Poems to Keep: God Breaks the Heart

cause I procrastinate by reading articles about artists and finding new poems.

Via @poppyinthewheat via @nylon via @yesikasalgado @via my girl tif_fee//in honor of going to Boyle Heights tonight with Tiff to listen to Yesika Salgado get her words on.

God Breaks the Heart Again and Again Until It Stays Open

by Sandra Cisneros (of course <3), after a quote from Sufi Inayat Khan

But what if my heart is a 7-Eleven after its third daytime robbery in a week?

What if my heart is a piñata trashed to tissue and peppermint shrapnel?

What if my heart is a peeled mango bearing an emerald housefly?

What if my heart is an air conditioner weeping a rosary of rusty tears?

What if my heart is Sebastião Salgado’s sinkhole swallowing another child?

What if my heart is Death Valley in wide-view Cinemascope?

What if my heart is a chupacabrón chanting, Build the wall?

What if my heart is the creepy uncle’s yawning zipper?

What if my heart is a Pentecostal babbling a river of tongues?

What if my heart is the cross-eyed Jesus bought at the Poteet flea market?

What if my heart is El Paso, Texas, in bed with the corpse of Ciudad Juárez?

What if my heart is unhinged from the weight of its lice-ridden wings?

What then for an encore, oh my soul, when you have blessed me a hundredfold?



Weekend Warrior #1

For titles, I was stuck between weekend update and weekend warrior. Both are taken from existing things, but aye, it’s just a title and it works for this.

So! The cool things that felt like life this weekend:

My first poem of this school year was in a gallery!!!!! AH. Does it matter that the gallery was the student gallery at LMU? Heck no. The work up on the wall was so cool, and I felt like the person I hope to always be as a part of it. I didn’t even actually invite my friends to come along with me (mass insta posts don’t count). This is always fine with me, as I like to think I enjoy my own solitude. Which I obviously do more than I used to as evidence by how I just called into a meeting for my service club instead of leaving my room to go to it. But anyway- as I was biking up to the show at the gallery, I was suddenly like, “oh my gosh. why did I come here alone?” But ya know what? It was fine. I made new friends, ran into one of my actors and her friends, remembered how much I love photography, and I got to see my generation of people be happyhappy and joyful at doing what they do. The people in that gallery were my kind of crowd, and I loved it. Also, it was cool to see black LMU turn out because I hardly ever see us in such a large group altogether.

I don’t really have a description of the feeling of getting to see my words on the wall. I kind of skipped over them, took pictures, and then tried to re-read them. But it was cool. I think I’m starting to think of film as my back-up and poetry as what I would really love to do. Funny how the creative world works, huh? I still want my life to be filled with both, but there’s something about an art gallery and an equally pretentious and rad crowd that makes my heart feel like it’s where it always should have been.

I’m going to submit the poem to a few journals/magazines, but I’ll probably post it on here after I do that.

Houston We Have A Problem Art Show

So, that was cool thing #1. IMG_8017.JPG

^^ photograph of me as the art world person.

#2 was having friends who tell you when you need to change your outfit into a sexier little number.


which was this outfit, hello. and connected point to #2, is just having the people in this photo in my life in general. it’s also going to swingers and getting an idea for poem #4 thanks to the guy named teddy with the courage to come on over.

#3 is eating food in my apartment with Yi and Yi and going to Otis to study and actually finessing our way into a room with a ton of macbooks.

#4 Getting that homework doneeee.

#5 continuing the Quon Dynasty off Netflix and liking it more with each episode

#6 exercising and making healthy promises after buying the wrong ice-cream flavor but it actually turning out to be a nice flavor that kept you from eating the whole pint

#7 really enjoying the Underwings meeting and feeling as if it was an accurate representation of the club we are/have been/will be

#8 Getting all my Korean beauty stuff!!! AHH pic included


#9 seeing Justin Bieber post “Black Lives Matter” and thus feeling as if I have permission to love him once more #belieber

#10 Getting to go to sleep calm



One Day Until Twenty-Two

Back when I thought the website Ghost was the most beautiful blog hosting service I had ever seen, I wrote this post:

Two Months Until Twenty

09 JULY 2015

The teenage years are so heavily emphasized.

The early teenage years begged to be forgotten, but not in retrospect.

The later teen years had us thinking that we had it all figured out. And it felt pretty good to feel that way. We had more freedom, more responsibility, and more of a sense of self.

We also had countless books, movies, TV shows dedicated to the way that we felt in that time. We had songs we could- or could not relate to. (I stopped relating to music about junior year of high school) But nonetheless, the world screamed our importance.

Now, I’m two months until I turn twenty years old. It’s kind of crazy. It has seemed like I spent so long being a teenager, but I never bought into the hype that high school is the best time of life. It’s only four years- I’d be pretty disappointed if the rest of my life didn’t match up to high school. I’m expecting it to be fantastic at every turn.

My first year of college helped me to quietly but fiercely understand and establish my own importance. Life doesn’t stop here. It’s just beginning. With the lessons that I’ve learned, the people that I’ve met, and the family that I have, I’m excited about my twenties.
I’m also excited about my thirties, my forties, my fifties, and so on.

Life doesn’t stop when you get older. Sometimes, most of the time, the media screams that message at us too.

We don’t need to look younger. We don’t need to feel younger. That makes being older into a negative, and it’s not.

From where I am and where I’ll be, getting older looks pretty dang good to me.


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about twenty-two. I haven’t really sat down and thought about it. A list of twenty-two things I hope to accomplish? A list of things I learned in the twenty-first year? I just wanted to write something- to commemorate it. Because I may be chill about it, but it’s also just that the days move and there are things to be done and birthday celebrations and deep reflections about them get pushed to the side. I’ve also always been very indecisive (s/o to the science and girl aisles at Toys R Us that saw me peruse their selections for hours) and so that added to not knowing what to say/do for my birthday.

However, this is how I think I might approach it now:

After class, my friend Jordan and I went to the lair, LMU’s cafeteria. We talked about his previous birthday and what he did for it. While we were talking about this, he said something that increased in depth the more I thought about it. He looks at his birthdays more so as celebrations of the previous year. Not as preparing for the upcoming. And I like that. It does fit with my new outlook on things. I’m not nervous or anxious about the future. I’m excited for its unknowns and for what hasn’t happened yet. I’m cruising in it. So, maybe instead of twenty-two things I want to accomplish (which I don’t have anyway. I’ve got like three), I’ll think about what twenty-one taught me. And also what twenty did. They were rough years, as this blog knows, but if I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. And here is a good place to be.

The earlier blog post really was an epiphany. Getting older isn’t a bad thing. Staying young isn’t an inherently good thing. Your life is as you make it (withstanding heavy consequences placed in your path). I still hope for the rest of my life to be the very best of my life.

These past four years of college better not have been the best, and they aren’t going to be. It’s interesting how these two bookend posts are somewhat full circle. I’m not exactly in the same mindset as I was when I was nineteen, but I like it again. (OOH THE TIME IS 9:07 S/O TO TOMORROW AND MY VIRGO-NESS- anyway) I am back to being more confident. I’m back to know yourself, know your worth. I’m interested in things. It’s nice nice nice. And I’m about to bike back to my beloved LMU to write poetry with my lovely friend Melissa. And I get to write poetry about revolutionary things. I liked straying away from my irate Facebook posts and taking time to write about anything else. But I’m excited to get into this poetry. Because I have a lot to say, and twenty-two will be more of saying it and remembering that I am not only twenty-two but I am all of the ages that have come before it.

I am the girl that speaks in grade years.

that song came out in third grade

my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps

when MTV was all of my attention

and VH1 was its weird cousin

before it changed into love and hip hop

I didn’t love hip hop

except when it was with my brother

fifth grade

and then I was sad when he started to like rock

because alternative was mine

and he didn’t like that

but more importantly,

he didn’t like hip hop

and it signaled a giving up of an identity

and this happened at the same time

that I decided I may not be able to understand lifestyle hauskambmbm

alright doodle bob

but I could groove along

fruit salad wiggles

the show we never liked

it is both of us with matching pacifiers

I’m wearing mine horizontal

and he opts for verticals

it’s getting braces off in ninth grade

and just a dream orienting my whole year

it’s first time heart breaks after being in

what I thought was love

it’s first time loss of motivation

after taking home all the trophies but two

it’s being cheerful but not feeling it

it’s not watching clouds anymore

it’s passing flowers and never knowing their names

it’s seeing a dandelion and still wishing anyway

it’s a first tattoo after I decided I hated flowers

because they always died

which is an idea I got from a friend

but it made sense to me

it’s a tattoo that didn’t hurt but felt like a knife

and still looks cool to this day

it’s hating italian sausage and angel hair spaghetti

because it made me puke

and loving pan as a college freshmen when it was okay in eleventh grade

it’s new parts of me

and old parts of me

it’s one and two and thirteen

wintergirls and speak

laurie halse and sarah dessen

bukowski and criminal minds

and finding less enjoyable ways to pass the time

11:11 after years have gone by

it’s full circle and half circle and being born under a full moon

September 7th


Thank you twenty-one. At times, I hated you, and I made that known. It wasn’t really you though. Let’s just say it was 2016 and a lil of 2017 and some of 2015. But you gave me lessons and great people and great interests. And I’d never turn my back on you again. Time for twenty-two to step in. But you’ll always be with me. Sandra Cisneros style. Also Aashna Malpani style.

Things to do:

  1. Finish learning Indonesian
  2. Go to Indonesia
  3. Graduate with the pride of a lion and the heart of a hummingbird

I’ll keep myself updated.

Much love – now and always,

Paige P.

Late PM/Early AM Rough Drafts: Don’t Read The Comments

The other week, I got the new Blogilates fitness planner in the mail. It’s bomb, y’all. It has built in to-do lists, which is perf because I was wondering how many sticky notes I’d have to go through this year to keep my mind as organized as a piece of paper. Today’s to-do included:

(1) Get nails done with mommy, (2) Shop for clothes, (3) Indonesian, (4) Poem, (5) Blog Post, (6) Check e-mail, (7) Read The Alchemist, (8) Walk

As of an hour ago, I had completed all of the tasks except for the writing of things and my Indonesian lesson. But alas, now it’s just the Indonesian lesson! S/o to the world that makes me angry, but makes me write because that’s how I process and calm down.

So, here is the hashed out result of that. It’s nothing I would send to a publication, but I think we always ought to be in love with our words and how they come from us  anyway.

inspired by: excitedly seeing how 88rising posted Justin Chon’s trailer for Gook and being amped for that artist solidarity. Watching said trailer again and then looking at the comments. Y’all. Don’t look at the comments.

much love! Until next time, bruv.



A Post All About Me: New Bukowskis and Cities Not Named Cleveland

Yes, hello. Halo! Nama saya Paige! 

This is a post all about me. But wait-say you- aren’t all your posts about yourself?

Why yes. Basically, they are.

This isn’t even really about me… it’s more about my feelings.

Regarding my new Charles Bukowski: Jenny Zhang. And the Kathryn Bigelow film Detroit and how I for the first time became one of those people who is like “oh, I don’t mind that a white filmmaker made this film about a distinctly black American event” and who decided not to really say that in any large capacity because I believe those who do take offense on behalf of the marginalized usually err on the side of right. And I’ll get around to reading articles that argue that point later, but not right now!

So, my two things of this week both have something in common in how they affected my life: I’m not sure exactly what I think but I know there’s something special and that I like it. I think that mainly applies to Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, but it goes a little bit for Detroit too, but much less.

So Detroit first!

I don’t think (oh wait, the world is yellow tinted right now and it is gorgeous, ugh nature and the beauty that Beaumont can have when I bother to look at it) kkay anyway, back to the scheduled post

I don’t think that I knew Detroit was about police brutality. I just felt it was important to see it anyway, so I asked my mother if she wanted to and we did.

The movie theater in town has new seats that successfully block the view of the rows below you, which means if there are no people next to you, you are bright little screen of a cell phone free! But I had people next to me. Who chose the moment the film actually started to pull out their cell phones. But no, baby. Paige doesn’t play with the cell phones. Everrr. So, I politely leaned over and asked the not on her cell phone party to ask the two on their cell phone women to put away their mobile devices. They did. Not for the whole thing of course, but their loss. If you wanna fight over a cell phone though, we can fight. Because you ARE RUINING MY MOVIE. Not really. But I’m easily distracted and you’re distracting me and I paid for it and so did you and omg watch it because they worked really hard on it and this is cinema gosh dang it.


So, we were snuggled between them and a very animated black man who chose to laugh at the ridiculousness of the white people in the film and at the situations occurring. Which was somewhat enjoyable, but as a person who is always asking my mother to not ask me questions during the film, I was also wondering if black people knew how to watch a movie without talking during it.

The answer is yes, they do.


Movie opens. Action is on. I was with the above-mentioned article writers because I was at first thinking “ooh. this movie is making us look really bad. oh, this is a little uncomfortable.” But then it becomes obviously clear who is in the wrong: the police. yay. of course. However, unlike the theatrical poster which proclaims: “based on the true story of one of the most terrifying secrets in American history.”

bah-ha. To who? The specific occurrence might be little known, but the “terrifying secret” of police brutality is not secret to black Americans nor has it ever been. So, let’s just assume the movie poster wasn’t directed at us. There were white Americans in the audience which I was happy to see.

We’re used to police brutality. The only gasp I heard during the film was from the nice not on her cell phone black lady next to me. None of the brutality got me to cry or shocked me. I’ve already been through my jaded America has lied to me and hates me and all of its minorities phase. There was a point in the movie where my mother tried to speak to me and I said, “nononono tell me when it’s over” because despite missy whipping out that cell phone again, I was engrossed in this movie and not trying to miss a second. I did actually have to hold in tears by the end of the movie. It didn’t work. They spilled. Those kind of tears that rack your shoulders back and forth, except there’s no exercise going on. At least not one that energizes you directly afterward when you think about all the work you put in.

Nope. I sat there crying because of the character of Cleveland (Algee Smith). Sweet lord.

My mom tried to ask my what my favorite part was. “I don’t think that’s a movie that you have a favorite part to.” Which character did you relate to the most? “I wouldn’t say I related to any of them.”

Reflecting, that’s not true. I think I knew it wasn’t true then. I cried for Cleveland because of his own pain and because I saw myself reflected in him.

Man, Cleveland hurt. This is why I’m not writing about Detroit overall. I’m not writing about whether or not this was Kathryn Bigelow’s story to tell. Nah. I’m here to write about Cleveland.

I’m here to write about how we got to see Cleveland before, during, and after his traumatic experience with state sanctioned violence. We got to witness Cleveland’s sense of security be shaken up as truths were exposed to him, as he watched people leave without helping only to help him afterwards. We got to see how his worldview changed, and it hurt to see that change. We got to see ourselves in him and think about when our own perceptions of the world changed and how hard it was to get used to that and all of the mistrusts that we too had to experience.

It would not have been enough to only see Cleveland during. It would not have been enough to see him during and after. The before was so needed. That was Cleveland as carefree. That was Cleveland just wanting to sing. That was Cleveland being happy just to make music and perform and even sing to an empty audience because that was life. It was him not caring if the people who consumed his music were majorly white; it didn’t matter if they liked his products but not him or his people (think Do the Right Thing vibes and the answer of the Italian-American son).

It was being able to contrast care-free Cleveland with Cleveland who had to ask those deeper questions and who was traumatized from being in the same room as white people and police officers. Contrasting the initial Cleveland with a man whose mistrust arising from the way the world had treated him made him stand at the sides of a venue that he had wanted to be center stage on.

I don’t remember which part I started crying on. I think it was when he was on the sidelines. Even after the movie ended and it was just the credits, I just kept thinking about him and the change, and my tears were unstoppable. I didn’t even want to do anything after. I just wanted to go home. I wasn’t hungry; I wasn’t thirsty.

Eventually, I calmed down and life went back to normal. The rest of the day was actually fantastic. I was much happier than I had been just hours before. But those are the films I really appreciate. The films that leave me so broken-hearted that I’m disturbed. Yes. Give them to me. But also give me something fun so I can bring myself back to life.

Now on the Sour Heart. I was a little distracted while reading the novel, so I definitely want to re-read it. My favorite stories were the ones with Christina/Crispina. I just really liked it. I like the voice that Jenny Zhang has, and it’s because of Sour Heart that I chose to look up other things she has written, and I really appreciate how many of her things have dealt with racism. I even shared one on my Facebook because I feel like people should know who she is. When I re-read it, I’ll probably go more in depth about what stands out to me, but right now: it’s just its existence and how I’m happy I picked it up. For a lot of my favorite things/people in life, it’s sometimes not the things that they do/accomplish but its person that I believe them to be. The personality that I think they have. For example, off of Jenny’s website, I found this photo-series: http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/07/vilnius-travel-diary/ and that really made me connect with her. It made me want to go adventure, and I just appreciated how raw her descriptions were, especially the first photo. She was in Lithuania, but I’m trying to go to Indonesia by May of next year, hence the Indonesian that opened this post. I know more words! looooook: apa kabar kamu? bagaimana kabarmu? ibu dan bapak. selamat tinggal. selamat malam. salamat siang. selamat pagi. itu adalah saudara perempuan saya Lina. siapa nama kamu? apakah kamu juga saudara laki-laki <- I think I messed this one up. I need to go over my flash cards again haha. S/o to Mango Languages. Thou art bae. OH I REMEMBER NOW, I think it is: apakah kamu juga seorang saudara laki-laki. It might not be haha.

Anyhoo. I looked at her photo series, then I read her poems, and her essays. I saved them to my computer. I’m just happy to have found a new world to enter into. It’s so fun. This is how she is my current Charles Bukowski. When I first found Bukowski, I hella read this man’s poems. Who’s your favorite poet? Oh, Bukowski. He’s even still quoted in my Pinterest bio and until recently, my Twitter bio. So, that’s what I’m doing with her. Reading her older things and enjoying the ride and picking favorites. And I’ll return to them fondly in the future as I return to Bukowski fondly now. And discover new things even then.

And I hope most days that “it feels like I woke up happy”. ❤ (<- Jenny Zhang)

Toodaloooo. Until next time. Which is hopefully sometime soon.

Paige P.



Losing My Religion/Confusions of a Catholic

Doesn’t seem like that right now, but it’ll all work out somehow.” – Marylou Villegas 

In K-12 Catholic school, we were taught to believe that the best faith was childlike; it operated without question. One truth, one truth. Questions hinted at a doubt, and doubt was dangerous. Inquisitive minds were minds trying to disprove a person of what they believed in, and that was not welcome. Regardless of that, religion had a glow of beauty around it. 

People who were very religious seemed to emanate a certain light. They were calm, happy, and others were drawn to them. They appeared to move easily and confidently through their days. When I was a freshmen in college, I credited my amazing year to the wonderful people I had met and the seniors of campus ministry. I attributed some of the qualities I admired about them to the religion that they practiced. I planned to be them in three years time. The campus ministry senior who would show the freshmen the ropes to all things LMU.

Even in high school, I looked up to my peers and how they exhibited their faith. At times, I wonder about them now. Would I still see the light that I once did or would there be something else in its place? My religion’s got me confused, and I don’t have the interest I once did in being a part of it. 

Firstly, I still believe in a Divine something or other/God. The reason I believe in something having created the Earth is because of the duality present in its nature. It is both complex and simple. There’s no random order to what occurs. The functions of the universe and its inhabitants work so effortlessly. The variety of people and ecosystems present is a work of art. It is awe-inspiring to think about how well-oiled everything is. So, for me, a God, a Divine something, some gods, some goddesses are there somewhere.

Secondly, I prefer Catholicism to overall Christianity, and there are reasons why. I’ve never loved Christianity as I have Catholicism. Same faith, different denomination, but the differences in proposed worldview are stark. Yet, even then, I wasn’t always happy to be Catholic. I loved my school, but Church was a chore. If I had a sleepover the night before, the congregation could definitely catch me sleeping upright in a pew with my best friends. The calm demeanor of the Catholic Church was no match for all of the festivities of the previous night.  Good thing it was only an hour. I began to like Church through high school retreats and when I started going alone and could really concentrate. The music pointed to a Divine being and the second reading was always my favorite.

Yet, the Catholicism of K-12 is not the one that kept me there. My first year of college, a professor of mine named Dr. Susan Abraham, and the Jesuits provided me with the Catholicism that I love.

Dr. Abraham taught me that US Catholicism is really similar to Protestant religions, and it is. Its emphasis is on sin and being saved. She presented us with a different version. Roman Catholicism holds that Jesus has already died on a cross. He’s got us. We’re already saved by virtue of his death and cannot be saved again. That’s redundant. Because he’s already gotten our back, everything in the world has been imbued with that love. Aka a term called sacramentality. Owing from that is a term called materiality. Since everything is imbued with God/Jesus, then everything is special and following a Protestant ethic of eschewing worldly pleasures isn’t needed. Which, ya know, maybe Catholics took and ran with because our Churches are elaborately decorated, which I absolutely love.

What makes my heart soar about Catholicism is: the hymns, the saints and what they represent, the rituals and sacraments (high religion, where ya attt), the stained glass, and the artworks.

About the artwork/images if you will: No, I don’t like the Eurocentric depictions. Religion has been used by white societies to claim their perceived rightful dominance in God’s eyes, and I worry about what damage that has caused on the psyche of the Western and non-Western worlds and the way that we interact with each other- who is subjugated and exalted and who is not. Yet, the strength that is present when communities reclaim portraiture of Jesus and re-image themselves is lovely. Yes, Asian, Afro Latinx, and Black Jesus. Do yaaa thing. My favorite is the Byzantine Christ however, as it’s theologically sound in a Catholic realm. Beyond the Eurocentric depictions, I worry about the reference to God as a male and how my first mental image of an aura that is supposed to beyond the world was of a Santa-esque white man in the sky, flowing beard included. It leads me to wonder what that image has done to how people perceive women or those of non-white descent. I’ve come to prefer the term Divine, even though “God” is engrained in my thought process. That’s one of my issues that draws me away from the religion I have loved and still love in some capacity: the anthropomorphization of God and envisioning of him as a man. This leads me to the main reason why it’s losing my love. 

I’ve begun to question what it took away from the world and the methods by which it did that. In March, I took a trip to Managua, Nicaragua with some other students, and we got a chance to stop by the national museum. While we were there, our tour guide showed us around. In one room, she took a minute to mention how the Spaniards/Europeans came and tried to “civilize” the native Nicaraguans by giving/forcing upon them the Christian religion as if they did not have their own. There’s also a book called “When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away” by Ramón A. Gutiérriez which I have not read yet but the idea seems similar from the title. What did the world lose by Christianizing the people of it? And why is Christianity so concerned with what other people are doing? It’s undeniable that much blood was shed and many rapes occurred in this pursuit of a wider cross. I wonder why it’s so excusable.

I wonder what damage the construct of virginity has done to women’s personal fulfillment and the world as a whole. All of our liberations are tied up with each other. I wonder whose mental illnesses could have been alleviated if suffering wasn’t romanticized to the point that it is and if the higher powers that be were not a sole reliance. That’s appeared as one of the most dangerous things to me in recent years. I can’t speak of other religions because I know the one that I was born into the best, but the emphasis on acceptance and forgiveness and calm that Christianity has now turns me off. Good intentions, but as those tenets apply to this world, it seems to be used to justify people’s life situations and to expect immediate or eventual forgiveness from those whom someone has wronged. For example, the Dylann Roof massacre of the black churchgoers in Charleston, NC. On the news, literally the next day, news reporters were asking the family members if they would extend forgiveness to Roof for the killings. Like, is that a joke. The calmness that seems to arise from religion is something I really used to admire/aspire to/love. But now- I don’t know. It rings of too much silencing. But silencing of certain demographics only. Expectations for people to be sheep to be herded for one’s own purpose and benefit.

Personal worlds have been enriched by Catholicism/Christianity, but there has never been one singular truth to me. I believe that the Divine can have gods and goddesses and spirits working together, and that’s actually always been my thing. I haven’t always believed in Jesus as a half fully Divine person, and I don’t care that Jewish people don’t either. I believe each religion has found a slice of truth. I realize that humans have crafted our religions. We are the ones who have sat here and written down events, tales, stories. We’re the ones who have borrowed from other religions and changed names, places, and faces to suit our own context. We’re the ones who lose things in translation but also the ones who created the original words. So, I guess I’m a bad Christian but a stereotypical Catholic in that the Bible holds no supremacy for me. It’s meant to illuminate and communicate things that human beings have decided upon, but for me, it’s not literal nor historical. It’s Biblical truth; it is it’s own truth.

In addition to wondering what the world has lost at the expense of its gaining, another thing that distances me from loving my religion is how hateful Christians have seemed to me in recent years. Technically, in terms of the history of the world, the past few years and Westboro are not outliers. Christians decided indigenous people, black people, and Asian people were all some form of sub-human/savage and physically wreaked havoc upon them for that. This is a mini tangent, but that’s a reason I take issue with the designation of places as third world/less industrialized/developing. Why do we all need to work towards the same thing? And why is Christian nation extraordinaire The United States supposed to be the ideal for the rest of the world? We have set what we think is the standard, so we get to decide who plays catch up and by extension, who is uncivilized. By our own standards. But why is civilization as we define it so good and the rest of the world so bad? Alright, tangent over. But point somewhere in there is that its the same ideas as when Christianity was killing people, raping people, and forcing people to adapt their religion. Its just different now in the means and method. It appears more benevolent and goes on mission trips instead. It hangs out with children and photo ops it up but doesn’t speak to the adults. It stays in its village but looks upon the rest of the country warily. It gushes about thankfulness and worries about the hopefully life-long impact its making for the days that its there. I’ve wanted to continue to identify with Catholicism but eschew Christianity. I guess that says something about the things we consider dear to us. You want it to stand out and be special and better than its counterparts. But, really, it’s not.

I think many Christians are happy to consider themselves/their values under attack and rally with that, but I can’t.  Christians have now painted themselves as the ones either screaming in your face about how you’re going to hell or how they’ll pray for you under a mask of love but really, it’s just tolerance and that’s not love at all.

I think I sound angry, but really, I’m confused. Because I want to love my cradle religion, but it’s done so much harm, so am I condoning everything it has done and continues to do if I ignore that? These are things that have caused me to question my alliance with the Church. I recognize the benefits of having a church family and worshipping in a set location each week (if you’re not an Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas only kind of Catholic), but where do you go when you start to wonder who that family has excluded in the past and might want to exclude in the future? Who that family only began to see as human once they made them a convert and not a “savage”?

Things like this always lead me to contemplate if ignorance is bliss. On one hand, yeah- because I might still be perfectly content to exist in my religion as is, and as it was, I was very happy with it. On another, no- because do I really love it if I’ve never questioned it? James Baldwin style.

Meeting other Catholics, estranged or not, still strikes a certain familiarity in me. Seeing a gorgeous cathedral or elements of Catholicism in people’s homes makes me feel content. The worldview of Catholicism is one I love, but I guess I just have to decide what I want to do with how I feel.

There are religious people that I still admire. Fr. Greg Boyle tops my list, but my classmates are there too. I think it’s great when people love their faith. I was super happy for the Muslim students when their center opened this year on campus, and I get their newsletter and have been to some of their events with my friends. I still remember when Sacred Heart Chapel seemed to be the center of LMU to me, and I still think our music is unmatched in its quality. Liberation theology and other forms of theology still catch my attention and interest me so much. I’ve ran into the rabbi of campus a couple of times. I have a book of Buddhism that I got from the random mini lending libraries scattered around our palm trees. One of my homeboys is Hindu, and it’s cool to see him rep how his faith influences his world and to see how he laments other people appropriating it. I respect people who faith is very important to, like the ladies from the Dolores Mission community in Boyle Heights. Its world-orienting. I get that. I will worship with you if you ask me to because its important to you and your life. I’m down with it, as long as people don’t force it on other people.

The beginning quote is from an original song by a YouTube singer. Regardless of how I feel about organized religion, I still feel like the Divine imbues the world and voices like the one she has and the passion she has for what she’s singing about shows me that.

The Church isn’t a home for me anymore. That doesn’t even really upset me because it has let me see the beauty in people who are non-religious as well, without thinking that they should be. It’s opened me to new ways of life too and to further believing that there is not one truth, especially since we’re all just making up rules, concepts, and contexts as we go along. I’m not even working for campus ministry this final school year, but those seniors from my freshmen year are still people I wouldn’t mind emulating every now and then. 

I guess the saddest part about losing a home is trying to find what can take its place and deciding if you even want anything to.