I’m not very religious. Scratch that, I’m not religious at all. I believe in God, of course, and some of the Catholic beliefs, like the saints and I think it’s very cathartic to confess your sins, but when it comes to practicing religion, I’ve always found that churches are hypocritical and judgmental, and I get enough judgment just walking down the street.
I remember my Sweet Sixteen, oh so many years ago (almost ten to be exact). As is tradition for Latinos, we went to the church before the official party so that I could receive God’s blessing as I became a young woman. Well, the priest spent ninety-nine percent of the time bashing teenagers and talking about how my generation was horrible and we were selfish and corrupt. All I kept thinking was, “I didn’t come here to bash you for molesting your altar boys, don’t bash me for being a teenager.” I know, it’s messed up to assume that he was molesting the altar boy, but it was messed up that he was talking about me on my birthday, acting like my generation introduced evil to the masses. Long story less long, that’s part of the reason why I have been turned off to organized religion—that and the fact that I don’t like being told to do something without a rational explanation.
I went to a non-denominational church once because I had really devout friends that attended and convinced me to go. They told me I had to wear a veil during prayer because I was a woman and the Bible says women should cover their heads, but not men. I had a problem with this, and my friends had a problem with me having a problem. I’m not religious (I know I said that already, but I wanted to reiterate) and the last thing I’m going to adhere to are sexist practices in a book written by men because they said so. Needless to say, that was the last time I entered a church.
I talk to God on a daily basis; I constantly thank him and pray to him. I sin, of course, but I keep it to a bare minimum and I read the Bible but being an English major prevents me from seeing it as anything other than a text to be dissected, analyzed, and referenced from a literary perspective.
My point (finally, I know): this year I’m going to give something up for Lent as a “Thank you” to the good lord. This time last year, I was bleeding and at risk for a miscarriage with my daughter. I prayed and prayed for her well-being, and God granted me my prayers. He helped me get through the most painful heartbreak in my life when my daughter’s father decided not to be in our lives, and he gave me strength to deal with my depression, my stress, single motherhood, unemployment, and I’m in such a great place mentally and physically—emotionally, I’m getting there. I’m back in school, which is my sanctuary, my son’s behavior and grades have improved drastically, and my daughter is healthy and beautiful, thank God.
So for Lent, I’m giving up meat. I’m going pescatarian. Anyone who knows me knows mama loves her meat, so I’m giving it up for forty days and forty nights for my lord and savior. Today, I ate Taco bell and chicken breasts, and I said goodbye for now to meat. Yes, there were tears.
Well, that’s all folks. Stay tuned for your next slice of genius.