Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Didn't Choose St. Cecilia, She Chose Me

That's my statue of St. Cecilia sitting on top of our record player.

I like to think that I didn't choose St. Cecilia as my confirmation saint; that she chose me. While this may sound a little weird, I'd like to tell you why I think this... and, if you're new-ish to the blog, you may not know the full story. I did a "fun facts" edition last year but I'm really getting in depth this year.

See, I was confirmed on St. Cecilia's feast day (yes, it's my confirmation anniversary today as well; November 22, 1998)... at a parish named after St. Cecilia... when music was my favorite thing in the world. I wasn't confirmed properly either, so I didn't even choose a confirmation saint. Getting confused? Let me start from the beginning...

When I was 13 years old, my parents decided that I needed to go through the confirmation process. Because, at the time (don't know how it is now), I had to be 15 or older to start the process I wasn't old enough to get confirmed in the States. My parents (well, my dad) didn't want me to go through the process for two years like I did for my first communion so it was decided that I would go down to Tijuana to be confirmed. I fought them as best as I could as at that age. I wanted to wait until I was 15-16 to get confirmed with my friends; I wanted two those years of confirmation preparation. I had no say in it. I was driven back to Tijuana one weekend to get confirmed. I wasn't prepared. I didn't go to confession before getting confirmed. I was completely unprepared for it... but it happened anyway. If you're wondering how they were able to pull that off -- my mother's godmother had a brother who was a priest at a parish named after St. Cecilia in Tijuana. In Mexico they don't (or didn't, at the time) pick confirmation saints so I missed out on that as well. So I was confirmed (and I was unhappy about it at the time because they didn't let me do it the "right" way)... and I fell away from the Church shortly after that.

When I returned to the Church shortly after my 21st birthday, I became really sad about all the missed opportunities I had. I was poorly catechized (part of my first communion preparation was interrupted because the 1994 Northridge Earthquake struck and our classrooms, on the second floor, were damaged beyond repair) and I hadn't been confirmed properly. There's nothing I can do about it (I can't re-do it) but I decided to learn the basics: when I was confirmed, where, etc. My mother found the certificate and that's when I learned the details: confirmed at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Tijuana, Mexico on November 22rd, 1998. I looked up which saint had a feast day on the day... and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was St. Cecilia's feast day. I didn't know much about her so I looked her up: patroness of musicians. At the time, I was heavily involved in school chorus and talent shows (a bit hard to picture from this introvert, eh?) so it seemed perfect that St. Cecilia was connected to my confirmation during that period of my life... and to this day.

Music has always been a big part of my life. I've always loved dancing. If there was music playing, I'd be dancing even before I could stand. I did Mexican folkorico dancing in elementary school. I did the whole cheerleading/drill team thing up until high school. I learned most styles of dancing. To this day, I love dancing. When I was a little girl (under 5), I used to strum my mom's guitar and then run away laughing because I thought I would get in trouble for it. In fact, that's one of my oldest memories. I got a little accordion when I was about 5 years-old... and a harmonica soon followed. I learned piano basics when I was in elementary school. I started playing the guitar in my late teens. I'd been singing in school choirs from elementary school through junior high. I left regular public school in high school due to social anxiety or else I'm sure I would've continued through it. I haven't sung in public since I was about 14-15 years old (mostly because I ended up hating the spotlight; I like to be behind the scenes) but I still sing at home, in the car, and, of course, at Mass. I have music playing nearly 24/7. I've half-jokingly said that music was my first love because of how connected I am to it. Every song has a memory for me. There's a playlist to every major event in my life. Every important person in my life has a song (and memory) attached to them. It's only fitting that my patroness has been St. Cecilia.

When I started blogging, I used to only use "Emmy" (which, as most of you know, is not my actual name but a nickname; it was the name my mother wanted to give me before she was vetoed by my dad) as my pen name. When I learned about my St. Cecilia connection, I adopted the "Cecilia" to my pen name... and that's how "Emmy Cecilia" came to be. Even for my novels, my pen name is my given first name (Melissa) and Cecilia. Even know that people know my actual name from articles I've written under my actual name (which you can find links to on the right side, under the list of past blog posts), I'm going to continue using Emmy Cecilia (or, at the very least, Melissa Cecilia away from social media.)

So that is my story about how St. Cecilia chose me, not the other way around. Sorry it was really long and all of that but I really wanted to write it out, especially today. :D

Alright, I need to go head to confession soon so I should stop writing. :)

I hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend thus far. :D

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

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