27 December 2009


Sometimes I think there are so many thoughts inside my head that I just might explode. And other times I feel like all capability to think at all has been sucked out of me and I am left dazed and baffled. The world is a beautiful place. And it's a scary place. And it's a difficult place. And there are times when I look at myself and all humans and I am struck by the truth of our nothingness and just how pathetic it is that we try to make ourselves seem smart or cool or in control. We are all bumbling and stumbling and searching and striving to make a little sense of the world and of our lives and to find a bit of happiness in a world that we have made quite a mess of. And the miracle is that we do find happiness and we do find hope and we do find love and peace and joy. It's a miracle that we function from day to day. It's a miracle that despite all the terrible things people have done to each other throughout history that we have continued and persevered and even thrived. It is a miracle that there always have been and continue to be people who let the facade fall from them and embrace their nothingness and in doing so bless the world with goodness and mercy and a vision of what we should be and could be and can be. I guess I don't think we all have to be Mother Teresa or drop everything and devote our lives to service; but I know I could do more. Couldn't we all do a little more? And how beautiful would it be to wake up in the morning and not pretend that we are smart or collected or prepared, but rather acknowledge that we are just trying day by day and moment by moment to make something of our lives and recognize that we are all the same and that none of us is any better than any other and take hands and lift each other and find that when we are just our little scared selves together we can become something great and we can see great changes occur in the world and love finally reign. Because we are not cool or super smart or really together or completely courageous. We're not fearless and we're not flawless. And pretending to be only divides us and pits us against each other in a fake battle which none of us ever really wins. But if we united in our imperfection we could find that when we place our different flaws together we fill in each others gaps and pick up each others slack, and we're all a little lighter. What is there to lose?

Maybe I'm crazy, but I really believe that.

04 December 2009

I bet you think this song is about you

So I work in a phone room and I wear these super attractive earphones for three hours a day. It's fun. And what's even funner is when I walk twenty minutes home across BYU campus and see three people I know on the way only to realize when I get into my house that the headphones caught on a piece of my hair which is now sticking straight out like some sort of strange off-center unicorn horn. Today I walked into the bathroom about halfway through my shift and noticed that one side of my hair was plastered to the side of my face in a nice round headphone shaped patch. I thought to myself, they should be required to put up mirrors at our desks! with significant haughtiness. And then it hit me. I'm kind of a little vain.

Ok. I'm really really vain. And I think about how I look ALL THE TIME. and what makes it worse is that I pretend that I'm not vain at all. NO. Not me! I don't look at myself in windows as I walk on campus. I don't check my hair in the reflective screen on the computers in the JFSB computer lab. I hardly even glance up at myself while I wash my hands in the bathroom on campus.

At least not when anyone is looking.

When I'm by myself its another story. I think I could sit in front of the mirror for hours on end. In fact, I may have done just that. I like to analyze and scrutinize my face and my body and my teeth and the different potential facial expressions I can make and maybe made in front of that cute boy today--I hope he didn't realize how goofy I look when I do that weird thing with my mouth when I'm thinking! It's bad. And sometimes I even get out my camera and take a photo or two just to check if what I'm seeing in the mirror will hold up under further inspection. And, I mean, it's kind of strange that the only face I've never really seen is my own. It's not that I'm delusional, but you need to be prepared!

Let's stick with that.

P.S. Just to rationalize my own vanity: the favorite location for studying (and scriptures reading) in my apartment is in front of the mirror on our stairs--at least for a few of my roommates. It makes me laugh. And it also bugs me because, hello!, you're blocking the stairs!

20 November 2009

Like "Seeing"


Today in my creative non-fiction class we were given 25 minutes to wander about campus and attempt to SEE--as in Annie Dillard's beautiful essay "Seeing", which I recommend to everyone! When we got back we started writing a bit, and I'm going to finish here what I started. So, here goes...

On BYU campus there are numerous bundles of nature scattered across an otherwise predominantly concrete, artificial landscape—big buildings and broad sidewalks, metal canopies and rocky-black pavement all around us. When you happen to stumble upon one of those semi-concealed corners of campus where nature has gained back her rule (not the carefully human crafted nature--the planted and pruned potters and cement surrounded trees and grasses--but areas where she runs free in all her creative brilliance) there are subtle surprises patiently awaiting any viewer who opens her eyes a little wider and actually seeks to see. This brisk early-winter morning I strolled serenely about on the concrete walkways trying to see what nature—real nature, mind you—existed here, anticipating the moment when I would be baffled with beauty, as sometimes happens while I'm trudging home on cold nights and am suddenly stunned as one of the campus deer makes a brief appearance between bushes and trees--gleaming in the moonlight as if it were some unearthly being standing there nibbling on crisp green stems. I was chilled and mourning the winter dullness as the sun glinted off dew coated grass through a hazy veil of sky, looking for something other than the dimming autumn leaves slowly fading into brownness as they began their slow decay into the earth. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a patch of dark-green hearts of various sizes draped about one another as they loosely hung around a railing placed to protect human travelers from the steep descent on its opposite side; the vivid forest darkness of the little hearts—and the big ones too—contradicted the paling, softening hues of yellowing grasses and crumbling leaves laying nearby, brightened by comparison until I was pulled in to see them more closely, to examine their splendor. Looking at them it amazed me how perfectly nature had imitated hearts in this radiant vine, sprawling stems resembling great green veins intertwining and connecting this multitude of living viridian fronds, each delicately laced with its own vascular webbing. And it occurred to me, the little hearts I draw in the corners of my notebooks and that children cut out of pink and red construction paper on Valentines Day are much more similar to the shape of this perennial than to the actual organ that beats in our chests--unless you've ever seen a boy try to draw a heart, those often end up looking more blobbishly like the actual thing--lopsided and unattractive to the eye. But not the hearts we use to symbolize our greatest emotion, our deepest feeling; those hearts are perfected and smoothed, faithfully fashioned into something worthy of the affection and humanity they represent. And like those human made emblems, this creeper, dense and dark with a heavy hanging of lovely appendages, spoke of something deliberately glorious, even in its out of the way, unglorified dwelling. A perfection of form. Not flawless. Not uniform or symmetrically balanced. Not even fresh or untarnished. Yet, that these living leaves lingered in the last days of life before falling snow and freezing temperatures suck dry even the heartiest brambles and bushes demanded regard, respect, even a certain awe. Here was gorgeous, glorious, unsuspected, unprecedented beauty.

Oh what the eye can see when it is open to all the grace of God! Let us see and let us glory in the earth's greatness--gratitude in sight.

19 November 2009

I'm back...

Or maybe I'm just beginning.

I have had this blog for almost a year now, and as you may notice I haven't used it much. Well my friends (I feel silly addressing this as though anyone but myself is reading it, but alas, as that is the general point I will continue to do so nonetheless), all that is about to change. I am going to try to use my blog much more often (I am weary of making specific promises, so I won't say once a day, a week or a month... but more than three times a year. how's that?). Why, because I need the practice. I need to write. and write and write until my hands cramp up and my eyeballs bug out and every idea in my head is drained into words, as inadequate as they are to express those worlds that live within us. I need to learn to let everything I am and everything I feel and everything I learn and see and ponder and wonder and guess at ooze out into ink (or keystrokes, as the case may be) and create at least semi-coherent thoughts and sentences and paragraphs, and just maybe even meanings. And you, my hypothetical audience are my experiment. Should you be reading this, and should you continue, I welcome you to my journey. This is my new test. My new attempt. This is my essaying-self taking form and flight and striving just to be. For I am afraid to try, but trying is all there is for me right now and I have realized that even though a lot of things I try fail, the trying is worth it every time. And on those rare occasions when I do actually succeed--even in minuscule unimportant things (like teaching myself to crochet--yes, it's true thank you very much :) there is a satisfaction that defies all expression--well, at least, I'm not going to try to express it today--perhaps another day. Perhaps quite soon. We shall see.

In any case, here today I commit myself to this essaying. And not every blog, surely, will fall into place with the grace I desire--but essay I will, even when I fail utterly and completely, as I am so wont to do. So here I go. . . Into the vast and terrifying world of the great writing unknown. May I come out utterly altered, even perhaps just a little harmed, and better for it!

And for now, adieu dear you--whoever you be.

24 March 2009

Outrageous Offense Against a Child!

I am not going wail on all the things that are ridiculous in our society, though certainly there are many. However, I am absolutely disgusted by a case I read about in the New York Times today. A law suit is coming before the US Supreme Court after 6 years working its way up. The case, astoundingly, is about a strip-search performed on a 13-year old eighth-grade girl by two female teachers. I repeat: a 13 year old girl was strip-searched by her teachers. I do not think it is unreasonable to be appalled by this shocking perversion, and, in fact, the most horrifying part is that , as one Professor Arum of New York University says, "reasonable people can disagree about what is appropriate under the circumstances." Really? When is it EVER appropriate to make a 13 year old girl strip down to her underwear and let two adult women look in her bra and panties.

Let me, for the sake of being reasonable, explain the circumstances: This eighth-grade girl was accused by a fellow student of bringing prescription strength ibuprofen to school with her (the equivalent of 2 normal Advil--oh no!). So her brilliant teachers decided the appropriate plan of action was to make this girl strip to her underwear. Then, as the girl explains, “they asked me to pull out my bra and move it from side to side. They made me open my legs and pull out my underwear.” Though I consider it absolutely irrelevant, they did not, by the way, find any drugs in the girl's possession.

Please do not even tell me if you are not as disgusted and outraged by this obvious violation of individual rights as I am. How dare anyone do such a thing? This is how we are trying to combat drug use, by subjecting CHILDREN to humiliating and unfounded searches of their physical BODIES?!? How could there be any question if this is EVER appropriate? I don't care if the girl had 50 tons of cocaine stuffed in her bra, there is NEVER a time when a child should be subjected to that kind of treatment. How perverted! If I was the mother of that girl I would have torn those teachers limb from limb. Honestly, since when do we live in a country where all rights to personal security and privacy can be disregarded because of a simple suspicion? Does it makes sense to ANYONE that to search someone's private property requires a court mandated Search Warrant, and yet to search the most private, personal and sacred property of an individual, their own body, is at the whim of clearly irrational people? This is UNACCEPTABLE! In my opinion this qualifies as sexual molestation. Forcing a minor to uncover their body in front of adults certainly fits my definition of molestation. How could anyone justify that kind of degradation? What would you do if someone forced you to undress and submit your body to a search; or if they asked your children or siblings or other loved ones to experience such shame and humiliation? I wouldn't stand for it! We cannot stand for it. We live in a democratic country where the rights of individuals are valued. This is NOT IRAN--in Iran things like this occur every day under the Islamic Republic (see the news or read Reading Lolita in Tehran if you want proof and want to know why this is not where we want to be headed!). Is that the kind of country we want for ourselves and for future generations? I don't.

If the best the United States and our school districts can do to combat the drug problem among United States citizens is to strip down children on school campuses we have much bigger problems than an economic low. We are morally defunct. I am truly appalled and enraged by this story and by the assertion that there is even a question as to the illegal and immoral nature of such an act. This is utterly against everything I believe in. If we don't protect our children, what have we become? I do not believe such behavior can be punished severely enough. When we live in a society where we cannot allow teachers to have kindergartners sit on their laps because of legal liability, how can there be any question about whether a teacher can make a student take off their clothes on school property or anywhere else without legal ramifications? We are not Islamic Fundamentalists. Unfortunately, however, it appears that we have become so radical in our efforts to weed out one evil we have begun to permit other evils--in my opinion even more sever and degrading evils. Anyone who could allow this kind of action against a child may need to explore their own values and determine where they cross the line between helping and hurting in attempts to prevent drug use. I am horrified, shocked and thoroughly distressed by this news. What is happening to our country and our world?