Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Walk or Not to Walk...

Lately I've been seriously thinking about whether or not I will walk on stage at my graduation in the Spring. Some of my friends/classmates are opting not to since they've attended previous graduation ceremonies my school's had and they all say it's pretty mind-numbingly bad. That and, well, we're all in the "hey, this isn't an orthodox Catholic college! Get me out of here!" boat. The speakers aren't that great (from what I've heard) and it's a 4-5 hour ceremony because they include Associates, Bachelors and Masters graduates into one big ceremony. Add the fact that my school has a history of inviting pro-abortion speakers and you get a very unhappy me. If by some miracle Archbishop Gomez was invited to speak and actually accepted then I would not hesitate but I'm not holding my breath. And, to be completely honest, I feel kind of like a fraud. I don't think I really earned my degree 'cause I learned nothing except how to defend myself against those who don't teach Catholicism in an orthodox manner... oh, and I might've gotten a little more mischievous when coming up with prank ideas. That's pretty much it. lol.

If it were up to me (and only had myself to consider) I wouldn't do it. We all know I'm not my school's biggest fan and that I'm just going through the motions to graduate. They assault me with liberation theology and feminist rants on a daily basis; my reaction isn't a surprise. It's sad that I won't look back at my time at this school fondly (except for time spent with some good friends) but que sera, sera. However, I have to think about how much it would've meant to my dad and how much it means to my mom to see me walk.

See, the thing is that I'm a first generation college student in my family. No one's graduated high school, let alone college. The fact that I'm going to graduate (God willing) is a huge deal for them. My mom likes to tell everyone that I'm a few months from graduating while I blush a bright red and tell her to not make a big deal out of it. An older brother and sister-in-law were here last week and when my mom started talking about it, I went and hid in my room while I felt my face flushed. lol. I know if my dad were still alive he'd tell me that if I didn't want to go I wouldn't have to... though he would later try to guilt trip me into reconsidering it. lol. My mom will most likely "talk to" (and by talk I mean bug -- and I say that in the most loving way, lol) me until I cave and say I'm going... but I don't know.

That brings me to something else. I'm currently going through this period of trying to figure out when it's okay to do what I want and when to go on as I have before. I've (pretty much) always been a people pleaser; always done what I was told or what was expected of me. I've given up a lot -- oh boy, have I ever -- but I'm not regretting my decisions. I'm not complaining. I'm just at a point where I've been feeling a little selfish and this decision is one in which I am struggling. I really don't think I want to do the whole graduation thing (I'm not even taking my picture for the yearbook with their own photographer since that's more money they want to suck out of my already microscopic wallet). If they have another pro-abortion speaker spewing their agenda I'm going to be uncomfortable. A 4-5 hour ceremony sounds torturous... especially since I'll be somewhere at the end (Religious Studies is amongst the last listed majors) so I'll have to sit through the entire thing. I would much rather go to Disneyland with a bunch of friends and celebrate that way. But, do I want to pick this as my first big selfish decision and deprive my mother out of seeing her only child (and I am my mother's only child as my siblings are half-siblings on dad's side) graduate? I mean, she's already seen my graduate. I was the first to walk on stage at my high school graduation since I finished early and I sort of gave the Valedictorian speech. (side note: I am currently blushing typing that out.) I know this is college and it's a whole different ballgame but I just don't know.

So that, ladies and gentlemen, is my dilemma. I unfortunately have to make a decision soon since the school is asking us to let me know whether or not we will walk so they can make the necessary arrangements. I know, for sure, I am not doing the yearbook picture thing... nor the school/class ring... or pretty much anything that will make me dip into the savings I've just started rebuilding. And I thought trying to figure out what I was going to write my Thesis on was hard (another side note: I already picked my topic ;D); this is harder.

Anyway, I just gave myself a little break to update y'all on what's going on with me. Still a whole lot of nothing except schoolwork. Good news is that I've got my professors figured out so I know what to do to save myself time when studying. :D Still doing the music purge. I'm down to triple digits. I had to delete A LOT of music. I'll update y'all with more detail soon. The skirt experience will probably re-start in October since I lost a bit of weight and I need to get myself some new duds. (Don't worry, it's not intentional or an illness; I just cut down on sugar and a lot of junk foods for my own health.) I do have some pretty exciting "Oh boy, I'm getting published again" news. Not for Envoy Magazine (though, yes, I have another article in the latest issue) but something else. Y'all will know soon enough. :D

Okay, now I'm just procrastinating. lol. I should go and try to finish my coursework so I can enjoy my first long weekend since last month. :)

I hope everyone is doing great and hope y'all have a great weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Finally Watched The Passion... Sort Of.

Okay, so I admit that I had very little desire to watch The Passion of the Christ. I heard it was very violent and very intense so I just avoided it. It's not that I wanted to avoid thinking about the agony and torture Our Lord suffered... it's just that I'm very sensitive when it comes to people suffering. I can't see it without a few tears escaping. I've always been that way. When we used to go to Mexico to visit my paternal family, I would cry when I saw the poor children and women begging for money on the streets so they could eat. I felt helpless because I didn't know how to help and when I did help (when I gave up whatever food I had with me), I was made fun of by family members. My heart just broke (and continues to break) for these people. If I see this way towards strangers imagine how much more it hurts when I think about everything Jesus went through for us.

For the record, I am a lot stronger (emotionally) than I am describing myself. I am able to endure a lot of things but seeing others suffer is one of the few things I just cannot help but get emotional over. Having said that, I will now confess that I cry during the Sorrowful Mysteries... especially when I take into consideration how I've been ungrateful in the past for the many blessings I've received. Maybe it's my "healthy Catholic guilt conscience" (as one of my professors described it last semester) but I just feel bad about the dumb, immature things I've had in the past. Anyway, I knew that if I cried during the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary I would be in so much trouble watching The Passion.

I was forced to watch part of it this week for my Christology course. Yes, forced. I was game for any other film but The Passion. I did not want to blubber like a baby in the classroom, especially when there are classmates who look at you as if you're subhuman. (side note: I wish it was a cliched exaggeration but the girls who come from families with money look down on us who don't... and don't hide the "disgust" they feel towards us.) I told several friends I would not watch the movie in the class because I knew it would happen. I was determined. I walked in this morning and said, "I'm just signing in and then I'm leaving. I'm not watching it." But then I felt a little courage and stayed. I'm glad I did.

Yes, I did sob. A lot. I left the classroom twice to get tissues. My eyes were red and puffy when I went to my next class. Yes, I did get these "Oh Em Gee, I can't believe she's crying over this" looks from some classmates. I did not care. Only one of the girls watched all of the film. During certain scenes everyone else took out their phones or played with papers on their desks. I tweeted. It was intense and we all felt it. I only watched the second half as they had started the first half earlier in the week when I was taking an exam (which I passed! :D) for the class elsewhere. It was enough to leave me emotionally drained. On the bright side I was able to see just how much I could handle (and am kind of proud of myself for that) and it gave me a lot to meditate on... in a good way. I actually have to watch it in its entirety since I have to write a paper on it but I'm more prepared now than I was a few days ago.

I can see where the criticism comes from. A friend said he didn't like it because it was too violent. Others praised it for giving us something to think about. I think both are valid arguments. It was intense (maybe a little too intense for the majority of the audience) but at the same time I feel like, though they could've toned down some things and still have gotten the desired effect, it was powerful enough to really makes us think about the suffering Jesus endured, the reason why it happened, and how we can repay Him. I still have a lot to think about (and, no doubt, a lot more when I watch all of it) but I already have a lot to think about... and some things to reevaluate.

I know I got a few "what kind of Catholic are you?" type responses when I said I hadn't watched the movie earlier this week but that's okay. While I do think it definitely makes you see things different, and it does leave you kind of stunned at first (it did me), I don't think anyone should be forced to watch it if they don't wish to. Those who have experienced violence or seen it inflicted on others (I, luckily, have not experienced it myself but have seen classmates/friends physically hurt) are more likely to feel strongly against watching it and that should be okay. It's not a film for everyone.

I am sure I will once again sob and go through a box of tissues when I re-watch it for specific questions such as "which Gospel did the screenwriter use?" but I'm ready. Okay, fine, I'll probably clutch a pillow but I'm good. lol. Don't know if I'll make it a tradition of watching it during Lent like some people but I wouldn't completely rule out ever watching it again at some point in my lifetime. We'll see. :)

Anyway, I have about 80 pages on Judaism to read for one class, 50 on Sexuality in Society for one of my Sociology courses, a couple chapters for my Anger Management class (haha, no, I don't have anger issues; it's a Sociology-Psychology hybrid class), and I have to read the entire Prose and Poetic Eddas by Tuesday so I better hit them books. :)

I hope y'all are having a great weekend thus far; I know I am. ;) I will try to blog again this weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget 9/11/01

Everyone who was alive or affected by the tragedy of 9/11 has their own personal story. My story is not one that is of importance but I still feel like sharing it because I am still affected by it, 10 years later.

On September 11, 2001 I was a 16 year-old who was going through some changes of her own. I had actually started independent study and moved away from traditional public school due to my anxiety which had begun to affect me the year before. Since I did my work at home, I woke up from a nightmarish dream that I have only shared with a handful of people. I knew something was wrong. Everything felt different; tense even. I walked into the living room and saw my older sister, who had been visiting us from Virginia, pacing the room in sheer panic. My little nephew, Alexander, who was a year old, knew that something was wrong and looked at my sister with worry. That's when I looked at the t.v. and saw that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At first I thought it might've been an accident... until I saw the second plane hit the second tower. I stood there in shock and I still remember thinking, in that moment, "all innocence is gone. Nothing will ever be the same again."

My sister sat down and tried to control herself while my dad tried to keep us calm. I looked at Alexander who looked like he wanted to cry from the desperation he saw on his mother's face and I sat down next to him, on the floor, and tried to distract him. I sang little songs and tried to look as happy as I could for his sake but inside I felt like crying. I would occasionally look up at the TV and see if there was anything else being reported. We got news that a plane hit the Pentagon and my sister nearly lost it. My brother-in-law worked not far from it and my sister desperately tried to get in contact with him. She couldn't get through but my dad gave her reassuring words that my brother-in-law would be fine. I looked back at Alex and I started to make silly faces whenever he could stop looking at my sister. I glanced up and saw the first tower collapse.

"Oh God, no. Please, no" was what I remember saying. I watched with tears in my eyes, as I watched. I hurried to my room so Alex wouldn't see me upset and tried to composed myself so I could get back to him. Though I was worried and afraid, my priority that day became my nephew and, as I reasoned it then, keeping him a happy child while he was young enough not to understand what had happened. I wanted him to enjoy his childhood for as long as possible because I knew things would never be the same. After a couple of minutes I returned and sat down next to Alex. I watched the second tower collapse in disbelief but at that point I was so overwhelmed that I was numb. I couldn't cry. I couldn't register everything that had just happened. I focused on Alex and his sweet little smiling face. My sister finally got a hold of her husband and we all relaxed a little bit. My sister was due to fly back to Virginia but she had to stay a few days which was fine with us. We did not want her traveling back so soon though she was desperate to return to her husband and my niece Wendy who were both back in Virginia.

After the initial shock wore off and the feelings of anger and hurt began to subside, I remember being happily surprised by the kindness of strangers. For a few weeks, if not months, I remember how we all felt united. The attack had impacted us all, whether we knew someone who was killed or directly affected by the hijackings or not. At my mother's work, we held candlelight vigil a week after the events. We stood outside as the stars were starting to show and I saw that we were not the only ones. There were people on other streets doing the same; waving the flags and holding up signs of hope. As the cars passed by, we heard honks and cheers in solidarity. This one painful day seemed to bring out the best in people and I remember that it was that way for several months. My father bought two plastic American flags to put on his cars and I could remember the pride I felt.

The following months and years reflected how much we were all affected. My childhood sweetheart enlisted in the Navy two years later when we turned 18 as did my high school boyfriend (though he went into the Army). My friend Heather went into the Marines right after graduation and my best friend growing up, Rudy, was set on going into the Marines as well.

Reflecting on the events, and watching the coverage on T.V., has made me very emotional today. I actually just read about Fr. Mychal Judge yesterday and I was dissolved into a puddle of tears. I have my moments where I can't seem to stop crying, especially when I see or hear the families of those who perished. It hurts me deeply, almost as if I were a part of their family. In one sense, I am. In other moments I am grateful to those who risked their lives and am once again reminded of the hope that has and will always remain in the wake of tragedy. I am reminded of two quotes Anne Frank wrote in her diary: "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." and "I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."

May God be with the families of those killed as well as those who remember what happened that day. May God bless us all. May we never forget, never lose hope, and may we never see something like it ever again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Finally Happened...

Brace yourselves for something you never thought you'd hear from me. Are you sitting down? Are you ready? You sure? Okay, here it goes...

... we finally had an orthodox Religious Studies lecture. *gasp* Am I being punked? lol.

All kidding aside, I am very surprised about how yesterday's Christology class went. We had an actual lecture where there was no mention of liberation theology or any feminist rants. I may sound a little pessimistic when I say that I don't expect this to last but we've already been told that we'll focus the second half of the semester on the liberal side of Christology so I'm counting yesterday as a fluke. Yeeeah. Fun. lol. Maybe, since it Mama Mary's birthday yesterday, it was a feast day miracle. (side note: Have I mentioned that they gave out birthday cake during the lunch hour because of the feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Mother? Yeah, I know. Surprise!) Or maybe the prof is trying to get me to put my guard down. Either way, I'm prepared for whatever comes my way. One thing I do know is that I'm in for a hard semester.

Lack of updates is due to the insane amount of homework I have. I have to read no less than 200 pages per week for my classes not to mention study for weekly exams/quizzes, papers, and all that fun stuff. And by fun I mean torture. lol. Actually, except for my Christology course, none of my classes are that hard. The work is just ridiculously time consuming. I thought I would be able to finish everything early and enjoy my weekend but I work right through my weekend as well. Some professors apparently believe their's is the only class we're taking because some assign up to 150 pages to read every week. For one class. Now do y'all get my absence from online activity? I have a feeling I will finish this semester mentally exhausted.

Not much to note besides the homework and something else that I've been wanting to write about. No, not the purging of music that makes me uncomfortable (though I do have iTunes open and go through the songs while I read) or the skirt experiment but something else. :) I'll write it soon enough. ;D

Anyway, I just wanted to update y'all on my school situation. I know many of y'all were brought to this blog when Patrick Madrid, First Things, and the Cardinal Newman Society all highlighted my CINO College post and I still get asked how things are going. I think my biggest challenge will happen when I write my Thesis next semester. I have it down to two possible things I want to write the 40 page Thesis (yes, you read that right) on and neither will go down well with my adviser but it's my paper so ha! ;) For now I'll just keep on swimming (a la Nemo's Dory) and try to make it out of this semester alive. :D

That's it for now. I did 8 straight days of cramming/studying and all I want to do is listen to music and catch up on my movie viewing today. I may have a special post scheduled for Sunday if I can get it written on time. Stay tuned for that. :D

I hope y'all are doing well, especially those who are back at work and school. :) I also hope y'all have a great, safe weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Major Music Overhaul Monday: Part One.

1) I have about 150+ pages to read by tomorrow (oh, how I wish I was kidding) so I'll only post only a portion of what I want to share.

2) Yes, that's an actual screen cap of (part of) my iTunes library.

I've been alluding to the fact that I've been doing some major changes in my life lately. I have. I'll eventually get into the details of the other things I've changed and will change (such as a sort of experiment in which this "jeans and a t-shirt" gal will wear only skirts and dresses for a year) but for now I am going to share one of the hardest for me.

As some of you know, I'm a massive music nerd. I took some Jazz Studies courses my freshman year of college and was set to do that before I had a change of heart. I often help friends out (both guys and gals) with picking out music for playlists for their significant others, road trips, or weddings. You need a song for a specific occasion, I'm your girl. My first love was music and the love affair has stayed with me my entire life thus far. When I was a toddler I used to pluck a string on my mom's guitar and then run away, laughing my little tush off. When I got older, I started singing in school choir. I eventually learned how to play some Beethoven at the end of elementary school and I fulfilled my dream of learning to play the guitar when I was in my late teens. Music is almost always playing, whether it's on the way to or from somewhere or in the background while I'm home. Basically, St. Cecilia (the patroness of music and my confirmation saint) would be proud... yet maybe not entirely.

The reason why I am doing a major music library overhaul is because I've noticed a distinct change in me in the last couple of months that is more obvious now that I've acknowledged it: I am no longer comfortable listening to everything I grew up with. I will be the first to admit that I tend to focus on the melody and not so much the lyrics until a couple of plays. It may be because I usually favor music that is mainly instrumental. Either way, as I've been paying attention to the lyrics of the songs I own I've begun to feel uncomfortable listening to them. An example of a song is like the ones highlighted in the post picture. This particular part of my iTunes library that shows that I have two versions of the same song by two of my favorite jazz vocalists. I LOVE Ella Fitzgerald and June Christy. Their songs are the ones I like to sing when I'm alone at home and can belt out a few without feeling self-conscience. There are a couple of parts that I don't feel happy singing but it's mostly the lyric "thank God I can be over-sexed again." I just can't sing that and the more I listen to the song, the less comfortable I am even hearing it. This is part of why I'm doing the changes.

I may be criticized for possibly being too puritanical in my ways of thinking but I need to do this for me. Consider "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" deleted from my music library. These are just some of the examples I'm going to be sharing as I embark on this quite hard journey (for me, as a music lover, at least) to rid myself of these songs.

That's all I'm going to share for tonight. I still have a lot of things to do in preparation for a very probable test I may have in my Christology course tomorrow so that's it for now. I'll maybe take every Monday this month to finish posting on this or maybe I'll be able to finish it next Monday. It'll all depend on how much free time I actually have during the week. So much reading/studying and not so much free time. :) Anyway, it's "Only the Beginning of the Adventure." (Quick, someone figure out where that song is from. ;D)

I hope y'all had a great long weekend and have a fantastic week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hooray for Reverse Senioritis; School Update

As I stated in the last blog post, I seem to have reverse senioritis which is why there hasn't been an update in over a week. What exactly is reverse senioritis, you may ask. Well, instead of not wanting to do the coursework assigned because I'm in the last couple of months before graduation I'm actually doing what I can to get ahead. I'm actually currently behind a couple of days because this week has been quite eventful (including a car accident on the way to school AND a mini earthquake yesterday; no worries, no one was hurt) and I haven't had the time to sit down and properly study in a couple of days. My goal is to be a week or so ahead in most of my classes which is doable if I take this weekend to do it. I can do it since the readings aren't too bad but I will need to take a break from the 'net until Sunday day of rest) and then again until probably Tuesday.

As for how school is going: I'm at the moment indifferent. I'm loving my Norse mythology course because of the imagination they had and because my professor is so passionate about it that he makes the lectures interesting. My Christology class is going okay. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages and y'all know I'm not too happy about that. Some things are right on the mark and others have me sitting in my seat, moving a St. Therese Sacrifice Bead over and offering it up. I feel like it's also too PC (politically correct) but I've felt that way about all my Religious Studies classes thus far. It's almost as if it's criminal to talk about what the Church's actual teachings on subjects such as homosexuality are not taught for fear of offending people. Y'all know my theory: I'd rather be told the Truth and have people ticked off for having the guts to say it than offending the Lord but maybe that's just me. The semester is still in its early days (we just finished the 2nd week) so I'm still hoping and praying that we'll eventually get less mixed messages. There's still hope. :)

Everything else is going great. Anxiety's been a bit of a mess with the events that happened yesterday but I'm drinking red rooibos tea which helps the anxiety go down and all things are good. :) Oh, and I know I was vague about a tweet I made about changes happening but I hope to be able to write about it on Monday (if I am able to finish reading by Saturday night). It'll work out because part of it involves music and y'all know I enjoy my Music Monday posts. :D

Anyway, just wanted to give y'all an update. I hope those of you who are already back in school are finding your classes a little easier to manage than last year (seems most of us had a hard time last school year). As I said, I hope to post on Monday about the changes coming up... which I may or may not be criticized for but I feel these are needed. :)

Hope y'all had a great week and have a fantastic long weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D