Searching for Faith

From Merriam-Webster.com

Being raised in a predominantly Catholic country meant that the religion played a major role in our day to day lives, from simple traditions to expressions in conversations, its presence was almost always felt. Most of the schools here had religion as a subject. So, even if the household was not strict in terms of observing religious traditions, we still had to go through them at school (except for those who belonged to a different faith, of course). Practices had to be observed and prayers had to be recited even though some – or many – might not have fully understood the words they were saying out loud. Certain values, beliefs or traditions were taught to us with an unspoken understanding that we would accept and practice them wholeheartedly even though we might not have fully agreed with them.

I will be the first to admit that I am a non-practicing Catholic. We attended mass regularly in elementary and high school because according to my mom, she wanted some sort of structure for me. When I was in college though, she stopped asking me to go and decided to let me choose what I wanted to believe in. I truly appreciated this because at this time, I was already beginning to question some things, and I did not want to grow resentful to her or the religion because I was “forced” to do things I did not completely believe in. I know the religion is not perfect – nothing is, for that matter – but I thought (and still think) there was something out there that was better-suited for me.

For a while I toyed with the idea of atheism because I also do believe that you and you alone are accountable for your life – your reactions, emotions, feelings and choices are, no matter how many excuses you come up with or people you blame, ultimately your decisions. Plain and simple as that – no need to redirect whatever mistakes to some ethereal being. However, as the years passed and life became more complex, I started to realize that some things in life could not be explained. I don’t know if I’m just impatient to wait for the explanation, but I simply could not fathom the whys or hows of these things. And you know what? I was okay with this. I was okay with not knowing. I was okay with accepting them. Then I started to think – maybe, maybe there was something bigger out there that made the world turn, something that accounted for the unexplainable, that made things fall into place without you knowing how or why. A God? A Supreme Being? A Life Force? I don’t know, I still can’t decide.

I would like to think that in an ideal world, you should be allowed to choose your faith. You should not be forced to believe in something just because it is what the majority believes. You should believe in something because you choose to, because you know you can uphold it, defend it and stand by it. Again, I would like to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with Catholicism per se – I just feel that it is not “the one” for me. I am lucky to have open-minded parents and friends who allow me to choose my beliefs. I am still undecided. I am still struggling with that decision. Yes, it is difficult, especially in challenging times, but I simply refuse to commit to something I do not believe in 100%, which is why I’m not in a hurry. At this point in my life, though, I live by the golden rule (or at least try to), and I say my prayers (especially those of gratitude because it’s too difficult to contain!) to Someone Out There. I don’t know who he/she/it is yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will find out some day. For now, the search goes on. 🙂

I am a closet writer

Among other things. And I use the term “writer” very loosely, though. Like I’ve said before, I don’t really consider myself one, but for the purposes of this entry, let’s pretend I am.

While quite a number of my family and friends know that I write here and there, I don’t proudly broadcast that fact. I don’t think a lot of people in real life know about this blog, or ever will for that matter. The thing is, I have a love/hate relationship with writing. It helps me process my thoughts, let out some steam and unleash what little creativity I have. It also makes me cringe in embarrassment, frustrated to the point of not wanting to finish what I’ve started writing and makes me question why I even bother doing this – which happen WAY TOO OFTEN.

But why? I’ve come up with some reasons, actually, and since this is my blog after all, please bear with me while I psychoanalyze the muse out of me.

– My muse is erratic. Sporadic. Moody. Elusive. Lazy. You get the picture. I could come up with more adjectives, but it might end up hiding from me forever.

– I’m not a good enough writer to make me want to broadcast my work (proudly). I’m not saying this to put myself down or fish for compliments, I am just stating a fact. I’m not good enough because I lack practice. I don’t write as often as I should, so I can’t improve as much as I want. Simple as that.

– I need a more solid reason to want to keep on writing, which I believe is the root cause of all this self-doubt with regards to writing. My conviction to write is not entirely there. I’m not aiming to be published, but I want to improve my ability to express myself through the written word because I’m not as comfortable doing it through speaking – or human interaction in general. I think this has always been one of the biggest reasons why I keep attempting to blog, but it hasn’t been a big enough reason for me to commit to writing and therefore improving. I need to keep searching, or at least find a way to make this reason seem bigger.

Well, it seems like I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts. I don’t know if it’s the right one, but it’s a start in my journey towards becoming a less closeted writer. How about you? What’s your reason for writing?

Perspectives

Tonight I was hit with the sudden urge to write something, and since it doesn’t happen often, I couldn’t let it pass. This emotionally charged night is doing nothing for my jetlag. Perhaps writing my thoughts out might help calm me down. Maybe not. I don’t know, I just need to do write something, so I’ll bore you with my realizations for today. But before that I just wanted to mention that if my muse cooperates, I’m planning to infuse some travel blogging in here to document my recently concluded trip to Europe. I took hundreds of photos of course, but it was such a magical time that it would be a shame not to capture my emotions in words for me to read later on in life. Besides, I’ve always had a thing with words. IF I can manage it, that is. I’m keeping all of my appendages crossed that I can because really, I look the same in all my photos that I probably won’t remember how I felt at that time by just looking at them. ANYWAY, I don’t think I’m making much sense anymore, so on to the boring stuff.

I spent the night with my closest sorority sisters. These are the ladies I would take a bullet for without batting an eyelash. We’re currently in different states of unrest. I won’t say unhappiness because it’s too strong and negative of a word, but almost all of us are definitely going through something to varying degrees. While it is not entirely the most ideal of situations, it makes you realize how often you overlook the positive things in your life. Our circumstances are different, and I would never wish my troubles on them, but at the same time I realized as the night unfolded and the emotions became rawer that I am still blessed, I am still grateful, that I might even have it a bit easier than they do – which is something that would have never crossed my mind had I wallowed in my misery the entire night. Again, I am not delighted that they are going through difficult times, and I wish with all my heart I could take away the hurt and weariness in their hearts right now.

I guess what I’m trying to say (unsuccessfully so) is that it’s always a matter of perspective. You can choose to blow something out of proportion even though it really doesn’t deserve to be, or you can choose to think that you’ve got other better things going for you – friends who wholeheartedly accept you (mood swings included), a family who will stick by you (craziness and all), and the opportunity to start anew every day, no matter how small or mundane the change or the effort, the opportunity is there. You just have to constantly remind yourself of that fact. I know I have to.