“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. … For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “
– John 3:16
Ash Wednesday celebrates the beginning of the Lent season, the season in which Catholics use to as a spiritual clean-up for themselves where they give up vices and spend more time and money in charitable ways. Every year around this time in the Catholic calendar, I am catapulted into deep reflection. I try to get ashes every year and spend at least this day in church but somehow I always find myself incredibly uncomfortable in the surroundings that used to feel like home to me.
I was raised Roman Catholic. I made all of my sacraments with dutiful dedication and love, allowing my moral values to be defined in this faith. I was taught right from wrong with the Ten Commandments and still find the little voice in the back of my mind referencing the ancient scroll in our religious history. So, what do you do when the very foundation of everything you believe in doesn’t believe in you? The Catholic Church has publicly denounced the LGBTQ community saying that the way these people choose to lead their lives is sinful and against God and the idea of two people of the same-sex marrying each other will never happen. While I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who have never projected such hate in my or my relationship’s direction, it still doesn’t make the idea any less unsettling.
For the last decade, the spiritual struggle has been really real. Where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Does my moral values still stand in spite of who I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my time on earth with? I have a lot of painful questions left unanswered. I believe in the kingdom of heaven but the small fear that says I won’t make it is always hovering over my heart. It’s a tough subject for me to speak about but it’s one I struggle with, especially on days like Ash Wednesday. God gave up his only son to free us from sins yet here I am totally defying the rule book set forth. It’s a really huge eternal struggle and something I think I will continue to work through and endure especially with my wedding at the end of the year and ultimately having kids. Ideally, I would love to continue my sacraments into a blessed marriage and eventually pass along my faith to my children. However, with the current ideology it’s going to prove to be a difficult religious journey.
I want to continue to follow this faith blind, I want to continue to feel blessed by God in the ways I was taught he does this. But, I also want to find a comfortable and safe place in religion where my potential family and I can grow as a unit and individuals without scrutiny for the elements that make us a family. I know this isn’t truly mental health based but I also wanted to share my feelings on this topic in hopes that there are some other LGBTQ Catholics or anyone who feels ostracized from their religion that feels the same as I do. Identity is ever changing and sometimes pieces of the puzzle that make you can be really confusing and heartbreaking. Just know that no matter what, you’re not alone.
I almost missed this! Thank you to Dawn from Tales from the Motherland for the January 31st extension. The end of the year brought a ton of chaos for me. I was let go from my job of 4 years. It was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for fresh perspective but a curse for the financial worry that came with the loss. 4 years was gone in an instant, igniting every job related insecurity I’ve had bottled up. October to December brought two months of soul searching, bad temp jobs, and finally a new job to settle into. January has been the light at the end of the tunnel so I am happy to be able to share positivity with the blogosphere. Please visit Tales from the Motherland to have a look at Dawn’s entry in this beautiful movement and use the instructions in her entry to write your own. Without further ado, please enjoy my list.
- Family – they are the foundation for everything.
- My dog.
- A clean house. Marie Kondo isn’t lying, clutter makes you crazy but maybe you don’t have to thank your things.
- Clean water to drink, shower, and cook with.
- A warm bed filled with love and comfort.
- FaceTime/Snapchat/FB to keep in touch with my parents and family out of state.
- My fiancée.
- My education – for success and for expression.
- A job that appreciates and wants to invest in me.
- My cell phone.
- A good sale at Old Navy.
- Professional Wrestling.
- Nerd culture.
- Comic-Cons and soon to be Wrestle-Cons.
- Friends, both digital and lifelong.
- My imagination.
- My DVR.
- A steady TV program line up that I love.
- Time well spent in good company or alone.
- Public transportation.
- My anxiety – It’s a weird perspective but it’s brought a lot of positivity to light and forced me to highlight the /good/ in everything.
- Being able to legally marry the love of my life.
- Cheap rent.
- All the self-help outlets I found this year.
- Being able to explore downtown Manhattan.
- Video games with good stories.
- My Fitbit versa forcing me to walk more.
- Having my parents’ home in Pennsylvania to escape to.
- My growing knowledge of technology.
- Good people to learn from.
- A roof over my head to shield me from the elements and keep me out of danger.
- My childhood on 61st.
- Working in retail this year and remembering the perks of making friends.
- Freedom of speech and expression – it’s a gift, believe it or not.
- The ability to freely think and the encouragement to do so.
- The news.
- The DARE book.
- The places I’ve traveled to.
- The places I will travel to.
- Boston Gay Pride every year.
- A good relationship with my mother.
- Sweet and savory foods, can’t choose one.
- My struggles.
- Being able to make this within the deadline and join a very talented group of bloggers.
This is the first year I’ve made 50 within the 15 minute timer so I’m very proud of that. Shutting myself up and keeping it simple has always been a struggle but I’m glad I did!
My writing has been a never ending journey of stops and starts. Some months, I’m full of muse and ready to share my vision and myself with the world. Whereas other months, I am drowned in the voices of opinions, the crushing stress of navigating adult life, and general life happenings that make it feel impossible to carry out this passion I love on such a precise schedule. I have started over many times, so I am not going to sit and promise consistency any longer. However, I will promise quality over quantity in my posts and hope that my vision is put forth honestly and sincerely. Just like anything else in life, my writing is ever changing. Topics, style, and most of all purpose have evolved since 2014 when I embarked on this blogging journey.
Tales from the Anxiety Ridden began as a coping mechanism. My parents retiring and leaving New York City was a hard transition. I was scared, angry and confused about not seeing them daily and being on my own for the first time. I have always thrived on routine so being thrusted into this new world was hard. Change is hard for anybody but with somebody with anxiety like mine, it felt impossible. Anxiety has always been something I struggled with but this felt like a hurdle I couldn’t jump over. Writing has always been my easiest form of expression so I created this blog space in hopes that sharing my feelings with like minds and reading others struggles would help me feel not so alone.
Fast forward to 2019, I am a few months shy of my wedding, I was fired from a job that I hated but found a job I could really see myself in long term. Anxiety is bearable (thanks to a lot of soul searching and research) and I feel like a person who could manage day-to-day life. While I feel “healed”, I am not naïve to the fact that it could all change on the flip of a dime. However, I am going to spend every second given to me celebrating any small victories that come my way. The intention of this forum is no longer singular to the betterment of myself. For me, it is important to “pay-it-forward” in a society that can be so self-driven. I hope to share my story as it continues growing and thriving and be able to help others along the way.
I’m here starting over again, but I’m optimistic that setting a purpose and a goal will provide the quality of content I’ve always wanted to produce rather than the quantity of content that feels appropriate. Welcome to Tales from the Anxiety Ridden, almost 30 years of experience in navigating my own mind, swimming in my own gene pool of mental health short comings but I am more than that. This is my story and I cannot wait to hear yours.