In recent years, I’ve realized that Catholic schoolgirls have quite a reputation. I’ve heard all sorts of perceptions of pious (or supposedly pious) uniformed girls. Being a former Catholic schoolgirl myself, I feel it’s my duty to dispel some of the rumors about the environment I grew up in.
I want to give out some dirty scoop—so just like my weekly meetings with the priest growing up, it’s time for a few personal confessions. I can’t give them all out (if I did, my penance would be rather lengthy and I have limited time in my day for all that) but here’s a starter kit.
We really spent a lot of time praying.
I think I spent half my days in school praying. No joke! I had to pray as soon as the first bell rang with the entire class, during religion class (that was a real, graded subject), and many times I prayed when the director of the school gave out his random classroom visits. Aside from the usual prayers, I would also pray before taking any test because what was life if I didn’t get an ‘A’? That one generally went like this, “God, help me be an obnoxious perfectionist! Amen.”
Short socks got you sent home.
Catholic schools dress code is always strictly enforced. In my situation, short socks were a no-go, your hair could not be dyed any “unnatural” color, and your makeup could only be light and impeccably applied if you were to wear any. The rule I hated the most was that no piercings were allowed. However, being a punk rock teenage girl during my school years, rebellion was constantly flowing through my veins. As a senior, I decided to get my lip pierced. I got away with it the first few days. I guess the Band-Aid on my face gave it away. Once the school caught on, I was in deep trouble. I was sent home and the director demanded I take it off. Oh, I took it off alright. I showed up with a clear lip piercing the next morning and we all lived happily ever after. I’m telling you, us Catholic schoolgirls are just soo wild. Don’t you agree?
Confession day was the best day.
When I was in middle school, I looked forward to confession day. Mainly because I saw it as an extra break in the day. The only problem I had with confessing was that I never had any huge sins to speak about with the priest. My sins at that age were a mix of not cleaning up my room to answering back to my parents, which led to me making up sins to get more time out of class. Ha! I don’t think I could make up sins now even if I tried. Don’t worry though, this wasn’t always the case. As the years passed, I eventually had real sins to speak of. I mean, I can recall getting six Our Fathers and five Hail Mary’s as my penance one day—terrible little me.
Ave Maria was the jam.
Even though I have quite the unpleasant singing voice, I sang a lot during my time in school. We were given religious lyrics to learn almost every week, and we had to show we cared. To demonstrate our true feeling, we sang outside, rain or shine, to the Virgin Mary during the month of May. We sang when it was a bad day and the religion teacher thought it would help. Anytime we needed to turn things around, we sang.
It’s been awhile since I’ve graduated from high school and I still sing (or screech, depending on who you talk to) those songs. Seriously, shower time would not feel the same if I were not singing about taking flowers to the Virgin Mary. And I think if you interview other former Catholic schoolgirls, you’ll find a common soft spot for the tunes of our youths.
Sexy time or scary time?
Aside from the fact that I was a rebellious punk rocker, I was also the biggest prude. I was terrified of engaging in anything that was deemed sexual or “immoral” during most years of my Catholic school attendance because at the end of the day I was a die-hard Catholic. You can only imagine what I felt when I walked into the bathroom early one morning and saw most of my girl classmates kissing and giggling amongst each other. I was petrified, and immediately closed the door and headed to the courtyard, praying my little heart out for myself and for them. Well, I must tell you, the prude in me didn’t win out much longer. I became curious and darling, my curiosity is something I will always try to satisfy. Oh, Catholic school, you truly were something else.
As you can tell, a lot happened during my time in Catholic school. Yes, the administration condemned me and my classmates to hell a few times, but I think I’ve redeemed myself since then (umm…maybe?). And sure, many moments were a bit peculiar, but I wouldn’t want to change my time in Catholic school in any way. Nowadays, I can not leave the house with a wrinkled piece of clothing without subconsciously hearing the school’s administration nag me about that—I turn back and iron it myself now. It’s teachings like these that make me, despite my wayward tendencies, proud to be a former Catholic schoolgirl.
Are you a former Catholic schoolgirl? Share your stories with us @Hip_Latina!
–Guisell Gomez is a writer and an aspiring children’s book author in Miami. You can follow her thoughts at guisellgomez.wordpress.com.
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