Why I Went Back to Church

Why I Went Back to Church

.It’s been about two and a half to three years since I stopped going to church. Many of you remember because I wrote a relatively explosive blog post about it and some of you tried to convert me. But I said then and I still say that if I’m going to be any religion I’m going to be Catholic.

The reasons I stopped going to church are the reasons I’m hesitant to start going back. I didn’t stop going easily and it took a lot of consideration and I’ve applied the same thinking to my potential return. There are just so many things I know to be true that conflict with what the church teaches and I don’t know that they’ll ever be reconciled. As a refresher, this is a brief list of my intransigent beliefs:

Women are sovereigns of their bodies and can do whatever they want with them.

God doesn’t care about my voluntary sterility or sexual life or anyone else’s unless it harms another person.*

Gay people should be able to get married and have kids and experience all the same joys and woes of life that straight couples do.

Transpeople are whatever gender they are and if they want to go to church they should be unquestioningly accepted and welcomed and Catholics should make an effort to understand what it means to be transgender instead of choosing ignorance.

Women should be priests and be involved in all levels of decision making throughout the entire church hierarchy. The church needs women at the top to advocate for women and women have been silenced in the church for far too long. 

Of course I’m expecting backlash from this list. Inevitably, someone will slide into my DMs to let me know that this is heretical, that I can’t be a Catholic if I don’t subscribe 100% to Church doctrine, etc etc. I will preempt you by flipping you a giant bird and asking who elected you to Catholicism gatekeeper. You can’t tell me what to do. I haven’t been excommunicated. The church has historically not been opposed to change and people who ask questions, get loud, and who get passionate also are the ones that make change happen. And I will drop a truly careless amount of expletives. So just don’t do it. Let me work on my own journey and then we’ll both die and it won’t matter. Also, faith isn’t a zero-sum game. One person being right doesn’t mean the other is wrong. Also right and wrong don’t actually exist. How ridiculous is it to assume that all religion relies on this binary system wherein there is an ultimate right and ultimate wrong and our whole existence depends on circumstances beyond our control?

My other reason for posting this is to explain why I did go back to church today.

It’s very cliche to say that there has been something missing in my life and I don’t know that I actually do feel that way, but I missed the sense of community that I had when I went to church. It’s something that connected me to a community outside of school and work. As much as I like SPEA, it’s been socially stifling to me. I’m happy with my group of friends but there isn’t anyone else left to meet there. Also I spend 75% of my time in that goddamn building anyway and I want to be somewhere else sometimes.

Also growing up Catholic was a significant part (if not the most significant part) of my upbringing and I kind of miss it.

So I’m just going to see how it goes for me for the next few weeks and see if I keep wanting to go and if I don’t then I don’t and if I do I’ll go. I’m not going to make it a big deal right now.

*Harm here can mean many things to many people. People may argue that sex outside of marriage is spiritually harmful, harmful to one’s self image or self value, or harmful for physical reasons, or emotionally harmful. I think of harm as in harm that people control.

I love the Olympics

I love the Olympics

Thinking about the Olympics is one of the things guaranteed to make me cry every time. It’s kind of funny because of how much I hate sports, but also the Olympics is so much more than sports. There is pageantry, theater, and drama.  People are being self-actualized all over the damn place and everyone is sharing in this experience that makes us all remember the the world is the biggest small place in the universe. There is a universal language shared between the parents of Olympians who watched their children pick up a skill and master it, and who now get to watch them compete for international recognition and praise.

The other thing for me is that the athletes aren’t all untouchable pros that make millions every year. A lot of them are people from your hometown. You have mutual friends with them on Facebook and when they come home there are signs on doors welcoming them back. 31 of the 242 American Olympians are from Colorado, which is the most of all the states. It’s not surprising because of how winter-sport heavy Colorado is but that just makes the winter Olympics even more meaningful for me. Nicole Hensley is the goalie for the women’s ice hockey team. She’s 24, she grew up in Lakewood. She’s the best goalie in America and we have two mutual friends. I don’t get that experience when I watch NHL.

My other favorite part is seeing athletes from smaller countries. I like when Americans win medals but also we all know that American athletes have broad resources at their disposal to train and prepare, as well as athletes from other wealthy and developed countries. I’m always going to think of Eric Moussambani Malonga, the swimmer from Equatorial Guinea  in the 2000 Summer Olympics, who had practiced in a lake and a 12m hotel pool. Yes, he was the slowest swimmer by a pretty large margin but he still made it to the Olympics and he did his best. I know that the media needs to focus their attentions on their home countries but I think those kind of stories add context and depth to the competition. It’s not about who wins medals, it’s about who is there and how they got there.

I’m trying to figure out how to make my tv play more things than just PBS. I know I pay for tv with comcast but I don’t know how to set it up and the internet won’t tell me so if you know the secret hmu. Until then I’m watching all the bootleg clips.

Quick Life Update

Quick Life Update

I realized today that the last real post from me was from last December so I wanted to publish a quick note on the end of 2017 and January.

I left Colorado on the 29th so I’d have a some alone time before school started. I love alone time. I didn’t have any responsibilities or obligations so I just lived aimlessly for a week. I played a lot of Mario. Mario in all forms. I also made limited progress in Twilight Princess (a game I started around the same time I started this blog if that puts it into perspective) and quickly became frustrated. I am now in the Lakebed Temple and I can’t find the goddamn key to get past the revolving staircase room so I gave up again. Will revisit in 2019. I also picked up watercolor painting and I enjoy it. I’ve putzed around with acrylics for years so it’s been fun to do something different. Am still limited to flowers and Gerties but maybe someday I can learn something different.

My semester started strong. I got really into setting up my OneNote for the semester and now I think I could probably make a career out of setting up OneNotes. I felt really great about the first couple weeks; I was staying on top of the readings and participating but now that I’m well into the semester my work ethic has slipped a little bit. Is okay, will get better. Work harder, do better.

My New Years resolution this year was to develop my poise and to try to live elegantly. I was doing really well and felt great until school started and I defaulted into being uncultured swine again; however, my posture is better, my apartment is cleaner and more tastefully decorated, I no longer eat my meals standing up or in front of a screen, and I don’t wear my jammie jams when I am not sleeping. I also read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and DO RECOMMEND. It’s the same one Emily Gilmore read in A Year in the Life and it helped me to throw out or donate 3 trash bags of stuff. My work isn’t done, but I feel so much more joy when I come home to my apartment. I didn’t realize what kind of toll that stuff was taking on me. Like, there was always some small degree of guilt I had when I saw my unpacked boxes or a shirt I never wore and when they were gone I felt physically lighter.

The purging process is ongoing but I’m trying to stay on top of it. I need to get through my shame-closet, the closet in which I keep the things that bring me shame. Not that they’re embarrassing, it’s just a big mess of belongings that don’t have a spot so I hide them.

In other news, I got a new pair of sneakers as a treat to myself and also upgraded my phone because I got really tired of the blurry pictures and the slowness. I hate that I did it and gave into the machine but also I’m happy to have a phone that works. Also when I got it I blindly trusted that my contacts all transferred but then found out later that I lost all contacts made after June 2017. Love that, because every time I get a text from an unfamiliar number I try to reply with vague responses until I get enough clues to figure out who it is. I love a good mystery!

In terms of mental health, I’m proud to say I’m still sitting at the stable table. I felt the familiar ghosts of anxiety and depression around the start of the year but I’m fortunate to have a great network of friends and resources to keep me out of the big d-hole.*

Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ll keep updating whenever I’m inspired to do so. Also, thanks to everyone who comments and sends emails. Baby love that correspondence.

Stay Golden

Enjoy those selfies from the past couple months

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Books I’ve Read 2018

Books I’ve Read 2018

I started 2018 strong with some self-improvement books and then suddenly all I wanted to do was read Margaret Atwood. So much Margaret. I’ve decided to try and read more fiction this year as a replacement for tv. Hit me up with some reccies if you want.

At Home with Madame Chic Jennifer L Scott
Cat’s Eye Margaret Atwood
In Our Time Ernest Hemingway
MaddAddam Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake Margaret Atwood
Polish Your Poise Jennifer L Scott
The Grownup* Gillian Flynn
The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo
The Year of the Flood Margaret Atwood
What Happened Hillary Rodham Clinton
Home in ColoRADo

Home in ColoRADo

I’ve been back home in Colorado since Sunday. I left Bloomington at around 4pm on Saturday and just drove Gertie and I all night on I-70 and arrived at my cousin’s around 8am. The drive was without incident but my body is still in pain from sitting for so long. In case anyone was wondering (and I know you are because it’s the #2 question people as when they see my car), Gertie fits in the passenger seat just fine. I put my suitcase in the legspace and she’s able to curl up and sleep. She is a very good girl.

As much as I like being home, there’s a sort of alien feeling to it. Life here moved on without me and everything is mostly the same but with tiny changes that remind me that my place isn’t here anymore. I love staying with my generous and beautiful cousin and her wonderful husband, but it’s not my home. I enjoy seeing my friends, but now there’s a distance because our lives are so different now.

There’s also a part of me that doesn’t want to see people (despite desperately wanting to see them) because I don’t want to talk about grad school. I feel like I left with such high hopes and expectations for myself and I was so confident that I would do well and everyone was so encouraging and I felt like people had so much faith in me and that I wouldn’t let them down. Part of me is afraid that they want to hear how I’ve been killing it in grad school and living up to my own hype.
The truth is that my first semester of grad school truly and thoroughly kicked my ass. It wrecked all of my inflated self perceptions and made me confront the reality that I am not as smart as I thought I was, I’m not tough, and I’m not special. In fact, as I was writing that I started crying in Einstein’s which is the angel on top of my mediocrity tree. Grad school has brought out every one of my insecurities and pooped on them. But no one wants to hear about that and I don’t want to talk about it. But I also don’t want to pretend that it hasn’t been the hardest semester of my life by far and that I’m terrified that I’m in over my head, that I won’t be able to complete my degree, and that I’m wasting tens of thousands of dollars for something that is unattainable for me.

Also, travel constipation is my reality and I keep stress eating everything and bloating up and nothing is coming out. I’m going to head to King Soopers and get stuff to assemble a fiber-lactose cocktail that will blast out my body tubes. SO I’VE BEEN COMPLAINING to a select audience recently that I’m not excited for the next Pitch Perfect movie to come out because people compare me to Fat Amy a lot and it’s really unflattering. Not because Rebel Wilson is unattractive or her character is not hilarious, but because it’s an image I don’t care to represent. There is a big disconnect between what I say and what I think I’m saying and I’m beginning to realize that the stricken-through text is the kind of material where people might create a comparison between what I say and what Fat Amy might say. I can see it, even if I don’t agree. I’m a chronic oversharer, I’m working on it, I will be better. But also this acknowledgement DOES NOT mean I welcome comparisons to Fat Amy and for the love of Christ if you call me Fat Keke it will hurt me irreversibly and I will remove you from my life. Not kidding, it has happened before. I’m a very soft marshmallow baby and I can take a lot but I can’t take that.

Right now I’m working on my resume to send out for internships. I’ve got my eye on one particular internship in the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority and the application is due on the 25th. I don’t even know where to start with my resume. I’m basically starting from scratch because my most recent resume was from my job search to enter the glamorous life of an administrative assistant. So if anyone wants to shoot me a template or something, much obliged.

I will be in Colorado for another week and back in Indiana on the 30th. If you want to see me, you have to pay for my lunch because I’ve got $80 in my bank account that has to get me until my final payday and spring semester loan dispersal.

Also here are some nice Colorado pictures that I’ve taken with my shitty phone camera.

The Macky Auditorium at CU Boulder
Main Street, Littleton
I Am 25 Years Old and This is What I Know For Sure

I Am 25 Years Old and This is What I Know For Sure

Sometime in 1998, movie critic Gene Siskel interviewed Oprah during a promotion for Oprah’s movie Beloved and Gene asked Oprah “What do you know for sure?” Oprah was somewhat taken aback by the question, not understanding quite what he meant, but it became a profound moment in her life. She turned it into a column in her magazine and she wrote a book about it called “Things I Know For Sure.”

That moment and it’s effect have crossed my path a few times in the past month which is weird since I didn’t know about it before and now it seems like destiny that the concept should come into my life right before a milestone birthday. What an excellent time to take stock of my life and to think about what I’ve learned and what I feel confident knowing at this time. Of course, my initial reaction when I started to think about what I might know for sure was “I do not know anything because I am a dumb dumb stupid pants.”

But I’m not a dumb dumb stupid pants. I’m a smart smart smarty pants and these are the things that, at 25, I know for sure.

Things get better. I remember exactly how I felt at my worst. Even if I didn’t remember, I have it written down in my journal and on this blog. I was so deeply sad, I felt like being sad was going to be a constant and inevitable part of my life. I don’t know when the sad ended but I haven’t felt anything like my worst in two years and about two months ago I woke up feeling excited about nothing and I’ve woken up feeling excited almost every morning since. Even when I have stats.
I know for sure that getting through depression is a fight against time, but that if you hold out, take your meds, celebrate small accomplishments, and go easy on yourself that something will give and it doesn’t need to be you.

Things work out. I know for sure that if you place enough blind trust in the universe that problems will solve themselves. To this point in my life, there hasn’t been a problem that I was not able to overcome one way or another. It seems pointless now to worry so much about the problems I might have until I’m actually confronted by them. I’ve been dealing with anxiety as long as I’ve been dealing with depression but no solutions or methods have helped me as much as remembering that everything works out. I will also add that inviting joy to my life has helped me to associate positively to my surroundings and that I have overall fewer problems because I’m no longer entertaining problems I don’t need to have.

Dogs are the greatest.  Goes without saying, but puppers and big ol’ doggos are pure love. I know for sure that dogs are a gift to people and should be cherished. Me small cry when I think about how much I love my dog and how much she loves me.

Learn people’s names. I don’t take much notice when someone I’ve met before asks me to remind them of my name but I always notice when someone remembers my name from the start. I’m still not the best at this, but it’s something I’ve been improving on for the past year and I think that I’ve seen a difference in my own behavior towards people. Remembering names shows someone that they are memorable and that are valued, even if it’s the most basic thing anyone can do. I know for sure that everyone deserves to feel that they are worth remembering. I also know that intentionally using the wrong name for someone is really mean and says more about you than what you were trying to prove to others.

Work harder. Do better. This was adapted from a hashtag I kept seeing on one of my friends’ weightlifting instas, but it’s something I’ve adopted into my own work ethic. I know that if I do my best and I still suck, I still feel okay because my work represented my best effort and understanding. I also know that if I don’t try and I suck, I feel shitty about it because I sold myself short and missed an opportunity to represent myself entirely. This is a more recent lesson in my life and I wish I had it with me for longer.  It’s now my invisible tattoo on my arm because when I think of this phrase it energizes me and encourages me. I know for sure that putting in your best efforts will lead to your best results and that, no matter how those results are received by others, that you can feel good about what you’ve produced. In other words, whole ass it.

 

 

I meant to post this on my birthday but it was a super busy weeks so it couldn’t happen. Not sure how I feel about being 25. It’s not even that old but it feels old and I already feel like I’m past my prime and that I wasted my life until this point. Cannot even begin to think of how shitty I will feel when I turn 30. <-understand that this paragraph contradicts most of what I just wrote but IT’S WHO I AM.

Here’s a selection of some of my greatest selfies from the past year:

Red Lipstick Feminism

Red Lipstick Feminism

This is a complicated issue and I’m going to work through it as best as I can.

I think there’s this idea that feminism is a trend that goes in and out with whatever is popular- which is totally wrong. The patriarchy and the media (synonymous) will do whatever they can to have you believe that feminism is just the big thing of this year- that celebrities, politicians, and us plebeian bloggers will all get tired of and it will go out with the fall fashions. And they’re doing this the best way they know how- by selling it to you.

Things that can be purchased can be thrown away.

My first example is Unilever, the company that owns most of what is in your bathroom. It owns Dove and it’s “Real Beauty” campaign, as well as Axe and it’s ad campaign to make boys think that being clean is the ticket to some sweet vagina.

 

Dove is also responsible for the videos of the women who have poor self image being taught by strangers to have a better self image, even though the reason they have poor self image is probably because of the shitty ads the same company runs so that women buy products to improve their self image. They have a monopoly and create a perpetual client base.

So that’s capitalism.

My second (and bigger) point is that you cannot buy empowerment and you can’t purchase self esteem. There’s this idea floating around that wearing red lipstick is, in itself, an empowering act. And it’s just not. Wearing red lipstick/high heels/leather jacket may make you feel confident (which is awesome if you like it, not hating at all) but you must realize where it’s all coming from, which is a lot of places including:

-Hyper femininity: Makeup, heels, dresses, are traditionally feminine items that are all considered sexy because of what is alluring to men. Men are also traditionally the ones selling these items in the big picture so, capitalism full circle again.

-Role Models: Powerful women wear these things and we like emulating them because girl power.

-Sexy Aggression: I put those two words together, and I think it’s more of a feeling. Like, wearing bold makeup is daring because it says “I dare you to talk to me fuckboy.” while also “eat my ladybit while I shop Nordstrom online for pantsuits”

But the thing is that if feeling confident comes from whatever you purchase, you don’t have the power. Whatever made you want those things has the power. And I need to make it clear that I love makeup and clothes and shoes and stuff, but it took a long time and a lot of thought to realize that I love these things because it grants me the illusion of control.

So there’s this thing when women take selfies wearing red lipstick (my for all intents and purposes example) and they’re posting to instagram like “red lipstick= feminism” and I’m here like “naw, your thoughts and values> red lipstick & red lipstick =/= feminism bc red lipstick = capitalism”

I feel the need to clarify again: YOU CAN BE A FEMINIST AND WEAR RED LIPSTICK, BUT IT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT EMPOWERMENT COMES FROM YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS NOT FROM WHAT IS ON YOU.

I also feel like there’s this idea that you can morph feminism into whatever you want so you don’t need to change anything about your ideologies. And I personally don’t think that’s cool at all. I think feminism is for everyone, but there are goals that need to be met and things that need to be changed that will never ever change if you’re masturbating alone in your room and saying that you’ve met your feminism quota.(And we def talked about this in my Feminist Theories class, so if you were one of my classmates, I holla atchu.)

Like I said, this is very complicated and hugely multifaceted and there are so many factors that it would take hours and 9 other blog posts to come even close to what I really want to say.

The Oscars tonight is a really great example of what I mean. The #askhermore tag is what I am talking about- these are smart, beautiful, talented women, who are wearing gorgeous clothes but what ultimately matters is what they have to say. Which is finally getting more recognition this year.

Don’t let feminism become last year’s trend!