Despite the fact that my parents raised me Catholic, made me attend Catholic educational institutions and church on Sunday, I don’t identify myself as Catholic – nor do I practice.
Of course, I wasn’t always this way. I only really started to feel indifferent towards the concept of religion when I got to high school. Up until that point, I was more than happy to attend church on Sunday (after all, the general quiet allowed me time to create really interesting back-stories for my Barbies) and even participate in the church youth group. However, once I got older, I began to rebel against the religious beliefs that had been implemented in me from my young age.
I voiced my concerns to my parents and, as expected, my mother took it pretty hard. Yet, despite her unhappiness with my lack of faith, she stopped making my attendance at Sunday mass a requirement. I was only required to attend mass on major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Easter…and whatever other fucking holiday Catholics celebrate.
For a long time, I didn’t mind this. It made her happy and really, it was only an hour. But as I got older, I started to become annoyed – not only because sitting in mass made me feel like a fraud but because I’m not religious. Why should I be made to go to this ceremony of worship to a god I don’t believe in?
“Because, Lauren,” my mother snapped as I zipped up her dress for Palm Sunday last year, “we are a family and I don’t want to have to explain your absence!”
“Who fucking cares?” I sighed, rolling my eyes.
“I care, Lauren!” my mother screamed, “It’s one hour out of your day – I think you can spare it!”
Acknowledging my defeat, I sighed deeply and retreated to my room. I was pissed not only that I had lost the battle, but because it was the Palm Sunday Mass…or the “Read Along” as I’ve been known to call it. Seriously, that mass is almost as long as the Bible itself and honestly, if I wanted to have something read to me, it’s not going to be the Bible.
So, I begrudgingly went to Palm Sunday mass with my family last year…after drinking two cups of coffee, at first. But, ten minutes in…I was in the deepest of comas. However, the deepest of comas can, and was, interrupted by my mother.
I felt a nudging in my stomach – subtle enough that I could mistake it for an accidental brush but annoying enough to wake me from my slumber. Unfortunately, I have a two terrible habits: 1) I sometimes forget where I am (i.e. whenever I go to a hotel and wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it takes me a minute to remember where I am) and 2) I am EXTREMELY irate when awoken by another person.
I tried to ignore my mother – thinking I was home and that whatever she was hoping to bug me about would be discussed at another time. But she just kept persisting until finally, she took hold of a portion of my body fat and twisted it.
I then proceeded to come to and scream, “WHAT THE FUCK?!”
The priest stopped speaking, his mouth hanging open from the shock, as the entire congregation turned to face me. As the hundreds of eyes fell on me, I gulped deeply, smiled and said, “…is up with Jesus…because that guy is awesome…back to you father!”
My mother sank into the pew, my father trying to hold back the tears of laughter as my brother rolled his eyes. The priest mumbled as he tried to find his place and continued on with the sermon as the congregation began to whisper and point at me.
Suffice to say, I no longer have to go to church…on Palm Sunday, that is.