Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I will start with a caveat: "maybe it's just me but..."

I have a thing about music. I am enchanted by it, infatuated almost. I fall hard and fast for intricate lyrics and complex melodies or a simple but powerful combination of the two. I will go through a phase of listening to the same playlist or album every day for months, blissfully content and fulfilled by it. Then something happens, and one day, it's just over. Yet still, in months and years to come, when I hear one of those songs, I can immediately identify the set of memories and experiences it lovingly accompanied.

So that's me and my connection to the mystical sounds that support a billion-dollar industry. Another "fun fact" about me is that I also tend to get overly attached to people with whom I bond over a love for music--and a specific type of music, even. But like all other relationships, those eventually turn sour at some point, and the music we once treasured ends up stained and abandoned. At least until my heart heals enough to listen without longing and the happy fog of nostalgia sets in. :)

Anyhow. I went to a concert last night by one of the IU Jazz bands, and it was fantastic. And it got me thinking about "aftertastes" of the friendships in my life. Most of them, as I said, didn't turn out so well. When the connection died, I was left with a sad or hurt or bitter taste that I didn't know how to process. I realized last night, though, that it's not universal. Jazz seems to be an exception: although the person I most frequently associate with the genre (though not the first to love or introduce me to it) is no longer a part of my life, letting the music wash over me was a thoroughly pleasant experience, and remembering that friendship actually brings me a smile.

I'm not sure what it is, and I'm not sure why that friendship is so different. I could be that I have just become so different that its effects on me are dulled. Either way, I am not about to complain! I intend to continue savoring it for as long as the aftertaste endures.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Live Your Life For You

I was reading through old Notes on my phone the other night, and I stumbled across this introspection from last summer. Reading these words was startling, especially realizing how poignant and true they still are to me. I feel like I have made a lot of progress since moving to Bloomington, but old habits and attitudes still try to creep in at times. I'm putting this out to the world--unedited--in case there are other women (or even men) who have experienced something similar to my feelings and can perhaps draw strength here if/when needed.

I can't say when it started. I don't think anyone can pinpoint a single moment, but at some point I was persuaded that I would be seen as more feminine if my hair was longer. I would be more desirable to men if I wore my hair down. I would be more attractive if I had wider hips, bigger breasts, a flatter stomach.Maybe it was overhearing a freshman boy call me a dyke as I walked to my car outside his classroom. Maybe it was the times my mother told me every haircut we daughters got broke my father's heart a little. Maybe it was just unconscious observation that the girls and women who surrounded me and who society and my peers seemed to regard most highly all had long, flowing locks.It is impossible for me to isolate the moment I started to live for others.I've always been good at rationalizing, don't get me wrong. I would never admit to submitting my will to society's suggestion. And yet it happened. I never saw myself as designed to break the mold. I was one who would conform to fill it.I learned the guitar, the saxophone, the drum set, because I liked the way I thought others would see me. I learned to beatbox, I listened to rap. But it never really felt like me.I told myself others would like me better if I were smarter, if I had nicer clothes, if I kept up with the popular shows and listened to the radio. I told myself I'd get more dates if I wore flats instead of tennis shoes, or if I bothered to apply some makeup.I explained in my head that I didn't fit the current fashion. In fact, with my proportions, I didn't fit much of anything. No matter how high my grades came in, I could always do better. I wondered if that was another thing I should be fixing in some way.I wouldn't say it started with a haircut, I think that was more the straw on the camel's back. But after a heavy month of searching and longing for a love I won't ever earn, I decided (once again) that I need to try to let it go. I need to live life for ME. So I am. Or beginning at least.I paid for a haircut, and I let it be cut. Really cut, not just trimmed. Nothing crazy, but shorter than I've allowed it for a few years.And you know what?It feels great! I took out my contacts and stared at myself in the mirror for a few moments and it struck me.I never knew all that I had given up when I ascribed to those cultural views, but as I stood and looked at myself, running my fingers through my now-short hair, I realized I finally felt like....me.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Great Divide

I'm supposed to be on my way to the airport right now to pick up a friend. Unfortunately, winter weather patterns have decided to make such a trek not only inconvenient, but laced with high levels of danger and risk. Thus, I am sitting at home, feeling helpless and worried and inadequate and imperfect. Though I know it's not my fault that the roads are bad, I still feel like I'm letting my friend down and failing to follow through on a sincere and heartfelt promise that I made. I feel like I'm falling short, and having a hard time dealing with that. Hence, this post. 
In pondering these strange feelings that have come over me in the last hour or two, I had a thought come to mind: never has a distance so short (just 40-something miles) felt so immense. Especially since I started driving and have grown accustomed to being able to find a way to anywhere I need to be for anyone I love. Then another thought struck me and the spiritual symbolism inspired and comforted me somewhat.
I had a bishop once who read to us from the epistle of James in teaching about the Atonement of Jesus Christ: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
Our subsequent discussion highlighted the fact that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, and thus any transgression, no matter how seemingly insignificant, creates an infinite chasm between us and the Lord. It is impossible for us to bridge that gap on our own. However, we don't need to. Christ has already set the way for us to overcome sin and close that infinite divide. It is the process of repentance, made possible by Christ's atoning sacrifice. 
I thought of my feelings, being so close and yet so far from my friend in Indianapolis. That distance feels so intimidating and scary to me. It has reminded me that I don't want to face a similar feeling when it comes to my spiritual divides. I want to eliminate those gaps as quickly and completely as possible. I want to be whole and pure and worthy of fellowship with my Heavenly Father. I will do all things within my power to make sure that is possible. 


Monday, January 4, 2016

Be The Change

After a month of holidays and weekends-away, I'm finally settling back into my apartment and my isolationist lifestyle (though I know it will be short-lived since the IU students will be back in town soon). Consequently, I found myself with time to think while cooking dinner tonight. One of my friends recently moved to Idaho to start college at BYU-I, and asked me if there is anything I wished I'd known before getting to BYU. I reflected on all my experiences and the things I learned in my 3 years in Provo, from academic, professional, spiritual, and personal standpoints. One revelation that hit me during this exercise fell into the "personal" category, and that is this:
I have discovered that the best friendships come from trying to be a good friend, rather than find one. 
I have seen this verified on more than one occasion, and am certainly seeing it in my life right now. The people whom I've come to trust the most are the people that I have chosen to invest in, the ones to whom I listen when they're excited or struggling, the ones for whom I pray, the ones with whom I try to be the most Christlike version of myself. And I can see, in each instance, that these individuals have reciprocated by giving to me a piece of their own soul, choosing to care for and listen to me as well. 
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I don't know much about love. And I feel like I know only a bit more about friendship. But in my little sheltered, somewhat naive experience, this is a significant revelation. All relationships are give-and-take, but learning to give more than you take is a gift that will bless every relationship, and build a bond of mutual respect, concern and love deeper than anything else I've experienced.