Being Wanted

The one argument coming from the pro-abortion crowd that repels me deeply is the one that says human life is valuable based on whether it’s wanted or not. When you grow up as the awkward, bullied reject, you understand deeply how much your presence is unwanted by the people around you. You can’t help but to exist, and on some level, you might believe that God wants you or you wouldn’t be here. But there is the sense that, given an amoral and lawless society, you would be deemed expendable and taken out.

I’ve heard it numerous times from the mouths of pro-abortion activists; when asked what the difference is between a human baby and a fetus that can be flushed or ripped violently from the womb, the answer is when the mother wants it, it’s a baby who needs protection. Otherwise, it’s a clump of cells with no personhood rights. These are virtually direct quotes from any number of abortion supporters.

I’ve discussed before that we humans are not logical creatures. This is, to be honest, the way God created us. He created us to be primarily emotional and instinctive; that is our first response to any given situation. Our instincts are intriguing, as they can be very basic, as in, I’m starving; I must have instant sugar, and they can conversely be very complex, instant decisions made based off years of inputs that work together in the background to aid us in this process. Logic is a secondary, learned skill, but it is solipsistic, processed through our filters. The conclusions are only as good as the premises, as well, so it’s possible to have flawless logic and still be completely wrong.

Most people have not learned logic and don’t understand cause and effect very deeply, especially when they want or don’t want something very badly. I don’t think I need to explain why the concept of only wanted people should be allowed personhood status will have a very bad logical outcome. But it’s going to be difficult to get around the initial instinct and emotional drive of a human that simply wants to escape consequences. They won’t understand the logic. They will turn it into a moralistic argument about the bad ethics of forcing a woman to go through an unwanted pregnancy. This is, of course, a false input, but most won’t perceive why. Even professors, who are supposed to be above-average, will refuse to accept that their conclusions are wrong.

You might recognize that I have an emotional response to the argument that only wanted people have value. Yes, it does make me emotional. Very emotional. My life experiences have taught me on an emotional level to be sensitive to the maltreatment of underdogs whom nobody likes. We know what happens when we devalue certain people; history has left humanity with those emotional wounds. And if you consider that a pre born child isn’t unwanted for any particular reason, it’s even more emotionally devastating. I was and am a scrawny, awkward person. It’s easy to dislike me. I’m obnoxious. But a mother who doesn’t have any personal grudges against a tiny being who has done nothing offensive because they haven’t had the chance to yet…just tears me up inside. It’s so cold. It’s so wrong, like the neighborhood boy who unaccountably pulls the wings off insects. He can; that’s the only reason. Well, she can, too, except those aren’t wings she’s ripping off a fly. They are the arms and legs of her own child.

This battle will never be won by pitting logic against emotions, anyway. What it really comes down is spiritual oppression. That is why you often find pro-abort protestors screaming obscenities and hail Satan. They do this ostensibly to rattle Christians, but it rather becomes an outpouring of their souls. These people are not emotional wrecks; they are spiritual wrecks.

Therefore, praying and preaching the gospel are the only answers. Too simple? I don’t care. My state’s a mess, with some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. It is overwhelming to live here sometimes. What can I do? Sign a few petitions? Carry banners? Jesus is better. He is always the answer.

Being Punk Rock

I find the music almost intolerable, but I have to admit that my anti-authoritarian nature closely resembles those now old youths from the late seventies and early eighties. I never could manage to force my hair to stand on end. In high school, I asked a punk rock friend how I could shape my hair into a mohawk like he had. He looked distinctly uncomfortable and told me it would wreck my beautiful hair but gave me a recipe nonetheless.

My hatred for authority figures is not as shallow as spiky hair. It comes from a lifetime of observation, watching what petty tyrants are capable of because most people make no hue and cry over their overreaches. Being institutionalized from kindergarten up allows most to be right in line with injustice and overreach; it’s simply what they’re used to. A handful of us freaks never adapt, however. We might have very low or very high IQs–we might not fit in for whatever reason–but we never can fall into line. We are belligerent with every unconstitutional traffic stop, we don’t wear our masks, we just don’t. One year, I refused to acknowledge DST, completely confusing everyone who has been deluded by the government into thinking the sun is directly overhead at 11 AM. Guess what? It is not.

I am more punk rock than I wish to be at this time of year. What gets to me about DST is that it’s completely arbitrary. There’s no reason to do it. It never did save energy, and the evidence is conclusive that it’s bad for the health. It makes me excessively angry, only I never know who to take out my aggressions on. This week is, therefore, like every time change before it: running off no sleep and desperately wanting to hurt someone in the government, anyone will do. Use torture until the forces relent and go back to standard time. God’s time–when noon means the sun is directly overhead, and we are allowed the healthy properties of early morning sunlight.

Today my mentality is better. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still punk rock about the issue. But I rose this morning and plodded through my exercise as exhausted as the other days, and felt less angry. The problem is it’s just as life-sucking to be constantly angry as it is to be forced into enacting ridiculous nonsense. The government and its nanny state doesn’t care two wits about me or you, and neither do I care for them. They can strip us naked, search our luggage and homes and cars, interrogate us for no reason, shut our churches down and force us to pay over twenty percent of our income to them in taxes so that they can continue being tyrants, but what they can’t do is steal my soul or my joy.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I will wear my green (green stands for being Catholic, btw, but my ethnicity is also Irish). In fact, I purchased a green shirt with a norteño style accordion on it, and I will wear it to work tomorrow. It says “Air Accordion” at the top, which is a bit ridiculous, as I would be playing my own ribcage. Just the thought of being that ridiculous brings me further joy. I think I might die laughing while I pretend to play the accordion at work.

I happen to work in an office that sits under the Vatican flag, and it makes me consider how young this nation is; it’s tyranny is childlike compared to older authority systems. And despite the mixed history Rome has as an authority figure, to me it’s quite a bit more valid than the US government. It has reformed itself throughout many centuries. I don’t see the US government reforming itself. I could be wrong, though. I’ve been known to be on at least three occasions.

I hope you enjoy your corned beef, if you do that on St. Patty’s Day. As for me, I will eat my American-Irish cuisine and pretend I’m a San Patricio, playing my Mexican songs on the accordion. My excuse is never learning Irish songs…because, why would I when I can learn perfectly good polkas and cumbias to sing along with? I’m a woman obsessed, a woman on a mission. Please do not get in my way, unless you are playing punk rock Irish rebel songs. Those are almost tolerable.

Lent Update

I gave up drinking alcohol two weeks ago. I often want to give up alcohol for Lent, but until this year, it hasn’t happened. It doesn’t help that people like me better when I drink because it helps me relax and get a few hours of sleep per night. I didn’t start immediately; it took me until the 26th to decide I no longer wanted to rely on an addictive substance to relax my central nervous system and block the negative thoughts that inevitably emerge when I lie awake most of each night. I’ve had chronic insomnia since childhood. I don’t know what causes it, but it isn’t simple. It doesn’t stem from anxiety or the spiral of negative thoughts themselves. I rarely feel the former, and the latter is a result of being awake for hours and not the cause of it.

The cause is probably related to an overstimulated nervous system, which is why ordinary fixes for insomnia don’t help, e.g., spending time in nature, exercising intensely, etc. Both are far too stimulating–although, the last time I spent several hours in Carlsbad Caverns, I slept an unprecedented nine hours straight. Walking slowly through a dark cave might actually be the nature and exercise level I need! That not being a regular option, however, means that alcohol is the most useful medicine I have at my disposal. But I’d still rather not be addicted to it.

There is a purpose to giving up our worldly addictions during Lent; for a start, we simply have too much of everything in our modern day. Suffering can bring us closer to God. That is the goal, anyway. We are preparing our hearts for Jesus and the suffering he endured for our sake. It’s supposed to bring about the renewal of our hearts as is promised in the Advent season, which starts off the church calendar. Did you know that the church calendar ends in November instead of December, as the solar calendar does? Advent brings joy because it’s a reminder that God sent his son to be savior of the world. But Lent brings sorrow because Jesus and his act on the cross remind us that we are desperate sinners in need of a savior. Lent is a time to prepare our hearts for Him.

Has depriving myself of alcohol helped to prepare my heart? In the ironic sense that I’ve suffered from depression and excruciatingly negative thoughts, sure. I know that underneath the veil of alcohol and my endless pursuits lies hopelessness. I can’t see my way out of that hopelessness, not on my own. I can only cover it up. Maybe I should have given up writing and music in this season, too. I gave up writing once–it was the longest Lent season I ever experienced. I prayed that God would show me whether I should continue pursuing that dream. I have a difficult time discerning God’s voice. I heard no clear answer, and so eventually carried on with it, albeit, certainly not as a priority, which explains why I have published only four books since 2013. Again, this Lent I’m asking God for answers. But I already know that unless he speaks in a loud voice, I won’t hear it. Meanwhile, I know what sin is. God makes that clear enough. And so I have a clear path forward regardless. We all do; we know what sin is. None of us has an excuse.

How to Evangelize to Catholics

Don’t. That’s the simplest possible answer. This subject came up the other night at the adult education class held in the library of my parish. We were discussing the story of Clovis, a Frankish king, who famously promised God that he would convert to his wife’s Catholic faith if he was victorious in battle against the Alemanni army. God granted him this petition, and Clovis followed through by being baptized. In response, several thousand of his troops followed him in baptism.

One of the class’s skeptics asked how real the conversions were for these several thousand men. Did they understand Christianity? Were they given any kind of catechesis? These are worthy questions, as even Billy Graham stated that only a certain percentage of people who went to the “altar” to be saved at his revivals retained the faith they’d experienced that day. There is a shared social contagion at such events, and if you add in the loyal nature of military men to their leaders, the social contagion might very well be even stronger than the average group emotional response.

The day before, I had watched (through a YouTube prompt) a Ray Comfort video, in which he preaches the gospel to Catholics and, in fact, I believe the video is called How to Evangelize to Catholics. I brought this up and got a few snorts of derision from the room full of cradle Catholics. But I gave them the sad truth: the Catholics whom Ray Comfort had evangelized seemed to know nothing of their faith. They couldn’t even tell him the meaning of the word Gospel. To this ignorant Catholic couple, the Gospel was something read at Mass. While this is true–the reading of one of the four testaments to the gospel happens at every Mass–the word means “good news.” This good news, obviously, refers to Christ coming to the world and laying down his life for mankind, and subsequently defeating death by rising again.

“Many Catholics are ignorant of their faith, even with ‘good catechesis’,” I said, as that was my only point in bringing up the video.

Several hands shot up around the room. At least three of these cradle Catholics had experienced the same kind of ignorance before they’d made the effort to defeat it through education they’d chosen to pursue of their own free will. While I’ve long honored the notion of catechism, as its aim is to ensure that young people (or old people) understand what it is they are saying “yes” to at their confirmation, too often it is done simply because parents or grandparents are putting the pressure on. I would guess that the vast majority of Catholic young people don’t attend religious education classes because they want to; they are going because their families expect them to. This leads to a situation where whatever education gained is lost through disinterest and no further seeking out of knowledge…until faced with a charismatic Protestant force like Ray Comfort.

On the other hand, it must be remembered that Protestants and Catholics speak a different language, and I don’t mean Latin vs English. I mean that they understand the gospel in a different way. You don’t have to understand that the word “gospel” is the good news of Christ coming to earth to save mankind; you simply have to understand that Christ did this. And I’m still willing to bet that most Catholics do indeed understand this. It’s hard to tell what Catholics do or don’t understand due to the fact that the Catholic spirit is so very different from the Protestant spirit. Protestants will wrangle over doctrine and argue every last syllable in their Bibles; most Catholics won’t do this. They are taught to respect their church authorities, and even if they do at some point decide to engage in their own studies of the Bible, learning about the apologists, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic (e.g., the students in this adult education class), they will most likely still not argue with you. Therefore, when faced with a man such as Ray Comfort who has his own script down to a T, Catholics might appear ignorant and in need of true salvation. The way he talks to people reminds me of a lawyer in court who wants specific answers so that he can then continue with his script. In a courtroom, this is to subvert actual truth from emerging because it might interfere with the goal (conviction or acquittal). That might not be Mr. Comfort’s goal, but it is the inevitable result. Nobody watching the video will ever know what those Catholics actually know because they aren’t allowed to speak using their own language and understanding of Christianity. They are only allowed to answer Ray’s pointed questions.

The responses in the comments section revealed what Protestants believe about Catholics. I do shared ministry with Catholics, and it’s as if they don’t even open their Bibles… The comments like this are rife under Comfort’s videos when they are of his evangelizing Catholics. Of course, it might never occur to these people that Catholics are involved in ministries because they actually take their faith very seriously, but it’s a faith invested in ministry instead of arguments. And they might very well be trying to keep the peace with the Protestants they work alongside. They also might very well might be telling you in a nonconfrontational way to leave them alone. Truth be told, it’s actually galling to be literally living out your Christianity in the world and then to have other Christians try to evangelize you as if you weren’t.

That’s a real gripe, though, isn’t it–that Protestants believe they own the term “Christian”? It’s gotten to the point where Catholics won’t use the term at all, as they might come across as being Protestant instead of Catholic. The other week, we had a confirmation retreat in our parish hall. One of our volunteers, who has a learning disability but is always curious and earnest, reported to me that one of the young teenage students at the confirmation retreat had written on the question board: “What is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?”

This volunteer asked me, “So what is the difference, she who knows everything?” (Yes, he does call me that. I’m good at fooling people.)

However, I did have an answer for him: “None. There is no difference. Catholics are the original Christians.” You might argue with that, and I encourage you to go right ahead. At the very least, I hope you’ll admit that Catholics called themselves Christians long, long before the Protestant Reformation came around.

I stick to my original answer above. It’s arrogance to believe that Catholics aren’t Christians and need to be evangelized. So, if you were looking for the simple answer to that question, you’ve come to the wrong place. As with any group of people who grow up in a traditional faith, there will be those who will reject their faith when they are at an age of accountability. It’s the reality of the seeds of the gospel scattered on different soils and landing places. Some fall on rocky ground. Some, surprisingly, lay fallow for years before the soil is ready for a little bud to emerge from the dirt. For the soil that is simply lying fallow, God will provide the means for its new growth. You might very well be the means for another person, whether they grew up Lutheran, Catholic, Quaker, or Southern Baptist, or even outside the church entirely. But I would encourage you not to assume without any knowledge that Catholics aren’t Christians and need you to bring them the Gospel. After all, they do indeed hear it weekly at Mass, and I don’t just mean the reading from one of the four testaments about Jesus. I mean they hear the entire gospel message spoken through the liturgy at every Mass.

I Want to Be Human

Being Spock is overrated. Spock is an alien; he isn’t human. Captain Piccard is human, with all his impetuousness and emotions. The loveable robots who are always trying to be human are attractive for a reason, and it isn’t because they’re being cold and logical. It’s because they try out emotions and human intangibles like love and bravery, even when it doesn’t make sense. Their logic must update to a new kind of sense that uses counterintuitive truth. Aliens can’t do that so much, though.

Our society really lost something when we chose to walk the path of the Enlightenment toward reason as an end to itself. I’d much rather hear “Come, let us laugh together” than “Come let us reason together” any day. In fact, I could fill in “dance” or “sing” in that spot, too. Reasoning together is a dull way to live, and that is in addition to the fact that most people aren’t as smart as they think they are, which makes their reason even more yawn-inducing than it might be if they actually said something that made others think about the world differently. I’ve run across thinkers like that, highly intelligent people who give the contrary answer because they are smart enough to do so — G.K. Chesterton is a prime example. But that’s not altogether reasonable, is it, to always be contrary for the sake of contrariness? Most people don’t have Chesterton’s IQ and can’t pull it off, anyway.

Reasoning with most people is a mind-numbing experience. You know what isn’t? Laughing. Dancing. Singing. Obviously, I would never throw reason entirely out the window. I wish that it were used more by politicians and scientists. True reason. Honest reason. Reasoning that goes beyond the easy answer. I simply don’t want to live with it as a high ideal in my daily life. When it’s idealized, we end up with psychotherapists jabbing icepicks into women’s eyeballs and jiggling around until they’ve cut something in the brain that will make the women stop expressing pesky human emotions that husbands don’t like. I mean, come on, every husband knows that expressing any emotion but sweetness to him when he gets home from work is a definable mental illness. Even if icepicks aren’t the popular cure-all they used to be, drugs that largely don’t work when put to scientific, uh, reason, are the new reasonable approach to address the expression of negative emotions. Such an enlightened way to view the world! Let’s reason together, bro! Okay bro (fist bump), but first I need to cut my wife’s brain or have her swallow a handful of mind-altering pills. She’s upset that the baby’s been up all night and the toddler’s been throwing up and she can’t seem to get the dishes done! How unreasonable! Be with you in a jiff!

It’s funny because pre Aristotle, it was normal for men and women alike to be overcome with emotion, tearing clothes, beating chests, weeping. At least people are described that way in the Bible — David, especially, and it isn’t lost on me that he’s called a man after God’s own heart. He could be quite impetuous, more like Captain Piccard than Spock. Would that I had never been trained to be like Spock. I hate that. I hate the dullness of myself with that mindset. Thankfully, I have enough contrariness that it never went too far.

I suppose this yearning to be fully human is also why I play the accordion. Mexican music has a lot of drama in it. I love that drama to the core of my being. I would exist inside the music, if it were possible. In the early days, I described the sound of many norteño and banda songs as being happy-sad. The accordion sounded happy, but the singing sounded sad — or the reverse. But there is a full spectrum of emotion and sound in the genre; it’s very complex. The focus on accordion and brass support the complexity.

And there it is, I’ve brought it all back to my favorite music. I’m very emotional about the music, you see. Little robots can learn to be human, after all! Thank goodness my little robotic core resisted the alien Spock training. Spock should be deported back to his planet by a bunch of emotional yahoos I like to call humans. The song I’m going to post below is one of my favorites to sing at full volume, really emotional-like. There’s no accordion, but there’s plenty of brass, and it can be played on the accordion. Obviously! ¡Vivan ya!

Sueño en español

(English translation below, as much for the English speakers as the Spanish speakers who can’t understand my bad Spanish.)

Voy a escribir una canción — tal vez más de una! — en español para cantar mientras toco mi acordeón. Será como la de Los Alacranes, el grupo de Alemania (no el grupo mexicano, Alacranes Musical), quien cantaban sus canciones en inglés. Sus letras eran un poco extrañas; que es decir, eran obvias de una manera un hablante nativo no las habría escrito. Creo que podré traer una perspectiva diferente, como “The Scorpions”, aunque no escribiré de perras que tienen hambre de pecados en la turbulencia de un huracán.

Mis canciones serán de pajarillos y amor porque estos son los temas que yo prefiero. Tal vez, escribiré una canción de mariposas, tambien. Las mariposas, los pajarillos, y el amor. Tengo romance en el alma, incluso cuando no existe en la vida actual…y casi nunca existe (ser honesta). Es como una fantasma que se siente pero pocas veces se ve. Y ahora, estoy triste y llena de melancolía por tantos pensamientos.

Hace muchos años yo escribí muchos poemas en español. En esos días, estudiaba la literatura tradicional española, y estaba aprendiendo a reconocer las formas de la poesía tradicional. Por eso, escribí unos romances y sonetos y unas decimas, letrillas, etcetera. Estas formas no se pierden en la niebla de la vida diaria, claramente no. ¡Mentirosa! Por el contrario, se pierden, pero puedo encontrarlas de nuevo. ¡Ahora, es el año del acordeón y de encontrar la poesía y de escribir español muy malo!

I’m going to write a song — perhaps more than one! — in Spanish to sing while I play my accordion. It will be like that of The Scorpions, the group from Germany (not the Mexican group, Alacranes Musical), who sang their songs in English. Their lyrics were a little strange; that is to say, they were obvious in way a native speaker wouldn’t have written them. I believe that I’ll be able to bring a different perspective, like The Scorpions, even though I won’t write about bitches that are hungry for sin in the turbulence of a hurricane.

My songs will be about little birds and love because these are the subjects I prefer. Perhaps, I will write about butterflies, too. Butterflies, little birds, and love. I have romance in my soul, even when it doesn’t exist in real life…and it almost never exists (to be honest). It is like a ghost that is felt but rarely seen. And now, I’m sad and full of melancholy because of such thoughts.

Years ago, I wrote numerous Spanish poems. In those days, I was studying traditional Spanish literature, and I was learning to recognize the traditional Spanish forms of poetry. Because of that, I wrote some decimas, sonetos, letrillas, etcetera. These forms aren’t lost in the fog of daily life, clearly not. Liar! On the contrary, they are lost, but I can find them again. Now, it’s the year of the accordion and of finding poetry and writing really awful Spanish!


If it seems that I’m trying to write more on my blog, yes, I have been. I get overwhelmingly busy, and this is the first to go. I no longer wish that to be the case. As today is a day off, and I’m being lazy more than I am productive, I thought I would write a simple note here on productivity. It happens through A. hard work and B. organization.

I’ve long been organized with my exercise routine. I walk for 30 minutes every evening, and do a focused exercise for 30 minutes in the morning. I follow a routine: cardio, strength, stability, repeat. That makes 6 workouts a week, with Sunday reserved for one long, relaxing walk only. This combination, which has some overlap — e.g., some stability workouts are combinations of cardio plus balance and standing abs — works. I’m only exercising an hour a day, but my organization keeps me fit.

As I’m staring at my laptop from the office shed I rarely have time to use, I’m wondering why I can’t apply this kind of organization to finishing my current novel or playing the accordion. To be fair, I subscribed to the Acordeonisticos website to try to create a more focused approach than playing an hour a day of whatever I feel like playing. But I’m still prone to playing whatever I feel like playing, even after subscribing. I need a focused plan! An example might be: music theory, practice old songs, learn a new song, repeat, with Sunday my anything-goes day.

Re writing, my organization amounts to writing 1000 words a day. This is an extremely disorganized plan. I need those 1000 words to be focused. I need to do more mapping and editing. My mapping exists, but it is very slapdash. I will provide a pic, so you can see how slapdash it is. I will also provide a pic of my beloved office that awaits me, a dusty place shut up most days because I have an office at the parish I use 45 hours a week. But I can’t use that office to write; my only shot at that is to sit in the office kitchen on my lunch hour and slam out a few words.

I’m not one for outlining. It gives me the horrors and bad memories from failing at English class in my childhood. I probably should have paid more attention to it. I need to start outlining. Following an outline is the only way to write a book, unlike the pattern of threes that could work for music, as it does for exercise.

My book mapping.
My shed, with Jesus as the Good Shepherd and a poster from one of my favorite films.