I grew up in a private school.
It was not as glamorous or sexy as it seems.
We didn’t wear plaid skirts or knee-high socks.
There was nothing attractive about our khaki pants and polo shirts
and raging middle-school hormones.
I grew up in a place that put God first.
From kindergarten until eighth grade,
we had religion class.
We went to chapel on Wednesdays.
We said prayers before every meal.
There were no nuns to slap our wrists,
only the guilt that our sins were one-way tickets to hell.
I grew up in a world where the curriculum was simple.
God created the heavens and the earth.
God created English and Math and Science.
God created us in the image of Him with the most capital of H’s.
But we never learned how to love ourselves in 7th grade catechism.
We never learned that sex was nothing short of a miracle
and that my worth was not attached to my purity.
I grew up in a building that valued silence.
Four walls that demanded quiet prayers.
A ceiling and floor designed to muffle the noise.
So, when my pain became too loud to hush,
a muzzle was the only way to keep their peace.
Once I grew out of that school,
I realized there was a whole other life outside.
A life without the shame of making mistakes.
A life without the obligation of penance.
A life where I decide whether or not I believe.
Because involuntary belief is the most sheepish form of servitude.
I decide what I want to believe in
And I decided to believe in me,
A goddess in my own right.
A deity in my own eyes.
And I don’t rely on the prayers of anyone.
I don’t commission songs of worship.
I don’t demand a list of your faults.
Don’t take this the wrong way,
I don’t hate God or religion or faith.
I just refuse to believe my faith doesn’t include faith in myself.
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