Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Feeding the Creator in Yourself

For me, blogging fills the inherent need to create. To contribute what only I can contribute. To let myself be the version of myself that is energized, that feels, that is whole.

It's a beautiful thing, but at the same time, it's intensely dissatisfying when I am unable to produce words, to unlock that version of myself. It's a muscle that lately I seem to be neglecting during the workout of life.

But with the holidays right around the corner, I want to be that person, feel those feelings, fill my corner of the world with the things no other person has. The words crafted together that no one else would have strung together (for better or worse). I know that seems arbitrary but I think something about this season encourages me to be that person, to seize the songs and the decor and the nostalgia that flood this time of year.

I believe everyone has something that takes them to that place in themselves. For my husband, it is fishing. He feeds his Creator by throwing a piece of plastic and a hook into a body of water, with a line of string connected to it. (In case you couldn't tell, fishing, and the idea of fishing filling this need, is entirely foreign to me.) And though I find myself easily frustrated out on the water, for Angel, each cast is the hope of catching the elusive. Each change of lure is a learning moment, the gaining of expertise, the improvement of skill. And each catch is progress, excitement, success. Spending time at a lake is spending time with his best self, the version that is both calm and engaged, hopeful and determined, looking to improve and still undeterred.

Although I doubt I will ever fall in love with the act of fishing, very quickly do I fall in love with the man that fishing produces in him.

But who wouldn't fall in love with someone who feeds their inner creator.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On Pain and Politics

Tonight I lay in bed, my husband sleeping beside me, unable to comprehend sleep. My whole body is haunted by the pain I see reflected in my country. On both and every side of the political spectrum, I read posts that are seeping with tangible pain and fear.

To my friends on the right:
Please be patient with those of us who are disappointed by the results of the election. To us, each vote for Trump was personal, a voice saying, "I am okay with what Trump says about you as a person of color, a woman, a religious person, an immigrant, etc.". There was and is real fear that having a president with these beliefs will lead to wider acceptance and policy manifestations of these beliefs in a way that will directly threaten our safety. In that way each vote for Trump was a de-prioritization of our value as human beings.

To my friends on the left:
Please be slow to demonize and quick to empathize. Many Who voted for Trump were expressing pain that we have been sheltered from even acknowledging. Pain of direct threat to their livelihoods, their families' welfare because economic growth outside of metropolitan areas has been painfully slow. They felt abandoned for so long and in so many ways that they were willing to support a deeply flawed candidate who was finally campaigning to them, and not to you and your circle of friends who have been so well represented in the media.

I do not attempt to speak for all. I do not pretend that pain will be quickly erased on either side. I do believe it is possible to look past differences. To empathize with underlying fear if you can put aside your own line of thought. And I do believe we as a nation can use this election as a point of unity, growth, and as cheesy as it sounds, love.

So on a night like tonight, where I can do so little to ease the pain that I see, I focus on love. I place my hand on the chest of my sleeping husband, feeling his heartbeat. Inhaling and exhaling to that rhythm and letting that love ease my own pain, if only for a night.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Taste of the Mish: Mar Del Plata

One of the reasons I wanted to blog was to share some of my experiences from being a missionary in both Ogden and Argentina. So I think I'll do a series called "Taste of the Mish" where I'll share either something I wrote or a memory from those precious 18 months. Here's one I wrote from my time in the biggest city of my mission, "Mar Del Plata."

Four sister missionaries walk out of a cyber cafe. Three of us have another country, another world swimming in our heads - a world of carpeted floors, snapchat, drive-thru restaurants, and maybe most of all, people we've known for years instead of a few months. We walk out into the Argentine city, a foreign place, really. We make our way along the familiar path, but after communicating with this other world, it seems surreal to be walking these streets. 

I start to wonder about it all: How did I get here? Where do I fit in in all of this? What does God want me to do with it all - with this culture that I work so hard to understand and to love?

My mind is so ver far away from me, and I am not the only one. In an attempt to reconcile the two worlds, we gab away about sisters who might get married, ex's who send rude emails, friends who are struggling their way through college. Yet, the very way we discuss it all in Spanish only exaggerates how unnatural it all is. 

Just then a group of boys playing soccer comes thrashing towards us. The ball gets away from them and heads straight towards one of us. All of the confusion comes to a head for me. This is it, the clashing of cultures. This is where all the surrounding Argentines will realize just how out of place we are. Where they'll reject us like a kidney transplant. I can feel the shame of it already. And this certain sister missionary, maybe the bravest of all of us, the most unafraid to be herself, standing there in a skirt and ballet flats, kicks the ball back at them. 

But the ball doesn't go straight back at them. It goes up, over their heads even, in a motion so surprising that I hear myself gasp without realizing.  At the instant of impact it is worse than I imagined. The ball climbs higher still, it passes the heads of the entire group of boys. And in turn the boys simply turn around, unfazed, and continue thrashing along in the other direction. As surprised as I was by the ball's upward leap, I was likely just as surprised at how unchanged everyone else seems to be. 

Maybe it was there the whole time. People on the street don't see me as a fish-out-of-water. Well, maybe the skirt and the scriptures in my hand set me apart. But it's like picturing New York City without the crazies - it would be crazier still. I am part of this city, of this culture. I might be a kidney transplant, but I won't be rejected. I just have to do what I do and trust that people are people and God is God. Even in Argentina. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I am responsible.

This is not a political blog. It is mostly full of weird stories about my quirks and insecurities and the things I love. But tonight my heart is broken. And while my words might seem like a drop in the bucket, my silence would be infinitely more damaging. "What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander."

Innocent people are being murdered. Not "fatally wounded." Not "shot." Murdered. And one life is too many.

To my brothers and sisters who live in fear that they or someone they love will be murdered every time they go for a jog, every time they are pulled over, every time they leave their houses at night, I see you. I'm sorry. I am feeling just the absolute tiniest amount of your pain and it is overwhelming. It leaves me unable to sleep. It frightens me. You are in my prayers.

But I am also aware that posting something on a blog, saying a prayer, is not enough. I must act. It falls on me, with my light skin and my privilege. Me, and the millions out there like me who have the privilege of pretending that this is not a big issue, that this will resolve itself - we are the very ones who must work to solve this gaping injustice.

Today is Thursday. On Monday, a large portion of us celebrated the signing of a document that declared that all are created equal, that there are rights that should not be a luxury. I love this country. I lived in another country and saw the effects of corruption, disorganization, and irresponsibility. But I can love this country and need desperately for it to change.

So to my brothers and sisters who don't live in this constant fear, to those of us who celebrated this country a few short days ago: We have shirked a responsibility for too long. We have failed to recognize in our own actions the discrimination and the undercurrent that allows for murder to be a devastating reality, a part of our culture.

Let's act. Let's speak up to those who can change policy. But even more than that, let's put something on the line. Let's do more than post our sympathies and worry for the world. It's time to set aside our pride. Stop pretending this isn't a problem because we don't feel the pain. It's time to do more than just express sympathies. It is time to love. Verb. To risk something, to give something. To speak up in conversations. To search inside ourselves for our own part in this tragedy, and do what we can in our own circle of influence. Your circle of influence is much greater than you imagine.

It is time to stop pointing fingers. For truly, I am responsible for these tragedies. My ignorance, my denial, it had its role in each murder. And while I alone did not create this culture, I should work to eradicate it, and replace it with love. With a sense of family. With hope in what seems like a hopeless situation.

This is not a political blog. But its time for us to stop thinking that the death of our brothers and sisters is political.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spring Cleaning

So it's this funny thing. I was doing some spring cleaning on account of the fact that I am marrying and moving in with the man of my dreams and I came across my journals. Maybe  5 or 7 of them, written between the ages of 18-24, and I remembered. I used to LOVE writing. Enough to fill a billion journals, enough to write flouncy little blog posts like 2-3 times a week. It helped me clear my head and make sense of my life and choose which stories I wanted to be big and which ones I wanted to be small even though all I did was interact with a stranger at the grocery store.

But I also live in Utah, and have maybe 5 friends here, and I feel like I lost a part of myself by not writing to process it all. Not that I think I have this great talent, but it feels oddly vindicating to put my schtuffs into the world. There's this satisfaction that the world doesn't spit it back out like a dollar bill that's too crumpled. (Sidenote: having 5 friends in Utah is probably 75% by choice).

But, another also - if I'm going to do this, I'm gonna all the way do this. I'm going to tell people about the blog and talk about Angel and my spirituality and post a billion selfies and pretend everyone thinks I'm cool. Because maybe that's what I have in my soul. And I know it's not 2008 and no one cares about blogs anymore and selfies are the currency of the Kardashian family, but you know what? Team Khloe forever. (Slash, idk, I've never watched more than 4 minutes of that show at once, but I am the Khloe of my family).

But also (and I'm pretty sure this is my last also), I found my retainer when I was spring cleaning, and it had been missing since I moved to Utah , but it still kinda fit and so I'm wearing it all the time so that I lose the gap between my two front teeth before the wedding and my mouth hurts pretty bad.


But that's kind of what you expected all along, right?

Friday, January 8, 2016

2015/6

I am that mix of person where part of me love to hate on all of the "new year, new me" and part of me is like, "2016 is the year I become everything I've been meaning to be."

2015 was a Charles Dickens year for me (It was the best of times. It was the worst of times). I experienced so many wonderful landmark moments that I know I will cherish into old age and on into forever. I also probably cried more than the last 5 years combined. (To be honest, during the 5 years before that I liked to pretend that I didn't cry). But a little struggle is good for you, or something. Emphasis on the something.

The month of December was the pinnacle of 2015. I got engaged. To the most loving, kind, selfless man I have known. Amor is the kind of man who you can call at 5 AM because you were supposed to drive yourself and your coworkers to the airport, but your car started overheating, and without a complaint, he shows up 10 minutes later, all hero-like and even charming. Or the kind of man who goes to help your brother-in-law with his flat tire twice in one night even though you are out of town and didn't even know he did it. If these examples seem oddly specific, it's because they are not fiction. I am going to marry an angel of a man ;)

We were taking selfies when he started to pull the ring box out of his pocket.

The night before I got engaged, I cried on the entire flight from Midway to Salt Lake. I wonder if I'll always remember that as an afterthought to my engagement story.

Probably gonna be upset that this is on the internet.

But the rest of December followed suit: I took another business trip. Amor and I went to my parent's house for Christmas. I saw my little brother for the first time in almost three years. I demonstrated the "talent" of carrying my 6'3" brother up the stairs piggy back. I almost had to take another business trip despite being promised I could take the two holiday weeks off to work remotely. I saw some good friends from high school. I did way more work than I anticipated or wanted. I didn't get a small promotion that I thought was in the bag. I didn't tell anyone about that.

It was a lot of things. Maybe the best description of my 2015 is, "It was a lot of things." I always did have a way with words.

2016 will have so many more things (and hopefully better ones). Like a change in marital status. Or that tiny promotion later on. Or a return to my pre-consulting (and pre-traveling) weight. Or becoming an aunt again.

So while this year will surely bring on new and more complex stress for me, I am hoping to be able to focus on the parts that have already made me so so happy, even if just in anticipation of those events.


I am hoping that this will be, as 2015 was in its own way, the best year yet.