I grew up going to church ALL the time. My birth story ends with my mami going to church from the hospital wearing her still bloodied maternity dress to worship. I was raised partly in a house that our church called the Casa de Discípulos, with a bunch of young Christian families who broke bread, took their kids to the same Christian school, and even went to church together.
My papi has been ordained ever since I can remember, and has served as a pastor in two big Latin American churches. He also is the lead pianist and vocalist of Restauración, a Christian music group relatively known in Latin America.
Growing up as a girl in this particular charismatic conservative Christianity meant that I was not allowed to do a lot of things. I was not allowed to be too rowdy, like the boys. As a niña, hija de pastores, I had certain expectations that were always placed on me and they had everything to do with behaving well and being a lesser version of myself.
In fourth grade, I was invited to a party and I begged to go. My brother and mom came to pick me up and saw me dancing. I was spanked that night because I was not supposed to dance for anyone or anything but God. I should mention that I did not attend another party till I was around 25 or 26 years old.
In middle school, secular music was my “vice.” I was not allowed to listen to anything that did not glorify the name of Jesus. So I resorted to staying up late at night listening to Power 96.5, a radio station in Miami that played all the popular music. I just wanted to sing along to the music that was played in our buses and at lunch hour. I just wanted to enjoy things, like music. I was sent to Christian summer camp and shamed for this, and the guilt led me to throw away all the bootleg CDs I had my friends make me that I hid from my parents.
In high school, boys were my “vice.” I was not allowed to go to friend’s houses, especially if they were not church friends. I was not allowed to get phone calls from boys. I was not allowed to have friends who were boys.
They said this was all to protect me.
Read the rest here.