I grew up in a nondenominational family. My parents grew up Catholic, my pop-pop was their CCD teacher, and they hated it so much that they swore that they would never make their children suffer the same fate. I celebrate Christian holidays though, but more at the Santa-Claus-Easter-Bunny angle. We got presents, we left out milk and cookies and reindeer food and all that, but I didn’t step foot in a church for a service until I was in high school.
My freshman year, my best friend invited me to a youth group lock-in. I’m not sure if this is a normal thing, but it’s like an intensive boot camp for Christianity. I don’t really remember what possessed me to go, but here I am, 15 years old, with no religious experience, stuck with the most religious kids in my town. The pastor walked in and immediately noticed that I didn’t belong. After addressing my pagan vibes, we started with the first activity: making a Christmas list. I have large handwriting, so I was running out of room, so I asked if I could shorten it to X-mas. Mistake numero uno. His head spun around like an owl and with the fear of God said, “You can’t take Christ out of Christmas!” and I slunk down into my seat.
We wrote our cheesy lists about how I wanted to give my mom the gift of a good child, and I wanted world peace, and definitely not a new scooter. Then I went to church for the first time ever. As soon as we got there, we went to confession. Obviously, I had never done it before, so I just went along with it:
“Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been 15 years since my last confession.” (I don’t know how I knew to say that, I think I saw it on SVU or something.) “Every time I fart at my locker and it smells bad, I blame it on the fat kid whose locker is next to mine.”
After we told an old man our dirty secrets, we went to mass. I sat in the world’s most uncomfortable seating and looked up at the bloody Jesus. He was looking ripped, as usual, but this was the closest I had been to an actual statue of him. As I was studying him, I started to feel a blinding, paralyzing pain behind my eyes. It was unparalleled. I wanted to get up, but I didn’t know where to go. I just kept my head down and eyes closed like I was praying and waited until the preacher starts handing out the crackers. I walked up with my most pitiful look, and my clear and desperate cry for help is met with a “Let Christ heal you.” I ate the cracker, and as soon as I swallowed Jesus, he wanted to get the hell out of there. I turned and immediately projectile vomited all over the (luckily) vacant front pew. My headache went away, though. Thank God, right?.
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