Friday, February 19, 2010

So, I'm a teenager....

Teenager (noun)
a person aged from 13-19

Life as a teenager. My tween years flew by way too quickly. Of course when I was twelve, I wanted to be thirteen. Finally thirteen came- but I wanted to be sixteen! During my tween years I can remember my parents discussing the biggest mistake of their lives- pulling their teen- to -be out of Catholic School and placing me in PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT! In the beginning of this "discussion" I was begging, pleading, crying....even rebelling as any good young Catholic girl would. DO NOT TAKE ME OUT OF MY ELEMENT! I had friends- best friends- friends for life! I never once complained about my Scottish tailored kilt- of -a -uniform. I never once complained about attending confession every Wednesday evening. I never once complained about anything Catholic!
My mother was involved in the PTA, like most of my friends mothers- but there was one difference. MY MOTHER just had to be the LIBERAL in the clan! Too much of this, and not enough of that in school. Too little taught, and WAY to much focus on "eat your rice because there are starving children....." . I was so confused! Why would my parents pull me out of Catholic school when we were Catholic? Why did they (well, mostly Mom) feel that making this move to public school would "do Lisa some good". Now, after all these years I never really asked that million dollar question. And truthfully I should have been rejoicing. I wouldn't attend confession every Wednesday evening. I wouldn't have to sit in the chapel three mornings a week pretending to listen to Monsignor T. ramble on and on. Okay, so I was wrong.....just because I would be attending public school did not mean I was excused from the rituals of our faith. Okay here is where I leave my "comfort zone". All those years in Catholic school and church I never knew or understood God. All that "formal training" we are given from birth on up, I never understood my religion at all. I knew of course Jesus loved's in the song. I knew that if we disobeyed God I would hang in purgatory or burn in hell! I knew all the rituals and celebrations of Mass and the best part was I celebrated not only my birthday, but the Blessed Mothers Day- May 1st. I never remembered having a closeness that I would hear other "christians" talk about. My parents allowed the church and school to "train" us. My father never took on the role of "spiritual leader" in our home. As much as he forced church every Sunday- he never led the parade. As I mentioned in an earlier post- my parents were very "open"....a little ahead of their time. BUT, this was a horse of a different color. My mother would pretty us up Sunday mornings and drag us to Mass.
She would make sure we were baptized,first holy communized and confirmed. And then you had my fathers parents- my Mamaw & Papaw V. The most well known Roman Catholics in town! (think Brad & Angelina) You never missed a Sunday unless you were dying. You sat across from at least one priest, two nuns (from the local convent) and perhaps even Monsignor T. Sundays during a homemade pasta dinner at my grandparents home.These guest/Gods Private Investigators broke bread with you and drank wine (adults only*) and they looked right into your soul! UGH! Yep, that was my twisted pee-wee teenage mind telling me to not SIN at the table! Don't have a bad thought....don't think about that Elton John poster hanging on my bedroom wall! And do not ever let them know you are lusting after the cutest alter boy in the sanctuary because there are not enough Hale Mary's or Our Fathers to take away that "sin of the world". Now, before I continue- I am not criticizing-degrading and hopefully not offending ANY Catholics who may be reading this.
These words are on my experience only- my memories and experiences of being raised in a Catholic environment. Not to mention a few folks I've met here and there that shared with me their own experiences! Come on can laugh at this.... just think "Nun Sense"!
Are you curious about my transition from Catholic school to Public school....did IT happen? happened. And it was the Hardest- Weirdest- Horrific experience ever! That's exactly what I said to my parents after I got off the WORST bus ride home from my first day in PUBLIC SCHOOL! The students are odd....they wear torn jeans and denim jackets. They smoke cigarettes in the bathroom during class changes and they hook out of class after flipping the teacher "the bird". What the he!! did you guys just do to me????? (did you catch that) That was Monday. By Friday.........WOO-WEE I was in HEAVEN!
I had the coolest hip-hugger jeans. I was wearing my first Levi's denim jacket. I was even wearing Bonnie Bell makeup! I WAS becoming a PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT! Making plenty of new friends with a social calendar long enough to take me into the next school year.
Oh, as for the academic part of things- public school wasn't so bad. I took business classes, and even challenged myself in Home Economics. Yeah, well that's one class I failed in.
Here was the major subject that I found myself struggling in: Science. Evolution- What? What happened to Adam & Eve? What happened to God created Heaven & Earth? And us?
These are the years where I struggled the most. My parents would continue to assure me that God did create us....and heaven and earth. So...was I not to listen to my new PUBLIC SCHOOL teachers? Those cool teachers who also wore their best Levi jeans? Uh, yes....don't worry honey- learn, listen and pass the course is what I was instructed to do. HUH? But don't believe it? Okay, now that went well. {{super sarcasm}} I was able to talk about sex, drugs and rock& roll with my parents....but evolution was taboo? You're kidding right? It turns out, my parents did not want to think about evolution. Now, were they in denial of their faith?
Were they afraid to face the truth about evolution? Another one of the million dollar questions I did not ask. My four years in high school I did just what I was instructed to do.
I past Earth Science, Biology and Chemistry with ease. AND my confessional Wednesdays came to a halt. Never asked why.....I wasn't going to complain or even whimper about not having to sit in the confession box repeating the same confession week after week. "Bless me Father for I have sinned...I disobeyed my mother and father....." ! My mother was invested in her career, and my social calendar needed to take a back seat to swim team, band front, dance, and any other school activity I became involved in. My Catholic friends began to notice a difference in me. I was becoming a different being. Rebellious? Independent? A girl with a new life?
I for one never noticed any difference in myself. Besides having an entire new wardrobe, I was still the silly,happy-go-lucky, friendly person I was before. But they did. I lost some very good friends. But it took me a long time to realize that. A very long time.
Jumping ahead to graduation day. It poured during our graduation ceremony, but that didn't bother me at all. My mind was on the BEACH! My friends and I packed our cars and headed south to OCM. We were ready to apply for jobs....look for apartments to live in......we were the Girls of Summer! Yes,if you are wondering- during my junior& senior years, my mother talked about colleges. I didn't really want to travel too far from home (this is funny to me now) and to be honest- I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for my one and only career.
I wanted to see it the world....Go-Go-Go! *But not go TOO far away from home to attend college?!
(Remember when I mentioned that having my parents pull me out of Catholic school and placing me in Public school would be the biggest mistake of their lives? Well....funny thing is, I totally forgot about that "mistake" my parents made). Now, summer has ended....I'm home from the beach. I'm taking classes at PSY for Early Childhood Education. It's close to home, my best party-pal "L" lived only blocks from the college and not to mention my classmates from YSH that I promised to stay in touch with. Life was great....I was still living with my parents, attending my classes, attending parties, working part-time for my mother, attending more parties until one day "L" comes up with this fantastic idea. We move to NYC! She had a friend, of a friend, of a friend who could help us locate jobs, possibly get into school and live life to its fullest! No sooner did "L" get to the end of her suggestion, my bags were packed and in my canary yellow 1967 Mustang! (oh, it was my mothers car) This idea really went over well with my parents! REALLY?! I'm so excited while telling my parents this new adventure in MY life that I can barely's NYC mom and dad! NEW YORK CITY!!!!!! My dad had this look on his face - the look as if I just announced "dad, I'm pregnant". My mother sat at the kitchen table sipping her coffee - head slightly tilted to the side- and says NOTHING- ZILCH-NADA. So I take that "nothing" as a "something". My mother was thinking about what to buy her daughter for an apartment warming gift?! Or perhaps giving up her canary yellow 1967 Mustang?! Or what about $$$?! Or.....not!
Her silence was killing was the deadliest thing she could do to me when there was disappointment. Um...Mom? Your baby girl is moving to the Big Apple! Be happy for crying out loud! Now is when the inside of my body was twitching- my mothers finger nails were tapping the kitchen father still had the "dad I'm pregnant" look on his face.
And then she says it...."what are you thinking, young lady"? I'M thinking I'M done with this lost town! I want adventure! I want to LIVE MY LIFE TO THE FULLEST! Again, I receive her deadly silence. I continue to babble on about how "safe" I would be...we have family in New Jersey! My fathers cousin- the model lives in NYC! It's not like I'm asking to move to Philadelphia. ***********************
I'm not exactly sure how many hours past until my mother and I talked about my move again. My father sat at the kitchen table and he talked to me. He wasn't showing "excitement" but he was giving me support. He knew all to well what being young and traveling for adventure was about. He too experienced that lifestyle. But he also knew that getting an education and focusing on a career was just as important. Then he said it....."I'll talk with your mother". I KNEW it! My daddy did it again for me! He is going to make this all happen- AND behind curtain #1 is the canary yellow 1967 Mustang!

Life lesson: Don't count those eggs...not just yet.



  1. Hello Lisa! We have 2 bloggie friends in common - I found my way over to you through Jeff's, and Flamingo Mamma was the one who encouraged me to start my own blog.

    I love to hear people's stories, and your writing is drawing me in. I hope you don't mind me peeking in every once-in-a-while. Perhaps we live in the same PA area and go to the same church? Same as our 2 bloggie friends? Keep writing - it's a gift God's given you to draw you closer to him.

  2. Emily~ thank you for your encouragement!
    And I would love for you to read (and hopefully enjoy) my blog.

    Not sure where in PA you live, but I think we do attend the same church. : )