Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh Snap, It's Finally Happened...

Yes, Eleventh Doctor, I'll get to it as soon as I'm done with this post. ;)

A few things have finally happened and it's making me both nervous and excited. 

First: it FINALLY hit me that I'm basically done with my undergrad career. It wasn't until my Harlem Renaissance professor reminded us that this week is our last week of classes (next week is finals week) that it really hit me. I'm done. I'm done? I'm done! Of course I still have finals to do and a couple more assignments that are due this week but I don't have other major things to do. I'm going to miss homework and learning... but not the school. As I'm writing this post, I am simultaneously chatting with friends on Facebook about how unhappy my time at this school has been.

Of course, I don't have to tell y'all that; you've all read more than enough posts about my experience at the CINO school. I will miss some professors (like my Harlem Renaissance and College Algebra professors) who actually believed in and encouraged me. Come to think of it... besides the aforementioned professors and my Western Literature/Norse Mythology professor, I didn't have much support from the others. And to sum up my experience with two current issues: two weeks later and I have NOT heard from my Thesis adviser about any changes to my Thesis before the deadline... and the semester ends next week. Prior to that I tried to contact her for a month and a half but she claimed to have not received any of my emails. Also, my mother attended a school concert with me last week (as it was mandatory and she wanted out of the house for a couple of hours)... and she personally witnessed how poorly I am treated by professors. One of them gave me the stink eye and was overall not nice. At least now I have witnesses to rudeness I experience.

Second: Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Jude Thaddeus -- just a general shout out to my heavenly buddies who helped me make it through my two year journey at that school. Without their intercessions, I don't think I would've come out relatively sane. I've had friends drop out and/or transfer out because of the mistreatment we receive if we aren't in agreement with their beliefs... which are mostly against Church teachings too. Of course. If this isn't proof that prayer and hard work pays off, I don't know what does.

Third: I just realized that I am finally getting thrown out into "the real world." That is a bit scary, especially being aware of how scarce jobs are. There are a few jobs within the L.A. Archdiocese that I am going to apply for but most of them ask for either a Master's degree or extra experience which I don't have. However, I am a fast learner and I am passionate about my faith so I'm sure that God will open the right door for me. My biggest anxiety inducer is the uncertainty of it all. I don't know how soon I'll be able to start working or if I'll have to look elsewhere. And, of course I will be going for my Master's degree in a year but still it's completely odd for me not to be in school taking at least one class.

Fourth: (my, I do love making lists, don't I? lol) Despite all my venting, I have come to the conclusion that I am grateful for everything that's happened. Yes, I'm even grateful for all the humiliation, crying, and panic attacks I experienced this semester from my music professors. I truly believe that every negative thing is a character builder and thus I am glad that I experienced them. I feel like I'm coming out of this experience a lot more confident than when I went in. I also feel stronger in my faith and beliefs. The passion I felt about sharing my faith with younger members of this generation (children to those starting college) had gone out for a while shortly after my father died but it has reignited... and Lord help the person who dares talk smack about my beloved God, Pope Benedict XVI or Roman Catholic Church because I have no qualms about sticking up for any of them.

Anyway, just wanted to write all of this out before I get busy with schoolwork. I have a chance to get all but one of my finals completed by Sunday of this week so I am going to definitely attempt to do it. :D OH! And if any of you have prayer intentions, let me know so I can offer up the next two weeks for them. Doesn't matter what the prayer intention is nor do you have to tell me what it is, just let me know that you have one and I'll write it down in my notebook so that I can get everyone's intentions in. :D

And since it is Monday here's a song that I wanted to share. It's called "Pray about Everything" by Luke Bryan. Yes, it's a country song. Raise your hand if you did not see that coming. lol.


Alright, I'm off to do homework. I hope y'all have a great week!

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


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reconciling Cultural Differences

Yes, that is me when I was about 4 years old. So stinkin' cute, wasn't I? lol.

I rarely really talk about my home life because I'm notoriously private about it (as well as my relationships) but I've been wanting to write about this for a while.

As some of you may know, I'm Mexican-Spanish American... with just a smidge of Irish thrown in for good measure. (side note: if you didn't know, there's quite a large number of Irish Mexicans still living in Mexico to this day, especially in Durango where my paternal family is from.) Though I will admit that I identify myself as Catholic first and Mexican-Spanish-Irish American second, it's still obviously a big part of who I am. What I eat, how I act, what I say... it's all influenced by my heritage. For the record, what I write it based on how I was brought up and does not mean it's like this for everyone.

I raised with very traditional Mexican values. Family comes first. The eldest member of the family takes care of the parents as they age. Women typically stay with their parents until they marry. You obey your parents and you do not dare disrespect your elders. To this day, I still call those who are older than me "Mister", "Missus", "Sir", and "Ma'am"... and never by their first name (unless asked and even then it's weird for me to do so). Up until I was 19, I had to ask permission from my father to go out. Sacrifice for the family is second nature to us. The seven years and three battles with cancer that my father had, I helped take care of him. Minutes before my father passed away nearly three years ago (I can't believe how fast that's flown!), I promised him that I would take care of my mother. Because I am my mother's only child (she lost a son and daughter before I was born), it is my unspoken duty to take care of her. Since I am still unmarried, I obviously still live at home. Whatever income I have goes into helping pay for the bills and food. I have the traditional "house maker" duties since I'm currently studying and don't have a full-time job and because my mother does work... a lot. I don't mind. Lately though, I've been struggling with a couple of things regarding what is expected of me.

Without going into a lot of detail, I have been having trouble reconciling the American and Mexican parts of myself. I like living at home but sometimes I want my space... and I don't always get it. If you have a Hispanic mama, it's almost guaranteed that you will always be treated like you are still a young child. In our American culture, as soon as you are a teenager (or at least 18), you gain some independence. It's a little harder to do so when your parents are from a different culture. My mother grew up here in Los Angeles so she is a little less strict than my father was but still... what she says is law in this house.

As I head into my late twenties (next month... can I stop getting older now?) it's getting harder for me to be okay with certain things. Being kept track of when I'm out? Not a fan. Having moments where I am told not to do something because it's "too hard" for me... and thus making me feel like I'm being underestimated? Not a fan. Having "well, I'm your mother and I know what's best for you"... when you know it's actually not the best advice? Not a fan. Having my mother bring up the fact that I'm the age that I am and that I'm still unmarried and without children... on a daily basis? REALLY not a fan. Yes, this is also a typical Hispanic mama thing to do -- asking your grown children (especially daughters) when they'll settle down and make them grandmothers. On top of that, and bringing in the biggest part of myself (the Catholic side), I am trying to figure out what's worse - not doing what I am asked to do by my mother and thus disobeying a parent (i.e. lying - which I have an absolute hatred toward) or doing what I am asked knowing that what I get asked is a horrible sin.

Before anyone starts in about how I'm a grown woman and I should be making my own decisions without my mother's interference, blah blah blah... yes, I know that. But, unlike some of you, I've both grown up faster AND slower than the majority... and I've had two different cultures tell me different things at the same time. I didn't have much of a childhood in the sense that I've had to take care of my parents from a young age (since I was about 11 years old). I grew up quick that way. I taught myself how to cook and wash dishes when I was a little girl. I pulled my weight around the house because it was only the three of us until my father passed away. After my father passed away, I assumed some of his responsibilities. The Hispanic side is okay with this. Then we have the American side, which tells me that I should be more independent and that I have a "right" to have my own space since I contribute to this household. That is followed by the criticism by others that I am too dependent on my mother and that I have been too "over-protected" and that I'm too "innocent" for my age. I think this is simply because they don't understand that I was raised with values from a different culture nor do they know what's really going on.

The problem for me is that I look at both sides and I get where each side is good... but I still can't reconcile them. I love how I was raised. I think my parents did a great job with me, especially considering that it was in a low-income, crime infested neighborhood where I had no real role models outside of the house. I think I turned out pretty decent. I love the Mexican side of myself (which I identify myself with more than Spanish and slightly more than Irish). I love the culture and the values. At the same time, I prefer some things that are more prevalent in American culture... mostly, being treated like an adult as soon as you're of age and being more independent. I GET that I'm a full grown young woman and that I can make my own decisions, but I feel like that would be too selfish of me (on occasion) and that it doesn't feel right because it wasn't how I was raised.

See, there we are. I keep going back and forth on this issue. I've talked to some of the girls of the #Cathsorority and I've found that this is a surprisingly common issues, especially amongst us who have Hispanic families, so I wanted to share my dilemma. I don't think either side is right; I just have to figure out how to make sure I can successfully incorporate them and use them for good.

Okay, I think that's enough divulging. lol. I still have to read to prepare myself for tomorrow's classes. :)

Anyway, I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Emmy, Defender of the Pope and Priests?

This weekend I got a chance to really talk to my confessor about the trouble I've been having at school. Forget my Thesis (which is done!). Forget finals. Forget the insane hour to three hour (each way!) trip I have to take to get to and from campus. It's a little more serious than that.

Remember that music professor I wrote about a few weeks ago? The one who seemingly has it out for me? Well, she was being okay for a while but it's started up again... and I have a very strong feeling that she will try to dock my grade as much as she can simply because she does not like me. She's been taking out whatever is going on with her on myself and another classmate. I will be talking to someone this week in case this happens. I'm covering all my bases. I SHOULD be graded on the work I've done in class and not on other stuff. And, yes, I admit that I have missed many lectures but when she's the cause of the horrific panic attacks that cause me to miss her class... well... you get it. But this isn't even the worse thing I've encountered.

Those of you who've read this blog long enough know about my struggles at my CINO college. Things have been more bearable this school year because I've only had two Religious Studies courses. Still, it's as bad in other non-Religious Studies classes... and this is what I told my confessor. I don't think it's very productive venting about situations and people but I've learned the hard way that bottling up emotions is bad. That is actually a huge cause for my anxiety. I don't "talk smack" about people but I do make it known that I am not happy with the way certain people (like my professors) treat me and how they speak out against the Church. I told him just what I've heard during lectures. "The Pope is a super rat with red shoes." Priests are dragged through the mud. "Women should be priest(esses) if they want." "The Church is patriarchal and want to oppress women." "Contraception is the best thing that happened to women." These are just some examples, it gets worse but I won't have time to get into them all just now.

As I was telling my confessor this, he looked surprised and unhappy. (side note: he's my new confessor since Fr. Alexander passed away last month.) I only gave me a sample of what I've heard and how I feel bad about venting about my professors (especially because I've heard it mostly from the nuns who are the professors)... but I have to get my frustration out by speaking about it. I am NOT okay with it. It's one thing to take whatever the professors are feeling out on me (I am sensitive and I may cry but I can always offer it up)... it's a whole different thing to take it out on Pope Benedict XVI, clergy, and the Church. My confessor told me one simple thing that made a bigger impact on me than he might've intended: defend him, other priests, and the Pope against these kinds of attacks.

I've been praying and asking God to show me what do with my life after graduation. After doing all the research for my Thesis about our generation (Generation Y), religious beliefs amongst our generation, and the Church, I felt like I was heading in the right direction in terms of what I wanted to do. It wasn't until I heard my confessor tell me to defend them that it all clicked for me. I'm going to do my darnest to try to get the word out to this generation (as well as the younger generations) that we have to do what we can to defend the Church and her members.

By that I don't mean fighting for the sake of fighting; no violence, please. I am talking about educating ourselves about the true teachings of the Church (not what the mass media and others may ignorantly inform us) so that we are prepared to go against what is thrown our way. After reading all those Vatican documents and doing all that research, I have a new outlook on things and I deeper love and appreciation for the Church and the Pope. Alicia, Trista, and I have even formed our own little Pope fan club. ;)

We have such a wonderful Pope, priests, and nuns (we cannot forget about religious sisters :D) that bring us closer to God and to knowing Him better with our hearts... yet they are constantly attacked. Why not show our appreciation for all that they do by doing what we can to help them? If you're not feeling up to going toe-to-toe with someone, pray for them. As my mom has reminded me since I was a little girl, prayers and faith can move mountains. We can pray for a change of heart and that person's conversion.

From this day on, I'd like to be known as Emmy, defender of not only God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saints, and the unborn but of the Pope and Priests as well. It's a long title but it's one that is now etched into my heart. With only 3 weeks (exactly) until my graduation ceremony, I am going to do what I can to leave my mark at that school... to show them that I came out of it with my faith stronger and more intact than when I started. Call that an epic win for God and a fail for those who tried to keep me away from Him.

Anyway, I'm off to finish some of my last assignments as an undergrad student. No, it hasn't hit me just yet. Give me another week (when there is only one week of classes and finals week left) for it to hit home that I'm done. ;)

I hope you all had a blessed weekend (I LOVE Divine Mercy Sunday though I was sadly too sick to attend Mass yesterday) and have a great week. :D

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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guess What! No, Not Chicken Butt. Thesis Done!

'Tis done! Everybody conga!!!

Okay, I don't think of myself as a champion but the feeling of finishing a 53 page Thesis (that includes the bibliography) is pretty darn good. Of course, I have no doubt that my Thesis adviser (whom I couldn't get a hold of for a month; yeah, I know) will rip it apart and make me edit or rewrite some sections... but I am done. I only slept 2 hours last night from the excitement and nervousness of having to turn in the hard copy of it today. All those weeks of non-stop work, no social life, and panic attacks was well worth it. I had a lot of fun going through the Vatican documents (I'm such a massive nerd) and doing the research but it was just really time consuming. Factor in the 15 unit course load I have this semester (plus two tough online courses) and... well, you can see why I'm glad I have this huge project done. Now I have to wait to get word from my adviser, rewrite, and hopefully "pass" the Thesis so I can graduate.

It hasn't really hit me that graduation day is only 25 days away. My first final is due this weekend and turning in the Thesis is like my "final" for that "class" so that's two classes down. The rest of my finals (one of which is a 10 page paper on Duke Ellington - piece of cake for this Jazz nerd) are happening in the two weeks. This is it. I'm practically done... and I have no idea what the future will hold for me.

I am not even sure where I will work in the Fall. I am keeping my eyes open at the job listings in the L.A. Archdiocese website because I would like to work here for a year or two before pursuing my Master's outside of the state. I am leaving everything up to God. I trust Him with everything and I know He will show me what He wants me to do.

Anyway, that's it for now. It's just a short update. I have my only class of the day in half an hour and I'm basically a walking zombie today so I am saving my brain cells for the class discussion. I will have a proper post (hopefully) tomorrow, after I've had some sleep. :)

I hope everyone is having a great week thus far!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

P.S. For those who want to know and missed it on twitter or Facebook, I ended up giving my Thesis the title "Go and Make Disciples of all Nations: Evangelization Efforts by and for Generation Y Using Catholic New Media."