of you who have accomplished so much more or things that are so very different. But I use it as an example, one that I think so many of us can add our own "where we are now" experiences to, that show how few of us were given an opportunity to be challenged and excel in our individual gifts. I would love to hear a running list of where everyone else landed with their varied gifts and interests. Though I may not have openly thought this at the time, I look back now and wonder how anyone really thought they knew me. Art is my life and yet I was kept so far from it. I found it so sad as I witnessed so many incredibly talented women around me.

2. One of the most important things I remind myself of is that our formators and most of the consecrated who handled me on a regular basis, were really children themselves! I am already five years older now than most of the women giving me guidance and criticism. I can't imagine having that kind of a responsibility at 21 and 22 years old! Many of them had not even been to college yet. I am not saying that is too young to choose to give your life to God necessarily, but to be in charge of shaping a teenager's world-view and, more importantly, perception of herself? It's preposterous, the responsibility they were given. I don't know if I can really blame them for much. My time at the PC is something I don't think I will ever fully be able to explain to anyone who did not experience it, and in many ways my mind doesn't allow me to fully remember it very clearly. It is the other PCs that I will never forget. Their faces, their voices. There are some of you I could swear I was in the same room with just yesterday. There were moments I cherish, and a happiness that came if from nowhere else than just the simplicity of it all. I will always be grateful for that.

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