When I was a teenager, searching the realm of cinema for identity resonance and connection, I related most emphatically to Winona Ryder’s character in the film “Mermaids.” The stark instability of being parented by a mother who was no more than a child, the inflated responsibility that accompanies that scenario, the unmovable attachment to the boots of her mythical father. Like the work shoes I borrowed from my Uncle John, the uncle with a hole in his throat–back then I didn’t know the word “tracheotomy.” Winona wore those boots and prayed to her saints and wove starry halos around the nuns she encountered and dreamed of joining. Nuns. A fixation. I wanted to be a nun in the ninth grade, when I was super Catholic and jumped rope with rosaries and imagined Jesus was in the incense. I wanted to move all of the second-hand furniture out of my room and live cloistered there with nothing but a mattress, a crucifix and my prayer books. I loved nuns for their dedication, their purity, the unshakable stone of their commitment. I loved them for their proximity to God. In the movie, I liked Winona’s character because whe was dark and intent, because she was unswerving in her devotion and somehow oblivious to the rules of 14-year-old society. She was SERIOUS. I understood SERIOUS. I liked her because of her capacity to dream–because she was somehow bigger than her context–and flawed.