Monday, September 23, 2013

Thing 2 of 642: A Houseplant is Dying...

I saw it coming for some time, but I guess never really wanted to admit it. As I think back on the experience - I can't believe I ignored what was going on in front of me. It seems so obvious now; the drooping shoulders, the withered demeanor, a general air of desperate solemnity.

"Come on, perk up..." I'd say as I walked by it's little place near the window on my way out the door to some other very important this or that, "It can' t be all that bad."

And maybe some days it wasn't all that bad. Perhaps some days when the sun was gleaming just so through the window, or particularly, when it was refreshed with a few loving mists from the squirt bottle and a healthy serving of tap water, things looked up!

"You're right..." it seemed to say, "I guess it's pretty okay sometimes!"

"See?" I'd respond, "I told you."

Inevitably however, the days between loving mists grew longer, the curtains remained drawn, and the drooping shoulders and solemnity returned. It became another fixture among the dusty picture frames, watching as shadows passed before its face day in and day out.

Then, on a particularly sunny sort of day, while casting my shadow across the length of the end table where I had decided it was high time to get some things cleaned around here, I was dismayed to see Houseplant almost nothing but a whisper of green, yellow, and some dry twigs. Some of its little leaves were spread before it like the graphic remains of a zombie attack. It seemed to give off a yellowish hue and trembled a little at the sight of Atticus the Cat.

"Houseplant?" I started trembling as I approached it's little perch, "Houseplant!??"

I set down my Pledge and drew closer to it's withered body... gently drawing back the curtains.


I rushed to the sink to fill up my squirt bottle. A little mist would brighten its day! A little mist always helped when it looked it's most disheartened... it's most despondent.

Squirt! Squirt! Squirt!

"Come on Houseplant!"

Squirt! Squirt! Squirt!

"Come on Houseplant! It can't be.... all that... "

A leaf detached from the body and floated to the floor.


What could I do? What could I say? It was all my fault. ALL my fault I tell you! How neglectful I'd been. How selfish! How could I have let this happen? Why couldn't I see this coming??!

But I had... I had seen it coming. Every day as I walked passed Houseplant to another important this and a more important that, houseplant had been there... withering... hopeful... eager... dying... and I would think, "I'll water houseplant tomorrow. I'll open the blinds too."

But... for Houseplant... there were a hundred tomorrow's. A hundred broken promises.

And now...Houseplant may be out of tomorrow's.

NO! I wouldn't give up!

I tenderly gathered up Houseplant in my trembling hands, carried it to the sink, set it in the bottom, and gently, oh so gently, turned the tap on to just a whisper of a trickle.

Water seeped into Houseplant and, I don't know if it was the rush of the water or a fool's hope, but I thought I saw Houseplant perk up a bit... reach for the water... drink deeply. Yes, I would leave it in it's little bowl of bliss all day, basking in that life giving nectar and then, so so tenderly, place it back on a mightily dusted end table to bask in the sun's glorious rays among the lemony scent of disinfectant.

"You will live, Houseplant. You will! I'll never neglect you again!"

Houseplant had been revived! I thought of all the glorious experiences we'd have together. The sunny days! The droplets of water! The feeling that if I could keep a plant alive, surely I could keep children alive! I could climb mountains! I could rule the WORLD!

Yes! Today dawned a new day for me and Houseplant. No more would the curtains remain drawn! No more would those shoulders droop or those limbs detach from the body! No more I say!

As I walked Houseplant back to it's perch, Atticus the Witless Wonder of a Fuzz-footed Dumby, and notably the  most under-footed cat on the planet, hunkered his fuzz-butt down directly in front of Houseplant and I's dance towards a new dawn and within a few precious seconds...






Houseplant... was no more. Oh sweet hope... thou fickle fiend! Oh dreams dashed! Oh days numbered! Oh moronic feline who does not deserve the name Atticus J. Finch esquire!

I swept up the splattered remains and silently placed the shattered, damp, brownish green body into the trash. I looked at it's still perky leaves... it's stringy roots... and remembered.

After giving Atticus a swift kick, I got out my shopping list.

1. Deodorant
2. Eggs
3. Cat litter
4. New Houseplant...

No.... it didn't seem right...

1. Deodorant
2. Eggs
3. Cat litter
4. ...  ...   ... Cactus

You win some, you lose some, you learn some, and you kick some. Kick 'em soundly.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

642 Things to Write About

I just remembered I had a blog. Like, just now. What happened to my bloggery spirit, you ask? Truth be told, I don't know. It just wasn't my jam anymore, know what I mean? It's like, when you stopped shopping at PacSun or realized you haven't had cable TV for 3 years and it's not even a thing. You just... move along.

Buuuuut, I'm clearly back so I guess it isn't that simple. I think I just ran out of things to say. FALSE! I always have something to say - I just ran out of the gumption to write about it. And THAT, I decided, was not acceptable. Not unlike using the word gumption. Clearly, I'm out of practice.

So here I am! No promises. No commitments. But blogging again never the less 9 months later. Though this round, I've decided I need a little more structure. I felt my blogging was cycling along with all other bloggers and THEN I started to feel pressure to start DIY'ing which I don't do. I just go to the store and buy a quilt or sassy side table, ya know? I feel there is so much "access" out there through Facebook and tweets...Flixter, Instagram, Pinterest, cellular devices, that we're in a state of constant "plug in" and also fall into a trap of unrealistic comparison. No longer can we just attempt to keep up with Mr. and Mrs. Jones down the street - but we see hundreds of Joneses all over this good earth always baking more, traveling further, DIY'ing, and living just ahead of everyone else in the world. It's exhausting! I don't care for it.

What does that have to do with structure you ask? Well.

Last November I bought a book entitled "642 Things to Write About" because I wanted to start the creative writing juices flowing. My writing didn't used to be restricted to an Inbox or agenda item. Even crafting a well researched paper on organizational leadership allowed for some creativity, in a way. And lately, I just feel like I need to work on something for no other reason than I like it and want to be better at it. Is that so wrong? I didn't think so either.

Thus, I'm beginning 1 of 642 things to write about because I want to practice writing. And I thought, well, this blog is already here, might as well dust it off and use it!

What can happen in a second
1 of 642 Things to Write About

I blink in a second
Most blink in a second
The light in a second
Answers in a second
Crashing in a second
Heart broken in a second
Tap in a second
Start in a second
Finish in a second
Two words in a second
Yes! In a second!
Just a second. 
Give me a second.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wintry Hell of 2013

Every day since I can remember...

Then realizing it's still only January...

I don't recall the taste of strawberries...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Faint, Puke, or Die... starting tomorrow

So, at the weekly worship service today, we had what we call a Mingle after the traditional 3-hour block. I've not attended a family ward in many many years, but in a Singles ward this means there is some sort of sustenance provided for ward members every 3-4 weeks with the idea that we will sit together and build ward comradery and in the case of Singles wards, talk to someone of the opposite sex with whom we would like to consider for eternal matrimony. Nothing says forever like a pasta line or potato bar, am I right?

Today we had such a Mingle and the food provided fluctuates from legitimate meals to dessert or snacky type selections. Cinnamon Rolls, HUGE Cinnamon Rolls, and hot chocolate was on the menu today. Now listen, I'm not one to complain about my Ward preparing and providing free food, in fact I encourage it! But I also am aware that the Holidays amongst other life things over the last 3 months has not been kind to my physical appearance, that is to say, I'm one chubby bunny.

It happens.

So having even half the cinnamon roll and cup of hot chocolate with accompanying marshmallows I did wasn't the most thought out decision if I truly I'm trying to get back on the "feel better about my self and at least pretend like you care" wagon. To further this sense of sugar-guilt, a wardy I was sitting by felt compelled to tell me there is some Ward Activity in the works that will involve hot springs. And if it involves hot springs, it will involve... oh dear heaven above... wearing a swim suit. Wearing a swim suit among many other singles wearing a swim suit who all have the same goal in mind - to become NOT single in 2013.

The. Pressure. Is. On.

Mid-March, apparently, is the time frame I'm working under. It's time to get serious about getting dead sexy. What? Lets not beat around the bush - sure I look "meh" in some jeans and baggy sweatshirt now - but THOSE days are about to end (thank heavens, we've been living in a icy hell), and soon it will be time to show what your mama gave ya! At least... some of what mama gave ya. And mama didn't give no love-handles and saddle bags. Mmm hmmm. No sir.

Thus, starting TOMORROW it's time to get serious. It's not that I haven't been going to the gym and making an attempt to eat better - but those efforts have been half-butted (what? Remember how I'm not swearing anymore? This is what's left - butted). No more of THAT! If I'm not going to faint, puke, or DIE... then I am not working hard enough. Tomorrow begins my first attempt at fainting or puking... I'll leave the dying for when I finally can buy a pass for Bikram Yoga. Dear Tax Return, chop chop. I've got a deadline.

So if they're any secrets, thoughts, advice, or suggestions you have that would make me truly commit to becoming the next Jillian Michaels, don't hesitate to share!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Raising the Bar on Resolutions - 2013

So though I've become a blogging failure in general, I can at least say I maintain general bloggery consistency with posting on those occasions which all good bloggers post, like Thankful lists on Thanksgiving, some pictures of a Summer Vacation that makes me look more exciting than I am, Birthday reflections/laments, and New Year's Resolutions. When the universe hands you a blogging idea - you can't just say no - not to the Universe at any rate. I mean, it's the UNIVERSE. Plus, since I don't blog about recipes or food stuffs, post millions of pictures of my kids no one else cares about, marital anything (ya know, cause I'm SINGLE), or DIY's, you could say I'm not even a "real" blogger anyway. Just someone who checks in once in awhile.

Perhaps one day I'll go nuts and invite my super best girlfriends to a DIY picture frames for those millions of oober unique kid pictures featuring just their legs or the top of their head with a big red balloon or their first doodie in the big kids toilet and we'll eat "and they're good for you!" mini-kale brownies of which I will document from egg carton to my "totally found this plate at a garage sale and then spent only 6 hours stenciling vintage birds and branches on its surface", complete with recipe and open mouthed pictures of my super best girlfriends eating them with surprise and excitement. Doodie.

But... I digress... 

New Year's Resolutions! I actually have some. And they're actually legitimate. So that's pretty big in and of itself. After my stark realization that my brain/soul/happiness suck was attached to a very negative environment, suddenly what once seemed to take too much energy and enthusiasm (like New Years Resolutions... and life) actually seem appealing, nay EXCITING! So let's begin with the recap... and go from there.

2012 Resolution Recap - or Wow, there was something seriously wrong with me. 

1. Come-up with more creative titles for my lists - Sure! Check! I can't believe this was my #1 Resolution for 2012. Doesn't bode well - does it? The depression deepens...

2. Stop calling my Internet friend(s) morons... Well, you may have to be the judge of that Internet friends... but I'm pretty sure I kept my moron calling to my real friends. So... check!

3. Run that *&!%$!! half marathon or stop setting it as a goal - Okay so... like I signed up and like... didn't do it. BUT! I DID do a Sprint Triathlon so I think this is a half check because uh... Triathlons are hard! 

4. Grow my hair out to my shoulders but keep the bangs... something rather Zooey DeChanel-esque  - Oh it's getting there. I know I should give you photo-proof - but I look like crap right now PLUS my hair is a in a pony tail. You hear that?!?! Pony tail! Yay.

5. Set better goals for self-improvement than "growing my hair out" - That's about to happen! Super CHECK!

6. Travel to a few more places I've never been. - CHECK! So this goal was actually not depressing and I actually accomplished it! Good for me! I ventured to Washington D.C, New York, and North Carolina. In fact, as per the goal, I'd never been to New York in my life and ended up going twice in 6 months! Good for me! CHECK!

7. Work on that novel. And I mean really work on that novel. Fail. But to be fair, clearly I was pretty depressed. Which means creativity suck. Which means it wasn't my fault. You hear me? Sob! I did get a book entitled 642 things to write about to get the juices flowing though. So perhaps I'll start using it! Eh? EH? I'm getting ahead of myself.

8. Make the Summer of 2012 the most campingest, outdoorsy, non-schooled summer I've ever experienced! - I'm pretty sure I didn't go camping once. No not once. Alas.

9. End Lazy Period and do stuff - Eventually yes - this happened I'd say. The Lazy Period sort of overlapped into the Dark Period which generally has the same lack of motivation effect - but I did start working out more. So... half check.

10. Come on, get happy. By happy I mean content. By content I mean grateful. And by grateful I mean humble. - I'd say this one probably goes on the "life-long" goal list. So... work in progress this one. But hopefully I'm closer today than I was yesterday.

The clear pattern with the above list and accomplishments... oh... I mean "accomplishments" is that I wasn't in any way trying to significantly and realistically progress in anyway. I think what that list innately conveys is "just maintain... just make it through... just push on" which lets be honest - that happens sometimes. Sometimes, all our faculties are focused on maintaining for awhile. And that's okay. Some progression isn't entirely quantifiable... but it does happen and those years are the best worst years of our lives. 

HOW-ever it's nice when the maintenance part is taking care of its own a little bit and you can look beyond just treading water to actually moving towards something. Taking some significant strokes if you will. So, regardless of the Resolution list to follow - I'm happy just to be excited about trying harder instead of just survival. 2013 is already a win! Duh.

Resolutions 2013 - or Raising the Bar

As lists go - I like them. I make them. I refer to them. I encourage others to do the same. I've now started categorizing my lists to further enable my OCD tendencies. Which, by the way, seem to be taking root a lot stronger. Old age. 


  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Personal

  1. Spiritual - because if this isn't in line, first in line, and aligned (see what I did there? So smart), then nothing else will be.
    1. Attend the LDS Temple twice a month. This I can do. This is #1! Much better than "think of better names for my lists." Eye roll.
    2. Do my Visiting Teaching every month. 100% baby! I got this!
    3. Make time for a Spiritual thought, message, or scripture study in the MORNING. There was one year where I was really good at this - and then - as tends to happen with all really good things - I fell out of the habit. Reflecting on that year, it was an incredibly busy and could've been a very stressful year as a wee Undergrad - but it wasn't. I made it. And I tell you it's because I made time for God in the mornings. So let it be written! So let it be done.
    4. Stop Swearing. HA! What? Listen, I'm not saying swearing is some horrible sinful act... but I realize I just shouldn't do it... as a word-smithy particularly. I can think of better things to say! I quote "Profanity is the act of a feeble mind trying to express itself forcibly..." David O. McKay. I will replace such words with ones like "Egad!" or "Holy Bananas!" Or "Drat!" but never, NEVER will you hear "fetch" come out of my mouth unless it is in reference to Gretchen Weiners. Just because I don't want to swear doesn't mean I'm some BYU Zoobie fool yelling out fetch and doing that stupid wrist snap thing they do. Noooooooo thank ya.
    5. Be Still. I've very much learned this year to let go, and let God. It's a hard one for me because I always like to be planning and moving and pushing forward with some concrete plan or adventure or idea. But sometimes, we should just do ourselves a favor and be still... let things go... let things happen. I'm working on this. 
  2. Financial
    1. Pay off my University of Utah student loan - this will be done by March!
    2. Pay off my car - July!!
    3. Gulp... siiiigh... reduce... sniff... clothes shopping. :( I can't talk about it. It just... needs to be done. 
  3. Physical/Emotional Goals
    1. Eat better - so original! Specifically - I can only eat "out" two times a week and I'm really kicking the sugar to the curb. It's bad for you. So bad. 
    2. Train for.. are you ready? Here it comes... The Salt Lake City Half Marathon! No listen, I'm doing it. April 20th. Look for me. Cause I'll be there!! Also - if someone wants to run it with me - I won't say no. In fact, I'll say "YES PLEASE!"
    1. Train for the San Rafael Triathlon AND - beat that swim. Because I almost died in the swim - it beat me - but this year... I WILL beat it. Supplemental - I will beat my time by a full 5 minutes! Oh hey step up Boss!
    2. Sign up for Bikram Yoga. I'm excited about this'un! I've really needed something that helps me "center" myself, focus my thoughts, and I also wanted to do something I was really bad at. I am REALLY bad at Yoga. As the self-proclaimed least flexible person alive (or dead - a corpse is more flexible than I am) - this is TOUGH! It's double tough in a 120 degree room... but for some reason I really love it. So when the old tax return rolls in - there will be a sum set aside for Bikram Yoga. Namaste.
  4. Personal Goals - because somethings can fit everywhere and no where
    1. I want to do this Do you want to do this? If you want to do this - tell me and we'll do it. Together. I'd like India or Thailand - but will accept any.
    2. Exercise greater mercy - give people the benefit of the doubt. Always.
    3. Find small ways to help people around me with small things.
    4. Never make anyone feel small. Ever.
    5. Take the GRE... so I can...
    6. Begin applying for PhD programs for Fall 2014. Yep - I just threw that out there. It's time... already... hyperventilate. 

And there you have it! I mean, if anything this year's resolutions are by far and away more ambitious and in every way more optimistic then that pathetic piddle I posted last year. Right? Right!!!?

RIGHT. Onward 2013! Onward... and upward. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

So Long, 2012! So long...

2012. What a year, eh? Meh. I guess as years go - At first glance I wouldn't say it was particularly stand out sort of year. I went a few new places, but nothing to earth-shattering. However, upon closer inspection, I've discovered I've learned something very valuable this year. You might even say I've learned something about myself that will likely change my life henceforth. Isn't that exciting? Sure it is. Don't we all want to look back on what is past and see that we have moved forward from where we were? Changed somehow, ideally for the better? If you don't then you're either perfect in every way already (i.e. only Jesus can say that - so now you're a liar!) OR, a huge loser. So if you're Jesus, a liar, or a huge loser, this post may not hit home for you. Okay, Jesus probably gets it cause ya know... that's what He does, He "gets" things... but the other two groups - back to your video games and Manga comics! Go on, then.

What lessons did I learn this year? Well, several fold - but it all surrounds something called happiness. Or, to put a finer point on it, choosing happiness.

I learned this year that I'm not invincible... even if I'm choosing to be invincible... I can't be. I'm still human and therefore not only flawed in a myriad of ways, but also boasting a good amount of mortal weakness as well. That's probably why we love hero's - they rise above the "natural man" and do extraordinary things. They give us hope in our own potential. Of course, each of us struggle with things that perhaps someone else doesn't. Thus the need for patience and kindness towards each other - because don't we want others to be patient with our weaknesses? Oh that golden rule - always swooping in and making its point! And here's another point - because I'm not invincible, I have to choose my happiness. Chew on THAT gem while I explain myself...

Here is how I'm not invincible and thus, must choose my happiness:
1. An overall positive environment is essential to my living a good life
2. It's okay to choose my friends

Let's talk.

1. I used to think I could handle any sort of situation because I've always been a very rational/logical person. I used to think I didn't let emotions get the better of me nor would I give up on anything just because it was "hard." There's pride for you. I've never dropped a class or given up or quit because the pressure was mounting.  A very "do your worst, for I shall do mine!" sort of mentality. How very heroic - or so I thought. I thought giving up on anything was a weakness - and I wanted to be strong! Committed! See things through no matter what the odds! I would've gotten that ring to Mordor! Won the Hunger Games (or die... cause that's uh.. the rules)! Survived the Zombie Apocalypse! This seems like a good thing - doesn't it? Well, turns out, sometimes strength is knowing when to let things go  - to know when it's time to choose a different route, to weigh your options and go down a path less traveled.

Strength is choosing your happiness by sometimes choosing to walk away. After all, happiness IS a choice, right? It's something we can choose to feel despite the circumstances around us. Easier. Said. Than. Done. But that doesn't make it any less true. Thus, my realizing I require an overall positive environment to live a good life. Positive environment can be defined in a lot of ways - physical environment, mental environments, spiritual environments, etc. When I say positive environment - I mean the aura, "vibe", overall "feel" of my physical surroundings need to be more positive than negative for me to truly thrive. I think most of us are like this - I just didn't think I was one of those. It's intrinsic and extrinsic. It's knowing the only person you can control is yourself. It's realizing that as much as you resist being effected by those around you - it wears you down. At least, I found out that despite my best intrinsic efforts - I was wearing down... slowly and steadily... wearing down.  I found out that though I was trying my best to intrinsically "choose" happiness in a very negative environment, I was starting to slip. My surroundings were unearthing my intrinsic limits... turns out there actually was only so much I could take. I wasn't invincible after all... and was beginning to very acutely feel it. I was letting the vapors of gloom seep into my soul.

This environment was effecting every faucet of my life. What's crazy, is I didn't realize it until I was finally removed from that environment - plucked out of shadow and into the light. In this negative environment, I didn't want to participate in anything that I used to enjoy - I was always too exhausted to even stomach the idea of going for a run or being creative in any capacity or writing (see blog disappearance), discovering new hobbies or even summoning the energy to plan a nice relaxing weekend away. Everything around me was heavy - and I was having a hard time lifting anything "extra" beyond getting up and going through the steps each day. All my strength was laser focused on being patient... patient patient patient... controlled... and conquering the "natural man" of not giving up. I was battling my own weakness - my own lack of capacity to be surrounded by misery and choose happiness. I will tell you, most days I won that battle, but it didn't leave much left for anything else. Misery loves company - and I was beginning to be it's weekly lunch date.

In the end, the seams started to break, the rafters were buckling, and something needed to give... or I was going to join the ranks of Prozac dependents! Oh sunshine pills - cast thy rose colored glasses over my toiling soul! (Andrea original. Take that Shakespeare)

And then... give it did... but not in the nervous break down sort of way. I was mercifully removed from that environment and wouldn't you know it? Suddenly, I wanted to... well.. don't take this in some morbid "red flag" way... but I wanted to LIVE again! Not trudge through, but I suddenly got the energy to do those things I enjoyed doing and what's more, I even started setting meaningful goals again! Rather than seeing a goal as yet another burden I didn't have the energy for, I saw it as something exciting and attainable! The past month has been one of the brightest spots of my year! I had NO idea how deeply that negative environment was truly effecting me physically, mentally, emotionally, and physically until I was suddenly beyond it and saw a bright sun shining onto my world. It is bittersweet to be taken right to the very edge of your capacity... and even a little beyond it... and be saved by the tender understanding of an all-knowing God. And I tell you Internet, that's exactly what happened to me!

I also learned, there are things that you can't change - situations that just "are" - but having had this experience - I learned that I can choose how to contribute in the most positive way - to opt in or opt out of situations or scenarios that effect the little individual circle I'm standing in.  Choosing to with hold rather than react.

Which leads to...

2. It's okay to choose my friends

I always feel I've had a proclivity to become friends with anyone - and in fact- felt it was my Christian duty to be friends with one and all - no matter who they are, how they live, and what they choose. However, I've learned this year that I do not need to be blood-binding friends with everyone - that I don't need to automatically add every enjoyable conversationalist to my inner circle of comrades to let them know that I see them as my fellow-human. No, there is a separate internal "safe space" that I am not required to let everyone into. My Christian duty is to be kind, patient, charitable, generous, tolerant, a good example, sisterly, and all those other positive attributes that emulate the Christ in Christian, but I don't have to be every one's best friend - and I don't have to give up what's most important to me to accommodate less important things. I simply can't be every one's best friend and maintain my positive environment - or maintain the highest standard of who I know I am. Some influences and relationships, because of human weakness and capacity, just can not be - they can not go on. I've learned this several times this year in sometimes very painful ways. It's a tricky thing - human existence - but I think I'm starting to grasp a few things surrounding my little piece of existence.

I've also learned to prioritize my relationships: God, family (i.e. spouse when that happens), and good friends. That's how it lines up for me - so if family or friends are getting in the way of my relationship with God, then they must be cut loose. If friends or even other family members are getting in the way - or to put it more softly - negatively effecting my relationship with my spouse (you see the optimism already? It's almost PRESENT tense! Woah.), then they must be adjusted, distanced, and unfortunately if necessary, cut loose. I hope that doesn't sound too harsh. It's definitely a very difficult situation to navigate and many times, a sorrowful decision to cut someone loose because the relationship is not jiving with what's most important to me. I CAN choose happiness in the "have to deal with this for awhile situations" - but I also have a choice to put myself into certain situations and in relationships that would effect the balance of happiness in my life. Now that I know I'm not invincible - I can make more informed choices. You can only walk with someone so far, before you have to stop and let them carry on alone. I guess that's why God is God, because He is the only one that can walk with you the whole way.

2012 was a tough year -but a good sort of tough. No one wishes hard things to happen, but WHEN they do, you can be certain that you'll eventually look back and understand why it was how it was. I feel those kind of years are some of the greatest gifts life gives us. No year is a waste if you can say you're a little better than you were the year before.

So long, 2012! May I remember the lessons you've taught me and may 2013 be one of those really smooth sailing sort of years filled with sunshine and roses! And... dates. Good dates... ;) That lead to engagement and marriage. HURRAY!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let's Eat Some Pasta! Or, Look Who's Back from the Dead!

Ahoy! Yes, it is I! You didn't know I was taking a bloggery hiatus did you? Well, neither did I, but there it is.

I've mentioned in previous posts my random bouts of creativity-suck that seem to happen periodically and as a result the bloggery world is not graced with my wisdom for sometimes several weeks... months even. I generally try to pin this down on spectacular busy busy busyness or, head exploding stress. See school for example. School will suck everything happy and creative and discretionary right out of you. You could say - its a soul sucker. Probably why I'm thinking I'll head back down that dark path soon - apparently all academics are also masochists. Makes sense - otherwise no one would get a PhD.


This creativity-suck could mostly be attributed to those dark places we must go sometimes. It's like swimming with cement shoes - all you can think about is not getting pulled under.

But lately, I've felt the sunshine seep back into my soul! School had nothing to do with it because oh happy joy joy! I graduated from that soul suck over a year ago... after which I entered the "lazy period" and then one of those dreamy gray times where life's kind of floating about eerily. That generally happens right before... dun dun dun.. the dark zones. I also find you don't realize things are a soul suck or you've just waded through a personal dark zone until you close that chapter of your life and then look back - weeks, months, maybe so much as a year later and think, "yep... I was drowning and that's why I didn't blog, have motivation to do anything ever, and felt like the entire world was frozen and empty." Some things do that to you. And those things, though good for us in the long run, eventually need to be stamped out. Endured. And then squashed like a BUG! Enduring is a tricky word, isn't it? I think sometimes we don't really understand what it means until we've had a nice healthy round of endurance. Perhaps you long-distance runners can relate to this idea since you rely so heavily on endurance to finish the race. To push through because you know there's a finish line. You  know after "x" amount of miles - you no longer have to endure. You've finished. You're done. Now for a big plate of pasta! It helps to know the end from the beginning.

 I think what takes endurance to the next level is not knowing - but just having to believe that the finish line is there and that when you finally make it - there's a big plate of pasta waiting just for you. Not knowing how far you'll have to go, if that steep uphill climb is the last of them, hoping that around this corner, or this corner, or this corner, the finish line will appear in the not to far off distance and being disappointed again and again - that's when endurance takes on a whole new meaning - it's called faith. There's some choice in this I suppose. You can hop off the track - try and find a short cut or get lost in the winding streets or simply just plop your sad self down on the road. After so long, it just seems like there is no finish line, so what's to be done? I think this idea of endurance is something you can only wrap your head around once you've had to do it. Once you've decided to dig your feet in and decide no matter what lies ahead, you're not only going to keep at it, you're going to do it with whatever you've got. Even if that means walking sometimes to catch your breath. Slow progress is still progress after all.

Another excellent point! Enduring isn't just muddling through though is it? - it's trudging through! with character! Self-discipline, unfailing humility, a deep well of patience, turning the other cheek, long-suffering, not being reactionary, and reminding yourself that one day, you WILL look back and see the beginning from the end. That's when you'll know that what's more important than stretching across that finish line, is knowing you didn't push anyone down, stomp on anyone's toes, or cut any corners to get there. Even if your toes were stomped on, you were pushed down, and your claims for justice would've been completely acceptable - you restrained, you kept your wits about you, and you never let reaction dictate your actions. No. It's better to maintain your own self-respect in the long run than secure fleeting feelings of triumph because of one reactionary word, one justifiable quip, or one hearty slap to the face. SMACK! Even when you think that hearty slap would feel ohhhhh soooo goood.

I read something awhile ago that has completely changed my interactions with everyone I meet and gave me a new perspective on what it means to endure. It was particularly poignant when facing those who find happiness in the failures of others - those who during my own dark zones - were heavy burdens for me to bear. It is one word.. and that word is Genshai (GEN-shy), and it means that you should never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small. This struck me in a very powerful way - it took the idea of "treat others how you want to be treated" and elevated it. Genshai is brotherly love and charity combined. It's purity of interaction and it allows us to walk a mile in each others shoes - it bounds us together in common experiences - and elevates us all to a higher plane. The timing of my discovery of this word helped me not only endure - but to endure without regret. I wasn't perfect - but I was aware and that awareness kept my self-respect in tact. And though there are many more races ahead, I think I will be able to endure them even a little bit longer and feel little bit lighter if I apply Genshai - that I will never treat anyone - and I emphasize ANYONE - in a way that would make them feel small.