OK, so I didn’t do so well with Catholicism. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up on organized religion just yet. After all, I was only in elementary school.

One of my closest friends, Krystal, went to a Baptist church within walking distance of my house. During the week, she attended their Awana club–where you wore vests like in Girl Scouts and got to play games. I thought it would be fun so I joined.

I was in the Sparky group. We got these little books and we had to memorize bible verses. Since I was in Drama classes at Anita’s School of Dance (and I just won a trophy for my performances), this was not a problem for me. I would recite the verses and get Awana dollars to spend at the Awana store–where you could buy Sparky t-shirts, notebooks, pens and pencils. You had to earn the vest. Then after our classes, we met up with all the other Awana kids and played kickball. I thought it was the best church service ever.

And after a few months, they had a big sleepover at the church. We sang songs, played kickball and slept in the church rec room. It was so cool. The best part, was when everyone else fell asleep (but myself, Krystal and some of her school friends). We quietly slipped out of our sleeping bags and pretended to head toward the bathroom, one by one. Once we were all out of the rec room, we decided to explore the church. We went into the classrooms and the children’s area. Then we eventually found ourselves in the main room. There was a door off to the side. I wanted to be like Frisco & Felicia on General Hospital so I used a bobby pin to unlock the door. It totally worked–cause the door wasn’t really locked, I just pretended it was. The door led up a small staircase that led to the Baptism pool. We all stood there, looking at one another, wondering what we should do next. We all had the same idea. We were going swimming. We stripped down to our underwear and training bras and dove into the warm, holy water. I thought I would feel like a better person, swimming in holy water but I felt the same. Maybe I needed to swim longer to wash the heathen out of my hair.

I don’t think we were in there for very long before the lights turned on. We all took a deep breath and went underwater–not realizing the tank was completely visible. So yeah, we were caught. And ironically, the good little Christian girls all turned around and put all the blame on me, the new kid. So much for Thou shalt not lie. I fessed up and said I did it–I was soaking wet, I didn’t think they would believe any other story. So my parents were called and I was asked to never return.

So, now not only did the Catholics not want me, the Baptists didn’t either. So I figured I would just have to find my own spirituality. I started reading up on all types of religions–attending services with other friends–and I just decided to take bits & pieces of each. (I figure that covers all my bases, depending on which one is the True Religion). I love the dancing and warm cookie dough from the Hindu religion. I love the peacefulness, chanting and candles from the Buddhist religion. I love finding your inner animal (mine’s a monkey) like the Native Americans. I love the pagan’s worship of the earth (I really love Garden gnomes). I like ET, volcanoes and science fiction novels which coincides with Scientology. I love Matzo Ball soup and kosher pickles from Judaism. I like music by the Jackson 5 and Prince–they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. I like the idea of secret underwear–thank the Mormons. But most of all, I love the idea that I can repent all my sins by giving something up for 40 days–yep, I’m still a Catholic practicing Lent (I feel guilty if I don’t).

So now, when people ask me what church I belong to, my reply is simple: I’m a member of the The Hindu Jewish Christian Buddhist Scientific Church of Native Gnomes.