To be in a relationship with a priest is hard. You get tired of being a secret and then when you have a child with him… it gets even harder and you don’t know what to do. You have to hide the child and you become busier hiding the child than hiding yourself, it is a difficult situation to be in.
I lived a lie, living in fear all of the time, constantly rehearsing conversations and coming up with things to side-track if I thought people suspected the living truth. You spend your life not talking and people think you are a great listener all because you are afraid to talk. The first thing in my head each day and the last thing at night… “if people knew, what would they do or say?” Everyone’s opinion counted more than mine.

I don’t know what to say… you always have the feeling that you are just a bad person, that nobody would want to hear your story or care, because the church would be let down and the church is more important than people are, or at least that’s how I felt. As long as the veneer is kept up… everything looks good and everything is intact as laid out by the church, all is well with the world. When regular people like me suffer, nothing matters, shut up and say nothing.

That was always the way it was, from the get-go. Pass no remarks, move on, nothing to see, nothing has happened, but something had happened and yet I felt like I was mute, dumb, almost like I was screaming on the inside and yet nobody could hear me for there were no words allowable to say this. When you try to muster the courage to say it, because it is like you are trapped in a spot that you cannot breathe sometimes and it goes on and on for years, and the fear builds and it gets worse and you think about every angle of it. “If this… maybe that…” round and round your head like a roundabout. You never get away from it or a holiday from it. Never a moment to breathe like a normal person.

Sometimes you hear of another priest having a child… “all in hushed tones” … people laughing and skitting, making a joke of it, all the time forgetting the humanity of the situation, three ordinary little people. Sometimes you psyche yourself up … “I’m gonna’ do it, I’m gonna’ tell the truth” but something stops you every time. This is tiring, it is physically draining. There is two conversations in your head going on all the time… what is in your head and what you are pretending… your mask and your make up. That can go on for years. And everybody out there is happy, because everything looks good, but open your mouth and you’re finished, everything changes.
It is like a before and after, like a cancer diagnosis, but cancer might kill you, this won’t, only on the inside. If you could only get someone to listen, to get someone to listen is difficult without them telling someone else. The fear lives over you, constantly breathing, heaving over you like a tremendous burden. Instead of bringing someone into the world, it is as if you killed them. In fact, murder would not serve such a long sentence… with this you are never done, it never goes away.

the inside. If you could only get someone to listen, to get someone to listen is difficult without them telling someone else. The fear lives over you, constantly breathing, heaving over you like a tremendous burden. Instead of bringing someone into the world, it is as if you killed them. In fact, murder would not serve such a long sentence… with this you are never done, it never goes away.

I always felt that there was no support, nowhere to turn, and if you did chance someone, you most likely were shut up, shut down or ignored or worse, beaten… as did happen me. You end up with nothing, the feeling of isolation is absolute as celibacy maintains itself to be… but I’m not pretending. It is like being a leper, being contagious so people keep away from you when they realise the truth. After a bit you start to believe it. Perfection stares at me in the face and says “…no.”

It is terrible to be an outcast, simply because you love somebody, that was all I did, love. It is like living in a vacuum, I just float around, dipping and out of people’s lives… because I am neither in the pretend world nor have the confidence to speak out more fully, my existence is both shallow and unfeeling, hurtful, a desolate place. You cannot get through to people and many do not want to know. Would not do to be seen to chat to the ‘scarlet woman’ who sullied their church. People walked on me metaphorically, church-going people, people abused me physically and ignored me… and all because I loved and refused to lie to my child. What is my crime?

I am languishing in my own existence and I am so tired of my own existence. My life seems so worthless and it all seems so false and my efforts, all in vain and for what? Celibacy? What is this? A method of concealing one’s true identity whilst simultaneously pretending to be sacred and holier than thou? I am ashamed… but the shame is not my own and yet I must wear it. But it was worth telling the truth in spite of it all… because somehow I am not afraid anymore, and if you don’t like me, that’s fine, because finally… I like me more than I have ever done before and the burden is lighter to carry somehow.