What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?

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AKA: How to Deal With Anger Without Tweeting About It

It’s no secret that people have a tendency to unleash their anger onto social media. Everyone does it, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum. To some extent, the anger people express is probably justified. There is a lot to be angry about in this world and we want to set things right. We want to see justice done.

So what’s the problem?

The anger that I see on social media isn’t so much “righteous anger” so much as outright wrath. People don’t just want justice. They want vengeance and cling onto their anger, screaming “Look what you did to me!” (Or, to quote Taylor Swift “Look what YOU made me do!”) Some go as far as to curse those they hate and condemn them. The words I see on Twitter and Facebook become as violent as any weapon.

I’m not going to blame the victims or try to ask people to “Forgive and Forget.” I’m asking for people to practice legitimate forgiveness and peace with those they hate. Don’t give into the endless cycle of vengeance and anger where you simply react to the words or actions someone says. I’m asking everyone who feels anger about something to let it go. Don’t condemn or hate those who’ve hurt you.

I’m not saying that it’s easy. I’m not gonna promise that those people you hate will ever change. I’m just asking people to let go of the desire for vengeance when what they really seek is truth and justice. If you’re seeking validation for your hurt, know that you are loved. If you’re seeking for things to get better, know that they will. But don’t cling to anger or react to the ignorant words of people who are just as broken as you are. News flash: The people you hate? They’re human beings just like you, no matter how their words or actions may indicate otherwise.

There are better things to do in this life than cling onto our anger. One thing that helps us keep this in mind is the phrase “Memento Mori.” Thanks to Sister Theresa Aletheia for sharing this old Church tradition with me.

As we get close to Halloween/The Day of the Dead/All Souls Day, the knowledge that we could pass from this world at any minute gives a sobering edge to all the “Carpe Diem/YOLO” you hear amongst millennials. Do we want our last words or actions to be ones of anger or reckless impulse? Probably not.

Live this life with authentic love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and gratitude.

Life Unplugged: Lent Progress Report Week 1

 

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One of my Lenten resolutions was to spend less time on social media. I limited my computer browser’s time to just one hour a day using the Google Chrome extension “StayFocusd” and it’s helped a lot. The time that I would usually waste scrolling through my social media feed has been spent going to Daily Mass, Adoration, and working on my novel.

Something I noticed as I considered social activities in town is that while I love having my online friends, I don’t have a lot of friends who live closeby. Most of the time, I would see them during retreats or volunteer with them for young adult events, but I don’t see my local friends more than once a month. And since I’m considering doing another open mic night, I need a bigger crowd of moral support.

Another thing I’ve been learning is that I can offer up my non-traditional fasting (1 hr internet time, waking up at 5:30AM everyday, not reading fanfiction except on Sundays, etc.) for the sake of someone else. I learned this from the Ascension Presents YouTube channel. Check it out:

One thing I learned from fasting from fanfiction sites in particular was a sense of detachment. I’ve grown overly dependent on approval from people, especially when it came to my writing. When somebody gave me a review of a short story I wrote that I didn’t like, their harsh words would wound my heart. I also grew jealous of people who received various awards or a large amount of reviews. In contrast, spending time with my offline writing group helps me receive feedback on my novel that I can handle better. My friends are all writers and whenever they give me constructive criticism, I’m more open to listening to them. It’s helping me build a thicker skin.

At the same time, I actually got a spiritual high from all the time I spent at Daily Mass, Adoration, and in general prayer. Who knew you could get a spiritual high during Lent of all times?! I felt God’s presence in my heart for the first time in what felt like a very, very, very long time. It’s kind of awesome.

Granted, I didn’t start off Lent as well as I am doing now. For the first couple mornings, I slept through my alarm. I had to deal with the death of my grandmother and all the questions that her death brought up. My spiritual high right now is not as strong as it was a few days ago. I still miss my online friends. And unfortunately, news from the mainstream media is hard to avoid, especially when it comes to the fact that they will never understand the church. But I’m starting to discern how to establish my boundaries.  I’m slowly spending more time reading books and improving on my writing.

Next week, I start my renewal of my Consecration to Jesus Through Mary. I’m planning on using St. Louis de Montfort’s method instead of the 33 Days to Morning Glory that I used the past few years. Interestingly enough, the feast of the Annunciation falls on Good Friday. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but at the same time, the death/rebirth theme seems to be a prominent one for me this year.

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/shitsuren/8227704742/”>Silvia Sala</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>Visualhunt.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Seven Quick Takes on The March For Life

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In case you haven’t heard, a serious winter storm advisory has been put out throughout the DC Metropolitan area. In spite of that, the March For Life is still going to happen. I know that I haven’t lived in the Mid-Atlantic for over a decade, but I hope that everyone who’s in the Washington DC area stays safe! So for my Seven Quick Takes, I want to look into the March For Life and the Pro-Life movement in general.

 

— 1 —

Many people are cautioning people to think before travelling to the DC area. Deacon Greg Kandra and Joe Grabowski give their two cents on why it’s better to be safe than frozen and sorry. Granted, I only marched at a Pro-Life rally once. And it was during a time when it was seriously hot in Houston. While I applaud those who are going, I don’t want anyone getting hurt or injured in the name of the unborn.

That being said, for those who are already in the DC area, my prayers are going out to you. 

I expect to see a lot of this going around:

Or this:

brace yourselves

— 2 —

So for those who aren’t going to DC or a March for Life in general, what the heck can we at home do? Marge Fenelon and other Catholics are promoting #FastFriday. Taking on an old Catholic tradition, be willing to fast in some way in solidarity with the unborn and those marching for life this weekend. If you have dietary issues like me, figure out a way to fast if you seriously feel like you can’t go one day without meat. You can fast from snacking or from sweets. Other things you can fast from today include, but aren’t limited to: texting, social media, Pinterest, television, gossiping, pornography, smoking, talking about politics, etc. For more ideas on what to fast on, check out this post! (It’s also a great thing to read if you want to get a head start on figuring out your Lenten resolution. Remember, y’all, Lent’s coming early this year!)

— 3 —

If you want to know what kind of prayers you can pray for today in particular, Divine Office has a list of prayer intentions for all the mysteries of the Rosary. Have a bit of reluctance when it comes to praying the Rosary? Read up on 10 Ways You Can Pray The Rosary from my archives! Other prayers you can offer is the Angelus, usually prayed at noon, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, usually prayed at 3PM. I highly suggest praying throughout the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” This website lists off a lot of good short prayers, but remember, don’t rush through them. Pray with your heart as well as with your mind and lips.

— 4 —

Being pro-life isn’t just a thing for old, Republican white men. LifeTeen has a funny guide on How to Be Bro-Life on Youtube targeted towards young men:

Fellow brothers in Christ, be more involved in the Pro-Life movement!

Same goes for teenagers and young adults: Check out the Prolife Youth website.

— 5 —

Never overlook opportunities to evangelize. Check out this article from Aleteia which shows someone having a pro-life conversation with someone who is decisively pro-choice. The ending might surprise you.

Speaking of surprises, check out these videos from a pro-life feminist YouTube channel called Consistently Quirky. These ladies are not your typical pro-lifers–their crazy hair being the first indicator! There’s also an interview on Aleteia with the president of Feminists for Life.

So yes, there is such a thing as a pro-life feminist. We seriously need to redefine what feminism means. I hope being pro-life can be one step in changing that definition.

— 6 —

Don’t forget to reach out to those who have suffered from the trauma of abortion. I’m not just talking about the abortion survivors like Claire Culwell. I’m talking about the women who had abortions and the families who suffered the aftermath of it. Lysa Terkurst recently opened up about her own abortion on her website. I also have a friend who has a blog dedicated to the siblings of aborted children called Surviving Sibling which I highly recommend you check out. Finally, if you or someone you know used to work in the abortion industry or is seriously considering leaving said industry, check out And Then There Were None. It’s a nonprofit founded by former abortion leader Abby Johnson.

— 7 —

While I was gathering stories for this post, I saw that while #MarchForLife is trending, some pro-choice hashtags are also trending such as #Roe43 and #reclaimroe. If you’re not going to fast from social media today, make #whywemarch a trending hashtag. Post on Instagram and Facebook about why you’re pro-life. However, I would caution against using graphic abortion images. Read this article from Simca Fischer to find out why.

Anxiety, Avoidance Issues, and the Beauty of Reconciliation

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It all started with this Twitter conversation:

Jasmin Marsters is the wife of James Marsters AKA Spike on Buffy. She’s an actress/model/musician who also does some writing and production for independent films. I like what she shares on her Twitter and Instagram, even though we may not always agree.

My avoidance issue had to do with the fact that when I was having a mini-meltdown, I did everything but turn to God. It wasn’t until I put pen to paper and wrote a letter to God that the anxiety finally left me. I often try to avoid my negative feelings and said avoidance only makes things worse. What happened to me reminded me that in good times and in bad, I have to turn to Him for help.

I also feel like what Jasmin said relates to the nature of how we react to our problems as well. Granted, there are some things that need to be avoided. There are things we aren’t ready to face yet. However, there’s also a time where we need to act like the bigger person and act kind towards someone we may not feel deserve it. It also applies to when we put off little things like doing the laundry or paying the bills. The problem won’t go away if you keep avoiding it. When it comes to being a person of faith, avoiding the things we struggle with isn’t going to help us.

One thing I love about being Catholic is the Sacrament of Reconciliation also known as Confession or Penance. Despite what some people may think about what Confession is, the truth is that Confession is there to help us face the problems we face.  Confession isn’t a “Catholic guilt” thing. It’s more of a reality check. We often have problems in our lives that feel out of our hands, so we ask people for help. Confession deals with the interior issues that we have to work on in order to become better people.  Matthew Kelly compares it to cleaning your car while Rachel and Kateri compared it to cleaning your room.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

When we go to Confession, we clean out the temples of our souls. We learn humility and receive grace and healing. Even if we struggle with the same problem, like an addiction, Confession will be there to help us get back up again.

Social Media Storytelling

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Back when I was in college, I fell head over heels in love with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a YouTube web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Ever since that series became an internet sensation, many other literary classics have become adapted into a web series format such as The Autobiography of Jane Eyre (based on Jane Eyre) and Nothing Much To Do (Much Ado About Nothing).

But my new favorite web series so far is The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, an adaptation based on the story Peter Pan by JM Barrie. I linked a playlist to the entire show so far here:

Feel free to watch it right now. The episodes are 3-6 minutes long, so it will only take a few hours to catch up.

One interesting aspect about The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is that there’s an interactive aspect that goes beyond YouTube comments.

This video advertising the Kensington Chronicle mentions that people can ask the characters for advice and that there are “Neverlandians” on Twitter. The Twitter accounts are fictional, but part of the experience because the show sometimes shouts out to the fictional Neverlandians. One such instance is the upcoming play Panlet, which you can only see being “performed” on Twitter tonight. Subscribe to the list here after catching up to the show.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am participating as a fictional Neverlandian. My Twitter handle in the New Peter + Wendy “transmedia” experience is @neverlandslayer. My character, Teresa Delacruz will be “performing” in Panlet as Queen Gwendolyn.

Enjoy the series and wish me luck on my performance!

A note: The series gets a bit PG-13 in the Season 2 episodes. There is some cross-dressing and implications of pre-marital sex and same-sex relationships. This is still a good series, so I’m hoping you can look past that.

Why I Really Don't Like Hashtag Activism

If you can’t tell by how often I post on here, I basically live on the internet. I’m a self-proclaimed Instagram addict, I frequent Tumblr, I always post on Twitter, and I talk to more people through Facebook than in actual face-to-face conversation.

So when the internet inevitably blows up with hashtags about current events, I find myself thinking about this video from BlimeyCow:

Just replace “liking the Facebook page” and “wearing the t-shirt” with “copying the latest hashtag” and “posting about the news on Instagram” and you pretty much have the definition of “hashtag activism.”

I’ve experienced a few hashtag activism events in the past few years. The most infamous one being what I call the “Wendy Davis Incident of Tumblr 2013.” One major downside to being on Tumblr is that the longer you’re on the site, the more you start to realize that the site is a hive mind. And said hive mind comes in the form of embracing a distorted version of social justice and constant refrains of “check your privilege.” Anyone that doesn’t fit into their Alice-in-Wonderland version of right and wrong is called a bigot and any post that disagrees with their mindset usually gets reblogged with a lot of replies that boil down to “let me show you how wrong you are.” Julie Borowski talks about this in one of her videos:

Currently, there are two hashtags that really irritate me. One relates to the current riots in Baltimore over a black young adult who died while in police custody. Is it just me or are they all starting to blend together? Cop shoots black kid or black person dies from some kind of cop violence, black kid is innocent, riots and protests ensue, people hate cops. I’m getting stick of this! And what’s not helping things are social media invites to “purge.”

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For those who don’t know, the term “purge” comes from the awful movie series that centers around one night where crime is legal. In the world of social media, “purge” has become the new way of saying “riot.” And sadly, even the best and brightest young adults of social media see these riots as justified. To quote someone I used to follow on Twitter: “Riots are the language of the unheard. Are you listening?” When I shared this with a fellow online friend, he replied with: “Riots are the language of people who want to riot. Can you hear glass breaking? Also, has she ever heard of Kristallnacht? There was some rioting there.”

My friend Cordelia said this:

I hate Hashtag Activism. It’s good for things with require a brief spurt (like the TwitterBowl for the Chris Evans/Pratt hospital stuff. It would end in about a week, no matter what), but it fizzles out long term. Society must “trend”. What’s the buzzword of the day. Is it “Feminism” is it “Problematic” is it “Liamisthepoolcleaner” There is no steadiness. And that’s something ANY movement needs. And all of this isn’t to say that there ARE no issues. Racism is clearly still a problem. So is Feminism, whether first or third world countries. But there are wide divides between “Calling out” behavior (which might not even be calling it out and just straight up bullying” and manufacturing an issue.

Hashtags are… useful. They truly are. They can be a way to connect people. But they can also be used to say “I support something” but never put anything concrete forward. This works for things like TV shows and spreading news from places which you can’t visit, or even for something national but ethereal like mourning over someone’s death. But to use it to promote change can’t always work. People either get swept up in the excitement and the dismissal of anyone “Behind the curb” or it fizzles out through it’s own exhaustion. That being said, it can promote change too. But those are always minor or on the fence anyway.

The worst thing is that, being a semi-citizen of tumblr, part of this hashtag activism also involves many people quoting a line from Mockingjay: “If we burn, you burn with us!” For crying out effing loud, this is not Panem and society is not President Snow. I actually read the Hunger Games trilogy and you are taking that line completely out of context! With franchises such as Hunger Games, Divergence, Maze Runner, and The 100, it makes me think that young adults almost want an apocalypse to happen just so that they can have an excuse to rage against the establishment. Once again, all the stories start blending together.

And to think, almost a month ago, my biggest complaint about the internet was everyone fighting over a god-awful dress.

The other hashtag that’s really bugging me is #LoveMustWin, the hashtag relating to the Supreme Court possibly making gay marriage legal nationwide. Here’s the thing: the people who created this hashtag don’t even know what love really is! Love is not just “oh I want to marry this person and be with them for the rest of my life.” There is a bigger love involved: God’s love. I also hate how forceful this hashtag sounds. Like love must win at any cost, even at the expense of imposing on those who don’t agree with you.

Being asexual, Cordelia had this to say about #LoveMustWin:

Catholics, are by our very nature “Problematic” to the modern viewpoint. We are very much against racism and so on, but fight against modern feminism with our insistence that male and female are equal and different which runs uncomfortably against Brown vs Board of education’s “Separate but equal” even if they are different.

Not to mention the even internal debates over gender identity and our current debate over Queerness and how some well meaning Catholics do come across as homophobic even if they do not intend to be. But by being against Gay Marriage in the first place we are automatically “Homophobic” and anyone who does not fit into the idea is ostracized. This INCLUDES Queer Catholics who agree/disagree on various issues.YES Love must win… but not that love. God’s love. Which is not necessarily Romantic love, no matter who designs it that way. (INCLUDING the Church. There’s a lot of bride/groom imagery which doesn’t always work.) This isn’t a heresy deal. And some of us do not get it. Or drift to other ideas of love due to various sexual natures. Why do other queers have such a narrow definition of A)What it means to be queer and B)what you HAVE to support if you’re queer?

I’m gonna be offering my Divine Mercy Chaplet to everything going on right now. If there’s anything the world needs to understand right now, it’s the concept of mercy.

Speaking of which, my latest post for the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship Mercy Study is up. Read it here. I’ll leave you with this excerpt from a previous study and ask that if you’re gonna be on the internet discussing current events, do so with compassion and mercy towards everyone.

Compassion and mercy are often affiliated with each other because it takes an understanding of suffering and a desire to alleviate one’s suffering in order to be merciful. It’s not always easy, obviously. More often than not, we get angry and make snap judgments. Sometimes, compassion and mercy are the furthest thing from our minds. But the key here is sympathy, having the ability to understand another person. Once we put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, having compassion and mercy for them becomes a bit easier.

 The image shared is from Heavy.com and was used for editorial purposes only.