Monday, February 14, 2011

oh the cleverness of me...

Okay, so I'm really not all that clever. But every once in awhile my friends and I will come up with a highly entertaining joke or prank that freaks all of our other friends out, and we get to sit back and laugh and watch people change colors while we explain.

For example. Today is Valentine's Day. Jordan and I were talking about it last week and he mentioned it would be so funny if we listed ourselves on Facebook as being in a relationship on Valentine's Day, then "breaking up" the day after, just to see what our friends would do.

Well. It's officially the day, and we've "officialized" our relationship on Facebook. My phone has been text message mad and my Facebook notifications have been going off like crazy. It's pretty hilarious.

I feel very clever! Granted, it's stupid and immature, but it's so much fun!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

spin me like a top...

The Orem Institute hosted a Valentine's dance this past Friday. There was no way I was not going to go to this dance (20-piece live band = I am SO there), so I asked my friend to go with me. Truth be told, I almost didn't ask him because I was SO incredibly nervous to, but hey. I eventually got around to it.

Sometimes there are decisions you make that you regret. This was definitely not one of them. Holy cow, that was one of the best nights of my entire life! First we went to see "The Phantom of the Opera" at a nearby high school, and it was actually very impressive. Our group had a great time together, and we also had a wonderful time talking at dinner. It was fun, laid back, and I have come to the realization that I am terrible at dating because I am so very awkward.

Daniel is an incredible dancer! Wow, it was so much fun! I really didn't even have to think about how bad I am at dancing with a partner; he did most of the work and I just spun wherever he wanted me to go. From ChaCha to swing to jive to polka to waltz to who know what else (the majority of which I had never learned before), it was absolutely delightful. That's how dances should be. None of this jumping up and down in the same place like we do these days. It's the full out, amazing twirling!

I am so glad Daniel went with me. It was truly fantastic. Honest to goodness, it was the best.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

life is like a rock wall...

"No matter how stuck you feel, there is always a way to get to the top."
-my friend Julia

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to go rock climbing with a girl who is quickly becoming a dear friend. She is in the LDC choir that I sing with, and she was also a senior in high school when I was a junior (I think).

When Julia asked me to go, I was so excited that she wanted me to hang out (haha!) with her that I didn't even realize I'd said yes to go rock climbing. It was only after I said I'd go that I remembered: I am deathly afraid of heights.

Julia has been climbing longer than I have. She usually goes about twice a week and has for nearly six months. Me? Yesterday was the first time I've gone in ten years. My dad took me because I really wanted to go, and he dropped me about six feet because there was too much slack in the rope. In short, I haven't been too fond of the sport in a long time.

Learning how to tie knots, put on harnesses, and belay was the easy part (kind took me awhile to figure out). Climbing the first wall wasn't too hard either. It was the coming down that was the hardest part. That first climb scared me to death, and Aaron, the guy who was belaying me, had to coax me back down. His patience (and the fact that my arms were killing me) made it a lot easier. After that, I was super excited because I hadn't died! And it was actually really fun.

Now to the point of this post: there were a couple of times when I was climbing a particularly rough wall and had to stop to rest, or even come down. My fingers wouldn't grip the holds very well, and I was so tired. Once or twice I got stuck, and instead of staying up I just asked the person belaying me to let me down. The time that stuck with me, though, was when Julia was belaying me. I couldn't go up any higher, and she let me down. She asked me if I would belay for her, and started up the wall.

As Julia was climbing, she would stop and track out a path up the wall. Sometimes she would climb down a few feet, get her bearings, and then shoot ten feet up the wall in a few easy steps. She made it look so simple! I kept watching and waiting for her to get stuck or get too tired to keep going. Three times I thought she would stop and come back down, but she never did. It wasn't until she reached the very top of the wall and touched the bar holding the rope that she said she was ready to drop back down.

While she was slipping the ropes off of her harness, she smiled at me and said something that stuck with me all day and all night. "No matter how stuck you feel, there is always a way to get to the top."

I've thought about this a lot, how she took her time and made sure to take the right steps. Even if she had to double back a few feet and start again, she never stopped climbing until she made it to the top. To me, that's kind of how life is. No matter how hard it gets, or how stuck you may feel, there is always some way to get to the top of whatever problem you are facing. I'm really glad that Julia taught me that. It's something I always want to remember.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

time machine...

"Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or...
learn from it."
-The Lion King, Rafiki

The brain is an amazing organ. It can do so many incredible things. It is so resilient, yet so flexible. The connections and functions are undoubtedly incredible, with so much detail and communication that it is mind blowing (sorry about that).

Something that the mind can do is forget. It can bury memories--painful moments, frightening experiences, embarrassing incidences, and so many others. But these things can only be buried so deeply; they have to surface eventually. They have to be faced and worked through. You cannot run from your past. No matter how fast you run, it will always catch up to you. Somehow, someday, somewhere, it will find you.

My past caught up with me today. I didn't really even know how hard I had tried to bury the experience until the reminder was staring me (almost literally) right in the face. The physical reaction was startling--heart racing, breath coming short and fast, muscles tense and ready. The emotional and mental reaction was even stranger--a wrenching inside, with flashbacks to the fear and anger and hurt, and the thoughts rushing over me--No, it can't be. I'll never see him again. Ever. It's the past. It can't find me. He can't find me. He's not supposed to be here.

In 9th grade, there was a boy. He was an odd person, and rather unliked because he was rude and "different". I didn't particularly care for him, but I was never cruel or unkind. I smiled at him, I waved at him, I offered him a seat at my friends' table in art class. He didn't accept, and I wasn't surprised. I noticed that he was often near me, and following me around the school. We had several classes together. After a while, his actions were less on the fringe of my life and more involved. He would shove me in the hallways, take my things, sabotage my homework projects (especially in art class), and do other things like that.

One day in Seminary (religion class), he damaged one of my assignments very badly. I got upset and told him firmly to leave me alone and to stop following me around. He got angry very quickly, and before I knew it I was shoved into the classroom wall. He struck me hard, and would have continued hurting me if the boys in my class hadn't intervened and pulled him off. I was crying and ashamed and hurt. I wanted to go home. I wanted my family.

My teacher sided with the boy in my class. He said that it was my actions that had caused the boy to do that to me. My teacher said I needed to be patient and loving and kind, because the young man was confused and alone and probably hurting. My teacher wouldn't let me leave, and he tried to make me apologize for antagonizing the boy.

My parents and the school administration took care of the problem. The boy was removed from all of the classes he had with me. My friends rallied around me and one of them (6' 4" tall 9th grade boy) spoke to the boy and said if he gave me any more trouble there would be serious consequences.

Then it was over. Done. I put it in a secret place in my mind, and pushed it away.

That boy is now a man. I know--I saw him today. All of the memories and feelings came rushing back. As I walked past him, it was like a slow motion moment in a film. I remembered everything, things I didn't even know I remembered. It was like going back in time to that day in junior high school.

I have never faced what happened. I have never let myself consciously analyze and work through that experience. I've never embraced it, but I've never let it go. I never faced it, until I literally faced it.

Fear is painful. Pain is painful. Anger is painful. Sadness is painful.

Change is painful, too.