I Didn’t Mean It

He said that I tricked him,

but I did not.

I was only trying to show him what he was capable of doing on his own.

To make him see that he did not need me,

or anyone else for that matter.

He needed to stop underestimating the power in which he carried within his soul.

I would never have pushed him over the edge

If I had not been sure that his wings were fully grown.

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Let Go and Watch Yourself Grow

One of the biggest struggles we face as humans is that we are unable to let go of anything. Especially each other. We ignore the fact that people are allowed to leave and not stick around. We forget that no one is obligated to love you. It is possible to keep going through life without you. We have reached this notion that we own one another and that they are wrong, heartless, terrible people if they leave us. Turn that weakness into a strength and accept that not everyone will always need you, and that it’s okay. Set yourself free and learn to let go.

Dear Ana and Mia

Dear Ana and Mia,

Do you know what you have done?

She was so beautiful and now she’s gone.

You brought it into her mind,

Told her all these lies.

As she looks in the mirror,

It’s time to admit her worst fear.

She won’t eat, can’t sleep.

Running, crying, feels like she is dying.

Praying to be perfect,

But she knows that this pain is worth it.

She’s lost control. Can’t take anymore.

You know that she is dying.

And for what?

To just be beautiful.

God, she can’t even look at her reflection,

Starving for more than just perfection.

She’s an average teen,

Who only wants to be beauty queen,

To look like her favorite Hollywood star.

The only difference is that you made her take it way too far.

Now she won’t eat, can’t sleep, feels like she is dying.

Yet she won’t stop trying.

You knew that she was dying.

115. No, wait. She’s reached the perfect weight 88.

You put her on trial,

And still made her run that extra mile.

Telling lies everyday as she pushes her plate away.

The only thing that she feeds on is when they say she looks great.

Every day was the same.

She was living in denial.

Skipping meal after meal.

Taking pill after pill.

Dear Ana and Mia,

Do you know what you’ve done?

Made her ill, and her life go down hill.

And now she’s gone…gone.

Where did she go wrong?

You were there with her all along.

Her only dream was to find a place where she belonged.

Made her feel as if she were not strong,

Oh, let me tell you how you were very wrong.

It wasn’t long before she saw that it was you who did not belong.

It won’t be long until she is fully better.

That is why I wrote you this letter.

God, I am finally free,

Now I am telling you to leave.

I feel sorry for you.

Living in the minds of the weak.

Telling lies, making them want to die.

Let them be, please set them free,

So that they may see people like me.

Because I am fine with just being me.

 

Coming Clean and Letting Go

For the last four years I have been struggling with some serious body image issues. This problem roots from years of bullying in elementary. I was constantly teased about being fat, and always being compared by my smaller girlfriends. I was 7 years old, and I knew I was chubby. I didn’t start doing anything about it until the summer after my freshman year. I thought that the boy I had liked would like me back if I was skinnier and prettier. So I exercised regularly, and cut out all snacking. Soon the exercising became an addiction and I cut out breakfast. Then I cut out lunch, and shortly after, dinner. That summer I dropped 15 pounds, and it went unnoticed by classmates. It was a long year of hard training, starving, and, eventually, pill abusing. It lead to binging and purging, to more pill abusing, and days where there was serious calorie restriction. I have struggled to get over my self image problems over these last few years. I wish I could say that I got over my eating disorder that year, but I didn’t. In fact, I still struggle everyday. Although everyday I grow stronger and healthier, I battle the urges to fall back into the path of old habits. It is a war still not won, but it is a war that is still being fought. I have grown to see that I am important, and so is my body. I do not owe anyone anything. No one’s opinion is worth losing my life over. I refuse to let my negative thoughts ruin my life. This year I have made so much progress. I can finally say that I am beautiful, and actually mean it. I have no interest in losing weight through the tactics once used, and I no longer feel guilty for eating. Some days are worse than others, but I am determined to beat this. I am letting go of the need to be in control of everything all the time. Life is beautiful and so am I.

To Tattoo or not to Tattoo? That is the Question.

When thinking about tattoos, the first thought that generally comes to mind is perhaps a big biker dude in leather, or a hard gangster type with sagging pants. Often, and unfortunately for women in our society, some people think trashy. The inked are often looked down upon and as such not taken seriously. People seem to be afraid of tattoos because social norms have determined one’s position in the community, and even their life beyond the grave. Truth be told, it is inappropriate to condemn persons based upon appearances, or because we dislike their fashion choices.The world is vastly changing and tattoos are becoming more and more acceptable. Our bodies are temples of God, yes, but being given the right to occupy these bodies and choose how we live should also include how we desire to decorate it. Beauty is something that one cannot enslave. It is free and has no limitations. The reasons for these negative outlooks have some reasonable, yet arguable, points, such as appealing to the Bible by asserting that tattooing is sinful, as well as that no one in the professional world will hire you and may negatively judge you. Granted that these points are in a sense valid, we often forget that what matters most about a person is not what we can see, but rather what God sees in us.  Or for those who do not believe in God, it is what is on the inside that matters.

Christians often quote the bible to each other on topics of intense discussion. There is nothing wrong with doing that, it is a good way to become familiar with the word of our Lord. Tattoos have been a very controversial topic amongst the Christian community. The Bible says “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:28). Because this is in the Scripture, people interpret this as the law for us and the world we live in today. Parts still apply to use and it is very sensible to believe that tattoos are a sin and an act that we should not participate in. Law is law, especially the law of God.

I must rebuke their argument with the same scripture passage, but with the beginning verses.“You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”(Lev. 19:26-28). Wait, what does this mean? It says we should not cut our hair and beards. Yet people practice this every day? Does that mean they are breaking the Lord’s law? No, of course not. This passage was given to the Israelites because they were practicing pagan rituals. God wanted to separate them from those traditions and bring their focus to Him. Lev.19:19 states “neither shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you” yet 95 percent of what we wear are made with mixed fabrics. Now you do not have to agree with the idea of tattooing, no one can make you like anything you do not want to like, but consider this: does the Bible really say that it is a sin? If the point was to separate the Israelites from the pagan’s, then who are we being separated from today? Paganism is less than .33% of the population. Now if you are truly worried that it is still a pagan act and therefore makes it a sin, then we as Christians have no right to participate in traditional holidays such as Christmas. “Christmas was originally a festival of the Winter Solstice. It was customary to hold great feasts in honor of the HEATHEN GODS. The early teachers of Christianity PROHIBITED THESE FESTIVALS as unsuited to the character of Christ. Yet the symbols and customs…with many customs of pagan origin.”. I do not hear many people say that celebrating such holidays is sinful. We do not get to pick and choose what Old Testament laws should be followed. That is why we have the Magisterium to make these types of decisions.They have yet to confirm the sinfulness of tattooing. If all these laws still applied to the modern world then we would all be considered as non celebrating,vegetarian, one fabric wearing, hairy sinners. There are no verses in later readings of scripture that say tattoos are forbidden. Instead what we mostly read is that God loves us for who we are as people and for where our heart is, although he does not love all of our life choices. He does not care about how we look or where we are in society. Our bodies are temples of God, yes, but being given the right to occupy these bodies and choose how we live should also include how we desire to decorate it.  It would only seem logical that if God saysFor I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.” (Hosea 6:6), then what he seems to mostly focus on our true and pure love and knowledge for Him, even if it just a simple act of kindness in this world. Not necessarily acts that scream “Look at me everybody! Look how much I love God!” One day at the grocery store I was struggling to get a cart from the line of other carts, it seemed to be stuck. People just walked on by me, watching as I struggled or did not even give me a passing glance at all. I was getting so frustrated, why would no one help me? Then I heard a voice asking me if I would like his help. I turned to see a man covered all over his body with tattoos and piercings. People who go to church and are respected amongst their peers, walked right by me. People who work and get payed well with families waiting for them at home, walked right by me. This man may have or may not have been religious, but it is in those acts of kindness that God remembers. Not if you walk around with a Rosary over your neck so that everyone knows that you are religious. Jesus sat with the poor, sick and the sinners because he loved them for who they were and not what others thought them to be. He sees what is truly important, and that is our faith and love for Him and for one another.

Many people who have thought of getting a tattoo and or have gotten one has heard the phrase “If you get a tattoo, no one will want to hire you.” In 2015 this still holds true. Many inked peoples find it difficult to find jobs because of dress code regulations, or they are forced to cover their tattoos so customers will not be offended. Many surveys have concluded that hiring managers see tattoos only for “thugs” and “druggies.” Afraid that the older generation will not take their companies serious. Even more so, people who have tattoos are seen as these things even off the job in their day to day lives. Jobs of all fields have rules and regulations on discrimination based on gender and race. Yet none can be found on discrimination of tattoos. Discrimination is discrimination. There are no two definitions to that word. When you pass judgement based on category intolerance rather than the individual, that is discrimination at its finest. An unknown source states, “I would NEVER hire anyone with a visible tattoo, ever. I don’t care who they are. This is an instant sign of extremely poor judgement and lack of self-control. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I would change my views on this. If you want to look like you just stepped out of San Quentin, that’s fine. More power to you. You simply have to accept that people will look at you as lowlife, and want nothing to do with you. That’s the choice you are free to make.” This man has decided to categorize all peoples with tattoos as low lifes with no self control. I am assuming he has met every single person with tattoos in order to make this statement. It just so happens that Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Winston Churchill, Sarah Palin, Adam Levine, David Beckham, and many other highly successful people had and have tattoos. All these individuals have different jobs. From the music industry to the White House itself. One’s success is not determined by their looks, but rather by their efforts and skills. A lot of the opinions on tattoos in the workplace are apart of the older generation. To judge someone based off of the markings on their body is like judging a woman with short hair as being gay. Half of the people in that classification may be what your judgement is, but not the other half. One cannot know why one decides to get a tattoo and the meaning behind the tattoo. We are so ready to jump to conclusions and judge a book by its cover that we miss out on a lot of good people. Some tattoos are stories of where that person has been and what they have suffered and lost. They are worn as scars because they are not ashamed to show the world who they are, where they have been, and what they have done. When Jesus was resurrected he kept his scars to show us the pain he had endured. We all have our own ways of showing the scars of our lives, and to refuse work to someone because of their style choices is not bringing us forward as a nation, and we can never reach true equality and unity until all types of discrimination has been removed.

People with tattoos often know what they are getting into, and for the most part have a reason for getting them. Whether there is a back story for ones tattoo or not, we should not judge someone based off appearance. You would not want to walk down the street being judged or denied a job for the way you look. Treat others the way you wanted to be treated. That is the golden rule. A rule that parents all over the world of every race, and every religion teach their children. People with tattoos can teach us one thing and that is to be true to ourselves. Because tattoos are stigmatized by the world they have to face the daily trials of hate that is thrown at them, and yet still continue to be the best people that they can be. “I am who I am.” (Ex 3:14). Tattoos are seen as immoral and unprofessional. Since tattoos are becoming more and more acceptable, once the older generation is gone it is quite possible that tattoos will finally be allowed in the professional area. John Paul the Great even said that some tattoos are acceptable. So long as they are not disrespectful, like a cross on the bottom of your foot, or a demonic symbol, then there is no sin in a tattoo. “ I appeal especially to you, Christian artists…you are invited to use your creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God and at the same time into the mystery of man…my hope for all of you who are artists is that you will have an especially intense experience of creative inspiration. May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder!” say John Paul the Great. Tattoos are a form of art that last forever. Each individual tattoo is a story and a symbol. Whether that be the story of how one survived a sickness, or a story of a teenager who was living in the moment. Not every story is going to be your favorite, but just because one does not appeal to you does not make all the other stories unappealing either. It is time to stop the stigmatization of tattoos and the people who have them. It is time to love a person’s heart and not their skin. No one can stop you from judging a person, but we will all die and if there is no God then you lived a life full of unnecessary judgement that held you back from true happiness. But if there is a God, “ But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10).

Sources

1)Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, eds. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010)

2)“What Does the Bible Say about Getting Tattoos?” United Church of God. July 5, 2012. Accessed April 17, 2015. http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-does-bible-say-about-getting-tattoos.

3)“Experts You Should Follow.” Answers. Accessed April 17, 2015. 

http://www.answers.com/Q/What_percent_of_the_world_is_pagan.

4)“The Origins of Christ-Mass: Catholic-Paganism.” The Origins of Christ-Mass: Catholic-Paganism. Accessed April 18, 2015. http://www.antipas.org/books/xmas/xmas4.html.

5)Taibi, Catherine. “Tattoos Still Reduce Chances Of Getting Hired, Study Finds.” The Huffington Post. Accessed April 19, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/05/tattoos-hired-job-chances-study_n_3873425.html.

Why You Will Be Okay After a Bad Break Up.

Most of us have experienced love. Love can mean so many things. You can love a slice of pizza, or your dad, or a friend. But each of those are three very different types of love. The love that I am talking about is the kind of love you read about in books. The kind you see in movies, or even the kind of love that we see in our parents and grandparents. It is something that most of us, if not everyone, dreams of. To sweep a girl off her feet, or to be the one swept of their feet. We grow up listening to fairy tales about true love and happily ever after. What we do not get to hear about or see in these fairy tales is true heart-break. Even in modern movies and books we see breakups and fights, but it usually turns out okay, or if it does not, then we never get to see how one copes with it and moves on. We are not familiar with heartbreak because no one wants to experience it, so we avoid it. A lot of us, yes including myself, believe that it will never happen to them. That the two of you will be together forever and always. That isn’t always the case though. So we get smacked back into reality and it feels as if the world is crumbling down right before our eyes. You may feel like life is swallowing you whole and you begin to drown in emotions you never thought yourself capable of ever conjuring up. You would not wish this pain on even your worst enemy. This person who was such a big part of your life and whom you saw almost everyday is now gone. This person who you once talked to from dusk to dawn, you never speak to again. The jokes, laughs and kisses, all memories now. It’s like half of your body tears itself away from you and walked away and you have no idea how or where to get it back. Nothing else feels more desolate than having someone walk away with a piece of you. Movies and books like to romanticized the concept of heart-break. You normally see a girl laying in bed that is covered with tissues, eating ice cream and chocolate while watching the Notebook. Wouldn’t it be nice if that was all there was to it? When you experience true heart ache, all you can do is just lay there staring into space, feeling numb because you don’t know what to feel. I love music and when I was down in the dumps I couldn’t even listen to music because it was either sad love songs that reminded me of how I felt, or happy upbeat love songs that reminded me of my loneliness. People will tell you “It’ll get better. Just give it time.” or “You can do better than him/her.” so on and so forth. You won’t want to listen to them because what do they know? Listen to them. They have a point. It will get better, this I can promise. It may feel as if you will never be okay ever again. You will be okay again. It will take time, for some it’ll take longer than it will for others but it’ll work itself out. The feelings will slowly fade. They may never fully ever go away because losing someone who you truly loved can leave its mark on you forever. And that’s okay! You should not forget someone you once cherished so deeply. There may be days when you feel as if you have completely moved on and are okay, but maybe next week it feels as if it just happened the day before. Keep pushing forward. Remember the good times and not the bad, because holding onto all that anger and pain will only hinder your future relationships, romantic or platonic. Understand that people are placed in our lives for a reason, and not all of those people are meant to stay. Let them go and allow yourself to open the door of opportunities with arms wide open, waiting to welcome those who are ready to enter into your life. Do not build a wall around your heart, my friends. Don’t block off your emotions and pretend to be okay when you are not because it’s okay to not be okay. Allow others to help you back up onto your feet and continue to live. Although it feels like your ex was the only person in the world that truly knew how to make you feel better, those who are presently still around you are trying so hard to make you feel better because they love you. It may feel as if your world is coming to an end, but it is not. Life has only just begun for you. Stop and take a look around you and see the world and its treasures. Enjoy the company and love of those around you. You lost one person, and yes it hurts, but would they want you to deny yourself happiness and love? Things end and it’s inevitable. Let go of that need to control your life and just let life run its course. Pick up new hobbies, get yourself out there, and create new memories with other people. Remember, love does not have a single definition. Love is doing what is best for the other person. So if you love your ex, let them go and now love yourself and move on. If it was meant to be, then it will be. All you need is some patience. Do not put your life on hold, though, for a possible “maybe”. Another way to look at it is to remember the love that you felt towards that person and think “Wow. I loved them this much, I can only imagine how much I will love the person I am actually meant to be with.” Do not rush into other meaningless relationships, trying to force yourself to love them because you can not force love. Love will happen when you stop looking for it. Do not compare future relationships to your last because that is unfair to the other person. Do not feel unworthy of love and do not let anyone tell you that you are unworthy of love. Forgive yourself and others for the mistakes that were made, but never forget. Remember that you are capable of love and being loved in return. Never let love leave you because without it you will be dead. Not the death of the body, but death of the soul. To me, the death of the soul is far worse than the death of the body. Once the seed of hatred and anger is planted in your heart, it can become very difficult to get rid of it. In order to move on do not stalk their social medias. Delete their messages and voicemails, and take the photos of you guys and store them somewhere. You shouldn’t delete them because one day it won’t hurt to look at your ex and you’ll be able to laugh and remember the good times. Remember: love comes in all forms and will always be present in your life as long as you allow yourself to be open to it. Like all storms, it will become still and so will your life. Have patience and good things are sure to come.

The life of an alternative girl in a Catholic school

Many people may feel that some Catholics are too strict and controlling when it comes to the subject of one’s lifestyle, whereas many Catholics may feel that we all could practice a little bit more of temperance in our daily lives. Catholics extremely value the human body and view it as a temple. I myself am a Catholic and agree that the body is a temple. But everyone has their own ways of decorating that temple. Many would see me and not think “Oh, she looks religious.” In fact it is quite the opposite. Many people are very surprised and shocked when I say that I am Catholic. They are even more surprised when I say that I go to a private Catholic university! I will admit that I have and possibly still do stir up some controversy to those who do not attend my college, and even more so amongst my fellow peers and advisors. A year ago I packed up my Harry Potter sized room, put my stuff in the back of my parent’s van and left for college. I grew up in the Bay Area and those who are familiar with the area, or are even familiar with California alone, know that both California and the Bay Area are not the most conservative of places. Freedom of self-expression was normal. It was not as big of a deal to look a little weird, especially in the bigger cities. Before my departure I had six piercings, and wore oversized band tees and flannels. In addition to the holes and grungy attire, when I had turned 18 I got my first tattoo, and dyed half my hair blue. In all honesty though, my hair was not supposed to be as blue as it was, despite what my parents believed. But hey I am young and us youngins are allowed to make mistakes right? Yet I hopped into that white mini van that took me everywhere for as long as I could remember, eager for it to take me on that last drive. I was headed to college in Southern California. And as you can tell from my above statements it was not SDSU that I was headed to. Instead I chose to go to a small private film school known as John Paul the Great Catholic University. I was told that the Catholic colleges were usually the craziest of schools, but let me tell you that this school is far from that! So while other college students are partying, I am watching Disney movies with friends. But that is besides the point. The school is still fairly new and yet knows what it wants. Any normal person would walk by the school and see beautiful young ladies and handsome gentlemen, and then there they would see me. No doubt about it that the parents who were dropping off my new classmates probably had a moment to hesitation and thought to themselves that they should probably pack their child’s belongings back up and get the heck out of there. The stares were awkward but I had prepared myself for them. I can only imagine how my roommates felt. I wanted to tell them that I swear I don’t do drugs or worship Satan, and won’t cause trouble, but I decided that I would rather show them that. To my surprise though, my roommates as well as many other students were very welcoming and eager to meet the blue haired girl. It turns out there was a girl before me who had colored hair. Phew! I wasn’t a freak, and that was comforting and eased my anxiety. A lot of people actually liked me and became my friends. A few weeks into the first quarter I decided to get my septum pierced. I was nervous because my hair was still blue and my septum was freshly pierced and later that day I had class…with the head and founder of the school. To top it off I sat in the very front row! I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat the entire class worried that he may call me out and scorn me for the way I looked. And again the wave of relief washed over me when the quarter finished and nothing was said. In fact the only person who said anything about it was my lovely mother. No sarcasm there, my mother is a very lovely woman, and honest…very honest. But like all things it blew over. At this point I needed a job and had dyed my hair back to its normal state of red. For the next few months everything had been going all fine and dandy. People seemed to be into my “daring” and “alternative” look. I am pretty sure that the only reason that half the people who had talked to me did it out of pure curiosity of knowing who I was. But hey that’s cool because half of them are my friends now. When winter break rolled around and I went home I decided to do something big. I wanted another tattoo. Not your normal butterfly quarter size tattoo on my hip bone. I am talking bigger. I was going to get a half sleeve done. I was already pushing boundaries before my decision of getting my arm piece done. So why would I continue to push these boundaries? Well first off, there is a great meaning behind my tattoo, but that story is for another time possibly. Second, I was finally coming to terms with who I was and who I wanted to be. I was unique. I never wanted to blend in with everyone else and just drift through life. I did not want to become a banker or a lawyer either. I have had difficulties in the past of staying true to myself. I let other people influence me and made decisions based off what they wanted rather than what I wanted. This was me taking my life back. When break ended and I returned back to school, obviously I was bombarded by my classmates asking to look at it and asking what it meant. I was really scared that my school was going to get mad and expel me. Again a familiar wave of relief washed over me when nothing happened. I have gotten one more tattoo since and have dyed my hair from red to pink to back to red. Through all of this I have received many stares from adults and have received a lot of compliments from others my age. I get a little self conscious from time to time but I remember that I love my look and that is all that matters. To bring this article back to where it started, yes I have encountered a few problems with other Catholics on the way I choose to present myself. We are all entitled to our own opinions and I respect theirs. But I am not dirty, or a bad person. I am caring and compassionate. I love puns and humor all around. Any dog can bring me to my knees and I love Disney movies. You cannot get that information just from one look at me. And by the grace of God, I was blessed with wonderful classmates who did not use my style against me, but rather used that curiosity or even judgment to get to know me. Now I have a lot of beautiful people whom I call friends. People know about me because of my differences, that’s how my name gets around and that’s how people remember me. I am okay with that. I am okay with me.