11 December 2009

I Would Be The Same Person If I Were Skinnier, Fatter, Taller, Etc

I never really realized how much body image was important to people in our society until I met a few people who, through their stories, showed that people can be cruel and all of a sudden be nice solely based on your waist size. Personally, I have never been really skinny or really fat. I do workout and I choose to because I like it, it is good for me, and just to look good really. I admit that I was somewhat brought into the working out thing from images on TV, magazines, and other guys at school who worked out. However, in my mind, I didn't think working out and getting muscular would maybe make me liked more or that I would become popular.

This post is addressing people who were fat or skinny at one time and decided to lose/gain weight and lift weights for social reasons. Everyone says they workout for health benefits, etc, but let's face it, cosmetic reasons, whether they are the number one priority or on the bottom of the list are always part of it. I cannot speak for people who were obese or skinny before, so I will say what I have seen and what I conclude from people who have told me their stories. I can give some perspective into being picked on based on physical appearance since I am shorter than average (although weight can be changed and height cannot).

It is no surprise that being overweight, especially during adolescence, is hard. Kids are not easy on people that are "different." It is hard being overweight or even too skinny. In high school, people were not afraid of offending people and hurting their feelings. Throughout high school I would see kids being called names for being overweight or even too skinny. I can imagine that years of that verbal abuse would make someone either very depressed or angry and bitter. Maybe some kids just decide to lose/gain weight and even try to act differently to fit in.

In my experience, and I am mostly going off my experiences so don't get all worked up cuz I am not making a generalization, I have seen kids who have, let's say lost weight and toned up a lot end up acting like total assholes. The people who used to be funny and who had some morals and values now had way too much confidence and no morals or values. Now they are in a different crowd and they use their little story to make people feel sorry for them. I can't believe people notice you just by some physical change. Do they really care about the person?

Out of school, you see this on TV as well. All those ads with people looking like crap and acting unhappy and then they lose weight and BOOM they are popular and happy and have this attitude all of a sudden. As if they are worth something now. And now they kick ass and don't care what anyone thinks about them.

Besides the health reasons for someone loosing/gaining weight, I think that people do care about what people think about them. People don't want to be teased just because of their weight. I always feel, however, that weight is something that CAN be controlled for the most part and you can change it. As long as you remain who you are, then a drop or increase in weight shouldn't change your personality. If anything, it may make you more confident but if anything more than that then I feel like people lose their originality. There are some things you cannot change though. I know that everyone has preferences about what they like physically in the same or opposite sex, but for me, it's a weird issue.

According to this site, the average height of males in the USA is around 5'10. However, European countries win with having the tallest males in the world. The U.S. falls right after Europe. That's great and all but I have no roots in Europe or anything. The average heights for other regions such as in the Middle East, East Asia and South America are much lower than that. Maybe me being Colombian has something to do with my height or my upbringing, etc. At the end of the day the height I end up being before I stop growing was pretty much determined at birth.

I always knew I was smaller than the other kids back in grammar school, but it never had a huge effect on me. Or I didn't really think about my height as being a problem to people or myself. In addition to being shorter, I was somewhat quite in middle school and high school, so I was pretty much a prime target for bullies. I was not bothered as much as other kids you hear about but I had my share of bullies and mean kids in school. Not understanding why these kids did what they did I just shrugged it off and as time went on I developed a backbone and used my words to fight back. I think my confidence rose when I realized that what I said to people made a difference and people left me alone. Looking back, I think that being short was something that was normal to me. It didn't make me feel unwanted or bad. I did wish that I were taller sometimes but at the end of the day I was and still am happy with my height. In fact, I don't want to be taller. I am 5'4 and proud to say it. I think American guys are too tall anyway. I mean there are 14-year-old kids who are taller than guys that are in their 30s what the hell? I guess it's the opposite extreme, but being short is awesome.

Sure, I have been turned down by girls who say they don't like short guys, but I don't care. It probably wouldn't even work out with them anyways. I do agree that being with a woman who is somewhat taller than me would look weird but I am not opposed to being friends. If I do meet a girl that is like 5'6 or something and we really like each other and she doesn't care about height, then I am sure that I will overlook the height issue as well. I feel like my personality should outweigh my height and my build. I feel like I am confident enough that my height shouldn't get in the way of anything.

At the end of the day, all the wishing and hoping you will look a different way doesn't matter because you should realize that you are where you are now BECAUSE of who are you, not what you look like. Even if I was 5'11 and skinny, it wouldn't have had a huge effect on my personality. I would have been raised the same way and everything. I am sure it would have changed my social life but I still feel like it wouldn't affect me. There is always someone out there who is taller, shorter, prettier, fatter, uglier, cuter, skinnier, more muscular, etc than you. The best thing is to like who you are now. Even if you do choose to lose/gain weight or get plastic surgery just remain true to you. Getting caught up in these things just makes your life miserable.

01 December 2009

What Is Being Smart?

Being educated. What does that mean? According to dictionary.com, is having undergone education, especially one above average and characterized by or displaying qualities of culture and learning. From that, I would interpret being educated to mean that you have a college education and you are aware of the world's situation. It is hard to really define though. No where in the definition does it mention knowing something versus understanding. Nor does the definition mention being smart.

Being smart as defined by dictionary.com is having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability, being shrewd or sharp, as a person in dealing with others or as in business dealings and being dashingly or impressively neat or trim in appearance, as persons, dress, etc. With this, I would conclude that you can be smart but not educated and educated but not smart right?

I do not consider myself a super smart person academically. I did do very well in high school but I never got straight A's. I was never in AP this and AP that or any honors crap. I do consider myself a smart person though when it comes to street smarts and common sense. I cannot do quick math in my head and I can't tell you history. I can tell you about experiences and weird stuff in life and everything I have written in my blog so far.

I consider street smarts more valuable than any book smarts. Sure, books smarts and all that stuff can get you a high paying job but I doubt I would even like the job I would get with knowing all this math, history or politics. The people I have talked to who have real common sense and streets smarts were way more interesting than talking to some know-it-all kid. I feel like, for some people, it's all surface knowledge. There is no depth. Knowing things like what to do in an emergency or how to find your way home when lost using little to no technology is much more handy than knowing a bunch of science or complicated stuff that no one ever uses unless they are specifically in a field of work that requires such knowledge.

Being "smart" can get you anywhere really. For example, a lot of singers/entertainers are very smart and their team is smart in what they do to make us follow them. They have the smarts of the business and just basic knowledge of how to use the system to suit them the best. They may have dropped out of college and high school but they what good are book smarts for them? What good is talent if you can successfully become famous using marketing tactics, etc.

Being dumb or stupid, to me, is not someone who can't answer some crazy math equation or someone who can't name all sorts of court cases related to a certain issue in society. Being dumb is not realizing obvious things around you. It's not being able to answer things that should be considered common knowledge. Things like geography and basic finance and politics should be common knowledge, but unfortunately most people don't know all that. I even admit to not knowing all the basics of finance and some politics. Maybe you are not dumb if you don't know where Uzbekistan is, but you could be dumb if you don't know where England or China is. Being stupid or dumb also shows in everyday behavior. For instance, when people try to pay credit when there is a sign clearly in front of them saying that the place takes cash only. Just a complete disregard for their surroundings and the people they may be disrupting is a stupid thing in my opinion.

The people who understand, not just know, things in life, are the ones that I truly respect. I'd rather listen to someone talk about their experiences and what they have learned and little things about the world rather than someone's knowledge of cars or sports. Experiences and observations can be used in every situation. They can be used to help to further understand things around you. I feel like to many people are analytical and miss the simple things and the basics of life. Most people, including myself, know A LOT, but don't necessarily understand a lot. If we can increase that knowledge into understanding, I think we would be a lot better on in this world.

22 March 2009

Why I Don't Drink (Alcohol)

I thought it would be appropriate to write this now because a lot of people are probably reading this after a "night out" and are hungover.

So every time someone asks me if i drink or if I have to bring up that I don't drink (well everyone drinks, let's make it clear to drink=to drink alcohol) most people say, "oh that's cool." They say that but are really thinking, 'what a weirdo' or they just don't understand. I guess it is weird because I AM in college and that's just what you're SUPPOSED to do right?

Sometimes when I tell people I don't drink, they always ask me if it's because I had a bad experience or that alcoholism is in my family or for medical reasons. Then I shock them even more by saying that I have never drank to get drunk before, so no bad experiences, I don't know my family history because I am adopted. They are right in asking those questions because the people I have met who don't drink are sober because of their past experiences with alcohol or for medical reasons.

I admit to drinking a little wine and a little beer at some point in time. I tried it just to validate my stance on not drinking. As I expected they tasted gross and I wouldn't touch them again. I just have no desire at all. Someone told me that I would learn to get used to the taste of beer and love it. I have proven them wrong. Stupid drunk.

The answer to why I don't drink is simple but complicated. There's no need for it. I guess also because, oh yeah, I am 19 and I follow the law. Drinking and getting drunk may be two different things but you can have a nice time drinking apple juice at dinner, the wine doesn't make it fancier or whatever.

First off, I never understood why people drink. I mean are you really that social inept that you have to drink to make yourself look cool? Why does a party need booze to make it a party? Obviously no one is smart enough to think of something fun enough that everyone can do without the use of kegs and games. It's useless to me. I can have fun without getting hammered and throwing up. Which leads me to the first reason I don't drink. I am confident enough in myself and I don't give in to stupid peer pressure. I mean how many people ACTUALLY LIKE the taste of the beers and liquors? It's all psychology, a subconscious mind game.

Second reason is because I like being sober. I like to have 100 percent control (notice the bold, for you, but you do have control blah blah people) of my mind and body. I also like to remember things that I did the night/day before. I like to know that I made a decision and no one else or anything made it for me. I hate drunk people. I will never be a designated driver because I am not going to be around drunk people. I don't want to deal with it and I don't care. I refuse to be the friend who always helps his drunk friend (s) out every time. Let other people be the dumb bitches, not me. Drunk people in crowds is worst. That's why I don't go to NASCAR races, any ASU functions, baseball games, state fairs, birthday parties for people over 16, wedding after parties nor any New Year's Eve events. I also don't wanna be one of those people with the Facebook accounts with pictures of myself drunk taken by my "friends." I mean what the hell people? Have some class.

Third reason I don't drink is because it is EXPENSIVE. Trust me. I went to Ecuador this past summer and everything is less expensive there and the drinking age is 18. A lot of the people I was with liked to party and get drunk and they spent well over $100 EACH on the whole trip. That's disgusting. What a waste of their parents money.

Also, retrieving it if your underage not only puts you in danger, but the person buying it as well. In the US the older friend/brother/sister/cousin, the uncle/aunt/mother/father or anyone else dumb enough gets the beer for the kids. It's not worth it. Older siblings and relatives are obviously trying to come off as cool to their children/relatives so they buy them beer for their underage party. In some state they bust the hell out of parents if they host an under aged drinking party (Love it).

In my "hometown" of Glastonbury, Conn., people drank like crazy. People would get it from their own refrigerators because the parents either didn't care or they were never home in their mansions. They would also get it from their older siblings or connections they had with the older kids in high school (the losers who were 21 and still there.) OR they would know college kids other than their siblings for some reason. That's disturbing. Maybe more on the side of the college kid it's weird. My town had/has a serious problem with drinking. Some kids died drinking and driving and people still continued their foolishness. I am glad I got out of that fake despicable town.

So after that rant, the fourth reason I don't drink is because I have seen what it has done to people and I certainly do not want to end up like them. Not only in the media do we see this (Britney, Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, etc, etc) but in real life too. I have seen alcohol destroy people's relationships with their friends, boyfriends/girlfriends and even family. I don't ever want to explain what happened last night and how I drunk dialed my best friend and said bad things. Drinking causes too much drama. Plus that's how we got John Kerry, people from Rhode Island and liberals.

People also like to mix stuff when they drink. They mix drinks with other drinks, they mix drinking with smoking because they obviously are suicidal and also they mix drinking with other drugs. For some people drinking may be for social fun, relaxation or a stress reliever and for other people it may be some deep issues within them. That's the fifth reason why I don't drink. I don't need alcohol to help me with my problems. I would never turn to that nor drugs for comfort. So many people do and I honestly can't understand why. To me, it's a major sign of weakness and let's be honest, for a lot of people it's just easier than going to a therapist or getting medical attention. I find that working out really helps me relieve stress and anxiety. Also, listening to music really helps as well. I get in a high sometimes when I am listening to a REALLY good song or when I am really in the zone at the gym. Or even walking around anywhere on a nice sunny day is awesome too. That's free. It's just one of the many choices that is healthy and sane for stress relief and relaxation.

I also have some thoughts about drinking that just bother me. One thing I really find obnoxious, and I have mentioned this in one of my other posts, is when people here in college talk and talk about alcohol and getting wasted. What a lame conversation. I don't know why people find drunk people funny and amusing. I think they are sad and have serious issues with themselves. I hate when people say things like, "oh yeah, I am gonna get so drunk at this party that I won't even be able to stand up afterward." I hear things like this so much that I just usually walk away and ignore them. I hate how people try to JUSTIFY drinking. They think they are right and a good person when they say they like to party and get drunk on the weekend and then study and be good during the week. Balance my ass. For me, balance doesn't work. I am either one way or the other.

I don't understand all these drinking games and WHY THE FUCK to people post pics of themselves or of other people playing beer pong? Do we need to see that? I mean who really HONESTLY cares what you're doing in your parents basement? Beer games are ridiculous. People have more talent doing these irrelevant things than they do in any other area of their lives. And if you are drinking and you are underage then why use red plastic cups? I mean the red cups have become a symbol of college and high school drinking parties. Use different cups retards. I guess I am not brain dead enough or I haven't killed enough of my brain cells with weed and vodka to understand the "art" of beer pong.

Anyway, I am only 19 and will be turning 21 in 2010 and I really don't care. I am not eagerly waiting the arrival of my 21st birthday party to get shit-faced and do stupid things. I also didn't spend out-of-state tuition to get drunk all the time. Even when I turn 21 and can legally drink a beer, I don't see myself doing that at all. I do, however, want to go a little, just a little, gambling. I always wanted to just stand in a Vegas casino without having to be pulled along by my parents. But even that is not a big deal to me. Drinking is just not a part of my life and nor will it ever be.

20 February 2009

Why I Didn't Confirmed into The Catholic Church

Back in my sophomore year of High School, I wrote a story on why I didn't get confirmed into the Catholic Church. Confirmation is basically getting confirmed into the Catholic Church as an adult. It let's you, later in life get married within the church. You can still go to church even if you aren't Confirmed. It's the equivalent of a Bat/Bar Mitzvah in Judaism, only you became an adult with the church. Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments that a Catholic must do throughout his/her life. When one is confirmed, they are kind of saying "I am a soldier of Christ and I will spread the word and defend Christ whenever he faces scrutiny."

Here is the story as I wrote it back in the end of 2004 when I was 15.


Ever since I have been a baby my parents told me that I have always been “difficult” at church. They said I used to cry and scream all the time. To me now, that is foreshadowing, because they knew of no one else’s child who did this at the age of 4. First off, I never received Penance, and the last time I received Communion was at my first Holy Communion.

Before I start explaining the religion story, you should understand my family first. To begin with I have a very small main family. Most of them are good Catholics. My mom has forty-three cousins, but I am not going to get into that. I have three aunts; one in Arizona, Trisha, one in Kansas, Mary and one in Massachusetts, Elaine, but I call her Laine (My Godmother). I have a grandma also in Massachusetts, I just call her Nana. I also have 3 uncles; Mary’s husband Arnold, and Laine’s husband George. Of course I have more aunts and uncles but these are just on my mom’s side and they are the only ones involved in this story.

My aunt Trisha, in Arizona moved there because of college. What she did was she went to Framingham State in Massachusetts and then her best friend convinced her to go to ASU. She went and she ended up staying there. This obviously leads into another story, but basically, my nana seemed and still seems a little upset. My aunt Mary did the same thing except she moved to Kansas because of her husband. They are very quiet and to themselves, they are farm people. My aunt Mary however married Arnold who is not Catholic; therefore they didn’t get married in the church. I’ll get to that later with me though. Anyways, they all moved out west to get away from the “craziness” in our family. I haven’t realized this craziness up until now and I see why they moved away.

Now that you know about my family you can see why this whole religious thing is not going to go over well for SOME of my family. I was surprised at some of the reaction I got but, I knew what was coming.

In our Confirmation class we have to write essays. One of them is to write about why you want to be confirmed. When this was assigned I heard kids saying, “’Cuz I wanna get out of here,” and “Because my parents are making me.” I said nothing. If I were to write a story it would be why I wouldn’t want to be confirmed. I honestly couldn’t do that. What I did do was not write any essays; instead I told the teacher that I simply did not want to be confirmed.

“Well I can’t stop you, that’s your decision, but let me tell you that I think you should stay so you can learn more.” She continued, “Our faith is an awesome faith, but what faith were you looking at?”

“Islam.” I said quietly, because we were standing in front of my classmates.

“Well I don’t know much about that faith, but I still can’t stop you (from not being confirmed).”

That went better than I thought it would, but I had to face other people and my family. This of course, would not be easy.

First, my mother, of course took the religion thing the hardest, especially when I told her the religion I was interested in was Islam. She was saying things like, “Well, I am not going to you a give a ride to any Mosque or Temple,” and, “Why are you rejecting us and everything we stand for?” I think “rejecting” is a strong word. Questioning is the action that I was doing, not “rejecting.” I was really afraid that she would never talk to me. However, she would never do that. At least not that.

This whole thing should remain personal to me and my family and I should only tell people if I really want them to know. When other people started to butt in, it made me mad because who could have told them?

It was on a Sunday night in February, we had invited our friends from Windsor over for dinner, because we haven’t seen them in awhile. So, we are all sitting at the dinning table and my moms’ friend goes, “My son is getting confirmed this year, is Joe getting confirmed too?”

My mom says, “Oh no he decided that he is Muslim.” I gave her a dirty look in anger.

“Don’t they blow themselves up?” asks my friend, who’s about 10.

“Yeah, they believe in killing themselves and other people,” says my moms’ friend.

I was completely furious over this. I wanted to tell them that they were mistaken, that those Muslims are extremists, and they are not like most Muslims, because most Muslims that you would meet disagree with the terrorists. They are mostly ashamed of the terrorists. I was not just mad because of the comments however, but because my mom told them something that I consider a personal family matter. I mean, she could have said, “No he is not getting Confirmed, he is searching.” Of course my moms friend being the way she is would have said, “Oh what religion?” I would have said, none of your business.

After that my mom TELLS me that she told some of her co-worker about me not getting confirmed. I think that she has no right to tell the whole story to someone that I have never met. I think I should tell whomever I think needs to know. Although, I know she was telling them so she could get advice, but even so, the people at work are not the right people to be asking. So that is why she made an appointment to see our “Family Psychiatrist,“ whom we haven’t seen in awhile and I guess my mom thought now was a good time. I personally thought it was great and it worked well, instead of my mom telling random people, she got to talk to a professional, and especially me. Lately, she seems ok with the decision now, mainly because I said I am not REALLY Muslim, and I am still searching, which was really the case the whole time.

Now my Godmother, Laine in Massachusetts, also didn’t take it easily, for obvious reasons. She is very Catholic and I believe she does go to Church every Sunday. Her job, as a Godmother, was to basically help in raising me Catholic. Her approach to this situation was different however. She, instead of my mother, used a lot of guilt trip, bribery, and did you know that? For example she would say, “Get Confirmed to make your mother and father happy,” as if I didn’t they would be sad. Of course I didn’t want that, but I still was doing it for no one else but ME. She also told me that she was going to donate all of my Christmas presents to charity. ‘Go ahead,’ I thought to myself. I don’t need that, and I am not getting confirmed out of a lie. She donated the money, but the fund was a fraud.

Another day when we were walking the dogs, she said, in front of her cousin that I barely knew, “Did you know that in South America, they are very Roman Catholic?” OK? Why, just because I am Hispanic, should I fit the Hispanic stereotypes? Why should religion have anything to do with heritage or race?

On the other hand this brought up something that I thought about for awhile. What if my real mom, in Colombia, raised me and I didn’t want to be Catholic? What would she think? Then again I realized that if I was still with my real mom that she would have raised me very well, and down there I wouldn’t have been exposed to other heritages and religions. So, this probably would have never happened there.

My dads view on this was I think mostly based on my safety. He figures that Islam is not a “popular” religion that he wouldn’t want me to get hurt. That makes sense, but I am willing to “risk my life” to be the religion I want to be, and to strengthen myself mentally and spiritually.

After and during all the “negative” input I got from family and friends, I received a lot of support, which meant a lot to me. I told my best friend what was going on and she agreed with me, and said that she didn’t understand why my parents were responding the way that they did. I think mainly because they made a “vow” to raise me Catholic and that my decision just ruined all that they have done. My aunt in Arizona said that at least you believe in a God and that there is a heaven and a greater power. She also said, unlike my mom, that she would drive me to the Mosque or Temple or whatever. She seemed opened to my decision, and she is very open to other religions. I told a lot of my teachers because I thought that I can trust them and I seem to get along with adults better. I always have liked most of my teachers. I think because I like the mature conversations and that they understand and have good advice. Most people that I have told have agreed with me and most people that my mom has talked to agreed with her. Hmm? Coincidence?

My mother raised another good question. It was about marriage. What if you meet a nice Catholic girl and she, or her family wants her to get married in the Church? Now I believe that a husband and wife should be the same religion, IF they are going to raise children. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Arnold in Kansas are different religions, and they got married outside the Church. Of course, my Grandma was furious about this, and now the Church says that my aunt is living in sin, and she cannot go to Church. I would try to find a woman who is the same religion as me. If we didn’t want kids then I think it wouldn’t matter, however, if we did have kids and we were different faiths then I would make the kid choose what religion she/he wants to be. No half this or that. It all depends on love. Not family, or religion, or heritage. Love.

However, the biggest question in this situation is, Why Islam? Well, mainly because A) It is more strict, and pure, and much more in tune with spirituality and God than Christianity. B) Although there are a lot of bad stereotypes about the faith and followers (who are all actually practicing), it is the largest growing religion in the country and the world. C) I am so interested in not just the religion, but the culture. For example, I would love to go to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, or somewhere in the Middle East where it is safe. Also, my family is in the International Club and we have a friend who is a Belly Dancer, and she invites us every September to a Gala Hafla, where a bunch of Belly Dancers get together from all over New England. It is really fun and I love the dancing and the music. I would like to learn Arabic somehow but maybe when I am in college.

Well, recently I went to my friends Confirmation, and it was very long, and was very ceremonial like a wedding. It was cool to see my friend get Confirmed, I don’t say that it is unfortunate that I am not getting confirmed, because I am just not ready.

Anyways, my mom got him a one-hundred dollar bill for Confirmation; she said that if I was getting confirmed that I would get that too. However, this doesn’t affect me because again I do not want to be Confirmed to please my parents, to get everyone off my case, or to get money and/or presents for Christmas, and I am not Confirmed because I am being “oppositional“ as my mom says, I am not “rejecting” the faith, I don’t hate it, or disrespect it. I am simply doing it for me, because I need time.

In the future, I have no idea what is going to happen, and many people have told me that I’ll be running back to the Church. If that is the case then it wasn’t meant to be, but my search for religion is still on.


Well my political philosophies haven't changed much and I consider myself "spiritual." Or maybe religious, I don't know. I believe in God but not any set form of religion. As long as a you're a good person and you pray and you know that there is something out there bigger than you, you are doing good. I mean, that's what all the religions are pretty much. That's what they preach. Right now, my religion is school. I need to focus on it and do my best. I also need to focus on being just a good person who doesn't hate nor use violence. Sure I kid around and make jokes and stuff, but I wouldn't go past that. I feel like most people who consider themselves "Christians" or "Catholics" really don't do anything that is Catholic or Christian. Even if you don't have a religion, that doesn't give you the right to be whatever and not follow any moral guidelines or to have any values. You should always have faith and believe in something.