Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ooooh, God's really gonna hate me now

At the age of 8, I made an eternal pledge to God: if He would save me from the fires of hell, I would be a virgin until I got married.

I didn't really know what a virgin was.

I didn't really know what marriage was, either. My parents were married ... but I didn't think of them as a unit. Maybe because we lived with my mom in Detroit, while my dad worked in Minnesota. Until my dad drove us to Florida to live with his dad. Who drove us to Baton Rouge, LA to live with our dad's sister. Who took care of us until my mom took us to live with her parents in Opelousas, LA. Until she and my dad reconciled and moved us to Downingtown, PA. Until a few months later, when my dad broke his hand hitting my mom and drove us to Monroe, LA to live with his mother. Until several months later, when my dad came and drove us back to Detroit to live with him, without a mom.

Courtesy of my paternal grandmother, I was newly baptized and catechized. I was armed with a rosary and preparing for my First Communion. And being a voracious reader, I was on a quest to read the Bible all the way through.

To my eight-year-old mind, I think the Bible went something like this. Blah blah hellfire. Blah blah damnation. Blah blah God likes men better than women.

The only woman God seemed to like was the Virgin Mary. So maybe if I stayed a virgin, He would like me, too.

I certainly wanted to be on God's good side, seeing as how I was on the wrong side of everything else. Between my Southern accent, my second-hand clothes, my eccentric father (who had already come down to my school and threatened to shoot a couple of elementary-school bullies), my dearly loved and deeply missed mother (who still lived in Pennsylvania and had been in and out of mental hospitals since I was two), my high IQ and my propensity to cry at the drop of a hat, I was a third-grade pariah.

Best to get a head start on the afterlife. So I read the Bible and made my own secret deal with God:

I'll be a good girl. I'll be a virgin until I get married. Just please, God, please let me live with my mommy again and not go to hell when I die.

Breaking my secret chastity vow was actually the worst part of losing my virginity. I didn't just lose my hymen and a little blood that day, I lost the sense that I was a "good girl." I had joined the ranks of the sinners.

2 comments:

gwendolyn said...

This is the beginning of a NOVEL. Please elaborate!

Cheron L. Hall said...

damn. and here I was at the age of 7 making deals with God to make me rich in exchange for good grades...no wonder why I'm always broke...

excellent story.

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