and i really need to watch my words.
i kind of waxed eloquently on how crazy Ron Paul is. and while no one disagreed, probably not the best choice of word - crazy, that is.
in books and television and movies these days you always see moms trying to convince their 12,13,14-year old daughters they’re really not old enough to date?
i’m 22-going-on-23 and someone might have to convince me i am old enough.
i’ve been feeling kind of run down - physically and mentally - this week.
can’t really pinpoint specifically why, but that’s life.
today, i read a novel (fantastically written, by the way) about a girl whose older brother is severely schizophrenic.
that really didn’t help things.
Anyone who has spoken with me at length in the last, say, month, has had the joy of listening to me rant every now and then at the adventure that is graduate school. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative, sometimes it’s just…ranting. But let’s face it - I’m a generally optimistic, upbeat person, and this whole negative energy thing isn’t working for me. Well, lo and behold, this week I had several occasions to contemplate a bit more.
I managed to escape the SYR this weekend to spend a few days with my sister and brother-in-in law. My sister is my next oldest sibling (as I am the youngest) and as time has passed and we’ve both aged, we’ve come to realize just how similar we are. On the outset, we seem incredibly different - I’m an academic, unfeeling nerd, while she is an emotional music therapist - but we have such similar attitudes and philosophies that spending time together is almost like talking to myself. It doesn’t hurt that we’re nearly the exact same height with fairly similar physical features.
Saturday afternoon, after going for a run together, we stood in the kitchen putting together a quiche and waiting for it to bake. (Sidenote: it was friggin’ delicious.) My sister and I each have a chronic incurable illness, though incidentally not the same (or even remotely similar) illness. We were sharing our thoughts on what that had done, not physically, but emotionally, for both of us, and how our attitudes and perspectives on life had changed. We came away with a conclusion that has shaped the last few years of existence for the both of us: “Live now. Do what you can while you can, and enjoy the gifts you have been given. Life is a gift.”
Granted, this is no massive revelation. However, it’s one that we - okay, I - must constantly harken back to as I proceed through this journey. Enjoy the gifts I have been given…including those that have brought me to this place- to graduate studies, at a new school with a new community.
Then today, at late Mass at the Cathedral, Father gave a most excellent homily. The readings for today reminded us that “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Ps 31:30) That we know not when the Master will come, and yet “We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.” (1 Thes 5) And then today’s Gospel reading: the parable from Matthew 25 in which the master gives away his talents to his servants before undertaking a long journey. Upon returning, he wishes to settle their accounts, and rewards those who have invested their talents and been “faithful in small matters”, thus earning the trust of the master to take upon great responsibilities. The servant who buries his talent, for fear of losing it, is harshly reprimanded and thrown out of the master’s house.
Father’s homily centered around the idea of “almost”. Almost giving. Almost clothing the naked. Almost sheltering the homeless. Almost giving our greatest effort. Almost being prepared. Almost living. Why do we stop ourselves and fall victim to the plight of “almost”? Because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the results, fear of what could be - fear.
The combination of these two conversations - one with my sister in her kitchen, one with my God during Mass - brought me to the same conclusion. Give up fear. Live now. Live as though the Master is returning tomorrow - use that which you have been given, to the fullest. Embrace life and all that which is inherent with the journey. For me, this means embracing my current status as a graduate student in a community that isn’t receptive to most of my beliefs. And yet my intellect, my abilities, my dedication and focus - these are gifts. To abuse them is to live in fear. And with that in mind, I turn in for the evening, to face Monday with all the enthusiasm and optimism of one who knows what it means to be blessed.
I never once thought that I was selling myself short.
If anything, I’m a bit too confident for my own good (on the days that confidence doesn’t fail me) but it’s better than the good ol’ days when I had a speck of confidence that I carried around in my back pocket.
And I still don’t think I’m selling myself short.
But maybe I’m wrong.
I’m just…I’m not alright.
overwhelmed by life right now. I know it’s going to turn around, but in the interim, it’s…well, overwhelming.
What has happened to humanity?
In England,some young people (and perhaps there are a few old ones mixed in) think they’re entitled to…well, whatever they can get their hands on by hook or by crook. Since when did that become acceptable behavior? People are being killed - and for what? Plasma televisions?
And here in America… oh, America. You’re the nation I’ve grown to love more and more as I’ve learned more and more. And love you, I do. I pray we’re able to continue our streak of greatness, because the truth is that we are an exceptional nation. There’s a reason so many of my ancestors came here - they were pursuing something greater than what was available to them in their native countries. And you know what? I’m not an Irish-American. I’m not a Welsh-American. I’m not a Swiss-American, nor a German-American, nor a British-American. I am all of those things, yes. I have some lovely Irish traits (hello, freckles) and some Welsh (hello, “dark Irish” coloring) and some Swiss (I love chocolate…?). But who am I? I am an American. Unhyphenated. I didn’t grow up in any of those countries. I may preserve a tiny bit of their culture through my family members, but I am straight-up American. And I love that, and my country.
But dear goodness, moving on, sometimes people make me scratch my head and glance appealingly skyward, as if to beg the Creator how this could happen. And yet, happen it does. Part of that whole free will thing - those of us with the ability to speak, do so, often relentlessly. Occasionally - perhaps more so, depending on the speaker - we are profound and even prophetic. And occasionally, we speak so harshly as to wound and permanently remain in the memory of our audience.
We all know I’m not the nicest person in the world, though I do subscribe to the theory of trying. I fully admit that I’ve grown nicer - or perhaps simply more censored - as I’ve aged/matured. Part of this has been in response to what I’ve heard, and what’s been directed at me. That whole “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” stuff rhymes nicely but somewhat fails in practice.
10th grade of high school, in homeroom, a fellow classmate decided to announce to the class that “it looks like she has scabies, oh my Gawd!” Take a wild guess who the ‘she’ is in this statement. I’ve never forgotten those words, so apparently they have some power. And that’s just it: words have incredible power.
What is awareness? Awareness is using words in whatever medium you choose to educate, to inform, to edify, to enlighten those who otherwise would be in the dark. It’s standing up for what you feel strongly about - whatever the topic - and making a proclamation of sorts. Well, this is it.
Making fun of someone because of an illness, a disfigurement, a disability, or a physical anomaly is weak and petty. There, I said it. Deal. If you really think posting photos of Kim Kardashian with psoriasis on her legs so hundreds of similarly weak people can leave hateful comments is funny, you’re wrong.
Grow up. Superficiality is for those unable to face their own insecurities and failings.
A Breakdown (possibly to be updated, possibly not, depending on motivation) of the reasons So Far that I enjoy living in City:
Alright, so I guess it’s not that long of a list. But there aren’t many drawbacks so I guess it suffices for now.
Can anyone tell me when it became common knowledge that to marry young is to ruin the rest of your life, but to marry old is to set yourself up for the best marriage possible? And when did it become okay to comment flippantly on the family decisions - or better yet, the sex lives! - of a family of which you are not a member? And dare I say it - I dare - when did those who marry young suddenly become the experts on marriage, divorce, the rate at which those happen, and the statistical analysis that to marry young is to doom oneself to divorce while to marry older is to save oneself from the terror that is a failed lifelong bond?
Questions, I have, but answers, I do not. I address the baby boomer generation I know so well, and lest I generalize, take note that I do know quite a few baby boomers who don’t ascribe to this theory/idea/”knowledge”. I’m only concerned with the many who do. So…when did you all become so cynical?
Was it during the free-love 70’s? Because really, most of you weren’t too old to cash in on the cultural swing of free love and free STDs, but you didn’t. You chose otherwise. Many of you married, and married relatively young, at that. You may have even chosen to start a family and have children before you turned, say, 30. ::gasps echo through the crowd:: And yet…you have a notorious reputation for lamenting the plight of today’s young people. And by plight, of course, I mean the path of marriage and children as an option before the age of say, 30. Let’s examine just exactly why I’m going all rant-errific on this subject.
Allow me to set a scene: Persons known to me, of varying ages from 45-60something, are discussing the life of someone young, approximately 30, who is known to them. Conversation focuses on the ex-husband of said young woman, and his blatant infidelity. It becomes apparent that said infidelity ended the marriage, and his current actions are unknown, although there is much speculation that he “was with” some other woman, but is no longer with said woman.
Following this gossip session, which I do not participate in (as I know neither of the subjects under discussion), a statement is directed at me.
“Marie, this is why you shouldn’t get married. Find a boyfriend, but don’t get married.”
Now, being an idealistic 22-year-old from a “traditional” family, I balk at this.
“And what, find one and then just string him along for a few years? What’s the point in that if I’m not planning to marry him?”
I fully admit that I didn’t follow the line of logic. Because one marriage broke up, I shouldn’t seek to put myself in one? The reply comes quickly:
“Well, you want someone to… have fun with.”
And in case you didn’t catch the part where I’m naive and young and believe that marriage can actually work when you try, I neglect to pick up the undertone for about 30 seconds of silence. At which point I realize the implications of “fun”. Oh - the whole “you don’t need to be married to have *wink* fun these days!” deal.
“Well, that’s not what I’m looking for. Call me old-fashioned, but I like being old-fashioned.” I countered, with little joking manner to my statement. Gosh, I guess I’m old-fashioned since I don’t want to string along some boyfriend for some fun for the next ten years of my life. I’m aware of the limited fertility of females. I also know that maturity, while somewhat linked to age, does not magically appear when one crosses the bridge to 30. And I’m also aware - go figure - that a key factor in a marriage is the commitment and a belief that it is an unbreakable bond. And I’ll even dare to say it: postponing commitment to later in life to ensure that one does not commit “too early” to a lifelong bond doesn’t ensure that one will commit *better*.
Does that make sense? I’m too rant-eriffic to spend hours trying to rephrase. But in summation:
Am I supposed to married right now? No. I know this for certain. Superficially, there’s been no one of marriage-caliber in my life to date, and beyond that, I’m counting on some serious prayer to ensure I don’t screw up what could be a life’s greatest decision, that of a spouse. Do I want to be married right now? No, not particularly, if only because I know it’s not the time. Also, I’m psyched for grad school and I’m loving the idea of living alone while I struggle through it. ;) But am I about to follow the advice of some most-likely-well-meaning folk and postpone a lifelong commitment just so that I… don’t have to deal with the ramifications of a lifelong commitment?
I can’t help but shake my head. I just don’t get it. If this is old fashioned, I don’t want to get anywhere near “new fashioned”.
I was gone all weekend, out of town, without internet access, so I’m way behind on the 30-day-challenge thing I was doing.
However, whilst out of town, I spent 5 minutes outside and ended up with 12 bug bites. Yes, 12, those are the ones I can count, there may be some I can’t see. Now, as if having psoriasis wasn’t bad enough, I have itching bug bites all over my legs and my arms. AND - go figure - I’m having an allergic reaction, so instead of just small mosquito bites, I have large, red, raised welts. Most of them are the size of quarters and they itch like the dickens.
So there’s that. I’ll catch up when I can, for now I just want anti-itch lotion and a book to read and ice cream and sleep. And I have to be at work at 8:30, lovely.
This is the end of my passive, self-centered rant.