Monday, February 25, 2008


Last week, I went to a party at Erin’s. I started talking to Justin about the acoustic music that Erin’s friend (or non- friend, as it may be… side story) was playing as the main event. He said that he didn’t like it: it didn’t apply to him. At first I was a little bit insulted and thought he was saying that just to be funny, but I have given it some thought, and I, resultantly, respect him more for his statement. We started talking about reasons why a person would or would not like a certain work of art (For the sake of the reader, I refer to art in all forms… almost always the case in my writing. Music, painting, sculpture, film, and theater and performance arts- all inclusive.)

I posited the idea that almost anything can be dissected and understood, in reason and rational digestion and exploration. I believe that. I think that you can come to an understanding of your human animal and your instincts, personality, and general existence through dissecting it. Have a problem? Write it down, exploring every aspect you can think on about it, and it will unravel- the question is how big is the problem, and-for me especially- how much time and effort do you have to put into dealing with it? To really exploring it? Want to understand yourself a bit more? Choose a topic about yourself, and do the same, writing down every dirty little reason, all that you can muster to your recollection. Things will surface for you that you weren’t really even aware of allowing to let influence your life. (Lots of examples here… all side stories… ask if you don’t get what I’m saying…) Basically, I believe that things can be broken down into bite-sized, understandable proportions in an orderly manner and understood as such.

Then, Justin brought up the idea of love, challenging my claim to rational contemplation. He asked me how much personal taste came into play- most specifically about art. It got me to thinking, I mean, yeah. How much, and to what degree does personal taste effect personalities? I guess the better question would be how can I understand personal taste and love in a rational way that I have sought to understand everything else?

I really still think that I can account for everything that I really enjoy- there are aspects of joy in everything that I love- For example, I incidentally happen to really love paintings by the modern artist Piet Mondrian. At a base level, sure personal taste comes into play but I feel like I can account for every single element I enjoy, and I can articulate them individually, as well as on a whole. I love the idea behind his works- the revolutionary nature of what he was trying to do. I love the boldness of his colors- in their primary, unabashed harshness. I love the way that he set the record straight and proved that art does not have to be figural to maintain classical principles of balance and harmony as so many artists and movements had supposed. I love the history of Mondrian himself- his life is fascinating, and I can attribute that (cyclically) back to the enjoyment of his works.

Or music.

I love music for various reasons, based on the particular song- I have found that I am more lyrically driven in my preference of music than anything else, but that to me is rational- a poetic stanza makes me want to be with a particular piece more and more. In other cases, particular beats and arranged phrases awaken something ancient in me that makes me have to move- either internally of physically, visibly. Of the history thing comes into play in songs that are familiar, as well as in the adventure. For me, music is also a social medium where adventure, exploration and learning are open and freely exchanged between individuals. I like being involved in that. But these reasons for “deep feelings and affection for” are broken- down, rationalized and well thought out elements of enjoyment. Not love.

So maybe his challenge still stands, though. I mean, maybe this passion and interest that I have in great 20th century art or really really good (personal opinions aside) music is NOT love. Maybe I don’t really understand the concept of love? I tried thinking about it in context of personal love- the type not of things or of ideas, but of a person, and therefore maybe real LOVE cannot exist for anything other than another human?

I looked to my family, as they are the people with whom I have to most experience loving. As a child, I remember thinking about my parents when they were away from me- I was worried that they wouldn’t come home, that they’d get into terrible car accidents, or they’d get lost, etc., and that led me to worry about what I would do in such a case. This wasn’t love, as I realize now, which (I hate to admit) I think I had allowed myself to believe. This was dependence, and it was crippling. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I love my parents, but I still think that the attributes that I had given to love are not realistic. They are not love itself, rather they are characteristics that often accompany love- enjoyment, codependence, fulfillment, satisfaction, entertainment, grief, comfort, remorse, confusion, wonderment, delight, longing, and a whole list (miles long) of history, and those emotions are dissectible and compartmentally understandable.

Ok… I totally adore my little brother. Love him, you could say. But I feel like that is a rational kind of love- I love things about him, love his traits and attributes, and I admire him. I miss him when we’re apart, and I hope and pray for the best for him. I am interested in, and hope to have a hand in helping him achieve goodness in his life. I am willing to do anything in my power for him, and I would, given the opportunity. I want to give him everything. I want him to have everything that I have. Those to me come close to equaling love.

However, I feel like I just described to you a love that is more base and could be a motto of some sort of governmental protection agency or something… so what is it, then, this concept of love?

And is it really unable to be understood and opened up?

I was thinking about it more today as I sat in church, and was totally baffled at the outcome of my thoughts. I realized how driven I am by love, but also how little I understand it! In church, the point was raised that Christ loved and loves each person as an individual, because they are, individually, children of Heavenly Father, and also because Christ is love (That is an interesting concept right there, that I feel inadequate to understand right now, although I have tried countless times…). That is, after all, why he was able to make the everlasting, overarching, individual as well as universal Atonement. So how do I, as a mortal access that? Is it because of my nature as a child of heaven? Does all of the love in the world stand as a proof of divinity, and is therefore dismissible as “not able to be understood at this time?” Does my divine inheritance- do my very make-up, my genes and my cellular structure push me, fomenting this ability and capacity for love?

Could Justin be right? I guess personal taste and love really do play a part. I guess love really can’t be understood. I just want to get into it and see how ways I can understand it. I want to see and be able to say that I can dissect and digest this concept, which I have come to be so practiced at doing to other concepts and ideas. Do I really have to chalk this up to the big mystery of life? Am I really unable to wrap my mind around this?

Great Tattoo Moments in Context

So I have recently had this fascination with fake tattoos. I don’t really know where it came from, or what has stirred it up so much to it’s prevalence in my mind, but I am really into them of late. It has caused reflection in terms of the greatness of tattoos, and the fun that can accompany such body art. As a disclaimer, I should note that I don’t really ever want to have a tat. (I like calling them that because it seems so faux pas and cheesy.) I actually think they are rather shortsighted and selfish, not to mention passé. Nevertheless.

-Junior year of high school, my best friend, whom I love for her radicalism and basic über- liberalism to a comedic extent got it into her mind that a tat was just exactly the kind of statement she wanted to make a permanent part of her presence. We talked it over a lot, and she thought it out for a few months, then decided to go get it done, but she did it sneakily and without telling me. I was surprised when she showed up at my house with a “surprise” to me of a little swirly design on the back of her neck. It looked pretty good, and I liked it more than I had thought I would.

-September, 2006, I was taking my first semester off of school in a long run of semesters taken off…living at home was getting tiresome, and I sought to make my life more interesting by pushing my parents to see how much they would take from me. I’m not sure of why this particular night was so sweet, but for whatever reason, the whole family was ready for my shenanigans. My mom and I were at the grocery store. She works with autistic children, teaching their families to cope with the behavioural difficulties that accompany the disorder. Therefore, she always goes to the toy aisle in all grocery stores to look for things that will stimulate the children in a healthy way. As we were so perusing the aisle of tacky goods, I cam across a pack of “Big Money” semi-permanent tattoos (their phrasing, not mine.) I had to have them, and for some miraculous reason, my mom bought them for me. These were the really high quality ones- with real glitz built in, and they were supposed to last like a month! The designs incorporated the use of golden dollar signs, $1000000 bills, and gold- studded coins. Just what we needed. When we came home, for inexplicable reasons, the climate in my normally conservative family was just right for a little bling. Everyone had one, and laughter and fun floated through the house as everyone applied wet washcloths to the back of paper. My mom had a giant blinged- out dollar sign on her chest (yes. It took up a good portion of her chest, which… is…not…small.) my sister had a flower shaped out of gold coins and rolled up dollar bills on her inner thigh. My little brother opted for the phrase, “BLING KING” on his calf, and my dad got a miniscule $1000000 bill fastened to his arm. I went all out and applied a gold and diamond crusted watch with rubies on the face place to my wrist. We were rollin dirty.

-January of 2007, I had returned to school form a weird hiatus and begun working at a sandwich shop a few blocks from my house. I came back to school feeling a little friend-less and so I clung close to the friendships I had forged previously. One day, while over at friends’ house, I discovered a little pack of tattoos of the famous Idaho potato. But this was not just any tater- no. This was a potato cowboy. Yes. I said cowboy- he had boots, and a ten-gallon hat, and gloves if I remember correctly. So we did the obvious, applying the little details to our bodied in the most hilarious locations- mine was precariously placed on my left breast, scandalously near my nipple. Hehe. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. Now I thought this was so funny at the time, that when I went to work the next day, I could not contain myself but to laugh about it and tell my coworkers. They were not impressed. Partially, I think, because of my inept description of this phenom that is the potato cowboy. This thing was incredible, and endlessly entertaining- I wish I could do it justice in my description. So when all the customers left the store, I took my co-workers aside and showed them. Yes. That means that I bared my breast to them. Either because I was flashing them in the middle of the work day and they hadn’t come to work expecting such a show, or because of the avowed awesomeness of the little guy, they were all in tears. So incredible.

-October 2007 I was home, yet again. And yet again, my best friend from high school had the hankering for a tat. Now, since we’d been away to college, she has added impressively to her body- a rib- piece, an entire sleeve, a partial sleeve on the other arm, and two calf pieces, not to mention three facial piercings, and some others that shall remain nameless here. I think she’s smart in her choices, and she has a good rapport built with the guy who does her work, and she trusts him. I’ve voiced my opinion on the subject matter more than once- I’m not really a fan of the art form, but as I said, I feel like she smart about it, and in one of my verbose bouts of rambling, she invited me to come with her to get the next one done. Her grandmother, with whom she was very close, had passed away a year previous. She had decided to get a permanent reminder of their bond adhered to her body in form of a yellow/orange hibiscus on the inside of her upper arm, very symbolic, as her granny always collected the flowers which grew in front of their house and placed them around inside. She would never let me leave the house without three or four buds to decorate with and by remember her by. So I went. I’m kind of squeamish and squirrelly when it comes to blood, so I was really nervous as we went into the shop. The guy was so nice, and I could tell that they had a positive relationship going. He started in on her, and little droplets of blood welled up on her milky skin, mixing in with the yellow to make a meat- smelling mixture of deep red-orange. I felt my pulse in my hands and toes, and I had to sit down. Everyone joked around with me about my discomfort. It was a really good experience for me to overcome my welling fear of blood, as well as a basically magical bonding experience with an amazing friend.

-November 2007 (technically this one shouldn’t maybe count, but the idea is so great, I feel I have a responsibility to include it.) I came back to Provo for my birthday. At lunch on the blessed day, Keri and Dani and Kayte and I got to talking and came up with a list of 22 things I had to do before the day of my birth was over (22 because it was my 22nd… you get it). The list included lots of silliness, things like telling at least 22 strangers it was my birthday, and speaking a foreign language for 22 minutes straight. The real relevant one for this story was that I had to get 22 tattoos in 22 various locations on my body. We went to Honk’s $1.05 store and made our selection: unicorns, hearts, balloons, and little boys with word bubbles that said “Happy Day!” I was so happy about them, but the day got really busy and crazy, so unfortunately, the idea was never seen through to fruition. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thy Hope, Thy Confidence Let Nothing Shake

So I had this really disconcerting experience tonight… I know I shouldn’t have made such a big deal about it, but nevertheless.

I have decided to go to the institute class that they offer on campus once a week. I feel good, and it feels good when I go. I had been having a really wonderful day, so it stands to reason that something would contribute to the resultant not- goodness.

So I was in institute, and the discussion was totally wonderful. I felt like I learned a lot and I felt my testimony grew. (A side story for later- I need to vent this now.)

So I get done with that around nine, and I’m all ready to go home and reflect on what I’d learned and see what my friends are doing… possibly take a shower and go to bed. So I get to my car, and what do you know- my keys are locked in the car, still in the ignition.

I know. Funny, right. I’m a genius. This is so atypical of me…I mean, I’m usually really good about stuff like that- super responsible and smart about things like NOT locking your keys in your car, or yourself out of your house, or… your roommate out of your house (another side story… funny.)

So I start to get a little worried because I realize that I’m parked in a 7am to 7pm “service vehicle only” space, with a $50 fine and a tow. Panic sets in about the next morning, when that ever- present, daunting and nemesis-like BYU parking enforcement will wreak its havoc all over my vehicle… Needless to say, I cannot afford that type of extraneous expense at this point, even with all the hours that I’m trying to put in at work. So I call my dad- the sensible thing to do.

He’s usually so great and understanding, helpful and reassuring. He didn’t answer his cell. No biggie. (I’m still as cool as the center seed of a cucumber at this point, just getting to be a little sweaty- palmed, you know.) So I call my house, which normally goes unanswered, but I figured it was worth a shot. My brother answered, and for whatever reason, when I heard him talking to me, I started to cry. (Maybe I just miss him a lot lately, or maybe it was the fact that I just needed to talk to somebody who would be likely to help me and not get mad at me, or make me more stressed than I already was. It was weird, kind of uncontrollable crying, which is REALLY UNCHARACTERISTIC. I mean, REALLY- I’m usually totally rational and stable. Serious.) So I’m standing there in the approximate 12 degree weather, crying and sniveling to my little brother, who I’m sure has no idea what is going on, and trying to think of what to do. I managed to ask for my dad, and my brother put him on.

This is where it gets good…or bad, depending on how sadistic you are…

So my dad answers. This is a basic format of the convo, without spelling or grammatical errors:

Dad: “yeah?”

Me: “um, hi, dad. Uh… are you busy?”

Dad: “yabba.”

Me: “what? *sniffle*”

Dad: “mmmmhmmmm.”

Me: “DAD?”

Dad: “sure…whatever.”

Me: “Dad, are you ok? *crying* I need some help right now, and I need to talk to you… are you ok?”

Dad: “nope, noppa.”

Me: “can you please help me!?”

Dad: “mrrrrphh, dunno.”

Me (frustrated!): “Fine. I need to go deal with this- I’ll call later, then.”

Dad: “uh-huh. Yarrsee, whatever…”

I hang up.

So then I dealt with the situation- call my mom, who kindly informed my dad that I was crying when he talked to me- he told her that he knew that… She suggested that I call a locksmith, and I remembered that I pay to have a towing company on retainer for situations just like this one, included with my rent at my house. So I phone a hero of a locksmith- Shout out to Joe at Knight Towing and Parking Services, Provo, Utah. You are a gem- thanks for making me feel better and telling me that I didn’t need to cry or pay you. You were so nice to me, and it was REALLY appreciated. Seriously.

He filled the shoes that my dad couldn’t for whatever reason, in offering me comfort when I was inexplicably stressed and freaking out. He laughed at me and told me that it was going to be alright. I was more than anything mad that my dad was so oblivious to me- he made me feel so stupid for locking my keys in the car (I know- first mistake…), and made me doubt his ability or desire to help me, let alone form coherent sentences. I felt foolish for trusting him to be there for me. He was so cold and strange to me. It’s so weird because my dad and I have shared a really tight bond throughout my life- I have so many times considered him to be my best friend, He is always so stable and sturdy, the perfect antidote to my girlish whims and excitements- he usually is so grounding and rational- calming rock in the midst of stormy turmoil. Why tonight? What was going on!? I want to know why- why was my dad talking to me like an alien? And why could this perfect stranger so willing offer me love and comfort? Does that seem right? I submit that it does not…

Final thought on the matter: After I came home and decompressed a little from my stress, I turned on itunes on my computer. As it was on shuffle, the hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” (LDS hymnbook, # 124) came on. The lyrics really struck a chord with me- I like the characterization of a loving, constant father, a HEAVENLY Father, I guess. I’ve included them for your consideration:

Be still my soul: The Lord is on thy side;

With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy

God to order and provide; In ev’ry change He

faithful will remain. Be still my soul: thy best, the heavn’ly

Friend Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul: thy God doth undertake

to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy

confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious

shall be bright at last. Be still my soul: The waves and winds still

know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still my soul: The hour is hast’ning on

when we shall be forever with the Lord, When disappointment,

grief, and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot, love’s

purest joys restored. Be still my soul; when change and tears are

past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Apply as needed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The concept of chain reaction.
Give love and it comes back to you- isn’t that Idea found in almost all world religions and the teachings of all great men and women in history? Jesus. The Beatles (and Yoko…) Ghandi. Buddha. Mother Theresa. Martin Luther King Jr. Bob Marley.
I think that to really get into it, though, I see it as such: It’s specific. To be more concise, that which I give out is reciprocated to me in a mirror- I give out chickens, why should I expect to receive goats? Or even quails? I can’t, because something I have learned is this: Chickens always, without fail, beget chickens.
The application of this concept is such. I want to learn to experience a romantic love. I want to learn to be tangled up in that whole mess. It’s been lost on me- I have no idea what everyone’s always going on about, what 95% of song lyrics are really talking about, the common humanizing factor: love. And I furthermore have no response to them other than that I’m sorry...or the dreaded, “that’s so great.” I want…no. NEED to have another response. I need to relate. It’s time for me to get out of myself and get out there.
So chickens… I have gotten impeccably great at giving out chickens: I’m so friendly it hurts. My little chickens run all around and hold me in their hearts in a soft spot where all chickens keep their friends. Don’t get me wrong- chickens are incredible on so many levels; incredibly useful, tasty to the max. Everything tastes like chickens… and therefore everything is delicious. (side note: where did that expression come from?) basically, you can’t go wrong with chicken- bring a little chicken to the next party you go to as an experiment. I guarantee you that everyone will love it- everyone will want to know who brought the chicken, and will thank you for bringing it. (Maybe you’ll make some new friends, therefore bringing my little metaphor here to actual fruition… heh heh. Lemme know…)Let’s just say, I love chicken! I love sending out my little metaphorical chickens in all of the random and widely flung friends that I have. Love it beyond explanation that is possible here. My point is that my chicken pushing has never returned anything but chickens. I have never really and truly undergone anything beyond a friendship.
I mean, there are, of course, some really intense chicken-based friendships, I mean, REALLY intense where I feel like I know a person more than they know themselves (kinda scary, I know…) and those are fulfilling to the maximum degree that chickens can be.
But I think that I am ready for some really great quail. I’m ready for love, and I’m ready to be loved… not in the way that all my chickens love me, but in a passionate, dedicated, and undying way. I’m not writing this because I’m horny, nor, in that sense am I talking about lust… (and maybe the crux of this all is that in my darkest corner, I am an unrelenting romantic, with all the silliness that comes along with that, including the innate desire to get that quail…not my favorite part of who I am, but a part nevertheless. A big part. Disney, to blame, maybe…)I mean, real life heart warming, heart breaking, and utterly enlightening, life- changing, blood- pumping, life-affirming, self- doubting, self- assuring, self- denying, empowering and hanging, clinging, confidence building, confidence shattering, gut wrenching love. That’s what I want. That’s my quail.
And now for the application of the idea. I have no idea how to get to quail. My chicken resources are plentiful, and I have become an expert chicken breeder ( I mean, I could go pro… as … a chicken farmer…). I know where to get chickens and how to get them to multiply and replenish my life. Shoot, there’s fifteen places in a square mile radius from me at any given time in the day that supplies my chicken need.
My problem, and ultimate demise therefore, comes in the fact that the chain reaction which I am so well versed (chickens) never leads me to my quail. A cute little quail baby will never, on happenstance, pop out of one of my chickens’ eggs. It’s problematic, because I have no idea how to set off a quail chain. I know full well what a quail looks like- know it’s behaviour and where it hides- I just can’t make one mine. I think if I had one…just one to start with, I could make it reproduce and I would capitalize on its fertility.
But I don’t know how to breed quail. That’s my most embarrassing confession.