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.