Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Profound thought #1: We are not beings meant to be acted upon

Merry Christmas! Let’s start with that, shall we? Why not?!? Can I tell you the unbridled holiday merriment that infected my listless soul this year? I was a regular Miss Holiday Cheer! And I say that without guile or cynicism. I hung holly, turned on the lights on the tree every single day (which we had day 1 of December thank you VERY much) made a Christmas banner, listened to Christmas music until snowballs shot out of my ears, baked cookies, wrapped presents, went to holiday parties, and have generally been soaking in holiday splendor since Black Friday. Why the sudden onslaught of yuletide cheer this year? I think it has something to do with the fact I opted-out last year (and also because of the below! You thought you could get away without a picture of my little guy? Think again!)

Yes, opted-out. I went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Why? Well that’s just a lot of blather about wanting to not deal with "that" or face "this" again and mainly – school had usurped the holiday anyway so I figured I might as well add my on usurpation too. Share the load. So I usurped on a beach in Cabo. An excellent decision. In fact, it’s made my “opt-in” Christmas all the more merry as I’ve demonstrated above. I guess it’s true what they say, you only appreciate something once its gone. Shame, that. But never the less… next year I’m planning to opt-out to Costa Rica so the next opt-in will be as full and lovely and magical as this year was.

And now for the profound thought…

I feel that every year of my existence tends to have a theme; or themes a guess. I feel our lives are sliced and diced into sections, experiences, yes even categories and reference logs. In fact, I’d say the media could be partly responsible for this OCD tendency to categorize and organize things… creating order out of chaos.How many books have you seen displayed in bookstore windows exclaiming "For the Mind, Body, and Spirit!" as if ourselves are divided into these various categories like a tossed salad rather than a gooey melting pot. Ordering our lives into sections and then creating benchmarks make improvement and organization less daunting, "This month! I shall work on "the mind!"" and proceed to create a list of ambitious activities and goals to help create a Zenful state of mind which will likely include lists of classical texts, a subscription to Scientific America, and signing up for that Spanish class you've been meaning to take. It helps to order things. After all, we are naturally beings of order and fear chaos; that is to say, we fear the unpredictable, uncontrollable, and heaven forbid the unclean. At least, we don’t thrive in it… the “uns”. Not even nature herself, the most organized of mass organisms, permits chaos for too long. She must order it. Make sense of it. Categorize it. We thrive in established patterns! Even those of you reading this right now claiming “spontinaty is my creed! I answer to no schedules! A pox on organization!” still appreciate an organized shoe rack, your breakfast at 8:30am, and a cup of tea before bed. So take that spontaneity! No more is your disaster of an apartment spontaneous, rather, it’s just disgusting and you and I both know a little order out of that chaos would do everyone a world of good. You're a closet organizationalist or you're just plain unnatural. Pick your poison.

Back to themes and years having them...

The particular theme of this year I’d like to discuss has to do with a valuable lesson I've learned. That’s what I mean when I say “every year of my existence tends to have a theme.” In short, there is a lesson I am to learn each year, philosophical, spiritual, existential, however you’d like to categorize it (and you will categorize it! Stop pretending). I don’t choose the lesson, rather, it chooses me. All I need to do is recognize it. In fact, I don’t even know I’m learning it until I start to notice a pattern, some order in the chaos, pieces of my life that come to form a complete and circuitous whole. In short, each year I hope to have progressed as a human being in some significant way; ideally, a positive way. For if it were a “negative” change, it would in fact be a digression. And no one aspires to digress, rather, is awakened to it on some cold December evening when you look back and realize, “I’m not even where I was before… but somehow less.” A miserable realization that is. In fact, that's almost as bad as realizing you've not moved forward NOR backward but have stayed perfectly stagnate in every way. At least with the other two options there's movement. Thus, I find stagnating slightly worse than digressing.  Anyway, I digress (ba dum chi!).

My lesson/theme this year: we are beings meant to act, not to be acted upon. I think my schooling over the past few years primed me for this valuable lesson in that there was extensive discussion on the idea of accountability. To Webster!

Accountability (Accountable): 1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable 2. Subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.

 I find the avoidance of accountability to be the road most traveled by the majority of society. To me, accountability is intricately connected to choice. And what always follows choice is consequence. You must be held accountable for your decision, which makes decision-making risky in some respects. Therefore, the very indecisive are also the incredibly risk averse. It is risky to make choices. It is even riskier when in choosing, you may be called up to be accountable for them. You must justify them. You must stand by them. And in this way, I find that although we perceive that we have very little control over the elements around us, we do have control over ourselves, our reactions, our actions, and our inaction's. We choose to respond. We choose to be effected. We choose each day our own state of mind. Even in not choosing, we are indeed choosing. Action through inaction. There's no avoiding it.

Thus, herein lies the rub. I find that in most instances, we avoid accountability. We don't want to commit ourselves to something and thus, we opt-out. We choose not to choose and in not choosing, we assume we are not answerable to whatever consequences may follow. We prefer to let others make decisions – we choose to be acted upon – and then allow events to unfold as they will all the while knowing that if things should unfold negatively, well heavens we had no hand in it! We made no choice! We’ve chosen apathy instead of agency and feel in this we are safe.We have let life happen to us, rather than leading a life.

Likewise, blaming environmental circumstances that are justly out of our control (or seemingly so)  for our bad attitudes, and apathy, missed deadlines, errant accusations, is something I’ve noticed happens more often than not as of late. Broken homes, irresponsible parenting, societal oversights, unrealistic expectations, all of these things are circumstances that some may think force us into a reaction or state of mind or choice and therefore, we cannot be answerable to the choices we make within these less than ideal circumstances.Oh blame you scapegoat for cowards! I believe to exclaim in the throes of trial, “I had no choice!” is false. There is ALWAYS a choice. The devil never "makes" you do anything. He simply, offers an option, and you either take it... or leave it. Thus it is with undesirable circumstance. You can internalize it, blame it for your life of mediocrity or hardship, or you can leave it for what it is and make an attempt anyway. People who sleep on dirt floors in Madagascar find reason to smile, can we not find reason to rejoice despite our own extremity? 

Circumstance, particularly in a democratic society we are privileged to participate in, does not replace nor control choice. I also feel “circumstances” are more controllable than we would like to believe. It’s easy to let things unfold as we, the weary and subversive soul, are merely a victim of circumstance and cannot help our sorrows or disenchantment. We cannot help that we act the way we do because we were raised in a broken home. We cannot help that we are not living up to our potential because society has dealt us a heavier lot. I say that in fact, we can! I’m not diminishing the reality that there are greater barriers created for some than others because of factors beyond their control, what I’m saying is we choose to let those barriers contain us, and furthermore, hang garlands of accountability on its fence posts. I blame the barrier that I am sitting at the bottom of instead of at least attempting to scale its walls!

Perhaps our melancholy is justified, but it does not justify our stagnancy! We ignore our own ability to choose. We ignore the truly vast ability we have to utilize our agency to its utmost extent and instead, “cop-out” by shaking our fist at the sky or pointing to “environmental circumstance” and saying “you are making me sit down in the dirt and pout!” We are content to be the victim… we visualize ourselves as the unselfish martyr… bearing an unjust punishment for something we didn’t do, but alas, we will bear the burden like the round shouldered Saints we are! And we do so very easily accept defeat because it is easier than choosing to pull ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and exclaim, “ I will not be the victim here!” When we victimize ourselves we've given up. Accepting circumstance is not the same as enduring circumstance. To merely muddle through does not take initiative or strength nor does it build character, but rather, justifies us simply patting ourselves on the back for drowning in an experience rather than attempting to swim to shore. Perhaps we cannot change the deep waters we are asked to tread, but we can choose if we sink to the bottom and wait for the proverbial rescue boat to bail us out. And even then, we WOULD get the most rickety row boat when we deserve a cruise liner for our saintly heroism! We demand reward for our inaction! We demand reward for opting-out! For sitting down in the rain. 


“Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can MAKE us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation.” 
– Elder David. A. Bednar

This my profound thought #1 and the lesson I have learned for the year, is that we are beings that are meant to act, and not be acted upon. We may find ourselves the heavy in less than ideal circumstances, but that does not define us as a “victim.” We choose to take on a “victim mentality” and allow circumstance to choose for us… which really in the end… we are still held accountable for our indecision as much as we are for our decision. At least with decision, you’ve gone out with a fight rather than blending neatly into the background. 

End profound thought #1. And Happy New Year! Choose to make it a good one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit

One of my most favorite novels of all time. Yes, you know why... because even the smallest of persons can change the course of the future. Short people are important! THEY ARE!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Cute Little Guy

You just try and prove that you have newborn nephews as cute as this! That's what I thought. These were taken through Lizz Davis Photography. I think she did a pretty fantastic job.



Monday, December 19, 2011

The Worth of You

Recently, I’ve had some close friends who have struggled in negative relationships that have made them question their self-worth and lower their standards and expectations. To this I say, STOP! Stop doing this to yourself.

It saddens me that these beautiful, smart, inspiring women that I have the privilege to interact with feel they must accept poor behavior and mediocre treatment simply because they desire love and companionship. I too desire these things. As a 28 year old single female living in Utah, you better believe I very much desire these things. You could say it’s the greatest desire of my heart. But I have learned, very much the hard way, that such a good desire can blind us to some very bad things. Things that perhaps our close friends and family can see because they are emotionally removed from the situation that we simply choose to ignore in the name of love. Things that will not lead to that happiness we envision, but instead, find us curled up in our bed crying and praying, “Please God, why won’t this just work out?” Love is blind. So perhaps find yourself some trusted friends and family with the eyes to see what you refuse to. 

It’s the Dumb girl (or guy... it slices both ways!) disease. We’ve all been that dumb girl or guy. Glance back at your life and pick out that time or two (or three) where now, because you can look back and see how you’ve progressed and grown and hopefully learned what a wonderful person you truly are, wonder why you ever wasted your time with a relationship and situation that only ever brought you personal pain and heartbreak. The scales of love-blindess will fall from your eyes and instead of begging God for "things to work out", you thank him for not letting you continue in a situation that would have never lead to any sort of happiness. Or, perhaps examine a relationship you are in now; what is your ratio of happiness to negativity? Are they even? Is one far outweighing the other? And for heavens sake, how long has it been this way? Of the 6 months you’ve been dating, have 5 of those months only ever been drama, negativity, tears, and confusion? And yet, all we can think of and all we remember is that one month where things were really great. Or, perhaps, we keep hoping for the tomorrow’s that continue to never come. You can’t change him. You can't change her. Only he can change him. And why would anyone have an impetus to change if their bad behavior is constantly reaffirmed by you, dumb girl or guy, that continues to lower your standards and self-worth simply to be around this person. 

Self-reflect. When you are around them, how do you feel about yourself? Does she make you feel like a hero? Does he make you feel like the most beautiful, interesting woman in the world?  Are all those good things about you amplified? Do you have a desire to progress and be your best self? Note - this is different than feeling guilt and shame of changing your wonderful you to be the person they want you to be - rather - it is a healthy confidence and desire for doing good things that should make you feel uplifted and able - not down-trodden and unsatisfactory. 

Some might say, “Well, not all things are roses. There are always hard times.” And we are all realistic enough to understand that in every relationship , there will be challenges. However, I submit to you that I know some very smart women who make some really dumb decisions in the name of “well, every relationship faces challenges.” To me, challenges are my husband losing his job and though he is working hard to find another one, things are going to be very tight for awhile and we will make it through. Challenges to me are caring for a sick or disabled child, together, as companions. Challenges to me are learning to share your life with another person and understanding that there must be MUTUAL sacrifice and patience if you are going to make it through. Challenges to me are facing rough patches in a very long road of happiness shared together. Challenges are allowing each other to have bad days, of getting over your OCD tendencies and just accepting he has no concept of "put your nasty socks in the hamper", or her chronic lateness. Challenges are pit stops, not the entire journey. To me, challenges come and go but your overall love and respect for each other won’t diminish and in fact, should continue to grow. Disrespect, verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and selfishness are NOT challenges. These things demean, diminish, and disrupt the goodness that companionship is intended to bring. To me, companionship isn’t the key to happiness, it is the key to an enriched life. A life already being lived. A relationship to add to your already existing happiness and elevate your life to something more fully lived.  If a relationship is not more enriching than it is “challenging”, particularly in the first few months of dating, I submit to you that perhaps you should rethink that relationship before it’s too late. Before you are so blinded for your good desire for lovely things, that you continually dress the wolf in sheep’s clothing yourself. The wolf that everyone else can see is dragging you away from the happy, active, wonderful person you once were. 

I also want to shout from the rooftops to all the women (and men too!) that I know: YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT! You are WORTH dates. You are worth forethought and planning. You are WORTH your doors being opened and you are WORTH physical boundaries and limits. Guys you are WORTH honesty. You are WORTH respect. You are WORTH time and energy and trust in the good you and potential you have. You are worth fidelity. You are worth loyalty. You are worth commitment and you are worth his/her undivided attention. You are worth someone being fully invested.

Ladies and gentleman, your time, your life, your interests, and what you do ARE important and YOU are worth seeking after. Someone who doesn’t believe that isn’t the someone for you.  And though it is always easier said than done to let go, not necessarily of the individual, but the perceived chance at companionship, your individual worth and ultimate happiness is far too high a price to get “sorta” what you want now instead of having patience for a little while longer and getting what you truly deserve later. 

Ladies particularly, truly, you deserve it all. Stop selling yourself short and believe it. Become the good woman that the good man you deserve will seek out. And good men WILL seek you out if you are being your best you while still accepting that we are all a work in progress. So stop wasting your time with the ones who don’t see your worth and prepare yourself for the one that ultimately will.

As for myself, I would truly live a happier life as a single person (gasp! The horror! The horror!) then locked into a life-long unhappiness with someone who I’m constantly having to prove that I’m worth more than what he sees. If you have to constantly remind him (or her) you are worth it - then he's DEFINITELY not worth it and its time to start setting your sights for what is right instead of what is available at the moment. 

End Rant. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meow-ry Chris-meow-us... er... something

A special thank you to Jaime for showing me this gem. And to her husband who, though cheers for the wrong team ENTIRELY, can still understand the enjoyment that is Cats and Christmas tunes. A Catsmus Miracle!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Spirit of the Law

I was shown an article today outlining the banning of skinny jeans from BYU-Idaho campus. Yes, you heard me. The banning of skinny jeans. Don’t believe me still? Enjoy:

First and foremost, this isn’t a rant about skinny jeans propensity for immodesty and what the benchmarks and standards are for what is “too tight… too form-fitting... too “skinny””. What I’d like to bring up is something that has always… what’s the word…. “irked” me about certain rules and restraints upon grooming and dress standards inherent to BYU campuses. Also, this is not a rant about BYU, rather, a discussion on the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law and what it actually means to choose to adhere to principles vs. being forced into compliance by rules.

What irks me most is the lack of individual accountability (intricately connected to agency) that many of these regulations discount. Some of these regulations I see as flirting with the line of “force” vs. “choice.” I understand as a religious institutions, the BYU’s (Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii respectively) they must uphold religious precepts and therefore, cannot very well support or accept lack-luster standards of their student body. Nor can they very well afford to implement regulations without subsequently enforcing such regulations. This I like about the BYU’s and their Honor Codes. Not only are these honor codes rather audacious albeit conservative when it comes to “societal standards” but these standards are not swayed by the whims or fancies of fashion, media, and other “moderninities.” As VP Henry J. Eyring says in the article, “fashions will come and go.” BYU’s student body, for all intents and purposes, actually looks pretty upstanding most of the time. As to what that translates into when you reach into the cockles of the heart or even more simplistically, into the recesses of a dorm room is a different matter. But that’s life… that’s people… no one is perfect. The institution must uphold what it upholds because it's representing a belief system the the world, and I for one admire them for doing so despite the fools who mock.

That said, this lack of personal accountability for your own thoughts, actions, and perceptions of adhering to regulations of the institution you have agreed to be a part of has, once again, gone beyond the realm of self-governance and independent religious commitment and into the realm of force that’s completely based on the personal ideas and standards of whomever happens to be working in the testing center that day. THIS is what I have issue with. What is a standard of “too form-fitting” and how does one decide what is form-fitting and what is not? Who is the ultimate judge of whether a woman’s butt curvature is too accentuated by her jeans that she may not take a test for a class? Should it not be the woman’s decision as to what she feels is appropriate and adhering to the regulations she so agreed to when she became a BYU student? When are the students themselves given the freedom and ability to interpret these standards for themselves? Joseph Smith once said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” Some regulations are not allowing for self-governance and I find this stifling to the spiritual growth and strengthen of beliefs.

I feel that there are instances, much like this skinny jean scenario, where adherence to correct principles goes beyond logic and reason and accountability and essentially, the spirit of why BYU asks its student to dress appropriately. Rather, the letter of the law is blinding the spirit of the law. 

And here is the law via BYU-Provo

 “Immodest clothing includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire. Young women should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low-cut in the front or the back or revealing in any other manner."

I feel this is a reasonable standard to set for students that attend these institutions, and furthermore, I think that students who sign the honor code should be expected to take personal responsibility for such. 

Here is BYU-I's Honor Code for grooming standards for women:  

A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained at all times. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing. It should not have slits above the knee or be formfitting. Dresses and skirts must be knee-length or longer (even with leggings worn).

Pants, slacks or jeans should not be patched, faded, frayed or torn and must be ankle length—no capris or shorts may be worn on campus. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles and unnatural colors. Caps or hats should not be worn in buildings. Excessive ear piercings (more than one pair) and all other body piercings are inappropriate. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. Flip-flops and other casual footwear are inappropriate on campus.

They are basically similar in every way. However, the difference here lies with institutional interpretation being forced upon students or allowing students to interpret this standard for themselves.

There needs to be a line where the institution gets involved and where it is left up to student accountability. In the case of BYU-I, I feel flip flops, overalls (though let’s be honest… no problem there), shorts (at all), and apparently now skinny jeans is institutionally over-stepping the line of self-governance and forcing their students to apply their understanding of the rules “their way.” I recall a little council in heaven where there were two individuals offering to fulfill a heavenly plan and one was about CHOICE while the other was about FORCE. Mull that over. Naturally there will be those students who roll into the Creamery with cleavage up to their eyeballs and attempting to pass of their boy-cut panties for shorts exclaiming, “This is how I interpret the Honor Code!” In such extremity, clearly, the institution is without question required to address such instances. But again, I’m not talking about the black and white – I’m taking about the gray that encompasses self-governance simply because individuals think, feel, interpret, and apply principles differently. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Then again, I went to the University of Utah.

I think this would also be an appropriate time to point out the difficulties of trying to adhere to strictly to a grooming code given the mirage of body types that make up college campuses. I am containing most of my comments to females as grooming standards tend to effect them more so than men. Something that may seem revealing or low cut on a woman who, say, is very busty, and has significant butt curvature may look completely acceptable on a woman who perhaps has little curves, a small bust, and no butt. The later woman may wear a simple boot-cut jean while the former could get away with strait up leggings. The “tightness” factor could by all accounts and purposes be the same, but it is the body shape and difference that can make a pair of skinny jeans (or a t-shirt, or a skirt) look very different from one body to the next – from one booty to the next. Some women will always look curvier than others and they should not have to adhere to a different standard, in my opinion, for something that was bequeathed upon them by genetics. I only ask they be self-aware. In fact, I was told once because I was short, I should wear crewneck t-shirts because taller guys might be able to look down my shirt.


My response, “Well maybe they shouldn’t try to look down my shirt regardless...” I’m not dressing like a marm simply because men taller than me (read: that would be 98% of men) have wandering eyes.

I’d like to give you some more real life examples of similar double standards I experienced while spending time on a campus.

#1 - I was involved at BYU-Provo campus for some time and in that time, I quickly learned that things I had not noticed living outside of the “Honor Code” I had to start taking notice of very quickly. Like 5:00 shadows. Can I tell you how my male employees would take advantage of my “beard” ignorance  and wander in with their stubby faces because they knew it wouldn’t even register with me? Imagine their surprise when I started remembering and sent them home for a shave. Scally-wags!

Anyway…. Better example:

I run in running shorts. What? Yes. My running shorts aren’t long shorts, but they aren’t short shorts really. They are running shorts hitting me probably about mid-thigh. Now, as standards dictate on campus, students are asked not to wear short shorts and skirts. Of course I knew this, but it didn’t compute to running shorts for me. I don’t know why. Probably because I’d never had to think about it before as I attended the secular school up North (or any other school in the nation) where showing significant butt cheek out the bottom of your Daisy Dukes was common classroom attire. I was reminded very quickly of this “no short shorts fact” though as I had to leave from running the BYU outdoor track (with another girl who was doing so in a sports bra and shorts only – just pointing it out) through campus for something. As I was walking on campus, I noticed I was getting some curious looks. One such fellow almost tripped over himself, gave me a gawking up and down, and then shook his head and “passed by on the other side." It was then, when I followed his gaze, it hit me. I was wearing “short shorts”. Now, I’m 5’1 and don’t boast a lot of “leg”, but never the less, they were shorter than probably is customary for campus wear. I blushed and felt ashamed. That shame, however, turned to annoyance when, as I watched this pimpled sweet spirit walk away, I noted that he in fact was wearing flannel teddy bear PJ bottoms, an old “BYU Basketball 1997” t-shirt with holes, and fuzzy slippers. I REPEAT, flannel teddy bear PJ’s, a wholly old t-shirt, and slippers. If I might now QUOTE from the BYU Honor Code: “A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained... Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. Flannel teddy bear PJ’s. Perhaps Mr. PJ’s and I should’ve thought twice before venturing on campus in our attire. But the thing is, I was the only one getting side glances. I was the one who was breaking the rules. And though I won't deny that in my ignorance I probably was breaking the rules, so was this gentleman. But I also know if someone were to report us - the PJ boy wouldn't have even caused an eye to bat. Why? Because no one things "sexy" about flannal pj's... and that's really what it's about. Sex.

#2 - Student complains of unseemly ankle bearing. I once had a student email the department I was housed in complaining that he could see the ankles of a woman on one of our posters. I was silenced mid-scoff by the faces of colleagues who were actually considering his complaint as legitimate. Ankles?!? As professionally as I could muster, I offered the following logic, “If this student is getting off because of women’s ankles, might I suggest he has bigger problems then our small marketing department should be encumbered upon to address?” Call me devil's adovcate.

Which brings the accountability discussion full circle. Immodesty is a “women” thing. Is it not? Societal standards, the nature of women, the nature of men, it all coagulates together upon the fact that men are more aroused through visual stimuli than women and women’s bodies are generally the object of that arousal. I get it and I agree that as a woman, I have a responsibility to not be the proverbial “Potiphers wife”… displaying my womanly wiles for all to partake. But I do not think that my responsibility to be aware of my womanly effect on the male gender also encompasses their responsibility (or lack thereof) to maintain self-control. They are accountable for their thoughts, feelings, and “triggers” and therein lies my biggest irk of all. Men and women are both responsible for the image they project, but also how they internalize an image that will inevitably be projected upon them; skinny jeans being the lesser of those projected images I expect. Mr. Ankles email was somehow justifying a thought or (assumption here) action or pattern of actions he was involved in and instead of taking personal accountability for a human weakness, placing blame upon a woman's ankles. I perish the thought of this poor fellow ever living anywhere else but Utah, or turning on the TV, or going to the grocery store or hey, even going to church. I assume if it ever came down to mandating burkas on campus, he'd sounds the rallying cry.

BYU-I campus cannot keep their student body from viewing skinny jeans, flip flops, skirts, cleavage, ankles, and any other fleshy or curve hugging fashion, trend, or natural endowment that is rampant in every other corner of the world. They can ask their students not to partake, and they can ask their students to adhere to these standards, but they cannot keep them from, at some point in their lives, dealing with “the world” as it is. As Elder Holland so aptly put it (and I paraphrase) we must live in the world, just not of the world. We still must live IN the world. We must adapt and build up resistance and learn to make choices and uphold standards when our environments tell us we’re ridiculous or archaic. I admire BYU’s for upholding that standard – but only to the point where it still allows student agency and speaks to the spirit of “why” rather than the paternal “because I said so, that’s why.” We must still take accountability for our choices, thoughts, actions, and apply those principles and concepts we are taught through prayer and individual interpretation. We are taught correct principles, and we govern ourselves.  

Now don’t misread me here. It’s not that I think BYU (or any religious institutions) student bodies consist of only drones that can’t make their own choices and govern themselves. They can. Regardless of institutional codes and regulations, I know there is still personal choice to follow those regulations when no one is watching, when your boyfriend keeps trying to push your limits, or when you are home alone with a computer and internet connection. I get that. But for me on a personal level, attending such an institution didn’t appeal to me simply because I wanted to make sure I was making those choices, setting those limits, and following those standards simply because it was how I chose to live my life; not for fear of punishment, being caught, or being shamed. I also realize, because I was born and raised in rural Utah, I felt an even greater need to do that. Make sure my identify and convictions were what they really were beyond my parents house rules, and my cultural surroundings. I could only do that by not going to a school where they were similarly enforced through crime and punishment. Weird logic, but it works for me. And makes sense too - as most BYU students are NOT from Utah and thus, have likely already had their spiritual mettle tested many times through out their life.  I wanted to learn to govern myself and I’m glad I get to wear skinny jeans and date bearded men while I do it. That's all I'm sayin.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Coming...

I feel I am dangling on the precipice of a bonified cold. The pressure in your head, the boogies encrusting your nasal cavity, the slight aches in your shoulders, and the feeling that your world is about to shatter around you. All these things I am feeling right now. All these things spell out "you're getting a cold, sucker face."

And what does one do in such an instance? Attempt to back away from the precipice? Hork Vitamin C this that and the other in the hopes of curbing this sickness that is sneakily laying hold of my body? Attempt to ignore it away (which I've successfully done before!) by not mentally acknowledging the existence of the a fore mentioned unpleasantness and pressing forward as if my only desire WASN'T to find my big heavy fuzzy blanket, some hot lemon tea with honey, and finish out Season 7 of the X-Files? Just repeat after me, "I will not get sick. I will not get sick. I. WILL. NOT. GET. SICK! YOU! SHALL NOT! PASS! (I couldn't help myself). Sure... I could try all that.


I can let the sickness take me. Face it like a man! The sooner it takes me, the sooner it leaves me. Plunge over the precipice and hope I bounce off the ground with grace rather than a SPLAT!

Though, I don't think I've hit the point of no return quite yet. I think I could still beat this foe back with a little weekend R&R... which should probably start sooner rather than later. Best not to procrastinate the battle for fear of losing the war. And you can cross-stitch that. Call it your I'm a Sick pillow.

As for me... I'm going home.