I became an altar girl and I remember not liking it because I had to go to a boring mass and hold a heavy book for the priest to read from. I wanted to do other things than spend my evenings on the altar. It didn’t matter. My mom told me that I was fortunate to have the opportunity she did not. She always wanted to be an altar girl, but at the time she was a little girl, being on the altar was reserved for boys only. She tried to live out her dreams vicariously through me. It’s not the sort of thing that I’m seething about, it was just moreso an annoyance. I was being forced to do something that meant nothing to me and something I didn’t like.
I also was born a pastor’s daughter. It isn’t something that I resent, I resent the target it made me. For some reason people would either attack me or try to corrupt me or interrogate me. It was also something that annoyed me very much to the point that I wanted to avoid telling people my father’s occupation because it came with so much weight. Me trying to live a “modest and chaste” lifestyle, seemed to intrigue people all the more to harass me sexually and I did not like it. I couldn’t understand why I was getting the negative attention I was getting because I covered up plenty but any opportunity boys had to sneak a touch or say a nasty comment they would.
One theory was that they liked pulling my chain and getting a rise out of me. I would either get terribly upset and offended or I would be left terribly confused because I was ignorant of what those things meant. One boy said, “I wanna flip you like a pancake.” Another boy said, “I wanna be your gynecologist.”
I went home and asked my parents what these things meant. When they told me I was horrified. You know Sandra Dee from Grease? That was totally me back then. I still have a little Sandra Dee left in me though.
It’s just so interesting stepping back and reflecting on my “past” life. It all seems so far away now. I just wish that I would have had the guts back then to shut down the nonsense that I dealt with.
I wish I had had the strength to say no. Even if I did however, I was just a child and there were certain things I was obligated to do. I’m not going to say that when I become a parent that I will do things different because I don’t desire to be one. Also I’m afraid just like most parents I’ll end up trying to live vicariously through my children, try to do opposites of my parents to the extreme and end up letting them grow too free and too wild since it opposes my strict upbringing.
It was strict in some ways and in others it wasn’t. One of the most liberal things my parents ever let me do as a teen was wear my colored braid extensions. I wore such alternative colors like electric green and blue. Other parents would ask why they let me do that. They just smiled. It meant a lot to me that they let me express myself artistically.
At the same time this was the same home that wouldn’t let me go out the house in skirts above my knee. They had to practically cover my knee to be honest. I couldn’t wear make up until I was a woman. I couldn’t be on social media till I was an adult. I couldn’t wear heels until I was sixteen. I couldn’t date until I was eighteen.
Do I regret these things? Some I do, some I don’t.
In the end we can’t dwell on the past. I am finding myself more and more each day and I am happy that I am making the efforts to find out who I am apart from my family culture. I believe that everyone ought to do the same for their own sake.