I need to get this out so please bear with me. Some of my friends are Catholic, some are not. Some are white, some are not. Some are belly dancers, others are Anglican-Catholics. Some are atheists, and still others could care less about God and are even homosexual. Some have had abortions, some just won’t have children.
So what are they really? They are really God’s children. What are they not? They are not to be judged. Even Pope Francis said it best:
“Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?”
Granted he wasn’t talking about my friends to be sure, but he is infallible! So, I will extend that blanket to them. It was even in the readings on Wednesday for #Vespers
READING 1 Corinthians 4:5
Stop passing judgment before the time of the Lord’s return. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and manifest the intentions of hearts. At that time, everyone will receive his praise from God.
It was also listed in the intercessory prayers for Vespers last night.
Christ Jesus, you come among us as the Son of Man,
– transform those who know you into the sons and daughters of God.
I pray the Liturgy of the Hours which are psalms, readings and prayers recited the world over. The Holy Spirit prompts me as I write, always. These prayers are not coincidental.
So with that, I thought I would share with you who I am, or who I think I am, because you know, God has a plan for me that I don’t have access to. He gives me just enough bead to pass to the next mystery.
As you may have seen, I am a Latina. Specifically, I was born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in NY. I am the eldest of 7 children. I do not speak with most of my family. My mother and father were never married – yes, I would be considered a bastard child! But she remarried and they are Mormon now. I don’t have contact with my biological father. He, too, was quite abusive. I tell people who ask that I don’t know where he is, but that’s a lie. I know exactly where he is, and he can stay there. That’s all I’ll say about him. I was pushed to marry a white man and not a black man. Because why wouldn’t you want to marry up?! We were raised without speaking Spanish, learning to dance salsa, learning to cook typical Spanish food, going to mass or having any accent that would be associated with what you would “light bulb” oh yeah, she’s Rosie Perez, or Jennifer Lopez – you know.Those kinds of Latinas. Real Latinas. I was never considered a real Latina. I was always interested in learning, teaching, writing, reading and helping those who couldn’t help themselves. In elementary school, I remember looking for the most picked on children and befriending them. I am fiercely loyal – and maybe now that I look back, this is the only identifier, to others in my neighborhood, that I “checked out”.
I was baptized Catholic, but never received my Sacraments until recently when I came into the faith at Easter Vigil 2012. My faith journey wasn’t easy, but it’s mine and it’s perfect in all of it’s perceived imperfections. My mother wasn’t religious and didn’t really give me any kind of faith, other than faith that I would have 3 meals a day, a roof over my head and education. Those were things you could see. Tangible things. I never connected to faith until I was alone. We moved to PA from NY three years ago. We moved to a place where there were no family, friends, or acquaintances. I didn’t even know how to get to the supermarket or where it was. There were no distractions though. God put me there, so I could hear Him. His whispers.
I am not a typical Puerto Rican – or Nuyorican, if you will. I learned Spanish in school, how to cook Latin food from a book and will start taking (and learning) salsa lessons at the end of the month. In high school, I was too “white” to be Puerto Rican, and I was too “dark” to be white. I hung out with musicians and other misfit “toys”. I basically sang my way through High School. I went to college (a few times) but the first 5 years of my college education were spent in Texas. A New Yorker going to college in Texas? Can you imagine? I love me some Texas, but back then (and not too long ago) the assumption was that I had AIDS and was a lesbian, just because I came from a filthy, big, Sodom-esque city. So that’s what they assumed, and I ran with it. I identified with my feminine wiles as my currency, because it’s not like anyone else wanted me. I dated too many boys. I didn’t care about my worth. (Sorry God, for not recognizing that you wanted me then).
I am covered in tattoos. Yes. I am. I have a naked geisha girl covering my entire upper arm (supposed to be me) with my two little boys in flowers at the base. One on the back of my neck and another on my hip. My back, is covered with a phoenix and it whips around my other hip. Why a phoenix? Well, it’s told that when they cry, it sounds like opera being sung (which I sing), their tears are good for healing (amen) and always rise from the ashes in my life. I know this is *not* very Catholic. I am planning to have more work done on my birthday and will get my other arm started next year. I love it. I do. And my priest has a tattoo too.
I don’t talk about music much. It’s only recently that I shared it with you. You see, music has always been a currency in my life. Believe me, I am being modest. When I sing, people listen. People are touched. People are moved. All they hear is music and then, it seems, I go away. I’ve been made to believe that I’m not good at much else. Not writing, not teaching, not math, not even motherhood. This is what I was told or experienced growing up. I was picked on for being musical in Brooklyn. I was picked on because I got early acceptance to Fiorello LaGuardia HS (you know, that school from the show Fame, yeah.) Other kids actually wanted to meet me in the schoolyard to beat me up over it. So, when I figured out that my voice was becoming me, I hid it. I wanted people to know me, and see that I am more than just a singer. You may think it’s stupid to waste a God given talent. And it is, but it’s something that God and I have talked about and will continue to. We’re figuring it out and I am slowly “coming out“. Thank you Blessed Mother for leading me.
I cannot have any more children. I have endometriosis and had a miscarriage, then had Lexicon. I have endured quite the reproductive journey. As such, I wanted it all to be over. I have three step children who lived with us so I thought our family could be complete. After Little Monk, I had a tubal ligation before I became Catholic. I regret it every day of my life. My step children left and we’re blessed to have the boys, but I cry about it. I’m sad about it. It pains me a little when I see babies. Ok, it pains me a lot. I love their feet. I love breastfeeding. I love their little coo’s and sighs. I love how they feel when I nap. How their little, soft hands wrap around my pointer finger. I just love babies. All of their wonder and promise. I love being pregnant, I love motherhood. I relish it. My tubal ligation is not reversible and no, I won’t adopt. My husband and I have talked about it quite a bit and even spoke with our priest. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t come and burn me up with the desire to adopt, he said to keep praying on it. No flames here, but I am getting more spiritual children. I am the confirmation sponsor for two people this year and was asked to be a Godmother to my sweet girl, L. See? God’s hearing my prayer and answering it, His way.
I want you to know a little more of who I am. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it all out there, but I feel that I have to share. Some of my friends are different. Some of my friends are feeling a little exposed because of their differences and I, a very protective, pitbull of a friend, am here to help in my own way. By exposing myself. In all of this contemplation and thought around being a misfit and judged so many times myself this topic has been simmering for a couple of weeks now. I am coming to realize that I am just beginning to learn who I am, now. I am not a tattoo, or a particular faith, a talented singer, a writer, a bastard daughter, or a fake Latina.
What I am is a wanted child, a loved child of God. That’s what we all are.
Fin de la historia.
Don’t judge, lest ye be judged. Matthew 7:1
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!