Maria Arroyo: About me? Or all about Him?
I will try to make this as concise as I can.
My name is Maria Fernanda Arroyo Rodriguez. Please, call me Maria. I hate writing “about me” posts because I really don’t know where to start. I also feel like a blog post is only a brief on someone, but you can’t really know them on a personal level. The second reason why I have put this off for so long and why I hate writing about myself in terms like this, is because I am not the author of my life. He is the author and I am only a character. Before I was born He knew how my life would be, He knew who I was and who I would grow to be. He had a plan written for me and it’s up to me to live my life accordingly to His plan; as well as I can. It’s all about Him. But as a strong Catholic woman, I have an identity too. So here it is.
My childhood: I was born in 1992 in the small town of Durango, Mexico. However, I do not remember much of what my birth place looked like, or what it felt to live there for the short time I did. When I was four years old my family moved to Oregon. My home. I still uphold a lot of Mexican traditions and customs and I can write, speak and understand Spanish. But I am an Oregonian at heart. Growing up in the United States was easy for me since I had no prior experience in another country. I am very Americanized. I went to ESL until I reached 3rd grade but I was always a quick learner and a reader. Because I was so little when I learned English, it wasn’t a struggle for me. My family has always been very hard working and they have always done their best to give me everything I need and many things I want. I had a lovely childhood growing up. I was a 90’s kid. I remember running home from school to get home and watch cartoons, I remember going swimming in the summer with my best friend, I remember getting many gifts of Christmas. Since I was 4, my family and I started going to a local parish. I became an altar server. I always knew that I was Catholic and I never had a fight with my parents about attending Mass on Sundays. In fact, I looked forward to it. My parents were always very traditional so I wasn’t allowed to do many of the things that other kids could do. But I didn’t mind. I had the most amazing cat, Greyman (she actually just passed away two years ago). I grew to love animals, love people and love my life.
My family: Family is the most important part of Mexican culture. Without your family, you’re nothing. I think this relates a lot to Catholicism as well. My family consists of my dad, my mom and my grandma. My dad is one of the most hard working people I have ever met. He works his butt off to make sure that my grandma, mom and I are happy. He is an example of a great man of God. He’s also really funny and has a great sense of humor and an even better sense of style. I get my fashion obsession from him. He protects me, pastors me and provides for me. He’s so real and so human. He loves to drink, but he never goes too far. He spends a lot of money when he shouldn’t, and he is lazy. He’s currently the kitchen manager for Elmer’s. He makes amazing food but he hardly cooks for us unless it’s a special occasion. Something about him is that he isn’t very detail oriented. He never buys gifts for my mom or brings her flowers and such. Yet they have been married for 24 years and he treats her like a queen. My mom is his proverbs 31 wife. She always was the good girl. She doesn’t ever drink. She is submissive and has the highest respect for my dad. She puts others before herself. She takes care of my grandma with such love, understanding and pleasure. She stays home with my grandma so that she is cared for. I admire her so much for all that she does. My grandma is the strength of our family. She doesn’t have a single wrinkle. She has been through so much. She lays in bed all day and watches the Mass on tv and prays all day. At night she watches her Spanish novelas. She was the one who taught me how to pray. Whenever I’m upset, I go to her and she gives me advice. She has never yelled at me but she’s firm. She has diabetes and so many more things going on so she needs a lot of taking care of and she isn’t able to do things on her own a lot. But she prays more than anyone I have ever met and she has such love of the Catholic Church and love of her family. She is my role model.
College life: I’m currently in my second year at Portland Community College. My major is education and family studies but that might be changing soon!
My parish: I attend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha Oregon. I like to think I’m pretty involved. I started out as an altar server and then I became the altar server coordinator. I’m also a trained Eucharistic Minister. I lector when needed. I’ve been a catechist for about four years now teaching 3-6 grade kids to do their First Communion. This year, Rocielle and I started teaching the high school religious education class. I also volunteer in the parish office and cover for the secretary when she’s away. I’m our RE director’s personal assistant…not official. Meaning I basically do whatever she asks me. But she’s my mentor and I love her so it’s alright. I also help Fr. Louie with his Spanish and I act as a sacristan and get him things because I know his facial expressions. I helped start a new group at our parish called New Gen which is a group that does youth Masses once a month on the third Sunday of the month. I co-coordinate the EMs for the youth Masses. Finally, I coordinate quinceaneras and weddings. But that’s my job so I don’t know if it counts! I’m there almost all the time every weekend. I love my parish.
My faith: My faith wasn’t always as strong and stable as it is now. I went to Mass all of my childhood but I never really understood why I did it. I just went. To me, it wasn’t boring, so it wasn’t really an issue. But I didn’t get the full extent of the Catholic faith and why we believe certain things. During my sophmore year of high school, a brother of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a youth camp for his youth group. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I went anyway. I met the most amazing brothers and sisters and I was welcomed into a community where, for the first time, I wasn’t judged because I was Catholic. And everyone believed in the same things I did. But as you know, youth groups aren’t perfect. We are humans. There is drama, lies, and often times a lot of feelings of being left out that I’ve experienced or heard from others. Regardless, I’m still in this youth group and it’s helped me so much with my relationship with God. I just wish that the majority of brothers and sisters in it would also take the time to build a relationship with the Catholic Church, and attend Mass as well as serve during Mass. One step at a time. I love them, and it has a very special place in my heart. Honestly, without going to this youth group my sophmore year, I don’t know how my spiritual life would be right now. Building a relationship with God, a open, honest, real, personal relationship, and being around a close group of people who encourage and support you, is one of the most important things about sustaining your faith.
My friends: I already talked about my brothers and sisters from my youth group. I want to take some time and talk about my friends aside from my religion. I’ve had many friends over the years. But right now, Marina is my best friend and I hope it stays that way always. She is always there for me, and even though she isn’t Catholic, she’s one of the people who fully respect me and don’t judge me. She knows that my religion is important to me and even though she doesn’t agree with certain things, she has a way of never being rude to me. We have had our arguments about certain things, but we always try to keep it respectful and considerate for the other person. Besides that, she’s everything you could want in a best friend. She understands me better than most people. She knows much about me. We like a lot of the same things. Whenever one of us has money, we never hesitant to take each other out…and we never ask for the money back. We used to go to high school together but she lives in Portland now and it’s hard to see her. We’ve been trying to make more of an effort but with school and my busy weekend schedule it’s really hard. I love her and I know that she knows that. Besides Marina, I also have friends like Alex, Travis, Ryan, Jimmy, Makaylee and Sarah. Yeah. I don’t really have a lot of friends who I really trust. Last but not least, all of my amazing Tumblr brothers and sisters/friends who I WISH lived closer to me and who I trust a lot and love to death!
My favorites: Gilmore Girls, shopping, scary movies, sunflowers, candy, light pink, doing my nails, leather jackets, painting, art, animals, especially cats, love, kissing, scarfs, fall, Christmas, peppermint bark, reading, writing, nail polish, texting, cuddling, food, family, rings, weddings, kids, bears, clothes, mint, iced tea, fries, red robin, avocados, boba, juicy couture, poems, shoes, sleeping.
My boyfriend: Is amazing. We’ve been dating for almost four years. He’s a convert to Catholisism. If we every broke up for some reason, I would praise God that I was able to work for Him through the Holy Spirit to make him believe. I would be thankful that He used me in such a way to change someone’s life. Nick jokes and says that if we ever broke up, he would become a priest. He would be an awesome priest. Except he’s too in love with me. So instead, he will make an awesome father. I love this guy so much. I will be talking about him more in the future.
My struggles: I struggle a lot with self image. I tend to compare my looks to other girls and feel like I’m not as pretty. But I was made in God’s image and I’m doing better, day by day. I’ve also started to eat better. You can’t just wish something to change and not do anything about it. I have more struggles but a lot are personal and I will bring up at a later time.
My goals: My dream is to be a wedding planner. But first I want to transfer from PCC to Mt. Hood CC for cosmetology. I was planning on doing it in the winter but I’m thinking the spring might be better. We shall see. I have a lot of personal goals as well.
My personality: I laugh too much. I talk too much. I’m very open with people, even when I shouldn’t. I trust people way too easy and forgive a lot. I think I’m fun to hang out with. You’ll get to know me more :]
How I view myself: I’m a strong woman. I take myself seriously and I am very hard working. I never do something half-assed. Although I’m also pretty lazy and I spend too much time on the computer. I cry a lot but that’s okay. I think my view of myself changes daily.
Where I want to travel: Ireland! Rome! California. Spain. Greece. The Vatican. I want to go every where! Oh and Hawaii. Mexico. Australia. Or maybe just to a nice cabin in the snow where I can cuddle and drink tea with my love by the fireplace after having a adventurousness and awesome time snowboarding.
Favorite bible verse: “I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:13. I want it tattooed on my wrist!
It’s all about Him.