Here I am, seven years old and about to
marry Jesus make my first Holy Communion. Now, I will let you in on a one of the many secrets Catholics have and this one isn't illegal. You see, when you are a girl and you are looking forward to making your first Communion, you are only looking forward to wearing the dress, in much the same way that most of us only look forward to the wearing the gown when thinking about the prom and why we will go to the prom with pretty-much anyone.
I mean, how many times do girls get to wear gowns these days? Not many. Yeah, you gotta do what you gotta do because if your mom is like mine she isn't buying you an expensive gown for nothing - I mean she might consider it if it means you might snag a guy, (get pregnant and marry/ move out of her house before anyone knows, ) so she can save on the grocery bill, but other than that she won't be able to fit your dress into her clothing allowance.
But, now that we are talking about gowns and dresses and my mother, I will tell you a secret. That dress I am wearing in the picture is not mine. It's a hand-me-down from my cousin Nancy. See that smile on my face? Yeah, it's fake. I'm choking back tears. I wanted a dress like the other girls had, one that really did look like a bridal gown and I didn't even care if it made me look like the Bride of Jesus ,because I would have married Jesus or one of his apostles, even, or in a pinch, Satan, if it meant the I could have a pretty NEW dress. But. The Queen Mother needed a new dress, so I got the hand-me-down dress two sizes too big.
So, there's my Dad, telling me that I look pretty and there's me with the face that clearly says "I don't believe you. You know this dress looks like ass, and I know this dress looks like ass, but I'm trying to smile for the camera right now while I'm also trying to forget that horrible story Sister Margaret Mary told us about the girl who spit out the communion host into her hand and when she looked down there was a blood stain on her little white gloves, which is why we must remember that it is a mortal sin to spit out the body of Jesus.. "
(And somehow, right now I am finally understanding how incredibly fucked up that story is and wondering how many abusive priests have used just that scare tactic. )
But, if nothing else, that photograph is a good example of how, even as a small child, I could really fake it for the camera, especially because at that moment I remember that I was also worrying that the host would taste like fish or cheese. This picture was the first of many, many, many more fake it 'till you make it shots.
PS The Making it part took way longer than I expected.