Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

Yesterday wasn't a good day.

I mean, ultimately it wasn't actually half bad, but from the get-go it was...a little rough.

Perhaps it was the three and a half hours of sleep, or other conditions beyond my control, but I couldn't shake this horrible feeling of being lost. I had symptoms of it prior to that day, as you can see in the previous blog post. I was hating life again. I was hating where I am and what I'm doing, which I knew was ridiculous because so many excellent things are happening right now. I'm directing an elementary school musical. I'm assistant stage manager for a musical on campus. I'm finally able to participate in improv workshops, something I've been yearning to do since my junior year in high school. I'm acting like myself on a daily basis in public locations.

I was aware feeling the way I felt was stupid, but I couldn't shake it. I couldn't get rid of that all-consuming sorrow and despondency. I prayed like forty times in four hours. And I felt incrementally better each time, but there was still a constant under current of "things suck."

And then I went to mission prep.

I don't know if I'm going on a mission, let me say so up front. A couple months back I started taking life seriously again, and putting my faith in my Lord and His gospel on a higher pedestal than everything else. I've never planned on going on a mission. I always blew it off with the confidence that I'd just decide when I was 21, because by that point I'd so obviously be in a committed relationship/married/nearly married and therefore not be expected to go. So I wouldn't go.

So I never considered going.

Even when they changed the age, it wasn't like I knew immediately that's what I needed to do. I thought about it a lot, what this would mean for me, suddenly aware that 21, though no longer the limit, was not as far away as I imagined as a thirteen year-old in Young Womens. My answer upon hearing the announcement and pondering, there at work standing by the microwave, was to live my life as if I were to go on one, something I hadn't been doing prior to that moment, and something I honestly didn't actually put into effect until about a month later.

I've been a little embarrassed to talk about it, because when you say you haven't been living the gospel fully in a predominately Mormon society, the judgment most often passed--and you realize this because you've been guilty of doing it yourself--is that obviously they've done something drastic like break the Word of Wisdom or let someone into their bed; of which I did neither. But, we were looking in Joseph Smith History in Sunday School, and read this verse, and...how can I be embarrassed now?

JSH 1: 28 "...I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilt of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament."

Why I never even knew this existed I could not tell you.

Actually, false. I didn't know because I didn't need it until now.

To return to where we were before the digression, once I started fully doing my part with regards to faith, testimony, the gospel, I started to turn to Him for everything; something I should have been doing instead of taking a year hiatus. I realized I'm at this point in my life where everything can either go right or go wrong. I'm an adult. If I had chosen or if it had been right for me I could be living on my own right now. There are peers my age not going to school, working full time to build a life. There are girls on my Facebook page who are home tending to children. I can't afford another year of figuring things out for myself--I figured out nothing in that year but a system for laziness.

So I ask Him everything.

And with regards to every big decision, my answer is the same:


I took a mission prep class because I didn't know what I'm waiting for. I still don't. But I saw no harm in preparing for a mission that I may or may not go on, because if I don't end up going, at least by taking the class I followed the prompting given that day in October, and worked toward living as though I were going to go.

I'd been waiting all day for mission prep, because I felt so sluggishly bogged and despondent and the small nudges of comfort from my inward praying for peace wasn't enough.

I struggled for a moment, sitting in mission prep, my mind still insisting on sinking into the tar pit of my heart and giving up, when the fog cleared, just a little.

I remembered a moment from Friday night, out with the Improvables at Dee's. I'd been talking to my BFF Charlotte (who I honestly hardly know but she's super nice and awesome, and I can see us becoming some form of BFF's some day), and I immediately felt better. Everything that was bothering me, all the cannons that were sinking my ship, ceased. I realized that though this one fragment of my life is less than desirable, so much more of it is amazing. And the thing for me to do now is focus on the amazing parts, and let the other sort itself out with time.

Then these three girls put in a video they'd made. From what I gleaned they are three best friends, all headed on their missions. They'd compiled footage of each of them opening their mission calls, so that each would read the same line and progress down the letter.

I watched them each uncover where they were going. Dominican Republic, New York, Wisconsin, and that old thought drifted in through my new found peace.

I wonder where He'd send me.

I started idealizing Virginia because Jason Mraz was from there, but the more I looked into it the more I realized it truly was a place I'd like to see. But that's the thing: I've never seen it. Virginia became a place in my mind, a metaphor for a happy place, an area of solace. Comfort. But I realized one day everything I've allowed Virginia to be is everything a mission would be.

I've daydreamed heading out there and finding myself, coming across the right people, becoming a fulfilled person. Experiencing joy. I'd take care of myself, because I'd be on my own. I'd gain experience I lack sitting here on my bed in my parents' house. I'd grow.

I don't remember when, but it occurred to me a mission would be that long-imagined month or more staycation in Virginia. But a mission would be less risky. A mission would have more stability than a college student deciding to embark on an adult life across the country, where no one could help her if she needed it.

Why not? I thought, crying for the third time that morning, but for an entirely different reason than heartache.

Why not a mission?

I'm not saying I'm going. I'm not saying I've decided.

I'm saying I've decided to actually think about it. To finally set myself down and determine, prayerfully, what I'm meant to do with my mortal sojourn, instead of waving a hand and saying "future Erica will have to decide."

I'm checking unknown, for now. I'm not expecting an answer now; I don't think He'd give it. He knows how much of a one-track mind I have. The time will come. Someday the waiting will be over. But for now I'm waiting productively.

For now I'm waiting in Him.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How many times can I break till I shatter?

It's hard to shut your mind off when it's the only thing you have to comfort you.

The trouble with the mind is it moves quickly, and has thousands of thoughts to consider and provide. A lot of little things can lead back to what you want to avoid, a lot of closed doors can be open by round-about routes.

I'm left with my thoughts, and can do no more than think.

Now is the winter of our discontent.

I'd quote the rest but we rearranged my room and who knows where my Shakespeare collection ended up.

I'm feeling it again, a constant drum against my temples, a throbbing in meter down my spine; I'm growing tired of this place, these halls, these barriers between where I am and where I want to be.


Peace alludes me again, peace stands at separated distances and waves primly in the breeze, powder snow wafting fast, drafting my vision and leaving me blinking, yearning, searching, and constantly--ever constantly--falling short.

There is a strength, a will of heart, I have to invoke. A courage and power to keep on keeping on, to trudge another moment in this swamp of sadness, to make it to the end. There is a faith I must exercise that an end will ever come, that an end will be something worth trudging for. That an end will be better than where I was, where I inevitably couldn't stay.

Because people wake up and dreams shatter.

And anything that was once held as reality eventually must become illusion; all that has passed is not fact any longer. The condition of time and life is that it changes. Truth changes, people change, rules change, responses change. I can't look back because back is not real any longer, back is a memory and only exists in the spaces of mind. Back has become a faded reality, a dimming truth. I cannot argue that it was there, it happened, but to revisit and search for all I found before is a futile mistake. The past has passed.

It takes near constant pinches to wake up, an underlying chanting of affirmation that now must be faced. Now has become what it is, I have traveled my roads and there is no altering the station in which I stand and the ground I occupy, whether it's desirable or not.

My trouble, my fault, is that it's not desirable. I find no comfort here. I yearn for pastures or past years, of mountains beyond my own. I'm craving Virginia, the ocean, a Washington forest, anything to smudge away or mar all I'm left to stare at now.

This isn't what I wanted, this isn't what I'd hoped. And in my despair my mind flies back to moments of surety and contentment, happiness and ease.

But those moments are passed, those moments are not real. I drown my heartache in happiness that is false now, happiness that is reserved and saved and soon will dry up. I keep dishing out peace from a limited supply, and the levee's running dry.

And under frantic tears and the whirring of gears in my tumulting mind, I know my answer lies in heaven. I know my peace can be provided. I just have to ask.

I ask and He says wait. I ask and He says patience. There is no guideline, no support, no idea of what I'm waiting for, what I keep waiting for. This blindness is harsher than sorrow. This blindness births discontent.

I feel so good then immediately so terrible. I feel faith and fortitude then weakness and worry. I stumble and my mind wonders and I remind myself my charge to wait; I walk forward and wait. But I constantly must remind myself there is purpose, somewhere beyond the sight line of my mortality, there's reason without my comprehension. It requires ever fiber of my soul to consciously continue, to chant consoling catch-phrases, to provide my own peace.

I know He knows, I know He has grand things coming. It's getting to them and waiting for them in this dark lonely state that I can't seem to handle. It's knowing good is coming but not seeing it that terrifies me. It's being left with the workings of mind to tide me over in the time between now and when that something arrives, it's my mind's enjoyment of memories that destroy me. It's my inability to cease seeing the truth of yesterday and the forlorn fiction of it all today that breaks me down. It's hard to shut your mind off when it's the only thing you have to comfort you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Rest is Silence

It wasn't like he was my favorite person or my best friend. I remember him as the boy with the duct tape on his hands as a method against warts. I remember him as being there, always being there.

I remember he was one of two people I knew in my first theatre class in high school. But we'd never talked in elementary, and I believe he went to a different junior high, so there was nothing more than his face and name that held memory. I remember I sat and listened to questionable conversations at our table, and he'd get up and move. He'd leave the uncomfortable moments. I remember he was kind-hearted. I remember he was Polonius in our comedic rendition of Hamlet. I remember wondering how this quiet person could do theatre. I was so caught up in discovering myself that I failed to acknowledge the existence of others beyond their existence. His memory was still a name and face.

I remember him with dark makeup on his face, playing a Puerto Rican, the equivalent lesser part to my role as a Jet Girl. I remember I didn't see him much that year; I guess that's the problem with large musical casts and different sets of friends, different places to fit in.

I remember he changed. He wasn't the quiet shy boy who had duct tape on his hands. He'd been altered. I remember on my off-nights in Cinderella I played his wife in every villager scene. I remember we sculpted a life our characters lead: we were cannibalistic back woodsmen who didn't eat our daughters because someone had to help chop the wood and sell it in town. We also marketed decapitated squirrels and carried axes.

I almost bought us prop axes just to complete the truth to our illusion, to extend it into the reality of the audience instead of something we joked about between ourselves as we hungrily eyes the dancing villagers and their children.

I never bought the axes, but I told him I thought about it.

I always kind of regretted I hadn't.

I even tried to get him to ask me to the prom. I knew no one else would, what would it matter if he did or didn't?

He didn't, but I didn't really expect him to.

He always had some comment to make on my Facebook updates, or just liked them at least. Sometimes his personal posts seemed obnoxious or over-bearing, but I could never bring myself to remove him from my news feed. He was doing different things with his life than all my other friends. I liked seeing the diversity of people. It became common practice for me to see what he'd written.

But the Lord saw it was time to take him from my Facebook feed, time to take him from this existence and call him home.

I can't comprehend why I feel so sick and so sad over his loss, other than perhaps, as distant of acquaintances as we were, he is the closest person I've ever had pass. As few disjointed memories as we share, he was there. He was always there.

And having to comprehend that that was the last, that I've lost another Facebook correspondent--another friend, is something I'll have to learn to cope with.

To Bruce Droge, for being there and being himself, as quiet and small an impact he made, he made one. He was there, and I remember him.

Goodnight, sweet prince, as flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Heavy Hearted

She cut me like a knife. I staggered back and felt the air fill the gash where skin used to be suspended. I slowly clenched a fist against my heart and wished it didn't sting as much as it stung.

I've never been scathed by something she'd said before. I'd been miffed and confused, maybe exceptionally irritated, but never scathed.

It was as if, for the first time in my life, my mother had dumped boiling water on me and then pushed me down a flight stairs to let the blisters bloom. I knew she didn't mean it, with each step I crashed past I knew it was just a mood she was in, but that didn't stop her words from ripping everything I've ever held in consolation from my fingers, every picture of hope off the walls.

He did it well enough, in high school. He showed me that love was a fragment of my own mind, something of my own make that would never be reciprocated and never reciprocated in the way I expected. Love would always fall short, and time and time again experience proved him to be right. He showed me the dark side to men--the dark side of everyone; the side that plays more into our prideful pompous hearts than leans into the thought that perhaps I'm doing wrong by someone else right now. Perhaps I'm crossing a line.

But the Barbie doll house didn't go up in flames until my mother had to tell me I was wrong. And as much as I knew she didn't mean it, as much as I knew it was frustration at a thousand other things and that was the thing she chose to vocalize about, it couldn't help but hurt when Mom said marriage was pointless. It couldn't help but hurt when I was so elated by the idea that someday-someday-I'll have that thing I reached for as a five year old, that thing I acted out with dolls, that thing I idealized with Disney cartoons: that someday I'll have love.

And she spat in my face.

My parents aren't getting divorced, I don't want people to think that my life is crumbling to pieces. It was a bad day on her part. But it's made every day since that much more worse for me, because suddenly I have this nagging fear at the back of my mind that I had quieted. This doubt that keeps rising that it's still just a construct of my mind, it's still just part of my imagination, and that love won't find me and that I won't find it, and that even when I do it doesn't matter.

Because it's pointless.

I wanted to say, If that was true, then why do so many people do it? If that was true then why has unity between man and wife withstood the test of time, why has that lasted? Why am I here if a procreation of love was pointless? Why would God let something so beautiful be pointless?

I know He wouldn't. He couldn't. But this dense tar of doubt clings to each glorified expression, growing stringier and needier with each desperate yank I make to rid myself of it.

I have optimism. I'm not saying I don't think anyone will ever find me attractive, or that anyone will ever be a kindred heart to mine, I'm just...

When you wake up as a teenager and you're awkward and your hair is greasy and you're chubby. And you have braces. And clothes make you look like a bloated box and you sound like a man and the only thing pretty about you is your eyelashes, but you fiddle with your eyelashes and pull at them because you've been doing it since you were a child and they're getting thinner and thinner... you start to doubt that any of those really cute boys that you keep talking about with your friends will ever actually look at you and remember who you are. And when that part of you dies, when that awkward phase ends and that part of you dies and you start to look the way you'd always hoped you did but acknowledged deep down you were terribly far from, you have to rebuild yourself and say that you weren't making things up when you were a kid and everyone was equally as ugly. That you just took a minute longer than everyone else to stop being hideous.

And you build yourself again.

And the last thing when you want when you're constructing yourself anew and establishing footing in a skin you didn't think you'd ever appreciate, is to hear that the thing you've been rooting for your entire life, that all encompassing goal, the end all of end all of everything, isn't as great as it's cracked up to be.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tracks in the Snow

Everyone knows it's going to hurt, but at least we'll get hurt trying.

I've always loved the snow, the way my perception becomes as though I'm locked in a log cabin, away from the world, snow cementing and nestling me into a safe-haven of contrasting warmth and frost. There is something enlivening to my soul when the earth becomes synonymous with the heavens, when I find myself in the middle of a cylinder of white, from my feet to as far back as I can lean my head. When the horizon vanishes, when it's white into infinity, I find myself at home.

I want to curl up on a windowsill and scribble in petite cursive all the workings of my mind, all the actions of my capacities, with my knees scrunched to my chest and the knowledge that I have nothing to do--no responsibility, no obligation, no plans--aside from absorbing the snow piling up against the window, taking breaths of the winter seeping through the double-pane glass.

It's a Virginia moment, one I haven't had for a long while. It's the desire for solitude, desire for cleanliness, desire for change and difference and peace; a certain sort of peace, an altered sort of peace from that which shrouds me constantly of late. Not the peace that life is working, life is right, and I am where I'm meant to be, the peace that makes words come, the peace that opens all the crevices of my soul up to the winds of words that dwell on snow drifts and swirl past in a haze. The kind of peace that brings longevity to my seldom failing heart and like a bellows feeds and fodders my spirit into a realm of knowledge, understanding, and creativity.

Perhaps the snow didn't bring it on, but is rather accenting the notion I've been skating with all week: that initial peace of correctness and joy. It presses in around me like a signifying beacon that here is where I should be, here is correct, here is beautiful like the snow.

I once imagined walking in a snow-crusted world, my hands in my coat pockets, unfeeling of the cold. My boots leaving soft prints in the unbroken ground as I traveled with head high, truly seeing the world, taking in the contrast of bark against scarves of snow draped round the trees, spying in the distance the faded existence of the forest, snowfall lending a whitewash across my senses, leaving the wilderness a duller version of itself, the colors faded and masked in a sepia grey scale, with an eternal light bouncing off of the winter it was shrouded by.

It's in these daydreams I picture the Indians. I draw back to childhood fascination of the natives to this land, and the early settlers that greeted and uprooted them. I read one book twice, Indian Captive, about a young blonde-haired girl taken captive by the natives and adopted into their culture. I imagine being her, or a beautiful red-skinned Pocahontas, taking to the woods by snowfall, at peace and at one with the land. My hand falls to the trunk of a tree and a remembrance of life rushes through my nerves to my core, and I'm half tempted to sit in the snow bank, to stay here and abide and breath this life and love. To stay until the snow fades away, a thought that never dawns in this daydream or the next, that the snow shall pass. A desire to partake of this world so often stranger to me.

There is love in my person, there is passion and acceptance to the extent that I could fling myself from this window to thwump with a puff of powder into the white beyond. I want to run away, I want to find Virginia, but not for a lack of satisfaction with where I stand, as it has been so often before. I want to take flight for the romance of discovering the white and feeling the possibilities that await awakened by the falling cold. I want to discover all that lies, buried and masked in the demeanor of the season.

I want to thrive within my situation. I want to sing of truth.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I keep wanting to write things. I keep throwing words like darts and lashing sentences with globby brushstrokes of paint, but nothing sticks, nothing forms, nothing coagulates into a finished product I can stamp my name on and shoot into cyberspace to fall upon the unsuspecting browsers of my Facebook feed, or dare we hope it Google.

I keep wanting to take this bubble that's living in my throat and dissect it; determine its make and origin--whether it is privy to my draining sinuses or a figment of my mucusy emotions.

And I don't even care if that brought about the reaction of dry-heaving.

It's America. I can describe snot if I want to.

It's a story I'm lacking, I suppose. I keep making it this far with choice or decently passable words, then it all stops.

I held the glass up to the light and thought I'd watch the minerals dance, the participle particles that peel from shredding ice cubes and swirl like captive sky Indians across a current one wouldn't think a stationary glass possessed. He watched me for a time with that static face he possesses, the one that seems so engaged and vigilant but relaxed in such a way I question whether he sleeps with his eyes open.

I wouldn't be surprised.

He seems the type.

I took a sip or two, staring back at his waiting eyes, tasting all the times I've often thought how futile it is. How much like ants we are, marching to the beat of organism Earth carrying us like blood cells through her veins. How futile eating is, when the calories are spent and more are needed. How futile sleep, whether I receive enough or not tomorrow I'll need more. How futile my job, how futile my laundry, how futile my insistent need for water day in and day out, and suddenly like that moment after midnight in the car I just want to keep driving and break this terrible cycle we construct in being born, and change what's happening and what happened before. To find difference, is what I crave.

I blink and remember his eyes, an eyebrow now quirked, my existentialist inner monologue splayed on my face because I'm not the actor I claim to be; I don't hide myself behind this flesh. He peels himself from the wall his hip rested on so and approaches me. I feel my heart hitch in my chest, a swift batter from one clavicle to another, straining to pump blood from its new position, rising and falling with my breath.

I want him to speak but he doesn't. His warm right hand wraps around my left, still clutching the glass, still suspended in the air. I watch his eyes, his fingers smoothing over mine.

I taste it again, futility, and my brow crinkles with displeasure. He notes the change and releases my hand, having snaked the glass from my grip.

He's backing away before I can vocalize my reasoning, that he doesn't cause this expression, he doesn't cause this futility, he doesn't cause this distaste in my senses, this unhappiness in my situation, this lack of agreement with the contents of my water.

Except as he quirks his eyebrow again and returns to the wall, my glass held and loosely swirled like wine neither of us will taste, the minerals frothing round the edges like mad hurricanes. He crosses his arms and watches me, lost of all cementing structure, stripped of that which kept me sane, and I stare back in his eyes with a dread seeping in. A dread that this nausea is more than nausea, that this constant pain isn't meager me playing pretend in my head. My body reacts in a way to tell me this repetition, this hope for change, is a plug in Einstein's direction of insanity.

Suddenly he's futile as he quirks the eyebrow and smiles with that face I'd come to accept and appreciate. Suddenly I'm cemented to the granite floor on which I stand, doomed to stare forever at the eyes that only stare back; he approaches, but never enough. He grows close, but never enough. I yearn to keep waiting, but what if waiting runs out. What if all that's here is his hip on the wall, his eyes locked with mine, and a glass of water with frozen mineral shavings swirling in abandoned loss about their confined space. And yet, as my heart clenches and sinks like a sailor to my stomach, I cannot break his gaze. I cannot turn from the futility of this place, I cannot keep driving straight on till morning and start anew with the dawning sun. I cannot abandon here, for hope that this displeasure is but a moment, but a figment of the perspective lens I stand behind, that tomorrow he'll be as before, tomorrow I'll be content with my job, eating, sleeping, laundering. Tomorrow the water will be clear and I'll breath easy, the lump in my throat a mere symptom of sickness.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

He tipped his hat and smiled. I faltered and gripped my fan more tightly, stationed to my space as though struck by an arrow: moving in either direction would only rip the sudden wound. I watched him pass and felt my breath even.

If only for the moment. 

I'm not what you think I am, the idea came to mind faster than I could acknowledge it. He'd accented his archery with that smile men do, that face that leads the faint of heart to believe perhaps he'll come calling, perhaps he'll take my hand.

The face that heartache comes to know is just the face of man.

I am not some flower fit for picking, though I carry myself in that way. I am not timid and scared and cowering in hopelessness, my feeble heart thumping softly on the cushion in my grasp, waiting a knight to tear through the door and restore me to my heavenly glory of life and beauty and then like thousands of purified angels receive the trump that I am of worth and astounding.

I would not object to man being that way. I would not object to surety and action. It is not a self conscious mind that lends me to seek a heart to keep and to carry, a soul to capture and with which grow old; it is a confidence that with the depth I am capable of loving, one too will come around desiring the same.

But men are not knights, not from the beginning. Men must tip their hats and pass, dropping that look like breadcrumbs they expect me to follow on a mad self-conscious chase for romance. I watch his figure disappear and fling my fan open. I am not afraid, I am not concerned. I am open and waiting for the knight to knock in the door. 

I am expectant of one who does not merely feign confidence as so many gentlemen do. I await the one who awaits a fellow heart with the surety I do.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Newness Ahead

If you'd asked me last year where I'd be today and what I'd write about in a cliche end-of-the-year blog post, I would have looked around, grabbed my wrist, and showed you my Jason Mraz used guitar string bracelet.

That, basically, would have been it.

I would have never dreamed of being able to report all the things I've experienced this year, nor would I have imagined they would all, in hindsight, be steps back to living my testimony.

Yes, it's going to be one of those posts.

With the end of 2011 I had fallen into the pattern of not trying with regards to faith. I refer to it now as my hiatus, which I believe is a very human thing to experience. Luckily enough for me, my hiatus consisted of slacking off/neglecting basic things like prayer and scripture study, as opposed to dabbling with drugs or whatnot.

In January I bought my Jason Mraz used guitar string bracelet, which I wear erry day, with the exception of work/swimming because if I expose it to water it will rust.

Shortly thereafter I was involved in a devised theatre project, which served as a realization that I'm not as theatrically creative as I would initially like. It also served to illustrate the fact that I evidently can't be myself and just talk. Ever.

In March I met FUN.

I listened to them all through senior year, so that was a super nice thing. (and a warm up for what would later come, for it would be about a month later that I would find I had the ability to meet Jason Mraz.)

My mother and I went to California for two days with my grandma because the hotel was totally cheap. I walked on the beach and watched the ocean and wanted to stay. I didn't want to go back. I wanted to dwell on the California coast and listen to Jason Mraz's California music and live in contentment for once. 

Upon my return, my place of employment moved locations, which brought with it a new set of jolly coworkers and a crappy new uniform and iron-fisted corporate reign. 

At some point after this move, I was locked in the grocery freezer. For twenty minutes.
Looking back, my year has gone like this: Erica's really focused on the worldly things. Erica really wants to be rad with regards to the world. Lord lets Erica meet FUN. because what's more rad and worldly than that? Erica continues to trounce about in said worldly manner. Lord lets Erica be one of twenty to get meet-and-greet tickets for her favorite musician. Erica still trounces worldily. Erica gets locked in a freezer.
There is nothing more devastating than standing there, shrugging and thinking "I'll pray, He'll let me out, life is swell," and slowly having to realize He has no reason to let you out of the freezer. He has no reason to answer you in your time of need because you ignored Him in your prosperity. 

The blood started to slow in my veins and I began to want to sit and wait, to give up and rest because I was so tired. But the Lord is a merciful being, for though He didn't allow me the ease of freeing myself from the freezer, He continued to prompt me to kick the door and make noise, even though I desperately wanted to stop, and He prompted someone to come back to that secluded part of the store at that moment, even though she didn't really need to. 

I had to look at myself, metaphorically, over the next few weeks, and remember that haunting thing that kept nagging me in the freezer: that if I wasn't worthy for Him to immediately rescue me from behind a locked door, I am in no way worthy for Him to rescue me from hell.
I continued to trounce in my worldly way.

In September I met Jason Mraz, which you can read about if you haven't here. The thing is, though, I walked away from this experience the same. Nothing changed. I returned to Utah and I was still living with my parents, I was still going to Weber, I was still working for minimum wage, I was still unpublished, I was still not musically talented, I was still subpar and unhappy.That's what set in the most: I was unhappy.

The greatest thing of my entire life had just happened--I had experienced the one thing I'd dreamed about for years, the one thing only a handful of people get to experience in their lives. My greatest dream/wish/ambition had come to pass, and I was unhappy.

The idea began to dawn on me that I'd gone to the concert seeking lasting happiness. I'd gone ready to return an enlightened, exuberant person. 

I'd sought living water from a worldly well.

You see, I was searching for answers all summer. I was searching for ways to not be what I'd been during that devised theatre project; I wanted to be myself 100% of the time. I wanted to be outgoing and funny and normal. But I didn't seek the Lord.

I found answers with Jason's music, living in the moment, your home being inside of you...everything on his album answered my concerns and gave me hope--I thought that perhaps that was the Lord's way of answering me, though I wasn't being humble enough to seek answers from Him. He put the answers where I would find them: in Jason Mraz's songs. 

But other than having a poetic way to describe what I needed out of life, I had nothing. I still remained in my unhappiness, and the memory of meeting my idol somehow weakened me rather than provide strength.

In October they changed the missionary age.

I stood at work by the microwave thinking it over, having been out of the room when President Monson said over the radio the news. I started thinking.

I've never felt I needed to serve a mission. That's never been a thing I've planned on. I always figured I'd decide when the time came, primarily expecting that I'd be in a steady relationship and therefore wouldn't be expected to go because I was just going to get married shortly and begin to craft a place to rear healthy righteous babies. 

That's always been the plan.

It dawned on me that age 21 wouldn't be the time to decide to serve a mission or not. Preparation beforehand would be needed. I realized, there by the microwave, that if I began preparing to serve a mission right then, I'd only barely be ready by the time I was 21. 

If anything, the mission age change made me realize I wasn't worthy of mission, and wasn't going to be any time soon.

I trounced on in my worldly pace.

In November I auditioned for the Improvables, something I'd been wanting to do since high school but timing was never right. I almost didn't go. I was preparing to leave and head over to the theatre and I really about turned around and went up to my room to get in my sweatpants. 

But I remembered how mad I'd been at myself for not trying for Drama Sterling Scholar, when only one person ended up applying last minute, so I went to the audition, deciding it wouldn't hurt if they didn't want me.

The Lord made one more effort to get me. He tried one more thing to bring me back to His orbit. He allowed me to cross paths with someone who changed me, almost instantaneously.

They always say we have a light about us, that Christ shines through in our faces, as members of the church. They use the Christ in your countenance metaphor, and I never really got it. I never saw the difference, until I met this person. There suddenly was no way to keep me from delving into the gospel, no way to talk me out of reestablishing my relationship with the Lord. I was struck immediately by an overwhelming desire to do good, to be good, to be of the Lord again and walk the way I should have been walking all along. Everything that had happened to me in the past year lumped together and confirmed the thing I had finally grasped: I need this gospel. I need the Lord and His Spirit and my Savior. I need to dwell in His house and abide by His precepts, and life will be a happier, more successful place for me.

I began writing on a daily basis, and writing things of actual merit. I was offered the position of director at an elementary school for their spring play. I was able to help with technical aspects of the Institute Christmas show, getting some know-how before assistant stage managering next semester. I found a botany class on campus. I registered for an Institute mission prep course. I kissed a man. 

Whatever the end all is, whatever I'm headed toward, I'm confident and comfortable with it. It took me a year, but my Heavenly Father is ever patient. He knew I'd come around, and He didn't give up on me. 

2012 wasn't the end of the world. It was the end of my being of the world, and a revived resolution to never again stray from His course or His light.