I like to think of myself as a rather tolerant person. I think that most people do, whether they are or whether they are, in fact, not.
I’ll give some examples. If I had a son, he could play with Barbie’s or other girl toys. If I had a daughter, they could play with Tonka trucks or other boy toys. If my child were gay, I would hope that I had raised them well enough to never feel ashamed or scared to come out to me, as I would totally support it. If my child were transgendered, I would totally support that as well.
There are things I don’t personally adhere to, like marriage. I feel like that one time that Peter Griffin from Family Guy said something about, “Well, if they’re stupid enough to want to be married, then OK.” I will probably never get married. I just don’t think it’s for me, but if two consenting adults, no matter what their age range, ethnicities, sexual orientations, etc, wish to get married, then OK. Doesn’t bother me at all; honestly I feel that it’s not even really my place to say, however, if that’s what people want, then that’s what people should have.
I’m also not too keen on religions. But I respect people’s rights to be involved in which ever religion of their choosing. Where I draw the line is when those people use their religions to control other people, who aren’t affiliated with that particular religion; when they try to jam it down someone’s throat. I have no problem having a perfectly civil discussion about religion, as I like learning, but I have found that with a lot of Christian people, civility on their part is not part of the package.
I could go on about how open-minded I believe that I am, but I won’t because that will get very boring, very fast. Basically, I believe in loving other people, not making generalizations and assumptions, treating people how I want to be treated, being caring and kind, personal autonomy, acceptance, etc.
But, I am only human. I do have personal hang-ups. I have been, and will still be working on them, but it is difficult when these things are wrapped up in the child mind. All of those things that were embedded into your psyche and did a lot of damage when you were a kid.
I have problems with Mormons and white people.
I realize that I have problems with them, and I also know why. I also try, while striving to undo the entire mess, that I shouldn’t generalize a group of people simply because of past mistakes on the part of some members of those groups. But, it’s still difficult.
It’s also a little ridiculous considering that I am, in fact, a white person. However, my whiteness is rather complicated compared to most white people whom I have ever known. It’s honestly been a huge burden and yet also somewhat of a gift.
While I may have Indigenous blood in my ancestry, I’m also Scottish, Welsh, and Irish. I have dark hair and blue/green eyes. My skin is very, very, very light olive, though I do tan extraordinarily easily during the summers from just being out and about. Though The Sister has been to Scotland and has seen women with my exact body structure, most white Americans do not have the body structure that I have. It is not the status quo here in the states and is therefore not considered an average white girl body type. When I look around, I see more black women with my body structure. I may have seen only one white girl out in the wild.
However, for all intents and purposes, I appear to be white and am thus associated as being white. My family also looks white, since they are also white. My dad had super blonde hair and light golden skin. By his thirties, his hair was dark brown, though now it’s completely white. His skin tans easily as does The Sisters, but not to the dark shade that I can obtain without trying, as they are too golden of a hue.
My mom was china white skin like a little porcelain doll with bright blue eyes and black hair. She has the meaty arms and legs that I inherited, but she’s so very tiny and petite and does not have a booty you could serve drinks off of. The Sister started out with golden blonde hair, though it turned darker through the years, so that now it’s a very dark blonde/light brown. She also has golden skin.
So, while I am made up from my mother and father, there really isn’t that strong of a resemblance. People will say that I look like my mother because she’s overweight now, as are most of her real family and we both have very dark hair and the same eye shape, but we don’t really favour each other all that much. I have my dad’s nose and his melatonin darkening ability, but he and The Sister got their shading from my paternal grandmother, which is a shading that I do not match, though which I did get from my paternal grandfather.
Now that I’ve set that up a bit, we’ll get into it. Basically my natural body structure was always deemed not white enough, as it didn’t match other white girls (either in reality or in the mind-set of others) and so I was always mocked for being fat and policed on food.
Most of my life grown up, for whatever reasons, fellow white people could not see that I was also white. I simply wasn’t white enough for their liking, so I never really fit into that group. On occasion, white people would assume I was like them, try to include me into their group and them deem me not white enough because I didn’t hate other racial groups. But, I am also too white in the minds of most non-white people to ever be included into their groups either.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have friends growing up, it’s just that for the larger collective consciousness of society I was not white enough or too white depending upon the group, and was pretty much always a rejected race outcast. I pretty much still am.
But there have been good things to come about by this inbetweenness. I’ve had glimpses of what things are like for other people. I say glimpses, because while it wasn’t simply a one time deal, it still would not qualify me to announce that I know exactly what it’s like to be this other group. I have an inkling of what it is like, but no more. I don’t refer to it as a gift either because I’m over here comparing my plight to others. No, I call it a gift because it has helped me to have understanding; to be aware, which is something that a lot of white people are seriously lacking. So, if I look at my experiences that way, I am grateful for them.
While I said that these were not one time things; something random that only happened once or twice, they are incidences which only happened during a certain time in my life. I suppose now it’s because I’m not really out there in the world as much, or perhaps because I no longer care or let it upset me so? Or both, in conjunction, are possible reasons? It was mainly childhood through my mid-twenties. After about twenty-five I simply became rather invisible to the populations for whatever reason.
I have experienced white privileged, but not nearly on the scale of fellow whites that I know in person. I have also experienced oppression, but not nearly on the scale that particular groups receive.
Marine Biology Summer Camp – High School
A few of the white kids were immediately OK with me because they saw me as white. Though, they quickly despised me when they realized I wasn’t that type of white person; the racist type. There were fights and arguments. They really ruined the science fun of that week-long camp.
There was an outing… somewhere. The adults left and it was just a group of teenagers in the woods. There were white kids, and then Choctaw kids, and then me. The white kids started this war with the Choctaw kids basically because they were not white. It was bad. At first I was all, “Oh hell no, they didn’t just…” and got in on the fighting.
Every single one of those teenagers were fighting. The white kids pitted against he Choctaw kids. I wasn’t about to be left out and I could help! I don’t remember what the experiment was going to be that day, but we had been left alone with water balloons. So, I grabbed some and when the white kids saw me their faces lit up. I ran towards the Choctaw kids and screamed, “Who do you want me to get?”
They were confused and alarmed. “You’re not on our team!” they’d respond. “Oh, yes I am!” Their faces then lit up and they started pointing people out to me. It was fun at first. There’d been tension between these two groups since day one. The white kids from the get-to did NOT approve of these people being here. The Choctaw kids were fine and dandy until they realized that the white kids didn’t approve of them. I was left out of both groups all week because generally all kids are bitches I have found.
But if I was going to choose a side it was damn well going to be the Choctaws. Besides the fact that their blood is part of my ancestry, the white kids were filled with racists hate, where the Choctaw kids were just pissed about being seen as second-class citizens. The white kids were totally in the wrong!
Anyways, at some point my gut instinct told me to pay attention to something behind me and to the right. When I turned I was absolutely horrified by what I was seeing. It wasn’t a deep spit of spring water, it was quite shallow actually, about two or three inches deep. But that is certainly enough to drown a person in.
The lead white girl who’d started the whole mess that day had one of the Choctaw girls by her hair and was, I kid you not, drowning her at that very moment. She had her bent over face down in the water and rage just filled her face. It was not an ‘oops, things got out of hand and really I was just dunking her’ which would have been bad enough. No, she was not letting her up… at all.
All I could see in that moment were all of the stories I had heard over the white settlers massacring Native peoples in the wild west and I couldn’t believe this was something that I was witnessing. Also that nobody was fucking dying if I had anything to say about it. So, I dropped the water balloons and ran over there, pushing people out of my way and ripped those two apart.
That’s about when the adults came back and were wondering what the hell had just happened. And here I was thinking, “Oh, good! Adults! I don’t have to worry about this anymore and justice will be served.” But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The adults, who were all white I might add, refused to hear the Choctaw kids out. They wanted to hear from the white kids first.
That lead white girl, and a few of the rest were lying their teeth off about the whole incident. They were saying that it was the Choctaw kids fault, that they had started everything and “that girl tried to drown me! *fake tears*”
And that was that. The adults were decided. I was livid. It was wrong. So, I spoke out against it. The white kids shot darts at me through their eyes behind the backs of the adults. I said that I had seen everything and none of what she’d just said was true. The Choctaw kids started wanting to say their spiel and again the adults wouldn’t let them, they only wanted me to talk… what because I’m white?
So when the adults gave me the floor to speak, I handed it over to the Choctaw kids. As they told their side of the story, I stood there and shook my head in agreement. If something was said that I didn’t witness, I’d interject by saying, “I didn’t witness that part”. I would have done that for any group, because I want to be seen as a good witness, wouldn’t want to damage their story by agreeing to things I didn’t know.”
Anyways, not that I was expecting to make best friends from the incident but the white kids absolutely loathed me after that point and the Choctaw kids didn’t really care any which way about me, though they were rather cordial and didn’t feel animosity towards me anymore, but we were not BFF’s. Because kids are just bitches that way.
But, I was appalled at the white kids, and trying to drown a person, and the adults reactions to the entire affair. Being a lone bystander, basically, allowed me to witness the oppression of one group and the privilege of another.
Various Stores – High School
I’ll admit that I was a bit gothy in high school. I’d dye my hair black (sometimes. Other times it was orange or red), wear eye-liner and dress in black. I never pasted my face though, because I can’t stand any type of foundation or face powder.
While my friends didn’t necessarily dress all goth-like, they certainly looked like hoodlum thugs who were up to no good, with their band t-shirts, long hair and baggy jeans. We looked like the type of people to steal a place blind. We weren’t innocent. On a random occasion or two, a few of us, myself included, would just five-finger discount an item. But, it wasn’t a regular occurence. Plus the wealthy white kids did it, it just seemed like something a teenager needed to try out.
Anyways. All of my friends during this four-year stretch were white. I was friendly with other people at and outside of school, white or not white, but none of use went out and did things together. So, we’re all white kids. I was also the largest person, as most of them were tiny stick people or just a bit white person average in body structure. However, on ten separate occasions, with my friends, security would stop only me and search my things. Just me. Was it because I was the largest person in the group? Or the not quite white enough person in the group? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m leaning more towards the second reason.
On more occasions than I can count on both hands, when shopping alone, I would have security following me around. This happened if I looked like I was up to no good because of my clothes and make-up or if I just looked normal; normal jeans, t-shirt, no make-up, everyday average person. On half of those occasions, security would check my purse or bag before I could leave the store.
White Teenagers vs Black Teenagers
While the small group of close friends that I had in high school were white, the majority of white teenagers were ruthless towards me. I understand that, like I stated before, kids are just bitches. Most people are picked on or mocked during high school, or even middle and grade school. Seems like it’s just a thing that happens. I get that.
However, the majority of black kids at my schools either graciously ignored me, as in we didn’t have conversations but they weren’t mean, or we actually got on rather well and were friends in classes. Where as the majority of the white kids went out of their way to make my life a living hell. Just the white kids. Rich or poor, didn’t matter, they were from all backgrounds.
I never had black school mates make fun of my weight, saying that if I wore a bikini to the swimming field trip they would too and then laugh. I never have black school mates tell me that if I just lost ten more pounds that they might consider dating my fat ass. I never had black kids spread rumours about me. I never had them say that I was lesbian, like it was the worst thing to be, and get others to mock, jeer and hate me. I am not a lesbian, though being gay is not an issue for me. Hell, gay people have been nicer to me than straight people, generally speaking.
I never had black school mates learn a secret about me, though some of them I did tell secrets to if we were classroom friends, to other people so that I could be mocked. I never had black school mates trip me, pants me, push me over, stand on toilets to lean over the stalls to watch me pee, or throw things at me. I have never had black school mates call me Shamu, tell me they would never date me even if I was the last person on Earth because EWW!, pretend to be my friend in order to gain control over me; by pitting friends against me, or stealing my exam paper, etc. I have never had black school mates steal from me.
For the most part, black people in general, either politely ignore me or are actually nice to me; treating me like I am also a fucking human being. Sure I’ve encountered black people who are mean or just scowl at me for some reason, but they are few and far between in my life. Most white people who I encounter treat me like I’m something horrible that they have stepped in.
One time I was wearing a skirt. It was black cotton, flowy, knee-length. I was in the grocery store with The Sister and our dad. They’d gotten ahead of me, as I was lagging behind. I was rounding one of the low-set freezer sections when I spotted two black guys. It wasn’t really important, until later, that they were black. What I really noticed is that they were teenage boys. Dreaded teenage boys.
I rounded the freezer and the terrible happened. I slipped. All that was running through my mind was all of the ridicule those two teenage boys would throw at me. I was a fat girl who fell down. That and all of the past teenage boy ridicule incidences flashed through my head as I landed on the ground.
Two things happened at this point. The Sister heard, “Whoop!” and turned around to find me no longer there. When she approached she feared she’d see me on my back with my legs in the air and my underwear showing for all to see. However, what she found was me looking like I was posing for a portrait. I was on my side, my legs tucked a little, my skirt flowing very decently around me.
This happened, because I am a clumsy person and early on I learned to fall a certain way so as to no longer be ridiculed for it.
The second thing that happened is that those two teenage boys did not ridicule me. Not in the slightest. They ran over to me, helped me up, and asked me if I was OK, repeatedly. They wanted to make sure. It was a moment I reflect upon a lot, because it was a moment that made me want to cry.
For the most part, teenage boys don’t even notice I exist, because well, I’m an adult now and adults don’t matter. It took me several, several years to not be instinctually afraid of teenage boys (or girls, for that matter). I finally realized that I was invisible to them, because I wasn’t a peer, but an unimportant adult. Though, I do still get ridiculed by white teen boys and girls sometimes, though not often at all.
At that stage, though I was still a little nervous around teenagers, any teenagers, but mainly boys. This moment, however, made me finally realize that there are differences. For one, if they had been white teenage boys, they most certainly would have laughed and pointed and not helped me up, and would have called me fatty. I tripped once and fell down a few years after this and that is exactly what happened. But, that for the most part I’m an adult and it doesn’t matter.
Secondly, that it hadn’t merely been other teenagers in general, when I was also a teen, but specifically white teenagers. I had lumped them all together, but was reevaluating and realizing that, “Hey! The black teenagers were always rather swell to me. Always. Any single one that I met. Wow. So, 98%, those teenagers wouldn’t have made fun of me and I was worried for nothing.”
Even more surprising on that day were fellow customers at that grocery store. There were people who didn’t even see the incident, but heard about it, coming up to me asking, “Are you the girl who fell? Honey, are you alright!?” Every single one of those people were black. They actually cared that a girl they didn’t know fell down and might be hurt. They didn’t even see it happen and were concerned. Only one white person asked if I was alright and it was the manager. His concern was only that I might sue the damn store. Not a single white shopper or white worker cared if I was OK, didn’t ask about me, beyond my dad and The Sister.
This is why I am biased against white people in general. I know it’s wrong, but it has been happening all of my life and still continues to happen, though is not a regular occurrence.
Being Lesbian For A Day
It wasn’t really a day, but that’s a great subtitle. No, for pretty much five years in my late teens, people thought that I was a lesbian. That’s all fine and dandy in and of itself, though I am not, in fact, a lesbian. What wasn’t OK, is that most of the people who assumed that I was a lesbian would use it against me as a weapon. They’d taunt and tease me, or ridicule for me for it. I would always just embrace it because it was never an issue button for me, so to speak, so I would grab hands with my friend, raise our hands and shout “Lesbian Love!” to counter attack on the other peoples meanness, and I would laugh.
But, it also helped me become alarmingly aware of what people who are actually gay must have to go through on a day to day basis. It is not fun. Not fun at all. Not in the least. People were really, really cruel about it. Calling me faggot and telling me I should kill myself, among loads of other things. I tell ya, if I’d been gay, so that this was a sensitive issue for me, I might have just killed myself! It’s a lot of oppression for anyone to go through, especially a teenager. Even though I wasn’t gay, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t still hurt. Their words were filled with venom, their vibes exuded hatred. It hurt having that thrown at me daily; it wears one down tremedously. However, it helped to give me an understanding, that normally as a straight person I wouldn’t have had at that age. It helped me to not be like those people pretty early on.
I have had a few white privilege incidences, but not very many. Not like other white people who I encounter.
Though I was afraid, once when pulled over because of a police checkpoint, the white cop let The Sister and I go and was concerned about our safety and white women out alone after dark. I found it condescending, but was glad that I wasn’t in trouble for some dumb reason. My license was even expired, but that was OK. I was actually floored that that had happened, because it’s not something that I experience, though The Sister found it to be pretty normal.
It’s incidences like these that I can’t tell if it’s because I’m socially unacceptable because I’m overweight, or not white enough. The Sister is thin, and very much white. She’s not one of those white people, but no one ever thinks that she’s not white enough. She’s never really dealt with the things I have gone through. People pretty much ignored or accepted her in high school, no one ridiculed her because she was an undesirable body shape, security has never stopped her for any reason, she gets out of paying tickets a lot, and for the most part has no problem with the police.
Most of the time with the police, I haven’t done a damn thing wrong and I’m the one they choose to slap with something. Not that I’ve been in trouble with the police a lot, but there was that incident above, another with an older white campus security guy and one with a Latino police officer. All the other police that have pulled me over for some reason, or there have been an incidence with, have been white and not nice. Nice to other white people, just not me. I even have a feeling that the Latino officer still wouldn’t have given me a ticket at the new tag to the truck not been inside the vehicle. He was just that understanding that I have old parents that forget things.
Oh wait. There was one more white cop incident that went well. I ran a red light in my parents’ home town. Because it was a new red light and hadn’t been there the last time that we were. I’m not sure if things would have gone well otherwise or not, but I pulled out the “my parents are from here” card. City pride does go a long way in one’s favour. I explained how I pretty much grew up there, visiting relatives, which is true and that I wasn’t aware of the new stop light, and basically proved my credentials by saying how it was only a year before. He did let me get out of that one, though I can not say for certain if without the whole city pride thing if things would have been scary or OK. So, I generally don’t count this, as throwing that back in one’s face is neither grounds for too fat nor not white enough.
OK, but I’m sure you all adequately understand my disaffection for the white race in general, so we should move onto why I’m not overly thrilled with Mormons.
I’ve had dealings with Mormons my entire life. One might assume that I am from Salt Lake, or Utah in general, but no. Just from south Mississippi. My dad and his siblings were raised southern Baptist. His older sister went off to Europe and came back a Mormon. At the exact same time, while dad was in college, his roommate was Morman, and BAM! Dad also becomes a Mormon.
This in and of itself is not a problem, it’s just the beginning of a long string of years of bad troubles. Throw in that my mom was raised Presbyterian, by Reform Church of the Dutch parents, then converted to Catholicism on Halloween and well, things just get weird.
Dad’s new-found religion made everything in our house really bad. He started first (mom’s craziness came later). There were constant fights over religion in my early years. So much so that I have very vivid memories or running to my bedroom and cowering under my bed with my pillow over my ears, sobbing. They’d scream and yell, and scream and yell some more. Oftentimes dragging The Sister and I into by wanting us to choose a side. That right there is enough to scar one for life, I tell ya!
But, no, it gets better. So, mom got her way and The Sister and I attended Catholic church with her. Dad would only show up for very special things, like a first communion or something. It was awkward having a dad, who lived at home, but did not attend the same church as you and was a source of not so fun poking amongst some of the other Catholic kids.
But dad would win an argument at another time and drag one of us to church with him. The Catholic church I attended was two shades of green and dark brown wood and seemed like Ireland. Plus we had a really cool Irish priest. I had friends there too; kids and adults. There was an old guy, Frank. He was really swell. Mom tells me he was an alcoholic and his kids hated him. But in his dotage, his energy felt really good, though also sad and lonely. I’d always gravitate to him and pester him with talking, even though my mother wanted me to have nothing to do with him.
There was also my piano teacher, Mrs. Christina. She was originally from the Philipines. She was fussy and weird and strict and yet I still adored her. I still do, she’s awesome. Then there were some weird Yankees, the Zortmans, and they were kooky and fun. Most of the adults didn’t like them, but I thought they were too cool!
However, dad’s church was a completely different story. To a three or four-year old his church seemed bleak and foreboding. They had a fence around it. A fence… around a church… in this town? That isn’t even a thing… unless you’re Mormon. The whole interior of their church was grey and drab. They also had huge wooden chairs up on a dias at the front of the church.
Sure, Catholic church has that, but it’s only three feet higher than the other seats and is close to the first row… and there’s only one fancy chair for the priest and other smaller chairs for say alter servers or something. No, this was different. It was at least five grand chairs, rather high up, and rather far away from the first row. Very imposing. Also it was filled with old people; the kinds of old people who make scowling faces and seem threatening. I felt judged. Like they would deem me unworthy and eat me. Later when reading about the Salem Witch Trials in school, this image was all that I could think about.
And for the most part, all of the adults seemed like brain washed robots. They were too nice. The type of nice that seems fake and makes one uneasy, like the person is hiding a machete behind their backs. The one’s who weren’t fake-nice were super bitchy. They watched you like birds of prey, ready for a chance to attack, which was always only verbally.
I’d never witnessed a more scary group of people. Ever. I’ve even been to several Baptist churches and while I think Baptists are weird, they aren’t that scary. Not in church anyways. When we would visit my dad’s family I’d also somehow get roped into going to Mormon church with my aunt. It was just as creepy and scary.
When I was drug to service by either my dad or my aunt, I had to attend Mormon Sunday School. The Sunday School rooms were grey and blah and bleak as well. They actually had rooms purposefully built for school or meeting reasons. At the Catholic church, it was originally a church built for the university students, so most of the rooms had been designed as bedrooms with bathrooms. They weren’t built for school or meeting functions. They were tiny, but ya know, the door was always kept open and it didn’t feel stifling. The Mormon rooms, the door was always closed, the room was huge and STILL I felt suffocated and couldn’t wait to escape.
The Mormon kids were weird as well. Four of the kids I went to school with. The others I didn’t know at all. They were antisocial, kept to themselves, and were just weird, though I tried to make friends with two of them. The other two, well, one girl always tried to watch me (or anyone) pee in grammar school and was bossy. The other was just one of those bitch kids and we never got on. And somehow they were all related. I STILL can’t figure that one out.
So, it was a constant back and forth battle of religion and not just in our house. We’d go to visit dad’s relatives and my aunt would get on her high horse about her religion and how everyone else was stupid and dad would join in with her. Way to show the love, y’all. And when they’d pray at meals, they’d cross their arms like they were pissed off with the world. I know my dad said it’s to keep the prayers personal or something, but my dad and aunt would bow their heads and look super pissed while doing their silent, before meal prayers; cutting themselves off from the rest of the family. They actually looked pretty arrogant and haughty while doing that. Hell, the energy the exuded while doing that was arrogant and haughty! If I could slap people over one thing, it’d be those two when they do that shit.
Oh god and the talking. The incessant talking over The Book of Mormon. It didn’t matter what the issue was, it could be dad actually and consciously trying to persuade me over to his side, or simply “It’s been raining a lot lately.” and I’d get the talk.
Something along the lines of, “Well our Father, Jesus Christ blahblahblah, and in the teachings blahblahblah and the Book of Mormon says blahblahblah and thy kingdom come and thou hast blahblahblah Book of Mormon blah and Joseph Smith blahblahblah.” FOR HOURS! He’d always force a conversation back to The Book of Mormon somehow and circle around all of it for hours on end. It would infuriate me. You couldn’t hold a normal conversation with him. At all. I just thank the gods he doesn’t still do this! Also, he may still pray weird before meal times and there’s a lot of rigmarole about “thou hast blesstest this foodeths with thou bountiest blahblahblah” for five minutes, and the arms are folded and the head down, but the arrogance and haughtiness of the facial expression, stance and energy are thankfully also gone.
I did sort of make friends with some of those Mormon kids later. Not so much friends, as that’s a stretch, as we didn’t have pallet parties or go to the mall together, but friendly-ish. I’m an odd person. I have shyness problems and to overcome them I will exude ownership over situations and people. Harmlessly, but still.
So, no one would eat lunch with the Mormon kids, except fellow Mormon kids. No one minded them, it’s just they liked to keep to themselves. I actually was the only person in my entire school who had a problem with Mormons. Because all the other kids had either never known Mormons, or were themselves actually Mormon. Anyways, they were well aware of who I was though, even if they didn’t necessarily nod or say hello to me. But, if tables were full at lunch and I needed somewhere to sit, I’d think, “Well, I know them, so fuck it.”, hitch up my big girl pants and sit down at their table as bold as you please and basically just start-up conversation with them.
They all looked like deer caught in headlights, except for that one Buhl girl who I just did not get on with. She’s throw daggers at me with her eyes, but I ignored them. I totally owned that table. But, in doing so, it got the Denee girl to open up a little and nod or say hey to me or have a the tee-niniest conversation with me in class. It also got the Smith boy, whom I couldn’t stand when we were younger, to actually become a hallway and classroom mate. We we’re friends but we were rather friendly if we had a class together or in the hallways between classes. You know the people, you can chat with them before class starts or have no problem actually asking for a pencil from them or whatever.
I even became friends with the Tacket girls older brother. He was also pretty alright just like the Smith guy. Things were fine, they went swimmingly, we could laugh and joke and were friend-ish. And then, I don’t know, they became men in their church; start being missionaries? Because one day they were fine, then they were going to go up a level in the church and the next day they were zombies. The same happened to my cousin. Things were fine, he went through training or whatever it’s called to become a missionary and BAM! Zombie Boy!
I was super pissed about all three incidents. There was yelling because I have issues stemming from that Church and friends of mine acted like they no longer had souls. My cousin who I really liked was dead inside. Then he became arrogant and haughty and angry just like my dad had. What is the deal with this religion?!?
What’s funny, is that I even realize that not all Mormons are this way. Though out of dad’s ENTIRE church there were only two families that were rather OK. One family was a bit odd and I was too young to remember them but met them again in my 20s, but the other family I sort of knew and they were OK. It’s sadly amusing that I have to make an aside to my mom or The Sister “Are they the Mormons we like?”
A Mormon even does dads taxes, or did before dad retired. It was the dad of this one particular family. We met him. No bueno. Didn’t like him. His son took over for him. His son is in his forties, I think? He’s a pretty swell guy, actually.
One time I had a summer job at a snow cone stand. The owner, who was only five or so years older than me was Catholic. Some guys came up to the window to order. They seemed like average late teen/early twenties guys. They commented on my skateboarding T-shirt and we had a nice little conversation about skateboarding. Found out they were from out west, which is cool. They seemed friendly and swell and then BAM! “May we tell you about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?” and started handing me pamphlets.
I totally pulled a Phoebe Buffay and made a fake smile and said “OK”, but was clearly not pleased. I actually then sort of went off on them. And threw their pamphlets away in front of them. My boss said, “I can’t believe you just did that!” in mock horror and then laughed.
First of all, apparently Utah Mormons are COMPLETELY different from Mississippi/Louisiana Mormons. These guys did not seem like weird zombies or too early nice people. They just seemed normal and laid back. So, that was an eye opener. Secondly, I shouldn’t have gone off on them, but I did. The reason is because Missionaries were forever bombarding our house and leaving literature and things. It was constant in the early years of my childhood until I was about eleven or so.
They were a little fake nice, but not nearly as creepy as the adults on Sunday in church, but then they were always twenty-somethings, perhaps that makes a difference? Anyways. They’d start-up a normal every day conversation about books or films and you’re thinking, “Wow? This is nice. They want to get to know me. OK, I can do this.” and then BAM! Conversion time.
It felt cheep and fake. Like a trap to lure me into a false sense of security that they wanted to be friendly with me, when really their motives all along were to try to get me to be a Mormon. I had to deal with this torment multiple, multiple times a year, every year for ten years of my childhood. Things petered off and they didn’t really come by much, then they started coming back again and stopped. A few years ago, they came back in droves.
See, dad left the church, they tried to get him back which was the first time the missionaries started coming back around. But a few years ago, dad was going to go in for surgery and joined back up with them. I tried even then to give the missionaries a chance but it was “Friend Friend Friend. OOPS I’m FAKE, I’m really just here to convert you! Ahahaha You fell for it again!”
So basically those Mormon kids from Utah. I wasn’t cruel, but I did say that I didn’t think it was honest or fair to chat people up when all they really wanted was to convert a person. I may have been a little bit on edge, but I didn’t yell, nor was I condescending. I think I handled it really well, considering. But this is exactly why I don’t want to have issues with this. I don’t want to have old wounds open up all over again for the random times I’m in close proximity to a Mormon. It’s just ridiculous.
So, after dad rejoined the church, he told me they were having a Chili cook-off contest. He thought my chili is really good and that we might could win and it would be fun and he really wanted me to help him with that. Awww… so, I accepted, though I was dreading going back.
You know what it really was? It was their fall festival, which I attended in the past and have issues from. Plus it was not a contest. It was just bring your chili and we’ll all gorge ourselves on all the 50+ crockpots of the stuff that are present. I can see this happening two ways. I remember my childhood and going to these functions. I remember being told by actual Mormons who were not my dad that such and such would be happening/or we’d be doing such and such. And you know what? Those things never happened? Like, “We’re all going to have a costume contest, so wear your best costume and the winner will get a prize.” There were never any costume contests. There were no prizes. Why would you do that to kids?
So, I’ve found, at least the people at this church (well and my aunts… she has two since she lives on the border of Louisiana and Mississippi), so that’s three churches where they don’t tell the truth about things. But, I realize not all things from my past will happen in my current age and that my dad does mix things up now that he’s older. So, it could go either way really.
I actually had to swallow a lot not to vomit, as I really, really, really did not want to go back to that church. I did not want to be at another Mormon Fall Festival. But, if dad wanted to win a Chili Contest, then by George, I was going to help him do that.
So a thing that isn’t a thing all over again. That kitchen, that gymnasium, those entrance halls and rooms. I had a hard time keeping my composure and not running from that building screaming. But, it really wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t the best thing ever and I wouldn’t do it again, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as in my childhood, nor close to what I had been dreading. It felt bad for me, having to rehash the past in the future. And there were some too nice creepy people there, but for the most part it wasn’t a big deal.
I do have funny ancedotes though!
I think I was probably sixteen or seventeen. It’s after dad left the church and they were sending out missionaries in droves to get dad back in to attendance. So, dad’s a huge Sci-Fi nerd. He’ll go to the local discount book store and buy anything that’s Sci-Fi and read it. At this particular moment, he happened to have a book on the den coffee table, featuring some alien female with three breasts in her halter top.
So, the missionaries came by, two guys, dressed all in their suits with matching nameplates, and dad invited them in to the den. They started talking and eyes kept sliding towards the coffee table. I don’t know why, but I generally would stand there for the first few minutes, just to see what was going on, before I decided to leave, so that’s why I was there witnessing this.
So, dad looks towards the coffee table with the missionaries eyes keep hovering to, and there is that book with the three breasted, scantily clad, alien female just blazing in all it’s glory. It was like a bad sitcom and I had to try really hard not to start cackling! Dad nonchelantly, while still talking, moved his hand towards the book and knocked it off the table. It fell to the floor right in between the group.
There were glances towards the floor and eyes snapping back up. Then dad starts using his foot to try and gracefully kick it underneath the table, which had to happen several times before it was finally out of view and no one’s eyes were drawn towards it anymore.
Oh, I tell ya, I LAUGHED at that one once I’d left.
The next incident happened when I was age twenty to twenty two. I started getting phone calls from the Mormon church about if I wanted to attend this or that. Always, by the sound of it, kids near my age, not adults. The amusing one, however, was the phone call I received to come and party with the Mormon kids. They made the mistake of saying the word party, which almost had me laughing, because parties for them, at least the ones I witnessed were very, very vanilla. Very vanilla!
They also made the mistake of not knowing how old I was, and stating that it was just all us 15 – 17 year olds. We’d be having a good time at the Coke and Pizza Party. Which, incidentally what their third mistake.
So, while trying not to laugh at them, I plainly said that that I was in my twenties, so was too old to “party” with them. And also said, “Hey, aren’t y’all not supposed to drink Coke? Or is this just to lure me to your party?” There was stammering, but never a real answer about that. It was also the last time I was ever called.
Perhaps not all Mormons nix soda from their lives, but according to my dad, aunt and every event I was dragged to in either church, soda was never on-site because for this general area at least, it was not allowed.
Also, for most of my life, the missionaries would wear their suits and nameplates and ride around on bicycles. I actually admired their tenacity to visit other Mormons and try and convert non-Mormons in the swealtering summer heat in those suits. Now, most of the time they’re riding around in cars… and well, I silently judge them. Well, not silently, because audibly, in my car, I say, “Shame on you! You’re in a car!”
While it’s funny in the moment, it is actually nice they get air conditioned cars now, because riding around in bikes in suits down here is just cruel.
And so we’re not leaving the Catholics out. I don’t have as many issues with them, but I do have a few.
My mom was relatively fine after converting to Catholicism, two years before I was born. I had four years where Catholicism was never an issue. Then mom went crazy for the next ten years. Everything suddenly became evil. Barbie dolls were evil, He-Man and She-Ra were evil. She’s make me watch crazy religions films and slide shows on how evil the Care Bears were. She also purchased this creepy old version of the Veil of Veronica. It was huge and was in this ginormous frame and she’d put it in the house where you couldn’t escape it.
My maternal aunt wasn’t Catholic, but she liked Holy Hardware, as she liked to call it. So we were forever getting Holy Cards or religious medals or icons from her. But, that was always fun because there were no hang-ups involved. No, with mom, she pretty much beat you into submission with the religious item, and then, well, you absolutely loathed it.
She also ruined Christmas. Christmas was fine and dandy before. It was about trees and stockings and presents and family. She’s mention that we were also celebrating the birth of Jesus and we’d go to church of Christmas, but there’s nothing wrong with all of that, if you are a religious person. But, then she went crazy and she couldn’t stop talking about how it was Jesus’ birthday and we were forced to start singing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning. You can’t just change the game plan in a kids life like that. It won’t be accepted. If she’d wanted us to sing Happy Birthday to a 2,000 year old dead man, she should have started that up when The Sister was born, ten years earlier.
There’s also be fights about Catholicism and it did leave emotional scars, but since I was really only getting side-swiped by my mom (not even other Catholics at church… except for the woman who made mom go Catholic Crazy in the first place), it wasn’t as damaging.
After I was fourteen, mom mellowed out a bit on the craziness, concerning religion that is. Until I was supposed to go through Confirmation, then it all came back. For non-Catholics, that’s basically the right of passage. You can become a full-fledged member of the church; you are finally considered a Catholic. It’s basically a given that one being raised in that faith will go through with it. But you’re not forced to. If you decide that you don’t wish to be, then you can choose not to go through it at that time, or ever.
I didn’t want to be confirmed and mom went crazy. She’d talk about my damned soul and that I was going to be Catholic if it killed her. She’d walk me in to the Confirmation classes on Sunday evenings, so she could make sure that I went. She even drug me to our priest, who pissed her off because he sided with me about the issue; that I shouldn’t be forced to become Catholic. Didn’t stop her.
So, I had to go through the classes and stand up and be recognized in the special ceremony on Palm Sunday with the other Confirmation students. Confirmation signifies you as an adult in the church. So, I could no longer be told what to do regarding Catholicism by my mother. So, Easter Sunday rolled around a week later and I was in the den watching re-runs of Tales from the Crypt. I wasn’t ready to go to church and had absolutely no intention of being ready or actually going to church ever again.
She told me I’d better get ready, but I responded with, “Oh-ho! Now I’m an adult and I can make my own choices… and I’m choosing… No.” She scowled at me and refused to speak to me for a week, but that was the day I un-became Catholic. I’d probably have been confirmed, but because she went mental, I’ll never been Catholic or religious again.
Things solidified for me after my maternal grandmother and brother died. They’d died within a year of each other, and it was only a week after my brothers death. I took mom to church, because our family friend works there and mom was going to buy holy medals or something. Then our family friend tells us that the Pope wanted to pardon cremation for people, so it’s not a sin, but that she felt that was wrong because people that are cremated go to hell.
I don’t even believe in hell, but that is NOT the time to express your opinions on such matters when both of my recently dead relatives, whom I was extremely close to, and am still mourning, were cremated. I vehemently told her, “How dare you! And with Rusty barely in the ground. How dare you!” and left.