Because, she told me.

I am dusky. With very dark hair. Hair that has the nerve, to be curly. Hair that is fine, coarse, and thick, all at the same time. Hair that makes people say swear words while they do it. So, of course my straight-haired mother refused to have any parts of combing. She would make me go to the beauty shop  once a week from the age of three. My grandma refused to comb such stuff. My momo applauded me when cut off a braid at the age of three. She did get pissed every time I attempted to cut my own bangs.

The experience of having such tedious locks made me loathe the beauty shop. I would have anxiety attacks before going. I hate the smell of chemicals, burning hair, and having anyone run a comb through my hair. I  have had many bad haircuts. I suffered many hours of my life underneath, bonnet hair dryers. I have been paraded around with a head so full of rollers, it felt cumbersome.

I remember vividly, my family trying to get me ready, for my first communion. They were so excited. My mother bought me a tiara made of tiny freshwater pearls. My aunt bought, me a silk chiffon white dress. My godmother, bought me tights of intricate lace. I had a satin slip. White patent leather Mary Janes with a slight heel were purchased. The lace for my veil, was selected, with more deliberation. Than any life choice, those people, have ever made for me.

I was keep sweet throughout the CCE classes with candy. Lemon drops, that were covered with powdered sugar. “If you are good, you will wear these beautiful clothes.” They told me.

So, for months my mother would make us go to mass on Saturday night. She would also make me go to confession every week. Did, I take confession seriously? Well, at first I did. I would cry and think that the penance doled out was saving me from, hell. I would sob for hitting my cousin, eating cake, before dinner. And, the forging of signatures on spelling tests, I am, dyslexic. You should not be spanked for bad spelling tests, if you are dyslexic.

Until, the day my mom played, herself.  You know, when realize that your parents are mere humans. Not, beautiful, infallible, god like beings that should command your will. But, people who can be dumbasses. It is a sorry thing, to know. My mom did something to me, I will never forget. It made me doubt religion, forever.

My mother, is a vain woman. In the 80’s, was a buyer at very exclusive department store. She drove a huge Cadillac that was  black and silver with a red custom pinstripe. She dressed in red, black, and white to work most days. Unless, she was selling, Mary Kay. Then, she would wear pink, or fuchsia. She also would dress me in corresponding colors to match her palette. My mother was fanatical about Mary Kay.  She pointed a loaded gun, at my father over it, once.

My mom loved dressing up and going to church. She loved to have me next to her on the hard pew.  She timed my beauty shop appointment that I got out in time for mass. For, forty-five minutes, my mother basked in the glow of being a part of a gorgeous family.

Well, it was good that we went to church on, Saturdays. So, long as I thought most people went on, Saturday. But, that did not last very, long. My mom allowed me to go to friend’s house for a weekend. She had a skating party. My mom let me pick out my skating outfit. I must have ingested a great deal of Soul Train, Flashdance, Purple Rain, and Dance Fever. I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. I wore a hot pink leotard with black stripes with matching skirt. Pink and purple leg warmers, black tights, a pink jelly shoe and purple one. Yes, that meant I owned a pair of pink jellies, and a pair of purple ones, too. I would wear one of each pair. My skates, quads, with fat laces, were pink and purple and had glitter wheels.

I think this is why, I like clubbing. Because, I adored getting in the rink and skating to my favorite jams. I would request songs from the DJ.  I would not leave the rink until I could not walk. I was quite sure that this was what the people at Studio 54 were up to, also. Getting high on sugar, pizza, and skate dancing, all afternoon.

So, this whole skating thing occurred on, Saturday afternoons. So, my routine on Saturdays was: wake up at six in the morning to watch “The Smurfs” then “The Snorks”, then my absolute favorite, “The Chipmunks”.  I would make my breakfast. Pacman, Count Chocula, or Nintendo cereal with half and half. Maybe, some bacon cooked in the microwave, and over easy egg cooked in the grease. ( I could make my own breakfast, at the age of 5.)  Eat, until Soul Train, came on.  Then I would take notes on what song was the jam, to request at the skating rink. Clean the house like a fiend while Kung Fu theater was on.  Then, scheme on the telephone with my cousins. So, we could go skating.

So, here I am, an eight year old, party girl. With now, a collection of Flashdance type pink and purple, clothing. Because, the kids department at my mom’s workplace had decided that children, should have clothing inspired by that, new thing, music videos. I suspect my mom thought it was cute. When the fashion show. occurred. My cousin Nick, and I worked the runway in matching Micheal Jackson jumpsuits.

So, there I was. With my fisher price tape deck. And my 45 in portable record player. Using my books on record to scratch with. I ruined “The Little Red Hen” so badly my mom proclaimed RUN DMC to be the most offensive music, ever.

She would go on about how could music be about ruining records. Meanwhile, I am blasting New Edition, singing “Mr Telephone Man”  and dancing around the living room. I was now refusing to go to church. So, my mother had to use all the cunning  in her being, to keep me from running off to be a dancing girl.

Her plan was hatched at first by the nuns, at school. The nuns decided to introduce, the concept of hell. So, they started using examples of what sins would land you there. So, we went over the ten commandments. The whole coveting thing took forever and a day, to explain. Then, they brought up lying, stealing, blah, blah.

The discussion in our little dull classroom turned to church attendance. The nun who was only four feet eight,  stood up really tall. And, explained to us that any feelings you had to not attend church. Was the devil talking to you. Because, god would really like it if you went to church daily. I personally felt because we went church every Wednesday  at school. I was set. I asked the nun about what if  your parents do not take you to church. Were you going to go to hell? What if your daddy, does not go to church at all?

Well that nun, was listening. She called my folks. My mother was mortified that everybody in the parish knew my father was a C&E Catholic.(He ducked before communion on Christmas Eve, so not even that.) She had planned this huge party for my first communion. And, I was the sassiest child in the second grade.

So, one Saturday, she got up early. She made me pancakes. I lamented that they were not, Hot Cakes and Sausage from Mc Donalds. I refused to eat her slightly burnt pancakes. I had cereal.  So, then she asked me if I wanted to do anything with her for the day? I asked to go to my grandma’s. (My grandma hated my mother. So, she would feed me cake all day. And, let me dance around the house to MTV.)  She pressed harder, anything special?  I then requested to go skating. She said okay.

We dressed, got tortured at the salon. I pondered what you had to do to become a Jet Beauty of the Week. I made small talk with hairdresser while he tortured me for three hours. My mother disparaged my curly hair texture. The darkness of my skin. Informed me, that I looked like my illerate, grandma. Whereas, she was beautiful, like a Mexican.(My mom, was very proud she did not look black.) That I could surely come to some bad end being so dark. Skating in the sun all day, singing all that music.

The attendees at shop knew my mother was a bit color struck. And she was paying money have fourteen carat gold fake nails on her fingers. So they agreed with her. As, most people do with those addled in the head. My mother also, carried a loaded gun her so purse.

So my mom with a recreation of Pamela Ewing’s latest hair do on her head, gold nails upon her fingers. Ushered out of the smelly beauty shop. Into the hot, black car. Drove in the general direction of the skating rink. We got to the parking lot.

“Can we get, out.” I said.

“No.”

“Why are not going to go, skating?” I said.

“Because you do not deserve to go, skating.  You told the nuns your father does not attend church. You made a fool of me, you little, negress. For that, I am going to make a fool of you. We are going to go to church. We are going to pray for your father’s everlasting soul. Then we are going to confession, because I lied, to you. And, you will never make a fool of me, again.”

As she had a funny look, in her eye. I went to church in my skating outfit. She was embarrassed too,  I could tell. My mother hated to be dressed inappropriately. But, she grinned coolly, as we got back in the car on the way home.

The eve of my first communion, I was as meek as lamb. Until, they attempted to hot comb my hair. That bind of slavery I was not having. My grandma went a bit pale. She went to the Voo Doo candle altar in the back of her house for an hour.

My father’s three sisters, remarked that it was not that, my hair was kinky. It was the savage way, I would not let them touch me. That revealed, that my mother’s side were a bunch of common, Creole trash. My mother argued that if they had any breeding at all. Any child of hers, would not have to have her hair pressed.

I would not go near the stove. Or, even the kitchen. I locked myself in the blue bathroom.  (There were two, the other, orange.) They used a bobby pin to unlock the door and tried an electric hot comb. I cried, and screamed, as though the hounds of hell, were after me.

My grandfather, finally, got them off me. He told them, to let me be. They rolled my hair in some curling papers.

My mother spanked, me at home. Informed me that tomorrow, I would be dressed completely in white. That god only accepted children, who did not dirty first communion clothing. If I acted, in any way, ill. She would make sure, that I would wish. I got my hair pressed after all.

I did what she said. Because, I knew she meant what she told me. That night, disgusted with my father’s mustache.  She naired half of it off, while he was sleeping. So, he had to shave the whole thing off. I never asked to go skating with her, again.

janet jackson and herb alpert diamonds

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How I started smoking.

I am glad that most of my bad choices do not leave marks upon me. If, I had a tattoo for every bad decision.  I would be marked up like Lil’ Wayne.

I reel at my own decisions.  I am almost impervious to peer pressure. You will never get me to do your drugs, join your church, or pyramid scheme. You can, get me to smoke.

I learned to smoke cigarettes, as a matter of life, or burn.

I was at a university, on a road trip with friends. We were staying with someone’s, sister. The sister was trying to push me to give my virginity to her brother.  In hopes to prevent him from being gay.

She decided, she was to going make me, beautiful. We were watching the Miss America pageant. We were drinking. She came to the conclusion, that she was going to hot comb my hair. Hot combing is the most hazardous hair process. It is torture. Wax, metal combs on an open flame, the tender flesh of your ears, and forehead are a very bad equation. This girl was possessed she was going to make me, beautiful. To lure her brother into heterosexuality. It involved straight hair. She was very adamant in a way, only, the very drunk, are.

So, she got out the tools for my destruction. The jar of pressing wax. The glass coated, greasy, sickly pink, smelling of petroleum. The burnt up towel that you test the hot comb on. Stiff, rough, charred, and dirty.  A jar  half full of dirty water, to cool off the hot comb.  A towel, to drape upon my shoulders.  It was filthy, covered in make up. I watched this girl laying out these things and pondered my fate. She was going to singe my hair. She was going to burn the most sensitive parts of my person.

I couldn’t leave. The university town was in the middle of nowhere. The car was a stick that drove in. I could not drive a stick.

My virginal self, was fucked. Meanwhile, guys were at a concert. She had me try on outfits. She laid out make up, perfume, skin cream.  She did not stop drinking screwdrivers.  She set up her bedroom for romance.

My mother was gambling, at a reservation casino. She was consistantly unreachable.  If I called her, she would probably tell me to let the deranged girl, hot comb my hair. My mom loved me, only with straight hair.

While, the contestants were answering the every difficult evening gown question. I shifted on the rent-a-center black leather couch, praying for a pardon.

The sister looked at me from her green contact lenses. And, said “I need a cigarette.”

I told her, I had never smoked before. She then took two hours to teach me how to smoke a cigarette properly. I left the college town completely intact. The girl’s brother is supposedly heterosexual. He spends a lot of time in, Thailand.

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