Monday, December 30, 2013

Farewell December

I'm trying something new this year.

I'm throwing things away.

I've always lived with clutter. I've always been a pack-rat, less affectionately termed a "horder." The trouble comes from the fact that I attach memories to physical objects, and it often feels like if I give the object up, I abandon the memory as well. This is why I like concert t-shirts, why I wanted a copy of John Knowles' A Separate Peace with the same cover as the copy I originally read, why I save souvenirs from every show I'm in; the list goes on. Sometimes even simply remembering who gave me the item, even if it's completely insignificant and possibly from the DI, I can't ditch it. It has too much recognition attached to it. The trouble is there's not space for an entire life of memories in this room of mine, and I can't keep saving everything riding on the belief I'll have space for it when I'm married and move out. Because life will happen in between then and now, and I'll gather more things inevitably.

So, starting today, I'm throwing things away.

I wasn't going to make this a cliche New Years Resolution post, but as I started typing I remembered something someone at church said about the way to make goals effective is to tell them to someone, to hold yourself accountable to more than just yourself.

So here are my resolutions. Here are my goals in all their personal glory.

-Do my school work so I pass my classes. Try.
-Give myself the missionary discussions. Study one every other week and plan my Sunday School lessons on the opposite weeks.
-If able with the (hopefully) new job, go to the temple every Wednesday and Friday morning.
-Save money. Budget forty dollars a month to funtivities and stick to it so you stop being poor.
-If able with the (hopefully) new job, go to the gym Monday/Wednesday/Friday, going after the temple on Wednesday and Friday.
-Go to bed between 11 and 12 and wake up at seven.
-Read John Donne

What I really wanted to do was a year in review. I really like these, and a simple post covering the year is a good way to tell the kids what their mum accomplished in 2013 so they don't have to sift through my two journals spanning the year to get the basic thread.

So here is my year in review:

January-February I was assistant stage manager for Will Rogers' Follies at Weber State, which was an excellent experience with fantastic cast and crew, and the show became one of my favorites ever. Will Roger's is an amazing man. Look into him if you don't know of him. He's one of those guys we need wandering around today, making a difference and stirring the pot.

At the same time I was directing my first musical at West Bountiful Elementary. And for the first time in my life I considered myself an artist. I've had these pictures in my head, these beautiful thematic pictures that I've never been able to sculpt or paint or sketch, and it wasn't until watching the musical come together that I realized I'd finally done it. I'd finally gotten a cookie cutter of what was in my head to exist in reality. And it looked just like I wanted it to. It was incredible to work with those 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, giving me the realization that it wouldn't be terrible to teach at a junior high. It gave me something to present at juries, something to further my ambition, practice for later in the year when I'd direct my college peers. It taught me responsibility. I didn't want to disappoint those kids. I didn't want to show up unprepared and let them down.

It was probably March when I auditioned for Pickleville Playhouse. They didn't take me, which is understandable because frankly I just don't have pipes. And because I, less than a week later, was officially made part of the Improvables.

On St. Patrick's Day I met Daphne Willis in Park City by fan-girling at her. Surprised and (hopefully) complimented, she hooked me and Emily up with a private mini concert because we'd driven out there to see her and she wasn't actually playing in the lounge that day. And even if she had been we wouldn't have been able to listen. Still 20 at this point and stuff.

Somewhere in April/Mayish I auditioned for a play at the community theatre, and went to my first callbacks since high school two years before. They had me and three other women --and I say women meaning I was the youngest-- stay later to read a different set of sides than she (the director) had us reading as a group of twelve. I'd gone into the first audition with two small monologues prepared. She wanted to see us perform monologues she'd selected from the script, and being a 20 year old girl, I didn't think they'd give me much of a part, so I prepared a more sheepish monologue. But there was another that was so biting I just had to do it. I decided if she gave me time for both I'd do the biting one last.

So I had.

And she had me stay later at call backs to read for that part.

And then I got it.

I was cast in my first show since high school, and in my first community theatre show ever. In June and July I performed as Juror 4 in 12 Angry Jurors, which has become one of my favorite shows to ever work on because there was so much power in that cast, in being cooped up in the "jury room," stuck on stage for an hour and some odd minutes, fermenting in our characters and in our discussions. I was finally able to put two years of college theatre training to use (which, side note, is another reason I want to teach, because tell me how it's fair to learn thousands of incredible things and never be given the opportunity to try them out in something more than a monologue or five minute scene). It restored faith in myself as a performer. That I can do this. I'm good enough for theatre.

Spanning January to April I was trudging my way out of being severely interested in a certain gent who didn't care for me in the slightest, and accepted a date with another I'd met my first year of college.

In June he became my first boyfriend.

In July he became my first ex.
 I learned patience, that I don't need to rush, and that I don't need to end up with everyone I go on a date with, and that it's okay if I like other guys more than some: that's the point. And it's okay if they seem to like me and several weeks later change their minds. It hurts, it sucks, and it leaves you alone, but it's okay.

I arranged to carpool with my dear new best friend Rachel (new meaning new to me not replacing the old) to school pretty much every day. I got an institute parking pass for Tues/Thurs, the days we really needed it. I became closer with her and her (ex) boyfriend, as well as made friends in my English and Chemistry class, and tried to maintain confident Erica in my theatre classes, because for some reason confident Erica didn't seamlessly roll over into that world.

I went on a blind date, I cast three fantastic actors in my scene from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," I auditioned for another community theatre show and was cast as understudy for two roles as well as backstage tech for the nights I wasn't performing. I balanced school, work, rehearsal for three months.

I was mic tech for an original musical on campus and watched the show backstage every night, having delightful and deep conversations with one of the grips, and becoming better friends with him as well. I started hanging out with the cool kids weekly, when I could, and got to be a more integral part of the group. Sometimes I stupidly am still surprised people like them can like me.

Shortly around this time I was called as a Sunday School teacher in my single's ward. Gospel Doctrine. I was panicked and worried about time and my horrible way of managing it, but I said yes because Jesus wanted me to. And I've loved every minute of it and can already feel myself developing into a better teacher.

In October I made my own Halloween costume, the little girl zombie from The Walking Dead, dirtying my bath robe with watered down acrylic paint. People thought it was rad. I couldn't believe I'd never made a costume before. It was more fun than anything ever.

In November nothing exceptionally notable happened...just continued on with school, the cool kids, rehearsals for my directing scene and Farndale Avenue's Housing Estate's Townswoman's Guild's Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol. (I never really memorized were the possessive apostrophes go...)

December I performed in Farndale Avenue, survived finals week, had my Rosencrantz and Guildenstern scene go off without a hitch, earning me an A and several compliments from the teacher on the dynamic of the cast. I wasn't scheduled at the bakery for three weeks straight, but (Christmas miracle/tender mercy) was working as a tech for Farndale on the nights I didn't perform so I earned a bit of money during that time anyway.) Had my 21st birthday, spent with the cool kids. Started interviewing for jobs as a teller, had my Floridian cousin come home and here we are.

Back at the beginning. More happened this year, a lot of little things, but I wrote all the big things that came to mind right off the bat. The rest meant something, but not enough of a something to have a shout-out I suppose. I'm looking ahead now, to a year of directing another musical, (hopefully) meeting/hugging Norman Reedus, maybe finding a gent to hold my hand for a while, (hopefully) getting a new job, and possibly going on a mission. We'll see. There are things I control and things I don't. And a lot of things that can be handled if I simply get out there, smile, and try.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Back-Handed Compliment

I thought when he said we could talk about it at the show that night it would be to ease my pain with a friendly hand on the shoulder and a few soft pats laced with the undertone that I was never really ever considered for the part, so it shouldn't be a surprise he had to email me with negative results.

And not negative in medical terms, meaning the disease isn't present. Not negative that way. Not really.

You can understand my surprise when the producer of the black box at the local community theatre approached me with a hesitantly sorrowful face that night and mouthed "Did you get your email?" before sweeping me into a gentle hug upon my Yes.

He started talking. Said after Saturday she was in first and I was in second, I listened, my mind remembering the four other girls up for the part at callbacks, but he was only talking about me and one other. Just two of five. "After Tuesday it all swapped. Your readings were so solid." My brain started to make sense of his monologue.

It was between me and one other. Just two.

"I was pushing for you but [the director] was pushing for her. And you were so close in everything that we had to go with looks. And I hate that because I've lost parts that way."

But she looked more like Thomas More's daughter than I did.

I don't have enough English blood for English looks.

I was chipper, I was flattered, I was understanding. It was enough to know I'd been considered. Especially so closely. I felt good about my callbacks, but I had no idea I was near the head of the group after that terrible first audition. But he looked at me and told me several times that I'd been good. I'd been really good. And so had she. So they had to go with who looked more familial.

And it was her.

But you can see how, letting it sink in further, I realized how disgruntling a situation this was. I'd been so close. I was so close. And I lost it for looks. I lost it for being blonde and blue eyed. I lost it for being round faced, not narrow faced. I'd lost it for factors beyond my control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry and making voodoo dolls of the other girl. Nor am I curled up with the pint of ice cream my mom bought me for my birthday. I'm taking it with a grain of salt: a back-handed compliment of sorts. Knowing that I did my best, and that my best is better than I give myself credit for. I just wasn't meant for the role. Not this time.

There's a line in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead that keeps coming to mind: "Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else."

I'm not meant to enter the role of Margaret More. I'm exiting from the stage for a while, metaphorically and literally, the enter into something else. Something that's more suited for me at this point of my life. It would have been amazing to do a beautiful drama like A Man for All Seasons. It would have been delightful to work with a different director and several new-found, good theatre friends. It would have been fun to wear those heavy, authentic 1600's costumes. It would have been, it would have been, it would have been.

But it won't be. Not for me. I don't need to be Meg. I don't need to enter here. I'm needed somewhere else.

I'm just waiting for the cue.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I don't know what to write today. 

It seems I've cycled back through to a realm in which I've lost the words. A realm that isn't pleasant to dwell in, mind you, and one I don't make a practice of visiting much. 

I started watching Lord of the Rings. 

It was last week, and I scrambled to finish an essay I should have written a good four weeks beforehand, knowing my friends were gathered at a house several blocks away watching hobbits and dwarves sing and adventure. Thankfully they'd started the movie late, so I made it in time to leave the Shire.

But I've never been much of a fan. I've never seen Lord of the Rings, other than several parts multiple times (how I manage to walk into the room or change the channel during the same battle sequence as often as six times is beyond me). I went because 1) it was the cool kids. The cool kids were watching the movie, and I'm sorry, but I'm part of the cool kids for once so I make an effort to participate in their outings. 

Or innings, rather.

2) We, the cool kids, were going to the midnight premier the following night of the Hobbit. For contingency's sake we'd scheduled it like this. So I went. So I wouldn't be lost.

And both that night and the following night in the theater behind two friends in hobbit garb, I was a goner. That rascal Peter Jackson, that sly dog Tolkien sucked me in. 

I miss imagination. I miss reading epics, I miss the formulation of something other than contemporary life swirling through my mind. I miss difference. I miss clarity and uniqueness and beauty. 

I want it. I want to write, I want to read, I want to watch and feel something. I want something, my heart constricting with the idea that I have nothing--which is false in every sense of the phrase, but as is said in the play Seminar, paraphrased because I can't manage to find my copy of the script, "Writer's need to feel something to write."

I haven't been feeling much lately. And now all I feel is that ache to feel, that need to feel. It's not really much, but I suppose it's enough. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

You and I Both

A lot of girls are looking for a knight in shining armor or a stranger in a white hat.

I'm looking for a man in a powder blue tux.

It was back when Music Television was Music Television, and my older brother sat as he always did watching the latest music videos. He called me into the room, and I entered, begrudgingly assuming he'd beckoned me in order to insist I bring him a beverage.

"What?" I grumbled in my elementary school way.

"Look at this guy. Watch this."

I entered the room further and stood watching the screen.

He was in a bank, holding a piggy bank, clothed in a powder blue tux, and the cops in their riot gear started dance-fighting with him, and all the while he smiled and sang, even as they slammed him onto the hood of the cop car.

I remember thinking this man was amazing.

It wasn't until a few years later, as I discovered YouTube as a viable source to stalk my newfound favorite musician Jason Mraz, that I decided to actually watch his official music videos, and loaded one for a song I knew from his first album.

I smiled to myself, in my adolescent way, at his cuteness as he tried to woo the bank teller with his piggy bank, but it wasn't until he entered the frame in a powder blue tux that the memories came flooding back, that the connection was made that I'd seen this before. I'd held great feelings of respect and adoration for this man before I ever knew of him or wanted to know of him. I had know idea the significance of our first meeting until the second happened.

That's how it should be. He'll come before I expect him, I may not even recognize him for a while. He'll be there, a part of my life that is significant enough to have a memory, but vague enough to be buried under the dirty laundry from my science classes. And then the moment will be right, I'll have found him, perhaps not even aware he's the one, and one day it'll click that I've seen this before, I knew this before, and I just needed to remember.

A lot of girls are looking for a knight in shining armor or a stranger in a white hat.

I'm looking for a man in a powder blue tux.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A little thing called courage.

It's been a while, and having just updated my personal journal I decided to delay studying for my chemistry test/sleep a little longer by updating this.

For the sake of congruence, abide by the convention that one day doesn't actually end until you've gone to sleep for the night, so while the clock says it's November 14th, I'm still awake on the 13th. Otherwise the post is pointless.

A year ago today I auditioned for the Improvables.

This was a big deal, for reasons that can be revisited in a post from back in March, but it was also a big deal because that one choice led my life to what it is now.

Let me elaborate. The decision to meet Jason Mraz was a huge, obvious choice, but had I happened to miss the VIP memo, or been unable to get tickets before they sold out, or been unable to travel to see him in concert, I would for the most part--as far as hindsight lends me to see--be the same person with one less amazing story and one less glorious profile picture.

Now this isn't 100% true, but I'm using it on the basis that when I returned from Colorado I was the same girl with a new experience under her belt. I still went to Weber, I still lived at home, I was still badgered with existentialist notions...

Auditioning for improv changed me.

I didn't want to go. It had been years since I'd regularly done improv, and I'd gone to a troupe workshop once during my first year at college and had felt like a child and moron the whole time. I didn't go back. I couldn't stand the idea of being inadequate. And as I walked through my house to the door into my garage, dressed in my jeans and a purple shirt and my new purple boots from that trip to Colorado, I told myself no. Turn around, go back upstairs, get in your pajamas and get on the internet. Don't even bother. You're not going to get in anyway. You don't need to leave the house.

And a small, weak, uneducated voice told me "Then what have you got to lose?"

We've recently been counseled to doubt our doubts. Elder Holland gave a talk a few conferences back about clinging to what we do know, not dwelling on the gaps in our faith or understanding. Doubt your doubts and draw faith from the things that are solid enough to hold on to. Build up the others as you may, but don't let them be the focus.

That little voice has grown, strengthened, become a regular occurrence in my head. I'm not that girl anymore. I'm not that girl that doesn't talk, that doesn't contribute, that sits back and wishes life would happen to her. I'm not that girl that hides in words. I'm not that girl. I became something else last year, and it wasn't meeting my idol that did it. It wasn't having his arm around my shoulder or his gaze locked in mine. It was girding up my loins, grabbing my jacket, and getting in my car on a chilled November night, driving to a theatre I'd never be a part of, to audition for a troupe that would never recognize me as more than a patron, to an audition that would prove fruitless, to return home and amble back into my life of nothingness; that endless staircase to nowhere because I don't have enough stars yet to get to Bowser.

But by leaving the house, by enduring that audition, I was doing something besides scaling a staircase. I was earning stars. And a few months down the line I'd have enough.

I wanted to write tonight because of something that it's becoming clear to me I've already said a million times on this blog. But I'm saying it again anyway, so just deal with it. Everything happens for a reason. I can't see myself as anything but what I am now. I'm so grateful this person has been formed from the ashes, and that I gave myself the opportunity to burn up the old me and rise again. I'm grateful for the trial and error, for the experimentation, for the heartache, for the patience, for the surprise, for the friendships, for the revelations, for everything that's happened to me in the past 12 months, because I can attribute it--all of it--to one day in November. One ordinary day that brought forth everything but ordinary outcomes.

Here's to another year. Here's to earning more stars and fighting more bosses. Here's to a little courage.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

There's a picture on [her] kitchen wall...

My grandma has a picture wall at her house. The focal point is a large framed piece of embroidery with every grandchild's name down to my older brother. Around it, organized by family, are frames with each grandchild. Every year for Christmas we would give Grandma, among other things, a 4x6 copy of that years school photo to update her frames. For the past two years Graduating Senior Erica has been smiling her most attractive yearbook smile of all time, her right bra strap slightly peering out from the red half-shirt donned for the rite of passage that is Senior Photo Day. I've watched my elder cousins' photos change as they mature, and become a picture of an engaged couple, a married couple, a couple with a child, a couple with three children. I've watched them each make an advancement in life, whether that be marriage, childbirth, or the donning of a Marine uniform. And in one case, today, I made note of the missionary.

There's an unfortunate folly in my family, in that one of my dad's brothers never really managed to get to family party's much with his wife. And kids. To all of my cousins I'm at least five years younger, if not a substantial amount more, or at minimum five years older. Except for two of them. But we hardly know each other, and it's one of those things that, at least for me, is too awkward now to breach any gap. One is two years older than me, or so. I can't give definites because, frankly, I don't know. The other, a boy, is 18 days my senior. Recipe for a best-friend cousin, right?

Except not.

He's been on a mission to Detroit for about a year now, more or less, and his picture on the wall is a smiling blonde in a suit before some trees.

I looked at the picture today, noticing the different quality of photo when comparing his to the studio shot pictures of his siblings, and I looked back at my own. And my mind flashed to all the pictures coming up on Facebook of my female missionary friends having pre-mission pictures taken, out in the woods wearing dresses with a namebadge, holding a Book of Mormon in whichever language they'll be speaking, and I wanted my picture to change. I'm excited for the moment my tenderhearted grandma can put a female missionary in her frame, probably crying the whole time because nowadays you can just smile at her and she'll well up. I imaged the two of us, these would-have-could-have-should-have-been best friend cousins both out serving Jesus in their Sunday best.

It's become part of my heart beat. I see girls in tights or skirts walking on campus and think to myself if those would suit the modesty standards required of a missionary. I help a friend with her mic backstage at the musical and she warns me she's wearing her "Jesus jammies," and I think about what I'll need to change in my wardrobe once I'm endowed. I have discussions with non-Mormon or ex-Mormon friends and tell them openly how I feel about my choices and my beliefs, and try to figure out how to turn that from casual conversation into moments of testimony baring. It crops into my mind every once in a while that I'm going on a mission and I get all excited. Everything seems to say it's time, it's right, unless I start looking for reasons it shouldn't be. But I remind myself there's more pro than con, there's more good than bad. I've wanted an adventure my whole life. I've wanted to shed these mountains and take wing. I have an opportunity. I intend to take it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

But There's a Difference in Wish and Wait.

Things are different.

And to the few of you that read this blog, I suppose I'll have to tell you the thing I'm not really talking about in public because there's still that little voice in my head that says "No. You're not. So just be quiet."

I'm going on a mission.

At least, to concede to the voice in my head, that's my intent.

I've had the notion swirling in my head on and off for about the last year. As you may recall, they changed the mission age last October, and I feel like I've written this before so I won't be extensive with it, I realized I wasn't in an position to serve a mission. I wasn't one of those girls who could grab the phone in that instance and set up a meeting with my bishop and post on Facebook about how my mission papers were a few signatures away from being sent in. And that bothered me.

I've never planned on a mission. Never. I always told myself I'd wait until I was 21 to decide; by then I'd surely be married or steadily dating a fellow that was days or weeks away from popping the question, and the idea of leaving my secular life for 18 months wouldn't matter or be applicable. 

Over the past year a lot has happened. I meant to blog about it on Tuesday, as it was the one year anniversary of that time I met Jason Mraz and it only seemed appropriate, but I haven't had time. And now my mind's on other things. Climbing out of my digression, within the past year I decided to try for the mission thing--tentatively--and see what came out of it. I started reading the Book of Mormon daily. I started saying "official" prayers. I took a mission prep institute class.

And I'd decide to go. I'd share something in a religious context and would feel this buzz that a mission would be the right choice. Then I'd leave institute and it'd be gone. I'd lay everything out and conclude it was best to stay home and continue on in the schooling and the hunting for a man. And then an hour later I'd want to go on a mission.

I couldn't keep an answer, and it began to worry me that this was one of those instances the Lord was leaving up to me; that I would be fine and could progress in whichever course I should chose, but there was nothing critical hinging on the choice. That's all it was: a choice.

And He was letting me use my God-given right to chose.

And that scared me. If you've ever worked with me, you know I tend to be indecisive about a lot of things, or that I at least require someone else's opinion to balance out my perspective before I come to a conclusion. Deciding to set aside 18 months of my life is not a small choice. And I hated that I had to chose. 

I wanted a Saul of Tarsus moment. I wanted to be struck down with the right option and to rise from the moment as though scales were falling from my eyes, knowing what course I should tread with the remainder of my life.

I suppose, using that lovely thing called hindsight, I've reached that point. 

Kate Carroll's farewell. I almost didn't go. I had my own church meetings I could be going to, no one was going with me to her farewell. I didn't need to go.

But I went. And I remember writing in my notebook that I was glad I was there, that I had made that sacrifice to come and see her off and hear her speak. I was grateful for the experience, and (and I wrote this at that moment, mind) if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have had it. What experiences would I miss--never knowing what they could have been--if I elected not to go on a mission?

Every friend I've mentioned my indecision regarding the mission to has told me without hesitation that I would make a good missionary. I had a girl in my mission prep class seek me out after class one day asking me how far along I was on my papers, and when I explained I still was undecided she told me based on my comments in class that I would be an excellent missionary. 

"I'd like to live out of state. At least for a few years." I said in between chips.

"Yeah. I went on a mission; I could live anywhere, I've proven that to myself. I want to live around here." He said it and it smarted; I knew he didn't mean it as a stab, but I took it as one. A mission would cure my itch to get past these mountains and experience something beyond the shade of my current umbrella. He didn't know, but I reacted to it as if he understood my want to know where God would send me, should I ask for the call.

I talked with one of my married friends and she pointed out how the world is getting worse and children born into this world will need a righteous priesthood holder in the family. A girl I've never even personally met but became friends with on Facebook because I knew her older sister posted some quote from an Apostle about who better worthy to raise a righteous generation than a woman who has served the Lord.

I made a pro/con list last Sunday in sacrament meeting. And as I wrote the cons it hit me how stupid they all were. For months I'd been clinging to these factors as my, for lack of a better word, excuse to stay safely sheltered in the linear life I have built. And they were stupid. I had to make myself finish the list because I just wanted to give up because they were so dumb, and I knew--for the first time--in that moment that I've known all along what the answer was. I've known all along what the answer had to be. I just really didn't want to see it. I wanted the Saul of Tarsus moment to knock me off my feet and into the field because I didn't have the strength to come to the conclusion on my own. If I had to go there, I wanted Him to push me there.

That night I was talking with my parents and remembered the one con I hadn't written: money.

And everything came crashing and it all felt so wrong and I could do it. I couldn't go. 

I talked with one my best friends yesterday and she did some math with me, and we determined that if I spend next semester in the way I planned when the mission thing became very apparent, I can finance a mission perfectly. 

And I can't ignore it anymore. Thousands of times I made the decision and changed my mind, then a few days later made the decision and changed my mind. Things are different this time. I made my decision, changed my mind, and since that moment it hasn't left my mind. I haven't had that hitherto. I haven't had this film of "mission" glossing over all my thoughts, I haven't had that as the backdrop in my mind, as the dart board I aim all my darts at. But I do now. I can't get it out of my head. 

And I feel stupid that it took me a year to get to this point, but at the same time I needed that year of unofficial preparation. I needed a year of my optimistic plans falling through, a year of my faith growing, a year of my courage developing, a year to establish an open love for this gospel as something I not only carry but share. I needed this. 

I needed to wait.

I told him I'd prayed about my ex, and that the answer was to keep carrying on; I haven't had enough experience with boys to know if the relationship needed ending or not.

"Did you...pray about us?" He asked me.

"Yes." I told him, truthfully.

"And what...was your...answer...?"

"Wait." I answered, almost before he could finish his sentence. 

He laughed. 

I've been waiting for a while. I wasn't sure what for, only that good things were coming to me in due course of time.

There's a difference in wish and wait. Abby said the hardest part was deciding. And I don't think I can hide from it anymore. 

All the time was worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Most Beautiful Day

"How is everyone today?"

"So good!"

"Wow. Why so good?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I've kind of been irritated because I got up this morning and my shoe was broken but I'd already gone out the door so now I'm wearing a broken shoe and I'm just trying to convince myself it's a good thing."

Today has been the most beautiful day.

My new shoes of less than a month that I'd worn, prior to today, a grand total of once have a broken zipper on one shoe which leaves it functioning like a tissue box on my feet. I forgot my institute notebook today. A gal I know called me by my best friend's name. Someone told me I should donate blood. I was late to my acting class and they'd already started warmups without me. Construction workers broke the main water line to the one building on campus I was spending the rest of the day in, leaving all of the restrooms with signs reading "No water; please don't use" on the doors. I found out about free pasta after having lunched on a bag of mediocre pretzels. There are open spots for female parts in an original play reading for this Friday, and Friday is the only day this week I work. My music scene for my directing class filled up half as much time as I'd anticipated, leaving my music at an awkward cut-off point instead of rounding nicely to a close. And my shoes. Did I mention my shoes?

I don't know what it was about today, the pastel of the weather or one determined notion to be optimistic about a broken accessory, but today has been the most beautiful day.

There were blessings, yes, I'm not saying awful things just kept happening. I actually had to really dig in my memory for all the wrongs I just listed. I got to use my free institute parking pass today, the janitor waited until after I'd left the bathroom to do that creepy janitor knock, I talked with that cool girl in my institute class, received a free Caprice Sun, ran into that guy from my Spanish class not once but twice, gave feedback in Tracy's class to a fellow actor without feeling like Tracy thought I was an incoherent dullard, had an epiphany that saved my music scene thematically, caught Derek just in time to borrow his keys to get books from the prop hall for my epiphany, was chosen for Niki's music scene and got to have fun with some friends in pantomime, related my traffic patterns well enough for my "actors" to follow them, got a ride home with one of my best friends, was greeted at the gate by my two adorable puppies who couldn't wait to play with me, found something suitable at home for second lunch, watched an unseen and hilarious episode of Spongebob, went to the temple (in which there was zero crowding) and had one of the female workers tell me I had a beautiful spirit about me.

And how could I not when I'd just had the most beautiful day?

There's a wall on the outside of the Bountiful temple that runs with the sidewalk. From the right angle it looks as though the wall is solid, leaving you with no way to make a full circle around the temple unless you jumped another wall and used the manicured grass.

Taking a few steps forward, however, the wall opens up revealing a staircase to the other side of the building.

It's a matter of perspective.

I once sat on the west side of the temple pondering after a solitary baptism session, and decided to make a full circle around the temple on my way back to my car. I made it as far as the first picture, grunted in dismay that the sidewalk led nowhere, and headed frustrated back the way I'd come.

It wasn't until later, perhaps as I circled the temple in my car, that I noticed there was in fact a staircase; I just couldn't see it.

I wonder how often we glance down the path and see no benefit before us, so we stop walking altogether, unaware that should we take even a few steps the way will become clear and we can go where we desire to go without backtracking.

We discussed in institute today the chapters (1 Nephi 11-14ish. But for sure 11) in which it is revealed to Nephi the meaning of his father's dream regarding the Tree of Life. The teacher ended the class with a look at all the types of people found in association to the Iron Rod: those who will not touch it, those who loosely grasp it, those who cling to it and don't move, those who hold it but move the opposite direction of the tree, and those who grip it and move forward.

It's not enough to hold the rod. You have to move.

Faith can't take you anywhere, the Lord can't take you anywhere unless you pick up your feet and walk. Today was the most beautiful day because at some point I decided I would keep walking until I could see the beauty. And it wasn't long until I found it.

And the longer I walked, the more beautiful it became.

Monday, September 9, 2013

-another untitled-

I wasn't sure what I was looking at anymore. And hours later wasn't sure how my overactive imagination would insist I felt in the moment. Because as it happened, right then with my eyes blinking slowly at a night growing deeper, I was distant and safe; reserved and aloof. Unattached and uncaring.

And then tomorrow came.

And in the light of today all the truths were gone, replaced by the ache of what I can't have; what I don't have. What I won't have. What I've spent months understanding isn't coming down that road, but another I've yet to cross. Remembering taxes my emotions into believing a reality I knew at dusk wasn't so.

And yet I sit wishing, knowing then I was unfeeling, that life could continue its course underneath like water under the bridge, and I could stay stagnant observing all the Hundred Acre Woods creatures floating by on their backs and in sauce pans, knowing I'd come out of this unscathed and alright.

But doubt, and a series of rehashed thoughts, have me spinning in the current with the owl.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Living keeps taking the breath out of me.
I hold hands with my accomplishments
And smile at the breeze that cuts my hair,
Lingering over the idea of tomorrow.


It felt empty. And I wondered why we do this
When our hearts and heads are past these places
But we keep physically in now.
I wasn't searching, wasn't striving,
Wasn't fighting to win
The battle I've accepted I've lost.

Vain repetition,
With the illusion of contempt
And a voice
That suddenly remembered


"What are you doing?"

A question for the ages. A novellic framework for the life I trudge through. What are you doing?

I couldn't tell you, my head buried in books, my heart swaddled in t-shirts, my body limp in bed.

Looking, I guess. I suppose that's a thought; looking for something without this. It's occurred to me how narrow the scope my existence has come to take up. Perhaps that's the circle I've created in time that's led me to fear there's nothing but familiarity from here, and a sort of discontent turning of events.


I remember better than you. You have to remember it's because I memorized it all. I had so much childish hope, so much doe-eyed optimism that I had to remember. And memories fade hard.

Forgive me if I sound like I still care. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when it's there I find I lack.

A defense mechanism, you said. A correct choice of words, for hearts break too hard and too fast. We've allotted our course; let's continue the march and maybe find our own way to right.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

1 Nephi 3:7

I'm taking a Book of Mormon Institute class this semester on campus that spans the beginning of the Book of Mormon to midway through Alma, if memory serves. We had a sub today, and having the creative licensing of a sub, he took the girl's devotional and made it the majority of the lesson. Ironically the verse that covered her devotional had been the majority of our lesson on Tuesday. So we covered the same ground two days in a row.

And I needed to hear it.

Nephi wrote his account some 30 years after the events took place. Both teachers kept stressing this point throughout the two different lessons, asking how the account would be different if Nephi didn't have that lens of hindsight to peer through. In the first verse of 1 Nephi 1, he says "having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days..." We were repeatedly asked how he could say those things together; afflictions and being "highly favored of the Lord." Would that have been acknowledged without the hindsight?

I've, in a way, become obsessed with the hindsight lately. I've often made practice of looking back at moments I didn't understand, seeing the merit behind the struggle. I'm having one such moment right as I type and...

I'm amazed, again and indefinitely, at the glory of God. I had a moment today in which, as far as I'm concerned, I acted not of myself but of the Lord's will for me. It was selfless and of really no benefit to myself, but my desire to act was overbearing. And now, my role completed, I feel at peace.

And I forget these moments. I forget the beauty in hearing that nudge from the spiritual realm that swims through our air, constantly bumping against us that we're often too preoccupied to feel. I forget the strength, courage, might that comes from acting on those impulses, following that guide in as small a manner as it could be, from talking to that person or elaborating in that text message to avoid confusion. I forget tender mercies.

I forget the thousands of pinpricks in my daily life that aren't "coincidence" or "nature" or "fate" or "happenstance" or "astrology," but truth and God-given blessings. I love not worrying; I love remembering these things and that I don't need to fret about all of it. I need to focus on doing my best in this moment, in following Him in word and deed, and good things are coming to me in due course of time.

And today I remembered I can be someone's good thing. I take part in the lives I cross.

I'm helping a friend with a play reading this week, and we discussed the script after our rehearsal Tuesday night, and someone mentioned the abnormal cast size, and how it's necessary to have those characters to move the plot, but to produce it would be cumbersome.

We star in our own shows, we're the protagonist of our plays, but we also moonlight as minor characters in the productions of others, moving their plot along, furthering their story. God has written an entire world's worth of stories, the most intricate novel of all time, the most elaborate play in the universe. And I get to be in it. Whether it's my story or another's, I get to cross the stage.

I need to remember to take the blocking from my Director when He gives it.
"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered." -Guildenstern, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; Tom Stoppard

Friday, August 23, 2013

Throw Away Genius

Improv is teaching me a lot about life. For instance, the things I do or say don't matter after I've done or said them. It's become past action; it is of no benefit to beat myself up over how I could have done that better or responded differently to my fellow actor. I cannot fix it. The best I can do is acknowledge things could have been different and make a mental note for next time. To succeed in improv, to succeed in life, you have to pay attention to what's happening around you, you have to listen to your surroundings, and react as best you can in the minimal time you're allotted. No two situations will ever be the same. You can never fix what happens. The thing with scripted theatre is if I screw something up I can say "Next time," knowing that next time I have the ability to execute things in the effective way. Life and improv are unscripted. I can only count my losses and hope "next time" I'm more focused on what I need to do.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I wish I was worse at throwing boomerangs so you'd stop coming back.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I suppose the only logical answer is that I was born with an arsenal of voodoo dolls at my disposal, which I freely hand to any and all who will take them. To avoid misinterpretation, allow me to be frank: they are my voodoo dolls. They are of my image, bare my features, wound my being. This must be the case, otherwise these sporadic throbbing pains would cease to make sense.


I'm drafted to a pendulum, in constant motion, unable to control my velocity or direction. I go where the earth takes me, victim of the current of the times and the tilt of the atmosphere, spellbound by the force that holds you steady.


I'm weak. All this does is show me I'm weak. And that I'm going to have to keep putting up with all these kinds of things because how else will I ever get stronger?

And I hate that I can't say more than that. Hopefully I'll be able to say more this week. I don't know. Sorry for wasting your time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I hardly even know what this means.

"Grab your shovel." She said.


"We're going to need them when the rocks get deep."

After the rain when the grass gets slick and I wonder briefly how it'll react with my shoes, we trope into the trees with the shovels from the shed out back, nothing dry but our persons, the construction of the shed lending to frequent leaking. It starts again, it all starts up again. The digging and the groaning and general wondering why it is she drags me here, why it is we do this.

But we do. She hops over a mud puddle and shrieks through the trees. 

We do it. We do it all again.

"Grace." I mutter when she gets on hands and knees. Those stains from last rain still etched upon her clothes back at the house. She flashes back a smile, having forsaken the shovel, thrusting her hands into the dirt. I can feel the grit under my fingernails by watching her, ghost memories flinting past my eyes like gnats. It happened here.

"Grace." I say louder, watching her back muscles strain as she fanatically scoops the mud. "Grace!"

I realize I'm clutching my shovel; I look at it for a moment, the evergreen of the damp woods blurring into silence for a moment. I start up the trail past her, leaving her to toil with what's already been done.

It takes her a moment to catch me, her eyes still widened with that near maniacal gleam, confusion etched under the mud scaling her face. 

"We've done that one before." 

She watches me, follows me, her gaze calmed but still misunderstanding. 

"We've what?"

"We've done that one before!" I find myself frustrated at her as she stops short and slumps down. She looks at me, at my shovel, and sighs.

"Mine's still back there." Grace points with an unenergetic hand into the trees. 

Our eyes hold space for a long time, then hers start to flint down the hill. 

"We've done that one before."

"Can I go get it?"

"We've done that one before."

We're overlapping each other in speech, her eyes darting back the direction we've come with each alternate beat of her heart. She inches towards it.

"Just let me go get it."

"We've done that before, Grace."

"I'm just going to get it."

I wait a few hours, the sun's breached through the canopy, warming my body, drying my mud crusted grass stained shoes. I grab the old shovel and make a few attempts in the dirt at the base of the tree. We never get much progress, not when the ground dries, and not when she stays far behind. I weave back down through the trees, passing her in her digging, unaware that I'm there or that I know. It'll rain again, and she'll drag me out, but we won't make it too far. We never do. She likes where we've been more than where we're going. 

Even if all that's there is just dirt. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Dreams My Come

I had an interesting dream last night. Perhaps it was a result of eating french toast with strawberries at 11:00 at night, or driving around with the cool kids singing classic rock until 1 AM, or finally telling myself to finish Jacob 5 because that chapter's crazy long. This is the dream. The Improvables at I were doing cool things on a stage. I was in the tech booth. It was kind of like a tech day where we were checking cues and that jazz, which we never have so... Dream jumped from there to a small town where we were making a movie (we being the fact that I was with other people, not necessarily the Improvables). There was an undercurrent that something horrifically wrong was going to happen, and perhaps it was here that the guy from wardrobe noticed one actress being abused by her "son," and went over to subtley help out under the rouse he was fixing her shirt. They pummeled him. Then there was stuff about driving the freeway. Art imitates life. I'm back with the Improvables at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, only it doesn't look like the theatre at all but dream logic makes it so. Paco says we have to wrap things up and get out now, because that something horrific is pretty much about to happen. We all groan, cuz we'd been having a jolly waxy ole' time, and I grab the garage-door opener so that just in case the zombie apocalypse goes down I can use it to get into the theatre quick and easy and fortify myself thus. A time jump later, and the Improvables and I are fortified in the theatre against the zombie apocalypse, and we're sitting at a table and a waitress is taking our orders. My best friend Erin is with us, rehearsing for a part that requires her to get slopping drunk. So she does. And she is quite the hoot. I later reenact her sloppiness to which the people laugh. I suppose it's noteworthy to say that shortly after this I took a shower and washed my hair with my Jack Daniels shampoo. I promise I don't know why my brain included this. Dream jump back to the small town. Now the weird part. It's not a movie anymore, this is real life and the world is basically ending. And for some reason instead of just dying with the explosion of the world, or whatever it is that'll happen, we're committing some cult suicide. But it needed to happen, sort of like the Abraham sacrificing his son bit. It's something we had to do. So my family went first, though in dream mode I'm the oldest with like three younger siblings under age seven. Basically, we were laying on a large pan (like the ones used at the bakery) and then other's pans were being stacked on top of us. So my "siblings" crossed the lava pit of coals on foot and laid on their pan. The next person, also young children, laid their pan on top of them and then got on. And so on and so on until it was my turn. I'm not a child, so only my pelvis and torso really fit in the pan, my limbs sticking out along with my shoulders and head. There was a brief pause as to who was next; my family had gone. Some photo appeared revealing it to be the family of my dear friend Lexi. I was already being squished a bit, and I knew it was over. My organs were being flattened, I was being suffocated, this is it. And I suddenly saw my ambitions for life. I saw the marriage ceremony I'd never get to have, and how that's one thing I'd always aspired for: getting married. Then I thought of who I must have been in the premortal existence, wanting to come to this Earth. Was that an ambition then? To be married in the physical mortal confines of this life? And then I was grateful for all the good I'd done, all the trying and striving to follow Christ. And the necessity to die was retracted. We all uncovered the pans as fast as we could, but my being in a state of shock couldn't be calm long enough to see if my younger siblings were breathing. I rued having them go first, how it had to be so. I could have gone first. But then I started to think about the story arch of a girl of 20 surviving her younger siblings in a tragedy and how that would play out for post-traumatic stress disorder, and I cognated myself into waking up. All of it was....something. Obviously. And I wanted to blog it though I'm not sure why. I feel like perhaps it was the final message; the fact that honestly, at your final moments, you can't deny God. I couldn't not think of things of a spiritual context. I tried. And in the dream, as my conscious mind was starting to stir, I remembered that talk by Holland about the Book of Mormon, where he says something to the effect that Hyrum and Joseph Smith would not be quoting and finding comfort in a book they'd created as a sham moments before meeting the God that created them. And in addition to this, I think the dream served to wake me up. Pun unintended. I'm not where I was last year, completely ignoring things of a spiritual sense, but it served as a reminder of what is of importance here. No, I don't need to cut myself off from the world and spend my time studying the scriptures. But... Just remember that the time will come when you're being crushed by the weight of death, and the only thing ahead of you is your reunion with God, and all behind you is time wasted or used to benefit or condemn you in the realm you're fast approaching. And you had best hope you lived it well.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday thoughts

I didn't write in my journal for a year. I'm thankful, now, because I really wasn't in a place that I'd like the generations to find themselves reading about. My head just wasn't screwed on right. I started writing last November, when I had my 'coming to Christ' moment. My green Mickey Mouse journal goes from June 2011 to June 2012, the only entry I wrote during my 'dark period.' Then it kicks up in November. At this same time I began reading the Book of Mormon because, well, as the kind diligent Mormon I am, I never have. A few verses in a stumbled upon a verse I very much adored. You have to know me, if you don't by now: I love words. Words, words, words are of highest priority. I love music for the words, I love writing for the words, I love humor for the words. They're my kinfolk and confidants. "And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge." -1 Nephi 1:3 More than that, I only know what I know. And as I said in that short musing that got published in Weber State's undergrad book Metaphor (paraphrased because I'm lazy): Words are the only means I have to communicate visually to the outside world what I see in my head. I wrote the above verse in the front of my journal. It fit, you know? I know that the record which I make is true, and I make it with my own hand, according to my knowledge. Nephi later says he doesn't know everything, but he knows enough. All I have to give is all I have. It's not everything; it's enough. I filled that journal quite quickly, and started a new one February. I find it funny that three years span the first half of my Mickey Mouse journal, and three months fill the second. I randomly opened the Book of Mormon one night, and found another verse to put at the forefront of this new journal, and it's this one that inclined me to type this blog post: "Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents. "For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory..." -Jacob 4:3-4 I want it to be that way with everything. With who I am, with what I saw, with what I write, with what I emit. That they may know that I know of Christ, and have a hope of his glory. Maybe it's powerful to me because it explicitly speaks about writing. maybe it's one of those things that don't connect with everyone the same way, but I just knew I felt something just now, and that I had twenty minutes until church started so why not share it. I want to live my life with the gospel on my sleeve as openly as my heart is. I'm so constantly in a state of readiness to hand my heart over; I should be the same with my testimony.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Just because you learn to breathe underwater doesn't mean you ever shake the fear of being drowned.

"You really are a completely different person." "Me?" My voice sounded more confused than I was. Mostly I'd just misheard. "I don't mean like... You've just changed a lot. It goes back to what I said earlier: you hold yourself with more confidence than I've ever seen you with. You know who you are, and everyone else can take it or not." I'm amazed at these moments of brutal clarity. How, somehow, all the fog that garnishes my mind spaces sifts away in unison and for a moment I see something I've assumed was there, but was merely riding on faith as to its existence. I'm amazed at how it seems the most blatant and life-specific of these moments happen when I spend the day with a married friend, and the evening with her and her husband. For some reason I respond well to the visual that is my friends--my age--interacting with their eternal companions. And, something I just realized, the two instances I've visited these two married friends have been just barely past the half year mark. I'm comfortable in these circumstances; I'm comfortable as the third wheel to a married couple I have no history with as a unit. My backstory with the wives stretches far and beyond, but until these moments as guest in their homes I've never in depth interacted with the husband. This isn't a rambling musing. There's a point here somewhere. It's like today, I realized how firmly settled in myself I've become. I still have brutally awkward moments, I still doubt myself or feel bad that I'm pudgy as I grab another cookie with the fullest intent to eat it, but this woman I've become is someone I'm satisfied with. I'm not ashamed of her. I don't want to hide her under the bed until I'm sure this new acquaintance will appreciate her in full. When I want to laugh I laugh. If it's loud and obnoxious so be it; I'm enjoying myself. This is how I sound when I laugh. If I want to reference a Jason Mraz funfact I will. There is eight years of knowledge in this brain of mine, and until some other charming young man fancies me enough to share his entire life with me I'm going to keep making my knowledge useful. I felt like the friend who's opted to skip the whole marriage/family/dating thing and live as a bachelorette apartment-hopping in upper New York, content with every minor aspect of my life. And this isn't to say I've decided I don't what the whole marriage/family/dating thing; it's that I've wanted for so long to love someone else that I didn't realize I was coming to love myself. That I needed to love myself. That I hadn't before. Like when I was a kid and it was late one night after Fourth of July fireworks and I was running into the house before the long drive home and tripped on a sprinkler head, falling on the sidewalk. It wasn't until I got into the house and noticed the scrape on my knee that the scrape began to sting. I didn't know about my problem until I got a chance to look at it. I didn't see it until today when the fog cleared. I didn't realize how little faith I had for myself. How much I held myself back. I always knew that was an issue; I've never fully 100% dedicated myself to a performance. I always felt like I wasn't good enough to be amazing, so instead of trying and proving myself wrong I settled for decent. But something's clicked. Something's made sense that I, for the longest time, wanted to understand but couldn't wrap my head around. I know I'm pretty, comical, attractive, unique, talented, spiritual, creative, confident, humorous, verbose. I know what I'm doing. I know where I am, and I'm happy with all of it. I'm content to be standing where I'm standing, even when it seems like so much around me is moving and I'm stuck in a rut. And above all else, I know what I want. I know he's coming, and that he's coming soon. However long it takes him doesn't matter. I wouldn't dare cut out any of the intricacies the Lord has crafted for my life. I wouldn't ask him to appear now if it meant losing some beautiful moment down the line. He'll be worth all these dead end streets. He'll be worth waiting for. So I'm back to square one: waiting. Only now I'm reestablished, refortified, rejuvenated, and ready. I'm stuck with me for forever, and I've finally come to love her. It won't be hard to love someone else.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This year all but disappeared. Bought in to fairy tales, but Sleeping Beauty just kept score and tried to sleep more. --Matt Nathanson; Kiss Quick

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's a puzzle that's served us well.

When I was a kid I used to take all the puzzles out of the "game closet" next to our front door and spread them out on the floor of the front room (living room? family room? formal greeting room? Who knows what the "proper" name is). I'd put them in a large circle covering the majority of free floor space between our floral white couch and peach chairs. I'd dump the puzzles over, their pieces strewn in a pile, and once each puzzle was an empty slate I would begin.

Starting at the top of the circle I'd work my way clockwise, doing each puzzle as perfectly and quickly as I could. After making this common practice I began to pretend I was timing myself, and that this puzzle circle was my brainiac Olympics and I had to beat my personal best time. Eventually I added the more complex puzzles, telling myself once I got used to putting them together I could still hold record time.

Love is a puzzle depicting the sky. We each enter into life with our box of blue pieces, our quest being to find those whose pieces complete our picture. We stop and align our pieces with another, trying to make the puzzle work. But it's often hard to see how blue pieces fit without knowing if we're crafting the same picture. We spend an infinite amount of time trying one person's pieces only to discover those pieces that did fit don't build a picture; there are gaping holes or missing corners. Our sky is incomplete.

I'm sick of puzzles. I'm sick of waving my box about like a tin collecting alms, waiting for someone to think to try them out. I'm sick of finding matches that have more wrong than they do right, tired of extra pieces collecting dust in my box, through with packing up the puzzle again and moving around the circle to the next one.

I just want to finish it. I want to do what my grandparents have done and sit down, finish the puzzle, and glue it to a board to hang over the piano. I want to stop undergoing this task and behold it as art. I'm done with puzzles.

I read a few chapters in a book once that discussed an idea called 'flow.' It is, in essence, moments when a person is at the peak of their performance, whether that be music, sports, lecturing...when a person's task is so easily undertaken that it feels effortless, almost out of body, to be accomplishing it so perfectly with so little cognitive processing. The book also discussed how one cannot reach that peak, that flow, without stimulation. Practice. You're never going to have that perfect moment if you lie on the couch all day proclaiming boredom. As humans we're equipped to learn, to do. We're most satisfied in a bored state when doing something constructive: reading books or newspapers, cleaning, crafting. It's effort that leads us to achieving moments of excellence.

Won't I be more pleased when the puzzle finally works if I've been trying at it for so long? Won't it mean more to have worked endlessly for it?

Pop always says he prayed two years before he met Mom. Mom "dated" 64 guys before she met Dad.

Eight months and five guys down...

Here's to finishing the puzzle..

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This was hard to write with Take On Me stuck in my head.

I dreamed I wrote a song in my sleep last night.

My best friend and I signed up last minute for an open mic/battle of the bands type thing, and showed up unprepared. We had to perform three songs.

I started hitting some beat on a folded up card table and just sang anything and everything. It became a wonder of a song, stripped down to my vocals and the beat I created, a phantom piano somehow chiming in. It was completely impromptu and it went on for at least six minutes. And it was, in that moment, as grandeous in beautiful simplicity as Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody is in complexity.

And when it ended the crowd was amazed, one band much closer to fame than us even remarking "Can we try that song?"

And I woke up feeling unaccomplished and lacking.

I've forgotten creativity.

My sophomore year of high school I took a hiatus from life and stewed in the books I was assigned to read for English and the pieces we wrote and the character complexities for the book I've still yet to write. I observed the world and scripted it, in notes to myself or musings. I swam with creative fish. I forsook participating in reality.

I've started doing the opposite. I'm so absorbed in the moment, keeping a keen ear on conversation, reworking my humor to be the quick spit-fire it used to be (it's more fitting for improv), realizing that my life is founded on the choices I make in these days...I'm trying to do it right.

And I've forgotten creativity.

I felt so unaccomplished and lacking because I used to do things like that; not compose brilliant songs that would rake in all the Grammys, but I used to write lyrics and simple tunes in my head. I used to create with my mind constantly. And don't get me wrong, I still do that. I've come up with three improv characters this weekend alone, but all the tried and true methods I used to employ I've somehow discarded with the trash.

And I'm not complete anymore.

That's one thing I've been learning a lot of lately; completion. I need theatre in my life, I need elaborate creativity that an audience or reader only barely scratches the surface of. I need words, words, words. I need to be happy. I need to be with someone who knows he wants to be with me. I need to clean my room. I'm discovering all of these things I never thought would matter that are now suddenly more important than remembering which song they're playing on the radio.

I was concerned that I've been out of commission these past two months; that since November I've written two notebooks full and at least forty blog posts on creative/personal things my mind sees fit to craft. I was concerned I haven't been channeling that spirit at a time where I should have felt so very much.

And maybe that's a sign these roads were never right to begin with. Maybe that's a sign what crept up on the path wouldn't complete me. Maybe we have to live mistakes to learn.


(I wrote this Friday):

Remember when we thought we knew
And it would slip in place like fitted shoes
Worn with years of walking, moulded to our arch?
We fantasized and dreamt and planned
For years and things without our hands
As though we had exception to make of ourselves.

And then the courses shifted short;
We stood aghast with ill report
That life could so destroyed become.
Foolish acts of foolish minds,
Disbelief falls fast in kind
That mortal men can plot a fate
Assured from the starting gate
And all would be a bliss, a bless,
A simple unchallenging test
For happiness to come.
That God would take the easy road
And let us carry less a load
To ease the journey home.

There's beauty in intricacy,
Art in surprise.
We'd give it up if it meant smoother skies?
Or strive to be complacent, set
In the plan that God sent
And learn in whatsoever state I am,
Therewith to be content.


I like how clouds have shadows. And how like Peter Pan that can't manage to catch them. No amount of sewing could bring a cloud near enough it's shadow. So they drift gracefully in a cerulean sky, smiling at me and my camera with the full memory, pulling apart angel hair, casting dark spots on the patchwork.

So I live in a meadow; a stationary existence, watching time pass with the faint current of the sky, amazed and afraid at the limitless expanse above me, beyond this air ships and the seal that keeps them earthbound. And the sun keeps shinning, and I keep acknowledging it's there, and the clouds cover me moment after quiet moment, and the light dims but persists. The light always persists.

And even clouds have dark sides. Even clouds have shadows. Even clouds can block the sun.

So good can't always be good. Every cloud has a shadow, whether it casts over me or not. And there's nothing that can stop the way they wander.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hollow Hearts

A hollowed heart
And safety pins
And three days off the grid;
Nothing stays,
No act retains
A truth beneath my skin.

There's something, then,
In tears they say,
That stream from conscious eyes:
A window to the soul
That leaks what words would lie.


I haven't blogged for a bit. I don't really count the one paragraph blogs of the past month typed on a phone that's finicky and frustrating and won't let me do that thing I do called start new paragraphs.

I mean come on. It's called voice, people.

There's been a lot on my plate, most off of it good. I can't really think of anything not good other than my interpretation of events.

They say reality is what we percieve. I feel I wrote a post on this back a while ago, if not I typed one and it was stupid so I didn't post it. I read a book once a few years back which, if my lazy "I don't want to get up and grab it and verify the title" self can recall, it's called "My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions."

I bought it at a Deseret Book.

I liked it because it was one of those Mormon books that isn't full of "And it reminded me of Nephi when he broke his bow..." or "Jim's dad was the Bishop of our fine upstanding ward and his mom taught the best Relief Society lessons and always put a tablecloth and a bowl of jello out for whomever wished to partake..."

Those really nausiate me.

Which, side note, is one reason I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write books that stuck to church standards without dripping each paragraph with the sappy Mormon cliches. As a very devoted member of the LDS faith, this books sicken me and I find myself having to force them down my palate like a steaming plate of mushrooms. If I dislike them so much, people outside the faith must detest them. So, logically, what's the point in lacing a book with fluffy Mormon cliches when it's not going to entice anyone to follow up on what it is the Mormons believe? What's the point if it's just going to irritate and annoy?

It's called subtext, people.

This book, going back to the topic, was along the lines of what I wish to write. It clearly was written by and for pure virtuous religious eyes, but it wouldn't be blatantly obvious to someone not used to looking through that lens. The girl had been in a bad relationship and he'd done a lot to tear her down as a person, and though she didn't capitalize on it she had lingering low selfesteem issues.

Then she meets this really rad guy and doesn't think he's interested romantically because who would be? And she inadvertantly breaks up with him when he asks if she wants them to be friends. She says yes, thinking that, hey, at least he likes me enough to be friends this is great, when what he meant was 'You don't want to see me so let's at least be friends?'

As a reader this is a moment where you snap the book shut or shake your head incredulously at your personification of her and say "Moron. You're a freaking moron."

Last week I was a freaking moron.

Let me say it truly is hard to see when you're not looking at it from the outside. It's the reality we've constructed for ourselves; she was convinced he'd at minimum want to be friends, so had no idea she was saying no to more because she couldn't see him as wanting more. I did the same thing. I was convinced bridges were burning, or were soon to be set ablaze, and I started treating the wounds before they existed hoping to get a jump-start on the pain.

Love is draining. And I don't even mean the "I love you" love. I mean the whole process of getting to that point. I can't imagine a lifetime of relationships that just don't work; I can't fathom how empty hearts keep giving. What's in the hollowed hearts that's worth the risk? What's there to giving and giving and always coming up short? And when a moment comes when someone actually cares....

What is there to give?

"No, this is how it works: you peer inside yourself, you take the things you like and try to love the things you took. And then you take that love you made and stick it into someone else's heart pumping someone else's blood...You hope it don't get harmed, but even if it does you'll just do it all again." -Regina Spektor; On the Radio

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lead Thou Me On

"Faith, to be faith, must center around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it." -Boyd K Packer (What is Faith?, Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sometimes it may seem dark, but the absence of the light is a necessary part.

I could spend a few hours trying to vaguely poetically describe where I'm at right now, or I could quote Jason Mraz and save us all some trouble: "Over the horizon is another bright sky."(93 Million Miles). Dawn is breaking, everyone. Here comes the sun. Over the horizon is another bright sky.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

They say when one door closes another door opens. I find it equally true to say that we fail to see the best doors open as we spend our time staring at the door we think we want, waiting for it to swing wide.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Something More

I sat outside studying my script and attempting to give my skin means to not be so very white, when a robin landed on the chainlink fence across the yard. It was just the two of us, minus the near constant sound of passing cars a lifetime on a busy street has led me to ignore as white noise. He looked at me, the robin did, for a moment. And I wondered about all the life that's passed before. All the robins and all the people who have occupied the same space in all the time gone by, how we as humanity have shared the planet with numerous creatures, some we don't yet know and some that left our lifetime.

I thought about the purpose of me and the robin. Our spirits, our souls, our reasons for breathing on this planet at this moment.

I wondered if we're wasting our time, he on the fence, me on my lawn chair. But at the same time I think he's ever fulfilling his duty. He is ever constant in his quest for food, ever vigilant when crafting a nest, ever open to mating or taking a moment to stop and look around, to drop remembrances to a society that forgets there is life past our computer screens and smart phones. There is purpose more than studying a script. He's very careful with his time, the robin. Very purposeful with his life.

And I'm not wasting mine, in this chair. I'm multitasking. I'm getting two birds with one stone, if that's not too sensitive a euphemism to employ.

But as far as my purpose goes, as far as what God sent me here to do, am I wasting time? Who am I bringing to His truth by sunbathing in the backyard? Of what benefit am I, pensively reading or pondering the actions of a robin?

When I see it all clearly, when the robin and I pass this place to higher courts, will I shutter at all the wasted time? Will my productive time be yet classified wasted?

Am I meant to be the robin: each moment I breath dedicated to my purpose, or is that the blessing of humankind? Is that the beauty in what God allowed us to be, that I can take these moments in practices of man and still be welcomed home, because I also took moments to stop and look around and drop remembrances to a society that forgets there is life past this life. There is purpose more than this.

The Sky Can Become Our Possibility

The other day I posted on Facebook that I'm once again suffering from a severe case of My-Life-is-Excellent-itus, because frankly, it'd been a good day.

And things keep getting better.

Anne Frank, and sadly I'm paraphrased because I haven't read her diary in some six years, said she would lay in bed and think about what had happened that day and how she'd responded and how she could fix mistakes or react better next time. She'd review her life.

I often review my life. And for a long while it's been the whole scope of things--how that one day playing with my grandma's neighbors in their backyard with their puppy affected me as a child and transferred into who I am as an *cough* adult. I write with metaphor and often it's based on those moments as a kid that seemed utterly insignificant but now stand out as something utterly important, even if it's just for the fact I remember them.

I was on a date, ironically shortly before the optimistic life realization. They may or may not be related. You can twist/interpret my words as you may. I was on a date and we, as happens on introductory dates, were divulging information about ourselves.

And I kept running out of things to say. I made it through Jason Mraz and Back to the Future and suddenly I was drawing blanks. I'm not interested in things. I don't have hobbies. I felt very much insufficient and pointless. And my lack of sharing, of taking advantage of this guy genuinely wanting to hear me brag about myself, has nagged me for the past few days. To the point that today when I was at work and suddenly remembered a moment in my grandma's neighbors backyard where we were playing house in their little shed and a bee swarmed us and we had to abandon the little red bowl in our haste to safety.

I realized that I have a life behind me. I have memories and interests and experiences that are uniquely mine and mean absolutely nothing to anyone I cross paths with. But that someday I'll have shared those things. Someday someone will know my pointless stories. And how can I give up a few hours into a date, believing I've got nothing more to disclose.

I wasn't going to talk about that. What I sat down to blog (or rather stayed awake to blog/delayed watching Arrested Development to blog) is that I'm not so much looking at the long-range scheme of things, such as those memories from a childhood at grandma's, but the more recent things.

I auditioned for Pickleville Playhouse (in Bear Lake) in March, I think, and had I made a show it would have entailed rehearsing in Logan and living in Bear Lake for the summer for performances, which I would get paid for. It was an interesting and very much desirable idea.

But it would mean going seasonal at work and holding off on any Bountiful/Centerville life I would possibly have had that summer.

So I started to make ultimatums.

-If I don't make Pickleville I'll get red highlights in my hair.
-If I don't make Pickleville I'll buy a pet rat.
-If I don't make Pickleville I'll go on a mission.

That's the truth. I'm not exaggerating.

I didn't make Pickleville. I made Improvables. I didn't make Pickleville. I made 12 Angry Jurors.

Today at work I ran into the previous PTA president at West Bountiful Elementary, the lady who hooked me up with the directing gig. She told me she wasn't next year's PTA president, but that I was coming back next year for the musical, that the producer-mom would contact me in the summer about picking a show.

I got an email with the Improvables June schedule and I'm playing a show at Playbills'.

My director for 12 Angry Jurors told me she thought I'd be a great theatre teacher and then gave me tips/suggestions/offered advice for when I get closer to finishing up.

Things are right. I'm not going on a mission, and that's alright. I'm majoring in theatre, and that's alright. That guy I worried soooo much about didn't want to date me but found someone else, and that's alright. I'm so at peace right now that I can't even describe it. I just...I know I'm where I need to be. I know I'm who I need to be. I know these things are falling in place and I'm welcoming them with open arms. I love that I can look back and see how I just needed time for the mission question to make sense, I just needed time to grow acclimated to the theatre department, I just needed time for the river of life to wash my concerns downstream and for the irrigation gate to drop, sparing me from wasting water on a relationship that wasn't a relationship and wasn't going anywhere. I needed to get my head past the clouds.

And now that I'm there I love looking down and seeing how perfectly logical the path was the whole time, and I can scoff at myself, whom I now perceive to be an ignorant elementary school girl, and my impatience to just press on. I love seeing what I couldn't, and the peace that comes from knowing no matter how horribly lost I felt at those moments, no matter how much it nauseated me at times, regardless of those nights I cried, I was never truly lost. I was never truly wandering aimlessly. I hate to be cliche, but there were footprints in the sand, carrying me. All things are calculated for learning.

I'm just doing what I'm here to do. I'm pressing on, unable to understand what's lurking in the clouds, but hoping with all my faith it's for my good.

And that's life. It's a sunny day that's slightly overcast, and some moments you find yourself bathed in shade, but you get past the cloud and the sun's still shining.

Even if I don't see it, the sun's still shining.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Believe not God is in your heart, child, but rather you're in the heart of God.

"I found God when I thought I was happy, when I thought this is as good as life can get." -Al Fox

I'm not going to be long with this one. I just had that need to write again.

First, let me just say watch this video:

There's not much more I can say than this. I echo everything, and it's interesting to me how similar a circumstance I share with someone whose past is entirely opposite of mine.

But I suppose it's not that we are different, but rather that Christ is the same. "Forget not whose hands you're in...You have a God and He is yours."

My first year of college, both semesters, my LDS Institute class was held in the same room (110 to anyone who knows the Ogden Institute on Weber's campus). There's a picture of Christ in the front corner of the room. It's not that generic one that I have in my room, or that Al Fox has on the bookshelf behind her. It was  a different artist's rendition, and it was the first one that made me think of Christ as existing, rather some childhood fairytale.

I suppose that's the trouble with being raised in the church, seeing that picture in every primary lesson, or every time I glance across my bedroom. There were lots of fanciful stories I was told in my exuberant youth; stories of pigs building houses, bears eating porridge, a girl dangling her hair from a tower, men walking on water, a man feeding five thousand with loaves and fishes, a woman being healed by touching a cloak's hem...

Everyone has their conversion moment. Even if you've grown with the gospel set before you and wrapped around you. There's the moment when it stops becoming folklore and the reality clicks into place. Where suddenly I know Joseph Smith did see God and Christ; I don't just know the story. I know.

Suddenly I know Christ walked this earth, that the atonement is more than a word, that Gethsemane was more than a garden. That there is reality and truth in these stories.

That reality and truth are these stories.

I was sitting in Relief Society in my single's ward a few months back, and they passed around a stack of wallet sized pictures of Christ with little quotes on the back. I was handed the stack and I grabbed one out of the middle and passed it along. The pictures had been different, but somehow I ended up with this one.
That's the one from that institute classroom. That's the one that, to me, is Christ.

I stuck the little picture in my Book of Mormon, and every time I open it the picture falls out. I've been so afraid I would lose the little picture and never remember the artist (Greg Olsen) and would lose that little miracle of having it brought to me. So one night I decided I'd check out the guy's website to drill his identity into my mind, and see how much a print of this would cost.

I was on my phone, and couldn't decide if I should take the initiative and buy it for myself or wait until farther down the line when marriage and moving out happen, perhaps requesting it as a gift from my mom.

I was going to navigate from the page when the thought struck me to set this picture as the background on my phone.

"I couldn't do that. What if it doesn't fit? The picture of Jason Mraz that is currently my background isn't saved in my phone. If this picture doesn't work I'll have to scour the internet for my old background."

But then I realized my greatest temptations come with this phone. That my steepest mistakes have stemmed from holding the internet in my pocket.

So I changed the background.

And I couldn't stop smiling.

Sorry, Satan. Chalk up another point for Christ.

I haven't been perfect, but it's harder to ignore that wrong doings are wrong when I'm looking in the face of Christ every instant I check the time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Obedience brings blessings. Obedience with exactness brings miracles.

I have that desire to write something again, which is frustrating as I am rather tired and was excited to try this thing called "go to sleep before 1 AM," but...alas...

I went on a date last week, and we met up with a group of his friends to see a movie, and he warned me beforehand that one of them would more than likely try to hit on me.

He did. 

And in his process of hitting on me, he asked me if I'd been raised LDS. I told him yes.

"Is that why you believe it?"

"That's part of it."

He then asked me what the other part was, and I felt that awkward emptiness that comes when testifying of truth without having your whole heart in it; for a second I felt like I was saying what I needed to say, not what I felt to say. 

I don’t feel like I failed or anything; he wasn’t sincerely asking anyway so it’s not as if anything I said would have brought a chorus of angels raining down upon him, but I couldn’t help but obtain a notion of my inadequacy.

So I’m fixing it.

And I’m fixing it in the way my stream of consciousness wants me to, which is like this:

At Christmas time I had a guy ask me out. Let me rephrase that. At Christmas time I had a guy chat with me on Facebook, give me his number, text me until later than I wanted (I worked at six at the bakery the following morning), and in a roundabout way ask me out.

To coax me to talk longer after I quickly vetoed a midnight phone call with someone I’d only seen once in person on a day when I was quite preoccupied by others in my proximity, he asked me a series of questions. One of which was something like “Tell me five essential things to know about you.”

I typed in my love of Mraz, my writing and theatre and…

What else could I say?

I really didn’t have anything.

And then a voice, a voice I wasn’t used to hearing and was starting to vaguely notice in the recesses of my dusty, encumbered mind, said “Tell him you’re a Mormon.”

So I did. I told him I belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that I was very devoted to my religion.

From that moment I had a rush of feelings shooting through me, each little buzz reiterating the fact that I needed to talk about religion with him. I needed to explain where I stood. Because though for so long I’d been limply abiding by my religious precepts, it’s something I could never blatantly forsake.

He asked me to ask him questions.

I did. And one of them was his religious affiliations.

He told me he’d been raised LDS and still believed the principles and “understood” it more than most, but he just had a problem with organized religion.

I’ve seen that problem manifested in an older brother who was an entirely different person—and I say that quite literally—in his days of distance from “organized religion” verses his time now spent actively trying to follow Christ’s plan. I’ve seen the difference in countenance between one who claims to appreciate the gospel and “knows” it’s true and one who embodies the doctrine they know so well. I’ve lived the difference between striving to fulfill God’s purpose for me on earth verses laying in bed acknowledging that God is good, but that I don’t need to do anything about it.

I was still clawing my way out of the pit I’d spent over a year digging.

I wasn’t falling in it again.

And all the feelings twittering in my arms like miniscule bees affirmed that if I went on a date with that boy I’d never get out of that relationship, and I wouldn’t be at all where I needed to.

Because I’d met someone who made me realize that forever isn’t as far away as I anticipated in the midst of my numb roaming of the world. He made me realize I didn’t have time to waste, because that righteous boy who could take me to the temple could turn up any instant, and what would be my course if I wasn’t ready for him? Where would I be? What eternity of good would I miss from one instant not acknowledging my Maker or Savior, ignoring and forsaking that I have the ability to breathe, the agency to lay in bed, because of one plan I chose to follow and abide by? Why should I be blessed with someone like that when I can’t even manage to mumble a prayer in an uneventful or calm moment?

He asked me if the religion thing threw me off the idea of a date.

And I thought of that someone who woke me up, whose mere personable spirit carried so firmly the light of Christ that I couldn’t be around him without the buzzing in my arms to do good. To constantly do good.

I talk about this a lot and I’ve probably told the equivalent of everyone but him that he gave me my conversion moment. His lack of shyness with the gospel pulled me to the realization that all the beautiful things I’ve ever had in my life came from a God who dearly loved me, and that by not taking a moment to put effort toward His cause I was wasting my time—wasting my life. And that’s why He took the words away.

I remembered a time I’d felt blessed, peculiar and chosen, and how I wasn’t that person anymore. I wasn’t that adolescent constantly abuzz with what she’d read in scripture the night before; I wasn’t that girl who hoped on Christ. I was that girl who went through the motions, followed routine, and had bouts of panicked faith in high-stress moments. Not even literally almost dying, locked in a freezer, brought me to realize my error. No heartache or blessing brought me to the knowledge of my God; nothing humbled me into seeing it is through Him all is possible.

Until this boy.

And it all hit me as I lay in bed texting the non-religious gent, and I knew I couldn’t do that. I didn’t want to sound judgmental and prudish and “holier-than-thou” but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to say no to him. I had take a stand for once in my life, had to remember a tear-stained aunt telling me not to date anyone I didn’t plan on marrying because she’d never intended on marrying a Catholic, but she dated him anyway and fell in love and now what? I had to remember the petite paragraph in my patriarchal blessing that talks about a husband and the church. I had to remember those statements of rearing children in Christ, of that celestial marriage and eternity I want and deserve. I had started working so hard for it, and I couldn’t compromise.

So I didn’t.

And I won’t.

I told the boy I was sorry, but I couldn’t. I was flattered, but I couldn’t. I did the difficult thing and said no.

And blessing started pouring through.

And more are coming. I have to keep remembering that. I often think of that story President Monson tells about himself as a young bishop being in a stake meeting of sorts with the distinct impression to visit a ward member in the hospital but he continued to push it aside, seeing it inappropriate to get up and leave. And by the time he ran into the hospital he was informed by a nurse that the patient had been asking for him just before he died.

President Monson says he vowed at that moment to never again hesitate with spiritual promptings.

I’m trying. I really am. And sometimes they’re not what you want to hear, and sometimes they’re so difficult that I literally feel nauseous. But it’s worth it, I think, to count myself on the Lord’s side. To know that I’m chalking up points that He’ll repay in the fullest of fashions. It’s worth it to know I’m in cahoots with someone on the inside—and not just that, but with the person running the show. He has the cheat codes. He has the answers. He has the words and He has the strength. And maybe I’m still shaky at saying no when I need to and instantaneously saying yes when He asks. Maybe I’m still selfish and ignorant and stubborn.

But I’m trying not to be. And I think that’s the point. And maybe I haven’t tried other religions. Maybe I’ve only sat in one Baptist church meeting, and only went for my public speaking class. Maybe I haven’t tested other sources.

But I haven’t needed to, and that’s what I should have told the guy at the movie theatre. I haven’t needed to compare, because I’ve felt the fullness with which this gospel, this religion, brings me to Christ. I’ve watched His love envelop and change the very appearance of a person. I’ve watched sharp edges grow soft and harsh lines become smooth. I’ve felt His hand and I’ve felt His absence.

I believe you can feel Christ’s spirit anywhere. I believe the Holy Ghost helps those who haven’t received it; but I feel that spirit most with the Mormons. I feel that spirit most with the Plan of Salvation and the temple and the Book of Mormon. I don’t doubt God exists in other religions, I just know He dwells in mine.

And I’m thankful every day for being raised LDS. I’m thankful every day for being fully converted. I’m thankful to that friend for living his testimony in so full a way that it inspired me to don mine as a more public garment. I’m grateful God listens and loves me, that Christ set selfishness aside and atoned for my sins, pains, heartbreaks and concerns. I’m grateful I have a Redeemer to lean on, a crucified hand to hold, and a knowledge that we are eternal. And a desire to act upon it.

And you know what? It’s a testimony, so I’m ending it like one.

And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.