The Internet is on Fire

picture from Pixabay

Or at least I want to set it on fire every time I log into any of my social media accounts. Even Instagram which really pisses me off because I really thought the social contract of being on Instagram was solid as in I we all agreed that no politics would go on there. But this week it all went to shit.

Here’s my thing: I do not have it in me to argue with strangers online anymore. I spent a lot of time doing that before Anthony died and it got me nowhere except regretting it when I buried him. I do not think anyone wins an argument on morality and politics on social media. In fact, I have lost a lot of friends because of my political freak outs. It is not that they did not agree with me, although I would say that most did not agree with me, but it was that I was hysterical. Nobody will ever listen to the arguments of a person calling them a moron. This is hard for me, especially when it comes to politics. Because I am a bit of an elitist and a Platonist. Plato was known to say that not everyone was smart enough to vote. I tend to agree with him because I am a horrible person. Which is why seething about political issues online does nothing to help me bring anyone to know Jesus and actually is probably a good way for me to walk my ass right into the pit of hell.

So! I have been staying out of the dumpster fire that is the internet. What have I been doing you ask? Well, get this! I have been doing my homework. GASP And I read a book, watched a movie and an entire series on Amazon Prime. But because I am not on social media to tell anyone and my husband is still in the desert, I haven’t talked to anyone about any of these things! Which is why I’m here on my blog because I also need to write and without Facebook, I came back to write about them on the blog.

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – I had been avoiding watching this show even though a lot of people told me it was great. I don’t know why I avoided it really, just that I did and that was a mistake. I watched the first episode and was hooked. This show is so cute and funny. The main character’s outfits are beautiful. It is about women’s creativity and the high cost of it sometimes. Also, the family is a real family who has issues and heartache but sticks together. I normally would not watch a show about someone who is from the upper class because I do not relate to that kind of life at all, but this show really hit home how we all have so much in common in the human experience. I love it and can’t wait to see the next season!

2. I read a whole book. Maid by Stephanie Land. Stephanie is a great writer and really does such an amazing job of capturing what life is like when you are trying to make ends meet with a shitty job as a single mother. I have been there. What this book taught me is that I am so lucky. While I do not think that it’s lucky that I come from generations of poor people, I am lucky that I never wondered how to get on foodstamps or get medicaid when I was pregnant. I always knew what milk qualified for WIC and I never had anyone be rude to me at the grocery store for using foodstamps. Because when you live among other poor people, everyone gets it. But the struggle of working when you have a sick kid or finding daycare that is safe is one that I know well. Crawling out of poverty and having one tiny thing kick you right back in is part of the life of being poor too. But the love that mothers have for their children is what fuels us to keep going and keep trying. Land writes about that love honestly and with amazing talent.

3. Wine Country on Netflix – It is just funny. Do not watch it and then come to me telling me that it’s inappropriate. Because I know, that is why it is funny.

4. Game of Thrones – I am not linking this. Ya’ll know where to find it. I am also not going to debate people about the morality of watching it. There is a reason that I am not on social media and that is because I do not want to argue with anyone. Part of that inspiration came from last Sunday’s episode of GOT. SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading if you do not want to read spoilers.

So in that episode Daenerys burnt down the entire city with her dragon because she was sick with grief and rage. Ummmm…. Where do I even begin. First of all, since I started watching this show I have asked for a dragon and God keeps silent. Literally, I ask God the creator of the Universe why I can’t have a dragon. I took His silence as a way of Him saying that I am crazy and He refuses to entertain me. But then as I watched that dragon burn everything to the ground I realized that I do have a dragon. My anger. And when I lost Anthony, I let it burn everything to the ground. I did not care who was in the path of destruction, it all burned. My relationships, my marriage, my friendships, my life, my writing, my faith.. all of it. And watching that episode made me reevaluate my life which meant getting of the internet for a bit.


So there you go, that is what I have been doing. If things keep up this way, I will end up actually going to the gym this next week. Ha!

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Holy Week 2019

Sooooo how’s Lent been? Good? Ok. Well, for me it began fairly good. My husband was home from Iraq, we got news that we are getting to keep our house and all the bills were paid. It all seemed hashtag blessed.

And then it all went right down the tube because Lent is LONG ya’ll. Some stuff went down with my stepsons that I can’t really share on the blog but it was rough and then my husband went back to the sandbox so that sucked plus tax day was yesterday. Also, grief is weird. It sneaks up on you. Tomorrow will be the third anniversary of my Tio Roy’s death and it is the one that is taking a toll on me this year.

Monday I watched like everyone else as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames and I lost it. I have not been to Mass in three weeks. I was sick, depressed and then one of the Sundays I didn’t go because I had not been to confession and at that point I felt so defeated that I didn’t think there was any use in going. I know I need to go to confession because I am starting to hate everyone. As I watched that beautiful Church burn what I saw was a vision of my faith since Anthony died. That day everything that I thought was real went up in flames. Up until that moment I really thought I was a solid Catholic. I knew my faith, I knew answers to difficult theological questions, I believed that if you served God, He would protect you and your family and I thought my goal in life was to be a speaker who told everyone about all the wonderful things God had done for me. I really thought that I was living the happily ever after fairy tale, sure there was suffering but suffering was a part of the deal and I would say stupid shit like “I fear NOT suffering”. And then Anthony took his own life and poof, it was up in smoke. I often look at my Facebook memories and see the fake piety I displayed and want to punch past Leticia in the face.

I cried in a coffee shop as the pictures of the fire flooded my feed. On Tuesday the picture of the inside began to go viral and there in the middle of destruction stood the Pieta. The Blessed Mother holding the body of her son Jesus. Me and that sculpture go way back to 2010 in Rome when I saw the original at St. Peter’s. I stood there staring at it wondering how it could be so beautiful when it was every mother’s greatest fear. Looking back on it now I can see that even then, seven years before the death of my son, I sensed something that connected me to that statue of the Mother of all mothers. And after the fire that was watched around the world, there she was again. I am also here holding the memory of my son in the middle of a Faith that has been charred by grief.

Then today I watched the Beyonce special on Netflix. It is her Homecoming performance at Coachella last year and it was an experience. She talks about the way her body changed after giving birth to twins and the challenge of being a mother, wife and Beyonce while creating something from nothing and the freedom that comes from having an amazing team part of which is her husband. You would think that a 42 year old grandmother of two, mother of four, grieving mother of one and a wife in the suburbs of Austin Texas would not get much out of the struggle that Beyonce has, but I do. Because it is all of our struggle. The struggle of motherhood is universal. The struggle to stand after a fire rages through our family. In her special Beyonce said that her family is her sanctuary. Just like Notre Dame had a fire rip through her sanctuary, so did I when Anthony died.

I have been hiding from all things Catholic this week, which is kind of difficult when it is Holy Week, but when you are bat shit crazy like me, you do things like that. God is so good and so amazing that He knew I was spiritually putting a hoodie over my head with shades on so He spoke to me the one way He knew would get to me, through a work of art like Beyonce’s concert. The entire thing was God saying He loves me and has always been by my side.

That’s how my Holy Week is going so far. I also read an entire book since I’m off social media. Which can be considered a miracle honestly. We will see what the rest of the week has in store for us all.

Business As Usual

I am really just rambling today so please stick with me, I’m hoping it all comes together in the end. My blog used to be called “Ramblings of a Crazy Face” and that’s why. It is how I write.

At the beginning of March I went and spoke at the FemCatholic Conference in Chicago. (You can buy the talks here. Honestly, I think that they are all worth the money and mine was not bad even though I almost fell apart in the middle of it.) At the end of my talk a woman who was the victim of sexual abuse as a child asked me how I felt about the current scandal in the Church. I guess from the look of most of my feeds on social media we might wanna start calling it the “last scandal” because nobody seems to remember that we are mad about it still and that nothing has been done at all. My I am bitter so maybe it is just me.

Here’s my answer: I am pissed. In my opinion, this is more than just about the sex abuse scandal though. It is about the way that we as Catholics accept lies when we think they are worth whatever end we are trying to achieve. It is easy to look at the sex abuse cover up and want our Bishops to face the fire for their part or their culture in those cover ups but then we all turn the other way when it is a lie that helps some narrative that we are trying to push, whatever that might be. And we all do it.

Catholicism is a great mask for psychos. People who take jabs at other people and mask it all with “I pray the Lord gives you peace” or other such piety speak that makes you look crazy when you tell other people that it was a jab at you. People with agendas and fakery fit right in when it comes to Catholic media. People who seethe with rage in real life but post pretty Instagram pictures of their rosaries and flowers telling us all how their morning prayer time was so fruitful. In the last nine years I have seen the under belly of our Church and it is ugly. Even in Parish council meetings where people say racist things about Hispanics without batting an eye.

The last time that I was this mad about the PR machine in the Catholic Church I lost a speaking job and was removed from the list of approved speakers for my Diocese. They were “concerned” about me. Then I set all of my social media accounts on fire and burned my platform to the ground. I have 0 desire to be made into someone I am not to do the work God has called me to do. I will not do it.

I have had a hard time articulating what exactly it is about all of this that makes me so ragey. But now I think I have finally figured it out.

After Anthony’s suicide I was on Instagram just scrolling out of habit when I saw so many of my friends just living their lives while I was sitting in a funeral home waiting to start planning my son’s funeral. His body was in a morgue somewhere and I was sitting in a funeral home and my friends were posting videos and pictures of them having fun. At that moment, I wanted to take a hammer to my phone. I hated that little device that showed me how little everyone cared about my dead kid. How they could just go on with business as usual without having their world stop because their son was dead.

In hindsight, I am not mad at anyone in particular about that at all, I’ve been and still am the person who goes on with my life when tragedy strikes another family. We all have our turn in that chair at the funeral home when our world has crumbled and everyone else is going to the movies or eating at Applebee’s or having a birthday party you aren’t invited to because you are dealing with dead bodies and funerals. It is part of life. But we haven’t always been able to see life go on when ours is at a standstill in a funeral home. Now we can.

Now we are all branded and have things to promote even in the middle of someone else’s tragedy, including the Catholic Church. And to me, that seems so wrong. I do not think that Jesus died on the Cross because it was a good content for His brand. I don’t think that His Passion was a marketing move. Or that He died at 3 pm because that is when the most people are online. In the modern world we have allowed the tools to become our masters. And with that comes dehumanizing ourselves into brands and dehumanizing others as brands and mostly we dehumanize Jesus into content for our feeds. That is not how God intended us to grow His following. That is how the Kardashians grow a following.

When I see the USCCB’s social media devoid of any talk about the sex abuse crisis I feel like my pain does not matter. I was sexually abused as a child by a mechanic and those things, those happy social media posts selling some kind of Catholic stuff, still hurt me. I cannot imagine what it is like for people who were victims of clergy. Each one of those “business as usual” social media posts might as well say “we do not care about your pain”. It is a signal that The Catholic Brand means more than the Gospel. A signal that I hear loud and clear. And it makes me angry. There is something more important than all our branding. There has to be, otherwise we are all just fooling ourselves and each other.

At some point I will have to find a place for this anger. I will have to process it and figure out where to put it because I am not going to allow it to stop me from doing what God has called me to do. But for today, I am just going to allow myself to be angry. There just has to be another way to be witnesses of Christ without the PR spin and without being fake and without accepting lies for the greater good. The Truth matters. The Truth has a name and a face. The Truth is Jesus and if we do not believe that then we should all just stop spending so much time pretending we are Catholics who believe in God.