“Every angel is terrible. . .” – Rilke
When I was a kid I used to charm my mother with stories I’d make up in order to get a cookie out of her. I would give her a baggie full of Cheerios and tell her they were “Donut Seeds,” and that if she gave me a cookie, I’d let her have a whole bag of them. Such a deal. I would also tell her that there were special bluejays that were actually green that talked; but only to me.
My mother was charmed by me. The nuns, however, were not. I often told them that they looked like monsters and drew unflattering pictures of them being attacked by eagles and small aircrafts. In third grade, a particularly nasty bride-of-Christ took umbrage at the fact that I refused to work in my phonetics workbook and I told the old bitch that I thought it was for retards and kids who couldn’t read yet. I’d been reading since I was four; my mother taught me. In fact, in third grade I was reading THE GRADUATE, trying to find the part where Ben bones Mrs. Robinson. The nuns, of course, took the book away from me and sent me home to my mother. They insisted that I go see the child psychologist at Loyola. I remember my mother taking me there and when we got there and saw a sign reading “Psychotherapy,” and I turned to my mother and asked her who was getting their head examined, her or me? The nuns held me back and I had to do third grade again with the same psychotic bitch I’d had the first time. The drawings continued, including one of her eating the convent poodle which I thought, at the time, to be my best work.
They moved me from Sister Laureen’s class to Sister Dominia’s class. Sister Dominia was slightly nicer and liked my drawings of birds. She would hang them on the blackboard and let me do whatever the fuck I wanted during phonetics. She also didn’t insist on my joining Cub Scouts like all the other dickheads in the class who came to school dressed in their dark blue uniforms looking like assholes. Sister Dominia asked me why I didn’t join Cub Scouts and I told her I didn’t want to be like everyone else, and she said, “Good for you.” That was the first time I ever actually learned anything in school.
From then on it was different. When I wanted to ignore the world around me, I would draw birds and monsters and naked girls. I made my own little world and was very happy to be there. Still am.