Anais Nin, 1932
Am I, at bottom, that fervent little Spanish Catholic child who chastised herself for loving toys, who forbade herself the enjoyment of sweet foods, who practiced silence, who humiliated her pride, who adored symbols, statues, burning candles, incense, the caress of nuns, organ music, for whom Communion was a great event? I was so exalted by the idea of eating Jesus's flesh and drinking His blood that I couldn't swallow the host well, and I dreaded harming the it. I visualized Christ descending into my heart so realistically (I was a realist then!) that I could see Him walking down the stairs and entering the room of my heart like a sacred Visitor. That state of this room was a subject of great preoccupation for me. . . At the ages of nine, ten, eleven, I believe I approximated sainthood. And then, at sixteen, resentful of controls, disillusioned with a God who had not granted my prayers (the return of my father), who performed no miracles, who left me fatherless in a strange country, I rejected all Catholicism with exaggeration. Goodness, virtue, charity, submission, stifled me. I took up the words of Lawrence: "They stress only pain, sacrifice, suffering and death. They do not dwell enough on the resurrection, on joy and life in the present." Today I feel my past like an unbearable weight, I feel that it interferes with my present life, that it must be the cause for this withdrawal, this closing of doors. . . I am embalmed because a nun leaned over me, enveloped me in her veils, kissed me. The chill curse of Christianity. I do not confess any more, I have no remorse, yet am I doing penance for my enjoyments? Nobody knows what a magnificent prey I was for Christian legends, because of my compassion and my tenderness for human beings. Today it divides me from enjoyment in life.