Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Virgin Suicide

Dear Diary,

2 years ago I started this blog because a class I was taking required me to.

At that time in my life I was dating a guy that I loved very much, but that I didn't know if I wanted to marry. We would go back and forth and back and forth. I knew I loved him, and I knew he loved me, but we were so different, and no matter how much we loved each other, we just couldn't make it work. At one point, we separated and he began dating a girl who is now his wife. It is still hard for me to think that we are not going to be together....there are times I still think about him and wonder how he is doing and yes...if he ever thinks about me. But I am happy for him, and I know in my heart that what happened was for the best....for both of us.

The truth is...I gave my heart away a long time ago...and I never really got it back. 

I was 15 when I met the boy I would lose my heart to for the first time, and I had one of those strange, Don't I know you from somewhere? feelings. I can't say how, but I knew my life would never be the same from that moment on. I knew this shaggy haired boy was going to change my life....how right I was.

We grew up....grew apart, went our separate ways, but I always kept him in my heart, it was him I was always waiting for. The strange part is...I never told him...and I honestly don't know if he ever felt anything for me outside of dear friendship. 

And then came that day.

I suppose I should be grateful, and I am....I am grateful that I got the chance to know him again before....

I will for the rest of my life carry in my heart the sweet memory of laying on a love sac while he told about a dream he had had about the Savior. He spoke with such....faith....and love....it was so beautiful....I wanted that night to last forever...I wanted to stay there, with him, forever.

I don't know why I never answered his last phone call....God I wish I had answered. I guess I figured we had time. We do that as people...we always think that there will be more time.....and then you get another phone call....but this one is to tell you that he is gone.....no goodbyes.....no more time....just gone....and I never got to tell him...

I don't know what happened after that...it was a blur...I felt like someone had removed everything that was beautiful about the world...and when they buried him in the ground, I buried a piece of my heart along with him. 

But time moves on, and so must we. Life doesn't care that you are walking around with only part of your heart....there are no excuses...only life left to be lived.

I dated. I did things that I loved. I found my home on the stage, and I found my peace in music, and I found my escape in writing. Nobody would see what I wrote of course....they wouldn't understand...they would have thought me mad....and maybe I was...love can do that to you....these fragile hearts of ours....

And then one night, I sat in a backyard concert listening to a boy with a guitar sing about glass slippers and traveling the world. And for the first time since...since him...I felt something stir inside of me. His music, it moved me, and it reminded me of what it was like to be alive, to be excited about life. It reminded me that there is magic left in the world, there was beauty, and there was love.

I wanted to thank him for his music. He would later tell me that as I approached him that night, all he can remember is that everyone else seemed to melt away...and there I was. 

Despite my best efforts, I gave this boy my heart....and truth be told...I fell in love with him...though I never told him. I was afraid that he didn't feel the same, and so I hid that part from him....and when he left...when he ended things...he took another piece of my heart along with him. 

I don't know where he is now. I use to think that he would change his mind, and that he would come back so that I could tell him all of the things I never told him.... 

I don't know if it was after this heartbreak that I decided love was over for me. To meet one person and have such a connection seems like a once in a lifetime thing...to have it happen twice....and lose it again...certainly I had been given my shot...and now I was forced to face the reality that I would never know that kind of love again.

Still I continued to date, continued to lived, continued to write.

Then I met the boy I would date for 3 years. He was 5 years younger than me and squirrely as all get out. But he was also full of life, and faith, and hope, and that drew me to him. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, and when he looked at me, I knew he loved me. Being with him felt like coming home, even from the very beginning...that is what drew us to each other. And while what I felt with him was not the same as what I had felt with the other two...it was love nevertheless...but love in a different way. 

That is what he taught me. How to put love into action, instead of just holding it in as a feeling. I don't know what I taught him, but I hope nothing but happiness for him.

And then...just when I least expected it...and just when I felt as though I was least worthy of it, along comes a man who sees past my defenses, and past my broken heart and asks me to do the last thing in the world that I want to do....take a chance...take that leap of faith....and because he seemed so sure about us, I allowed myself to become sure too. It would take far more pages to describe what transpired between us. To be honest, I'm not sure I fully understand it myself. I have never before felt so prompted by what I would call God as I did during this time in my life. 

I apologize diary....I seem to struggle to explain this even to you. This boy, turned my life upside down. He came in like a flash of lighting and was gone almost just as quickly....I really don't know how else to describe it, except for to say that we both knew that we had come into each others lives for a reason...and we were right.

This is when I learned that absolutely every person that comes into our lives has something to teach us....but sometimes, it is not about us...sometimes we are meant to teach them something. 

I know now what I was meant to learn from him. Or more, I now realize what I was meant to find.....myself. It wasn't until I was forced to challenge who I was...until HE challenged who I was and what I believed that I truly came to know myself....and for this...how can I be anything but grateful. 


 What followed after finding myself is probably the most uncomfortable and painful process I have ever been through. When you tell yourself that you are a certain person for so long...you start to believe it. You become an expert at telling yourself stories about yourself and about your life and you believe that what you are telling yourself is truth irrefutable. This process of separating the the stories from who we truly are is like peeling scales off a dragon one at a time. There are moments when you just want to give up and just go back to the person you have known for so long....but like a pair of pants you shrunk in the wash, you realize that you can't fit into them anymore, and every time you try you just get depressed. 

So I thought I would "reinvent" myself. I got hair extensions, I got eyelash extensions, I stopped starving myself....my boobs got bigger, and my pants no longer fit. It was the last desperate battle between wanting to be totally authentic, and wanting to be a totally different person....and all the while I was looking to the outside world, to men, to tell me I was beautiful, to tell me I was worth something, to reassure me that I was worthy of taking up space on this planet. And because what they thought meant so much, when they left...when they chose to walk away, it was almost more than I could handle.

Sometimes...because we are human, and because we want something so badly, we are blinded by our own desires and we fail to allow people to play the parts they were meant to play. I have always struggled to let people go, but through this experience I have come to realize that we simply aren't meant to keep everyone for forever. Sometimes people come into our lives with the force of a hurricane and then vanish before the dust has had a chance to settle.....sometimes we make more of things than what they really were...or what they were really meant to be....Sometimes we hold onto things so tightly for fear of losing them, that we forget that we were never meant to own anything in this world. The craziest thing for me to realize is how two people can share the same physical experience, and yet walk away with two entirely different stories....neither party is right or wrong...it's simply a different story. 

These past 2 years you have seen me grow so much. You have shared in my victories and you have mourned with me when my heart broke. You allowed me to share my deepest secrets and expose my most vulnerable parts. In you I found a place to share my stories....to share my thoughts....to share my heart. We have laughed together and we have cried together, and above all things, we have learned together. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that a simple blog could have become such an incredible journey of self-discovery. I never could have imagined the response I would receive, or how once again, I would be forced to face who I truly was when challenged bu those who attempted to place me in a category or label me. And for so long I held on so tightly to this story...to this girl...she was my identity...it was the only world that made sense to me. But now....now it has all changed. Which makes what I am about to say all the more difficult.

The time has come to bring our story to a close. Not because you are no longer wanted or needed, but because like that pair of shrunken pants, I find that the story of the girl that I just related to you, no longer fits. I don't know if this will make any sense to you....because...I am still that girl...same face...same body....same freckles and flaws....and same heart....so even though the girl remains...it is her story that has changed. 

I was so afraid of letting this story go....I was afraid that without it, I would cease to be me....but now I realize that it was because I held on so tightly to it that I was unable to truly find myself. This story....it is not my story anymore...it doesn't fit. I know it must sound strange....but I suppose I felt as though putting it away was like saying that I wasn't grateful for it all...or that it didn't mean anything....but how could that ever be true? Every line...every paragraph...every heart break...every tear...every victory...every laugh...this has lined the path that has led me to where I am today.....it is simply time to move on.....but know that I do so with a heart full of love and gratitude. 

And much like those who I have loved...now this girl...this anxious white virgin will always have a piece of my heart. 

She belongs to the story now. For as inedible as it was for me to discover...and maybe even more incredible for you to believe....that is all this has ever been....a story. The story a girl once told to herself....and then to you...but she isn't telling this story to herself anymore....it longer fits....she doesn't belong here anymore.


That girl belongs with the boy with the shaggy hair, on a love sac...she belongs to the boy with the guitar and to that summer night. She belongs to the squirrely boy with the beautiful blue eyes, and she belongs somewhere in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, and that is where she shall remain. I don't need to be afraid of letting them go, because I have left those I have loved in her care, she will watch over them, she will stay with them, she belongs there.... and I.....I belong here, and to whatever lies ahead.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.    

Thursday, July 25, 2013

7 Explanations for Why He Didn't Want to Date You

Time for another reader's question answered right here, right now.

Dear AWV,

You talk alot about dating (this is true)  and you make it sound like if a guy isn't asking you out it is because he isn't interested, which for the most part I agree with. My question I guess is what am I doing wrong? I know you don't know me personally, but what do you think women do in general that make guys not want to date them? What makes a guy pick one girl but not me? I'm starting to think it really is just me. Does that make sense?

Thanks!

Squeeks 

Dear Squeeks,

They don't want to date you because your name is the same noise a mouse makes when you step on it. 

Case closed.

 OK, OK, maybe not. 

I think I get what you are asking. Rejection sucks....A LOT....and it would be really easy to sit here and attempt to placate you with all the reasons a person can't realize how amazing you really are, but you've heard it. I realize that when someone "opts out" from you, as it were, it is difficult if not impossible to NOT take it personally. We figure that it must be due to some deficiency on our end that made them asses the situation and then decide to pass

With all of that in mind, I would like you to consider the possibility that his lack of desire for you has nothing to do with your level of desirability, and I would like to illustrate my point with the following list....

7 Explanations for Why He Didn't Want to Date You (That Have NOTHING to do with You)....and a goat.

1. He is already in love with someone else

   http://www.lovepanky.com/women/dating-men-tips-for-women/is-he-in-love-with-you

 
 If there is one thing I have come to know about men, it is that they have laser vision when it comes to women (unless they are dirty filthy cheaters). By this, I mean that if a guy is already pining over another girl when he meets you, then it is as if he has blinders on that don't permit him to see you or your romantic potential. Normally, it won't be until he has seen the current interest through to its conclusion (whether that means he marries her, or moves on), that he will begin to look at other options...namely you.


2.  He has already found the perfect woman....


 
  http://ownyourpower.biz/blog/2012/06/07/hes-your-son-not-your-man-part-2-by-simone-kelly/

And her name is Mommy.

You might be shocked by how many times I have literally heard a guy (or someone who knows a guy) say that the reason they aren't married is that they can't seem to find a woman who is as X,Y,Z as their Mommy. To make matters worse, many of these men are still living with their mothers, who are in turn, still treating them like they are the sweet little boys they birthed 30 years ago. They cook for them, clean up after them, do their laundry, make their beds, and make ZERO demands on them. Is it really any wonder then that these men, albeit even on an unconscious psychological level, would feel little to no desire to have to put in the effort a real relationship requires? You could be the catch of the century, but unless you want to pick up where Momma left off, chances are he isn't going to be interested.

3. He's Gay

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/08/gay_pirates_dr_laura_gods_punishment.php

Now obviously, we are smart enough to realize that an openly gay man isn't going to be interested in a woman...even if she were made entirely out of breasts. These are not the gay men to which I refer; I am talking about the closeted gay men who for one reason or another, aren't comfortable coming out and are instead choosing to live celibate lives. If this is the case, chances are you will never know it, and chances are that even if you were doing a fan dance with a lettuces leaf...and by the way, you have the body of a supermodel porn star....it isn't going to do much for him...or you for that matter. 

4. He is addicted to something

 http://healthbytesnyc.com/psychiatry/addictions-counseling/

Whether it's drugs, porn, video games, food, sex, TV, or midget wrestling, a person who struggles with any sort of serious addiction is going to find it hard to give a relationship what it truly needs. If the addiction is serious enough, then it is possible that these same people will have no desire for a romantic relationship because they are afraid of being exposed, or because they prefer their addiction to human interaction. It's hard to conceive, I know, but this does exist, and it exist on many levels and to many varying degrees. The point is you shouldn't waste you time trying to guess which one of the two of you (meaning you or the addiction) is more important. 

Side note: Please don't send me hate mail. I realize that addictions are real and difficult, and that even people who struggle with them are able to maintain relationships and deserve to be loved.

5. He is a secret agent/super hero/other-worldly-being

 http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/james-bond-secret-agent-007-black-&-white-silo_520241.htm

Look, I'm not saying that he is an international crime-fighting, double-life-leading, Cape wearing, Secret-identity-protecting super hero....buuuuuut I'm not NOT saying that he is an international crime-fighting, double-life-leading, Cape wearing, Secret-identity-protecting super hero....and THAT's why he can't date you. The laws of his people will not permit it. Ah well. 

6. He cares more about his chasing his dreams than he does about chasing you

  http://mayhwolf.deviantart.com/art/Chasing-dreams-under-the-blue-sky-286145463

Some people believe that they have been placed on this earth for a very specific purpose. Some people also believe that this purpose has nothing to do with a romantic relationship. Remember the laser vision I talked about before?....same concept, only in this scenario, the dream is what he is focused on. A man who believes it is his destiny, purpose, or simply his desire to become X,Y, or Z is going to make that his first priority in life. If at some point he achieves his goal, he might then be open to adding a relationship to the mix, but until that day comes, you will always be playing second fiddle....if you even get to fiddle at all.

7. He is a pedophile

  http://www.roxanegay.com/important-questions-raised-by-the-epic-lifetime-movie-drew-peterson-untouchable-and-other-notes/

Alright....So I'll admit that this one is a bit extreme...and possibly in poor taste....but in a way, it is the perfect illustration of the point I've been attempting to make this whole post, the point being that You Just Never Know.

You never know WHY a guy (or girl for that matter...since it obviously goes both ways) isn't interested in you romantically....but a lot of times, it has NOTHING to do with YOU. Sometimes it does...but there isn't much you can do in that scenario because...well...you ARE you. 

Personally though, for the sake of comedy (and more so because it makes me feel better), I like to believe that if a guy I like doesn't like me back, that it is simply due to a reason like those I have just listed. After all...if he prefers the company of children...or maybe even goats, then obviously he isn't going to be interested in someone as amazing as me....for I am no goat....and neither are you...unless you are...in which case, I applaud you on your ability to navigate a blog. 

 http://www.zazzle.com/i_love_goat_heart_t_shirt-235004151538593229

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The 5 Escapes that will Destroy Us

It's been a while since I went on a legitimate rant. I hope you will permit me one today.


As I have been considering my own life, and watching the lives of those around me, I am starting to notice a disturbing trend. This is is something that has been bothering me for a long time, though it is only recently that I feel as though I have been able to qualify what it is. Simply put...

We have become a society of Escapists.

I don't know when this started...maybe humans have always been this way, but now when I look at humans, the things we do (and don't do), there seems to be an undeniable theme running through it all. If I could attempt to sum it up in a handful of words it would be:

Avoident
Disconnected
Entitled
Selfish
Bored 
And.....

Terrified. 

We are terrified of so many things, and who can blame us really? War, disease, poverty, evil, suffering, all of these things are shoved down our throats day in and day out courtesy of our "news" channels.

But beyond things that could be considered justifiably terrifying, we have become a people terrified of feeling any level of discomfort. It is one thing to want to avoid the feeling of being beaten to within an inch of your life, and quite another to be unable to handle the discomfort of your Netflix movie loading too slowly.  We have gone to such an extreme place of total refusal to do anything that makes us uncomfortable in any way, that I am truly terrified of what we are becoming. 

Of course, it is hard to tell if this is straight up fear, entitlement, apathy, or a combination of all of these things. More than likely they are all at play, and all feeding off one another like some self-sustaining parasite orgy. But regardless of the reasoning, it would appear that the result is the same. 

WE ESCAPE 

Don't believe me? Let me give you just a couple of examples:


 http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/second_life/

1. We escape into imaginary worlds: Video games, Avatars, Facebook, Porn,Online Role playing, Catfishing, Pintrest, and so on.

We are so dissatisfied with our own lives and with REALITY as we see it, that we feel a need to escape into fantasy instead of doing the actual work to make our lives exactly what we want them to be. We are so uncomfortable with real human emotion and the responsibility and energy and selflessness that it takes to be in a real relationship, that we opt for one that we can "login" to and leave whenever it suits us.

Can't deal with rejection? Create a world where rejection doesn't exist. Afraid of commitment? Keep a stable of casual relationships that you pick up and set down whenever you have a need to scratch that itch. Terrified of the vulnerability that comes from true intimacy? Sign up for a pornographic website where the illusion of intimacy is bought and sold like any other tangible commodity on this planet. 

But above all things, you must avoid actual human interaction and the feelings, emotions, commitments, efforts, peaks, valleys, and vulnerabilities that go along with them if you wish to truly spare yourself from truly feeling anything but self-indulgent pleasure.  






 





2. We escape into substances: Alcohol, Weed, Sugar, Food in general, Legal and illegal drugs, Anti-depressants, and so on.

Justify how you will, but when you put any kind of substance into your body with the intention of disconnecting or momentarily forgetting your life, then you are, in truth, attempting a form of escapism.  

You can't handle whatever feeling you are feeling at the moment, be it boredom from having nothing to do, loneliness from having nobody to be with, awkwardness from being in an uncomfortable social setting, depression from having experienced some sort of trauma, self-loathing that comes from an incorrect belief about one's self worth, and so on.....and so you use a substance to escape (if only for an hour or 2) from yourself.
















3. We escape into the media: Celebrities (with some exceptions) ARE NOT role model.

Their lives are not to be envied or sought after. In my line of work I have had the opportunity to meet several celebrities, some more high profile than others. And while I would never say that ALL celebrities would fall into this category, I will say that the vast majority of the ones I have met, and the sweeping majority of the ones with their own reality TV shows, along with the ones that seem to garnish the most pop cultural followings, are by in large insecure, selfish, self-destructive, masters of escapism. These people typify the very thing that I feel like we ought not to be doing....and yet these are the people we pattern our lives after. From what they eat, to what they wear, and we even want to live the kind of sexually uninhibited lifestyles that they glorify. 

Again, we see our own lives as so hum-drum, so boring, and unimportant, that we attempt to escape into their world and their lives. But what can we expect? I mean really....compared to the drama-filled-3-ring-circus that is their lives, how can you expect that your life isn't going to pale in the comparison? 

We need not hate these people, or pass any kind of judgement on them as far as their worth as people or as children of God, but also need not attempt to pattern any aspect of our lives after them either.  














        

4. We escape into technology: Heaven forbid we have to put ourselves out there. Heaven forbid we have to have an actual conversation with an actual person where we are actually in the same room looking at one another's actual faces and there is the possibility that actual human emotion might arise or worse, we will be forced to have to consider someone else's feelings and actually listen to what they are actually saying instead of what we are choosing to interpret from vague text messages, facebook posts, emails, tweets, chirps, buzzfeeds, memes, tumbl's, IM's, blogs and so on.

Heaven forbid.



















5. We escape into hate: I don't know what it is about humans, but we have some sort of superhero complex that makes us believe that there must always be a super villain to fight in order to give our lives purpose and meaning. There must always be a cause in which we are on the side of truth and right, and the other side is almost certainly holding bi-weekly meetings with Satan himself (which would include a good amount of evil finger drumming), in order to systematically tear down everything you personally hold sacred and true.

We hate the left, we hate the right, we hate the gays, we hate the straights, we hate the atheist, we hate the Christians, we hate our soldiers, we hate anyone from the middle east, far east, far out, far from what we personally believe. We hate the government, we hate the activists, we hate those who speak out and we hate those who stay silent. We hate blacks, whites, Hispanics, jews, or any other color that we believe are the cause for the collapse of our once great nation. We hate big business and we hate the men that started them. We hate the rich because they have no interest in sharing their wealth, and we hate the poor because they seem to have no interest in doing anything to contribute to society. We hate people who try to make it so their kid can say a prayer in school, and we hate the guy who wants his kid to be able to opt out. We hate people who are pro-gun and people who are anti-gun. We hate the hippies, the granola's, the artists, the activist, the pacifists, the butcher, the baker and let's not forget that pretentious candle stick maker. 

But let me ask you this, when, in the entire course of human history has mere hatred alone done anything to solve any problem we have ever encountered as humans? 

Open discussion. Yes.

Righteous action. Yes.

Sitting around posting poison on Facebook about a person or a situation you probably know nothing about in reality. Come on.





I'm not going to sit here and try to legitimately sell the idea that escapism in any form and for any amount of time is wrong. But there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy, and if we are being really honest with ourselves I think we would need to concede that the vast majority of what we are doing is not only unhealthy, but also counterproductive to society as a whole, and  to the cultivation and betterment of ourselves as happy and progressive individuals. 

It's time to stop escaping and start engaging.....if you dare.   




          


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 5 Most Crush Worthy Hollywood Nerds

Don't get me wrong...I appreciate a studly muscle bound heart throb as much as the next red-blooded American female. The sight of abs so hard and defined that they look like the exoskeleton of some advanced alien life form is enough to make me a little weak in the knees...along with other places. 

That being said....I do have a confession to make.

I Loves Me Some NERDS!!!

I don't know what it is about those slight gangly bodies, and understated good looks that does it for me...but it does....a lot. 

So without further ado I now present my Top 5 Most Crush Worthy Hollywood Nerds:   (In no particular order)


1.        

 http://www.sonyinsider.com/2010/07/01/andrew-garfield-will-be-peter-parker-in-the-next-spider-man-movie/

Andrew Garfield:

Whether he is swinging from a web, or dressed in full clown attire, this nerd has sex appeal that would make any ladies "spidy sense" tingle. This dreamy Brit is still fairly new to the Hollywood A-List, but if hair height is any indicator of star potential, this naughty nerd has got nowhere to go but up!


2.

   http://www.reddit.com/user/PermanentSolutions

Anton Yelchin:

Maybe it's the appeal of the mysterious foreigner that makes you day dream about him coming to you at night and whispering sweet nothings in your ear in his native tongue....but whatever it is, this Russian born nerd makes me grateful we tore down that wall. Whether slaying vampires or saving a starship, Aton is an expert at his craft. He need not set his phaser to stun, I would gladly let him beam me up, not to mention boldly go where no man has gone before.




3.  Ryan Gosling




No no no, not THAT Ryan Gosling....any woman with half a brain is going to fall faster than a souffle for THAT Ryan Gosling....


  There we go...recognize this guy?

 How about him??

What about this totally crush(able) Nerd??

Before Ryan was breaking hearts against his chiseled jaw and rock hard abs, he was king of the nerds! At least, he was in my book. Most people aren't even aware of his earlier roles on shows like Young Hercules and Breaker High, and of course, who could forget The Mickey Mouse Club. 

I have loved Ryan from the first time his lanky frame appeared on my TV all those many moons ago. When I was informed that he had been raised LDS, I immediately wrote him a letter of undying love and to inform him that I was almost certain that we had known one another in the pre-mortal life and were per-destined to be together forever. 

I'm still waiting to hear back. He is a busy guy, I'm sure it just got lost in the mail.



4.

   http://nerdythings.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/jay-baruchel/

Jay Baruchel:

Talk, dark, and nearly 100lbs soaking wet, this nerd has proven that he need not resort to sorcery in order to cast a spell on the ladies.  There is just something about his totally unassuming nature...not to mention those utterly adorable puppy dog eyes...that makes this nerd capable of taming more than mere dragons. I dream of the day that he will take me in his spindly embrace as I rock him back and forth like a infant....it will be magical.

AND FINALLY!!!

5.

 http://joannaryde.blogspot.com/2013/01/ryde-of-day-shawn-ashmore.html

Shawn Ashmore:

Heaven save me from myself. 

Those eyes....it's as if they see into your very soul and whisper...Come away with me......

OK, so I might have saved the best for last....or at least, my personal favorite. 

The first time I saw Shawn was as Ice Man in the X-Men series. But even his mutant powers were useless when it came to the fire he ignited in my.....heart. 

I have stated before that if given the opportunity, I would forfeit legitimate claim to my blog title for this man boy with a face like an angle. Maybe I jest....but more than likely I am as serious as the plague.....maybe.....But I am.....possibly.....But for reals......perhaps......

After a list like that I need to go take a cold shower. There is only so much nerdelicious stimuli a woman can take before she needs to read some scriptures or hum a hymn. 

Hope you enjoyed!!    

   

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Readers Questions Answered: How to be Perfect

Thanks for all of the question I have received. I have enjoyed reading them and look forward to getting to them all. If you have a question for me please send them to anxiouswv@hotmail.com

Be sure to let me know if you wish to remain anonymous.

Onward and upward then.

Dear AWV,

I have a friend who has been very down lately (which is not typical for them). I don't want to stir the pot, but I am worried about them. I finally talked to them the other night and they told me that they just want to give up on the whole dating thing, and the whole church thing too. I asked if their testimony was gone and they said that they just didn't have the energy to be perfect anymore. What advice should I give to my friend? I don't think giving up is the right way to go, but I don't know what else to say because all of the Sunday school answers seem so lame. 

Thanks,

A concerned friend


Dear "Friend",


I totally identify with where your friend is coming from. I was actually having this discussion with a friend of mine the other day. The problem is that being "perfect" is that it is impossible. The problem with thinking it is possible is that it makes you miserable. 

The issue we sometimes find in the church is that there are people walking around telling you that even though it is impossible, you should be "trying" to achieve it anyway. These people are right in one sense. If we are talking from an eternal perspective then yes, eventually we will all have to be perfect to achieve eternal glory and so on. However, (and this is the part many people miss, including myself) As far as I can tell, God has not placed a timeline or expiration date for when this achievement must take place.

Every single person on this planet is a unique individual with their own separate set of struggles and short comings. In fact, it would appear that one of the only common threads we share is that we are all really good at messing up. I think part of the problem here is the sort of black and white thinking that seems to be a common thread among any devote member of any particular belief system. 

We start to see the world as either "All Good" or "All Bad". I don't know what it is about Mormons, and maybe devote people in general, but they don't do well with shades of grey. 


 http://www.voxmagazine.com/blog/2013/04/50-shades-of-grey-casting-rumors/


No no, that kid of grey. I know plenty of Mormon house wives that are perfectly fine with that particular shade of grey.

In the matter of spiritual and lifestyle and righteous vs. sinful action, I think shades of grey bother people because we have been taught that grey is where the devil lives and lies in wait to drag us slowly to hell. In a way I can see what I think they are trying to say. I think what they must mean is that there are rules, and when you start to justify why you aren't living them, then you are living in that grey world of "I will interpret the gospel as it suits me"...picking and choosing from the commandments like they are a buffet. In this sense, grey becomes something they create instead of something that already exists. 

Nobody will achieve perfection in this life. Nobody. And as such, perfection is not a state a being, it is a process. It is not the house we live in, it is the house we are building.
 
Perfection is not an all or nothing thing, it is a good, better, best thing. And then to take it a step further, it is also a subjective thing. Your good, better, and best, are not the same as my good, better, and best, because I am not you and you are not me. I don't know what you have had to endure in your life emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, socially, maternally, biochemically, and so forth; and because I don't know what has gone into making you YOU, then it is impossible for me to say where and what and how and when God expects perfection from you.

Look at it this way.

 http://www.123rf.com/photo_16454322_soup.html

We are all soup.

I don't know what kind of soup you are exactly because I haven't been privy to all of the ingredients that have gone into making you.

Sometimes people would have us believe that God wants us all to be Chicken Noodle soup. If we believe these people then we will spend our whole lives trying to make ourselves Chicken Noodle, and then when we do a little taste test and realize that we are a far cry from anything Chicken Noodley, we get depressed and frustrated and have the inclination to pour the whole mixture down the drain.

But may I suggest that what God wants from us, is not specifically and exclusively Chicken Noodle, but rather, what God wants is for us to be the best version of whatever kind of soup we happen to be. God wants to be able to serve us a 5 star fine dining establishment, but He never said that only Chicken Noodle was worthy of such an honer.

God alone knows what went into your soup. He knows the ingredients you have been given, and He alone knows if you are personally making the best with what you have been given.

So let's say one person is given water, potatoes, and an onion, while another is given cream, steak, fresh veggies, and a pantry of spices. And now let's say both have been working with these ingredients for 30 years, with perhaps some additions. If the person who has been given less compares their soup to the one who has been given more, then they are more than likely going to feel like their soup is crap and that they are falling short. Conversely, it appears like it is quite common place for the one who has been given more to look at what the one who has been given less is offering and become quite proud and pleased with themselves, along with being very condescending and critical of the person with less than.  

Both parties are being less productive.

Any chef knows that creating a good soup is a process. Any chef could also tell you that the quality of ingredients available to are going to heavily influence the number of options you have when deciding what kind of soup you will make. The chef with the entire pantry would be an ignorant jerk to judge or condemn the chef who had only been given water and potatoes. But again, the problem here is that we don't know what ingredients everyone else is working with. It's like....it's like.....

    http://www.multivu.com/players/English/46436-Food-Network-Chopped-All-Stars/

That's it!

It's a mystery basket. Except for in this case, everyone's basket of ingredients is different. But at the end of the day, you aren't cooking for anyone but God, and again, only God knows the ingredients you were given. If we were all given the exact same ingredients then mayyyyyyybe one could make a case for one fixed ideal of cooking perfection......but we didn't.

When our lives end, when we leave this life, we will stand before God with our meager yet genuine soup offerings. Some of us might be a creamy tomato bisque, while others might be a spicy Thai curry, some of us might have a soup far less spectacular in comparison to the culinary delights surrounding us, but you know what....it doesn't matter. 

God isn't judging your soup off of what your neighbor, brother, mother, wife, co-worker, elders quorum president, prophet, or mail man offered. He is taking your soup on it's own merits and based off of the ingredients that were available to YOU. As long as you did something with what you were given....as long as you legitimately tried to make more than that which you began with, (Which by the way...AGAIN...Only GOD will know), then your offering will be pleasing to Him. 

So if anyone tells you that you should be chicken noodle, then politely tell them that they are basing their judgements off of their own mystery basket, and that yourself and God are going to perfect your own recipe, in your own time, and in your own way.   


     http://salineriverchronicle.blogspot.com/2012/03/gfwc-warren-womans-clubs-soup-sampling.html

I may not know what kind of soup I'm going to end up as, but whatever it is, it is going to be delicious. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Dogs Can Teach Us About Life

Meet Daisy.


 
 Yikes!! Let's try this again shall we?


There we go. Much better.


Daisy is my 7 year old Standard Poodle. That's right. Poodle. You wanna make something of it? 

FUN FACT: The Standard Poodle is actually the 2nd smartest breed of dog in the world, having been edged out slightly by the Border Collie . And stupid hair cuts not withstanding, the Standard is quite the manly dog. 


 

She is about to snatch that ball out of the air like a boss.


And check this out...


I'm on a train motha fluffer!!


OK, so there is a point to all of this I promise.

Aside from being an excellent walking companion, Daisy is also a philosopher of sorts. This isn't all together surprising given her academic standing in the canine community. I personally can attest to the many life lessons that Daisy has taught me, including such gems as:

Life is too short to hold grudges, so always greet everyone you meet by licking their face.

Strangers can be scary, so be cautious at first. Eyeball them for a minute or two and then proceed to stick your face directly in their crotch.

You should never allow a perfectly good baby diaper to go to waste.

The most comfortable spot on the bed is anywhere that somebody else is already laying.

Hmmm....OK, so maybe these aren't exactly pearls of wisdom, but there is one priceless lesson that Daisy has taught me.

As I just mentioned, Daisy has been my walking buddy for the last 5 years. As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture, she is also a rather large pup and as such,  quite capable of dragging me down the side walk if she felt so inclined. For this reason, we purchased a harness that fits over her nose and inhibits her ability to pull.....As pictured below. 

 
Many think that this is a muzzle and that Daisy must be a bitey kind of dog when they see her wearing it. This couldn't not be further from the truth. 




 Ummmm.....ignore that.....he owed her money.


Truthfully though, Daisy is a gentle giant who will literally allow my infant nephew to yank on her ears with such force that I am convinced they are going to come right off one of these days.

Like I said, the harness in no way inhibits her mouth, only her capacity to drag me behind her. 

She HATES her harness.

If I say to her, Daisy, wanna go on a walk??? She will perk up faster than Nerd who has just spotted Joss Whedon.....that is until she sees the harness. As soon as I slap that thing on her she literally transforms into a different dog. She becomes paranoid, jumpy, lethargic, and all together a rather gutless creature.

So there we are, at the park (which is about midway through the walk) and there is Daisy lagging behind and acting all sorts of Eeyore about life. It is early enough in the morning that there is nobody else at the park and so I decide to let Daisy off of her leash for a minute or two..... And you know what happens?

The moment I removed that harness from her face she transformed into the free spirited, wild, unchained, and beautiful creature I have known her to be. She darted around that park like it was her first time experiencing any of it. It is was a rainy morning, and as such, the grass was quite slick. At one point, I watched as Daisy attempted to run full speed down a steep hill and ended up power sliding....on her face. It was adorable. 

She was having so much fun, and I didn't even realize how her energy was affecting me until I caught myself audibly giggling at the sight of her frolicking.....It was contagious....And in that moment Daisy taught me a valuable lesson.

Sometime, we, like Daisy, have harnesses placed on us. Sometimes they are put there by others, and sometimes we put them on ourselves. These harnesses, which we believe will keep us safe, and help us maintain control over our lives, are in reality, only serving to inhibit our true natures. 

However, unlike Daisy's harness which is painfully obvious to her, the harnesses we place on ourselves, and attempt to place on others, are for the most part invisible to naked eye, and as such, can become quite difficult to remove. We may not even realize that we are wearing one. We may try and rationalize and tell ourselves that we are doing the "right" thing by not chasing our dreams or power sliding down a steep hill on our faces; but these are just the sort of things that we as living thriving creatures were meant to do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about anarchy here or a total disregard for rules and common human decency. This is not me telling you to go out and kick a baby. The point of Daisy's lesson is that life was meant to be lived without harnesses. We were made to run free and wild and run head long towards our dreams, and yes, even power slide on our faces into failure every once in a while. But if there is anything I have learned from Daisy, as far as failure is concerned, it is that it serves you no good to give it any more thought than that of the time it takes you to realize that it has in fact occurred. 

You ran. You biffed it. Get up. Shake it off. Run again.

I think we could all take a page from the book of Daisy don't you? 


   
Good girl Daisy....Good life coach.


*Thank you to my amazing little brother who took most of these pictures. Find more of his work at http://www.utahospreystudio.com/