Friday, September 30, 2011

I Want to Be Little Again

I want to be little again. I long for the times when going to my friend's house meant that she and I would run around the house and play games downstairs while our parents would talk upstairs. When there were no worries except if I would like what we were having for dinner or falling asleep during Mass. When all I wanted was to see the newest Disney movie and live adventures. When Mommabear was alive and I had no doubts that she would always be there to help me and care for me.

Things were simpler when I was 7. In fact, things didn't start to get complicated until I turned 12. Oh puberty. I can pinpoint all of the ages where I have felt a significant leap or development in maturity (if you're curious: 12, 16, 20, 23). I have a feeling another leap is coming upon me as my wedding is impending (I'm 26 now).

Sometimes things are too much, too heavy, too complicated, too involved. Being home makes me yearn for the simple, the young, the living, the past. The photo project I have started does not help this. I have gone through all of the rolls of pictures my parents had taken throughout the years, organized them according to year, then gone through year by year to take which pictures I want, put them in order, and then label them (and my labels are very detailed). I'm averaging 75 pictures per year and I have pictures from every year from 1984 through 2000, plus extras. It has been good for me to go through my life year by year, see who I was, what my parents looked like, where we went, and to remember. And it has been healing.

For the first time in many years, I am truly ready to move on with my life. I am ready to keep growing. In fact, I'm not sure that I've ever been ready to grow before; it normally just smacks me upside the head as I'm in the midst of it. I'm glad I'm home, I'm glad I'm where I'm at, I'm glad I have forewarning of growth, I'm glad I'm ready to grow, I'm glad for growth, I'm glad for life. I miss being the carefree child I was, but now I can be a carefree adult. Sometimes much harder said than done, especially as I feel the complete weight of familial burdens. I miss Mommabear. She was my safety net, my buffer, my partner, my friend. But something I learned from being a child was to believe in the invisible and to have faith and trust. Even when I could not see Mommabear or be with her when I was little, I always knew she was with me, I carried her with me. So I do the same now, but in an even more profound way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Hair

My hair has grown very long (and I have let it mostly on account of the wishes of my fiance, Jess. But I have grown to love it, too) and I have been contemplating a cut and dye after I get married, especially since I am moving to Texas where
it gets very hot. But some background: I enjoy having long hair, I'm just a little bored, but I think my current grown-out cut suits my face very well. Also, I am in love with my natural color, it is perfect for my complexion; however, I am beginning to get grays and so will have to let go of my love for my natural color sooner anyway (I know what you must be thinking...grays?!? How? You are far too young for grays! Why, you can't be older than 18! Wrong, I am 26 and while I still think I am too young for grays both my cousin Paula and my soon-to-be-brother-in-law Jon laugh in my face as they began going gray at 16).Me now:
What Jess thinks I should do:

What I'm thinking is a little more length than Lily here, maybe a little below shoulder length (that still takes about 6 inches of hair off) and with lowlights of her color and blonde highlights. That way, I can keep some of my natural color and length and still do something new and fun! Thoughts?

Every Flower Must Grow Through Dirt

I've always been entranced by stories of homeless people, especially young people, and people who come through such debilitating and gritty situations to find life and love and meaning. I devoured stories about life on the edge, punks, rebels, addicts. My life seemed so whitewashed and clean compared to theirs and so...boring. I wanted a life of excitement and the straight and narrow path didn't really seem to accomodate that. Why did I find beauty and excitement in these other lives and not in my own? Because there is beauty in grittiness.There is rawness and realness to a gritty life, a life on the edge. There is no room for maybe or maybe not, only do or don't, live or die. In a way, it is a very profound life. You must always be real and up-front, in touch with who you are, and because, most often, a gritty life is a life at rock bottom or close, you can be who you want to be. Being empty leaves you with space to fill up with and what you fill up with is your choice.

But what we know about a gritty life is that it doesn't normally end well. With that emptiness come the natural desire to be full and some people do not know how to fill themselves with good things. Addiction, over-dose, death, and suicide often ensue. This does not appeal to me.

I want a raw, real life full of adventure and excitement. I don't want to just explore a place, I want to play in it. But I don't want a whitewashed life, never experiencing any suffering. Why? Because out of our suffering emerges such beauty and virtue, resistance and perseverance--all of the things that can make us great.

And that's how I fell in love with Christ. That's when I discovered who I want to be and how I want to live my life. God, Who did not spare Himself any pain or suffering but Who also led an amazing life of joy, excitement, intimacy, and love.

There is realness in pain. When we have nothing left, there is no fear in showing who we are or where we are at. This is Christ's call to us everyday, to be who we are, who we are created to be. And above all else, I am His.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why Virginity Matters

A great reflection and article. Also, some really insightful comments. Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Women: More Than Society Allows Her To Be

Feminist and Feminism are not the same things. Women's Movements in the United States have done great things for women and their goal was always equality. Women gained the right to vote through one wave of the movement, which told the world that women have just as rational a brain and an ability to choose leaders as men. But the thing is, equal doesn't mean the same because, ask anyone who's dated someone of the opposite sex (I'm sure my fiance would gladly add his two cents), men and women process the world differently. One is not better than the other, it can be argued (but not wholly) that one is better suited for certain things than the other and vice versa, but the basic truth is men and women are different. Equal but different. Why is this so hard for us to understand?
Feminism shows us that being a woman is good and beautiful and capable and dependable and just as awesome as masculinity but in a different way. It shows us that being a woman is valuable and respectable. Feminist tells us that being a woman is inherently less. Sure, being a woman shouldn't tie me down to any social norms or acts of depreciation, but my womanhood is only good insofar as I can make it masculine. This is where we get a view of babies as a burden or even a disease; because, in the work place, for any woman who wants to climb the corporate ladder, be a financial success, or just scrape by, babies are a nuisance. Enter abortion and women's right to "choose". Women are giving women the ability to choose to kill the baby in her womb and therefore strip away what makes a woman a woman, taking away the "superpower" only women have, that is, to make babies as no man can carry a child inside of him and nurture that baby and then survive labor like a champ (please note: that transgendered man who gave birth to his and his partner's child kept his lady parts in his operation and therefore is not wholly male and thus a man did not birth a child). Some scientists will disagree with me here and say that a man could carry a child in his abdomen, after being artificially inseminated, and then give birth to a healthy, full-term child by a modified Cesarean (however, all will agree that this poses significant health hazards to both parent and child and is not advisable). So let me modify my statement: no man is born with all of the necessary parts to carry a child within him through an act of sexual intercourse. Only women have the ability and privilege to do this! But I digress...
Feminists seek equality through the destruction of womanhood and the woman. Feminism seeks equality by noting the differences in the genders and showing how each is valuable and good. A real way to get equality for women would be to reinvent the way corporate America sets up her business structures, allowing for men and women to work side by side in an environment that protects femininity and masculinity by giving each the allowances necessary without the destruction of one sex over the other (we have begun this with more generous time and benefits for mothers on maternity leave and the ever-increasing ability to work from home).
But this issue goes far beyond the workplace. Feminist views tell us that to be good, successful, respectable women, we must constantly be doing and achieving things and undervalue the good of doing at home: the good of teaching your child his first word, succeeding as a parent at raising good citizens, etc. Feminism seeks integration of all of these; no woman is better than another simply by holding a job in the workforce over raising a stable family at home, and neither of these is mutually exclusive, women can do both.
What I'm getting at is I hate abortion. It is morally indefensible and inexcusable to recklessly and brutally kill an innocent human life for the advancement of one's own purposes (seriously, dogs get more protection and outrage over cruelty done to them than kids in the womb). Not only this, but it strips women of exactly what makes them women and leaves them androgynous male-wannabes. Most women probably don't feel this when they have abortions, some even feel empowered by it, but they are not being empowered as women, they are being empowered as pseudo-males. It's time to take femininity back and I'm starting today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What It Feels Like For a Mother

I've been asking a lot of questions about motherhood recently. I'm preparing to be married and with that comes the possibility of children (God willing!)...and it's something I have a lot of head knowledge about but little deeper understanding. Thankfully, I have some great friends who are mothers that don't mind answering my thousands of questions. Today I was able to have a lovely conversation with a friend that went like this:

Friend: "Being a mother is a concrete, constant reminder of sacrificial love. It has given my life a more beautiful, deeply meaningful depth than I could prior understand. My life is not my own, it belongs to my kids in that they completely depend on me to meet their needs. At times I hate it because I don't have a choice. I love them and so I sacrifice for them. But with that sacrifice comes a continually deeper love and in that love I am drawn closer to God and brought fulfillment. In that sense, being a mother bring my fulfillment."

Me: "Do you think there is a way to fall into a negative side of that? Like to lose sight of the fulfillment and grace it brings?"

Friend: "Sure, actually quite easily with little ones who seem to need ALL THE TIME and rarely say thank you."

Me: "Through being a mother and the self-sacrificial love of that you become more you. Do you think it is possible to lose yourself, who you are, become less you, by losing sight of everything? Make it all about self-sacrifice instead of about God?"

Friend: "So like play the martyr instead of actually being one. Makes sense to me. Instead of being who I'm meant to be, which happens effortlessly, being who I think I ought to be, which takes great effort. I think the intent is good but it's misguided. Maybe looking for fulfillment in the action instead of through the action."

All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, all through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph.