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Tiredness and Projects

There’s something inside of me that’s yearning to break free from the monotony of cold mornings, sunless days, and restless nights. I just feel Tired Apartmentthat there is something so much better and greater than what my remaining classes have left to offer me. I guess that I am antsy to get my diploma and get out of the regular schedule of classes that I am not that interested in anymore. Procrastination has caught up with me and I can no longer focus on important school work, because there is just so much else that needs to be done.

I am tired now. I am tired from the day, but most of all I am weary from my lack of adventure. The usual routine follows every week and I grow tired of it. And the winter weather doesn’t help my mood or the mood of my friends either. I have to shrug away thoughts about the summer and of my past adventures in order to function in the present moment. Yet not a day goes by when I remember how life felt so much more exciting and better than it does now in the dull coldness of my apartment without any heat. I want to accomplish and do so much more, but first I need to clear a few hurdles, such as the promises and commitments that I have associated myself with for this last semester.

I am bursting at the seams. I feel like I am ready to explode with renewed energy, but for now I need to contain myself. My planner is filled with dates and in about 100 days I will be marching down that aisle during graduation in the sunny May weather in order to receive my diploma and know that I made it. The tour was over and I survived. So for now I trudge forward in my projects and work in the hopes that the weather will become warmer and I can feel the sun upon my face and let my love of Boston save me.

Self-Esteem

I have low self-esteem, and it kills me. It’s something that I’ve been struggling with and something that eats away at me whenever I attempt to do pretty much anything. I think it’s due in part to wanting to improve myself and excel in everything that I do. I was already gifted in my academics since I was young, and at one point that was pretty much what defined me. It was the reason why I quit Freshman Year football in high school, because I was worried about a D on a quiz that I got in my Algebra II class (I eventually ended up with an A for the year). I have also admired my ability to accomplish things and goals through sheer force of will. I will want to accomplish something, and instead of giving up because it’s too hard, I will instead try everything in my skill-set to reach that goal and then feel good about it; partially because I fulfilled one of my expectations and partially because I did something that not everyone could do.

This has been one of my traits that I have kept with me throughout high school and college. I rarely think that my goals are impossible, and I always get a rush from having a vision and then devoting my time and effort towards fulfilling that vision. This has led to many great benefits for me, such as my tattoos, my studying abroad, my Berlin internship, living off-campus, being on several Executive Leadership Boards here at BU, among other goals and achievements. I guess that I got to the age where I saw myself making my dreams a reality. However, this ability of mine to always strive to better myself has its downfall; it makes me an extremely jealous person. I don’t mean it, and I really try to be happy for another person who succeeds and does better than me.

I didn’t realize until recently when I found myself avoiding specific YouTube videos because they showcased someone’s talent that was better than mine. I have to clarify that this doesn’t mean that everyone who is better than me in something makes me jealous. Rather only those people who have a talent that I have also devoted time to are the ones who make me jealous. This includes people my age with my resources who can cook better than me, those who take better photographs than me, those who work with bicycles, those who sing better, those who are better party hosts, those who speak better German and French, who get better grades, who get better jobs, who achieve more, who work more, who get more attention, who have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and who endure more than me. I feel so petty writing this all down, but it’s been something that has been weighing on my heart and something that I realize I struggle with so much. It’s gotten to the point where I know that hubris will be my downfall. I will be unable to grow from the wisdom and knowledge of others, and I will not be able to acknowledge my faults.

I guess that deep down inside it’s because I know that there are so many other amazing people in the world who surround me, and I want to be like them. I want more than anything else to grow and remain dynamic. I want to improve upon my abilities as well as discover new ones, but that can’t happen if I am too jealous and enamored of those with higher skills than mine. With this jealousy also comes low self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. I sometimes beat myself (not physically) down because I feel that I am just not good enough. It’s a weird thought, because I tell myself that since someone is better at me at something, then I am not really worth that much in that specific area. One of things that I’ve prided in myself has been my ability to be the underdog who rises to the occasion. I am the person without classical music training who is my a cappella group’s vice-president, I am the nerdy kid who played rugby decently well, I was the socially awkward student who now throws parties and is liked.

Looking at this in writing is shameful to me, but I think that it does me good to see how silly and immature these thoughts are. If I can put them out there and lay my faults out bare, then I can move past them and grow beyond them. My friends and other people who know me may find what I am about to say weird, but I guess that I have somehow just gotten used to it; I like myself but at other times I really dislike myself. It’s not some sort of depression or suicidal tendencies, nope nothing like that sort. It’s just that at times I look at myself in the mirror and wish that I could just look a bit nicer, or lose a bit more weight, or workout a bit more at the gym. Sometimes I do my morning routine in the dark so that I won’t have to see myself in the bathroom mirror. I dislike that I can gain weight very easily. I also wish that I liked my body and my face more. As confident as I may seem leading others and going about my business, I feel very fragile when it comes to my self-worth. I dislike having bad skin so much. I randomly get pimples, zits, and random bumps all over my body regardless of how healthy I seem to be.

During the day I usually have this demeanor that all is going well in the world, and I usually believe that. But my apartment here has become my rest place where I can feel in control and safe. I don’t have to be happy and cheerful, and I can just rest. I think that this skewed sense of self-esteem is a residual aftereffect of my struggles last year with how I valued myself with too much of an emphasis on what other people thought about about me. I have been able to grow past that, but my struggle evolved.

I know that I have no right to do it, and that it makes no sense but sometimes when I’m at home here I just curl up into a ball on my couch, bed, or in the shower and just go to sleep regardless of what time it is. The idea is that I can rest my thoughts and forget about life for a bit while I dream. At other times I just feel like I want to cry for some weird, overwhelming reason. I guess that that’s because sometimes I oddly feel lonely and as if I don’t actually have any friends. It’s odd, it’s very odd and I know deep down that my thoughts and petty struggles should not bother me or exist. There are bigger and more important things to worry about, and there are people with much bigger struggles than me. So I will continue to forage on wards and I shall grow past this bump in my life with sincere joy and an attempt to reinvigorate my self-esteem and worth. I’m not too sure how I’ll do it, but writing this down is a start.

A Blustery Day

The following is a post that I started sometime towards the end of last week:

“Ah so here I am at my kitchen table while my food cooks on the stovetop; I made chicken adobo, herbed mixed vegetables, and brown rice. Honestly I feel as if I am living the life right now. I am sure that I will do well in my classes, I am not that stressed, I have a plan for my life ahead of me, and I am enjoying how the weather is steadily getting warmer. Life is good, and today was just one of those good days when I felt as if everything good was happening. I have been successful in accomplishing my tasks, which included creating a poster for the BU Catholic Center retreat, interviewing for my take on house parties in Allston, interviewing for the College of Engineering, sharing a 12 mile Boston night bike tour with my visiting intern friend from Berlin, and just reached the end of Thursday night when I can finally start to unwind for the weekend that is chock-full of even more adventures.”

It’s funny how quickly one’s mood can change from moment to moment. Right now I need some alone time because I just feel out of it today. It could be the residual effects of last night’s Superbowl activities, or it could just be one of those days where I just am not feeling it. It’s one of those days where I am just not happy with how I look, how I feel, how my workload is piling up, where I stand with my friends, and have the little inconsequential things affect me more than they should. During my senior design class I had moments of ennui (I’m too young for that) where I just saw myself having so much work to do for such a long time and seriously questioning my resolve to get through it all this semester. It was that tiny chink in the armor that was otherwise impregnable against the stresses and fatigues that would have normally dissipated upon impact.

I had a good sleep last night. The apartment was warm, but I worried about the impending electricity bill. My bike lock is rusty and I worried about buying a new one, or having my bike locked to a metal post forever. I then contemplated the lives of great minds and geniuses and how it seems that I will never be able to measure up to them and leave as lasting an impact throughout my life. Then I started to think about whether or not I would even get called back for an interview with the Peace Corps, and if I should still show up to the engineering job fair. Also Valentine’s Day is coming up and I know for sure that I will not have a date for the 4th year in a row, which means that for the past four years I have been single for 93.75% of the time. But I have two other single friends with whom I will share a dinner with along with this great 4 liter jug of white wine. These are the little things that I know are very unimportant in my life and usually don’t affect me as much, but they keep nagging at me. I strive to always improve, but days like these just make me want to just sit in a corner by myself for a long time.

As usual, I understand that I’ll get through this and move forward past it. Even now after writing this blog post I feel a little bit better. Writing and giving life to my thoughts allows for a certain type of catharsis and that has helped me to get through days like these. But the rest of the day looks promising, with one and a half hours of emailing and internet errands, about 2 hours of calculus tutoring, two hours of working out with a friend, and then the rest of the night for a relaxing home-cooked dinner.

Life is still good.

Another Day

Today just felt like an off day for some reason. I woke up at 8am and it was cold outside. I mean, it was freezing cold outside to the point that my hands started to freeze even though I wore skiing gloves. My professor got confused when it came to solving the 2nd Order Differential Equation for Mass Balance in terms of concentrations of pollutants and that just frustrated me. I screwed up singing a song in front of a group of people, and then I get back home and stress out about how to pay for the Peace Corps when I’m away. You see I called a bunch of different offices today ranging from the Peace Corps national office, to the regional office, to the Federal Student Loan HQ, to my specific borrowers, to Boston University financial aid, to my parents. I finally figured out how to deal with paying back my loans during my leave of absence if I am eventually accepted into the Peace Corps, but it still sucks that I have this dream and it seems so far away. Only a few thousand measly dollars separates me from having the funds to pay for my loans while I am away volunteering,

Usually I have this hope that everything will somehow work out; however, for some reason today I just don’t feel it. I feel kinda spoiled, but it’s one of those days where all I wanna do is just curl up into a ball and sleep forever. Not everyone in the world can say that. I guess that I can start by saving more money instead of spending it as soon as I get my weekly paycheck.

I’m sure that a good night’s sleep in my chilly room will do me some good and help to clear my mind off of some things. I still hold true that things will somehow work themselves out in the end, because that’s how it’s supposed to happen. People are naturally good and everything will work out in the end. It has to.

Hookups

Ah so here we are at the first weekend of the semester. And it’s a long weekend at that. So far I’ve enjoyed my German class and my other Engineering classes. My commitments are slow to pick up, and I survived the first set of weekend parties in the Allston area, especially after the cops threatened to arrest party hosts in the area instead of giving warnings or citations. Apparently that is more effective at curbing the rate of sexual assaults, armed robberies, car arsons, and stabbings.

Anyways the point that I was getting at was the fact that I have always been confused about the hookup culture. I have hooked up in the past with both guys and girls, but I really never understood it. Now I am not writing this post to talk about the morality of hookups, because I think that that is better reserved for a different time. My problem is that I feel that I have been able to address and confront my own inadequacies concerning my personal issues in life, except for dealing with people whom I am attracted to. Sometimes I am worried about hooking up with them, because I value our friendship too much. Then there is the fact that I would also not like to be in relationships with people because I know that they probably would not last that long for the both of us. So I suppose that I am waiting.

As a result the majority of my hookups have been with people whom I do not know and whom I probably will never see again in my life. I guess that I prefer it better that way because then there is no friendship that I could have broken. But is that what I really want in life? Is it worth it to not take that chance with a friend whom I could have a great future with because I am worried that it may not turn out so well in the end? I think that it is a mixture of that and the fact that I am uncomfortable when it comes to people who may be even slightly attracted to me. Sometimes when I read people’s body language at parties and see that they are somewhat attracted to me, (kissing on the face really close to the lips, overtly laughing to my jokes, hands on my legs during conversations, hugging very closely and tightly for extended periods of time, saying how much we need to hang out in the future) I get uncomfortable because I worry that a hookup may destroy budding, platonic friendship.

It’s my problem: my need for people to like me. If only I could just act without giving two shits about that, but no it’s too hard. I am too addicted to having people like me and I admit it. I mean, I have made great strides with that since last year. However, now it’s the one thing that I want to work on. Maybe I’m still on the fence about the whole hookup culture. But then again I also have felt resistance to pursuing someone whom I would like to just go out with on a date and start a relationship. Many people don’t know this about me, but I have low self esteem when it comes to my worth as a person when it comes to relationships. I never feel like I am good enough for that other person. This doesn’t mean that I hate myself as a person, because that is definitely not the case: I love who I am. The problem is that I thrive on making other people happy, which means that I have trouble dealing with the taking part of a give-and-take relationship. For example, there has been this girl whom I have liked for years. There are so many reasons for liking her and admiring her, but I will never ask her out or even think about hooking up because I love her too much. In my eyes, she’s everything that I would want in a partner, and that makes me want her to be happy; like truly happy. I value her joy so much that I would rather have her be with someone else who would complement her so well in ways that I would never be able to attain. And you know what? I am alright with that and know that that is the best decision for me.

And so what will I do now since I have the professed, platonic friendship of so many and the close relationships of none? I’ll continue to endure forwards through my adventures trying to be the best person whom I can be and see where life takes me. I am a happy person, and maybe society says that we all need that significant other (be it boyfriend or girlfriend) or that weekly hookup. I’m not that talented at either, and I’ll probably still attempt to hookup with people whom I will not know, but I’ll continue falling and rising and fighting.

Over Everything Love.

On Some Sort of Road

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

~On the Road, Jack Kerouac

So it’s the last night before I bid a temporary farewell to this old and empty house back in Owings Mills, MD. I have been attempting to finish my reading of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road so that it can be returned back to the library in Maryland before I head back to Boston early in the morning. Once again I start to feel that pang of wanting to move and be dynamic. I just can’t stand wasting away in the same old houses and apartments without actively doing something with my life. I sometimes feel as if I am not using my skills to the fullest: during the school year I never take full advantage of my talents and end up wasting  time with procrastination, and then during the breaks all I do is sleep, eat, and think about when things will start up again.

Everything around me is changing and moving beyond any control. When I leave for Boston tomorrow in a 10am Megabus, it will be the last time that I will head there before my graduation. It will be the last time that I say another goodbye to my old Maryland home and welcome the familiarity of my Boston home for the last time before everything changes and starts again anew.

I just feel stuck right now: stuck between the verges of new homes and new lives. I went back to my high school today to give a presentation about engineering in college to two classes of seniors who are taking an introductory engineering course. I couldn’t believe that I was only 4 years gone from their position and that they too would come to understand the glory of life after high school. I guess that I just also have to work on not holding on to things too much. I tend to remember a lot of things in the past, and as a result I tend to get stuck on how things were and how good they seemed to be back then. If I only I could have gone back to those moments with the wisdom and experience that I had now and did things differently. But then again I would never have gained that insight had I not first gone through those experiences with my naivete and innocence.

I started reading On the Road with feelings of joy and ecstasy as I read about the adventures and the Sal’s calling to once again fulfill that wanderlust to move into the unknown. I think that it is a very fitting book for me, because I think that I have always felt this urge to keep challenging myself to  tread upon those lesser known paths and experiences. With that comes reckless abandonment, which may have seemed romantic and lofty at first, but then reveals itself to have no real purpose. My only worry is that I will soon find nothing in this world that can fill this aching desire. For Sal, it is to be upon that vast and foreign road filled with glory and mystery. For me, it is to discover that new secret or next part of my life that starts to make sense of this mess. Then again, we all have our ups and downs just like any old road, but this one doesn’t have an end in sight.

The nest stage for me is definitely the Peace Corps, and spending those 2+ years away in a developing country. What’s eating me away is that I made good headway on my application, only to have screwed up and pass the 30 day refreshing deadline. When I last checked on my application it was all deleted and I then had to start over again by scratch. It is a long and arduous process, but I know that in my heart of hearts that it is what I was called to do regardless of what anyone else has said to me. So for the time being, I need to finish my book, pack my bags, and head on to this last stage of my college career and see where that “huge vaulting world” takes me.

A Story

Ah and finally after probably two years I finally reach my 100th post, which is not bad for a blog that I started back before my Dresden Study Abroad experience back in 2011. It seems like such a long time ago, but I suppose that as I get older the years start to feel shorter and shorter. After reading one of my friend’s blogs Thinking Outside the Paradox Box, I have been a bit inspired to share something a bit more personal about myself that has not been put out in public yet. It has almost gotten to the point where this sort of story has become trite and overused. People rarely even bat eyelids when they hear about it, and most people tend to then have the “okay, so moving on…” reaction. And everyone else has been more than supportive.

I see myself as being bisexual, with more homosexual tendencies than straight.

The funny thing is that I wasn’t shocked when I finally came to this epiphany, and most of my friends (rightly so) were not shocked either. I guess that it’s because of the way my personality shows itself. I came to this realization about myself on the last night of my Sophomore Year Fall Semester Catholic Retreat. I have always attended the Catholic Retreats at Boston University, because I greatly value my Catholic Faith. Once again, I was asked to be one of the almost two dozen small group leaders who would help to facilitate reflections and post-witness discussions during several points of the weekend long retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fittingly enough, the theme of the retreat was Without Limits. I cannot remember my specific train of thought, but I remember that the apex and pinnacle of the retreat was Adoration during the last night. Adoration is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is viewed as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof” as written in the Anglican Common Book of Prayer. During Adoration, the Blessed Sacrament of Jesus Christ, the physical bread actually and fully realized and become flesh, is presented to the community in one of those sunburst-like Church relics called a monstrance. The monstrance has a glass in the middle through which the community can see the body of Christ.

It is very hard to explain to people who aren’t Catholic, because we believe that the bread and wine during mass are physically transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We partake in him, and it nourishes us more than any physical meal on this earth can provide. Anyways, Adoration is a time of reverence, praise, and contemplation. It is a time to lay everything out before our God, and have him there right in front of us: physically in the flesh. It is a very intimate time.

So during this time I am contemplating and praying really hard about my own sexuality. I had always realized that I was never head-over-heels for girls as most of my guy friends were. And when I did have a girlfriend in high school I rarely saw her as an object of my sexual desires. But was I sexually attracted to her? Hell yeah. I enjoyed when we held hands, hugged, and kissed. However, ever since I was young I had been somewhat fixated and intrigued by the male figure in ways that boys are intrigued by the female figure. Both sexes attracted and aroused me, but I felt more pulled towards men. Once I had made this connection, I felt that God had something along the lines of “I am so proud of you for making this connection. Now go forth and be joyous, for you have discovered a new, more intimate part of who you are.”  I wanted to tell the whole world about this, but I realized that I would rather tell people face-to-face rather than have them all find out about it through the grapevine of the internet. After almost two years, I feel that I have told a sufficient amount of people to the point that I am now more than comfortable to share this on my blog. I think that all successful memoirs, journals, and blogs find their best moments when the authors are at their rawest and most vulnerable. And this is one of my vulnerable aspects that not everyone knows about me for one reason or another.

Ever since then I had been sharing my realization and story with my closest friends. This led to some interesting results. My very best friends said that they accepted me, and would always accept me regardless of what I had told them. One of my other friends was a bit surprised, and said that he had to re-evaluate his personal philosophy of bias against people of another sexual orientation. He said that he always respected and looked up to me, and now that I shared my story with him he feels as if he can still accept me for who I am. Then there were two other friends whom I came out to, who thanked me for sharing that with them. They then expressed their own thoughts about how they too wondered if they were fully straight or not, because they felt that that was how they had viewed themselves their whole lives. Now I had not done anything physical at all with a guy, but within two months these two friends came back to me with stories of their own.

One friend told me his story of sexually hooking up with a guy and realizing that it was not enjoyable and the he definitely was straight. On the other hand, another friend shared how he hooked up with a guy at a party and actually enjoyed it. He now classifies himself as pansexual/bisexual. During junior year at Boston University, I was frustrated with my inability to be with another guy. I definitely knew that I was attracted to men, but I just couldn’t muster up the courage to ask one of them out or even to hook up with one. I was frustrated, because I suppose that I wanted validity that I definitely was bisexual and wasn’t just trying to pretending to be part of a crowd and something much larger. I wanted to belong to myself and know myself better. I ended up hooking up with a girl, which was nice but I really wanted to hook up with a guy. Then one morning I finally mustered up the courage to ask a guy out whom I had been attracted to. We both were engineers, albeit different majors. He was physically attractive, and I heard him yell, “I’m going to have gay sex with my roommate now!” during one of our engineering parties. At first I thought that this was a joke, but then several of my classmates assured me that he definitely was gay. I sent him a long-worded Facebook message about asking him out, and he responded that he was very honored but was actually straight. He then proceeded to commend me for my candor and openness and how any other girl or guy would be more than willing to go out with me if I were ever that blunt.

It’s funny because I have no trouble making friends, but I have all of the trouble in the world with relationships. However, I accept that about myself. It’s because I am a shy person when it comes to matters like that. I am afraid of rejection and afraid of people not liking me. It is a weakness of mine that I have been slow to overcome. My first real experiences with men were during my internship in Berlin. Our group of interns me this other gay student, and I asked him if he could bring me to one of the gay clubs in Berlin. He was more than happy to invite me over one Wednesday night to Schwul in the Kreuzberg area. I was not drunk, and I was very self-conscious being around people my age and older who were very very comfortable with their sexuality. Nothing really happened there other than some mild dancing. Eventually sometime later in the internship I ended up hooking up with a guy. I still don’t know his name but I enjoyed the experience. I felt as if another weight was lifted off my chest in that I was still alive and I enjoyed what I did.

I then came back to Boston for my senior year and I then hooked up with another guy here. By this time, I started to realize why there were so many of my friends hooked up left and right. Many of them were straight, and were not afraid of any bias that against them. However, I still feared what people would think of me.

And now come the focal points of this post: my parents and my faith. As far as I know, my parents do not know that I am bisexual. My mom has stated on repeated occasions how she would vote against gay marriage and how she would be very sad and cry if I told her that I was gay. My dad hasn’t said anything about me being gay, but has asked if I have had any girlfriends since my freshman year in college. I guess that they don’t suspect too much because although I sing and have been in musicals (stereotyped as the realm of many gay people), I have also enjoyed weight-lifting, football, rugby, martial arts, and doing other “typical guy stuff.” Now I don’t believe that there is a distinction or that there should be a gender bias for these activities, only that some of these activities are known for being predominantly associated with certain groups over others.

Even though I am writing on this blog, I don’t believe that they will read it. Instead, I hope to one day talk to them and share this with them, but I don’t believe that I am ready for that yet. I think that that day will come if I eventually find a girlfriend or boyfriend and am in a stable relationship with that person.

Now for the other point: my Catholic faith. The Catholic Church accepts people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, beliefs, and creeds. The difference is that the Church accepts homosexuals but does not condone homosexual behavior. Homosexual desire in itself is not inherently sinful, rather the acting upon those desires is what comprises the sin. It is also written that homosexual behavior will deprive one of heaven: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10, NIV).

The Church has called upon those who have homosexual desires to live a life of chastity. It is a hard life, but it is the life that we are called to lead. A lot of gay Catholics have called this the cross that they have to bear throughout life. However, the words chastity and celibacy are often confused. As James Martin S.J. writes, “chastity refers to the proper and loving use of our sexuality, something that everyone is called to. Jesuit professor of moral theology Vincent J. Genovesi writes in his In Pursuit of Love that the outward signs of our sexuality should be “under the control of love, with tenderness and full awareness of the other.” In other words this stands for “‘honesty in sex,’ where our physical relationships ‘truthfully express’ the level of personal commitment we have with the other. In other words, the goal of chastity is receiving and giving love.” (James Martin S.J.) Celibacy is the abstaining from marriage and sex, which is one of the vows that a priest takes.

I have long since tried to understand the issue on both sides. I feel as if everyone has a right to be happy, and that includes the right to marry the person whom one is in love with. Then I remember that the institution of Marriage, another Sacrament otherwise known as Matrimony, is the physical and spiritual union between man and woman. Others respond with arguments against same-sex unions. There are even arguments against live-in couples who have not been married yet. The same definitely also applies for same-sex couples who also live together, which is also a big no no. In Pope John Paul II’s lectures from 1979-1984, he discussed the Theology of the Body. The core principles were that love is free, total, faithful, and true.

Same-sex unions are morally incorrect, because they are not fruitful. Catholics believe that the institution of marriage was created by God and cannot be changed. It is believed that unlike same-sex unions and marriages, two men or women cannot fully give of one’s whole entire self to the other in conjugal love and sex that in its very essence is a renewal of the vows celebrated during marriage. It is not simply the fruit of childbirth, because this consummation can still morally happen between a man and woman who is infertile. Furthermore, it is stated that men were created to be men and women were created to be women and that both sexes had very special places in the world and the Church for them. Man and women physically, spiritually, and so innately complement each other in ways that two guys can’t. That is the reason why same-sex unions are morally incorrect.

Whoah, so this post has definitely been a mouthful, and as you can see I am very invested in my sexuality and my faith, both of which are essentially intertwined. I had been struggling with these arguments, because I just didn’t believe in them. The words sounded pretty, and it sounded like good rhetoric, but in my heart of hearts I honestly could not say that they rang true even after praying about it. I started to ask about whether or not two people of the same sex could possibly and morally, under the Church’s teachings, live together in a civil union. But then we would have the problem of have cohabitation before marriage, which in the case of the same-sex couple, is wrong. Urgh, why did it have to be so hard.

I was talking with my friend whom I consider to be my spiritual adviser of sorts, and we usually go to a different cafe or coffeehouse every Tuesday morning to talk about life and whatever comes to mind. After I shared with him my story and my concerns, he asked me a very direct question: “Have you ever felt that your bisexuality is a cross that you have to bear as your burden through life?” I thought about it for a while, then responded that it wasn’t. Rather I saw my sexuality as a gift that was given to me and something that gave me joy and made me want to share with the rest of the world because that was part (a small part) of what made me Marvin. I loved many things in life: riding bicycles, a good rugby tackle, acing an engineering exam/project, singing with my a cappella group, cooking for friends, fixing up the apartment, working with my bare hands, hanging out with my friends and family, and my sexuality was a small part of who I was and I did not see it in any way shape or form as a burden any more than my ability to make people laugh and smile.

After reflecting on the events that transpired during my last post, I have decided that I was done trying to find loopholes through the rules and regulations and instead wanted to find out what God really wanted of me. It is a growing process, and I want to know which of my thoughts and actions gives me joy. This will no doubt ostracize me from some of my Catholic friends and the Church, but I will still keep my faith. However, I do believe in gay relationships and unions. I tend to think that sometimes the arguments for or against unions and marriages are just a matter of semantics. I think that if God calls me for something else, then that something else is what I should follow regardless of any strict set of rules and regulations. It is sad, because as of right now if I were to die then I would be going to hell since I have not been to Confession for a few months now and have sinned several times since then. Will I still hookup? Probably. Yet, I still love my faith and God, and I am still searching for many different things and people; it will be a lifelong affair but one that I am more than willing to take.

This has probably been one of the most meaningful posts that I have written thus far, and it is very fitting that it is my 100th post. I’m sure that very few people who actually know me will read it, but I don’t mind because I have finally gotten my thoughts out to the world and they represent me so very clearly and possibly even better than even a conversation with me might yield.

Yours,
Marvin Roxas

Some Break Bookkeeping

Ah so I finally have time once again to write in my blog. It’s my 99th post, so I am almost at the 1ooth post mark. I guess that’s cool, Car Stuck in Fieldbecause I was finally able to find some time to write a bit. I am a bit upset that I haven’t been able to edit or fully devote the necessary time to ensure that my posts are worthy of placing on this blog. Sometimes I get so caught up in other endeavors that I feel as if I cannot focus on this.

So the other day I went to Pennsylvania for a DAAD RISE reunion with some of my friends from Berlin with whom I had interned with over the summer. My friend also invited his other college friends from Drexel as well as some of his friends from his childhood. I decided to make the 2 1/2 hour journey using only Google Maps directions and not using the GPS that I had in my car. I make it all the way to his neighborhood, only to make a wrong turn and get my car stuck in a snowy field. I call my friend and explain to him why I couldn’t buy extra limes, because my car was stuck in a field. We attempt to push my car out, but since I only have rear-wheel drive the car doesn’t even budge. His father comes to help, but it’s decided that he will just pull my car out with a rope the next morning. I end up partying at my friend’s beautifully adorned 2-story ranch house with indoor pool, hot tub, tiki bar, and so many other fine amenities such as one of the most well-stocked kitchens that I had ever seen in my life. We drank all the liquors that you could imagine from Whisky Sours to Bahama Mamas to Gin and Tonics, and then I cooked some white wine cream sauce and red wine Bolognese with kielbasa in place of the ground beef. It was a fun night and a nice reunion, but it evened out with the hangover that accompanied the morning as I traipsed around the house in search of electrolytes.

So fast-forward to the next day and we succeed in removing my car from the field. I bid farewell to my friends and then drive back home. Actually, now that I think about it I don’t know why I’m writing this preamble of a story when the main point of this particular post is about something else. Okay then so let me get on with the story then.

On Monday evening I hang out with my friend Sean at his house because he just got back from his family ski trip and was lonely all by himself in his house. He picks me up and we hang out and talk about random crap and reminisce about Loyola through my narrated guide of our 2009 yearbook. Some of my lines:

“Oooooooh that’s unfortunate.”

“See, now I could totally tell that he was a stoner.”

“I think that he’s doing well in life… maybe?”

“Hooray those two have their senior portraits side-by-side in the senior portrait section.”

“I didn’t know him.”

“Wait, he was in the Black Student Union?”

“Awww I remember these things. Don’t you?”

We were a bit delirious at this early hour of the morning, and many things that weren’t funny ended up being funny. We wake up the next day, make some breakfast of potatoes, eggs, and toast. The following hours were full of us just lounging around and pretending to throw poop in each other’s face as good friends are wont to do. This included piano playing, coffee drinking, yelling colorful insults at each other, and napping. It was at this moment, on this spur-of-a-moment that we decided to go visit Kristin Witte at Loyola University. She is the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University, and she was also a sort of spiritual director for us during time participating in the Archdiocesan events during our high school years. My most memorable time with her was when she was my group leader during this beautiful week known as JAW (Justice Action Week) back in 2009. It’s hard to explain what it is in a few words. The aim of the program was to get young adults acquainted with Baltimore City in a new and more intimate way. It was about living in a church in Baltimore for a week, participating in group activities concerning the different forms of justice in this day and age, as well as actively going out into the community to talk amongst the drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless, poor, hungry, lost, and needy who are often overlooked as most people go to the tourist area of the Baltimore Harbor. So we felt a strong connection to her, and I hadn’t seen her for almost three years so it seemed very logical to just meet her on a whim while classes for Loyola were still out for Winter Break.

Loyola University Campusdid not expect the awesome two hours that I spent in that Campus Ministry office. You see, Sean and I had been struggling a bit with our faith in different ways. I was struggling with reconciling the different beliefs of all of my friends, as my own Catholic faith. I came from a very liberal high school background at my Jesuit High School Loyola Blakefield. I was taught to question everything and to truly develop my own conscience and relationship with God and my faith. The Catholic Center at Boston University was different in the sense that I never truly felt that I was “Catholic enough” for all of the students there. I love them all, but it was hard trying to fit in when I felt that I was not good enough, or that my beliefs or those of my friends were wrong. I also had problems trying to reconcile what I was told about several rules and tenets. A Franciscan priest once told me during Confession that I would be going to Hell for masturbating and that gay marriage is wrong.

A lot of these tenets are followed by the majority of the students who participate in the Catholic Center at BU, but I always found it hard to fully believe in them. I just couldn’t reconcile the differences between my heart and my head. I eventually found a medium ground when one of the brothers from the Brotherhood of Hope told me that sometimes I just couldn’t understand some things because they were mysteries that just couldn’t be understood. So for the longest time that has been my answer that has sustained me, yet kept me thirsting for more.

Yes, I do believe that there are some fellow classmates who blindly follow their faith to the point that they do not question Church teachings at all. There are also those whom I think profess a sense of false piety. Then there are those who just want a casual relationship with their faith and do not feel the need to go to daily mass or adoration or retreats. Regardless of this, I still have the utmost respect for many of my fellow BU Catholic Center students, because I know that in the end we are all still searching for the same thing, but in different ways. There has been some controversy in the past that I unwittingly became a part of. At one instance I wanted to throw an unofficial party for the Catholic Center, but I was approached by one of the leaders and told that if I had alcohol at the party then the head priest would be notified. I did not know that what I was doing was wrong, because I didn’t even want to throw the party in the first place. Rather, I was asked by someone else to throw one so that we could all join together as a community in a social environment away from the CC and have a friendly and social time. It kind of let down my spirits, because only a few people came, but we still had fun playing board games and singing Disney songs.

Then there have been times when some student members were made fun of simply because they did not seem to be holy or pious enough. This upset me too, because that was judgment of another human being. This also did not espouse the Christian belief in loving your neighbor as you would love yourself. I guess that I was also shocked that this sort of thing also existed in a Catholic Center, however good it may be.

During our talk with Kristin, Sean and I both shared our qualms and concerns with our personal faith lives as well as the faith climate in our respective colleges. What she shared with us next was so refreshing that I felt as if I had just discovered my faith all over again. She re-awoke the Jesuit teachings that still lay within our hearts but had fallen quiet and dormant during our four years away in college. She talked about how the Jesuits generally believed in pluralism, in that one religion can be true for some people while others may be true for other people. Every person had their own religion and spirituality with which they could associate with on a deeper level that was not necessarily Roman Catholicism. We even talked about some of the hot-topic issues that the media and the church love to talk about. In terms of sexuality and and gay marriage, apparently Loyola University was very gay friendly. Even the director of music for the liturgy was gay and had been in a relationship with another man. The pervading idea was to form your own adult faith that took charge of knowing about it for yourself and not because anyone else told you to believe in something. The campus itself is very supportive of LGBT groups as well as gay relationships on campus.

I thought back to my high school days as we further discussed the use of contraceptives. Many married people in the world are Catholic, and a large percentage of them use contraceptives, but the question was does that stop them from being Catholic? Once again the Jesuit style of teaching was that we were only human and that we had to come up with our own conclusions about how God wanted us to act in our own personal relationship with him. The Right to Life club at Loyola concerns justice for life at all stages, with abortion not being the main focus whereas in Boston University it is the main focus.

It was not about the rules and the tenets, but more about the idea of love. In St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, he wrote that “love ought to be shown more in deeds than in words.” I had forgotten about the eloquence and the sense that the Jesuits had originally implanted in me that made my love my faith and God in the first place. I was straying away from the initial fruits that had sustained me. This was why we served the poor and loved all students and neighbors regardless of how popular, pious, annoying, awesome, or horrible they were. When Osama Bin Laden was killed and the majority of college students got drunk and celebrated, the President of Loyola gave a small speech at the September 11th memorial on-campus about how one of God’s children was killed that day. And two others were lost in a double homicide in Baltimore that night too. They were still human beings no matter how awesome or horrible they were and that was still sad.

This was the faith that I had missed. This was the faith that made me believe. This was the faith that reminded me that in my heart of hearts I am worth something and loved beyond all measure.

Remembering Holidays

So it’s 3:02am December 26th, 2012, or at least that’s when I started this blog post. I feel as if in past years I would have made a big deal out of writing a blog post the minutes before midnight before my birthday, or during the actual Christmas Day when I could have made some sort of post about being thankful and Christmas spirit.

This usually happens during break; I end up playing a metric shit-ton of video games and eating a boatload of food, while musing on my boredom back here. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe because I feel as if I there is so much possibility and freedom to do things here at home. I have a car and I have a lot of free days to do what I did not have time to do with my engineering classes and extracurricular commitments. I think back to my World Religions class where my professor Doc Wise lectured us on one of the core ideals of Zen Buddhism. He tried to instill in us the idea that we usually live our lives from one hope to the next. In other words, we look forward to some future event and try to “get through” our immediate situation, as we strive for that immediate goal. As high school students, our immediate goal was the weekend. I remember those days when the excitement for the week came from the continual looking forward to the upcoming date, sports game, party, get-together, or other event that broke up the ordinariness that came from everyday life. The problem is that we live for that upcoming date, and we initially live in the moment during that time. But then afterwards what do we do then? If we continued to live for future moments and never looked to the current state of affairs in life, then we would never be content with who we were, just being.

I’m having trouble with that right now during break. Actually, I always struggle with that every break. At first it’s wonderful, because I don’t have to wake up early, make any deadlines, or even think a lot. But I usually spend most of the day wondering about what I can accomplish. The only issue is that I cannot immediately think of anything to do, even though I had dozens of thoughts during the school year. I exhaust my ability to play all the video games that I wanted to play, and the groups of friends whom I now hang out with are much smaller in number than they used to be. At the very least I’ve tried a few new cooking recipes, kept a faithful and daily running schedule, slept about 10 hours a day, rekindled valued and old friendships, and turned 22 years old. I always associated my birthday with the holidays, because that’s when everyone is out of school and when the weather is getting cold enough so people just want to come over and celebrate with me.

The one amazing thing that I can honestly write about during this break is about my 22nd birthday. It started on December 21st after I had Darkness of the Dawn 22ndwoken up from an End of the World Party. I just wandered around after a post-hangover morning when I couldn’t stomach anything, including water. I ended up having a great day biking around here and there and having a great birthday lunch at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston. Later in the day I hung out at the Catholic Center and shared in some traditional Chinese Tea with a Chinese Graduate Student acting as the tea master. I got a bit of a head rush from the caffeine in the tea. The evening turned out to be much more dynamic, because I ran into one of my friends at the BU Barnes and Noble store, while wandering around the fiction section. This friend was buying his Christmas shopping for his friends and family members. I shared some of my favorite fiction novels, and we spent about 2 hours in Barnes and Noble talking about family, how the typical engineer deals with reading, and how I incorrectly thought that he was dyslexic.

I invited him and one of my a cappella group members over to the apartment around 10pm for some late-night hanging out and dinner. We ate some leftover pork roast, fried rice, and green tea as I welcomed the onset of my 22nd birthday. Ah that was a wonderful night. We chilled for a long time, until around 3am, and I was packing the entire time. As usual there were a lot of laughs and it didn’t really hit me that I was saying goodbye to my 21st year of life and moving on. Fortunately, one of my newly made engineering friends offered to give me a ride to the airport at 3am. I was a bit out of it due to a combination of sleep deprivation, lasting hangover effects, and the chilling. I managed to finish packing, and was driven to Logan Airport, where I was stopped at check-in because I forgot to take my Leatherman out of my backpack carry-on. It felt surreal, because I was so exhausted, that I don’t even remember the journey from Boston to Maryland. Rather, I remember leaving my apartment at 3am and getting back to my old house in Maryland around 10am.

The rest of that day consisted of my playing video games, while checking to make sure that my small group of friends were still coming over to celebrate my birthday with me. I prepared by purchasing a handle of gin, a fifth of cream liquor, and some baked cookies. Now this is the important part of the story. This group of friends are some of the closest friends whom I have in life. I remember meeting them back when I was in 5th grade, and we would eat lunch together during middle school. I’ve shared some of our stories on this blog post: camping in Cunningham Falls, Ocean City Senior Week adventures, visits to Boston, and so many more stupid experiences that I would never trade away. So the group consists of:

Me: the typical Asian who is super social and has crazy adventures in weird places of the world

Tyler: the somewhat socially shy at times, but awesome philosophizer and nature boy

Luis: the player and hardworking guy who would make a great dad

Edward: the edgy guy who’s experienced so much more than most of us

Greg: the artsy guy who honestly is one of the best professionally trained artists whom I know

Sean*: an amazing music and sound production guy who’s worked with local Philly greats as well as FUN, Lifehouse, and Kris Allen

(Sean was a recent addition to the group, because only Tyler and I knew him from high school, and he just sort of started to hang out with us, he’s kind of a weirdo but we still love him)

The Ancients 22nd Bar

The Ancients

We’ve stated before that we probably all would not have become friends had it not been for us getting to know each other way back in middle school. In the past year there was a bit of a falling out between Edward and some of the group, because we would plan things last minute, and he also had plans with his significant other. This caused Luis to not hang out with Edward as much, and as a results Luis stopped inviting him to our group events, because he thought that Edward didn’t care as much. This saddened me to see such an awesome friendship slowly fall apart.

That was why I made it a priority to have all of them invited to my birthday celebration at my old house. I wanted to have everyone over again, even though some of the group members were not as keen to see each other again. I thought that my birthday, coupled with alcoholic drinks, could change that. At first, there’s a bit of tension because Luis is not really talking to Edward, but we’re all cordial. The majority of us then decide to take the Metro into Baltimore and then go to the pubs and bars in Fells Point, since they have people, are fun, and have cheaper drinks than the bars in the harbor. It’s too bad, because I can’t remember the names of the two bars that we went to. I remember that there was this large Irish man who yelled, “Slainte” to me as I approached him. We sat down, had a few local beers and then headed over to another pub where Luis’ cousin worked. That was where it started to get rough for me because Luis and Edward made it a goal to get me completely wasted since they both were trying to make it up to me after the fiasco of my 21st birthday party the year before.

Cheers and GregI loved it, simply because everyone was getting more and more cordial with each other. Sure, the bill totaled to more than $200 for all of our drinks, but being good friends they picked it up for me. We then hopped on the Metro back home, except that we made a lengthy pit-stop at the Greene Turtle in Owings Mills near my house. At this point, I knew that I couldn’t take anymore drinks without risking another horrible hangover morning. Therefore, I proceeded to drink a few more Irish Carbombs, a shot of tequila, Liquid Cocaine (at least I think that’s what it was called), and an Irish Slut. I quietly threw up two times outside near the woods by the parking lot, and I felt so much better. Honestly, it was worth drinking all of that, and getting super drunk to see the group together again as they treated me out to drunken night. We eventually got back home, and I passed out face-down in my empty bedroom as my friends continued hanging out until about 5am. The best gift that I received that night came from what Luis who said, “I think that Ed and I have patched things back up.” I thought so too, and that has made this holiday break worth it.

end, 8:24pm December 31st

Finals and Stress

The following is a stream-of-consciousness from yours truly around December 19th when I was still in the midst of working on final projects and papers. Looking back on it now, I laugh at how ridiculous it must have been to have not seen the sunlight for a full week since I did all-nighters in windowless labs with only computers and other suffering engineering students to keep me company.

“I literally just don’t understand it. I feel so stressed by the last two assignments and projects that I need to do for tomorrow. I think that it’s because I have repeatedly gotten a very small amount of sleep every night and that I just have had no time to just sit down and think and be quiet without rushing from one place to another. I’m working on a take home final for my assessment of sustainable energy class, and after that I will work on my senior design paper. I literally feel burned out and just so angry and depressed. And I’ve felt like this for an extended period of time. I just want to hit something or just buckle down and have a quick cry to have some physical and tangible release from my frustrations. I guess that it’s just that I can definitely see the end in sight, but it just seems so insurmountable with these last two obstacles. I feel done with my fall semester and I can almost feel the warmth of a comfortable bed signalling my finishing of work. I have grown to detest and abhor this computer aided design lab with its lack of windows and extra bright lights. My stomach never feels satisfied, regardless of a full or empty feeling. My face has broken out in some stress pimples, which just sucks because no one wants those. And instead of working I’m laying down all of my stress into this blog because I just feel like I can’t go on anymore after this marathon of a semester. I just want peace for a day and sleep. I want the warmth of a soft bed with clean sheets and and thick comforter.

I’ll keep this open just soo that I can rant and get my frustrations out as they come. This will be a rough night for sure and I am in the midst of it.

Now it’s 4:55am and I am almost done the take-home final exam which is a relief. But then I will soon have to shift my focus to the senior design paper that I also definitely do not want to write up.”