Losing My Religion

Literally.

This isn’t a topic I like to talk about, because I think that many people have a very firm mindset about where they stand with it so I don’t see much point in conversation. Especially since I’m not firm in my stance myself.

I was raised in a Roman Catholic household. I know all the prayers, though due to lack of practice over the years I’ve forgotten parts of them. When I was in between middle school and high school, I felt in my heart that there was no more connection to God in me. I took on atheism as my ideology, and revoked anything that had anything to do with religion.

That was the approximate time in my life where I was starting to learn what the world was. When I started paying attention to the news, when I was exposed to criticisms of religion and other religions. I was first and foremost revolted by the way the Catholic church views homosexuality, which was what made me want to rebuke Catholicism to begin with. How they view abortion, how they view gender roles, all these strange Bible passages and conflicting interpretations. I didn’t like it. After that I believed in a higher power, but I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it cared at all what happened to me or anyone.

That’s how I landed at atheism. I just kept reading about horrible things in this world, and I was so sure that if there was a God out there (s)he wouldn’t let any of it happen to begin with. So I lost my religion. I lost all faith. I believed in community and love and goodwill and togetherness and all that, but just not under any deity. Because I was a good person, and you don’t need to be religious to be a good person.

Despite all that, recently I’ve been feeling uncomfortable. Even though I call myself an atheist, I definitely believe in something. Though I don’t admit it, sometimes in private I pray. I whisper all the lines I remember, hoping whoever is out there is listening.

I think this life is too big to be happenstance. I don’t know if I’ll ever call myself a Catholic again, but I don’t think I can call myself an atheist. For now I don’t want to focus on a label, I want to focus on what I believe. I want to sort my feelings out and find that connection I thought I once had with something higher than myself.

“No matter how far you have walked from God, he is still waiting ahead.”
-Creature, Penny Dreadful

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Back At It

Hello! My god, I haven’t posted on this blog in forever. I made my new blog so that I could separate my posts about motherhood from personal posts, but I guess I’ve learned that once you have a child, there is no separating your parenthood from your personal life. In a way it’s wonderful to be tied to someone like that (I mean, she’s literally 50% me), but on the other hand it’s a little exhausting.

I guess this post will be more of a rant if anything.

So this semester is my first time taking a full course load (12 credits) in a year. I honestly thought I could handle it, but I’m starting to find that I really, really can’t.

Here are the reasons why I’m freaking the fuck out:

1) More credits

Last semester I only took 6 credits online. The spring before that I took 12 in class. But there’s a difference.

The 6 I took last semester were psychology classes, and I already have a good foundation of psychology behind me. I already knew, for the most part, what was going on, or I would just have to build on my existing knowledge. Now, I’m planning on switching majors to business (marketing to be exact), and I have absolutely no experience with college level business courses. So not only are there more, but they’re all brand new, and require a COMPLETELY different frame of thinking than my psychology classes did.

2) Online

The 2 classes I took online last semester were nothing. I already had a lot of previous knowledge and they were pretty simple for the most part. Plus, they were both “pace yourself” classes with no fixed schedules.

The classes I’m taking this semester are COMPLETELY different. They have weekly schedules and deadlines to meet, and there are a lot more assignments than my previous classes had. I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to be able to keep up with the course work.

I feel like if I had taken these classes in-class rather than online I would be under a lot less stress, because in class I would have people to talk to and a lecture to listen to, but in my house, not only do I have to combat the feeling of general laziness, but I have my daughter to take care of.

3) Ember

My baby is not even 3 months old yet. She requires A LOT of care. Her day works like this: nap for 1 to 2 hours, wake up, eat, poop, play, sleep again. Repeat. High school had gotten me adjusted to this “do all of your homework in one sitting” mindset, and that worked for me for 5 years. Now all of a sudden it’s “constantly start and stop, and sometimes stop in the middle of a thought because the baby is crying”. Ember has finally gotten into the habit of sleeping 5-6 hours in a row at night, every night like clockwork starting at midnight. For the first week I thought “Maybe if I try to get it all done during that time span I’ll be good”. But no, no I won’t. Turns out staying up all night when you have a baby will kill you during the day.

When Ember is awake, she wants to be entertained. She will actually cry of boredom. I have to play with her. If I sit her down in front of the TV, she’ll usually stop fussing and watch, but the thing is that I don’t want to do that to my baby. I don’t want her to be a brain-dead TV head before she’s even 1 year old. I’ve considered dropping her off at my relative’s house some days of the week so I can go to a library or something a study in peace, but the weather is so bad that every time she goes out she ends up getting sick and I can’t let that happen.

So pretty much, I am a nervous wreck.

My anxiety had gotten better over the past month, but recently it’s almost been right back where it used to be.

Thankfully I don’t have suicidal thoughts like I used to. It was a really rough 2 months after Ember was born, but thankfully I’ve been able to pull myself out of that. This anxiety is more like an, “I am so stressed and I have so much to do that I literally can’t function thinking about all the stuff I have to do”.

People don’t understand how dangerous the “depression/anxiety” pair works when it comes to academics.

The depression, by itself, leaves me hollow and unfeeling. It leaves me paralyzed in bed unable to move, sometimes so numb that I let my daughter cry for about 10 minutes before I have the strength to get up and give her whatever she wants.

The anxiety, by itself, makes my body start to overheat, and I start having panic attacks over the smallest things. Little arguments can make me cry and hyperventilate. Thinking about something stressful can make me heat up and start nervously scratching myself until I bleed.

The depression and anxiety together puts me in bed, with no energy, scratching myself until my arms bleed while my head hurts trying to strategize a way to get all my work done in time. Once I have my mental homework schedule planned out, I remain in bed, still without energy, and panic, constantly revising my schedule because I lack the mental capacity to execute it with efficiency. When I finally get the energy to get my textbook out, the words are blurry and my mind is racing with panic and I start to cry because I am so worried about failing that the thought of failing is what is actually leading to my failure.

You can read that paragraph and tell me I’m insane, and others will probably agree with you, but I swear to god that describes me on a good week.

I feel in my heart that I won’t go spiraling into a pit of suicidal depression again, but I’m feeling such a horrible stress I’ve never felt before, and I honestly don’t know where it will lead me.

Everytime We Touch

I GET THIS FEELING.
AND EVERY TIME WE KISS I REACH FOR THE SKY.
CAN’T YOU FEEL MY HEART BEAT FAST
I WANT THIS TO LAST
I NEED YOU BY MY SIDE.

*This post contains material of a sexual nature.

When I was younger, I only had the media to teach me about relationships and sex. My parents never talked about it. I don’t think I had a friend with a boyfriend until I was 13 or 14.

The media always portrays boys as perpetually hungry for sex. Ready for it anytime, anywhere. Wanting it all the time, everywhere. That’s why I was so surprised about my sex life.

My first sexual encounter with my boyfriend was a little awkward. I initiated it, and he was kind of shy and embarrassed the whole time. Afterwards he thanked me for what I gave to him, and I never quite knew what that was, but I think it was just for his first sexual experience. For the record, he also thanked me for our first kiss.

The media never prepared me for him.

My boyfriend has never once asked me for sex. He’s never once asked me if we could do it. I have.

He usually reads situations. If we start to kiss and get a little feely, I’ll make sure it’s 100% clear that it’s go-time. He’s never pressured me. He always makes sure I’m 100% comfortable with everything we do. He was also willing to reclaim abstinence after a certain talk we had before, but I wasn’t a fan of that.

What touches me the most is that one time I asked him what his favorite part of sex is, and his answer was, “When we’re together afterwards.”

His favorite part of sex is the afterglow. He likes the cuddling, and the laughing, and the kissing. He likes just laying there with me naked, holding me with no other intentions. He loves laying down next to me and looking me in the eyes, and kissing my forehead and just hearing my heavy breathing.

I’ve asked him this question over and over again, and it’s always the same.

I can’t blame him.

I can see why people like hooking up, and the excitement of a one night stand. But I think the warm and comforting feeling of an afterglow with someone you love is beyond compare.

You lie there together, half breathless. Your hormones are rushing and your head is in another place: you’re euphoric. Then suddenly their touch bring you back to earth. You feel their lips against one cheek and then the other. Then on your forehead, your nose, and finally your lips. You lie on their chest, and hear the fast pace of their heartbeat. Your heavy breathing soon synchronizes, and slows together as you begin to relax. You might small talk and laugh, you might be thinking of getting in the shower together to cool off. But mostly you take comfort in their warmth. Just being there together, feeling each other’s presence, looking into each other’s eyes. The feeling you get is just as good as the sex.

I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such a good boyfriend. “Good” doesn’t do him justice. He’s just the kind of guy that has a warmth and a sincerity that I wish for all of my friends, and especially my daughter.

Ember, if you ever read this, first of all sorry you read about your parents having sex. And second, I hope you one day find a man (or a woman) as loving as your father is.

It Was Only Just A Dream

“So I traveled back, down that road.
Will she come back? No one knows.
I realize, yeah, it was only just a dream.”

Just A Dream, Nelly

I had an interesting but mostly horrifying dream last night. It put me in this downtrodden, melancholy mood all day, and it’s been haunting me ever since.

– Begin Dream –

My boyfriend called me and asked me to meet him at the mall. He said it was an emergency. I was excited because I thought it was going to be my surprise baby shower.

When I got to the mall, I found my boyfriend sitting on a bench. For some reason the mall was dim, and the bench he was sitting on was in front of what looked like a shady nightclub. He looked tired and dirty. I sat next to him and asked him what was happening. He told me to turn around.

There I saw my best friend that had killed himself over a year ago, sitting next to me and smiling. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. I couldn’t calm down. I jumped and wrapped my arms around him to make sure he was really there. I could smell the cologne he always wore. I could feel the self-harm cut scars on his arms. I could feel him there, I could feel his soul.

I asked him so many questions. I wanted to know how it was possible that he was really there and I was in hysterics. He couldn’t stop smiling. He told me that his parents faked his death, so they could keep him home and abuse him, and that they had spent the last year and a half trying to “beat the gay out of him”. I was furious. They faked his death, they had a whole huge ceremony, they had a private family-only funeral┬áto hide the fact that there was no body.

I changed from tears of happiness and confusion to tears of injustice and outrage. I wanted to kill them. I was planning on killing them. He kept telling me to calm down because it’s all over and they can’t hurt him anymore. I didn’t know what to say, so he just kept hugging me, and I just kept crying and hugging him right back.

– End Dream –

I woke up crying. I felt so much pain. I wanted him there with me. During my first few moments of consciousness, I forgot that it was a dream and I thought I had just discovered something horrible and that I had to save him. But no, it was just a dream.

Bobby is really gone. I will never see him again no matter how much I want to. I’ll never feel his warmth or see his smile, I’ll never sing with him again, or listen to him play the piano. I’ll never get to introduce my daughter to him. He’s gone in every sense except my memories.

I love him so much. There was so much pain. And it all came rushing back when I woke up, like it was the first time I heard that he died. In that short dream, he came back to me.

But it was just a dream.

Just A Little Shame

I recently made a new post on my second blog.

I talked about my weekend at the beach with my boyfriend and his family and how I accidentally peed my pants. Not one of my finer moments. I actually share that blog on Facebook for my family and friends, so they can see how I’m doing because for some reason a lot of people feel awkward when they wanna ask me how I’m doing.

After reading and proofreading and rereading the post again, I realized something. I can tell the world I peed my pants and not feel a thing. I genuinely don’t care who knows or if anyone wants to talk about it.

But then,

This weekend while I was at the beach with my boyfriend, we went into a souvenir shop. There were tacky shirts all over the walls, and there were these 2 matching shirts that said This Guy Loves His Girlfriend and This Girl Loves Her Boyfriend. He got really excited when he saw them and he wanted us to get them and wear them together the next day. But for some reason, I was kind of eye-rolling at them in my mind. I smiled and told him that if he likes them I wouldn’t mind wearing them with him, but he could tell that I wasn’t very enthusiastic so he let it go.

For some reason I can’t stop thinking about that. He’s tried to get shirts like that before but I never really went for it. Personally I guess I don’t really care, but I don’t really know why I’m not that into it. We hold hands everywhere we go, we hug and kiss in public, it’s clear to everyone that we’re happy together and in love. I guess it’s just kind of an “actions speak louder than words” thing. But now I realize, my actions weren’t very loving. Buying a $5 shirt that expresses my love for him that would make him happy wasn’t too much to ask. He always does so much for me. He’s always so loving towards me. He really does anything and everything for me.

I made him a shirt about 2 years ago. It’s a black shirt that I painted a strange smiley face on. The fabric paint has cracked significantly since then, and it’s a bit too small for him now. But you know what? He still wears it. All the time. Because it makes him happy because I made it for him. And I always feel touched when I see him wear it even though it looks just plain odd now.

In relationships, it’s really the little things that count. Holding hands while dipping our feet in the ocean, getting up at 1 in the morning to eat cold pizza, cuddling in bed and falling asleep while watching Friends. It’s nothing crazy or extravagant, but the happiness is incomparable. I wish all weekends — all days — could be like that. It was one of the best weekends of my life.

Now I just wish we had gotten those shirts.

The Dynamic Duo

AKA my parents.

My parents have been together for over 20 years. They’ve known each other since they were born, grew up as neighbors, were best friends for a long time, didn’t start to date until their 20’s, had me in their late 20’s, had my brother in their early 30’s, got married in their early 40’s, and are still happily together to this day.

They have an average relationship dynamic. My mom talks a lot, my dad doesn’t say much, but together they just kind of complement each other.

Every week is the same routine. Dad picks mom up from work, they get home, mom makes dinner while dad watches TV in the kitchen and helps her if she asks, They clean the kitchen, go upstairs and take showers, talk for a while, and go to bed. On weekends, they watch TV until midnight or a little later while eating fish balls and drinking wine.

A little over a year ago my mom got a job that requires her to travel a few times a year. So far she’s gone 5 times. She’s gone now, and it always goes the same:

Dad gets home earlier than usual since he doesn’t have to pick up mom. Instead of hibernating in the kitchen, he checks on me and my brother. He asks us about our days and asks if we want to eat anything. Today he took me to Taco Bell for dinner. He doesn’t usually do these things because he knows our mom does, and he usually only talks to us if we’re in the room he’s in. He makes sure we’re fed, he talks to us, and he tells us to go to bed at night. Not exactly following in my mom’s footsteps, but he’s definitely more involved than he is when she’s home.

Of course I know my dad cares about us, but he’s just a man of few words. When my mom is out, he tries to take care of the house in his own way.

Even though she’s not there, he still stays in the kitchen. I think it’s probably out of habit. He doesn’t say anything but I know he misses her. When he plays on his iPad, I see him occasionally checking her Facebook, maybe hoping she posted a picture or updated what she’s doing. My dad usually goes to sleep around 9 PM, but for some reason he stays up an hour or two later whenever she’s gone. He usually sleeps at the time she sleeps when she’s home. For what reason, I don’t know. Whenever she’s gone, he sleeps with the lights on. For what reason, again, I don’t know.

My mom is more open about her missing us. She texts all day, she calls in her free time. She asks how my dad’s doing and what he’s doing and she tells me to tell him goodnight because she knows that he likes to leave his phone downstairs at night because he doesn’t like it bothering him at night. And she tells me to be aware of him at night, and to check on him because, even though it’s really rare, he’ll wake up screaming in the middle of the night sometimes. It happens probably less than 5 times a year, but she still tells me to make sure he’s okay.

As a psychology student, I’m very concerned as to why my father has occasional night terrors since they’re highly uncommon in adulthood, but that’s not my point. My point is that even though there’s such a small small small small small percent chance of something happening to my father, she still tells me to make sure he’s okay. And since my mom is gone, my dad sleeps with the lights on. Sometimes he even arranges the pillows on her side and hugs them. What this tells me is that my mom comforts him.

He barely talks to his own kids, but he talks to her. He has no reason to be in the kitchen sitting on those hard stools all evening purely besides keeping my mom company. He can’t sleep with the light off when she’s not there. When I was younger, I always took my father’s silence as apathy. My brother takes after him, so I took my brother as an apathetic person as well. But it’s not true. It took me a long time to realize that just because someone doesn’t show love in the same way as me doesn’t mean that the love isn’t there.

Love is shown in so many different ways.

They always say that people tend to fall in love with people similar to their parents. I do think I’m dating a guy a lot like my father.

My boyfriend is hardworking. He’s kind. He doesn’t say much, but he always listens, and he always remembers even when I don’t think he does. I always make grand gestures like baking him cookies or cupcakes or drawing him pictures or writing him letters, but that’s how I show my love. He shows his by sending me an occasional “Whacha up to?” in the middle of the day. He shows his love by sending me funny pictures he found on the internet that he thinks will make me laugh. He shows his love by texting me a good morning as soon as he wakes up and a good night right before bed. They’re all subtle things, but they all mean I love you.

Every relationship is different, but that doesn’t make them any less wonderful than the other.

New Blog!

Hello friends~

As you should know, I’m pregnant. I decided I want to separate church and state — keep this blog for my opinions and views and certain life events and make another blog about motherhood. You can check it out here, though there’s not much to it yet at this point.

Just to update, I had a gender reveal party this past weekend with some close friends and family. My boyfriend and I filled a box with pink balloons, we took everyone to the field in the backyard, and opened the box to show everyone we’re expecting a baby girl. So exciting!

Beforehand, everyone was always asking me if I wanted a boy or a girl. Honestly I didn’t really care, though I had a slight bias because all of my symptoms showed I would have a girl and it turns out I am. (Low-to-normal appetite, forward sticking stomach, skin glow all show signs of pregnancy with a girl.)

I’ve been so relieved since the reveal. I found out the gender 3 weeks ago, and since then I had been having to tiptoe around pronouns which was PAINFULLY difficult. (I accidentally slipped a “she” or a “her” out and ruined it for 4 different friends… #shame)

Anyways, I hope you’ll check out my new blog and stick with my on my journey through parenthood. If not that’s cool too, you do you.