After a Long Hiatus…

ImageWell, I haven’t blogged in a long time, I know.  Things have been pretty crazy, but I’m working them out, little by little.  I’m getting better, even though it’s difficult and I sometimes resist the changes.  The thing is, in November, on my senior retreat, I told my whole senior class about my eating disorder.  I’d never told anyone before, except the priest in the confessional, so I don’t entirely know what, if not Jesus, moved me to speak up about it.  So, yeah, my mom found out about my bulimia, which was scary and confusing, but somehow it ended up okay.  My school was understanding and helpful, and they were prepared to be flexible as I received treatment.  On November 20, I started the day program at the #1 eating disorder treatment center in the country.  Twelve hours a day, seven days a week (yes, that meant missing Mass and school).  No mirrors, monitored bathroom breaks, intensive therapy, a whole personal treatment team and a super-strict meal plan.  I spent five weeks there, and yes, it was crazy and stressful and emotionally draining, but I do think it helped.

I think my attitude really did change.  When I got there, I was so consumed with self-loath and guilt.  I couldn’t even think about getting better because I was so damn focused on how horrible a person I was.  If you’ve ever felt absolute despair, you must know what that’s like.  You can’t forgive yourself for your own mistakes, and you certainly can’t bring yourself to ask for God’s forgiveness because you’re soooooo caught up in your own feelings of unworthiness.  I just had this attitude of “I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness”—and it’s interesting because I now realize that I’m not sure whether my shame came from extreme humility or extreme pride that kept me from asking for God’s mercy.  Regardless, I’ve found it.  He came to me while I cried over myself and my own unworthiness.  I’m doing my best to remember that God really, truly does love us at our very best and very worst.  It’s so important that we allow ourselves to be forgiven, that we are open to God’s saving grace and mercy.  Right now, I’m focusing on Psalm 95:

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

No, I can’t think of any situation where this advice wouldn’t help.

– thelightiswhite ♥

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Burdens

hands of christDear Jesus,

I feel ambivalent about everything these days.  Just unsure of myself, I guess.  These last few weeks at Mass, I’ve just had this burden on my chest, this overwhelming feeling of unworthiness.  It physically hurts.  I don’t feel like I’m good enough for Your love, Jesus.  I feel like I’m just letting you down, like my sins are going to eat away at my faith little by little.  It’s terrifying, Lord.  I need Your love so much it hurts.

I don’t know what You have waiting for me.  I know I’m not supposed to worry about tomorrow, but it’s hard not to worry when everyone around me is moving in such a blur, getting ready for their futures, making plans, writing application essays, seemingly so ready for real life.  I don’t know whether I’m ready for what’s to come, Jesus, nor do I know what’s coming.  I hope I’m making the right choices, heading in the direction You’re pointing me.  Life’s overwhelming me right now, and I need to cling to You.

Lord, what am I supposed to do about the guy?  He’s sweet, he’s smart, he’s funny, he’s cute, he likes me.  I worry that I’m blinded by all the good and failing to see the bad.  Is he pulling me from my faith?  The conversations we’ve had, the photos I’ve sent (nothing risque, but not quite modest either).  He knows about my faith, he knows about my chastity.  He supports it.  He’s Jewish, but not too serious about his religion.  He’s older than me and he lives far away.  He always makes me smile, and I love our Skype calls and his bad puns and pet names.  I’m just so confused right now, and I don’t know what I’m doing.  I really like him, but I firmly believe that “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”  I don’t want to do that, Jesus.  I want to listen to Your voice in every area of my life.  I can’t give You my full heart while looking for Your loopholes.  That’s not who I am, and that’s not who You created me to be.

Jesus, You know that all this is just the beginning of my worries right now, just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m just begging for Your help at this point because I fear I’ve lost all direction.  Make me humble, Lord, but at the same time, help me to see the good and beautiful in me so I don’t have to rely on boys for validation of my own worth.  Please stay with me and help me to listen to Your voice among the crowd.  I trust You to lead me home.

Amen.

“That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

Bulimia

Well, I’m not in any kind of glamorous place right now. I’m sitting on the cold floor tiles in my mom’s bathroom, neck bent over the toilet. I’m not proud of what I do, really, I’m not. I just don’t know how to stop. In the last year and a half, I’ve lost about 25 pounds, and everyone’s constantly telling me, “You look great!” “You’ve gotten so slim.” “You have an excellent figure.”
Recently, I’ve felt prettier and better about myself than I’ve ever felt in my life. Some guys from my middle school have messaged me, told me I’m gorgeous. These are guys who would have never given me the time of day back when I was awkward with braces and glasses and chubby cheeks. It’s flattering, of course.
But then, there are moments like this, when I’m slumped over the toilet, teary-eyed and forcing myself to throw up everything I’ve eaten. In moments like this, I don’t feel so pretty. I feel repulsive and ashamed and sinful and alone.

I need you, Jesus.  So much.  You love me, I know, and You hate to see me doing this to myself.  Lord, please help me to get better.

A Confession Testimony

I look at my Tumblr, and it’s sad to think how seldom I use it to share my faith.  I have 275 followers, so I certainly would have an audience, but I guess the truth is that I’m afraid that if I “Catholicize” my blog too much, I’ll lose followers.  That’s something I need to work on.

Anyway, I have found a few posts that I feel are worth sharing here.  This first one is about confession, one I wrote last year.  I used to seriously struggle with chastity, but I’ve never, ever told anyone about that, except for the priest and one friend who, at the time, was recovering from the same thing.  I guess it’s really hard for Catholic girls in particular to talk about those problems.  There’s this idea that only guys look at porn, that only guys have lustful thoughts, that only guys masturbate.  It’s not true.

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school after three years at a public middle school.  I had worn a purity ring since 7th grade, and I was proud of it.  In public school, people asked me about the little silver ring I always wore, engraved with “True love waits” and two tiny hearts.  I told them it meant that I was saving sex for marriage.  That’s what I thought it meant.  That was the extent of my knowledge of chastity, and at the time, simply saving sex for marriage seemed like a huge thing to me.  I didn’t care about modesty in dress, speech or behavior.  Freshman year was a huge change for me and my perception of what it means to be pure.

Anyway, that’s like the prologue to my freshman year conversion of heart, but I can talk about that another time.  This is the blog post I wanted to share:

So, I haven’t said anything about it, but I’d been carrying around this giant burden for a while now.  I hadn’t gone to Confession in months because I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to make a complete confession, and I decided that it was better to hold off on confession altogether rather than go and not say everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve witnessed firsthand the miracles, the graces, the joy that comes with Reconciliation.  Just after my 15th birthday, I made the hardest confession of my life, something that had been eating at me constantly for months.  I was really struggling, and I felt I couldn’t tell anyone about it.  I tried to reason with myself that the sin wasn’t that bad, that God would forgive me even if I didn’t try to do better, but I knew I was wrong.  I think that’s the hardest thing ever, accepting that you’re wrong, that Jesus is right, that no matter how you try to justify what you’re doing, you just can’t.  The choice is really, really hard: a) keep fighting an internal battle you’ll never win, or b) put down your damn pride, your need for self-gratification, and ask God for help.

That’s where Reconciliation comes in.  For months, I put it off, I pulled a St. Augustine: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”  Eventually, though, I just had to do it.  I went to Reconciliation, I was shaking and sweating, I confessed to God, through the priest, what I’d done, and I really, really begged Him for help.  I needed help.  I didn’t know what to do, how to stop, I was terrified of falling back into it.  That’s just it, though.  The difficulty, the total humility that comes with making a real, soul-emptying confession.  It’s powerful.  I went home that day, and I think I just cried.  For just over two years now, I’ve been entirely free of the burden I was carrying.  God’s helped to fight the temptations I thought would never end, and I feel free.

You guys, I ramble like crazy, but please, please, please, please understand the importance of Reconciliation.  If you’re struggling with your prayer life, with temptation, internal war, if you feel completely lost and don’t know what to do, go to Confession.

God bless! ❤

Katy

Religious Flame Wars for Christ?

Image

Gahhhhhhhhhhhh.

How on earth can I keep myself from getting angry and spiteful and fired up when I come across blogs like this?  It’s really, really difficult.  Like, really.  I think Catholic hate from other self-professed Christians upsets me even more than hardcore atheists attacking religion as a whole.  I just can’t help but feel like, just maybe, running a “Christian” hate blog about Catholicism and Islam isn’t all that Christlike.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t think Jesus cries tears of joy in heaven every time one of His disciples verbally attacks another.  I just can’t really see that happening.  I mean, I know that we Catholics have done our share of casting stones, but even the one true Church—especially the one true Church—has to realize that we are first and foremost the hands and feet of Christ.  People who don’t know Christ can only come to know Him through His Body on earth.

Getting into a religious flame war with the Christian Spook guy might feel satisfying, but in the end, it’s not about what I want.  This is not about me.  This is about the God I serve.  If I’m truly His hands and feet, I have to swallow my pride, the part of me that wants to lash out.  I have to act like Christ, not like Katy.  That’s what I’m trying to do these days.

Cardboard Testimonies

We do this at my parish’s Confirmation retreat, and it’s one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever known. I did it last year as a peer, and it was so overwhelmingly beautiful.

The front of my piece of cardboard said:

“I hated myself. Felt worthless and didn’t want to live.”

When I flipped it over, it read:

“He told me I was worth dying for.”

Vanity

I think I’m onto something.  You know that feeling you get when something you’ve heard countless times finally clicks?  That might be what this is.  Dear Jesus, please let it be that.  The realization is something so simple, something I’ve had to teach myself time and again because I always seem to forget: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME.

I registered on WordPress about an hour ago believing that God was telling me to do it.  I had to pick a username, something that’s just second-nature to me.  I have accounts registered on more sites than I can count, and there are about three possible usernames I might choose.  They all have my name, like “katybliss”, “KaleidoKaty”, etc..  Well, maybe it was just the desire for anonymity (I don’t think that’s the case), but today I felt compelled to pick something less about me and more about Jesus, about my faith.  I decided on “thelightiswhite” (see last post).  I’m really glad.  Also, I have to choose a Gravatar, or whatever you call it.  I could just use the pretty selfie I use on every site, but no, I think that when the Gravatar picker thing actually works for me, I’m going to follow suit and choose a photo of my dear patron saint, Maria Goretti.  Or something like that.  

Yeah, these are little things, just a username and a profile photo, but for me, that’s a big deal.  What I’m thinking about right now, as I type these words, is how much stock I put into myself, how damn much I care what everyone else thinks about me.  That’s the problem with my Facebook, my Tumblr, my Wanelo.  My online profiles are “Katy domain,” places where it’s all about me, what I think, what I like.  I do my best to reblog Catholic stuff when I can, but it’s always outweighed by the bobdylanopinionsclotheshumorartmovieshorrorpsychologymusicfandom content blob that seems to take up most of my self-identity, online and in real life.  Oh, and when I do post stuff about prayer, chastity, saints, Catholicism and the like, it’s more to remind my online audience, “See, guys, I’m a Catholic.”  It’s pride more than anything.

I’m really insecure and overwhelmed, you guys.  I’m dealing with severe anxiety disorder, the recent death of my grandma, the aftermath of my parents’ divorce and the huge strain it’s had on my relationship with both parents, this incredible burden of guilt and inadequacy…and most recently, a secret eating disorder.  I’m not listing these issues to gain sympathy.  I’m listing them because I’ve been neglecting them for so long, and it’s occurring to me just now that instead of going to Jesus for help, I’ve shoved them inward and masked them with narcissism.

Lord, I’m done with being two different people.  I’m done with pushing aside my problems and silencing them with self-destruction.  I’m ready to instead lay them at Your feet.  I know that You told me to create this blog for a reason.  When I feel tempted to make myself throw up, when I want to hurt myself, please, Jesus, give me the strength to post it here instead, to pray about it and trust that You, my Savior, will carry me in my weakness.  Amen.

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us

Agnes in Agony

Today is the saint’s day of one of my dearest saints, St. Maria Goretti, who along with St. Agnes, I invoke every day. She is a modern virgin martyr, a patron of chastity, teenage girls, and crime victims, and a witness and model of purity and forgiveness.

Maria was eleven years old, a poor Italian farm girl, when in 1902 Alessandro Serenelli, a nineteen-year-old farm hand and neighbor, tried to rape her. Alessandro had approached Maria a number of times before seeking sexual favors, but she had always refused; he had tried to rape her at least once before. This time when she refused him, he became enraged. She fought him, imploring him not to do what he wanted to do, a mortal sin, insisting she would rather die than submit. In the end, Alessandro stabbed her eleven times.

Before she died some twenty hours later, Maria forgave her…

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