Watching I Am Cait

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I am watching Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show. I’m addicted to reality shows and I really am fascinated with this story. For a lot of reasons, the biggest being that this issue isn’t going away and I want to know how to deal with it as a Catholic evangelist. Pretending it’s not happening, that the world thinks this is good or turning our backs on people with transgender issues isn’t an option in my opinion. Neither is beating them over the head with our faith. That’s very hard, I understand that because I have a son who is now an adult living his own life on his own terms and even though it isn’t transgender issues, it’s still tempting for me to shove Jesus down his throat. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work and only pushes people away, no matter what anyone thinks. 

There is so much about Caitlyn’s story that reminds me of my conversion. I’m not really sure what to make of that, it’s just an observation that I find interesting and no, I’m not saying that it’s the same thing, just that I see similarities. 

I do have some questions though. 

I would really like to know exactly how wanting to wear a dress makes someone a woman. I’m not being snarky or rude at all, but for the longest time feminists have been saying the gender is a social construct because liking dresses and the color pink doesn’t make someone a girl. Now, I agree to a certain extent because those things don’t make someone a female, biology makes one female (and no matter what surgery a person has your biology as far as male or female, stays the same) or male. So now we have Caitlyn Jenner on TV with an expert saying that because Bruce wanted to wear dresses as a child, he has always been female. 
Also, how is it that there are signs saying “I was born this way” and then those who feel they were “born this way” have to change HOW they were born to be who they were born as? Again, I’m not being snarky or rude and I am posting on my blog so everyone can read it so I don’t expect any rude or snarky comments because I have gay friends and family and I expect them to be respected. However, respect doesn’t mean not asking questions. I realize that it’s typical of our culture to say that not agreeing or asking for logical answers is considered “mean”, but I like to discuss things logically and that requires asking questions. 

I hear Jenner speak a lot about fitting in. I know that feeling of not fitting in. But look, I don’t fit in with pagans or with Catholics. I fit in with drunks who pop pills on a regular basis. I can function like that the best. I’m productive, I am happy and I’m comfortable in my skin. But nobody would ever encourage me to go back to being a stoned drunk. So where do we draw the line and why? And “it’s not the same thing”, isn’t an argument. I want to know why one is fine and one isn’t. Maybe nobody reading this has the answer, maybe you’ll ask yourself my questions and wonder about the answers. 

I really hope that there are other Catholics who wonder how we as a Church move forward on this issue in a way that is both truthful and loving and not in that bullshit way that people say “I am being loving by speaking the truth of how disgusting this is”. But truly loving. The love that all us sinners find in a confessional when we confess our own disordered behavior. 

About Being Real

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So here’s the deal: I naturally have no filter. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t have one. For people who love me it’s just natural that I’m going to say something in the conversation that has them going “What the eff did you just say?” and then we will talk it out over drinks and laughs. It’s just how it goes. I cuss a lot, I ask a lot of questions, I say things that most people are thinking but won’t say and I call things how I see them and I see a lot of things that other people don’t see. All of those things has caused me to live a lot of my life alone in a corner reading a book, because I am either misunderstood or people don’t like what I am saying. Or my bluntness gets taken for being mean. Now, there are plenty of times that I am in fact mean. I have been facing the fact that when I get angry, I have no problem finding someone’s weakness and going for it. It’s been how I have defended myself for a very long time. I hate that about myself and have worked tirelessly for that last year to change that behavior and for the most part, I have. I have tried to be kinder, more patient, not so abrasive when talking to people I disagree with and not being so in-your-face on issues like abortion, the death penalty, immigration, social justice and other hot button issues because I really do get that being a bitch to people who disagree with me isnt’ going to help anyone and will only push people away from both my faith and the truth. So, I have tried to be “nice”. Me being nice looks a lot like me trying to smile for pictures, it’s scary and everyone can see through it, but I try anyway because Jesus wants me to be kind.

Here’s the thing though, even when you are nice, people accuse you of being mean. People misinterpret what you are saying and people who don’t know you or your life or sense of humor take things said and run with them assuming the worst of you. I have tried over and over again to twist myself into being a certain way so that doesn’t happen and it still happens all the time. If I cuss, people think that I’m horrible, if I don’t people think I’m snobby. I have no idea how to be “public” and how to be “private”, I am just me: flaws and all, all of the time.

I had a life before becoming Catholic and I talk a lot about that life, not because I think that it’s funny or because I think that I’m not forgiven or because I am dwelling on it, but I talk about it because it was real. It was my life and if anyone can read my story and know that God loves them no matter where they are or what they have done and it helps them, then telling those things is worth it. That is all I want to do, help people who are where I was or who have been there and look around a room and wonder if they belong there with people who haven’t been through those things. I wasn’t a badass. I have a big mouth, there is a difference. I was the nerd who skipped school and read books while everyone else was drinking and smoking weed or dropping acid to Pink Floyd videos. Even at my wildest, I wasn’t a badass, I just was sleeping with men who were dangerous so people let me do whatever I wanted to do. I am not proud of that, it’s just a fact. The things that I’ve seen and done give me a different view on issues. I know bikers, cops, black people, drug dealers, and everything in between. They are people to me, not just memes to share on social media.

I do not like to write from a preaching point of view. To me, that is annoying. There is motivational writing that isn’t so deep and personal but inspiring and then there is preaching. Anytime that I write in any way that isn’t from my personal experience and struggle, I become preachy and annoying. So I just don’t do it. Maybe one day I will run out of personal experiences, but until then that’s how I’m going to write. And that will be never because really, the struggle is real and I have a new one every day. That always leaves me up for being thought to be trying to brag about my past or being stuck in it. That isn’t the case. I have come to embrace my past. Who I was then is the same person that I am now, I just make different choices now. I have a different center: Jesus is my center.

For example: before my conversion, I planned to take my son out to a strip club for his 21st birthday, but now, I am Catholic and he is a father and has a girlfriend so that is no longer an option. Instead we went to a dive bar and I made him buy me drinks. It was fun and I made the bartender cut him off.

The thing that bothers me is that I am often alone and uninvited to things. It’s not new to being Catholic, it’s always been this way for me. I don’t make friends easy and I am often left out on the edge of groups, because I am too much for a lot of people. That’s why I love dive bars, because I fit there.  I have talked to my best friend, my kids and my husband about it and all of them have asked me the same questions:

1. Am I being my authentic self?

     2. Am I reaching my target audience?

    3.Am I doing what God asks of me? 

The answer to all of them is “yes”. I have plenty of flaws that I need to deal with, lots of vices that I need to give up and work through, but I am doing all of those things. My first fan letter came in the mail and it was from a group of people in a federal prison who listen to my show. I don’t know how other people would feel about that, and I really didn’t know how I felt about it, but after a long time of thinking about it I think that is awesome. Those are the people that I want to reach, people who have no idea just how much God loves them and how valuable they are, regardless of where they are or what they have done.

About being real though, it means learning that not everyone will like you and that you have to keep on going anyway. I don’t know why God allows us to deal with the loneliness that comes from not being liked by people, because no matter how many people love me, the one person who can’t stand me always seems to be burned into my brain. Maybe that is His way of keeping me humble.

I will say though, I am so thankful for all of you who do love and support me even though I am a hot mess to deal with. My best friend Candie and my husband are my roots, God is good to give them to me.

How do we face this Evil?

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Honestly, the pictures of aborted fetuses haven’t ever really made me cry or anything. They have always made me mad. I fought in the pro-life movement for a little bit and I saw a lot of things that just didn’t seem right to me so I stepped aside and did other things, like work on myself.

I watched the first two undercover videos and they did make me mad just like other pictures have. But this last video where an abortionist says “we have a baby” and talks about how some fetuses are more “war-torn than others” and then announces the gender of the human being they dismembered at the end, is just too much for me. How anyone can say that isn’t a human being, an innocent human being, who had his (it was a boy) life ended and then had his body parts scattered in a petri dish on display : brains, stomach, legs, arms and eyes is beyond me. Then again if someone says “I know that is a human being, the innocent and most voiceless of all human beings and I still think that ending his life is legit because his life doesn’t matter as much as other lives” then I would really know that that person has lost all touch with humanity and I just don’t want to know that about some people.

Where do we go from here? We have to go somewhere, and we can’t just go into our pro-life bubble and hate on pro-choicers. We can’t just pick out team colors and then they pick their team colors and we all just shout and yell at one another about how our team is winning and their team is losing. I mean, sure we can do that but what does that accomplish?

For the last week I keep wondering what are we going to do when we live in a world that is run by evil and we know it but knowing it only makes us sound crazy. It doesn’t help that there is plenty of crazy on this side of the culture wars. I have already seen the first “would someone be wrong to kill an abortionist in the moment of seeing them about to kill a baby” thread. I was wondering when that would start…… And we wonder why people think we are crazy. Next will be some crazy pro-lifer who doesn’t understand how morality works and that abortion is wrong based on the dignity of the human person and does something stupid. Mark my words. We aren’t just an evil generation but also a stupid one. Anytime that humans try to justify evil to bring about good, we screw ourselves. Every single time. Evil isn’t done because people believe it is evil, it is done because it is justified as bringing about a greater good, and that is how we ended up with legal abortion in the first place.

People who say their is no objective truth (truth that is true regardless of belief that it’s true) in some things can’t just claim there is objective truth in other things without explaining where that truth is grounded. If there is no God then where does the truth that killing a lion is wrong grounded in? Law? It was legal. In public opinion? That changes constantly. So if you sit with yourself and think of what you believe is wrong beyond a doubt ask yourself “how do I know that is wrong” and “by what authority can say it is absolutely wrong if there is no objective truth?” Humans are created with the ability to ask these questions, animals aren’t, but rarely do we ask them of ourselves these days. We go with whatever thoughts are popular at the moment. Which is why rage goes viral. And even those of us who are opposed to abortion need to beware of our rage when watching these videos.

But how do we deal in the everyday living knowing that this is going on around us? I really don’t have the answer for that because I think that it’s bigger than Planned Parenthood and even if they were defunded tomorrow, abortion would still be legal. Even if abortion was made illegal tomorrow, they would still happen. I also am way too aware of how the pro-life movement is full of its own issues. Just keeping it real.

So how do we face this evil without becoming evil ourselves? How do we fight without become violent? How to we speak up without shouting? I am at a complete loss as to how to act when I know the invisible forces of evil are real and living in a world full of people who easily influenced by them, including myself. The only thing that I can think of is to pray and stay close to the Sacraments, and even that is difficult to do when you feel an overwhelming helplessness. And personally, that is how I feel at the moment. God helps us.

**If you or someone you know has had an abortion please visit the Rachel’s Vineyard website. 

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