This weekend has been incredibly heavy– but not in the sad, mopey kind of way that leaves you feeling listless and empty, but in the my-heart-is-so-full type of way. I don’t know how many times I repeated that this weekend: “My heart is so full, my heart is so full…” But what I do know is that I meant it every time I said it, because there was no other way to describe the emotions that I was feeling and the Holy Spirit moving within me.

Many things happened in these past three days that triggered my spark, but for starters, I just want to emphasize on the very wonderful fact that I have been nothing but positive since the start of the new year. It’s as if something came over me and slapped me on the side of the head, making me realize that there’s just no room for negativity in my life. Absolutely none. I intend to make 2017 a bullshit-free year, to do anything and everything that makes me happy in this beautiful, yet short, life that I have.

So basically, it has been a really great couple of weeks. Focus on everything positive to keep the good vibes going. I was apprehensive about Inauguration Day; I didn’t want my happiness to quiver into the bitterness that I strongly felt in November. So I avoided it, didn’t even want to watch it… went to a quick prayer in the morning, prepared for my Praise and Worship event afterwards, distracted myself so that the only thing I knew was that the attendance in D.C. hit an all-time low. Well, good.

The next day, I participated in the Women’s March in Oakland. Ugh. What an incredible experience. I felt so empowered by my army of strong women of my RA staff around me, as well as the thousands of women, men, and their babies that rallied alongside us with chants and signs of equality and justice. I told myself at that moment that if I ever choose to have kids, I’m going to raise them with the knowledge that they have as much of a voice in this world, as I put them on my shoulders, raising cute little signs in protest (“Viva La Vulva”). The march was simply amazing and gave me so much hope for the future.

In addition to these political events that shook the nation, I went through quite a few eye-opening experiences this weekend, especially through the conversations that I shared with some people that I love. I was reminded of the delicacy of the human person, and how depression is such a corrosive, abstract enigma that is not to be taken for granted… We all have some sort of pain that we deal with in our own ways, and some just have more pain than others that make it harder for them to get up in the morning. I wish nobody I loved suffered from depression. I wish NOBODY in this world did… but life isn’t shaped by a cookie cutter, and I feel that it is so important to be cognizant of the battles of others. Use your strength to help someone’s weakness.

I was also reminded of how important it is to take our time to really live in the moment, specifically in taking the time to have meaningful conversations with people. We’ve gotten so used to rushing everything we do: hopping from one errand to another, a strict class or work schedule, quickly gulping down food just to carry on with the tasks in our day. Through these hasty habits, it is so easy to forget to slow down and appreciate the moment that will soon pass. My dear friend Chelsea reminded me of this when I observed the way that she respected the space for her friends to speak, allowing one conversation to drift onto another, sharing laughs and knowledge and completely losing track of time, and at the end of it all, I felt nothing less than appreciation for that great time that we all shared together. It reminded me of patience– although I felt like I needed to go, did I really? No, not at all… Time is against us, but we can make it stand still if we choose to.

My loved ones really took care of me this weekend. I don’t know what it is, if it had something to do with the march or just because of their sheer love for me, but they reminded me that I am my own person who doesn’t owe anybody anything. I don’t have to acquiesce to social constructs that tell us how women should act, what is appropriate behavior, what to do or say or think. My feminist friend, Fredy, said something to me that I will hold onto for a long, long time: “Society tells us that we should do this or do that, to eat a salad on the first date for some reason or some stupid shit like that. Like if you were having a perfect date with a guy, and at the end of the night he goes in for a kiss, would you pass it up just because it’s the first date and you are told that a kiss would be too soon? I’m a firm believer in that women should do what they want, kiss whoever they want, sleep with whoever they want, do anything, as long as it is mutual and consensual. If it makes you happy, then who cares what other people think?” Often times we let the opinions of others weigh us down to the point where we lose sight of our own individual morals and desires. It is so, so important for women (and men) to understand that they are completely and utterly free to do what their souls please… I must remind myself of this.

Above all of my conversations, there was one in particular that struck me. A very close friend of mine is going through an emotional transition in her life and opened up to me about the rawness of her feelings. It was an unconventional conversation, to say the very least– please excuse my ambiguity, I am trying to remain as confidential as I could. But I want to express how genuinely happy I was when my friend, who has been having a difficult time with her past, revealed to me that she found a different type of love with someone else. I never want anything other than the best for my loved ones, and it’s so crucial for us to detach ourselves from the relationships that do not nourish us; and if we happen to find our “person,” the one who makes our cells dance and stomachs turn with overwhelming love, then so be it. We must always choose happiness… whatever that may be for each individual.

To top off this weekend, I finally had my Praise and Worship Night. It has been two years since I last put on this event, and as this is my last semester as an RA, I felt that I had to make it happen, I just really had to. Not that I had to, but I so badly wanted to. So with the amazing help of Campus Ministry and friends who volunteered to sing with me, we sure as hell made it happen– and boy, was it breathtaking. I wish I could fully express the gratitude that I hold in my heart. So many people showed up… SO many. People were moved by the music. I got emotional. My fellow singers got emotional. It was just a beautiful, indescribable experience that the best way I could put it is that the Holy Spirit was surely present in that chapel tonight. I felt so much love and peace as I gave hugs of appreciation for all my guests, and I knew that I had done something really good. Something to be proud of in this struggling faith community of ours. I will never forget this night… God is good, all the time.


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