Stop.

Have I locked the door?  The door is locked.  Pull the handle, once, twice.  Doesn’t budge.  Now push it in so the latch clicks.  Click.  Thank god, I’m home.  There’s a roast chicken sitting on the counter.  Who doesn’t refrigerate a chicken?  Has that just been taken out or has it been sitting there for hours like the dishes sitting in the sink?  The floor is sticky.  The stovetop is crusty.  I cleaned last week.  No one thanked me.  Did I lock the door?  Look back.  It’s locked.  I’m exhausted.  I need to rest, but that will take up an hour of my evening.  My nightly ritual takes an hour and a half.  Studying takes up three.  If I do all of it, I’ll be getting in the shower at 10 and sliding into bed at 11:30.  I can’t rest, but I’ll lay in bed while I study.  When did I last wash these sheets?  I wash them weekly, but they feel dirty.  I feel dirty.  I feel guilty.  I feel like I’m not doing enough.  I’m not smart enough.  I’m not strong enough.  I’m not enough.
Stop.
Breathe.
1, 2, 3.

Stop.

Testimony.

Dust motes float silently through the stuffy, hundred-year-old air.  Pews creak with every movement, even underneath the weight of my waifish, adolescent body.  The organ rumbles bleakly to life alerting the congregation to stand.  My lips produce noise, but I do not comprehend the meaning.  “I detest my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven” was the last sentence I ever repeated in church.  To this day, I have no idea what stopped me from reciting the next line.  The Act of Contrition was branded onto my tongue at an early age yet I never took the time to grasp what it meant to me.  Being born into Catholicism makes you Catholic, right?  Baptized and confirmed, I would live, die, and go to heaven as a Catholic, right?  Questioning my mother, the priest, or Christ our Lord were all considered sins, right?  Tunnel vision was closing in on my line of sight.  Thoughts swam in my mind as I stood staring blankly ahead at the crucifix.  Frightened and hesitant, the voice in my head uttered something ever so quietly that would change my views forever.  “I don’t believe.”

Testimony.