hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Friday, June 28, 2013

mutual respect

the philippines i grew up in was (and still is) dominantly catholic.  separation of church and state over there is more of a suggestion rather than a rule as proven by the fact that divorce is not recognized by the law.  i was educated in a convent school run by nuns.  i was born into the faith, baptized into it without choice.  truthfully, even if i was given the choice, who was i to select a different faith from what i (or my kin) had known?  i went to mass more than you were supposed to.  i was so immersed in a lifestyle based on a faith that by my sophomore year in high school i had thought that i wanted to become a nun myself.  my school was fair and taught us about other religions without bias.  but it was a scholarly approach.  we were studying history and technicality.  we didn't really delve into the lifestyle of say a buddhist or alternative christian sects.  in fact, as far as the community i was surrounded by was concerned, anyone that wasn't of our faith was viewed with suspicion.  and if you were christian but didn't believe in mary then you were frowned on.  that's what i saw around me anyway.  personally i accepted how other people wanted to live their lives.  it was of no consequence to me though i was always curious about the differences.

the more you learn, the more questions you have.  when you know nothing, you just accept what's in front of you.  when i look back at my life and my relationship with religion, that's the conclusion i come to.  i was catholic because the stage was already set for me.  and then i left the country.

i've heard this before, i can't remember where from but it's said that parents can only teach their children the way and it's up to them to use those lessons to guide their lives and make their own decisions.  there is so much truth in that.  i have a moral compass.  it's a conglomeration of lessons gleaned from my parents, friends, religion, society, media, everything and everyone i've come into contact with.  i decided some time ago that religion was no longer a dominant element in my life.  my family, as fervent as they are in their faith, has been wonderful about respecting that decision.  they don't press me or guilt me into subscribing to the faith i was raised in.  if i joined a different faith it would probably make them uneasy but i know that they would find a way to accept that decision as well.  i am who i am because of them and i feel that they are confident in the fundamental structure that they "built" and so they trust me when i make these types of decisions.  i love that about them.  i hope to be the same with my own children some day.

and so i come to the point of this post.  my immediate circle of friends and family know me and know all this (obviously) and so my life is at peace.  life is a maze of paths and every now and then i cross paths with people whose lives are not only dominated by religious faith but they feel compelled to convince others to join them on their chosen path.  it's exhausting to me to have to explain to someone my own personal journey to my current position.  i don't want to debate over differences, offend anyone with my strongly worded opinions or hurt anyone's feelings with my indifference.  i'm just not that interested or passionate about this topic enough to expend energy on it.  on fb, i have a few acquaintances that like to quote the bible often or make statements that are based on faith.  i ignore it or if it's too common of an occurrence i simply remove them from my feed.  i really like to keep things SIMPLE.  so, when i meet people i do the same.  instead of getting into it, i just get off that path, i don't engage with that person or i avoid the topic or we agree to disagree.  i respect their stand.  i applaud their conviction.  i ask for nothing in return other than to respect my choices as well.  but... if they push, prod or insist ... well then, i can't be held responsible for the turn of the conversation if it gets heated.

i have to keep everything simple coz these two dominate my life, time, energy, thoughts and decisions.

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