Monday, March 21, 2011

"Welcome to Miami; Bienvenido a Miami."-Will Smith

One of my favorite songs ever is "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift. There is so much about that song that I appreciate. It's upbeat and fun to sing at the top of your lungs when you're driving with the windows down. Also, the lyrics tell a beautiful story.

"You can't always live in the past. Do not trust everyone you meet. Your family will always be there for you." If I could go back to when I was fifteen, there are so many things I would tell the younger version of me. "Cuz when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them." (Taylor Swift, "Fifteen")

"In your life, you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team; I didn't know it at fifteen. When all you wanted is to be wanted...wish you could go back, and tell yourself what you know now."

When I was fifteen, I thought my life was a mess. I didn't take any QuinceaƱera pictures because I thought I wasn't pretty enough. I didn't join the volleyball team because I thought I wasn't good enough. I didn't even bother trying out for the dance team because everyone always told me I wasn't perfect.  I felt like I didn't deserve anything good in life, and I was only fifteen. If I could go back now, I would tell my younger self how beautiful I was, how I was not only good, but GREAT at volleyball, and that my dancing was perfect because I danced with passion.

I never really dated anyone until my senior year of high school, but Lord knows how many crushes I had. I was watching the last "Glee" episode, "Original Song," and I was laughing, aww-ing, and wanting to cry throughout the whole show. I felt a lot like Rachel Berry when I was a freshmen and sophomore in high school. I felt rejected, as if life could just not be any more unfair to me. I think the age of fifteen is an important year for every human being. Heck, hormones are running through your veins like little chickens with their heads cut off. One minute you're jumping off the ceilings, dancing around your room, and the next thing you know, you're sad, and you have no idea why.

For all you parents out there, you either 1) lived through your child(ren)'s rebellious fifteen-year-old phase, 2) are going to be faced with this troublesome phase in a few years, or 3) are going through hell right now, wondering what you're doing wrong or what you're doing right. If I recall correctly, I didn't have any parental figures to help me through my fifteenth year of life. Actually, most young adults feel the same way. We go through this promising age with confusion, hurt, and not really knowing what to do. Dear parents, if I may suggest one thing: COMMUNICATION!!!! Talk to your children. They are just as lost as you are, and they need your support. When you're fifteen, you're still a child at heart, but you're rapidly being introduced to the grown-up world. It's so easy to get lost and to jump off the track. If you know a child who doesn't have any parents, talk to them, too. Lord knows they need all the role models they can get. Communication is the key to any successful relationship...any!

I'm in Miami now, and for the first time in nearly four years, I actually have no desire to return to Tallahassee. I wish I could be here, at my in-laws house, for a little while longer, but I trust the Lord has a bigger plan for me. Also, it's nearing one in the morning, so I'm off to sleep. I bid you all a good night, and farewell!

In His Love,
Esther <3

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Happy Lent, everyone! I am sure you all have little black crosses on your foreheads, and you have all completely forgotten about it. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend Ash Wednesday Mass this year due to work, but I did manage to get the little ashy cross onto my head.

It amazes me to hear the words, "For you are dust, and to dust you will return." I don't know about you, but I get a good laugh out of every Ash Wednesday blessing I receive. Why? Well, to put it simply, I'm being called a piece of dirt...literally. I mean, it shakes me up to know that man was made from the earth, and that when we die, we all return to where we came from (the earth). Also, the thought of vanishing into a pile of dust has a pretty cool effect on me.

In the past Lenten seasons, I've given up many different things. For instance, when I was twelve years old, I gave up sodas and juice. All I drank was hot tea, water, and milk. It was quite the challenge because I've always had such a sweet tooth. Later on, when I was fourteen or fifteen, I gave up chocolate. Man, that was hard! Can you imagine a sweet tooth, chocoholic going FORTY DAYS WITHOUT CHOCOLATE?!?! Especially at the hormone-raging age of fifteen! It was bad...really bad. Needless to say, Sundays were my "cheat days" before I even knew they didn't really count as Lent's "40 days." Anywho, two years ago, I gave up the bad habit of nail-biting, and I did the same last year (What can I say? Bad habits die hard.). Last year was the first time I ever took something on instead of only giving something up. I decided that on top of ending the nail-biting habit, I would also pray at least for one hour each day. It was tough, and on most days, it was difficult to sit out an entire hour in prayer. However, I made the choice that as long as I meditated on my daily Mass readings, prayed for at least ten minutes, and sang praise and worship music whenever I could, it would all be okay.

This year is a little bit different from the past. I've given up Facebook, Bubble Birds, and I'm forcing myself to take care of my health. Also, I've promised myself to be more open with my family and get to know my friends a little bit better. Facebook and Bubble Birds might be a little challenging, but I know I will succeed. But...being open and vulnerable with my family and friends...that will be the most difficult thing ever for me. See, I'm pretty shy. It's easy for me to introduce myself to others and be outgoing in that sense, but when it comes to actually getting to know someone (even my own family), I get into a shock. I freeze up, and I think of all these things to talk about, but when I open my mouth, it's like my voice has disappeared. This is my challenge for this Lenten season: I want to be more Christ-like in getting to know others, truly getting to know them.

I hope that you all enjoy Lent this year and enjoy getting to know the Lord a lot better through his suffering, his teachings, his mercy, his love, but most of all, through his resurrection. God bless you all. Happy Lent!

In His love,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

To New Beginnings

 Today is Sunday, the beginning of a new week.  I feel as if my whole life is awaiting me. It's as if my past is behind me, and now, all I can do is to look forward with hope of a better life, a better way to spend the rest of my time on this earth. My past has not been the greatest, and I can acclaim that all the challenges, hardships, and cruelties I've lived through have made me who I am today. I can also add to that acclamation and say that all the beautiful memories, moments of shared laughter, and the wonderful impact of others' joys have also made me the person I am today. 

These past few months, I have been intently agonizing over my childhood. How could it have been different? What if my mother had stayed in Italy? What if she had followed her dream instead of having me? What if she had stayed with my father? How would it be to have known my father? Would I have had siblings; what if I do have siblings that I don't know about? All these questions and more, constantly nagging my mind for answers. Then I hear a whisper that I can barely hear. It says to me, "Esther, you are who you are, and I love you just the same." Automatic calm bears over me.

Ever since I could remember, I've been carrying this cross. Well, actually, they are several little crosses that, at the end of the day, seem like one very huge cross. For years, I believed the devil's lies of loneliness, of having no one to trust, fears and insecurities. When it wasn't a lie of self-image, it would be a mockery of my mother's purity, etc. Slowly, mostly thanks to my grandmother's wisdom and humble heart, I grew into a strong young woman. Over time, I stopped believing the lies and began to accept the truth. The truth of God's love and mercy and the truth of my past and the past before me all unraveled like daffodils before my eyes. There was beauty in that acceptance. There is grace in the truth. 

In less than two weeks, I will be faced with a challenge. I will be visiting my family in south Florida, and I am preparing my heart. I know I will have lies of the world thrown at me, and I know it will be hard to see the truth afterward. I will be judged for the way I speak (like a white girl), the way I eat (not enough), the way I look (a bit on the heavy side), and in many other hurtful ways. Experience taught me, a long, long time ago, that I must stay quiet and let the lies come, but I must be strong and conquer with the truth. The truth is that while I may speak like "a white girl," I'm still a daughter of God; that while I might not eat as much as I used to, I am yet a daughter of God; that while I am not as thin as I once was, I am still a daughter of God. See, my family, my old friends, and others might judge, criticize, gossip, or nag, but I am loved whichever way by my heavenly Father. Therefore, I am preparing my heart for turmoil, and I am training my heart to overcome betrayal and accept truth time and time again, until the end of time.

I hope that as this season of Lent begins this Wednesday, many of you may come to find truth in the Lord, in His love for all of us, and in His sacrifice.

Love and blessings,
another one of God's princesses