In Jesus’s name, I’m kidnapping you
The ages of 12-15 are pretty horrible years in a girl’s life. You’re hitting puberty, (unless you were one of the “early developers” who got boobs in fourth grade), probably have braces, shitty hair and skin, horrible clothes, and hate everyone and everything in the world. I am no exception to the above. That was such a weird point in my life. I think I have maybe three pictures that are solid documentary evidence that I did, in fact, exist. Here’s one. I think I’m about 12:
In true “pre-teen-to-teen” fashion, I fought with my mother. A lot. About everything and anything. Total horror show. From the mundane to the important, we clashed. I’m pretty sure my father wanted us both dead.
For those of you who know my family, you know that my mother is a very religious person. Sweet and caring, she comes from a very strong French Catholic background. Her uncle became a Brother of the Sacred Heart at 16. They say the rosary at wakes. On the flip side, those of you who know me know this – I am not religious. At all.
Here’s what happened.
I (of course) thought I was the baddest bitch around when I was 14. I had shaved the back of my head, was wearing flannel, baggy pants and a choker. As I write this, I just described a pretty butchy-lesbian look – I was going for grunge. Anyway, one day I was in my room, sneaking butts out the window when my mother called me downstairs. She wanted to take me shopping. For clothes! This was relatively unheard of because it was a) well past back to school shopping, b) it wasn’t Christmas or my birthday. I should have known something was up, but I agreed to go. So into the Cutlass Sierra we go, just me and mom. We lived pretty close to the Warwick Mall, so I didn’t quite understand why she was getting on the highway. Whatever. No big deal. Maybe she’s avoiding traffic? As we drove on 95 north, I realized that she wasn’t taking the exit she was supposed to take. Panic struck. I started interrogating her – where she was taking me?? Not being a good liar, she had no answer prepared, but instead just kept driving north, towards Providence. Now I’m losing my mind. Something wasn’t right – I had been duped. After several minutes of screaming my head off, she finally told me – we were going to St. Charles in Providence to go see a VISITING STATUE OF MARY. I’m pretty sure I blacked out from rage. I was horrified. Here I am, stuck in the car, no escape, being taken to see a traveling statue at a church. Holy shit.
When we got to the church, I of course refused to leave the car. I made a huge scene, which I’m sure mortified my mother. Like many desperate parents do in those situations, she offered a deal – she would get me whatever I wanted if I just went in. Anything? Anything. Anything???? Anything. Now I had the upper hand! What would any badass teen want that they can’t get on their own? That’s right, cigarettes. I offered it up to her, never thinking she would agree. But she did. And she promised she would buy them for me on the way home.
Into the church we went. I thought I just had to make an appearance. But my mother is a crafty one – she had a scapula that she was going to have blessed for me. Oh, and I had to get blessed too. There I am, this sort of lesbian-looking miserable girl in flannel and her shaved head, standing in front of a church half full of old woman and Mary. But I did it. And surprisingly, I didn’t burn. Not yet.
We left the church and didn’t really talk much. I felt like I had been victimized. My mother looked kind of dejected and sad. But a deal was a deal, which I reminded her frequently of. So, she did what she had to do. She pulled into a gas station a few miles from my house, went in and bought my cigarettes. She gave them to me as I sat in the front seat, shocked. And because I was a complete and total asshole, I said I was going to smoke one. She said fine. I had some matches and lit the cigarette. But then something happened. I felt guilty as hell. Like, overwhelmingly guilty. I threw it out after a few drags and blamed it on her.
When we got home, I went to my room and couldn’t wait to tell my friends what a sucker my mom was! But those phone calls never happened. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just kept thinking about how disappointed my mother looked when she walked out of that gas station, over and over. I was guilty. And then I did the unthinkable – I decided that I was going to give them back to her. I literally could not smoke them.
I gave the pack back to my mother and we never really discussed it again. We didn’t have to. She won. All those years of Catholic guilt paid off. I did the right thing.
So mom, if I never admitted this to you before, I am now – I was a douche. I’m sorry.