Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just One Quick Take

So.... I was going to do the Blog Meme that Elizabeth over at Startling the Day tagged me in, but I con't honestly answer the questions it had because I only have 16 posts and one of them I was ranting about mail I received. But, since a mild internet "following" fills me with glee (the Hubbs' terminology, not mine), I didn't want Elizabeth to feel like I was ignoring her (which I doubt she would), so I will just give her the shout-out and link. ; ) And try not to post any more run-on sentences.
Everyone who likes this blog, if you aren't reading her blog, go and do it. If you're not already.

Tomorrow, I am going to start helping to teach RCIA/Adult Confirmation classes at my parish! Yay! Hubbs is getting confirmed and I am a little bummed out that he's getting confirmed at the Easter vigil for two reasons:
1. I got confirmed on Divine Mercy Sunday and the Beatification of Blessed Pope JPII the Great (or as he's affectionately known in the Deaner household: JP Deuce.) Which was so super awesome. What WASN'T awesome was that I got confirmed at the youth mass where there were guitars and girls in flash-dance inspired get-ups serving as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. And we sang "worship" songs that had no copyrights older than the year 2000. When I left, even though I had been anointed and smelled like balsam, I actually felt as if I hadn't fulfilled my Sunday obligation because I didn't even feel like I had attended Mass. Hubbs will get candles, and solemn singing and probably even some LATIN!
2. This will make the Easter Vigil push the 3 hour mark for sure.

The search is now on for a suitable confirmation saint. I am voting for St. Augustine because of the quote "Lord, give me temperance... but not quite yet." I feel like that sums up Hubbs' spiritual life perfectly. Any thoughts would be awesome, and prayers would be appreciated.

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cultural Heaven

So, for those of you who don't know this about me, I have a good bit of clergy in my family. Three of my great aunts were nuns (Sister John Berchmans, Sister Teresita and Sister Veronica), one of my great-great uncles was a Monsignor, and one was a Brother. Yep. Five out of the seventeen kids that made up my great-grandmother's family! That's a lot of vocations for one group!
One of the things that initially drew me back to my faith was my culture. My family is Cajun, and one of the definitions (at least originally) of "a Cajun" was that one had to be Catholic. Heck, that's part of the reason they were expelled from their homeland of Acadia in the first place. I figured, if people in my not-to-distant family were willing to die for their faith, who was I to think I was too good for it?
One of Uncle Jules' projects
In the Cajun culture, Catholicism is everywhere: from the trinity that we put into our food to the traditional Mardi Gras. Even those Friday fish fries or crawfish boils are a telltale sign of a deep-seeded faith that has slowly just become part of who we are, even if it's not always part of what we do. We even have our own Marian patroness: Stella Maris. My  great-great uncle Jules Daigle (the monsignor) made it part of his mission as a Parish Priest in Welsh, Louisiana to preserve the Cajun culture and language. He was very involved with the youth, and I am sure part of what he tried to teach them was to be proud of who they were: Cajun Catholics. Lately I have felt very close to my Uncle Jules and close to his mission. I have been praying to him to help me discern if I have a vocation in trying to preserve the culture as well. (And before any of you freak out about praying "to" my Uncle, let me remind you that we don't pray "to" people in heaven as if they can answer our prayers. We pray to them to pray for us, just like you would ask someone still on Earth, but the deceased have the added benefit of being a lot closer to God than any of us.)
July 28 commemorates Le Grand Derangement (The Great Upheaval) in Canada, and I am thinking about my Uncle and my culture a lot these days. This was the time when the English (and American colonists) went into Acadia (now Nova Scotia) and expelled the Acadians-- sending them across the country, ripping families apart. Catholicism means "universal" and I think about those Acadians, some alone, in their new "homes" going into a Church and finding something familiar and comforting. I see anti-Catholicism everywhere, in benign places that people who aren't Catholic may never even see. I think about my little culture, so misunderstood in the greater American culture today, and the outposts of who we are. I think of the new Evangelical and non-denominational Christianity, widespread across the Bible Belt, seeping into the Cajun Prairie and claiming people as the English once did, using the same vicious rhetoric against us, our culture (French) and our traditional religion. I can't help but draw parallels in the way Hispanic culture is looked at today and see a common denomination in incense, the Virgin Mary, a tendency to insulate against outside influences. I can't help but equate so much of my culture with Catholicism.
I can't speak Cajun. I can speak Provincial French (badly), and I can say a few words here and there. I grew up in Colorado, not Church Point, so I was removed from it. A displaced Cajun displaced further. It is no wonder then, that all I can preserve, in a way, of my tradition is my religion, my faith.This story isn't singular, it is echoed in the lives and words of emigrants from all over the world: Polish, Irish, Vietnamese. Spanning over hundreds of years that is what we, the Cajuns, had, and hopefully what we will always have. I know Uncle Jules is praying for that, as well. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bold and Brazen

You can purchase this shirt
Back in November, Fr. Steven gave a wonderful homily that I have been thinking about more and more. He is wont to tell stories in his homilies and is often very funny. This particular one was a story about how he had run to the grocery store still in his vestments because he had a little time before guests were coming over for dinner and needed to grab a desert, and in his rush had not changed. He was standing in the bakery section of the Safeway, in full attire, holding a fruit tart and a package of cupcakes and trying to decide what to get when he realized this man was looking at him and giving him a dirty look. Fr. Steven decided to ignore him, and go on with his decision-making. The man would not stop staring. He said he really wanted to say something, but was quite aware that it would not look good if a Catholic priest, completely decked out, holding a fruit tart turned to your average Joe and yelled “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” Instead, he just said “good evening” smiled, took his dessert and walked away. The moral of the story was that we should all be unabashedly Catholic. That we should not be ashamed to stick out like sore thumbs in this world of ours, to be beacons of light, or subjects of curiosity. He said it is of utmost importance because no one else is ashamed of their religion, not the Methodists, not the Mormons, and certainly not the atheists. 

That homily came at a right time for me, as I had recently gotten into a…. discussion on Facebook with a friend of mine and felt ashamed that now everyone knew I was one of those “crazy Catholics.” Sometimes I was even ashamed of being Catholic among Catholics; I struggled with wearing my mantilla at first because I thought people would view me as trying to look more pious than everyone else. I keep revisiting this statement over and over again, whenever I feel like I should bite my tongue so as not to upset or offend someone or back off of my beliefs when I come up against someone who disagrees with them. Not long ago, one of Hubbs’ co-workers (who had at one point straight-up grilled me on my religious beliefs at one of his company functions) called me a “religious fanatic” because she misunderstood something I had told her during the grilling session. Yesterday, my co-worker (who I like very much) made a comment about how practicing NFP couldn’t be good for my marriage. She gave all the worldly reasons “Isn’t it hard not being able to get caught up in the passion of the moment?” “Doesn’t your husband have a hard time with it?” “I don’t understand why you can’t just use condoms” She drew a direct parallel between NFP and my husband possibly cheating on me; she even went so far as to making me feel bad that Hubbs is more open to having a baby sooner rather than later and therefore I was denying him sex because I don’t want to have kids right now. Yikes. I didn’t know what to say. So I told her what I know. I told her the reasons behind NFP, I told her that I feel more respected, cherished and loved in my marriage than I ever did before we started using it, I told her it was a mutual decision entirely, and that Hubbs actually pushed for it more than I did in the beginning. I told her how we have a different level of intimacy because he understands all about what happens in my body now, whereas most husbands only know that their wives are on their periods and therefore can’t have sex (bummer). I felt like I did a good job stating my position and being unabashedly Catholic. I’m not gonna lie: I was totally offended. But I also felt sad that she is so of this world that she can’t even really understand, because she is too worried about her husband’s urges and whether or not he will cheat on her if she doesn’t give in to them. I felt bad about it for about 10 minutes, I really did. Then I was angry, and then I was glad that I stood my ground on it.

Is this what it’s like to be unabashedly Catholic? Do I have to defend myself against people who have issues with my beliefs? It seems so unfair, doesn't it? I’m not running around calling people out on their beliefs, asking them explain themselves, rolling my eyes, crossing my arms and saying “well, I guess I just don’t understand.” I mean, come on, anyone of any other faith system (including none at all) can put out books every single day about how Catholicism is wrong, but you tell someone about a new book coming out called “Why Catholics are Right” and people scoff as if I said “Why people actually have three ears.” But then, only Catholics had their religion illegal in this country founded on religious freedom until after the Revolutionary war. Only Catholics are being accused of allowing illegal immigration in an effort to stage a reconquista and “Romanize” America. Only Catholics are standing out like sore thumbs in a secular world and PC country. So yes, let’s be unabashedly Catholic. Let’s tell people all those “strange” things we do like not eating meat on Friday and practicing NFP and, oh, I don’t know, standing by our beliefs regardless of what people think of us and them. Some of my not-so-distant ancestors actually died for the right to be Catholic, and I am afraid someone will give me a dirty look? If the world has a problem with us, I for one will assume I am doing something right. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Selling God in Sin City

So, after our convalidation, Hubbs and I decided that second wedding = second honeymoon. Being cheap and not having a ton of time off, we decided to go to Vegas. I should add that our first honeymoon was in New Orleans, so we apparently really like debaucherous party capitals as our honeymoon spots. We ate a lot of good food, and it was really, really hot.
One thing that struck me about Vegas was the idea of "sin city." That reputation is absolutely true: almost all the 7 deadly sins are there:

1. Lust: strip clubs, escorts, scantily clad people on every corner
2. Gluttony: did someone say 24 hour all you can eat buffet?
3. Greed: "if I just put one more dollar in this machine, I will hit it big this time!"
I don't own the rights
4. Sloth: you pick: either staying up till all hours of the night and then sleeping all day, OR trying to make a fortune with the roll of the dice rather than work
5. Wrath: I got nothin' on this one... except maybe people being ticked when they lose all their money
6. Envy: Vegas is FULL of very expensive shopping, placed there to wish you could afford it, to get you to gamble more to win the money needed to purchase the items
7. Pride: exclusivity of night clubs, etc.

You would think that Vegas is a pretty Godless city, and indeed I would say it is. Probably no more Godless than any other city in America, but it's all squished into a 50 mile radius that makes it pretty much the center of everything I just listed. You only have to go about 3 steps out of your hotel to have a sin shoved in your face, literally. One night, Hubbs and I decided to go to the Bellagio to see the famous fountains. On every block, there are 2 or more people handing out flyers for strip clubs and escorts. They aren't too pushy, you don't have to talk to them and you can walk past them without feeling like they are going to chase you down or anything. But on one corner there was a gentleman handing out flyers about God.  People pretty much walked past him and didn't say anything, but there was a bit of grumbling. How interesting that people seemed more annoyed with someone speaking about his religion than being handed lewd pictures of airbrushed women. I wanted to stop and shake his hand and tell him to literally not lose the faith. Because the porn and the gambling and alcohol sells itself. They don't need people on the corners handing that stuff out to passers-by, ut I'm sure it brings in business or they wouldn't do it. But of all the cocktail waitresses in their tiny little outfits and spike heels, the Elvis impersonators, the night-shift card-dealers and acrobats in shows, this guy had the hardest job on The Strip. Now, normally, this kind of thing turns my stomach. I will admit to a slightly sick fascination with talking to Jehovah's Witnesses (the ones I used to engage in discussion with when I was in high school still bother my mom from time-to-time) and I love it when the LDS missionaries come to my door, all clean cut and not knowing what they are about to get themselves into. People standing in public areas preaching gets under my skin in a way that I can't really explain, in the same way contemporary worship music and guitar masses do. I think it has to do with that sort of thing somehow always feeling directly contradictory to my Catholic brain. Or maybe because the beliefs they usually profess are thinly veiled threats or outright bigotry. But for some reason, that night, in that sea of all of that, it seemed weirdly refreshing.
It was inspiring to see someone out there, working hard, doing what he felt was right. And I sincerely hope he never loses his hope that people can rise above what is laid out for them as a proverbial banquet and strive for something a little...higher.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Another Bright Maidens Post-- to shake up the views being posted.

Heart Grenade
I have three (count 'em) three tattoos. I got my first one on my 21st birthday, after going through what I pray was the roughest emotional period in my life. It's a heart grenade a la Green Day's American Idiot, and, at the time, I felt like it was the best symbolization of how I felt and what I was going through. It's the only tattoo of mine that anyone can see, and that's only if it's summer time and I am wearing anything shorter than a pair of jeans, and it's not very big. I got the next two within the next 6 months. One is a Flying V guitar with the words "In Love With Rock n Roll" that I got after having a dream about it and going through yet another awful break up and the third I got after a guy in a bar in Rome told me that it was bad luck to have tattoos in even numbers. She's a red-headed pin up girl named Debra Jean. Both of those are completely covered most of the time and sometimes you can see half of Debra Jean if I'm wearing a swimsuit.
I don't regret any of them, and I actually love them. Not surprisingly, though, I have the most emotional attachment still to the first one and the complicated, sometimes convoluted philosophy behind the symbol and what my poor, sorrow-addled heart felt at the time. I don't identify with the feelings anymore (thank God), but I can look back on it somewhat fondly in the way you can look back at a picture of yourself in Jr. High and know you look a little dorky but can always say "that was the style!"

People sometimes ask me what the Catholic church's philosophy on tattoos are, and I usually shrug and say "not a sin, but not recommended." The book of Leviticus advises against tattoos, and Orthodox Jews will not get tattooed. They are actually not even allowed to have them or they cannot be buried in Jewish cemeteries. This rule is not enforced in Catholicism, and tattoos aren't really talked about all that much.

When I was taking my courses for my Religious Studies degree, I took a class called Religion and Society. We had to write a paper on something that bonded people in a similar way as a religion, but wasn't one. I chose tattoos. I walked around town and interviewed random people about their tattoos and what they meant to them. Almost everyone had a beautiful story behind their tattoos. Some were memorials to loved ones, some were names of their children or beloved pets, some were symbols they felt close to: of their familial heritage, their religion, their lives over the years. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirits and anyone who has ever been to St. Peter's in Rome can tell you that temples to God are always adorned with ornaments and reminders of why we are there. Sure, there are some awful tattoos out there-- some lame and ill-advised tribal suns, Playboy bunny symbols and bad art. But there are some really beautiful ones that people feel strongly about, and feel connected to. In a world where not everyone has a religion to fall back on, they bind people to the things they feel strongly about. There are Catholics that wear scapulars, Miraculous Medals, crucifixes, saints of every shape and size around their neck day in and day out. It's an outward sign of who we are, where we come from, and hopefully where we're going. What do people without these comforts have? Tattoos: four-leaf clovers, roses for their mom, rosaries around their ankle. Religious people can have a myriad of respectful, beautiful tattoos that can bring glory to our beliefs and history. Anyone who has tattoos will eventually be asked about them and so they could even be used as an evangelization tool.
St. Padre Pio. I don't own the rights, but the artist's name is Alex de Passe.
Sure, tattoos in society might be more trendy than anything, they might still be maligned in general society, but they can't ever truly be discounted.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Modesty: Unveiled

I drafted this post some time ago and posted it finally in order to contribute to a topic prompt by the Bright Maidens. I highly recommend reading them if you have any interest in what it's like to be young, female and Catholic!

Disclaimer #1: I hate the word “modesty.” I feel like it only applies to women and has no real basis in reality with respect to what one can actually find in stores. I am not one to advocate the wearing of floor-length prairie skirts and turtle-necks. Mainly because I really think they are a fashion faux-pas and if that makes me a materialistic secular person, so be it. That being said, I am going to use the word modesty for- literally- lack of a better word. I am using it to mean…basically… um…. Not slutty. I guess? Semantics tick me off.

There has been a bit of buzz lately about modesty in the Church.  There are two forms of modesty rules that women are to follow. One is sometimes referred to the Fatima rule, which was codified by the Cardinal Vicar of Pope Pius XII in 1956. Distilled, the rules are: no shirts cut lower than two finger widths below the hollow of the neck, sleeves to the elbow, skirts below the knee. I’ll add for good measure: head covered in the sanctuary. Many women do not follow this rule, because, come on. Why would you? But some still feel compelled to, and, power to them I guess.
The other one is the more modern rule, which is shoulders covered, thighs covered, cleavage covered. This is the rule that you will run into if you ever go visit any great Cathedral in Europe. At the Vatican, they have these paper towel type things that they hand to women in spaghetti straps to act as makeshift pashminas for all those American tourists in their Miley Cyrus tank tops. Don’t even get me started about Americans dressing like this in Europe in general, regardless of trying to get into a Catholic Church.

I find that modesty is a complicated thing that you can’t ever quite pin down, and it varies based on who you speak to. I look at it akin to the veiling of Muslim women: some Americans (or Westerners) look at it as oppressive, sexist and backwards. Some Muslim women look at it as an equalizer, something that frees them from being judged on their bodies or looks. In the Catholic modesty debate, I tend to fall into the equalizer camp, though it’s not really that cut and dry.

Disclaimer #2: one of my favorite and least Christian pastimes is to look at (and, admittedly judge,) people’s clothing in Church. To be fair, I do it everywhere anyway. I literally balk each week at the things people wear to Mass, and, more importantly, the things people allow their children to wear to Mass. Since I felt compelled to start veiling at Mass, I find this has started to lessen quite a bit, mainly because I know I am in the minority and I am getting stared at as well. I also think the veil helps me to be more pious and remember why I am at Mass in the first place. Added bonus that it still smells like the chrism from my confirmation.

Okay, so here’s a list of things I really, really dislike seeing at mass: teenagers in flash-dance inspired off-the-shoulder sweatshirts with their bra straps showing; flip flops; teenage or young men in basketball shorts or anything that resembles workout clothing; anyone in holy pants/shirts/tennis shoes (just ‘cause they’re holy doesn’t mean you can wear them to church ba-dum-ching!); women in mini skirts; women in leggings with tops that don’t cover their butts; kids in things that resemble Halloween costumes; anything you would conceivably sleep in (i.e. pajama pants, flannel shorts and oversized t-shirts, frequently splashed with the name of some “fun-run” you participated in); and last but not least teenagers in mini skirts, cheerleading hoodies from their high school *and* flip flops (minus 10,000 points if this outfit is being worn in January, February or any month in which the temperature does not regularly soar over 50 degrees). I’m not super concerned with your shoulders being covered (necessarily, I feel like sleeveless tops are modest and fine), or your knees showing, or your hair being exposed.
The Amish. Keepin' it modest since 1693

 “But, Miss Holier-Than Thou Catholic,” you may say “why should we be concerned with modesty in the first place?” Short answer: respect. Respect for you and for the the fact that you are at church. I don’t buy that oft-repeated crap about how women should be modest so that we don’t incite lust in the menfolk at church. That’s a load of BS, if my scoop neck top is lower than 2 finger-widths than the hollow of my neck and you glimpse my sternum and get yourself in a tizzy and think an impure thought and can’t receive communion that’s your problem. Because really, where are we to draw the line? Thanks to pornography people have access to all kinds of pervy things that make them aware of fetishes and the sight of an earlobe or feet could make someone get all hot and bothered, and neither I nor the Vatican is calling for a Catholic burqa. I really, truly feel that modesty is at least 90% in your mind and in your character. We’ve all known women who could cover from head to toe and somehow come across as well… skanky. And we all know women (and I hope I am one of them) that can wear tank tops and shorts above their knee and still look modest. I think most women fall into the modest camp. There are some that think women shouldn’t wear pants to church, which doesn’t make a darn bit of sense to me because pants actually cover things up, and as long as you can’t read the date on a dime in someone’s pocket, I see no reason why a woman can’t wear them. I happen to wear dresses to church (as well as a mantilla, as I mentioned) but that is me, and it’s not required nor would I want anyone to do it if they didn’t feel called to (or at the very least prayed about it beforehand). I also frequently wear skirts and dresses as street clothes and so it’s really just more my style than anything else. I wear lower cut tops because I feel like since I don’t have cleavage, I’m golden. I think the motivation for being modest should come from within, and the closer I get to my faith the more modest I become unconsciously. I hate being told what I can and can’t wear. The owner of my company is LDS (Mormon) and we actually have a “modesty” rule in our dress code, which is almost word-for-word the modesty rule they teach their daughters. Even though I wasn’t ever planning on wearing short shorts and tube tops to work, the fact that that rule is in there ticks me off (again, it doesn’t really apply to the male employees) and makes me want to push the boundaries. I guess that’s a rebellious part of my nature that no amount of incense and Magisterium documents can squelch. That being said, I think the rule to anything should be “appropriateness.” It is appropriate to wear a bikini to the pool or beach, it is not appropriate to wear a bikini to mow the lawn. It is appropriate to dress as if you are attending church, it is not appropriate to attend church dressed as if you are attending a sleepover. See? Modesty issues solved.
Back to the respect thing and modesty outside of Mass, though, I think Blessed John Paul the Great (That title is just so fun!) said something along the lines of (my paraphrase here) “you should dress in a way that incites a man to LOVE you, not to lust after you.” If women really want to be treated as equals in society today, I think we need to give more thought to how we’re dressing and what it says about us. Just as I dislike the whole “dress modestly so as not to lead your brothers-in-Christ to sin” thing, I equally dislike the whole “I’m a woman and I can dress however I want because this isn’t the Middle Ages” thing. Because, really, aren’t they two sides of the same coin? No matter how much you may think that wearing shorty shorts and a halter top is for YOU and not for men, it’s really for men, isn’t it? Whether you are trying to attract them or not. Because if you were straight up honest with yourself (and you’re anything like me) you would go everywhere in yoga pants and a long sleeved t-shirt, right? Because that’s way more comfy than shorty shorts and a halter top. But women these days are taught, nay, brainwashed to do everything for men, even in this post sexual revolution society (case in point: look at the cover of any “women’s” magazine…the entire thing is about men and how to please them). You’re either dressing modestly for men, or you’re dressing immodestly for/to spite them. So here’s my advice: dress modestly, but do it for YOU. Dress modestly because you care enough about yourself to do so; because you respect yourself enough to know that what matters is the brain in your head and not the skin on your thighs. And think modestly, too, because if you think modestly, in the long run, it really won’t matter what you wear. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oh, Baby...?

Sorry for the very, very long delay in posting. I have been going through a pretty rough emotional time that had a little bit to do with my faith journey.
You see, I'm terrified of babies.

Almost a month ago, a good friend of mine had a baby girl nearly 8 weeks early (she was born Feb. 26 and was due April 23.) She is doing alright, remarkably well from what I can tell, but prayers are still needed and appreciated. Basically, once that happened I had a complete and total emotional freak out and have been torturing myself ever since.

This all started back in... I would say July, when Hubby and I started looking at our options to validate our marriage. I don't want this post to have too many tentacles, but for those of you who don't know what that means, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, because we were civilly married and not married by a priest, we aren't sacramentally married and therefore not married at all. That's actually what drove me to start this blog, initially... I had some... let's say issues... with some of this teaching and it took me a while to make a decision about what I wanted to do.
One of the big issues I had was the baby factor. The Catholic Church's teaching on this is very clear. Sex within marriage (which is the only kind allowed, of course) has two purposes: unitive and procreative. Anything else is lust. Using your spouse for pleasure only is just as wrong as using your spouse only to fulfill your desire to have children. In Catholic marriage vows you actually have to say in front of the priest, your spouse, all your friends and family and God that you will be open to any children that God sends your way. This is such a big teaching in the Church that it reaches into teachings on IVF, birth control, abortion, etc. In fact, according to the Catholic church, if you feel you aren't "called" to having children, then you aren't "called" to marriage, because that is the #1 purpose of marriage.

When we decided that having a sacramental marriage was something we wanted, one of the first things Hubbs and I had to do was get off of birth control. Which scared the ever-living crap out of me. Not because I love birth control, I actually hated it with a passion (as did my body) but because I had to relinquish control over something. We took the required class on NFP and started with it. It was around this time that I started to slowly panic about all of this. See, I really dislike kids. I'm serious and I'm just being honest. I never baby sat as a teenager, and I am an only child. My main experience with kids is the ones that scream in places I am trying to think or enjoy myself, like at Mass or at restaurants. I bristle from kids crying and fussing in grocery stores, and teenagers just give me the creeps. I hated college kids even when I was in college. When Hubbs and I married, we both had a general feeling of "meh" about having kids. Neither of us were very attached to either idea, and we figured we could discuss it more as the landscape changed.

As time went on, I could tell that Hubbs was leaning more and more toward having children, whereas I was staying more or less the same (as in "most likely not unless something drastic changes in the deep recesses of my brain and/or heart.") This started to scare me enough as it was, and then I was suddenly faced with this situation of "you have no real choice in this matter." I was devestated. Why would God put in me such a distaste for children if He wanted me to just accept that I should/would probably have some? Why should the Church tell me what I can and can't do with my own body and my own life? Who are they to tell me that I HAVE to have kids and can't use contraception to over-ride that particular function of my body? It's not like I can just lie, and unfortunately, if Hubbs decides he wants kids and I decide I don't, that's not exactly something that can be discussed and then move on. It's sort of a non-negotiable, right?
Mix in JB telling me (blissfully) that she was pregnant, everyone at work starting to suddenly ask me about when I was going to have children and you have the recipe for a complete emotional breakdown.
Which is basically what I have been doing for the past 3 weeks. I hate change, and I hate making decisions. And I feel like I have no choice, which sucks. I mean, sure, I know that I could just discard this altogether with a big percentage of your average Catholic population and go my merry way, but again, this isn't just the Church-- this is my relationship with my husband in a lot of ways. And besides, I told myself when I went with this that I wouldn't do it halfway, I was going to do it all or nothing, because otherwise, I wouldn't be living with any integrity whatsoever.
So basically, I have been trying to change my perspective. Sometimes I feel really great about it, and I am excited about the prospect of being a parent someday, and I think about holidays and fun vacations and all that lovely crap that everyone tells you about. But sometimes the idea of having kids (ever) makes me sick to my stomach to think about: all the things that could go wrong, how you influence so many things and can mess them up forever, my mother in law thinking she can tell me how to parent, etc. not to even consider the things that can happen ahead of all of that as I have been witness to with JB's teeny tiny little miracle baby.  I have been praying A LOT. To any and every Saint who I think can help me, as well as the BVM and hoping that my heart will change for the better. I keep trying to remind myself that I also never wanted to get married at one point, until I met Hubbs and then it seemed like the most logical and natural thing in the world (before that my plan was to have about a billion cats or become a nun--and I wasn't even religious at the time). I have no REAL reasons NOT to have kids, other than the fact that I don't like the idea all that much. In the end, my reasons are pretty selfish. I am fully aware that I can't really have kids at the moment (as in, we don't make enough right now as well as not really having a place to put a kid and we have to stay in our place at least 2 more years or we have to pay $8,000 back to the government...) so I know I have a little more time to get used to the idea that eventually, Hubbs and I will be someone's parents.
I know this sounds stupid to most people. I am aware how silly it really sounds, even as I type it. Because I am sure to a lot of people this would be simple. But as I said before, this is not just the Catholic Church. I think, in the end, the hardest thing for me is that it should not be something that I go back and forth on. It seems to me most people either know they want to have kids or they don't, end of story. It's hard for me that I don't feel strongly about it one way more than the other.
I am trying to be a really good example and accept whatever is in store for me and realize that it's entirely possible that I may never have kids. But then I get scared thinking about that, too, thinking maybe I am cursing myself and I honestly think I might be completely devastated if, say, I'm infertile and can't ever have kids. See my conundrum?

So yeah. Hence the long delay in posts. And sorry I'm so rambling... I just need to get it out somewhere I guess.