I’m Back!

So, I’ve taken a little break from blogging. I needed some time to adjust when I got home from Ireland. To all you Irish and others who gave me encouragement, thank you. The past 6 months have flown by. I got super busy with refocusing my relationship, school, and just trying to grow as a person. There have certainly been a lot of ups and downs, but I truly am so happy. I’ve decided to start writing again!

As a general update, I’m graduating next May and getting married next June (yay!). I’ve started a new job working at a non-profit women’s health clinic, full time for the summer and then part time when classes start up again. It is an awesome atmosphere and I am learning a ton. Everything from how to use electronic health care software to all the deets of birth control and STI’s to giving shots and taking blood pressures. Walking through protestors everyday is a bit odd (they really hate abortion), but I’m used to it now.

Anyway, hope to find all of you doing well too! Stay adorable, M.C.

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Just an Adorable Update

Hi Friends ūüôā

Just writing a post to say thanks to all of you that have been reading and commenting. I love hearing that there are so many of us that can relate to one another.  I was so hesitant to start the blog because I feared a negative or judgmental response, but I am always amazed at the positive feedback. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for being you!

As for my life, my semester in Ireland is coming to a close an I’ll be returning to the states on December 16th. ¬†I miss my fiance terribly and the homesickness really has been overwhelming. I am ready to be back in the good ol’ US of A. I have been incredibly lucky for the opportunity to study in another country, but I must admit I don’t think it was the best fit for me. I have not felt the same drive, focus, and passion for life that I feel at home. ¬†I am not able (or perhaps willing) to invest myself in any sort of friendships here, as they are all feel so shallow and I know they will not last a day beyond my departure from Ireland. At one point in my life I would have craved the¬†excitement¬†and the mystery of creating friendships and memories in such a short period of time, but I wish for so much more in my life now.

I miss and adore the deep multidimensional relationship I have with Patrick and the genuine connection we have. It is fulfilling on a level that I never could have imagined when I was seeking short and exciting relationships. ¬†I see the the students in my program building these “once in a lifetime” relationships and I know that they are wary of my distance. But I do not feel any pressure to join them nor do I judge them at all for creating them. Everyone is ¬†at a different place in their life and I truly wish everyone the best. I can only speak for me, and I know my heart has been chasing what is fleeting for too long. ¬†The grass is greener where you water it. I know just where I want to be and some grass that could use some watering.

So, just a week of studying, a week of exams, and then I can be rid of the crippling homesickness.

Some inspiration I’m keeping in mind this week:
‚ÄúLaughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Kurt Vonnegut¬†

Listening to “Home” by Phillip Phillips

M.C.

Death

I¬†usually¬†manage to fall asleep at 3 am, ¬†preceded¬†by an hour or so of mind wanderings.¬†The mind wanderings tend to be¬†thoughts that I’ve thought 100 times before. ¬†Occasionally though, I come across a raw, untouched thought that hasn’t been combed over, thought over, talked about, or processed. The other night, it was death. ¬† Truthfully, I haven’t given death itself much thought. I didn’t either as a Christian. As a person, I have always avoided the thought of death.

I have been to exactly 3¬†funerals. The first was my grandmothers when I was 5. I didn’t understand why I didn’t have one of those “fun” bags with coloring books and snacks I got in church. ¬†The second funeral I went to was for my late guinea pig Fluffy. The¬†third¬†was the funeral of my moms best friend Maureen, who I had only met a handful of times. She was a single woman, the same age as my mom, who had adopted a daughter from China. ¬†Her adopted daughter was probably 12 years old when her mom died. And at the funeral I sobbed. I mean, I totally lost it. And I do not like to cry in front of other people, especially my family. I did not understand why everyone else at the funeral managed to keep it together. And an open casket?!?! I wanted to throw up. ¬†I was surprised by my strong reaction to the death of someone I hardly knew, so I just tried to block everything from the funeral out.

About a year later, a close¬†friend asked if I was afraid of death to which I¬†answered¬†with an unhesitating “No”. She was shocked by that. She wanted to know how I couldn’t be afraid of death. I said because I knew I was going to heaven, and once I got to heaven I wouldn’t miss anything on earth and everything would be amazing. ¬†But my friend wasn’t asking about life after death. She was talking about dying itself. The process in which the human body stops living and breathing. And after I thought about it some more, I realized, shit, dying is scary. ¬†Then I did my best to not think about it again.

As I lay in bed at 3 am, I realized that I have to accept that I am going to die. That it might hurt. That it might be sad. That (hopefully) other people will be sad and miss me. One day I will cease ¬†to exist and so will all of my family and all of my friends and all of the people I don’t like. ¬†There will be a time in my life when I have to go without someone that is very close to me everyday.

Overall, the whole idea of death is much more peaceful as an atheist than as a Christian. ¬†Heaven and hell cause so much grief in families and relationships. You’re told life in heaven will be better than you could ever imagine, and you won’t miss your friends or parents or even your spouse. You don’t get to be married in heaven. You don’t get to have you dog in heaven. Everything you know to be wonderful and happy in your life is¬†diminished¬†by saying that really, in comparison, it’s nothing. What’s even the point? As an atheist, I don’t worry about what will happen to me when I die. That’s peace. Peace isn’t knowing that I’ll be floating around not missing everything that I have that is wonderful while at the same time someone I know and¬†possibly¬†love is¬†eternally¬†suffering for not pleasing a jealous god.

I am content with the life I have. I seek to fill it with as much happiness and love as I can, and then one day I’ll die. ¬†The End.

M.C.

Savita

A lot of you have probably heard about the sad story of Savita. ¬†A woman who died in Ireland because the doctors deemed her dying unborn baby to be more important than her life. ¬† Here is the article. ¬†I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw the story on¬†Facebook¬†yesterday. And then on Reddit. And then from another¬†Facebook¬†post. And then thousands of articles about it on¬†Google¬†news. The story was so sad. And what shocked me even more is that it happened in a hospital I walk past almost every day.

And from what I’ve come to know of the Irish system of¬†bureaucracy,¬†I wasn’t surprised that a totally innocent, non-Catholic woman died in the name of the religious rite. A few weeks ago, during election time, I remember hearing Irish news talk about how American politics were so much more concerned with social issues like abortion and gay rights–and they certainly didn’t say that as if it were a good thing. More of a, why are they so concerned with those issues? ¬†The students I’ve talked to have more or less had the attitude of, oh, people just go to England for abortions. It’s illegal here, but it’s not really a big deal. That’s just how it is. ¬†Total complacency. But when their¬†tuition¬†goes up 250 euro…they suddenly know how to stand up to the government and organize marches and protests.

I’m not trying to be an expert on Irish government or anything, but I can’t help but have an opinion. ¬†Now all the articles are about how the Irish government is going to rectify the situation, and clarify the law. ¬†Too bad they didn’t do¬†that before someone died. Too bad the political analysts were pointing fingers at Americans when they could have been looking at their own¬†government.

It’s absolutely maddening. I can’t imagine the pain of ¬†losing your wife and unborn child, in a situation where she could have lived. He had to watch her go through days of agony. As if that isn’t enough, the whole situation is thrown in to the¬†public¬†eye at the center of a political scandal. It seems like in situations regarding death and politics, the people become fictional. ¬†These are REAL people. ¬†Real people with real lives and families and jobs. ¬†When we will we stop letting people die for reasons like this?? I mean, the restricted access to life saving abortion in a developed country is one sad situation, and there are thousands of others out there. ¬†There’s that big one out there–war. A 3 letter word to describe a whole lot of awful.

I’m only waiting for the political statements, “at least something good came from it” or “it was gods plan”. ¬†Fuck religion. Seriously. Fuck it.

Feminism, The Election and Dislike for Rebecca Watson

A few months ago I wrote a post about feminism and how it’s not something I like to¬†associate¬†with because I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to be¬†associated¬†with some of the rather, extreme points of view that I don’t agree with. ¬†I think this video helped me clear up some confusions I had. I thought the guy was a little annoying, but whatever, we can’t all be as charming as me. (That was a joke)

There is an excessive amount of negative media about “feminism”. My most recent understanding however, is that feminism is just equal rights and opportunities for men and women. ¬†But it has become a polarizing conversation that seems to make both men and women angry. ¬†So is feminism really just believing in equal rights and opportunities, or is it all that other wacky stuff there? Because we can say that those wacky people, like writer Rebecca Watson, aren’t typical feminists, but they sure do identify with it and make a name for it. ¬†I may want¬†feminism¬†to be something, and maybe by definition that’s what it is, but just because something is defined one way doesn’t mean it isn’t something else in practice. I think it’s a case of semantics, I think it’s a case of whoever shouts the loudest wins, and I think it’s a case of does it really matter what we call it? And as far as the claims by Rebecca Watson, I’m still deciding if I want to even spend the time with another post naming all the reasons I dislike her.

Beyond the semantics and wacky people, what I do think is important is women’s rights, especially in the realm of health care. I’m not even a proponent of free birth control. I will happily continue to pay a co-pay of $5-$15 ¬†which is what I pay now. ¬†I have the resources to do that.¬†I’d be happy to see it be over the counter, or regulated similarly to how contact lenses are. ¬†Certainly I hope that there will be the ability for organizations like Planned Parenthood to offer services on a sliding scale so women who don’t have the income can still be healthy and in control of their bodies and lives. I mean, we can say it’s just about health, but the decision¬†whether¬†or or not to have a baby is huge life decision and about more than health. I do get tired of hearing women who seem to think that Obama’s policy on health care is the only way for women to have rights. ¬†There a lot of ways to do it, and we don’t all have to agree on it.

In the end, I feel like access to health services and contraception is an¬†economic¬†issue, and from what I’ve seen in the media and in my social circle, that is largely ignored. ¬†The argument stops at “stop governing my vagina!” I have ¬†heard that countries that don’t have as much access to contraceptive certainly aren’t flourishing economically. I’d like to read more on this subject actually, so if any one has a good source or article, let me know. ¬†But I guess how I feel is that I do care about a lot of issues other than just those relating to my lady parts. And the politics regarding my lady parts are much more economical than they may seem. Among the younger “feminist” crowd I would love to see ¬†more discussion about economics and see less statements and pictures ¬†“get your government out my vagina” pictures. (Especially if you are in favor of the government paying for and¬†subsidizing¬†your exams and contraception….)

And I’m sure a lot of what I’m saying may be because of the people I’m¬†friends¬†with or the news I read. Obviously I know that there are plenty of women out there discussing politics from head to toe and that these economic realities are heavily researched. ¬†I just do not want my place in voting and politics to be resigned to one political party and one platform because I feel, very strongly, that abortion needs to be legal and there needs to be appropriate access to contraception. I in fact do care about a lot of issues. The obsessive focus around women’s rights in politics, and I may make the same point for same-sex marriage, is not the same as civil rights. ¬†Focusing so intensely on one issue that is somewhat specific to one segment of the population acts as a container, not as a liberator. I suppose once all this is sorted out we can move on, but I just hope the moving on portion comes soon rather than later.

thoughts always welcome,

M.C.

Advice to a Younger Me

As a disclaimer, as I write this blog post to myself about some wisdom I’ve gained over the years, I have a stomach full of macaroni and cheese I asked my parents to mail. So I’ve grown up some, but not enough to¬†abandon¬†the¬†disgustingly¬†artificial¬†delight of mac and cheese. That just seemed like a relevant fact. But I write on.

Someone recently asked me, if I could give a piece of advice to my 15 or 16 year old self, what would it be?

Now, there were not nearly enough rules assigned to this hypothetical. I am going to assume my 15 year old self finds her 20 year old self giving her advice to be perfectly normal. I wasn’t sure how much time I had either. If it’s like, a drop a line in her sub-conscious¬†type thing, the one liner is:

¬†Don’t believe everything people tell you, even if they seem really smart, convincing, and convicted. ¬†

Now, if I get to ya know, take her out to a nice dinner and have a good conversation, I would say something  more along the lines of this:

Don’t believe that your faith makes you any more moral than someone without faith or with faith in another god. ¬†Don’t think that it makes you better and don’t think that it makes you happier. Just because it seems like all the good people you know are good god loving Christians, don’t assume there aren’t¬†plenty¬†of amazing non-Christians¬†out there. Take time to really really put yourself in the shoes of other people and other perspectives. ¬†When you are searching and searching for the right answer, instead of trying to forget about it, settle, push it away, or tell yourself that having unanswered questions is part of your relationship with god, just try to think of life from the atheists perspective. Not from the biased perspective your church and¬†friends¬†and media are telling you about atheists, but as¬†objectively¬†as you can. And even if it’s¬†uncomfortable¬†keep trying. You are not better than anyone because of your faith. And I know you know that, but take a second look at your actions and beliefs. Just because someone says what you’re doing is selfless and good doesn’t mean it is. ¬†Be more objective, seek more answers outside of Christianity, and always wear your¬†seat-belt.

What would you say to a younger you?

stay adorable,

M.C. 

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Religion and Walls, Actual Walls: My Visit to Belfast

Hi Everyone,

I went to Belfast, Northern Ireland over the weekend. ¬†I won’t pretend to be an expert on Irish history or politics in this post, I promise. (Listening to Irish peoples sometimes overbearing take on American politics has been quite exhausting, so I do not want to do the same.) But, in case you aren’t¬†familiar¬†with the topic, the north of Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, using British money. ¬†The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union, and uses Euros. ¬†The¬†Republic¬†of Ireland is mainly a catholic country, whereas Northern Ireland is Protestant.

The Irish Republican Army, or the IRA is/was a Catholic affiliated group that promoted (with terrorism…) that Ireland be united as one country, not divided between the north and the south. ¬†The Protestants up north however, wanted to remain a part of the UK, who they¬†identified¬†religiously and historically with. ¬†And from what I understand of the “troubles” in the 1960’s and 70’s there was a shit ton of bombings, murders, terrorist attacks, and arson out of anger between the protestants and the¬†Catholics.

My program director, who showed us around the city is from Belfast, and was also raised catholic.  He told us stories about his brothers involvement in the IRA, the police arresting him and asking him to be the spy, and other horror stories about growing up in such a turbulent time and place. He told us that the city is peaceful now, but I can rarely remember feeling so anxious and nervous as I was in West Belfast. I felt less creeped out in Juarez, Mexico.

I would not define Belfast as a peaceful city. There is a HUGE wall dividing the catholic and protestant neighborhoods. And there is NO movement for it to be taken down. In fact, the last addition to the wall was 8 MONTHS ago. The schools are completely segregated. The hospitals are completely segregated. Catholic pubs are totally gated off with cameras outside, so you can’t get in unless you are recognized. The old “joke” goes is that they would check you for a gun at the door, and if you didn’t have one they would lend you one.

Wall Separating Catholic Belfast and Protestant Belfast

I wasn’t expecting to see a wall like this. I mean, I remember my parents telling me about the Berlin wall and growing up hearing about that. I know that there is a lot of segregation in the world, but I wasn’t expecting to see such stark division here. I have been ¬†living in¬†Ireland¬†for about a month now and overall it is pretty comparable to the US. ¬†¬†It was just so sad and depressing to hear about the violence and segregation caused by religion. ¬†I hate violence. I find it detestable. ¬†I don’t subscribe to a world view that everyone in the world should get along and be friends, or that we will ever be without conflict. But I don’t find believing in a slightly different religion to be a good enough reason to bomb and kill each other.

Most bombed hotel in Europe–the Europa in Belfast

On the walls¬†separating¬†the city was some¬†graffiti¬†that said “a good argument for atheism”, and I could not agree more. It’s so ironic that these walls are sometimes¬†referred¬†to as “Peace walls”. ¬†Peace is not closing gates to the catholic area between 10pm and 7am. ¬†Peace is not terrorism. Peace is not celebrating “heros” of the IRA or the Volunteers who murdered innocent people. ¬†Religion ruins everything. ¬†I would recommend the film Shadow Dancer–it is an Irish political thriller focusing on the IRA and the Troubles. I would also recommend reading God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. He talks a bit about the political atmosphere in Belfast in the book.

A good argument for atheism

On a side note, the most frustrating part of the trip was when some fellow students h started taking funny pictures next to the walls. I was nearly moved to tears, realizing that I was on a street that was once burned down because of religious conflict and here these girls stood–making fun of¬†Asians eyes¬†in front of a modern day¬†tragedy. ¬†I have some dignity, and some hope that I can be even a very small part of a world that moves towards peace and rationality.

be kind,

M.C.

Failure to Communicate

Do any of you have that one thing that you always struggle with? And you think about it and you try to practice, but it just always seems to elude you. Yet you see other people doing it so flawlessly. They try to help you, instruct you, and give you so much help, yet when it comes time to execute, you find yourself flat on your face again?

For me, it is communicating by talking. ¬†I have a lot of ideas in my head that I want to say. I have a lot of things I¬†need¬†to say, but every time I open my mouth something different seems to come out. Put a keyboard under my hands and suddenly I feel like I can express myself perfectly. But put me into a discussion¬†position¬†and suddenly I’m way off track, rambling, and all around a hot mess.

I started noticing this problem in classes as early as elementary school. And in my first semester of college I had so much I wanted to say, but I just learned to stay quiet because I never seemed to be able to defend my position. And sometimes I came across as a real jerk, because I was always defeated by a counterpoint to my argument, yet I would remain¬†adamant¬†on my position and just say “uh..well, um, blah blah blah something off track.” Or, on the flip side of that, in situations where people were taking intellectual discussions and turning them into personal low-blows, I was never able to point out what they were doing or try and bring the conversation back to a good place. I mean, freshman year of college was rough. I think I cried after my stupid globalization day almost everyday because I was so frustrated.

Getting nervous and doubting myself doesn’t help much either, because I am always mumbling and talking way too fast. It’s annoying as hell to listen to, and makes whatever I’m saying pretty much¬†worthless¬† I’ve made a lot of progress in this area,¬†more so¬†than staying on track or saying what I want to say, but I still slip into it quite a bit. ¬†I am not a quiet person. I do enjoy talking and being social. I am far from my brother who answers everything with a grunt that means yes, no, and I’ll have cheese on that. I can be very comfortable going out for coffee and having a conversation, but put me in a situation that is actually important and watch me squirm!

It is just so frustrating, because I’m at a point in my life where a lot of important conversations need to be had, and I get so off topic or distracted that no sort of resolution is ever met. It’s¬†actually¬†becoming quite a¬†hindrance¬†to feeling like an adult.

In addition, I know sometimes atheists don’t always have the best reputation, but in my mind they are¬†extremely¬†good¬†debaters¬†and communicators. I myself have been lucky enough to be surrounded by¬†hilarious, kind, and extremely eloquent atheists. Hearing their reasons and arguments about god, no god, ethics, or other points of interest inside and out and upside down make me feel so inadequate!¬†I have just always been so envious of people who have the ability to put into words the thoughts in their head.

Just something that’s been on my mind today, let me know if you can relate.

Stay Adorable,

M.C.

Open Up Your Own Door

Today, while perusing Instagram, I came across this:

Image

My thoughts were pretty well summed up in this comment.¬†¬†“Or you¬†can¬†just open the door yourself and not wait around for “supernatural” beings to determine your life for you.”

If you don’t like how life is going, do what you can to change it. Trust yourself and your decisions. Don’t sit in the hallway until you hear some “divine” voice telling you what to do. It’s your life, live it.

that’s all, stay adorable,

M.C.