One busy afternoon, I was rushing on foot down Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, from the office to the bank a few blocks down, trying to get to it before it closed. At some point some guys driving by hollered at me, and another guy walking in my direction asked me in surprise if those guys just hooted at me. It was like he was so surprised to witness such a display of behavior. I was surprised by his surprise, but I did not have time to waste, so I quickly responded with, “Oh, I don’t know, I’ve learned to ignore it.”
I recently decided to sign up for a certification course on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Studies. I didn’t know what Ecumenical meant until my first class, and I can still barely pronounce it, but even after just the first class, I feel a sense of great hope for the world. Hopefully I’m not just overexcited.
There's a notion that successful people hang out with other successful people. I believe that applies to happy people, too. Of course, that doesn't mean we can't ever be sad. It's just that sometimes in life we come across people who may be perfectly lovely people, but they leave you feeling absolutely drained after each encounter. We call these people energy vampires, because they suck the living joy out of you.
Today, I was blown away by how blown away a group of kids between the ages of four and eight were when I told them boys can do ballet, too.
My husband once said to me, "You know, everything you're saying and a lot of what you believe goes against the Catholic Church." I was quick to respond, "Maybe some of the PEOPLE of the church, sure, but NOT the Catholic faith." Where we have seen the church fail, we have seen man fail, not God. All I know is that I am here to love and be love, and that is the basis of Catholicism...or at least how I have learned and understood it.
That is the question. To ensure that we're all on the same page, ghosting is when you intentionally disappear from someone's life--stop answering texts, calls, emails, and any other form of communication. This also includes blocking people on social media platforms. It's not always an easy decision to make, nor one that I ever really want to make, but sometimes you just have to. I learned that there are times, especially as a woman, you just have to look out for yourself. So when is it appropriate to ghost someone or how do you know when ghosting is the best response? I have had this discussion with several friends, male and female, and if you find yourself wondering if you should ghost someone or not, here are a few examples of when is probably an appropriate situation for ghosting. (It's important to note that I am speaking from a female perspective because I am a woman, but the reverse also applies for men in similar situations.)
Pink. Pink was everything that mattered tonight. When she accepted her Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, and told us about her six-year old daughter telling her that she is the ugliest girl she knows, because she looks like a boy with long hair I was done for the night and could turn off the TV. Nothing else mattered. First of all, every time the camera panned over to her daughter, all I thought was o my gosh how cute is she. How anyone could tell this six-year old she is ugly is incomprehensible--hearing that was like knives through my own heart. More importantly, Pink's words were so on point, and a powerful statement for her daughter to hear and to hear her mother say that in front of millions. It was a powerful statement for all kids to hear. I actually teared up a little, partly because of the cruelty that exists, and also because Pink's words just moved right through me.
Thank you, Pink. Thank you for being you. May we all open our hearts to see more beauty.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Background: The Twitter Account, Yes, You're Racist, revealed who some of the protesters in Charlottesville were. One of them was a student from the University of Nevada, Reno, who in sum, and according to various news sources, stated that he was not a racist and just wanted to preserve "white European culture." The letter below is my response to his statement.
Dear young, white nationalist from the University of Nevada - Reno, who attended the rally in Charlottesville,
What exactly do you mean by “white European culture?” I read that you are not racist, thank goodness. Lord knows we could do with one less racist out there. I understand that you just believe that “white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture.” What does that mean???
If you mean that we need to preserve riverdancing, then I’m all for it! I freaking love me some Irish folk music and getting my jig on. Just ask all the confused French people at my wedding. Perhaps you feel these white nationalists and supremacists would like to march around in wooden clogs? Seems like that would be uncomfortable and you might not really march very far, I don’t think. I don't know, I haven't tried it. We could also build more IKEAs and indulge in more Swedish meatballs after we high-five ourselves for putting together lopsided furniture ALL BY OURSELVES! Nothing like building furniture to make you feel independent and badass. Am I right or am I right? How about we make Frank Hvam famous in the States to spread and preserve more of that European humor that most middle-Americans don’t even understand. He is one of my favorite comedians, and white as the Danish snow he made snow angels in as a child. Ooo I know. We can all call ourselves Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, drink like we’re Irish, and celebrate an Irish holiday the Irish don’t even celebrate. Oh wait, we already do that.
However, I get the feeling, you are not referring to all the awesome things aforementioned, which really bums me out, because I totally just got so excited thinking about Finnish spas becoming a regular thing around here. I believe what you are actually referring to, no matter how hard you try to lie to yourself, is preserving what we call, F-A-C-I-S-M. Perhaps you missed this in one of your history classes, but facism is an ugly part of history that killed millions of people and not considered something we want to resurrect, or preserve for those who still feel okay waving around the Nazi symbol which is banned even in the country that initially spread it.
I mean, if you want to preserve aebelskivers and make them as popular or widespread as baklava, by all means, I’d be down for some more Danish pancakes in my life. Of course, having to trek to Solvang to get my fill is probably better for my waistline, but hey, I agree, aebelskivers have just as much a right as baklava to be here.
May I ask you something, young white nationalist from the University of Nevada - Reno...can you even pronounce your own last name?
BIG LOVE & HUGS
(American-Asian woman and native Angeleno, who loves churros, Jane Austen, tea time, trampolines, and people not asking me where I'm from knowing they won't be satisfied with Los Angeles as the response.)
P.S. It would totally make my dreams come true if we could make Christmas markets a thing here in the United States. Thanks.
P.P.S. I asked my white European husband what white European culture is, and he hasn't a clue either.
I love my name. It's not particularly uncommon, but it's not particularly common. It comes from the Latin, Justinus, and means righteous, fair, and just. However, the name "Justine" has also caused me a lifelong set of griefs to which I'm sure all Justines can relate. Let me just give you a quick glimpse:
Despite all the woes of being named Justine, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I lead the Children's Liturgy at my church about once a month, and part of me was thinking of giving up because often times when there's a big group, the kids get out of hand and I struggle to get them to listen to me or not speak and scream over each other. I spend more time trying to get them to be quiet and listen to one another, teaching them about respect and how to show respect, than doing what I'm actually supposed to be doing. I don't how teachers do it. Honestly, I have so much more respect for pre-school and elementary school teachers now.
It's only 20-30 minutes each Sunday though, and I always just think that if I can make even the slightest impact in these kids' lives, then AWESOME. Children's Liturgy is meant to go over the readings with the kids in a way that their developing minds can understand, and let's face it, the Bible can be complicated and boring if you're just reading it straight. So, I try to try to relate it to their lives, and also try to make church less boring for them. I also have them help me read it and sing the psalms and alleluias, so it's more fun for them for sure.
This Sunday, I was hoping there would be a small group, and what do ya know, it's like God heard me and only three little kids ran up to the front when it was time to lead them out of church and into the children's room. Well, two kids ran up, and one, very timidly led by his grandmother, also came to join.
The timid child, who we'll call A, was new to the group and he is just four years old. The other two are brothers, one eight and one five. The eight year old, whom we'll call G, as much as I adore him, is usually the one that drives me nutso; however, while not much less rambunctious today, he really surprised me in a way that reaffirmed what an innately sweet child I know him to be.
As I finished the first reading, I looked up at A and noticed he looked terrified, so I asked him if he was okay. He said, "no." So, I asked him if he was scared. He said, "Yes." I asked if it was because of the reading and he shook his head yes. The reading talked about fires and earthquakes and so I told him not to worry, Jesus was just showing us that no matter what, he will be there for us and he will protect us, even when we can't see him. We have nothing to fear.
What really impressed me and warmed my heart was that G noticed, too, and tried to comfort him and show him there's nothing to be scared of, too. He said his first time in this class, he was scared, too, because he had no idea what was going on and didn't understand anything. The protective brother came out and I just wanted to hug them all.
This occurred throughout the rest of our time together this Sunday, and it was a reminder to me that there is a reason I'm here with them every few Sundays. As much as I hope to touch their lives, they also very much touch and teach me so much. By the end when I was walking them back inside the church, A clung to me, held my hand, and almost wouldn't leave me. After mass I saw him and his family at donuts and coffee, and the way he lit up when he saw me just melted my heart. I wouldn't have been surprised if there was a puddle of heart at my feet. He kept wanting me to go back into the class with him, and had I not also signed up to volunteer to help serve the coffee and donuts, I would have ran in there with him. When he was leaving with his family, he ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug.
He has no idea how much his love meant to me, and I'd chase all the beetles and lions and everything else that scares him away if I could. G also has no idea how big his small gestures to make A feel safe were today. Kids, when you nurture them, they in turn learn how to nurture. They need to feel safe, because when they feel safe, they also learn to be free.
BIG LOVE & HUGS