Saturday, July 16, 2011

Religion: Part Three

My son is visiting me now (Yay!!) and this morning we were having a Porch Chat and he mentioned that when he was little, he always hated going to church.  I totally empathize.

When I was little, I didn't start going to church till I started first grade.  Our church had no nursery, so I stayed home with Daddy while Ma and my sister went to church.  (I have noticed that I never refer to my sister by her name.  Something to mention to my therapist on Monday.) Anyroad, in the summers, on Sunday mornings Daddy and I would take long walks and then he would buy us popsicles, which we would eat while sitting on the steps by the streecar tracks.  In the winters, we would watch Jon Gnagy on PBS (he was an early, less creepy, Bob Ross) and learn to draw, then play whatever I wanted to play.  It was Debbie Heaven.  The only time of the week I had any positive parent-time and Daddy never criticized me or compared me to my sister. 

So it was a shock to my system when I had to give that up and go to 11:00 o'clock Mass instead.  First of all, my mother was always late for everything, all her life.  I was a 10-month baby, for Christ's sake.  So we would arrive at our ancient, small, over-crowded church at least 10-15 minutes late, and, by then, all the seats were filled so we had to stand. For some bizarre reason, I don't do well at standing, I tend to pass out or at least get nauseous. I developed a kind of Pavlov's Deb reaction to the phrase "going to church", feeling sick at the sound of those words.  To top it off, Ma would get pissed off at us because she had made us late. Then I felt guilty because she had made us late for something I didn't want to attend in the first place.  (Guess why I'm in therapy?) 

Secondly, the Mass was in Latin and for some reason, explaining to kids what the priest was saying was not part of CCH curriculum.  I think it's because it wasn't scary enough.  My theory is that Christopher Lee actually wrote Catholic School lesson plans.  So I would stand there, feeling throw-uppy and light-headed, smelling the sauerkraut-ish incense, listing to gobbledy-gook and wishing I was deciding between a root beer or a banana popsicle.  The only thing I could have possibly looked forward to was taking communion, because the act of piously walking to the altar rail and having the priest put a wafer on my tongue appealed to my sense of drama.  But for some reason that my mother was never able to explain to me, she absolutely forbid us from receiving communion. (Also from going to confession, which I was actually grateful for, because the confessional literally scared the shit out of me. I have a very anti-Catholic digestive system.)  It could have been the wafer-on-the-tongue thing, because the only vaguely sexual advice she ever gave me was "never let a man's tongue touch your tongue".  (oops.) So maybe she had a tongue phobia.  I was (am) paranoid enough to think she didn't let me take communion just because I wanted to.  I would then spend the rest of the afternoon feeling guilty for hating church.

I guess that's one of the main reasons I didn't become a nun.  That and the tongue thing.

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