26 February 2011

Radio Silent

I'm not very verbal with my opinions. I don't talk much in general, so in those rare moments when I do become suddenly impassioned about a topic, I need to remember to clench my teeth and walk away. For some reason I still believe that other people are as good at listening as I am. I sit patiently, listen to the opinions of others and generally bite my tongue because I know that my opinion doesn't have any validity to them. I have a few friends who I can have good conversations with. We can have differing opinions, we can listen to each others' point of view and at least accept the other person's opinion as just that without any contention. Tonight was not one of those conversations.

I forget sometimes that I need to keep silent when certain people are talking. They just want to be heard, they don't want to hear. The situation doesn't matter. The conversation doesn't matter. Wat matters is that until I am sure a person knows how to listen and accept another person's perspective, I won't open my mouth.

I'm going to try for radio silence for a while. I don't really think it'll work because, like I said before, everyone wants to at least feel like they're being heard. I can't speak, if I do, it doesn't matter because almost no one listens; so I write. Writing in a public place at least lends the illusion of being heard.

I'll call Bestest Friend tomorrow, she's the one I talk to when I really need someone to listen.

24 February 2011

Concussions and the Rest of My Life

When I was about four years old I fell off a table at church and woke up in my bed at home. That was my first concussion. My second concussion happened when I was in first grade. My friend and I were playing on a swing set at recess. We discovered we could slip our little legs through the rings and hang upside down and swing ourselves around. We had done this many times before, and yet, this time something went wrong. I vaguely remember before, I don't remember being upside down, I don't remember falling. I don't remember being picked up or leaving the playground. The first thing I do remember is seeing myself being carried down the hall toward myself. Strange, I know.
My third concussion was sometime around fourth grade. I was riding my bike with my family to a park near our house. The paved road was edged with gravel before it faded into grass. I tried to see if anyone I knew was at the park as I rode down the paved road and my tire slipped off the pavement and onto the gravel. As I tried to hop the little lip back onto the road my tires skidded on the gravel and my bike fell, smacking my head on the pavement. I was disoriented and scratched up, but didn't lose consciousness like the times before.

The other night I listened to a podcast from Stuff You Should Know about concussions. They said that concussions can cause depression, anxiety, sinus troubles, headaches/migraines, memory troubles; as well as increasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and early death. Maybe I should stop listening to podcasts like that.

I told my mom about this and I said, "I guess I brought this on myself." She said, "No, you're a victim of circumstance." I said, "Well, if I hadn't been such a careless, rambunctious child..."

I can't undo the damage. I'll probably suffer from headaches and sinus troubles for the rest of my life; maybe bits of depression and anxiety too...but I've lived with all this for most of my life, so I've found some great ways to cope and I'm learning to endure in more positive ways. As for the Alzheimer's, dementia, and early death...well, I've heard that there are ways to strengthen the mind to guard against such degeneration. I'm an avid reader and writer. I love playing games and other such activities that require mental processes.

Most of life is a gamble anyway. I guess it doesn't really matter if my brain isn't as quick as others. I'm intelligent, I get good grades in school as long as I don't have to memorize things quickly. And my heart and determination make up for any deficiencies. We all have challenges in life, mine just happen to be mostly "in my head." Ha ha, bad joke. ;-)

23 February 2011


I need more courage. I need more confidence to be myself and stop holding myself back. Words are a huge part of who I am and what I want to do with my life, and yet, I've become afraid of my own voice (whether spoken or written). I used to write so freely, now I'm jaded and have become too careful with what I write. The greatest writers in history were bold and heedless of critics. It's not so much the critics I'm worried about, it's the regular people who might read something I write, take it out of context or claim offense, and attack me and my writing. I'm silenced because I'm too afraid of what other people think...
I'm also too nice, too considerate of others: always putting the feelings and needs of others before my own. I don't know how to not do that. My needs are just as important as anyone else's, right? So I'm learning to ask.

The trouble is that even when you ask, if it's dependent on someone else, there's always the chance they will say no. A couple weeks ago I wanted something from Gonzo but didn't have the courage to ask. Instead I asked, "hypothetically" if he would have said yes, or if he would say yes in the future. To which he replied, "You never know until you just ask." But I like to know the answer before I ask the question! He also said, "Don't ask if you can ask, just ask."
Last night I wanted a moment of his time, so I worked up my courage and sent a text. He didn't respond until this morning. He apologized and said his phone was off. I convinced myself to take him at his word, though I'm struggling to suppress my skepticism. Today I asked again. He said he was busy. I said, "right then, i was only practicing anyway." He asked if it was good practice, (though I'm not sure what he meant by that) I told him, "well, I asked." He apologized and said he'd call if things ended early. They didn't.

It's okay. It's probably better if I don't ask the questions I'm having trouble suppressing. It's probably best if I distance myself from men in general right now. I've been trying to be friends with them, develop some connections to get myself comfortable around men again. The Artist doesn't count because he's been around so long that he's more like a brother to me. But I get so anxious around other men these days. I was fine during the summer and really, most of last year in general. It's just been the last couple of months...but then, I'm always more anxious and emotional in winter.

I know I need to be getting out and meeting new men. I need to find my confidence and my flirtatiousness and just start meeting lots of people (men in particular). I just don't know how these days. More and more often I find myself thinking of secluding myself, locking myself away from society and just creating my own reality in my writing. I can write anything I want if I don't have friends...then I have no one to fear offending.

Not that my writing is really offensive, but people seem to take a great deal of offense over things that (quite often) have nothing to do with them. But then, maybe they're offended over being excluded or something, I don't know.

I've been learning to lighten up and not take offense so easily. I used to be the worst at that. I don't know if it was some sort of paranoia or what, but I thought everyone was out to hurt me or mock me or whatever. Now I see that people really don't notice me or care enough about me to do anything intentionally toward me, positive or negative. People really don't think about me often at all. I kinda wish they did. I guess everyone wants someone to think of them...I think I'm rambling now.

Anyway, I'm looking for courage and confidence. Maybe one day I'll find them. Then perhaps I'll finally find the freedom to write something really worth reading.

16 February 2011

rambling a little

I'm thinking of not going to school tomorrow. I have only one class, and all we're doing is reading each others papers. I know I owe my classmates the same attention to their writing as they will be giving to mine, but with the snow...I might justify it.

The week is half over and it's been a good week. Even Tuesday, my long day at school, I kept myself in a good attitude without needing much outside help. I can't decide what is the better option for tomorrow. Last Thursday wasn't so good and I'm afraid of a relapse. Maybe a little more sleep, some food, and not having to worry about traveling in the snow would make for a better day. Then again, maybe not. Maybe it's better to stick to the routine, even if it seems to be a waste of time, it's actually better. I know some adjustments to make from last week. It didn't get dismal until after school, but I have a different plan for tomorrow.

I'm having a little trouble tonight. We're studying Ralph Waldo Emerson in my American Lit class this week. Until now most of the reading has been Puritan and pretty boring, but now that we're getting into the Transcendentalists I'm absolutely devouring their words. I love the freedom of thought and the inspiration and creativity that comes to me through their words. I was supposed to read Emerson's "Nature" the other day but only got through a couple of pages when one little sentence caught my attention and I had to write my own thoughts. Today we talked about how Emerson probably never made it through very many books in their entirety because his ideals were all about listening to your own intuition and creating your own ideals. In his "The Divinity School Address" Emerson said, "It cannot be received at second hand. Truly speaking, it is not instruction, but provocation, that I can receive from another soul...I must find true in me..." My teacher was saying how Emerson would start reading someone else's work, then get caught by his own intuition and start scribbling his thoughts in his own journals, leaving the book unfinished.

That's what I do. I have finished reading a lot of books in my life, but I always read with a paper and pen, or my computer open to a blank screen. Something catches my attention and sparks my own "intuition" and I take off.

Today I wished I had time and the undivided attention of some mind and soul very much like my own. As I was reading, it wasn't enough just to write about it, I wanted to dig in and really discuss. Class is good, but the professor talks a lot and it's not really a good equally yoked exploration and connection of two minds. I put a quote on Facebook, hoping someone would read it and comment, starting a discussion there, but no one even "liked" it. It was long, I know, but it was too provoking to cut it short. I'm posting it here too.

"...be to them a divine man; be to them thought and virtue; let their timid aspirations find in you a friend; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted out in your atmosphere; let their doubts know that you have doubted, and their wonder feel that you have wondered. By trusting your own soul, you shall gain greater confidence in other men. For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted, that all men have sublime thoughts...they love to be heard...we mark with light in the memory the few interviews, we have had in dreary years of routine and sin, with souls that make our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we inly were. Discharge to men the priestly office, and, present or absent, you shall be followed with their love as by an angel."

So many delicious insights and amazing understandings in this passage. I wish I had words to equal his sentiment and eloquence.

I want to be that kind of person. I want to be that kind of friend. I want to encourage and put people at ease so they can find the divinity and worth in themselves so they can accomplish their great potentials. I want people to feel better about themselves and about life in general after being around me. I want to be that kind of person that encourages souls to be wiser, and helps people feel like it's okay to just be them.

I wish I had someone to discuss this and other passages with, but I guess I haven't met the ones who speak what I think and tell me what I know. I have some good conversations with some good friends, but nothing that makes me feel quite the connection I'm searching for. I'm not sure I've ever had that with anyone...Maybe some day. Maybe not. I guess I'll have to settle for connecting with the literary geniuses of the past and stop looking for one in the present. It would be nice to feel like I'm being heard though. I hear them through the books I read, but books can't listen. Books can't respond to my specific questions. But, they'll have to do for now.

For some reason it seems that connection isn't available to me right now...not the deep, transcendent connections I crave anyway. But it's okay, maybe some day. For now I'll just read, and then write here I guess.

If anyone is out there, thanks for listening to my rambles :)

14 February 2011

Today I Love

(in no particular order)

The Artist Pola Chelle HeyPay Midgie KeJo

Gonzo Niffer Bestest Friend Ellie Belle The Kids

All other friends Bliss&Hub Little Brother&Sis The Parental Unit

Dr. Pepper Chocolate Sunshine Pizza Movies

Writing Music/Musicians Sleep TV Art/Artists

Love Hugs Kisses Nature Literature Education

Today I love myself, God, people...Today I love LIFE! :)

13 February 2011

Before I Sleep

I hesitate to write these days. I don't really know my purpose in writing, or why I write the things I do. I don't know who reads this, if anybody does anymore. This seems to be like most other of my writing and it's just a place to practice words. I don't care what I write, the words don't even have to make sense or be arranged in a logical or coherent order, I just like the feeling of typing, and the formation of the words.

In the past my writing has been an overflowing of life and emotion. I have a tendency to bottle things up until I can no longer contain them and they spew all over whatever happens to be nearby. I thought that blogging my explosions would be a good thing, that way I feel like someone is listening (which gets it out of me) but it's not burdening anyone because they don't have to admit that they've read it, or they can just send out a prayer or something. But these days, I'm not feeling too much in excess. There are some things that I previously would have written about here, but now I withhold a lot because of who might be reading and how they might misinterpret or misunderstand or react to what I might say.
I don't like censuring my writing because I think I write better when I'm not so concerned about the possible audience, but in this moment it's more important to me to keep the peace than to write something that might ripple the waters.

I want peace. I want all of us to just care about each other, share the love and the friendship, and just everyone get along. But I'm not naive enough to believe that's a possibility. I'll do what I can and hope others at least behave with some degree of understanding and compassion.

Generally, life is good. As always, there are things that I am working on improving and things my life would be better without/with that I can't seem to figure out just yet...but generally I'm content. I can see progress in most areas of my life and that makes me feel good. I don't feel so stuck as I did before. I am moving...sometimes I feel like a turtle in taffy, but I am moving.

I have some great friends! My family relationships are pretty much the best they have ever been. School is good and nearly finished. I am employed (minimum wage and minimum hours, but it's a good atmosphere with good people, and these days that's a lot more than what a lot of people have so I'm grateful). I have what I need, and more. I'll be patient for the rest.

Life is good :)

10 February 2011

Get Over Yourself

Yesterday was not a bad day. I made the beginning worse than it was by my attitude. I began yesterday selfishly, wanting someone outside myself to make me feel worthwhile. I wanted love and affection. I wanted someone to prove that they care about me. The best way to make a bad day is to begin by focusing on yourself.

I knew what I was doing and yet I did it anyway.

As the day progressed, I interacted with friends and classmates and co-workers which changed my attitude and perspective. Work was super slow, so I chatted in my mind with God. I told Him I was sorry for going about life in the wrong way. I told Him I was sorry for putting the opinions and desires of others ahead of His own. I told Him I was sorry for putting my own will ahead of His. I know that if I just give up my will to Him, as it says in the scriptures, that my life will be better and happier, more worthwhile and fulfilling. And yet, I fight it. I convince myself that I know best, or I give into fear that He won't be there when I finally turn around.

Last night Niffer and I went to institute. I completely forgot last week but felt like it was where I needed to be. I've been anxious and fretful about certain situations in my life that I can't figure out (which is part of my recent discord with God). The speaker, Elder F. Enzio Busche (an emeritus member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy), addressed many of the concerns that have recently been weighing on my mind.

1. I Am a Child of God: He loves me and will never leave me. He wants me to succeed. He wants me to be happy. I am of worth because I am His. "You are loved; you are known; you are a special person." "You're my son [daughter]. Everything will be okay; trust me."

2. What direction do I go? Because I am a child of God, I have the right and responsibility to ask Him (through prayer) for direction...and He will answer.

3. Love is the antithesis of fear. When we are afraid, there is no room for love; but when we fill our hearts with love, we have no room for fear. "Every pain that we have comes from fear...laughing helps...Pray for love. Pray: Fill my soul with love."
  • Moroni 8:16 "...and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
  • 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..."
4. The purpose of life is learning. Everything is learning! Expand your consciousness; see how much more is in you.

All of this really helped me put things into perspective. I'm not where I want to be, but I have some stepping stones to help me get there. I'm starting with love. Every human interaction (with ourselves, just as much as with others) needs to begin with love. When we begin with love, everything else takes care of itself.

The trick is having pure, true, charity love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth..."

I'm really bad at a lot of that. I'm impatient, jealous, selfish/self-centered, prideful, sometimes unkind in my thoughts if not in my words and deeds...I doubt and fear and give up too easily. But, I want to replace all that with charity. I want to love everyone. I want to be a source of refuge and rest, peace and kindness for those around me. I want to be a good friend and human being. And I want to do it all without worrying about my wants and needs. Because in loving and fulfilling the needs and desires of others, my own will be filled as well.

And then I won't be afraid to tell people I love them. I won't be afraid to say the good and kind and needful things. I just need to learn to love more truly and selflessly.

06 February 2011

Natalie Dawnielle Smith

Today my "niece" (Bestest Friend's little girl) was given a name and a blessing on the records of our church. She is the cutest little thing but she was so uncooperative for the camera today. This is the closest I got to getting her to smile for the camera.

But whether she's smiling or screaming, she's absolutely adorable and I love her with all my heart! I'm so proud to be her auntie!

Here's another picture of her smiling...at her daddy.
Such a cute little family :)

03 February 2011

There is Sunshine in my Soul Today

I have spring fever, big time. I want to go outside and play. I want to go walking/running in a park or just around my neighborhood. I want sunshine and short sleeves.

The end of Saturday and the beginning of Sunday were not so good. I was sinking into the dark place and I didn't have any desire or ambition for stopping myself or pulling myself back up. But by the end of church I was starting to float again. But Monday morning I was quite content. By last night, I was delighted. Today I'm just kinda here.

My nephews came over this morning just before I left for school so I got hugs and kisses from the two cutest little guys in the world. My class was just a group discussion about our character sketches, which actually turned into a discussion on just about anything else. Then the teacher let us out early. I almost bought an iPod Touch...I've been wanting one for quite a while and the school has them for a good price, I just can't quite make the commitment when my paychecks are currently so measly. If I'm still thinking about it tomorrow, I may break down and do it though.

Getting out early meant I caught the bus and the train without the anxiety of wondering if I'd make it on time. So now I'm sitting here, one stop away from where my car is parked. This afternoon I'm going to help a coworker with an assignment, then the rest of the day is mine to do with as I please.

The one damper on the day is my headache. I don't know why I can't shake it. I think I need more food. I have not been eating well recently, which is great for my waistline but not so much for my headaches or nausea.

Tomorrow will be kind of a long day, but then Saturday is all mine to do with as I please! Next week is even better, I have Friday and Saturday off...whatever will I do with myself? I'm thinking of taking a little personal vacation, maybe book myself into a hotel room for the weekend and get some writing done or something. I don't know, probably not, but we'll see.

I don't know what is coming, I don't really care. Right now, in this moment, I'm happy. Life is good this week; it's nice to not have to put quite so much effort into keeping the smile on my face. It's nice to not have to lie when people ask "how are you?" I hope it lasts.

01 February 2011

Sometimes I Want

I've suddenly come to an understanding about something I've been struggling with for a while. All my life I've wanted to be friends with certain kinds of people...I don't mean just friendly acquaintances...I mean deep, genuine, significant, kindred spirit type friends. More often than not, however, these people are not the ones who want to be friends with me. Instead, I find myself surrounded by a different kind of people who want that connection with me.

I think it's a matter of perspective. I want to be with those other people because they seem to me to be what I wish my life to be and maybe if I could bond with them, I could become like them and have their kind of life, instead of my own. The thing is, I'm not like them and I'm pretty sure that if by some strange twist of reality I were invited into their circle, their lifestyle, I would feel terribly uncomfortable. I would feel the need to suppress the real me in order to "fit in" instead of giving myself the liberty to just be me.

So, I'm going to try something new, instead of wishing for the seemingly greener turf on the other side, I'm going to pay more attention to cultivating my own lawn and see what grows.

It's not necessary for me to be best friends with everyone in the world. It's not necessary for me to hold on to people, fearing that if I let them go, they'll disappear and my life will be less than it was when they were around. Sometimes people leave and the loss does leave a void, but if I mourn too long over the empty place, I won't see and appreciate the new friends who come to fill in the space.

Last semester in my Adult Development class we read Tuesdays With Morrie and we watched his spots on Nightline. He told a story about two waves. Both waves were having a great time until the one wave realized he was going to crash into the beach. He asked the other wave how she could be so happy and excited as she rushed toward the shore, knowing she was about to crash and be obliterated on the sand. Her response was that she was not just a solitary wave, she was part of the vast Ocean. When she crashed, she may cease to be a wave, but she would continue to be part of something bigger.

I've been thinking a lot about the shifting tides of friendship and social groups. I've been part of various social groups over the years and every time one crashes into the inevitable shore, I react a little more like the first wave, apprehensive about what the destruction will mean. But every time, I am washed back into the whole and swirled into a new wave. The rise and fall are natural parts of life. I can't stop the shifting of society any more than I can keep a wave from crashing into the beach. But I can adopt the attitude of the second wave: enjoy the ride and be flexible, knowing that with every crash, comes the possibility for some new and exciting adventure. I'm still part of the whole, I'm still an active member of humanity, but I'm also always in motion. And motion is the way of progress.

Last night I had to work so I couldn't go with my ward to the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU. I was okay with missing out until I got a text from Gonzo asking me to give him a ride. He's never really asked me for much of anything and I was disappointed that I couldn't fill his wish. Besides the missed opportunity to serve a friend, it was also a lost a chance to spend a recently rare one on one moment with him. I'm not sure why I feel so strongly the need for these one on one moments right now, I guess I'm working on reconnecting with people. There are plenty of people who want to connect with me, I just haven't been open to it. I've been afraid.

The disappointment lasted only a few seconds last night; I was in a positive attitude and realized that it wasn't really a missed opportunity, it was an encouragement and premonition of possibility. So, instead of moping and getting all depressed, I made plans with The Artist (whose hopes for the evening had also been crushed). We went to Barnes & Noble, then to dinner. We had a nice chat and he helped me see things a little better. I've been afraid of connections, even friendships with guys; I'm awkward and unnatural and terrified to let any of them get close. I shoot them down before they even have a chance to think about liking me. No more. The Artist reminded me that just because I've been hurt by guys in the past doesn't mean that every guy is going to hurt me. I'm opening myself up. It's been long enough and I need to get myself back out there. So I'm changing my attitude and my approach to men with the hope that good things are finally coming my way!