Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week 2

My goal this week is to not be ruled by my emotions, which had excellent timing because I’ve been kind of grouchy this week and feeling the need to act on these negative feelings. It may be hard to believe but I am actually a pretty cheerful person, and probably 80% of my bad moods have some physical cause (lack of sleep, illness, etc) which I am starting to recognize more clearly. It’s actually kind of cool the way the body let’s you know what it needs. 

Anyways, woke up Monday in a fierce angry mood, and one poor person—who I have been feeling frustrated with on a good day—became my target. My feelings turned 180 (for the worse) and I was ready to cut them out of my life (I didn't actually do anything, but I thought about it). By Tuesday, I realized my feelings might be exaggerated, or even completely false. So I’m biding my time. It may turn out that it’s time to move away from this person after all, or it may turn out that in a day or so I don’t feel this way at all. But because I’m actively trying to determine what my body and mind are doing, I’m avoiding doing things that I will regret down the road.

Does this happen to anyone else? I feel like I’m sounding a bit bi-polar. 

New things so far:

Graded my first reader submission for the journal I’m working with. And I gave it a terrible grade. I feel a little bad, but it was actually a terrible paper. But it made me excited to be an editor. 

Paid my first utility bill through the gas company…and it hurt. And I’ll even be reimbursed ¾ of it by my roommates. I don’t know how grown ups do it. 

I made it through my entire French class today without giving the wrong answer or looking stupid*. I can honestly say this hasn’t happened before. I think I’m getting better!

This didn’t happen this week, but last semester I went for my first ride on a scooter! It was really fun but really scary (we were going like 15 miles an hour…maybe) but I kept thinking I was going to topple off. Not to mention I was on the back, so I had no control, although Tara is a pro and I had nothing to be scared of.  

I also got my first smart phone this week! It’s pretty awesome, I spent 3 hours on it when I first got it. The novelty is starting to wear off but it is really convenient and works so well! It’s some Samsung cheap thing (no i-phone for me just yet) but I still like it. And feel like I belong to the masses. Although really I just like “Words With Friends.” 

I officially need to work out a budget. Like, a real budget. This is the first time I’ve taken the idea seriously. 

I think that’s all. Someday I’ll start taking pictures so there is something interesting to look at on this blog. 

*An example: The other day we were supposed to describe with a partner how early we get up on Saturday morning and why. However, I thought it said Sunday morning. So I said I get up at 8 because I have church at 9, and the girl looked at me and was like, “Really, you have church? Are you Jewish (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?” (She said it in perfect French) And I was like…“What?” Yeah. Ridiculous.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Something new--trusting in the goodness of strangers

Okay, today’s I’ve-never-done-this-before is brought to you by running late to school. I mentioned I’ve been sick, so the thought of climbing the hill to campus was less than appealing at 8:45 this morning. Also, my first class is in the basement in the farthest corner of the farthest building from my apartment (how did that happen? still not sure). So when the bus blew past me when I was still a block away from the stop, I was sad. I was annoyed. I was grouchy. And I knew I would be late to class and not feel too hot after cruising across campus when I can’t breathe. Now, I needed to be to class and be on time because I have missed this class twice now in the first 2 ½ weeks of the semester (not proud of this fact. one was due to illness). 

Anyways, I orient toward campus and begin the trek, literally thinking in my head “I hate this day!” Within the next 30 seconds a gray mini van pulls over and a nice looking middle aged lady asks me where the Wilkinson Center is. It’s hard to explain how to get there, there are a lot of turns and then a weird parking situation. So as I stood there stumbling over my words and not sure how to explain it and feeling frustrated that I’m losing valuable time, I looked at her, I looked at her car, and I said, “I have a really strange question. Can I just get in with you and show you how to get there? It’s kind of hard and I’m running late anyways.” And guess what? She was beyond grateful. She had been driving around for half an hour looking for the place. She was very nice and apologetic that her car was messy from travelling and I assured her that I didn’t mind at all. We got the to Wilk, I got to class on time, and I was cheerful the rest of the day. SO

Old Emily: Would have given tricky directions, and then mumbled and grumbled the rest of the day about being late to class and how I have the worst luck in the world. 

2012 Emily: Takes a chance, helps someone out, gets what she needs, and is happier for it.

See, I would not beg him for a ride. Unless it really was Tim Curry. I would go anywhere with Tim Curry.
And no, I will not be bumming rides off of every stranger I encounter. But she really did not come across as a serial killer, and I’ve seen a LOT of Criminal Minds episodes. I know how to spot them. 

Another first: I was running late this morning so I dried 70% of my hair and then…put it in a PONY TAIL! I’ve been waiting 10 months for this luxury!! It’s getting loooooong!!! And yes, I look like a hot mess today, but at least my hair isn’t stringy and in my face. Until next time! <3

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

rough but optimistic start

This is going to be short and sweet and not exciting. After my last blog post I got sick, which has wreaked some havoc on how often I leave my bedroom and therefore am exposed to opportunities to try new things. But here’s a little list of some new things I’ve done:

Watched “Lion King” in Spanish. They did a fabulous job dubbing it! Also available in French, but I was outvoted.

Set up utilities in my name like a grown up.

Turned on the natural gas to my apartment (yay!) and by that I mean Tara and I called our friend Spencer the Mechanical Engineer who came and turned it on and lit some pilot lights for us. Thanks Spencer! Using your connections is another type of resourcefulness, right?

I made these crazy good chocolate chocolate chip cookies 100% from scratch. You should know that cookies are my nemesis. I can make most things (pies excluded) but cookies are hit or miss. But these, these were awesome. And I gave most of them away, which was even better!
    My baditude resurfaced a little last night but by bed time I recovered. Other than that, staying positive is going well despite this stupid cold. 

    I also started reading “21 Days Closer to Christ,” which a friend was kind enough to lend me. I started it yesterday but I was half passed out (due to my cold, not that it was boring) when I did it so I might restart tonight. 

    Anyways, that’s all for now. Not the ground breaking post I had hoped for but it will do for now :)

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    As I write this, I'm having an epiphany. Bear with me, I get in these moods and there's no getting out. The tragedy is that this epiphany is prompted by my FINALLY watching the Christmas episode of Glee. I know, I know. I like Glee. My stock of Glee merchandise is growing (I've only ever bought myself one shirt, the rest have been gifts) and I scoff at myself but if you ask me when a song was sung I can tell you which episode and under which situation, and I still get giddy with 85% of the episodes. I can't help it. But that is not the point of this post. So, I wish I had watched this episode sooner because it had a fairly cliche christmas message but one that I wish I had internalized sooner. Last year they had a Grinch theme, and this year was a Charlie Brown Christmas type message, ie the true meaning of Christmas. It was cute. Some parts were annoying. I still love Rachel and Finn and I can't help it. So as I'm laying snuggled in my bed because we forgot to get our gas service renewed and we won't have heat until next week (ha!) I watch this closing number:

    My good friend Brianna sent me multiple texts over Christmas because every time she heard or saw this song it reminded her of me because I love Glee and I love Africa and I love this song. But before you start thinking I'm a better person than I am, let me qualify that by saying I am very interested in Africa, as in I love to watch movies about Africa, read books, I love learning about 21st/20th Century Africa and the history and the politics and the stories about the people. But I've never been to Africa, and it's not even in my top 5 places I would go to if given the chance (not that i would turn down a trip, I just have my sights set on Europe). I have a humanist interest, but not a human interest. Does that make sense?

    I think there are two colleges at BYU that are primarily concerned with people: Social Sciences and Humanities. The Social Sciences are about action: learning about what has gone on, what is going on, and what you can do to be apart of it and contribute in some way. The Humanities are a little different as they study people in a more passive sense; they look at what people have done, what ideas and principles lay at the core of these actions, and they look at trends. Their accomplishments lay in knowing things, Social Sciences lay in doing things. I'm not saying that this is universally true, or a bad thing, I am naturally inclined to the Humanities faction and I love it and can see it spill over into many different aspects of my life. After last semester I now understand and value the modernist/post-modernist movements in the arts and have a love for Virginia Woolf and her insane writing. How many of you can say that, huh? But as I watched that video I got a little choked up because I always get a little choked up over just about anything and I thought to myself, this song doesn't represent me, because I don't do things, and that song is about doing and thinking differently. I know things and I appreciate things and that's about it. Okay, I'm going to come back to this in a minute.

    So, I will be the first to admit that I have been a Debbie Downer these past few weeks (hilarious SNL clip). It has a little to do with life changing around me while I sit still, and a lot to do with turning 24. I don't know why but this birthday hit me like a wrecking ball. And it's not so much getting old, but what I haven't accomplished at this point. I have not finished school, or even gotten into the practical curriculum of my major (graduating April 2013, fingers crossed!) I am not married nor do I have prospects on the horizon. I'm just as broke and tired and frustrated as I have been the last few years, but at 24 it doesn't feel okay to be that way anymore. Which I think is the core of my problem. The way I'm feeling about everything.

    I was talking with a friend a couple nights ago and it has really stuck in my mind. I do not know this friend very well, we've only known each other a couple of months. But I love hearing him talk because everything he says, no matter what the situation and without fail, has a positive spin on it. I've heard him tell stories that range from serious trials to lighthearted annoyances and every time he adds, "but they are a really good person" or "but it could have been worse," etc. Not only that, it is a genuine statement, not just a tacked on, cover-your-bases-with-a-"nice"-blanket statement. I don't know that he even realizes he does it. Regardless, it has made an impression on me. And as we chatted the other night and he said really positive things about just about everything, and I (realized in retrospect) whined about all the not-that-hard things in my life that have me down, I thought, "How amazing to see life like that." and then while I was watching Glee I thought "Why don't I try harder to make my life awesome?" Really, my life is not bad. I sleep on a Glee pillow case (a gift!), and some people sleep outside because they don't have homes. My walls are covered in black and white posters of Paris and while I haven't been there yet, I know about it because I have had a top notch education and if I made it my top priority, I would have a 100% chance of visiting in the near future. These are good odds! The fact that I have so much time to sit around and stew over better uses of my time is a good indicator that my life is pretty cushy.

    SO. What's the point? The point is, I want to take a human interest in things. I want to be doing. What is my plan? Well, I will need your help for this, because I have always been a sucker for peer pressure. Every day I want to do something I've never done before. It can be small, such as saying hi to someone who looks like they could use a hi (for reals, never done it) or it can be big. It can make a difference for others, or it can be a slight convenience for myself. Hopefully it will be a mix of everything. As long as it is something new. I won't plan it, but just go with what I'm brought that day.

    BUT. There's more. I'm going to be setting weekly and monthly goals to make it interesting. Par example:

    This week: Be in a good mood for 7 days. It doesn't have to be an organic good mood, it can be forced as long as it is there. Cut back on negative comments. Give more compliments. Think about the people around me.

    This month: Follow through. I am SUCH a flake and I quit when things get hard/uncomfortable. And I hate this about myself. So? My first order of business is to keep this project going for at least 30 days (overall goal 1 year) in order to improve my ability to follow through on my commitments.

    AND. And I will be blogging. It may be short, I will likely be busy, but I want to keep track of this and blog more. Who knows, maybe I will get a book/movie option out of it ;) jk

    WELL. Well, what is my ultimate goal? My goal is to have the best year of my life. It is to get uncomfortable, to get organized, to get interesting. So, enough thinking, and feeling, and writing. It's time to get a life!

    Today: Today I washed my roommate's hair in the kitchen sink with water we boiled on the stove (no natural gas, remember?). I can honestly say I've never done that before. Pictures to follow (someday).

    A poem I wrote for my creative writing class that I think sums up my sentiments exactly:

    Writer’s Block

    I went to write about love,
                  but it wasn’t wooing me
    I went to write about injustice,
                  but it wasn’t wronging me
    I went to write about art,
                  but it wasn’t wowing me
    I went to write about pain,
                  but it wasn’t wounding me
    I went to write about joy,
                  but it wasn't welcoming me
    I went to write about triumph
                  but it wasn’t winning me
    I went to write about religion,
                  but it wasn’t wracking me
    I went to write about awareness,
                  but it wasn’t wakening me
    I went to write about life
                  but it wasn’t waiting on me

    See you tomorrow!
    Also, my hair is growing out quite nicely!