Before you start reading, if you were born in the 80s and went to a convent, raise your hands and say “Hell Yeah”, or more appropriately “Hail Mary.” If you didn’t, no need to feel left out. You were tortured by other adults who were not being stern (out of and) in a habit.
Even though I left a home away from home in the hill convent school more than a decade ago, here are some things that follow me around.
1. Lift Your Feet and Walk
When I see or more likely hear people shuffling about, it makes me want to stop them in their track and correct them. But I don’t, for my own good.
2. Cry for Christ
This one was left unsaid, but after reading enough pamphlets on Christ’s life and bawling at the crucifixion scene in a movie at the school theater, you’re always in readiness to cry some more.
3. Graveyard Gossip
As you must be aware, all Convents are built on a graveyard. No, seriously. A silent windy night, a back-lit statue of the Virgin Mary visible from the dormitory corridor and the glistening graveyard white is sure to make you feel like an extra on ‘Blair Witch Project’ (there weren’t any. and there was no ghost. or else, you’re it.)
4. The Forever Two Minute Meal
When you’ve got a nun parading behind you while you eat the daal-with-no-grains you learn to go faster. My personal best was going from a two hour lunch routine, which involved sitting alone at the table and looking on at nothing in particular in 1990s PC (Pre-Convent) to now eating before you can say “What’s that on your plate?”. Its fun, do try it at home.
5. Cursive is King
At and after a convent school you might begin to think that people who cannot form a word by joining letters together should be shipped to another planet. It might not be so bad. They’ll take your husband away (him with the left slant and floating letters that only martians can possibly perfect). Plus the written world will look pretty and who minds that.
Life within the walls of a Convent bears little resemblance to the world outside.
In your first years ‘on the other side’, you think everyone else needs to be “disciplined”. It’s only later that it dawns on you that the ‘cloistered’ convent taught you a language of life that is stuck in 1885. But you learn to roll with it, keeping your Nun avatar in check, but not without saying a shortened version of Our Father in Heaven for the souls of errant beings.