God Is a Question and Virginity Is Folklore – Part 1

  1. Though I would never actually utter these words aloud, the truth is that I quite like when my coffee goes cold. I wouldn’t say I like it better, necessarily. And yet, I find it impossible to deny a perverse pleasure inevitably accompanying the coldness on tongue where I know it should not be.
  2. I almost think it tastes sweeter when it is cold. Sugar or no. There is a succinct flavor about it. The better part of a coffee bean, maybe.
  3. As a child, we never went to church, excepting one Easter Sunday, on which my mom suggested I go with her. I put on a pencil skirt, which was very trendy at the time. She told me it was too tight, too short. “That isn’t appropriate to wear to church.” Her lips pressed into a thin line.
  4. Of course, I wore it anyway. If you have never been to a Catholic church, you may not be fully aware of how often one is required during the one-hour service to alternately sit and stand. I admit that the skirt was a bad choice with regards to practicality, but I also firmly believe that it had to be worn. I was a child, but the skirt was sex. I wonder now how infrequently the wood of the pew is felt on the bare skin of a woman’s legs. I wonder how it did not light on fire each time I sat and my skirt shortened that extra inch. The wood was cold on the back of my thighs, it sent a chill up my spine.
  5. “Abruptly hard nipples: the bane of your winter existence.” (Puckett 2016)
  6. I hadn’t known the “Our Father” at that time. My mother’s drinking was picking up and I decided that Catechism would save me. I began to attend lessons Thursday nights at the church down the street.
  7. “God is nothing if not the surpassing of God in every sense of vulgar being, in that of horror or impurity; and ultimately in the sense of nothing.” (Foucault 1977, 33)
  8. I remember nothing from these lessons now, and I want to say it’s a shame, but the truth is that it isn’t, really. I only remember the unfriendly plastic of the pages in the workbook. The pen never felt natural on these pages. The writing felt clumsy as if borne of a space it was obliged to reject. But then, I must have been a bit like that too, at that time.
  9. Is the folklore of religion the religion itself, or the discourse it generates?
  10. And so on Sundays, while everyone else was in church, my sister, my father, and I would all go to IHOP. Once Church let out, of course, all of Long Island would rush to IHOP. I sometimes think the reason people went to church was so that after, they could go to IHOP.
  11. It is a matter of convenience that nearly all IHOPs are located directly across from shopping malls. If you are trying to get in touch with someone on Long Island and you are unable to reach them by telephone, my suggestion is to start with 10 AM mass, and then try IHOP, and then if those should both fail, the mall. I would almost say this is a guarantee.
  12. They made me see a therapist. Or rather, they suggested it for many years, and when they finally stopped suggesting, I asked if I could please see one. I saw her for about three years. Her hair was dry and her face was pale and she let me cry in front of her.
  13. I could never wear that pencil skirt again, following that Easter Sunday. I no longer liked it. It didn’t fit right anymore. It was ugly, I decided. I should add that I also haven’t been to church on an Easter Sunday since then.
  14. “Nikki tbh in ninth grade I had a crush on you, I even stole your pen…. this is awkward. I love you sorry for taking up so much room on this page but I need to feel important in your life! GOOD LUCK NEXT YEAR, HAVE FUN, LiVE HAPPY !”
  15. “Grief sedated by orgasm / orgasm heightened by grief.” (Shire 2015, 25)
  16. I am pretty sure I saw that therapist at Target the other day with her daughter. My dad tells me she was a lesbian. She was no good at keeping track of when we paid her. After I stopped seeing her, she would text me sometimes and ask how I was doing. These texts were free of charge.
  17. Our first date was beer pong in the back of a friend’s boyfriend’s backyard while his parents were away. I was awful at beer pong, he was awful at conversation, and the beer was shit. I was sixteen.
  18. Everyone there had been baptized.
  19. “The princess who cannot solve the riddle is also associated with a symbol of virginity – the riddle itself. Metaphorically, riddles are much like virginity. To begin with, the answer to any given riddle is preserved by some sort of mental barrier just as virginity is believed to be preserved by the intact hymen. Moreover, like virginity, any given riddle can only be solved once; after all, the riddle is not much of a riddle when both parties understand the connection which yields the answer.” (Lau 1996)
  20. I tried Al-Anon, too. My favorite part of these meetings was that the coffee was almost guaranteed to go cold. It was held in a big insulated dispenser, and was probably brewed a half hour before people even began to arrive. I could have one cup during the meeting, and if I wanted, another following. The cups didn’t have tops. The sugar was provided in packets.
  21. “I’ve started going to a Buddhist temple in Union Square!” She is in a rehab in Long Island City. “And I’ve been reading all about it and I think you’d be really interested. And I just love that area! So pretty.” It wasn’t surprising that my mother was adopting a new religion. What was surprising was that this religion was not monotheistic. But then, she sort of adopted it alongside her traditional Catholic beliefs. Praying to the God in her Gohonzon.
  22. At the meetings, they talk about God. Their Higher Power. How finding him saved their lives. And even though this is a tagline, I can’t help but feel like they never answer that question directly. I can’t help but feel like they are leaving something important out. Or maybe they are just lying to themselves to get through the day. Maybe I’m not supposed to notice this.
  23. “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” (Lennon)
  24. She subscribes to a Buddhist magazine and puts my home address as the delivery address, despite the fact it has never been, and will never be, her address.
  25. Virginity loss is folklore. Virginity is folklore.
  26. Step One: Sauté the sausage for about ten minutes, twelve if it is frozen. Remove from pan and keep on the side. Step Two: Sauté mushrooms in the grease from the sausage. Step Three: Sauté celery, onion, garlic, and leeks in a lot of butter, to the point where they are almost soupy. Step Three: Put the bread crumbs in a bowl. Step Four: Pour the buttery mixture on the bread crumbs, and then pour chicken broth over that, and use a spoon to mix it. Continue adding broth until it is the desired consistency. Step Five: Add the sausage, and slice chestnuts in. (Grennan)
  27. “Unable to question his metaphor, she nodded yes.” (Diggs 2013, 15)
  28. As badly as I wanted him to kiss me, I was actually happy when he did not. It felt like an averted violation, to not have been kissed, to have been left with a simple, unobtrusive “When can I see you again?” I think this is different, I thought to myself, walking across my lawn after our first date. Still, I worried that I was too fucked up. That it might be contagious. That to pretend otherwise would be reckless.
  29. “Don’t you think they are the same thing? Love and attention?” (Lady Bird 2017)
  30. Our first time having sex was biological. A failed scientific experiment.
  31. “Life is suffering – and yet” (some Buddhist)

-NG

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