Tag Archives: Catholic

Graduating Again

25 Apr

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I’m walking back to my car after a night of seeing my friend who will be graduating from the college that I attended two years ago. It’s raining and I’m running through the tiled area near the business school, and I notice that the tiles I’m running on aren’t loose and moving around under my feet like they used to. I’m surprised at the sense of security I feel even though I know that one wrong step could probably leave me tripping. I stop and walk up to the shrine of the Virgin Mary illuminated by candles, protected somehow by the intense wind and rain, and I stare at her. I wonder, if I stay and stare long enough, if she’ll turn to me and start telling me where to go.

Not where to go in the sense of how to find my car. I know where that is, of course. No – what I want, what I’m asking out of this inanimate religious statue — is to tell me what it is that my college experience meant and whether I’m doing the right thing with my life. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a common event for melancholic recent graduates such as myself. Maybe.

An hour before my awkward staredown with Mary, my friend is walking me through the halls of the buildings pointing out the new additions that have come about since my graduation. “We have recycling centers everywhere now,” she told me, “and there’s even a new free trade, student-run smoothie café!” She took me to a photography exhibit – something that my school never had before – and she even mentioned that my former marketing professors still remember me when she brings me up. My friend is a social butterfly, and we are interrupted quite frequently on our journey from building to building. When I am introduced, each student vigorously shakes my hand and gives me a genuine smiled. I am in complete shock, not only regarding the changes to the buildings, but to the changes that I see within the students that now go to my former university. Has my mindset changed, I wondered, or has this place finally turned into a school that welcomes people other than rich snobs?

I had specifically asked my friend to walk around the campus with me because I feel that it is important to return to places that were once important in your life. It’s easy to point to an old school or place of employment from far away – you can spew out as many I remember when…’s from that distance because it is safe. It’s the same as looking at a photo of a distant relative and actually hugging them in real life: there has to be that physical aspect to truly bring all of the memories and emotions together. For me, I felt an urgency to walk through the halls of the business school and to smell the familiar smells of the cafeteria, old books and incense from outside the chapel in the student center. I wanted to go down the same flight of stairs that I went down so many times, knowing that I could never had predicted what my life would be like if I were to go down them again two years later. As I was doing all of this, I felt like I was visiting a very old friend; a friend who gave me shelter, gave me an education and taught me how to be the person that I am today.

College was, as it is for many, a time of stress, uncertainty and exhilaration. I associated my school with a lot of negative feelings simply because I never felt like I belonged that well. Going back and knowing what I know now, I feel differently. I think that the biggest lesson that I learned from all of this is that situations are never as bad as what they seem. I learned that the things that I took for granted and often was waiting to run away from were actually things that I deeply appreciate now. I realized that life is not worth living if you can’t do something like this – if you can’t measure the steps that you’ve taken in the giant circle that we all will walk in life. When we come back to those places and we realize the good that we never saw before, it is because we didn’t have the capacity to appreciate it at other points in our life before. By recognizing this, we learn to be more cognizant of our lives as we are living them.

Growing up a Catholic, one hears many stories of God or the Virgin Mary popping up out of nowhere to bring important messages to others. Although I don’t practice the religion much anymore, there’s still a small part of me that wonders if something extraordinary like that could happen to me. Staring at the statue that night, I think that a part of me wanted it to happen. When you’re in your mid-twenties, you’ll take any shred of hope that you have that someone, somewhere, will lead you and your heart down the right direction. I think that I finally got that from the statue last night. It was told directly to my heart, not out loud, and unlike the reverberant booms of a graduation speech against auditorium walls, I discovered that the most potent messages are always silent in their clarity.

Single, Nursing Mother Searches for Companion

27 Jan

I made the ridiculous decision of having a New Year’s resolution for 2012. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love setting personal goals and working toward them.  Blame it on the Catholic guilt that has stayed with me long after my relationship with organized religion has or on the fact that I really, really hate not keeping promises to ANYONE including myself. Either way, I’m damn good at making and achieving my goals because I pretty much see it as a promise that I can’t back down on. Which is good, but bad…

With that being said, my 2012 New Year’s Resolution is to go on at least two dates a month. It doesn’t have to be the same person twice, it doesn’t even have to be anything meaningful, just getting myself out there and away from men that I have previously fallen for who either live a million miles away, are still living the lifestyle of a college student on their parents’ budgets or decide that they actually like men (he didn’t admit it, but I know it’s true).

I decided to two-time the system by signing up for not only OK Cupid, but also a three month subscription to Match.com. To quote Zombieland, it was time for me to nut up or shut up.

My daily routine during the work week has become the quintessential portrait of the single mother: I come home, I make dinner, I sit on my couch and I nurse my child cat while scouring the two websites for a shred of hope.

My kitten Charlie, who was abandoned by his mother, has apparently come to the conclusion that my shirt is his sustenance. I found out that this is called ‘dry nursing’ after Googling the exact search phrase ‘kitten sucking and licking shirt.’ If the CIA is tapping into my computer God only know what they think. So, I sift through the messages from bald, fat men old enough to be my father and instant messages that are peppered with so much poor grammar that I almost reach for a red Sharpie and start proofreading the screen in disgust all while partaking in my own wet t-shirt contest hosted by my kitten. It’s gotten to the point where I keep old shirts lying around that I change into once the dry nursing has subsided.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Trying to date men online that you really don’t know is kind of like dry nursing, though: you’re basically trying to find a shred of comfort and hope by sucking on the dry teat of date sites held together by shoddy algorithms. Most of the time, however, you find that you’ve done all that you’ve can and all you’re left with is an awkward, uncomfortable mess that is nothing like the natural thing. Either way, I suppose I still have some hope left…I just think that I have a lot of shirt changes to go through until I find something worth keeping.

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