Saturday, December 25, 2010
The holidays are a horrible time for reflecting on all the things we don't have.
I need to make a conscious effort to list all of the things I am grateful for right now.
1) I have a job.
2) I have a job interview on Monday for a very good job that provides me the opportunity to work in my field and make enough money to live off of.
3) I have a lovely new apartment.
4) I have numerous friends who love me and bless my life with their prayers and kindness.
5) I have a mother who is there for me to laugh with me, discuss new ideas, and to believe in me when I lose hope.
6) I have a step-father whose generosity of spirit helps me to float through dark times.
7) I have a step-mother whose kind spirit provides a beautiful example of unconditional love.
8) I have a father I can share almost anything with and I know he will provide me with simple wisdom.
9) I have music. I have jokes on my phone to read that make me smile. I have a lovely new mattress.
10) I have a life of beautiful memories. I look back at beautiful joys shared with individual friends. I think of times spent under the stars, in the woods, on a comfortable old couch, on the back steps, on a long drive, at Ihop or Denny's...I remember performances at any number of plays I've had the privilege of working in. I remember hearing beautiful music for the first time.
There is so much joy.
And yet one loss continues to break my heart. Ugggh. The depressing thing is it really is only one person. How utterly pathetic!
And when I think about it--by losing this one person--what unhappiness did I lose? I can imagine what joy there might have been--but I can't possibly know all the misery I might have been saved from? I'm falling prey to the temptation of imagining how wonderful it could have been--but I don't know that.
I can't know for sure what might have been, so there's absolutely no point in dwelling on that. I only know what I have right now.
I am grateful.
And I am resolute. I will not dwell on an imaginary future or a past that I can do nothing to change. I will live joyfully and gratefully in the moment today. And love the people, all the beautiful people, who choose to love me and have me in their lives. And pity those who don't. Suh there.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I just really need to know that everything will be all right, even if I completely fail at everything.
"That I Would Be Good"
that I would be good even if I did nothing
that I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
that I would be good if I got and stayed sick
that I would be good even if I gained ten pounds
that I would be fine even if I went bankrupt
that I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
that I would be great if I was no longer queen
that I would be grand if I was not all knowing
that I would be loved even when I numb myself
that I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
that I would be loved even when I was fuming
that I would be good even if I was clingy
that I would be good even if I lost sanity
that I would be good
whether with or without you
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I work as a customer service agent. I like the phone part of my job. It is complicated and interesting and I've learned a lot during training.
I'm in on the job training, and my lead coach is a 24 year old numbskull.
Last week, I was late from lunch and break--like everyone else.
For three weeks, things had been lax. I wasn't afraid of getting back on time, because no one else was returning on time. Instead of simply having a conversation with everyone, he pulled me aside with the head of the department. I promised to do better.
That afternoon, I miscalculated the time on my break and came back 5 minutes late. It was literally a result of doing the math wrong. And soooo...he wrote me up. This was after getting three great sales the hour before.
I've had this write up hanging over my head this week.
This morning, I arrived at work at 7am. I am not allowed to get on the phone until 9am. I watched my coach finally saunter over to us at 7:15 and fumble through idiotic small talk while encouraging us to peruse our study materials online on our own. I was already doing that, because I am interested in doing a good job. I heard the other coaches talking about a powerpoint we should read over. My tooth was aching, and so I distracted myself by diving into the powerpoint early.
After 30 minutes of talking about I don't know what... (he was at the other end of the cubicles and I couldn't hear him...) I laid my head down to calm the raging pain in my tooth. I understand that it probably appeared that I was asleep. I realize it isn't great to pay someone for sleeping on the job--but how is my laying my head down any more of a waste of time than hearing him blabber on about whatever...
He asked me why my head was down--I told him I had a toothache. He asked me if I wanted to visit with the supervisor. The last time this happened, I got written up. So, I immediately felt attacked. I snapped back, "I'll be fine. I read the powerpoint already." He said, "Are you giving me attitude!" Somewhere in the exchange, I said, "Stop asking me so many stupid f***ing questions."
Soooo, the supervisor had ANOTHER talk with me. I spent the rest of the morning with tears streaming down my face. I have no patience when I'm in pain and tired. I felt threatened. And I was truly trying to be the best employee--but I was being treated like a rebellious high schooler.
I actually really like being on the job. I have tried to express my regrets to him and express that I understand the pressures he's feeling as a first time coach. But the man makes me feel so incredibly uncomfortable. It is a horribly uncomfortable working environment. I just hate that someone presumes that I am trying to be a bad employee.
As I looked around at lunch, I noticed the employees who had been around a long time. They looked like broken zombies. That's how you have to be in order to survive this job.
I have to find a new job. I almost rammed my car into oncoming traffic on the way home.
I am seriously in a crazy bad funk right now. And no, I'm not pmsing.
Tomorrow I'll talk about how much I detest dating. No more...No. More.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
And I believe this is a good thing.
I believe that my generation--the generation that entered their 30s at the time of the biggest housing crash we've ever seen--has a new dream.
Remember the Truman Show? All about the dream of living in a perfect house, having a secure job, and 2.5 kids. And it all turned out to be a nightmare where the guy was trapped in a manufactured world where someone else decided what would make him happy--and that someone else was ultimately the advertising companies sponsoring his show.
The old dream is manufactured. Do we really need a huge house? Is it really so horrible if we have to change jobs every 3 years? Are our possessions REALLY the source of our joy?
Nope. And I'm proud of my generation for waking up from this dream to embrace a better dream.
Do we need a place to rest our heads?
Yes. But it doesn't need to be huge. It can be a simple little one-bedroom apartment. As long as it is warm and we have room for our books and a small kitchen table where we can host friends and share a good meal.
Do we need to have a car?
Yes. But it just needs to get me from point A to point B.
Technology has paved the way for this new brand of thinking. Technology has become streamlined and simple. All we want to do--inside of one perfect little gadget.
All we really need--we possess within ourselves. The heart to love, ears to listen, a voice to share our opinions and our love, a curious mind, lungs that expand with laughter...hands to hold the ones we love.
This is the new American Dream.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I can't even tell you how much I love this girl.
We have been the best of friends eversince we were 14 years old, eating green sherbet ice cream, mooning over Robert Downey, Jr. as he seduced Cybil Shepherd in "Chances Are". The visit was short and sweet, but so wonderful. Somehow she makes everything better. We can joke about the sad state of our lives and by virtue of the fact that we're laughing--everything just seems so much easier.
And she was my first house guest to see the unpacked apartment! I still need to hang a couple of pictures, but other than that--everything is put away!
The snow outside is too beautiful for words.
I am blissfully content right now. It's more than I deserve that's for sure, but I'm not gonna complain.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
This year, I moved my stuff from my grandma's house to my new apartment in SLC in the morning, enjoyed a feast at my Aunt and Uncle's house during the afternoon, and then watched Harry Potter with my brother and step-dad that night.
My wonderful family helped me move all of my crapola into my new apartment.
For the first time since February, I have all of my clothes hanging up and available to me. I have all of my stuff out of boxes. I am sleeping in my own bed. I am giddy. I might have to work 3 jobs, but having a home--my very own place to relax and just be--this is too good to be true. Words cannot describe how lovely it is just relaxing in my own bed, playing my music, and did I mention--I'm no longer living out of a suitcase!!
Currently, I have a giant pile of books in the middle of the living room. I have to figure out how I'm going to fit all the books into two book shelves. I'm going to need to get creative.
I am grateful. Very very grateful. Happy Thanksgiving all!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
For years, I was the best friend. I had a few friends that I hung out with all the time. For a year, there was Randy. We walked to classes together, worked together, and after he went out on his dates, he would come over and we would watch movies together and laugh about the date. This went on for a year. I fell for him, and he only wanted to be friends.
This pattern repeated over the years.
The problem with this, is that the relationships were wonderful--except that there was no reciprocated physical attraction. And so I naturally felt I was seriously lacking in this area.
Because I am deathly afraid of repeating these kinds of heart aches, I now jump into the physical side of a relationship too quickly. But I can't stomach the idea of investing time into a relationship that will just turn out to be a very good friendship. It's much easier to establish whether there is a physical connection right off the bat.
But this isn't solving anything.
I realized the other day the common link between both of these dating strategies.
In both cases--I am upset because I go unclaimed.
I may be the best friend that you talk to about all your problems--but you're still not going to introduce me as your girlfriend to your friends.
I may be the best kisser you've ever had, but you're still not going to introduce me as your girlfriend to your friends.
I go unclaimed. I am used. I am used as a sounding board and a therapist. But the guy will always make sure that his obligations are sufficiently limited.
This is a problem. I hate being alone. I allow these things to happen--both the "just friends" thing and the non-commital make-out stuff because it's nice to pretend that it might be real. It's less lonely that way. But if I don't stop allowing myself to be used up and walked on, I really will end up alone forever.
Mainly because I absolutely don't trust that any man would ever choose to take care of my heart and NOT use me. I have lost my faith in men.
I would like to regain my faith in men. And that means acting as though there are good men who will reciprocate in a relationship and who would be happy to guide me into a party and who aren't thinking, "I'd better keep this hush hush just in case someone better comes along." If I believe that a guy like that exists, then I will stop acting as though my only choices are jerks or loneliness.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
This week has been incredibly busy, and incredibly fulfilling.
I forgot how much I love acting. There's a reason I have 3 degrees in this stuff--and it's not just because I'm a total glutton and wanted to acquire massive amounts of debt for a profession that doesn't pay anything.
We opened One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was a little rocky at the beginning of the week with the tech--or absence of tech. There are a lot of technical things about the show--music cues, bells and whistles that have to be there--and the director decided that it was more important to "get used to running the show at 7" then it was to have a tech rehearsal. I thought I would die. So there were some really big technical glitches on the preview night. It was a bit heartbreaking.
But then things came together. I might have yelled at the director just a teensy bit. I felt like he kind of just stopped directing this week--when he was supposed to be pulling all of the elements together. I won't go into details--but trust me I was completely justified. There was an absolutely integral lighting cue that was missed two nights in a row--and it was missed the second night because the director was lazy and didn't talk to the lighting guy about it!! So I gave him a piece of my mind.
And the rest of the week went so well. I love doing this show. I love the concentration and the stillness I have to find in playing such a cold bitch! It's just really wonderful. I love the power that a beautiful story has on a community of actors and audience members.
Last night one of the actors paid me a beautiful compliment. I can't remember it, something about me being an awesome actress--but it made me feel so good.
So I'm going to get new headshots and get with an agency. This show has been wonderful because I've met so many working actors who are showing me how to break into the Utah scene.
Come see the show. It's funny and touching. I'm really proud of it.
Come see it!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
We hear sayings like, "Attitude of gratitude" and it just doesn't seem like a deliciously deep doctrine.
But I believe that it is a rich doctrine.
Gratitude requires a shift of focus. It is an action that reflects our faith and hope.
I love reading everyone's twankful tweets and facebook posts. I don't know why I don't jump on the bandwagon, except that often the things I'm grateful for are inappropriate to post on facebook. For example, "I'm grateful that my boss was mean to me today because it will make it soo much easier to quit!" These aren't things that I should put out there on facebook. I put it here because no one at work reads this bloggy.
But in the spirit of gratitude and recognition, I'm going to post about the things I'm grateful for.
I've had a bit of a hard time. It's long and complicated.
Last week, I felt an outpouring of love and support from friends. I had three different people tell me that they had put my name on the prayer roll at the temple.
I've been in a fog about my future and for that matter, my present. I basically just tell myself to work hard everyday and somehow things will work out. But I don't have the clarity to sit down and work out a plan. Making a plan forces me to look at my life which is just depressing. So I work very hard and I try to accomplish one day at a time.
This weekend, I went home to visit my parents. My mom forced me to look at my bills. She forced me to calculate interest I was paying. I took a long look at how much money I would need to move into an apartment. I made a plan. She and my step-dad generously cut me a check to pay off a couple of high interest debts so that I could just pay them back monthly and save myself 7 extra months of payments.
I found an apartment that is perfect for my needs. Remember my dream of having a little apartment? Yep. Found it! The price is perfect and the deposit is practically nothing.
I'm being considered for two jobs at a great company that would allow me to use my education, while working remotely--which would allow me to travel. And it would pay the bills and provide health insurance.
In the meantime, I found a full-time position at another company so that I can move into my new apartment. It's not a great job--but it's full-time and after 60 days, it has benefits.
And I have a show opening tonight!
I am overwhelmed by the love my Heavenly Father continues to show for me despite all my shortcomings. I am incredibly grateful for unselfish friends who despite their own problems take the time to sincerely care for me. I am truly blessed. Thank you Thank you.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I have been reading the Doctrine and Covenants in my personal scripture study. My favorite section has always been Section 93. I have found it be somewhat fragmented. It's as though the Lord is jumping to and from different unrelated topics. I realized this morning that this is God's invitation to to struggling servants to return to righteousness.
Oh the timing couldn't be better...
So now, we delve.
It opens with: 1) Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh until me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.
It closes with: 53) And verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures , and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.
It starts with a promise and ends with a commandment.
But what is the context? Who is speaking to?
On the first page, John the Revelator reveals the nature of Christ's ascension--how did he grow in wisdom? It says that he created worlds, and that he "received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness." (vs 12-13)
Then the Lord reveals who we are and how we can grow in the same manner.
He says, "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth." (v. 23)
So what is Spirit? "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseperably connected receive a fulness of joy." (v. 33)
In other words, who we were in the very beginning of time is a part of our physical make up. It is ingrained in our DNA.
What is the Spirit of Truth? I believe the Father is the Spirit of Truth--and we are His Children. Truth is "knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come." v. 24
We receive a fullness of truth, and become like our Father, when we are obedient.
"He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things." v. 28.
And because we were in the beginning with God, we understand what is light and truth. For this reason, we are held accountable for our actions when we choose to do those things that are untrue. We lose our light. We lose the intelligence that could have come from obedience.
Obedience=light and truth.
We can choose whether to embrace those actions that would sanctify us and allow us to see the face of God--as the first verse promises. Or not.
The Lord shares this without berating or saying, "If you are disobedient I will stop loving you!" He simply shares the truth--you will lose the light that comes with acting in accordance with truth. And without that light--you can't do all the great things I need you to do.
Then the last page of the section comes in--and I've always thought this was completely unrelated. The Lord lists a bunch of people who just aren't cutting the mustard. He tells Frederick Williams that he's not teaching his children well; he tells Sidney Rigdon to set his house in order; he tells Joseph Smith that he hasn't kept a commandment; he says that Newel K. Whitney needs to be chastened. He lists all of these people who need to repent.
And then he closes by telling them all to get back to work. Go translate the scriptures! Preach the gospel!
In other words--you messed up--but things still need to get done. And I need you to get back to work.
So to recap:
It starts with a promise that the obedient can see God.
Then he tells about Christ.
Then he tells us how Christ progressed.
Then he tells us who we are.
And how we can progress.
Then he calls a bunch of people to repentance.
And then he tells people to get back to work.
To me, this is a beautiful example of how God is a loving parent who understands that we will mess up, and believes in our capacity to choose the right and get back on track. Someday, I will use this section as an outline for great parenting.
(By the way--there's soooo much more I could say about this section--but it would take days!) But just to whet your appetite--after reading this section, I'm convinced that we are created by our experiences. We aren't just passing time here--our experiences both good and bad shape us physically. The germ of our existence is light and truth. What the what?? My thighs, my hands--all of my parts are crafted by my experiences and by my actions. Interesting... Does this lend more weight to our physical selves or less? Isn't it interesting that despite one's physical appearance--there are some "ugly" people who appear to be utterly radiant to us? Yeah, I could go on for days...)
This is how far I got on Monday, November 1st.
The winds began to blow. To blow, what a funny idea. I picture an old man huffing and puffing at the top of the mountain. Then again, with the word “winds”—now I picture a group of people dressed in greek robes, dancing about blowing in long horns down the canyons—watching their handy breath zip through the trees. Whatever image this phrase conjures in your mind, just go with it. The fact remains, the winds began to blow.
When the winds blow the leaves fall. Here on this mountain, the leaves are dry and orange. Or rather, rust. In Virginia, the leaves suck up moisture throughout the summer and appear radiantly green, almost glowing. In Utah, the leaves cling to whatever shade of green nature and a sparse amount of water will confer on them. And in the fall, the Virginia leaves change to radiant shades of gold, red, orange, and violet. In Utah, the leaves turn to rust and then to dust. I enjoyed that little rhyme.
As the leaves fell across the driveway, I heard my grandmother scoot out the front door to tackle clearing the little invaders off of her clean white driveway. I threw on a bra and pair of shoes—(never you fear, the other clothes were happily hanging on my exhausted frame) and ran out to help her. Leaves are stubborn little monsters. They cling to the grass, the driveway, to the road.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
My dream is to live in a nice little apartment, furnished with leftover furnishings from my parents house. I will have beautiful music playing and plants living and dying throughout the little one bedroom domicile. Friends will be able to come over and play video games. (I've never owned a video game console--but I've decided that I want to get a wii.)
I will work at my new job and I'll work at Rubios part time. I will do a show whenever a show comes along that I really like. And I will be happy living my life.
Oh! And I will get a piano as soon as possible.
I would like to live in South Salt Lake or Murray. Somewhere really cheap and somewhere where I don't have to bother with parking passes or doing yardwork.
This is my dream.
I really need your prayers right now. I am sinking too fast to swim right now. I don't know what I'm allowed to hope for anymore. Everytime I think I've come up with a dream that I can work towards, that dream is snatched away.
I'm trying to keep my dreams simple and realistic. Is it too much to want to be able to have a place to go and relax with friends? I don't think so. I think that wanting a good full-time job where I'll be able to have a simple happy life is a dream worth pursuing. And I think that I'm worth that much.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I'm watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame right now as little trick or treaters come to the door.
I want very much to get dressed up and go to a party. I want to feel a part of life here in the land of Ute, but I just don't. I just feel sick. You know when there's an infection in your body and you just can't shake the horrible way it makes you feel?
I've applied for at least 10 jobs this week. I have a hard time believing that I'm deserving of more money and stability, but I am. It's just hard to believe that.
I feel like I'm simply typing the same tune over and over again lately.
I wonder how I'm defined in this world? I don't understand my place. I'm terribly afraid of being defined by the world.
Remember Les Miserables? There are two girls who stand out to me. Cosette--the lovely girl who loves Marius, and he loves her and they live happily ever after. And Eponine--the lovely girl who loves Marius.
I listened to the music. Eponine had the best songs, but I hated to relate to her pain because it was my darkest fear that I was more like Eponine and less like Cosette.
Well, here we are 20 years later. Men love me, but they'd never actually choose me. They would never actually change their life to be with me. No, if I'm very convenient and if I provide some sort of amusement without demanding anything--then they let me be a part of their life. Until someone more important comes along, like their Cosette.
I'm not sure how this happened? Perhaps living with the fear made it a reality.
There are certainly other characters that I relate to: Addison on Private Practice--(last season, not this season), and Brenda on Six Feet Under.
The problem is--these two complicated melancholy women aren't exactly the picture of virtue. Being a single woman in these modern times is complicated. I'm not an angelic being. I'm not without desires. I could relegate myself to "spinsterhood" as my grandmother likes to put it, but I don't feel very much like an "old maid" or a "spinster". I just feel single.
Again, it's the same old tune.
But after years of associating with LDS men who view me as replaceable and unimportant, I can either choose to not date at all, or I can enjoy going out with good men who actually see me as more than just "second best".
I'm not sure what exactly I'm giving up. I'm just tired of being defined by everyone else. I'd much prefer to choose a world where I'm able to choose a definition that better fits my complicated nature.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
My throat hurts and I don't feel well again. My grandma thinks it's tonsillitis and that I need to have them removed.
I don't have health insurance.
But I submitted my resumee with an insurance company Monday and if I get a job with them, I'll have insurance on day 1.
I was looking at pictures of my friends' babies online today, because they're cute.
My friends Mel and Ben both have dark hair. Their child has red hair.
Bonny has very dark hair and Mike has dirty blond hair. Their child has red hair.
Caroline has flaming red hair and Frank has dark hair. And their baby has dark hair.
Jessica has red hair and Paul has dark hair. And their baby has dark hair.
Interesting. . . .
My mom has blond hair and my dad has dark brown hair. All three of their kids had red hair. Granted we were oddly red. All three of us had nice golden skin in the summer time. I think we're kind of a mutt version of red head. Both my grandmothers have dark brown hair and dark brown eyes.
When I expressed my anxiety to the guy I like about him not answering my phone call the other night, he said, "I hate that feeling." Not--I'm sorry. Not--I'll try to be more sensitive. Eh... I no longer care. Heart is officially turned to off.
This might have something to do with the fact that I looked really hot last night and someone else asked me out for this weekend. I don't think I'll go out with him though. I'm not really into him either. But it was a nice ego pick me up. And it made me feel better about myself.
My friend Clay made me promise to stop dating for a while. Stupid Clay and his stupid wisdom. I made that resolution two weeks ago. Then failed miserably. Stupid me.
These are really random thoughts.
I should probably stop now. Does anyone know where I can get off of the crazy train? I feel crazy. I need for my throat to not hurt anymore. I'm a little frightened that I might be in bad shape when we open in two weeks.
Did I mention it's really cold?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I watched it fall as I swung the mop along the floor.
It was so satisfying watching the floor become clean, so clean, right in front of my eyes.
I looked out the window and saw giant flakes fall from the sky.
He called while I was cleaning the bathrooms at work.
He said to call after I got off work.
He must have fallen asleep. And who can blame him. I didn't get out of there until late. And he's always tired.
Uggh. I hate that I'm sad about this.
Why can't I just not care?
I feel like he's allowing me to love him. He's letting me care for him. That's about as much room as he has for me right now. He will let me care.
As I type this, it feels so utterly insignificant, but frankly, that's a lot right now.
I just keep waiting for the phone call when he'll tell me to move on forever. Or maybe he won't. I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. He's a mystery wrapped in a conundrum.
When he told me to call after work, I imagined the worst possible conversation unfolding.
But it never happened.
Because he fell asleep.
I wish I could fall asleep so easily. I wish I would stop imagining the worst.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I remember when Mona Lisa Smile came out. I really enjoyed it. It hit on the conflict between being a wife and mother and having a career that women "faced" during the 60s. When it came out, I was in graduate school, and none of my friends liked the movie. They just couldn't relate with the issues that the movie presented. I realized then exactly how different my LDS upbringing was from my friends upbringing. I couldn't imagine having a life where the dilemma between having a career and having a family just didn't exist.
This weekend, I saw Secretariat. During the movie, Penny Tweedy is faced with the dilemma of her loyalty to her father's legacy and her husband and children. There's a scene where her husband tells her that he won't spend any of his money bailing her out. She cringed at his words, "my money." We labor under the illusion that we are a part of a family--that we each play our particular part--and whether your role is to earn the checks or to run the business of the household--the money certainly doesn't just belong to breadwinner.
I wonder if my culture is so far behind the times that I relate better with the issues discussed in movies filmed in and around the 60s. Hmmm....
I guess I just can't convince myself that issues of equality are really truly all figured out. I still believe that there's a lot left to learn.
Friday, October 22, 2010
But I feel very strongly that I'm in the right place for me. For some reason, God has decided that I need to have certain experiences and learn certain lessons. I feel myself evolving and changing as a result of this humbling experience.
I make a lot of mistakes. I have so many things that I need to change and solve about myself. But I'm narrowing down my priorities.
No matter how lost I may be--or what problems in my life I haven't solved--I will strive every day to:
1) Help someone to feel God's love.
2) I will work hard everyday at whatever I am doing.
3) I will take time out for friends and loved ones, regardless of other "priorities".
4) I will strive to be honest with myself.
5) I will treat myself with respect and demand that others treat me with the same respect.
As long as I can remember these values everyday, I can forgive other mistakes.
This is just another page in my effort to turn the corner.
I've been talking a lot with Chris lately. I know, he hurt me. I could never explain the whole story, but please know I'm taking great care to protect my heart. I am striving to honestly identify and respect my own needs. But without going into great detail, please know that he is a good man. And I understand him. I believe that we are friends for a reason. And I'm very much at peace with just being his friend right now.
Please pray for him. He's such a good person and he's facing so many daily trials that I know are just getting to him. I can't make him take care of himself. That's one of the problems that I have with him--if he can't care for himself--how can I ever trust that he will take time out to care for me--but he spends every day caring for his two special needs children. Every moment he isn't working, he is with them. And right now, he has horrible gout and migraines. I know he's not going to be happy about me sharing his personal drama--but he'll get over it. He needs your prayers.
Thanks friends. You are wonderful!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I'm in a show.
I'm playing Nurse Rached in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Midvale Main Street Theatre.
Tickets are on sale now for $15--$13 if you buy them ahead of time online at www.midvaletheatre.com
November 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20TH 7:00 pm
7711 MAIN STREET, MIDVALE UTAH
Tonight we had our first rehearsal off book. The director is a nice guy, but he had all these little games to "help" us. He wanted us to pick up a scrap of paper with a line whenever we dropped a line...
On the first night that we're supposed to be memorized.
Instead of calling "line", he wanted us to stop the play and pick up a scrap of paper and read the line on it. The lines on the paper had such sayings as, "I'm king of the world!" and "Life is like a box of chocolate." (You get the idea...) After reading that line, we're supposed to adlib until someonegot back on track. He wanted to play it to teach us to "stay in character" during the show.
I was having a heart attack trying to keep my lines together, and instead of having a rehearsal where we could work on our lines with one another, we were supposed to play a random game...
I made the mistake of expressing my thoughts out loud. As he was giddily explaining his awesome new game, my heart started racing, as I imagined everyone going off on crazy tangents, and me losing all sense of the shape of the scene and I might have said, "Are you trying to completely F*** with my mind?"
I'm not proud of swearing... It wasn't respectful. It wasn't right. BUT . . .
On the first night that we're supposed to be memorized, the last thing I wanna do is play a da** game! I want to work my blocking and try to get through the rehearsal without causing other people pain by messing up my cues!
To be honest, I have a total potty mouth, but I try to come across as a better person on this blog, because, well, because someday I hope to be a better person.
But I'm not. I'm rude and obnoxious. And I swear waaaaayyyy too much.
Come to the show. I'm pretty proud of it.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
1) I will stop kissing guys on the first date.
2) I will stop kissing guys just because I feel like kissing a guy.
3) I will date guys that I might actually want to have a relationship with--and stop dating them just because they're a) really really good looking and b)I know that we'd have a fun time making out.
4) I will believe that it is possible to find a guy that would make a good husband.
5) I will allow myself to hope for such a guy, and finally...
6) I will stop settling.
Kissing is fun. I have to believe that I will not be alone for the rest of my life.
I have to believe that if I hold out--someone will actually be there. Someone really really cool. I don't even care about really really good looking. I just want a guy smart enough to get that I'm a catch and that he shouldn't take my love for granted.
hmmmmm.... Perhaps I'm still settling. He needs to be funny too. And he needs to have an awesome testimony of the gospel.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I want to love my life. I want to take control and be happy. And in moments throughout my day, I'm happy. I am capable of finding joy in the moments. Perhaps I'm too satisfied with less than. There are times when I look at my situation and I realize that I need to conjure the need to want more. I need to believe that I deserve more.
It's a tight rope between gratitude and ambition. I am good at being grateful for what I have--but not ambitious enough to try and make things better for myself.
I'm trying to turn a corner. I'm trying to expect more for myself.
Bishop Richard C. Edgely was my Stake President when my parents were going through their divorce. His words have always meant a lot to me. During conference, he talked about how Faith is a Choice.
This morning, I prayed to know if God is real. I feel on the edge of faith right now. I am too on the edge of everything, but most especially my faith. As I asked this question, I was reminded of moments when I learned the veracity of God's existence. It wasn't a warm fuzzy feeling, just certain moments were brought to my remembrance. But still, the moment wasn't life altering.
Then today, the speaker quoted Bp. Edgely's talk where he said: Faith is a choice.
I realized that knowing that God lives and Choosing to exercise faith are two very different things.
So, I'm rounding a corner. I'm choosing to exercise faith.
Another thought--the choice to exercise faith--like the choice that Christ made to atone for our sins--this choice is difficult. It is a choice fraught with sacrifice and with heartbreak. BUT--after the pain comes the resurrection, the new life. Choosing to be righteous is difficult. But, as sure as Christ lives--we will be blessed with greater joy and a new, sanctified life. That is the lesson of the resurrection--not only that we will live again--but that beyond the pains of today's sacrifices--there is new life and hope for a joyful happy life here on earth.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I kinda like how an illness forces you to take a vacation. Granted, I sincerely thought I was going to die at a couple of different points. With most illnesses, there's a few moments of pain and a wash of fatigue. With this thing, there was constant acute pain, exhaustion, and non-stop fever from Sunday through Wednesday. I've never been so sick that I absolutely had to sleep for at least two days. But I could only sleep for 30 minutes at a time. I will stop boring you with these details. Suffice it to say, I'm better!! Yippee!!
I feel like a different person now. I've lost 12 pounds. And I don't want to ruin things by eating more--so I'm hoping that I can continue on this path of minimal calories.
Tonight I had a great time closing the restaurant. I'm back to my strength!
Highlights of the week:
1. Figuring out how to use the DVR! (Yay for tv!!)
2. Seeing the apple pie my grandma just made and knowing that I will eat some for breakfast tomorrow as a "healthy" breakfast.
3. Closing the restaurant tonight for the first time by myself without hitch. (Part of this involved figuring out how to lock the back door with a stick since the regular "key" was nowhere to be found. Go me!)
4. Visiting with Melanie and Ben Sunday night! And dear Melissa Leilani! And Heather! (Seriously, Sunday night was a tiny slice of heaven for me.)
5. Eating Ben's roast Sunday night. Yummy.
6. Eating Ben's oatmeal cookies Sunday night. Yummy yum.
7. Only gaining 1 pound Monday morning after Sunday night's eating fest.
8. Scrubbing the bathroom floor for my Grandma.
9. Chasing after my Grandma as she tried to haul giant pruned branches from the yard to the trailer. The woman is 80 years old and I had to run to make sure that she didn't over exert herself. She cracks me up.
10. Coming closer to figuring out that being poor doesn't mean that I'm a loser.
So far, it's been a great week!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Facebook is lovely, but it's difficult when you have friends from so many different walks of life.
I love my LDS friends--but a recent thread illustrates the idea that some of my LDS friends have no sense sense of the world outside the LDS community.
And my non-LDS friends aren't really open to anyone telling them that their way of life might not be so swell.
While in graduate school, I tried to make it very clear that I was LDS. I didn't drink or have sex, BUT that was because I had made a covenant with God not to do those things. And I didn't judge any of them for doing those things because they hadn't made the same commitment to God. I loved them and supported them in whatever commitments they wanted to make. And when they wanted to talk religion, I was always happy to share my faith with pride and joy.
Last week, I posted a comment to my LGBT friends. I was thinking specifically of friends from graduate school who had nothing to do with the LDS Church. I was afraid that they might read remarks about Pres. Packer's speech and believe the rumors that LDS people were hateful to the gay community. My only way of fighting this was to remind them that I loved them--and that I was LDS.
I wanted to give a statement that might cause them to think twice before saying anything against ALL LDS people--just as I'm sure they would want me to think twice before making a blanketed statement against all LGBT people.
But the thread got away from me. One "friend" misread my words and thought that I was making a statement against the church. She called us all to repentance--not realizing that she was making these statements to many people who weren't LDS in the first place. Her words were accusatory--and rather than address me privately where we could have discussed it openly--she publicly accused me of being ashamed of the prophet and the apostles.
This invited other friends to express more vehemently--and their words DID seem to challenge the church. I sat and watched friends attack my church--and other friends attack myself--and I didn't quite know what to do--because again--the original intent was simply to extend a hand of fellowship to my LGBT friends.
I tried to maintain the original intent with every post. But now I am vastly misunderstood.
Let me make it clear: I believe that the duty of the Prophet and the Apostles is to give us words that will lead us to leave the happiest lives here and in the future.
Some quotes from President Packer's speech "Cleansing the Inner Vessel":
"We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”13
Again I reiterate--their job is to teach us actions that will lead to our happiness. And to help us to have faith in our ability to adhere to those actions.
"There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.
Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish."
And I believe that he speaks the truth here. I believe that as a prophet and seer he can see the dangers that will come if we disregard the laws that say marriage is between a man and woman. And he is sharing this with us in order to help us to avoid the unhappy consequences of ignoring these laws.
Some have accused Pres. Packer of being insensitive to the rash of suicides caused by bullying and hateful anti-gay tactics. They say that this speech could be used to inspire other acts of violence against gays.
I didn't feel that. I think that wicked people can use any excuse to exercise wickedness. The wickedness I speak of here is the extension of hatred towards anyone struggling against same-sex attraction.
Same-sex attraction is real. It is not something that people make up to justify sin. It is not a choice. People have the choice whether to act upon it or not. And according to the prophets, to act upon that choice is to bring less happiness into your life. That is what I understand his words to mean.
As a follower of Christ, I do not need to understand everything. I will be given light and wisdom as I exercise faith and obedience. But, I do not need to understand everything before I exercise that obedience. There is a lot about this issue that I still do not understand. But I have faith and I believe that a clearer understanding will be given to me as I exercise faith and obedience.
I will express my love and support for all of my friends. I will have faith in the Prophet and the Apostles.
And lastly--since this is getting very long--I would like to express my faith in the individual's ability to receive their own personal revelation. God has given us this beautiful ability to speak with Him and to know His will concerning our own lives. I have friends who have struggled with same sex attraction who decided to leave the church in order to find greater peace. And I trust that they are following a particular path that God has given them--individually--that will help them to make peace with themselves and God.
It is my duty to have faith in God and obey my leaders. As a friend, it is my duty to love and support them and to have faith in their own ability to judge what is best for their lives. Heaven knows, life is complicated--and I would never presume to understand what it must be like for anyone else in this crazy world.
So there. That's my stance.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
But, Bonnie surrounded by other women who wanted to speak with her.
Instead, another woman approached me and asked if I was waiting to speak with Bonnie. I nodded and then immediately recognized that perhaps the best opportunity for learning was in front of me. The woman was Dr. Claudia Clayton. She asked me if we'd met before because she recognized me. We exchanged a bit of our histories, in hopes of finding out where our paths may have crossed. I shared with her my current ambitions and my passion for identifying different sources of female power within the LDS community. I haven't been able to identify a particular thesis, but I'm trying to grab a hold of every opportunity I can find to ask questions and to expand my "research", and someday when the time is right, a thesis will emerge.
Today, in between conference sessions, I decided to look up Claudia's work online.
I found a beautiful speech she gave in 2004.
I share it with you now. It is absolutely inspiring.
Please enjoy! "Agency and Context" by Claudia J. Clayton
Friday, October 1, 2010
Tonight I went to a Salon sponsored by The Mormon Women Project. It was held at a home in Salt Lake City. There were 4 women interviewed in front of about 40 of us gathered to hear their stories. The women interviewed were: Ariel Bybee, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Debra Goodson, and Karen B. Larsen.
It was a beautiful evening.
All four women shared stories of faith and individuality. I sat on a soft chair at the back and just reveled in the beauty, wit and intelligence of these women who were faithful to God and to true to themselves.
I'm never going to adequately convey the feeling in the room. I'm never going to be able to share the joy I felt hearing these women share their amazing triumphs and trials. It was wonderful.
One story: Ariel Bybee is a world renowned opera singer. When she was very young, she sang at an Education Week in Idaho. Hugh Nibley was speaking at the same session. He asked her about her future plans and she excitedly shared that she wanted to be a professional singer. He told her that it would be impossible. She could never be a professional singer and a wife and a mother. We all laughed. But the story was an interesting example of the limited attitude that many in the church have towards female ambition. the fact is, we don't know what the Lord intends for any of us. Ariel married and had a baby, and was never able to have more children. This broke her heart, but it allowed her the freedom to continue singing professionally. God had a plan for her. And God has a plan for each of us. It might not be the same as everyone else's plan.
Bonnie shared about her journey as a PhD candidate in the 60s, about being a single woman, and then after finally getting married in her 30s, her inability to have children until she finally told God: If you give me children, I'll be happy. If you don't, I'll be happy. I'm okay. And then 4 weeks later, she adopted a baby girl.
Karen shared about finding out she was pregnant with her 4th child, when her oldest was only 2 1/2 years old.
The whole evening was inspired.
And after my beautiful day of hiking--well, clearly, you can see why this was the best day ever.
(After the Salon, I went over to a friend's house and watched an awesome cartoon with him and his daughter. And then this friend gave me a heavenly good night kiss while Prince's song "Kiss" played in the background. I'll say it again . . . BEST. DAY. EVER.:)
And it was glorious!
First, I met a new friend. Alisha is the sister of a dear friend, Marcia. We decided for our first meeting, we would go on a little walk on a paved path around Silver Lake--just up Big Cottonwood Canyon.
And then we found another trail . . .
It said it was only a mile up to Twin Lake.
And that might have been fine, if we didn't have a 2 year old and a 6 month old baby with us. But Alisha and I are great enablers. If it had been just me, I probably would have been satisfied with just walking around the lake.
But the very idea of hiking up a mountain with two kiddies in tow. . . The challenge was intoxicating.
And so we did it!!
Every summit, we'd renew our energies and decide to go forward.
Towards the top, it got rockier and rockier. For a two year old, it was a bit dangerous. Rather than trying to guide the little tyke up the mountain, I carried him up the last bit. Which was awesome!! I was exhausted! The trail was steep--but dangitall--I carried that kid up the final hill!! (Granted--Alisha had been carrying the baby the entire time, so... she's a rock star.)
And in the process of our journey, Alisha and I became life long friends.
We took lots of pictures, because Alisha is a professional photographer. It was wonderful! But I took pics with her camera, and I don't have the pics yet.
Soooo . . . you gotta wait for the pics. (And they are luhhvely.)
Check out Alisha's work at her webpage: www.alishastamper.com
There are a plethora of metaphors I could recite involving today's hike, but I won't.
Oh who am I kidding!! Of course I will!
Here's my favorite:
As we neared the top, we kept heading towards "summits". We pushed ourselves towards each summit, believing that if we could only make it to the ridge, we would finally be at the end of our journey. And then we'd arrive and realize that we weren't at THE summit. Each time, we would stop and consider our options. We could choose to keep going, or stop and enjoy that summit and then go back. Certainly, there was no shame in turning back, but we'd convince ourselves that it was just up the next hill and shove on forward.
I feel like I recently hit a new summit. I thought it was the top. And it's not. And I'm tired. I know I need to push on and head towards the next summit, but right now--I kinda wanna just catch my breath and enjoy this vista and I'll continue on . . . I will . . . but dangitall . . . I am tired! But someday soon, I'm going to pick up a metaphorical 2 year old and run to the top of the summit. And it will be the real summit. And I will feel that ultimate satisfaction at conquering my life's mountains.
But right now, I'm gonna sit on this rock for a bit, because it might not be the top--but the view is still absolutely stunning--and afterall--isn't life really about the journey? (cue groan at horrific use of cliche..)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This weekend was the awful precursor to the awful day.
I found myself weeping incessantly on Saturday, with zits blooming all over the left side of my face. My friend Robin called and I tried talking to her adorable boys about their new window art projects, but I just couldn't stop crying.
Then Sunday sweet hormonal relief happened.
And today--the horrific physical pain that follows the end of the hormonal rollercoaster.
Usually on this day of days, I curl in a ball and weep softly to myself, while rocking.
The weeping actually helps the pain.
Today I had to work. So today, I plotted out my work methodically. I scrubbed and breathed. I mopped and sighed. I cleaned and sang. I told my co-workers that I would be singing along with my ipod, and I didn't bother to ask whether they liked it or not. Singing/crying really does help with the pain.
So I sang myself silly.
I was so pleased that I made it through the night without fainting. I came home and watered the flowers and now I'm going to go to bed.
Good night cruel day of days. Until next month!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I saw this last night. It was a little long . . .but the story was a complicated one. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Susan Sarandon's character. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all the facets of this movie. I've been trying to understand the function of money in a society that's lost so much money over the past few years. What is the true value of money now? A few years ago, we all defined ourselves based on how we made money--but now--it seems so simpleminded. Money is simply a means to an end. It isn't who we are. But still. . . it would be nice to have some.
It's funny. And smart. And the relationship between the girl and her parents is lovely. Very cute. And I love how it reveals students as stupid and innocent who believe everyone else is raunchy and crazy...but they're all just as stupid and innocent as you. Perhaps a touch naive? Who cares! It's nice.
If you haven't seen it yet... sorry. You missed an awesome movie!! Nuff said.
I snuck off to watch this movie by myself and giggled happily amidst a bunch of kids with their parents. Who am I kidding? The only one of these movies I actually saw with someone was Scott Pilgrim. Anywhoooo . . . I loved this movie. Emma Thompson can do no wrong. I wish I was her. Seriously. I want to be her. Or a bird. Or maybe a lion.
A few weeks ago, Chris walked into Rubios with a pile of cds that he had promised me ages ago.
I've been making my way through this treasure of music.
The first cd I'd like to rave about is Delta Spirit's album History From Below.
My great-grandma and my grandmother moved from Arkansas in the 1940s out to California. My grandpa and his mother moved from Alabama around the same time. They both met and fell in love in Los Angeles.
Delta Spirit is a band based out of Los Angeles--but this album touches on the history of the South. Lead singer Matthew Vasquez spoke about writing the song "Vivian" about his grandparents' love story.
The band has been on tour for the past 2 years. They wrote some songs together, and some songs seperately as they lived in their "isolated coexistence" (as described in a great interview here.)
To give you a sense of what this album entails--here's a list of the music as it appears in my itunes. Note the different names they've given themselves, based on the songs. I'm rather in love with this band. I enjoy them more and more everytime I listen.
Elijah Thompson 1. 911
Delta Spirit 2. Bushwick Blues
Bo Koster 3. Salt in the Wound (favorite)
Delta Spirit 4. White Table (favorite)
Bo Koster 5. Ransom Man
Delta Spirit 6. Devil Knows Your Dead
Elijah Thompson 7. Golden State
Bo Koster 8. Scarecrow
Bo Koster 9. Vivian
Delta Spirit 10. St. Francis
Bo Koster 11. Ballad of Vitaly
There's something so rich about hearing a contemporary band capture the spirit of the South. It somehow makes time stand still and you feel a part of something more than just a morning drive to work.
Monday, September 20, 2010
The Inappropriate Bishop Higgins
I have been giggling to myself all weekend.
Here are some of my favorite posts:
Saturday, October 10, 2009
All Things To Be Done In Order
If you'd like to make an appointment with the bishop, you need to see Tom Davis, who is the secretary for the executive secretary. He'll make an appointment for you to see the executive secretary, Brother Samuelson, who will then schedule your bishop's appointment.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Twenty Third Most Popular Sin This Week
Lusting after the girl at the DMV with the low cut shirt reading the book "Miracle of Forgiveness" and trying to imagine what sin she committed to warrant her reading the book.
My friend Lonzo took this picture during rehearsal the other night. It's been a great play to rehearse. So many talented people. We went to a karoake bar Friday night after rehearsal. I sang "Sweet Child of Mine" because I love Axel Rose.
Before I started the first grade, just after Matthew was born, we moved to a duplex in Lehi. I went to first grade at a private school called "American Heritage" for 1st grade and part of 2nd grade. Then I moved over to Lehi Elementary School for the second half of 2nd grade.
Life at this house was very fun. I remember riding my bike and singing Madonna's song "Crazy for You" about one of the neighbor boys. I remember watching the neighborhood boys break dance. I remember seeing the lady who lived in the house next door lay out in her bikini on the drive way. She had red hair. I thought her body was so beautiful! I remember learning about what sex was from my friend Megan while living in this house. And I remember hearing one of the neighbor boys whisper that he loved me while we were playing tag in the backyard. All of this happened in and around this house.
I had a mission reunion on Saturday in Lehi. I found myself driving through the town looking for my old neighborhood. It's been 25 years and the house hasn't changed a bit. It was like entering a time machine. Nothing has changed.
It's been 10 years since my mission--and everyone changed! We're all older and fatter and everyone but me has a bunch of cute little kids. My mind might explode if I try to understand how one part of my past has remained untouched over the past 25 years and how another part of my life can completely explode with change in just 10 years.
I have live in many many different houses. I am going to write a book entitled, "Finding Home". Don't tell anyone. Hold me accountable though! I will finish the book by June 2011.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Both Jeb and Cletus are single guys in their mid 30s who have been LDS at some point. Jeb is still trying, though not very well frankly, and Cletus has officially given up on the LDS spiritual path. Both of them were describing how incredibly sad they are right now. (Please note that they don't know each other at all--so this isn't some homoerotic love story I'm sharing here--even though Jeb and Cletus could be the title of a spectacular love story . . .)
I'm not inclined to tell everyone that if they were faithful Latter-Day Saints, they might find happiness. These are adult men who served missions, and who understand the blessings of the gospel. I have faith and confidence in their capacity to choose what is best for them at this time. Perhaps it isn't what I would choose--but I have respect for their ability to search things out and I respect that if I were in their same position, I might have made the same choices.
BUT . . .
As a result of these choices, both Jeb and Cletus are miserable with themselves. They do not own their decisions. I could sense from both of them that because of the mistakes they had made, they were utterly miserable when facing themselves in those inevitable moments of solitude. Both guys complained about not having love--but they're both incredibly handsome guys who could easily find love. The real problem is that both Jeb and Cletus are uncomfortable being with themselves.
I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have no intention of seeing the movie until after I finish, and I really enjoy meandering my way through the book. In the book, she talks a great deal about meditation and the art of just being with yourself, and with God. She speaks of enjoying the present--without concern for the past or the future.
If you think women worry more about the past and the future--you are sorely mistaken--men are horribly caught up in all the things they can't change about the past and all the things they can't predict about the future. Both Jeb and Cletus were good upstanding mormons who fell into their current paths because they found themselves in life situations that didn't fit into the promised mold. Among other reasons--but I'm vastly oversimplifying.
I think women are better able to let go of these concerns, because we've had to relinquish control over our lives for centuries--or at least get used to the idea that at any moment, we might have to swallow our will in favor of someone else's--be that a man or a child, a parent or a grandparent.
Alice Walker wrote a story called, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self" about her own journey to find joy with herself. I hope for Jeb and Cletus that they will learn how to take time to enjoy being with themselves. I love and respect them both. I believe that some decisions are mistakes, and some decisions are right for us and lead us to paths that will strengthen us and teach us lessons the hard way. And sometimes the hard way is the best way to learn something deep down in your bones. I want Jeb and Cletus to respect who they are today and enjoy just being. I want them to understand and feel God's love for them in this very instance--not when they've fixed everything or when they've solved the dilemmas of the past and future--but right now.
I wish that for all of my friends.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
When he walked in, I almost gasped. I definitely let my face slide into a subtle grin. The man was perfect. About 6 feet tall, deep brown eyes, perfect lips. 38 years old, but crazy handsome so that he appears to be somewhere between 25 and 30. We asked each other all the requisite questions. The conversation was a little slow because he is Peruvian and working on his English. He would stop to ask me to explain a word and I began to appreciate his intelligence. He told me about learning Italian while he worked on an Italian Cruise Ship. He told me how he'd learned French growing up in Lima, but then decided to devote his time to learning English. We started talking about reading and our favorite books. We were both relaxed. I was quiet because I knew it was easier for me to understand his broken English than it was for him to process my stories. So I sat back and quietly asked him questions and he shared with me.
I was beginning to think the date was going to be a convenient English lesson between two friends when suddenly he stopped speaking and very innocently just stared into my eyes. I let myself lock eyes with him. It seemed a bit intimate, but why not?
After a few seconds of unbroken staring, he calmly said, "You have beautiful eyes." I replied, "So do you." Then we smiled and continued talking.
At this point, I was dying to say, "Check!" But, he was interested in learning more about me. So we talked for another 45 minutes.
After finally paying for dinner, he walked me to my car. I put my purse in the car and prepared to wait it out for a good night kiss. I leaned against the car and began searching the sky for stars. He leaned against the car next to me and we stared off into the sky looking at the stars, continually talking about everything and nothing.
I was careful not to touch him or seem too eager. The fact that I wasn't getting into my car made it pretty clear that I was interested. We stopped talking and just locked eyes again. We both smiled and enjoyed the anticipation.
He asked me, "When can I see you again?" I told him when, and then, when he had established that this wasn't just a one night non-commital make-out session--he leaned in and kissed me.
I'm home now. My stomach is doing flip flops and my knees are gelatin.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Before I move onto Nyla's subject--I must describe my meeting with her mother. I was sitting one person away from her. I thought to myself, someone on this row has a lovely singing voice. Yeah.... And then I realized that it was Ariel Bybee!!! Ack!
I stopped her after the fireside and said, "Are you Sister Bybee?" She smiled graciously and said, "Yes."
Then in my mind I said, "Your music is so inspiring. I can't tell you how much I love your rendition of 'O Divine Redeemer."
Instead, tears started streaming down my face and I said, "uhhhhh I .... can't speak."
I finally muttered a "Thank you for your music."
I had much better luck with her daughter. Nyla has started a project called the Mormon Women's Project. You can visit it at www.mormonwomen.com. The point of the project is to show that there is more than one way to choose the right. I love it. I immediately ran up afterwards and said, "How do I help?"
One of the women that they're highlighting is the anonymous creator of the blog "Seriously So Blessed". I am cracking up reading this parody blog. It's too brilliant. From the misspellings to the crazy names for the kids to the guilt over store bought cupcakes. I luhhhve it. And the playlist is cracking me up as well.
Go visit: www.seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com and www.mormonwomen.com
Saturday, September 11, 2010
My life has gone from working about 20 hours a week and making more money than I ever have--to working every day--on my feet all day--for a bit less.
I am reminded that the more money you make--the less you work. I really like my work now though. I liked it before too, don't get me wrong--teaching is incredibly fulfilling. But I like going to work at Rubios everyday. The restaurant prides itself on fresh food and I love that they value doing things well. I really like the people I work with too. Everyone takes great pride in giving really great food to people.
So for the past two weeks I've been counting food, cleaning floors and tables, greeting customers, and working on my feet for about 7 to 8 hours a day (not too many). My not so little body isn't used to being on the feet all day long. My back kind of tightens up into this mass. It's weird. It feels numb. But I really like the work. I kinda wish I made the same as I made before, but there's a time and a place for everything.
By only making a certain amount of money, I am forced to enjoy living with my grandmother. And by living with her, I am privileged to listen to stories about what it was like when my grandpa died in the F104 (The Widowmaker) back in the 60s. I get to listen to stories about their last trip to Italy, and about my Great Grandpa's experience fighting the Battle of the Bulge.
I auditioned for a play at a little theatre in Salt Lake City. I get to play Nurse Rached in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Between work and the play, I don't have a lot of time for much else. But I do manage to think about things enough to enjoy some pathos.
I miss my friends in Virginia, but I'm very aware that this step, as painful as it is on my wallet and on my heart--was a necessary step for me.
I wish I was a better person. I wish I had more of my life figured out.
But I'm okay. And that's pretty good considering.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tomorrow I'll listen to the rest of the album, but right now I'm just playing this song over and over again. Because as I mentioned before, I love it. Very much.
Middle Cyclone by Neko Case
Here are the lyrics--
Baby, why'm I worried now,
did someone make a fool of me
'fore I could show 'em how it's done?
Can't give up actin' tough,
it's all that I'm made of.
Can't scrape together quite enough
to ride the bus to the outskirts
of the fact that I need love.
There were times that I tried,
one for every glass of water
that I spilled next to the bed,
wretching pennies in a boiling well
in a dream that it once becomes
a foundry of mute and heavy bells.
They shake me deaf and dumb
say, "Someone made a fool of me
'fore I could show 'em how it's done."
It was so clear to me
that it was almost invisible.
I lie across the path waiting,
just for a chance to be a spiderweb
trapped in your lashes.
For that, I would trade you my empire for ashes.
But I choke it back, how much I need love...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
As a woman born after or rather, in the throes of the women’s rights movement, I have searched for a means to identify my own unique feminine power. In the 1980s, too many people defined power as a purely masculine energy. Women wore the shoulder pads and forged ahead, accommodating their feminine power to fit in a masculine world.
As a woman, I am loathe to give up my own brand of power in order to mimic an unfamiliar source of strength simply because the world identifies power in a different way. Many of my female friends feel the same way. Today, women are reimagining the shape and nature of power.
I want to be who I am—without pressure from cultures old or new. I am embarking on a journey to identify power that is particularly recognized as feminine in order to fine tune my inherent strength. I want to know what iconic gifts history has already bestowed upon my gender and use that knowledge to extend my present reach.
As I walked through the museum, weeping over tapestries and pots, I chuckled at my hormonal reactions to such simple visions. How utterly weak to cry over a clay pot! How very womanly of me! To empathize with a human being long dead, with no connection to me beyond our physical need to create something. And I wept again.
In the center of the exhibit, there were two paintings. Both paintings were done by men in the 1940s. The first image was of the Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal, painted in 1947 by Guillermo Meza. The painting is dark and frightening. Her breasts are healthy and perfect, her shoulders and collar bone denote health and vigor. But her breasts and arms are covered in blood. It isn’t clear whether the blood is her own or someone else’s. It doesn’t matter. Her eyes aren’t pained. Her eyes are clear, but vacant. They are beyond judgment. From her head grows a plant. Her face juts forward into the future. The goddess represents fertility, life, flowers, pleasure. She also represents death that comes with birth and the cycles of life that follow war and desolation. In her presence both life and death cling without particular adoration for one over the other.
As I stared at the goddess, I tried to imagine the moments where women have stood as pivotal figures in war, death, birth, and pleasure in history. I felt power in my feminine connection to birth and death. As I pondered this connection, I pictured an experience from just a few years back. I was sitting at the bedside of a dear friend as she clung to life after giving birth. Her skin was pale and yellow. I felt the sickness of her body as her organs threatened to shut down. Without really understanding why, I began to chant softly, very calmly requesting that the cells in her liver begin to function, I requested that her empty uterus heal, that the cells in her organs begin to work together in an orderly fashion. I felt her heart break inside my heart as I thought about her child, taken to another hospital with a better neonatal intensive care unit. I asked that her heart be healed. I felt it was my privilege and duty as a woman to say these things with her as she sat as a vessel of birth on the brink of death. I left her room and just hoped for the best, not really believing that I could make any difference. Truly, despite exercising the power, I felt quite powerless. The doctors and nurses had the real power to help her now. Three days later, she called and asked me when I had come to visit her. I told her the time. She told me that before falling asleep, her condition was worsening. After I left the room, the doctor came in and to his surprise, her body had started to heal. He said, “I don’t know what dwarves were in here over the last hour, but they sure must like you. This is amazing.”
I share this not to brag. I feel as though I’m breaking some ancient feminine code in revealing this intensely personal moment. But, I understood that somehow, by virtue of being a woman, I had a power over life and death that needed to be exercised at that moment. I stared at the goddess in the painting and smiled at our shared connection.
Next, I came across Raul Anguiano’s painting “Desolacion”. The first thing you see is the sorrow on the woman’s face. The scenery is empty and desolate, but for this lone woman. The next thing you notice is her bare feet. She has nothing. No evidence of a past, and only bare feet to carry her forward. Her emptiness is overwhelming. Yet she exists. In the middle of emptiness and destruction, she alone emerges to carry forward. Not a plant, not a bird, an animal or any other sign of life exists as evidence that anything has ever existed before. But not only does this woman have the power to survive such destruction, but she marches forward, out of the desolation and towards something else.
In identifying traditional images of female empowerment, I can’t help but wonder at the power of my male counterparts. If feminine power is traditionally linked to life and death, pleasure and suffering, what on earth is left for the men to rule? I think back to kings, princes, laws that left women without representation, money, and at a general disadvantage in all things between life and death.
So what do stings, dreams, clay pots, tapestries and paintings of iconic women have in common? They all exist within a day in the life of this particular woman. They contribute to my own unique search for my place within this post modern world. As a woman, I am my pain, my pleasure, and my power to heal and embrace a world beyond the logical and the practical. All these factors came together to create a moment of connection between myself, the women of Mexico, and the iconic goddess. I still have so many questions: how do I identify my own particular power as a woman today and adapt this power into a livable wage? I have no interest in setting up shop as a doctor or a midwife. I don’t plan on opening a brothel or a funeral parlor. As I come to understand the gifts that history has recognized as particularly feminine, my next journey is to identify a way in which I can live up to my sex, while paying my bills. In the meantime, I’ll just write about it.
THE END. FOR NOW.
The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t angry. I was just empty. I wasn’t ready to embrace any kind of overt joy, but whereas before my heart had been swollen with anger, confusion, pride, and regret—now I was empty and open. I had no intention of filling it up with anything or anyone, but I felt safe being open to whatever the day might bring. I methodically showered and dressed. I went to an appointment. Again, I let the sad songs play and I cried. But I also let the happy songs play too. And I read comics and I laughed.
I decided to tell Elijah’s father about the dream. I did. And that felt nice. I don’t know why I had had this dream about Elijah, but I did and I thought it would be good for his father to know that in my dream, Elijah is an awesome being who gives peace to everyone who comes near him, even me. I could sense that my words meant a great deal to his father. I felt a sense of power at my ability to heal with words.
By this time, I noticed that my finger was about half the size that it had been the day before. I let myself smile. I got in my car and made a beeline for the University of Utah Art Museum. I parked my car and walked inside.
I felt like I was floating. The museum housed a collection of art from Mexico. The sunlight fell in the pristine museum and the art stood proudly on their individual perches. Each piece was catalogued and identified for me on a card. I methodically studied each new piece, breathing the work in and out. I stood in front of a little clay pot and imagined the fingers molding the clay. I imagined the dust and the sweat from the artisan mixing in with the wet clay. And I cried at the miracle that had somehow connected me to the artisan across centuries and miles. I cried over a clay pot.
In awe, I stared at the weaving that the women of Mexico had created years before. I imagined a woman weaving her cloth in the dirt, one end attached to a small tree. Her heart must have been filled with responsibility, pain, and anguish. At some point, she probably got stung by a yellow jacket, or worse, by a man. And yet, here I was staring at this beautiful tapestry that she created. Despite the heat, the pain, or perhaps even the promise of pleasure, she dedicated herself to creating something beautiful. What is it that compels us to create in a world that stings and swells? I wanted to discover my connection to this woman.
My finger was the size of a small breakfast sausage. I know this because Sunday morning, I had sausage with my family. Three pieces. My finger resembled a sausage. It itched like crazy and I thought my skin would explode. I had this insane desire to cut open my finger in order to let it deflate, but some small rational part of me kept me from finding a knife.
I sat in church staring at my finger. I could feel it getting bigger. Every time someone spoke to me, it took every ounce of strength not to bark my reply. I finally found some ice in the kitchen and tried to freeze my finger. It seemed like a healthier alternative to mutilating it with a knife.
I enjoyed a nice roast with my brother and my grandmother. I pushed through all the allotted tasks, knowing that to stop, was to collapse. After musing over whether to go to the hospital or not (the finger was actually bigger now) I decided to just run to a drug store and get some allergy medicine. I swallowed the pills, iced the finger, and watched it grow.
As I drove from one obligation to another, songs would play. I skipped the happy songs. For every song of anger or heartbreak, I sang out and only then did the tears race down my cheeks. I didn’t want to feel better. I wanted to feel exactly how horribly lost and alone I was and I did not want to feel anything else. I felt like I had wrapped myself up in some dream of hope and that dream failed me and I wanted nothing but unadulterated reality. Raw reality. I think my favorite song was “We Do Not Belong Together” sung by Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in Sondheim’s Sunday In The Park With George. In the song, Dot tells George that she’s leaving him because he doesn’t need her. As I raged with Dot, I shuddered with tears. But I always wiped my face before I got out of the car. Clearly, there was more to my pain than an allergic reaction to a yellow jacket sting, but it’s so cliché I’m loathe to share.
Monday night, I fell into bed at some ungodly hour I’m sure. I took a Claritin, two ibuprofin, covered the finger in cream and curled into my pillow. That night, I dreamed of a boy. The boy had brown curls and a pale face. He was my friend Elijah and his father had left him in my care. In the large mansion, a gregarious homeless man with a nicotine stained beard played video games with a boy with cerebral palsy. Other children with various ailments came in for sodas, played cards, or just gathered around Elijah. There was nothing formal about the evening. Everyone was having a nice, relaxed time. I noticed that here with Elijah, no one felt out of place or handicapped in anyway. Everyone just enjoyed one another’s company. Including myself. My main goal was to figure out something that Elijah could eat. I know Elijah in real life, and I knew that there were specific foods that he couldn’t eat, and in my dream I felt this overwhelming need to make sure that he was well fed and cared for. I finally decided to give him mashed up green beans. I remember mashing and mashing the green beans. I wanted to make sure that they were perfect for him. When his father came home, I was happy to tell him that Elijah had finished his grean beans. Then I woke up.