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

I AM A STRONG INDEPENDENT [FILIPINO] WOMAN

AND I DON’T NEED NO MAN.

Well maybe.

I don’t know.

Anyways.

So, I’m going to say that I get irritated easily. I’m very good at arguing, provided that I’m passionate about what I’m arguing about. Like if you’re anti-LGBT anti-abortion don’t even talk to me.

I used to think that those kinds of things — gay rights, feminist issues, anything along those lines — were the only topics that really heated me up. I thought I was a civil person for the most part but that I just get over-passionate about these things. But after today, I realized that I’m actually just a hot-head.

So in my biology lab class, we’ve had a project that we’ve been working on for 3 weeks. The project was to solve a supposed murder case. We either had to prove that someone did it, or prove that no one did it. My group concluded that no one did it.

We had to sit there and listen to everyone give their conclusion and evidence. And as I sat there for an hour and forty-five minutes, I realized that I get agitated very, very easily.

Out of 6 groups, only 2 of them (including mine) concluded that there was no murderer. But as I sat there listening to the rest of the groups argue their cases, I grew very irritated. Hearing them explain their (flawed) reasoning behind how these little things meant someone was a murderer, I was growing more and more angered at their irrationality.

“The death certificate claims that she died at 8AM, but the bug analysis says that she died at 10AM, so we decided that the mortician was lying and the entire death certificate can’t be used as viable evidence.”

In my head I was screaming DUMBASSES. THE BUG ANALYSIS IS INCONCLUSIVE. AT THE STAGE OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT, THE RANGE FOR ERROR IN ACTUAL TIME OF DEATH CAN BE ANYWHERE FROM 30-50 HOURS OFF. IF YOU READ THE REST OF THE CERTIFICATE YOU’LL FIND OUT THE REAL REASON SHE DIED WAS BECAUSE SHE HAS 3 HORRIBLE DISEASES ASSHOLES NO ONE MURDERED HER YOU STUPID SHITS.

And I was getting so steamed. Like, I was getting outraged.

And for literally nothing!

And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I guess I can kind of see why.

When I’m angry about an anti-LGBT or anti-abortion argument, it’s because I find their reasons ridiculous. God most likely doesn’t give a shit if homosexuals get married, and aborting a baby isn’t the same as killing a human being because them lil bitches up in that uterus ain’t got no EEG, which are brain signals that mark life.

When I was angry today, it was also because I thought these people’s conclusions were outrageous. You can’t take out a piece of evidence just like that dumbass. No, just because a piece of his hair was found on her clothing doesn’t make him the murderer. Sure there were tire tracks, but maybe he was just driving past the neighborhood? #jfc

I am a strongly opinionated person. I’m a fighter. I’ve been picked on my entire life, I fight, I think a part of me even likes fighting. I don’t know. All I know is that I seriously need to calm the fuck down sometimes.

Check Your Education

My dad is going back to college!

Not full time, but he’s going to take enough credits to finally get his degree in electrical engineering.

Let me tell you a story:

My dad went to college in the Philippines. He got his degree in electrical engineering. But then he got my mom pregnant. They moved to America to give their children a chance for a better future. Here, they don’t accept his degree. He couldn’t get a job as an engineer. He was treated as if he didn’t have anything higher than a high school education. He had to be a bag boy. A cashier. All these menial jobs he was far over-qualified for. Finally he got a job as an electrician (a step in the right direction). He is still working this job, 15 years later. A job he is, again, far over-qualified for. My dad had to overcome an unexpected pregnancy, a move to a new country, and raising 2 kids. Slowly, he’s been trying to get the qualifications to be an engineer. Very, very, very slowly. So slowly that he gives up from time to time because he simply doesn’t have the time or the energy to do it because of his strenuous and labor-intensive job. This year, he passed some kind of engineer test or something (I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S CALLED OKAY BUT IT WAS A BIG DEAL). Everyone was happy, but he didn’t really know what to do. Recently, my mom called the university near our house and asked about how my dad could approach enrolling as a part-time student to get enough credits to finish his education to be an electrical engineer, and he’s now in the enrollment process.

I’m so happy. I’m so proud. Through all the hard work and shit he’s been through, he did not give up, even when it seemed like he did. He’s going to accomplish his dream and finish his education and get the job that he should’ve had 18 years ago.

It’s my belief that it’s never too late to get an education.

Now, I’m going to start to rant.

A while ago, I was talking to my friend about how there are so many old people on campus. And I say “old” as in adults with grey hair. There’s one old guy in my biology class, and another in my philosophy class. I was talking to him about how I thought it was great that they’re finishing their education.

His dad heard what I was saying, and they both had the same reaction. It was something along these lines:

“Wow, why? Don’t they have families or jobs? Education is great but there comes a point where you shouldn’t need to go back to school because you have enough experience to get the job that you want. They’re wasting their time and money.”

This just insulted and angered and disgusted me to my core, and let me tell you why.

First of all, his dad ACTUALLY IS AN ENGINEER. By “experience”, I assume he was talking about his own life. As in, he got his education IN AMERICA where jobs and companies actually recognize him as qualified, and he worked his way up to the position he’s currently in. Obviously, he doesn’t understand how different it is for people that weren’t born and raised in this god forsaken country.

Second, yeah, my dad does have a job and a family actually. That’s why he hasn’t been able to get his SECOND education in the first place. And he’s trying to get this education so he can get a BETTER job to support that beautiful family of his.

Third, that’s just such a judgmental piece of shit thing to say. “Wasting time and money.” Fuck that. I don’t even have words to describe how awful and downright disrespectful of a thing that is to say.

Sure I know that my friend and his dad only say those things because it’s what they’ve grown to know. But my anger stems from the fact that they didn’t even try to see things from other people’s points of view.

The title of this post is a play on the phrase “Check your privilege”.

In a more socially-equivalent world, my dad would’ve come here and gotten a job as an engineer. He would be making approximately $40,000 more than he’s making right now. He wouldn’t have had to go through this long and painful process of getting his degrees again. He wouldn’t have to go through the scrutiny of people that didn’t have to go through all this because they are privileged and didn’t come from an under-educated and poverty-stricken country.

Whenever I hear that “immigrants are stealing jobs from hard-working Americans” I want to throw up. Then I think about how white men came from the east and ruined the lives of Native Americans and I get really racist all of a sudden. That’s just the phrase this situation always brings to mind.

My dad is the most respectable and under-appreciated man I know, and I’m so unbelievably proud of him and anyone that thinks otherwise can **** a **** because they’re a ************* ***** ** ****.

The Longest Year

It has officially been over one year since I’ve seen my best friend.

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I leave his picture above my bed so we can chat after a long day.

My best friend B tried to commit suicide on February 11 of this year, and died on Valentine’s Day, which has forever been soiled in my heart.

I remember November 10th.

It was my dad’s birthday party. B came over to hang out with me. I remember us watching Tyler Oakley videos for the good part of 3 hours. B was gay, and his Christian parents home-schooled him. He had never met another gay person before, and Tyler Oakley was the first gay person he’d ever “met”. I remember we watched Tyler’s Chubby Bunny Challenge on repeat for at least half an hour.

I put makeup on him for the first time. He told me one day he might like to be a drag queen. I laughed. That picture up there was the final result of my makeover.

I also did his nails. He wanted something bright and happy, like his personality. He settled on a rotation of neon pink and orange. He was such a cutie.

That was the night he tried Filipino food for the first time. He loved the pancit (noodles) and the eggrolls. My family thought he was adorable. Everyone thought he was adorable.

Now that I’ve typed it out I guess he had a lot of firsts that night. Granted they were little firsts, but it’s the little things that add up in life.

My last memory is dropping him off home. He rode his bike there and I didn’t want him going home by himself in the dark (it was like 11 at night) so I asked my dad to drive him. It took us like 15 minutes to fit his bike in the back of the car. We laughed the entire way, and I can’t even remember what our last conversation was about. I remember getting to his house. I was too lazy to get out of the car because I was exhausted from a busy day, but when I think about it now it kills me. Instead of getting my ass out of the car for 10 seconds to give him this last hug, I stayed in the car, rolled the windows down, and waved as we drove away. That is my last memory of us together.

Hindsight bias is a bitch, but I’m gonna say it anyways.

If only I had know. If I had known it would be our last time together, I would’ve shown him the Deathnote series. I would’ve baked him my famous cheesecake. I would’ve taught him about gay sex (like he always asked me to because for some reason I knew more about it than he did). I would have done anything he wanted. But most of all, I would’ve gotten out of the damn car and hugged him for all my life. I would’ve breathed him in and felt his warmth and remembered him exactly the way he was.

He died on Valentine’s day. I missed out on his last 3 months of life. It’s hard making plans with someone that’s home-schooled and strictly watched over (his mom rarely let him out of the house besides for Church functions).

One last biggest regret. For the entire winter season, I was a tutor at the elementary school right across the street from his house. I always thought about just dropping by, but I never did. Every Wednesday for 4 months I passed by his house, but I never went to see him. I could’ve seen him every day. I could’ve talked to him every day. But I never will. Never again.

I regret not being there for him as much as I could have.

1 + 1

“Depression is when you don’t really care about anything. Anxiety is when you care too much about everything and having both is just like… Having both is staying in bed because you don’t want to go to school and then panicking because you don’t want to fail. Having both is wanting to go see your friends so you don’t lose them all, then staying home in bed because you don’t want to make the effort. Having both is insanely hard and sucks to deal with.” Source

 

Well, I have both.

Last night I went to sleep feeling like shit. This morning, I woke up feeling like shit.

Last night I felt like shit because I was insanely homesick. My family came for the day to visit, and I felt sick afterwards. I woke up in the morning feeling literally sick. I had the worst headache. It was like an emotion-induced hangover. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to go to breakfast with friends. I didn’t want to go to class. I was coughing and sneezing and I had a stomachache. It was horrible.

But I wanted to get up. I wanted to see my friends. And I wanted to go to class. And I did all of those, but it didn’t feel like I did. There was a buzzing in my head the entire time, and it was like I was still sleeping but I wasn’t. I was half-convinced I was dreaming for a portion of the day, but I wasn’t. It was like I was walking in a dream. It was like I was in a coma. I was unresponsive, and when I did talk it only made my head hurt. Going to class wasn’t okay either. I felt like I couldn’t see a thing, and whenever I wanted to answer I question there was this horrible pain in the back of my head. It felt like I knew the answer but there was a physical wall blocking it from coming to the front of my mind.

After all my daily obligations were through, I went back to my room and climbed in bed. I didn’t do homework, I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat or draw, and I’m not entirely sure if I was thinking coherent thoughts. That state lasted roughly 4 hours. When I was “conscious”, I noticed my roommate was sitting on her desk watching Supernatural on her laptop. I didn’t even notice her come in.

Now it’s 10:30pm and I haven’t done a thing. It feels like I haven’t done a thing all day. And I feel horrible about it. When I read the quote I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I was surprised how accurate it was. I want to do something but I can’t, and I don’t even know why. It feels like there’s something compressing my brain, and there’s this horrible pounding. I want to read and I want to write and I want to draw and call someone and text people and message my friends and eat for God’s sake, but I can’t.

Before coming to college my mom had sent me all these articles with advice for college freshmen. One article said that it’s normal for college freshmen’s grades to drop because of temporary depression and homesickness. They’re still panicking about being thrown in a new environment, even if they don’t know it yet.

Depression + anxiety = coma

Together they cause a sickness that leaves the host physically able yet mentally vacant.

I’m going to do my homework. I’m going to sleep as soon as the words stop making sense and the world starts falling apart the way it always does.

Just Keep Swimming

I’ve been by myself at college for exactly one week.

I thought I’d be feeling much more tired and stressed and emotionally over-reactive than I actually am. I feel fine. It feels like any other day to me. When I first left I cried, but I thought I was going to be 100% perfectly okay.

Today, my parents took my brother and boyfriend to visit me. They were here from dusk to dawn. We went on a walk, we ate A LOT, we did some shopping, watched some Korean TV shows, and they were on their way.

To my surprise, I cried again after they left.

When they left the first time, I cried. I thought it was because I was scared of being alone, and scared of being without my family for the first time in my entire life. After making friends during this first week, I thought everything would be okay. I thought I was 100% again. I thought everything felt perfectly normal. I thought I just needed friends, and I found them.

But I guess I was wrong. Because despite my friends and knowing where my classes are and establishing a routine, I’m still not whole.

I wanted to believe I was 100%. I wanted to believe that I was strong enough and mature enough to be on my own. I wanted to think that I didn’t need my family to be strong. But I do.

I suppose this thought process stemmed from the fact that I’ve never been without my family. Ever. Not even for one whole day. I think before I left, I was kind of hardening myself to believe that I didn’t need them to be happy. I guess I thought that kind of thinking would help me adjust better.

But they came. And I was happy. And I felt the same pit of darkness inside of me when it was time for them to leave. And I felt that same bead of sadness drip down my cheek when all goodbye’s were said and done.

When they left the first time, I guess I thought I was finally out of the kiddy pool. I thought I was finally swimming in the ocean with all the other big fish. But really, I’ve been going back and forth. There are some times when I’m okay. When I don’t think of anything besides what’s in front of me. I’m swimming in the ocean without a care in the world, finding out that it’s a bigger world than I ever thought it could be. Then I’m alone, and I remember who I had to leave to go exploring. And when they’re there I will always rush to them and stay safe in my own little shallow end of the shore.

I guess I’m kind of like Nemo. I want to be adventurous, and I want to think that I don’t need anyone to be happy. I want to think that I don’t need anyone to be independent. But the truth is, I do. Just like Nemo needs his dad, I need my family. And my friends. And my boyfriend. And everyone else I left behind in N*VA. That doesn’t mean I need them all the time, but I do need them.

Unlike last week, my mom was in a hurry to leave. It’s true she forced my dad and brother to come today (my boyfriend volunteered hehe), but she knew that she probably shouldn’t have because I’m still learning how to get along without them.

It still doesn’t feel like I’m on my own. It still feels like I’m at some kind of college simulation camp and my parents will be back any minute now to take me home. It doesn’t feel like I’m a legal adult capable of making decisions on my own. It still feels like I have floaties on in the shallow end with my dad a foot away to catch my if I start to sink.

I’m wading toward the deeper end, but in my own time. No matter how far I go, the ones I love will always be there to pick me up when I need them.

And So It Begins

Today was my first day of college. It was pretty emotional all around. I’m just going to talk about it and vent.

I stayed in the hotel with my parents yesterday night because I knew it would make my mom feel better. And also because I didn’t have Internet or cable in my room yet.

So this morning we came back to my room and finished unpacking. I live on a mixed floor separated by a mini staircase. I had the misfortune of getting the one leftover room at the end of the boy’s hallway, so all of my neighbors are male and it makes walking to the shower more uncomfortable…

My parents and I walked around campus for a while and took a lot of pictures. We had lunch at the dining hall next to my dorm (which thank Jesus has the best quesadillas) and went to CVS to print some pictures for my dorm.

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22 in total. They make me more and less homesick at the same time.

Then they left.

I really didn’t want to cry, but I did. A lot. It’s a weird feeling, knowing you’re all alone. As one of my friends said, it’s like I went on vacation with my family except they left me here and went home. I carried no friends to this school, so I really did feel like my dorm was my world (and I still kind of do).

My parents both left me with these touching words of wisdom:

Dad: You wanted this, and you got it. So be happy because you earned it.
Mom: Don’t let anyone make you feel like they’re better than you, because they’re not and you’re special too.

I cried for a solid half hour with my TV on to drown the sobbing. I didn’t know what to do, since I had nowhere to go.

It’s true that I don’t have any friends here from my old school, but I met 2 people online through the school’s Facebook page that seemed nice. They both called me today, and I have 2 different stories to tell.

K

K called me and asked me to go to a party. It was the freshman Beach Bash or whatever, and it sounded atrocious. She convinced me to go because she was all, “It’ll be great to make new friends and socialize!” And at the moment, I was desperate to make friends and stop being so alone, so I agreed to go.

When we got there, the line to get in (it was in a stadium) was at least half a mile long. She met up with 3 guy friends, which quickly turned into 5. Soon I was standing off to the side awkwardly on my phone while she talked to the 5 guys. I didn’t know situations like that actually happened, but I was the awkward… 7th wheel. We got in the damn place after like half an hour and it was basically a giant pizza party with a moon bounce and zumba. There were AT LEAST 1,000 people there and I was so scared and crowded I thought I was gonna throw up. Then the music started and it was so ear piercingly loud I thought I was going to pass out. When I looked back to her the number rose to 7 boys (all the time I was wondering — “Why the fuck doesn’t she have any female friends?”) I told her I was gonna go back to my dorm to shower while everyone was at the party.

It took me a loooong time to get back to my dorm. The campus is so friggin big, one of the biggest in the state (if not the largest). I had to download the Campus Map app and walk around staring at it, occasionally tapping the phone to make it look like I was actually talking to someone instead of being a noob.

I finally got back to my room, and as soon as I sat down I started crying again. I felt even more alone than I did before. When my mom called, she asked how I was doing. I could hear that she was crying. My brother had been texting me that she hasn’t stopped crying since they left, and I didn’t want to make her feel worse so I lied to my mother.

“I’m fine! I went to a party with K and played on a moon bounce and had pizza and dessert it was so much fun!”

After she hung up, I sunk into my bed and just sobbed. All I could think about was transferring to the school near home next year and getting far away from this place. Right before I was about to take a shower, I got a call from Facebook friend #2.

D

She asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with her and some friends. I told her I was painfully shy, but she said her friends are all shy too so we can all be shy together. Every fiber of my being told me to stay in my room, eat a microwave hamburger, take a shower and go straight to bed. That one, new, single strand of the college me said to go, so I went. I really, really, really need to make friends. I can’t be alone here.

I went down and she was there and her friends all seemed mild-mannered and sweet. We were talking and I found out that they all watch the same anime as me and they all drew and we all had similar hobbies and I actually felt at home. We went and got dinner together and ate together and talked, and it was the first time I felt at ease since my parents left.

I firmly believe that if I didn’t go with D tonight, I would be in bed crying right now. I guess for someone like me, college is all about taking chances. (The right kind of chances of course. Not like drugs or alcohol or anything.) I went out of my comfort zone for the second time in a day, and I feel so much happier than I would if I didn’t.

The shower of course was disgusting, that’s gonna take some getting used to. But I think I might be okay here. It was only the first day after all.