Sunday, February 26, 2012

Idol Thoughts


 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

         1 John 5: 21


Idol Worshiping, what does this mean to you? Do you picture gold dipped live stock? Perhaps the adoration of an historical figure? Or maybe we are talking about my closet obsession with Clay Akin. Phew...I feel so much better to get that out in the open.

Whatever your individual minds happens to conjure up, many of us will associate the worshiping of idols as the absolute fixation or devotion of a person or thing. Back in the day it might have been 42k heifer, and today it could be Mick Jagger, but the concept is still the same. In simple terms, an idol is anything that a person can worship, obsess, or place as the most important thing in their life.

In today's society it is easy to spot specific forms of idol worship. The woman so obsessed with her physical form that she spends all of her time reading articles on how to achieve the perfect beach body and then booking the liposuction when the exercise doesn't work. Or there is the man who worships power and money so much that he neglects everything else in his life including the people who love him until one day he comes home late from the office (again) to find an empty house and a goodbye note on the counter. These are just a couple examples of the seemingly endless parade of idol worships that we can easily observe all around us.

This, however, is not the kind of idol worship of which I would like to discuss today. No, I would like to talk for a moment about the idolic practice of worshiping thoughts. "Idol Thoughts", if you will. But is this even possible? Can a person worship a thought like they would a golden cow? I believe they can, or at least, I have come to see that I have been doing this very thing for the better part of my life.

Ponder for a moment, the thing or things that your mind seems to dwell upon the most. Do you worry about money? Do you find yourself replaying scenes from happier days over and over again? Maybe you spend you thoughts on dreams about marriage, or even divorce. Whatever thought you pursue becomes like the soundtrack to your life, and even when you aren't aware of it, it is playing in the background of your mind, coloring the canvas of your reality.

It's very easy to absolve ourselves because we are going through the motions of an idol free life. We may have balance and temperance in action, but gross and intense devotion to our thoughts. I have always liked the analogy if the duck on the lake; on the surface he looks cool and calm as he glides effortlessly across the water, but lurking just beneath the surface those little legs are a kickin' like crazy! This is how I would describe myself anyway, maybe you see yourself differently.

But if you find yourself resonating with anything I have said thus far, I would invite you to examine the thoughts in your own life that may have, inadvertently, become a type of idol; something that you cherish above all things. What are your favorite thoughts? What are your most prized Idol Thoughts? And can you picture a life free of them?

 In my life I have found that just when I banish one, another comes and takes it place. If I am not constantly fixated on thoughts of my imperfect body, then I can always worship the fear of dying alone and virginal for a time.  Meanwhile, the years pass, and life goes on, but I remain in my mind.

 I do not believe that I am alone in this state of being. I believe that we all live in our minds, to whatever extent. Some of us have summer homes there, but many of us have taken up a permanent residence. We could spend a whole an entire blog discussing how and why we find ourselves in this state, but ultimately, if one wishes to check out of Ye ol' Mind Motel, then the first step is simply to acknowledge our occupancy.

There is a big bright beautiful world out there my friends, and life is too short to spend in the trappings of our own minds, and in the pursuit of false idols.

I love you Clay.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

4-D Situation

*Bing *Bing *Bing
(Heard in an old time jingle way)

No matter which door you choose
You are certain to lose
And though try as you may
It wont turn out ok
So ignore the things "they" advice
In the end it's your demise
When you find yourself in..........
A 4-D siiiiiiiiiiiiiituation

This jingle could have been a lot more....colorful, but I remembered that my mom said she might read my blog someday, so I went PG.

I often find myself pondering things, and usually for no particular reason. As Dr. Seuss would put it, I just love a good think. Sometimes, people notice my thinkings and ask me my advice on a particular subject or situation. I make no claim to be any kind of expert on any kind of subject, however, I certainly have made it one of my life's goals to be an observer. I know I already have a segment that is dedicated souly to these observations, but this new segment is going to be dedicated to a specific observation I like to call 4-D situations.

4-D stands for Damned if you do, and Damned if you don't. If you are a Mormon, then it stands for Danged if you do, and Danged if you don't. These are those situations in life where no matter how much you think, or plan, or scheme, no matter how many people you ask advice from or witty blogs you read, you are going to end up on the losing end of a loaded gun. It is in these situation, that one must realize that they are powerless, and in doing so, release any expectation of a positive or even neutral reaction. Give it to God to my friends, give it to God.  There are many of these situations to be sure, but let's start with a fairly common one, just to get us all warmed up.

Answering the question, "Do I look fat?"

Sorry men, this one seems to be mostly a burden of your gender. Though, I have known a couple males in my day who I can totally see making this inquiry, but most of them fancy men, soooooo men up with the question either way.

This question is royalty in the 4-D situation family. And even though we can put a man on the moon, and engineer a turduckin (A turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck stuffed with awesomeness!), we have yet to devise a response for this question that isn't going to insight the wrath of the full feminine fury.

If you are honest and say yes, then you are an insensitive such n' such. If you lie and say no, then she will sniff you out faster than a pig on a truffle hunt. You will be awarded no points for your attempt at flattery and more than likely end up just as bad off as if you had just said yes. Now she knows that not only do you believe her to be fat, but you are also a liar, double damned.

I know there are some of you men out there who have tried to go the, "You are beautiful to me" route...how has that one worked out for you? Not too good I reckon. The problem with this approach is that you are trying to neither confirm nor deny but instead use the power of your love to negate the question entirely. Your effort is well intentioned, but ultimately she is going to find a way to punish you anyway. In her mind, by avoiding the question, you are in reality answering the question. Here is how her thought process might play out,

"I asked him if I was fat, he said it shouldn't matter because he thinks I am beautiful, he is so insensitive, that's not what I was asking, and why couldn't he just answer the question? If he didn't think I was fat he would have said so, it's an easy question to answer, but he didn't..THEREFOR! he must in reality think that I am fat. What a jerk."

Women be craaaazzzzyyyy

This is a generalization, obviously. But sometimes generalizations can be fun!....generally.

Back to the jingle!!

So then, what do you do
When she's looking at you
She is feeling kinda fat
And wonders what you think of that
But brother hear what I say
Turn and run the other way
You're right in the middle of..........
A 4-D situation!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MORE Observations of an Anxious White Virgin

Observations of an Anxious White Virgin

*You have to read this introduction in a British accent...because that's how I hear it in my head*

And now, time for another installment of Observations of an Anxious White Virgin. Do enjoy.

Observation 2

There is no such thing as an original thought.

I have recently returned to college to obtain that elusive Bachelors Degree that seems to be mandatory in order for me to get a job selling jeggings at The Gap.  Apparently, being personable and relatively good looking just doesn't cut it anymore...tragic. But, what cha gonna do? Go back to school, that's what!

So here I am, attending The University, and trying my darnedest to fit in with the sea of fresh faced 18 to 24 year olds. I actually love college in a lot of ways. I love learning about topics that legitimately interest me, and I even enjoy my bat-crap-crazy professors. However, there is one thing I do NOT love, in fact, I have grown to regard it as one of my arch nemeses, along with fruit and nesting chairs. I am speaking of APA format writing and specifically, citations.

Don't get me wrong, I fully endorse the notion that if you rip your entire essay of the Internet, you deserve to get tossed right out on your rump, but I think that we have become just a titch bit...shall we say...extreme...in our criteria. For example: I am asked to write a philosophy paper on any given topic, and I share what I believe to be a personal opinion or philosophy, later I come to find that some white bearded Plato from a billion years ago happened to conclude the same things I did. But because he thought it first, he deserves the credit, and if I don't give him his dues, then I am up a creek. But what if I had never read the words of this theorist? Is it not possible that, we, as two very logic and reasoning human beings just happened to arrive at the same conclusion independent of each other?

Take it a step further, I am fairly confident that these great minds that we find ourselves crediting for their brilliant insights, may not have been the first humans to think their respective thoughts, they were merely the first ones to get credit for it. So what is to be done? It seems like a rabbit hole with no bottom. But fear not readers! I, your very own Anxious White Virgin has come up with a solutions for what ails you. It is so simple and yet so deep that you will wonder why you never thought of it yourself. Are you ready? Ok, here you go...

God.

That's right. God. Whenever you find yourself having to cite a reference for a quote, thought, idea, theory, and so on, all you need do is insert this in text,

"Something something, thought thought thought". (God, *symbol for infinity*).

And there you go! Not convinced? Well here is my logic behind it:

If all men were created by God, and if God is source of all things, including thought, then no human living or passed has ever had a thought that God did not have first. Truly, anything you have thought He has thought better, and sooner I might add. Therefore, if we really want to get nit-picky about giving credit where credit is due, then all  credit for all thought must be given to the man upstairs. I don't know about you, but I am certainly looking forward to writing my papers now. My reference page is going to be cake.

References

God

You're Welcome!

*Disclaimer: The following solution is not intended for use by the following individuals: Atheist or any individual that does not subscribe to the idea of an eternal mind or being as the source of all life and/or thought* You are gonna have to cite the old fashioned way. Doh!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Killing Your Pet


I am a dog person, no contest. Cats are so...arrogant. A cat does not need you, and they make sure you know it. They will not come when you call, but they will come and sit on your face while you are sleeping. But a dog, there is an animal that understands what it means to be needed. Unfortunately, they also seem to have no ability to see the bigger picture sometimes, and by sometimes I mean ever. They are forever stuck in the role of total anxiety and fear of loss. Perhaps in this respect, dogs could take a lesson from the cat’s book on being a jerk cat. More specifically, a dog could learn to not be so darn needy.

Often times in relationships we observe a strange sort of power struggle between the two parties. At times this power may shift, but it also happens that one person is forever stuck in the role of "dog" if you will. This is to say that they remain extremely needy, while the other party stays cool and aloof.

I once fell hard for a guy who I thought was just the Bee's knees. I pretty much loved everything about him, and even though my family and many of my friends weren't too keen on him, I still had a desire to peruse something long-term with him. It's interesting, because I would have to say that, in General, I have dated guys that have been more of the needy party, and I more aloof. I have my theories on this but they can wait for another time. So for me to find myself in a situation where I was so worried and anxious over a guy, was sort of a new sensation for me. Unfortunately, it did not end well; and why? A big part of it I have to chalk up to the fact that I killed my pet, (figuratively speaking) with my insecurities.

We've all been there. It all goes back to that one, or maybe several individuals that for some reason, we just lose all power to. We may think we are the Cats pajamas the moment before they walk into our lives, but the second we see even the possibility of a relationship with them, we become spineless quivering bowls of green Jell-O. These people are Kryptonite to our self-esteem, not because they treat us poorly per say, but because we just want them soooooooo badly.

It's all peaches and cream to date somebody who you are just sort "meh" about. We've all done it. I call them "in the mean timers", and while they are perfectly decent people, we find ourselves slow dancing with them while surveying the crowd for something or someone different. Keeping your cool, however, goes straight out the window once you meet your Kryptonite. It's almost like you become an entirely different person. When once you found yourself to be a cool and aloof kitty, you now find yourself staring at your phone for hours on end, waiting for them to text or call or something! You start to read into crap that has no more meaning than its surface appearance. You become paranoid about every word that comes out of your mouth. You just know that if you can only be the kind of person you imagine that they would want, then you will be able to win the heart and the love of your desires.

But more often than not, what you in reality end up doing are turning them off entirely. It's nice to be wanted, it's exhausting to be hounded. And after a while, a person who is dating someone who seems to need their continuous validation in order to even function, may find themselves feeling more like a therapist or proxy parent rather than a partner.

So what is the lesson to be learned here? Are we to become cold and unfeeling? Is the answer to only date people who you feel superior to? Of course not. Being stupid infatuated with someone is a great feeling, and part of what makes relationships worth pursuing. But there does need to be a balance, or maybe better put, awareness on both ends. And if you find yourself in a situation where you can feel yourself going "full dog", it might be wise to take a step back and remind yourself that you were a living breathing thriving human being before you met this person, and you will still be a living breathing thriving individual if they were to go away.

So relax a little. I know it's scary to be alone, or to think that you might possibly spend the rest of your life companionless. But I also believe that it is that fear and anxiety and yes, even lack of perspective, that drive us to the kind of actions that will ultimately bring to pass the very thing we are so afraid of. Simply put, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You killed your pet.

To thine own self be true, and if the person you want doesn’t want you for who you truly are, then consider yourself lucky to be free to find someone who will. After all, that insecure, anxious little puppy isn’t who you really are anyway; you, are a cat. Now go forth and find yourself another cool cat like yourself to share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with. Oh wait....Ah well.


Friday, February 17, 2012

To Smash, or Not to Smash...THAT is the question


To continue our month-O-love tribute, what more fitting topic could there be than the ultimate expression of love and devotion. Yes, I am speaking of marriage.
 "Mawhige is wut bwings us togevah...today. Wuv, that bwessed awangement, that dweam, wifin a dweam".

 And what could be more beautiful and meaningful, than the newly formed union sharing the aged old tradition of feeding baked goods to each other while others watch. It is truly one of the most sacred of events I have ever been privileged to witness. Though, I have to admit, I do find it interesting to observe the different ways in which this ceremony of flour and sugar "goes down", depending on the couple. This got me thinking; could there be any correlation between the choices made during this act, and the overall success of the marriage? After giving this question much thought (bout 20 minutes) and gathering a slew of information (bout 20 individuals, some married, some divorced), I can now claim in no uncertain terms that there is indeed a direct correlation!

 My findings are air-tight....Air. Tight. So if you want your marriage to last, or if you find yourself already wedded and wondering if it’s gonna last, then what I have discovered will be of critical importance to you. Just sayin.

 Ok, so maybe that's not exactly true. I suppose that it is "possible" that my theory may have a few "obvious holes", but hey....that never stopped Al Gore. It may not be exact science, but hopefully it's worth a good chuckle. With that said, I now present to you AWV's Hierarchy of Cake Smashing in Relation to a Successful Marriage, or A.W.V.H.C.S.R.S.M. Catchy no?

 1. The Dual No Smash:
This couple represents the most potential for a long lasting and fulfilling relationship. This is a relationship built on the foundation of mutual respect and consideration for the others well-being and feelings. As one individual interviewed remarked, "Why would you smash cake in someone’s face? It's rude". This sentiment seemed to be shared by many of those couples I interviewed on the subject. It is also interesting to note that these couples were the ones I would consider my "role models" for a healthy marriage. I believe that the foundation for this sucess is found in the selfless nature of the relationships. So to me, it would stand to reason that if you have the attitude of putting the other persons feelings above your own, the likelihood of you ramming cake up their nose would be very low, and vice versa.

2. The Dual Smash:
Following in a close second are the couples that engage in the duel smashing. In this case, both parties decided that their spouses faces were in need of some cake painting, and so obliged the obvious need happily. Just because they both chose to smash doesn’t necessarily mean that they have none of the qualities of the above mentioned couples. It could be that both parties of this union are just more playful and childlike in nature. This may have been one of the reasons they were drawn to each other in the first place. However, it is also possible that both parties are by nature, a little more mean spirited and/or thoughtless. If this is the case, then you may have a bit of a rough marital road ahead of you. When I look at the couples I know personally who engaged in the duel smash, I see both situations. These tend to be some of the strongest marriages, but also some of the more volatile ones as well.

3. The Lone Smasher (Female):
Depending on how the ritual plays out, the couple will either take turns, or will feed each other at the same time. I have discovered in my many years of wedding attending, that both have their inherent pitfalls. Our third group are those where the man decided to be loving and gentle with his cake feeding, and the woman returns the kindness by promptly shoving cake in his eye sockets. At this point, she might giggle innocently and give him "that look" that he just loves, and all seems to be forgotten...for the moment anyway. I know you are going to think I am lying, but of my friends that I interviewed, both married and divorced who had this scenario took place, the wife was or continues to be the tyrant in the relationship. The bigger issue here is that you have two different personality types. One with an attitude of selflessness and one with the attitude of selfishness. One may put up with the other for a time, but eventually it is going to get old. You can only take so many proverbial cake smashings until you call the game.

4. The Lone Smasher (Male):
You might be wondering why the differential between male and female lone smashers. At the core, the issue for both is the same. If you have one selfish partner, be they male or female then you are pretty well sunk. However, there still remains a slight margin of difference between the two, which I believe I can sum up with a classic bit of timeless wisdom....

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".
I could probably just leave it at that, but let me add just one more little thought to it. Woman have an uncanny, nay, an unnatural ability to remember past transgressions and exact vengeance for said offenses WELL after the fact. Men...is it really worth a lifetime of retribution just because you thought she would think it was "funny"? Think about it, that's all I'm saying.

I hope you have enjoyed my totally legitimate scientific theory, and I know that you will take everything I have taught here today as truth received; undisputable and unchallengeable.
OR!...you can just do as most people do when I spew such propaganda, and just shake your head softly while you gently chide me in your mind.

MAZEL TOV!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Funny Valentine


Ok ok, I know I am a little late for Valentines Day. I have been in a sugar induced coma for the last three days by means of conversation hearts. No no, that's not true. I actually despise those things. And I have discovered something worse than eating them...kissing someone who has recently eaten them. I honestly don't know how they have lasted as long as they have, though I must admit, the ones that have the dirty and/or inappropriate things etched on them do make me smile inside.

Ah Valentines Day. Has there ever been another holiday in the history of our humanity that has caused the exact opposite reaction than the one it was originally intended for? Kinda ironic actually, a holiday all about love, that in reality inspires so much hatred and ill-will. The mere mention of its name to the wrong person and you are liable to get a first full of conversation hearts shoved right in your proverbial mailbox. You know, like the kind you use to make when you were a kid in grade school. I was a fan of the Robo-box myself. The Valentines would go right in his mouth and drop into his waiting belly. Genius.

An entire sub industry has emerged from the anti-Valentines movement. I was at Walmart the other day and saw an whole section of merchandise devoted to the hatred of Valentines and everything it represents. From tee-shirts riddled with such catchy phrases as "Screw love" and "Love is for suckers", to napkins with the initials S.A.D printed in bold letters, the veritable cornucopia of rage seems never ending. For those of you who don't know, S.A.D stands for Single Awareness Day. Poor Saint Valentine, he must be rolling in his heart shaped grave. It's at times like these I find myself joining in the inquiry of The Black Eyed Peas, cuz truly "people got me, got me questioning, Where is the LOVE?"

I try to envision this kind of polarizing effect taking place on any other holiday. Can you picture an entire isle at Walmart devoted to the pure hatred of Christmas. Can you see it? Can you imagine Santa roof toppers with a stake through his heart? Or, take it a step further, a tee-shirt with the baby Jesus with one of those big Ghostbusters X's proclaiming blatant distain? Even the most hardened of atheist out there might find this just a tad much. In fact, it seems like we are perfectly content to let people enjoy the myriad of other holidays, whether we personally ahead to the specific ideology or not. Like St. Patrick’s Day; what’s all that about? But even though I don't worship Patrick, I'm sure he did some pretty cool stuff. I also very much enjoyed when I was a child and my mom use to put green food coloring in my milk and sometimes, if she was feeling really ambitious, we would awake to the enchantment of green Cream-O-Wheat for our celebratory breakfast. And in all of my years, I have never noticed any tee-shirts emblazoned with K.A.L.D.........Kick A Leprechaun Day........anyone? anyone? Just me? Ok.

Perhaps we have just lost the vision of what Valentines was really supposed to be about. And maybe it is because we have perverted its true and pure meaning that we find ourselves in the bitter war that has now become par for the course. But maybe if we could just recapture the spirit of what Valentines Day is really all about, we can again come together and enjoy it for what it was originally intended to be.

A day to eat chocolate till you feel ill, and make inappropriate phrases out of conversation hearts.

The true sanctity of Valentines.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Got Your "Other Cheek" Right Here!

What's in a word? What is a word? It's a simple thing really when you think about it. When written, it is nothing but shapes and scribbles that we have attached a certain meaning to. When spoken, they are a series of sounds orchestrated by our mouths and vocal chords that also convey a certain meaning. String a couple of them together and you have a clever quip. String a few more together and you've got the lyrics to a Green Day song. String a whole crap load of them together and you have a clever and witty blog...*wink!* And if you continue to string you will eventually end up with Shakespeare and the slew of holy texts we now hold sacred.

We have seen the power not only of the written word, but also of the spoken word. By the power of the spoken word, nations have been swayed to the cause of he who spoke them. This has happened both for the good and also for many of the great evils our world has seen. Few of us however, will ever know the opportunity of standing and addressing a nation. Few of us will ever experience the awesome responsibility of that kind of mantle. For most of us, the extent of our speakings is about as vast as our little worlds, and families, and maybe even work or school, or religious organization.

In the Latter-Day Saint culture, when a boy turns 19 he is offered the opportunity to serve a 2 year mission, where his sole responsibility is to spread the gospel, or the word of God. Every year, literally thousands of individuals around the world hear these missionaries speak and read the words of The Book of Mormon, and believe the messages contained in both. Because of this, the church continues to grow at a rate that is like a snowball traveling down a mountain side, or the rate at which the world is becoming infected with "Bieber Fever". I've not personally contracted it, but I hear it's not pleasant.

These are just a couple of examples of what we could call the power of the word. I am still amazed to this day when I hear people say things like, "They're just words". JUST words? Sounds like the old school yard doctrine of, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me." What a pile of ...tripe. But seriously, raise of hands; who out there has Never, not once their whole lives, been hurt by the words of another person? If you haven't then I believe you to be a liar! How did that feel? Not so good I'm guessing, but also not the point. The point is that we have all been wounded to whatever extent by the intentional, but more than likely unintentional word shanks of another person. More than likely too, this was a person we cared a great deal about; those shanks shank the deepest. *Note to self: Submit never song title idea to Bruno Mars*


 (The use of the word Shank is in relation to a makeshift knife found commonly in prisons and my families Thanksgiving dinners)

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, you will appreciate an analogy I recently heard, about how we are to view the words we speak each day. The author of the book I was reading stated that our words are like magic spells, and that they could be used to cast dark and evil spells, or good spells. I believe that there is a great deal of truth in this. I also believe that no matter how strong the wizard, anyone can be taken down with a strong enough spell.

As you might have already surmised from my bloggings, I am a lover of the word. Ever since I was very young, my father instilled in me the importance of being well spoken. Later in life as I pursued a pseudo career in the entertainment field, and in particular, the comedy vein, I became even more aware of the power of the word. I began to extract knowledge from whatever source I could in order to build up my "spells", if you will, thereby making me the most powerful wizard around! And even though I am no Shakespeare, nor am I even no Eddie Izzard (favorite British transvestite comedian), I feel like I can hold my own in a battle of words, should the situation ever call for it. But as that other comic book thingy that people really like stated, "With great power comes great responsibility." I wish I could stand here and tell you that I have only ever used my words to cast good spells on people, and for that matter, on myself, but unfortunately, this is not the case. I am ashamed to admit that on many of occasion, I have been a wizard of the dark arts....forgive me Harry....

I don't believe I am alone on this Titanic, however that does not excuse I, nor any of the rest of us. But just so we are clear; if we are doing the whole 'cast the first stone' thing, then I deserve as many peltings as anyone, maybe even more. What I'm trying to say here, is I won't be chucking any rocks any time soon. All I can do is try and draw our attention to the fact that we are all not only riddled with word shank wounds, but also adding insult to injury by means of stones.

It is SO easy to hide behind a computer screen or a text message and spew forth a variable assault of hurtful and damaging words. Sometimes we do it out of anger, and sometimes we do it out of retaliation; he shanked first and I only shanked back. But really, come on, when you sit and really think about it, is a shanking ever truly justified? How has returning hate with hate ever helped anybody? Have I done it? You bet cha. Did I feel justified in that moment? Hecks yes. But am I under any delusion that whatever justification I came up with at the time will hold even a spits worth of weight when my actions are laid out before me like a buffet table at my finale judgement? I think not; though it might be funny to try. "Gee *insert Deity of your choice here*, I really thought that her neutral refusal to go out with me again totally merited my use of the term heinous vapid sea cow all over her facebook wall." Good luck with that.

So what are we to do? I guess we could stick with the classic, "If you cant say something nice, then don't say anything at all" route. But for most of us, I fear this would severely limit our frequency of speech.

 Men of the world REJOICE! for I have given you peace on earth and muchly silenced your wives and girlfriends!

 We women do tend to do a bit of the gossiping. However, I am noticing a LOT of particularly caddy men finding their voices these days. And I'm  not talking about the obvious attacks here. It is easy to realize when you are being a blatant jerk to someone. I'm referring to the sly stuff, the sort of hummingbird approach to word shanking. If you will, picture a way a hummingbird as it quickly flits from place to place, flower to flower, feeder to feeder. They are gentle and almost covert in the way they feed. If at any time while watching said bird you happen to blink, you may lose them entirely.

This subtle covert action is the kind of which I am warning that we all need to be a bit more aware of. Never mind the fact that we were really  "just letting them know", or "just saying what everybody else was thinking". Whether we thought it was necessary or for their own good, or however else we want to try and justify it; the reality is that we are using words to cause harm to those around us. And whether the actual harm was indented  or not, is irrelevant.

I have had several experiences in my life that have tried to teach me that my words can be used for my ultimate gain, or my utter destruction. I look back and literally cringe at the moments in my life when I would have been much better served by keeping my big mouth shut. Some of you might be thinking that  this might constitute as one of those moments. But no matter how many times I have burned a bridge or nearly destroyed a relationship, I still to this day struggle with controlling the seemingly endless stream of hurtful word shanks that I dish out. I can honestly say that the majority of these were done in ignorance, in that at the time it didn't even occur to me that they might in turn end up wounding somebody. But this is a lame and pitiful excuse, and in no way a justification. How could I have possibly thought that my words would do anything But end up hurting someone? I may have been ignorant, but an ignorant person does not innocent person make.

So here is what I am proposing for myself; if you would like to join me in this venture then I applaud and welcome your support. The concept is simple, the execution I image, a bit more tricky. Here is the idea: Every time you go to open your mouth, put pen to paper or finger to keypad, STOP. Stop and ask yourself this question, "Is there any way that somebody may be hurt by the things I am about to say, either intentionally or unintentionally?" If the answer is an honest no, then spew forth; but if the answer that comes back is a maybe, possibly, probably, or most assuredly, then perhaps it would be best if you left this particular spell uncast.

There are a million and one very "good" reasons as to why we lash out sometimes. And there are plenty of arguments to be made about ignorant people who truly do need to be informed about their own ignorance, lest they continue to harm others in turn. I am not saying that we need become door mats, or that we cease to stand up for ourselves when we find ourselves in the midst of an all out prison shanking, but I believe there is a way to deal with those situations that don't include returning the favor.

When Christ taught to "turn the other cheek", what I don't think he meant was anything akin to just sit there and be shanked. I think that rather, what he was possibly trying to say is that the cycle of hate has to stop somewhere. If we return stab with stab, then all we are ever going to end up with are a bunch of individuals with internal bleeding. At some point, somebody has to put the knife down. And then maybe, we can only hope,  in that refusal to retaliate, it will inspire the attacker to in turn lay their weapon down.

 I'm not saying it's easy, or that it is the end all be all cure for all human suffering, but it's a start.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Perception and the Should Game


Today's topic of blogservation (copyright anxiouswhitevirgin via me) that I have chosen is that of Perspective. As we can see from this oh so charming illustration pictured above, both of these beloved household necessities find themselves suffering by means of comparison. But why is that? Or rather, how is it that this suffering comes about? While I realize that there are many reasons why we as human beings suffer, and that not all of them can be attributed to any of our own doings, I would like to present a the theory that attributes a great deal of why we suffer to what I like to call, "Playing the Should game." If you are the kind of person who believes that all the suffering and misery in your life has and continues to be caused by forces outside and beyond your control, then I suggest skipping this post and rejoining me again for the next installment. For nothing I say here today will be of any value unless you, I, or any of us are willing to at least consider the possibility that our level of happiness and satisfaction of this life rests squarely in our own hands. I may be totally full of crap, but it might be worth losing the next 10 minutes of your life (depending on how fast you read) to find out. Let us then proceed.

Like our toiletry friends, I have often found myself suffering and unsatisfied with life. In fact, you could probably say that in my mind, the reason for my suffering was directly due to my dissatisfaction with my life. And even though I may not have been consciously aware of it at the time, as I look back now it is clear to see that I have been playing the Should game with frequent regularity for the better part of my life.

Side Note: I have chosen to capitalize Should for a reason. My aim being for the reader to realize that when I say Should, I am not referring to reality, for example: The sun should rise tomorrow. In this sense, the should is referring to things that actually occur. But you will notice that these are also things that have nothing to do with free will. Unless of course you want to make the argument that someone might believe that the sun shouldn't rise tomorrow and therein find suffering. But this is beside the point I am trying to make. The point is that when I use the word "Shoulds", what I am referring to is that idea or concept within our own minds of the way WE personally believe things, people, and more specifically our own lives ought to be, compared to way it is not, thereby causing us to suffer in comparison. Simply put, Shoulds are personal opinions and have no basis in universal truth or fact.

While I believe that ever human that has ever lived on this planet, with perhaps the exception of Jesus Christ, has experienced suffering by comparison; it has also been my observation that certain groups and individuals within those groups seem to suffer more than others. And while I am no expert in the field of psychology, and while I am not saying that there very well may not be a biological aspect in the form of chemical imbalances and the like, that could contribute to any given individuals schema; I would like to state that if that is indeed the case, then even those who find themselves victims of their biology may still need not find themselves victims of their Shoulds.

Like I stated earlier, a Should or suffering by comparison occurs when we look at some aspect of our lives, be it ourselves, our physical forms, friends, romantic partners (or lack thereof...Hello! 29 year old Virgin here) and we decide that it is not as it Should be. Which would logically lead us to conclude that there is in fact a way life Should be, but isn't. Here are a couple of what I would consider pretty common examples of people playing the Should game:

" I am so depressed. All of my friends are married and I am not" = I Should be married but I am not, therefor I suffer.

"This sucks. These skinny jeans fit me last summer, but now I can't even get them past my fat thighs" (I like to picture a man saying this just because it's Hell-arious!) = I have put on weight and I use to be skinner, I Should be thinner, therefor my day/week/life is ruined.

"Everybody I know is already graduated from college and well into their careers and Im a 29 year old actor/waitress who is barely making ends meat. My life is never going to amount to anything." = I Should have graduated college already. I Should be into my career. I Should be making more money. Life isn't anything like it Should have been.

Did any of those sound familiar to you? Have you ever found yourself saying similar to yourself? I hope that as you read these examples, which may or may not have been taken directly from my own life, (with the exception of being a man) that you will start to recognize all the Shoulds you impose in your own life, and the needless suffering that they are causing you.

Now I know what some of you are already thinking, and I'm sure it goes something to the tune of, "Now wait a cotton pickin’ minute! Are you REALLY trying to imply that we should release every expectation we have for life and for ourselves? Can you really be so naive as to believe that it is somehow destructive and harmful to our mental well-being to have goals and ambitions and are then are understandably disappointed when those things don't happen? If we don’t have an idea of how life Should be then how will we ever accomplish anything? If we have no stick to measure ourselves against then how will we ever know that we are growing? Isn't what you call suffering merely just God's way of letting us know we are on the wrong path and that we need to do better?"

Let me start by saying that in a lot of ways, this logic seems quite sound. And there is some truth to the argument being raised. A person with no goals, dreams, or ambitions is a person without progression. But here again, the argument hits near the point, but falls short of the mark. For what we are not debating here is whether or not a person should have goals, but rather the idea that the accomplishment or failure of said goals are the litmus test for whether or not you are happy in life. When you say a person should have goals, what you are really saying is that having goals are a way we progress in life and therefor are useful if indeed it is our goal to progress. But even here we must tread lightly lest we impose our own Shoulds onto somebody else.

A good example of this is the redefinition of what it means to be a successful woman in today’s society. I plan on spending an entire blog on this on some future date; but in short, it is the reality that in the past, it was thought that women Should remain in the home and men Should be the ones out in the corporate world. But as we have seen, this Should is crumbling under the weight of both men and women who believe that a woman Should be as much a part of the working world as her male counterparts. But what about those women who chose to stay in the home? The point is that there will always be conflicting Shoulds in the world. Depending on which part of the world you grew up in, the religious ideologies you adhere to, right down your opinion about which way the toothpaste should be dispensed, there are always going to be as many Shoulds as there are people. But we are not here to discuss whether or not there Should be, or in reality are, any universal shoulds (e.g.) the moral law and so forth, we are instead here to get us all to realize that in general most Shoulds are not in fact shoulds, but rather personal and totally opinion based Shoulds.

We live in a varitable world of Shoulds, and you don't have to look very far to find someone willing to spew their own personal Shoulds all over you. In fact, if you think about it, in a way that is what I am doing right now. I am telling you that Should let go of your Shoulds. Did your mind just blow? I know mine did.

I could probably continue to discuss this topic for hours on end. But in the interest of attention span of the average reader I am going to attempt to wrap it up.

So in summary here are the key points I am wanting you take from this post. The first is that we all have Shoulds in our lives and that those Shoulds cause us to suffer by means of comparison. This suffering by comparison occurs when we look at some aspect of our lives and make a personal decision that this aspect is not what it Should be. In doing this we are stating that there is indeed a way it should (universal truth) be, but that it is not. And because of this, we suffer. We beat ourselves up, we curse God or fate or our parents or any number of people or things, and because of this we are unhappy. We are in essence saying to the universe, "Life Should be X, but instead it is Y, and until it is X, I will never be truly or even temporarily happy."

My second point is that this doesn't mean that we stop striving and wanting. This doesn't mean we are to sit on our butts and never have any goals beyond converting oxygen into CO2. Though if you think about it, there are those individuals out there who due to accident or illness have been reduced down to a vegetative state and this process is pretty much the sum of what their lives consist of. But if there is one thing I have learned and continue to experience is the phenomenon of people who you would except by all accounts of logic and reasoning and Should be unhappy, Should be miserable, Should have no reason for joy or contentment in this life, and yet, somehow, these same individuals are deeply and genuinely happy. And what I believe to be their "secret" for happiness is my third and final point for today.

My final point is more a belief than anything else. And it is simply the belief that those who are the happiest in life are those who have learned to love what IS and refuse to compare that to what it Should be. They have thrown the Shoulds out of their lives. They still continue to hope and dream and strive, but they do not place their satisfaction of life on these things. They have made the separation between happiness as a state of being (a choice, an interpretation) and happiness as a result or product of something, someone, some action, some whatever. For them, happiness is not the result of listening to the tune, but rather, it is the tune itself. And for these people, it is the tune by which they spend their lives dancing to. It is the means and not the end. It is the journey and not the destination.

My hope not only for myself, but for us all, is that we can slowly start to remove the Shoulds from our lives, be they Shoulds about ourselves or Shoulds about the people and the world around us. And that in doing so, we may come to know a life free of Shoulds, which in turn may bring about a life free of needless suffering. I would like to end today by sharing two verses of scripture taken from The Book of Mormon, which I feel are God's words trying to convey this very idea to us. Regardless of your religious convictions, I hope that you will be able to find the truth written in these words, regardless of their origin
.
2 Nephi Chapter 2

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.


25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have JOY.

And It Still Has That New Car Smell

There are only a couple of things in this life that I am certain of. The first is that popcorn is natures' most perfect food. I mean think about it, popcorn with gobs of melted butter, kettle korn, ooey gooey Carmel corn, the possibilities are ENDLESS!! But following close behind this nugget of pure truth is the undisputable fact that my 2001 Honda CR-V is the devil incarnate. From the day that spawn of satan burst forth from the womb of the prince of darkness and found its way into my life, I have reaped the consequences. In fairness, I have nobody to blame but myself, after all, I was the one who purchased the damned thing. And by damned I am referring to the literal meaning of the word, thereby implying that my car has no chance of redemption and when it breathes its last noxious breath, you can bet your sweet bippy that it's place in hell is most emphatically insured...ensured?......crap.

You may be thinking to yourself at this point..."If I wanted to hear a woman complain I can go spend time with my female significant other (BAZINGA!)." Well first off, you are a jerk, but more importantly, you need not fret, for the car is merely setting the stage for todays real topic....Dating!!!!
Like most Mormons, I grew up on a steady Sunday school (refered to as primary) regiment of old and new testament stories. Many of these stories, particularly the teachings of Jesus Christ, are told in what is known as parable style. Maybe it was this parable rich diet that made me so fond of them. I use parables and metaphors all the time when trying to relate an idea or philosophy. So now, with the topic of dating in mind, I present for your interpretational delight....The Parable of the New Car.

Let's be honest, who among us hasn't dreamed of walking onto a car lot, strolling straight up to the soulless salesman, and pointing triumphantly to the most expensive brand spanking new model on the lot exclaim, "I'll take THAT one!" And then, after tossing the appropriate amount of cash defiantly in his face, you tenderly stroke your new love, slip sensually behind the wheel, gently turn the key (or do that whole push button start thing. I guess that would make more sense with a new expensive vehicle, I don't know, I drive a crappy CR-V...but I digress), and drive conservatively off into the sunset. Perfect.

There is just something about the knowledge that you were the first and only person to ever sit behind that wheel, and you are the first and only person to put any miles on your dream car, that gives you such pleasure. Because after all, when you buy something used, you never know what you are getting. You don't know if the previous owner was diligent in keeping up with oil changes and tire rotations. No. Used cars are cars we have UNTIL we can have our dream car, brand new and untouched by any other human hand.

Unfortunately for most of us though, we can not afford the luxury of driving a brand new car off the lot. For most of us, our car history will be littered with a potpourri of used car after used car. And because of this, we must put our faith in the previous owners that they have been as gentle and respectful with what will ultimately become the vehicle we take for better and worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live. Which, in the case of my CR-V will hopefully be but a moment more! I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But you get my point right?

Now, all that being said, even though we hope, and in some ways expect that the car we eventually commit ourselves to will have a clean "carfax" report, how often do we treat the cars we are currently driving with the same level of care and respect?

Think of the last time you had to drive a rental vehicle? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that your first thought probably wasn't, "Gee, the person who drives this car after me deserves the utmost preservation of the integrity thereof." No, you are thinking that eating indian take out while spinning doughnuts in the tack factory parking lot sounds like a gay ol' time! Afterall, you know you have no intention of purchasing this vehicle. In short, "Not my problem". But as most of you know, or maybe you don't, many rental cars or "fleet vehicles" will end up being sold to a private owner. Which means, however long it takes and regardless of how many people enjoyed it's services prior, these cars will eventually become "the" car for some well-intentioned wide-eyed youth or adult.
Have I lost anyone yet? Still with me? Making the connections?

I would like to close my parable by asking a question. Is it fair to demand or even expect that your used vehicle will have been driven like new with basically no wear and tear when you yourself have not shown the same respect to your, "in the mean time cars", meaning the cars you may have liked at the time, but ultimately knew you weren't going to end up with? And even if at the time you were fairly convinced that your current vehicle was indeed going to be THE vehicle in your life, does that then give you the right to treat it in like fashion before that loan is totally paid off and that title is firmly in your sweaty hands? If you are willing to "rally" the vehicle of another, can you then be upset to find that your vehicle may have a few more dings on the door than you would prefer?

Look folks, nobody is perfect. I know it's hard to accept the flaws of others. And what I am NOT saying is that if you are one of those who has always treated every car that you have ever driven as if it were the car, that you can't then anticipate and seek out a vehicle in like condition. But what I am saying is that I believe precious few fall into this category.

Ultimately my reason in sharing this parable is two-fold. First, it is to entreat us all to maybe be a bit more conscious about the way we are driving and maintaining our current vehicles, and second, to suggest that when that beautiful day arrives when you realize that you have found the car that you want to spend the rest of your life or (if you are a Mormon) the rest of eternity with, that you will be more forgiving of the scars and/or imperfections that somebody else is going to have to also forgive because of your actions.

Let us all treat each other like that car we see in our fantasies. Seems reasonable to me.

Let's Hear It For The Boys

dogma (noun) the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization

If there is one theme that seems to replay more often than that ridiculous Bruno Mars song about catching grenades, it is the universal women's cry of "There are no good men left!". And as much as it pains me to admit it, I too have on occasion joined the war cry. As a friend of mine once described it, "All the good men are either taken or gay". In the mormon culture you are more apt to hear something along the lines of, "All the good guys are already married, and the only ones left are either divorced (with reason), "sweet spirits", or addicted to porn".

While it is true that pornography abuse is becoming an ever increasing issue, one which some church members have not been able to avoid, it does seem a bit extreme to assume that every male on this planet is addicted to it. And yet the threat is real enough that Sunday after Sunday and meeting after meeting the men of our church have it pounded into their heads about the pernicious evil they ought to be avoiding like the plague.

That being said, todays topic is not on the dangers or effects of pornography; for the most part I think those are pretty obvious. My aim for this post is to explore this notion that there is indeed a shortage of good decent men left in this world. My hope is that in doing so, we may be able to dispel the dogma that is whipping our women into a frenzy the likes of which a Walmart black friday sale on waffle irons has never seen.

stereotype (n) a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group
All men are sex addicts. No seriously, I know what you are thinking but go with me on this one. It is indeed true that all men ever think about, desire, and conspire to achieve in life has something if not everything to do with sex. Right? Glad we are in agreement.

I believe that at one time or another in every womans life, virgin or no, she comes to this conclusion. But is it really fair? Or are we perhaps being just a weeeeeee bit extreme? It's hard to not buy into this just a little bit though. After all, we are reminded on an almost daily basis about the sexual escapades of the insatiable man...*cough* Tiger Woods....*cough* President Clinton....*cough cough cough* Spitzer, Gingrich, Kobe.

I like so many single women, find myself wanting to at times, join the one-way man hating train to menarepigsillvainia. But then something happened, well, I guess I should say some"things" happen that have led to turn my critical eye from our male counterparts and focus it instead directly onto my very own sisterhood.

In the last 4 months, I have had the sorrow of listening to the divorce stories of 5 guys who I would consider fall into the category of "good" men. Several were men who I had been asked out by and others were dear friends and/or family members. In each case, when I probed the men to give me an explanation as to why they are now divorced, they all admitted that their wives had cheated on them. I was astounded. True, there are always two sides to every story, and I am in no way absolving these men of any and all responsibility, however, I will tell you that in all of these cases, the men remained faithful to the end, having never returned the betrayal in like fashion.

It is also important to note that these were not what you might consider "worldly" couples; these were devote church-going mormon couples that by their own convictions were meant to be holding themselves to a higher standard. The men of these relationships have, and continue to be clean and genuine men who, for all of their flaws, of which we all have in spades, have continued to stay true to their promises to God and to their companions. They are the "good" guys that the average woman of the world would shank you for just to get her hands on. These are men who love their mothers, honor their fathers, respect the boundaries of women, and following the teachings of Christ.

So in response to the question posed by the epic 80's lyrics, "Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?", I would heartily reply, THEY ARE HERE! They are all around us. And if you want to argue doctrinal issues about the Mormon faith then that's fine; but there is one thing you can't argue...The Mormon faith still knows how to raise GOOD men with GOOD values. And while it is true that these men can be found outside of the Mormon church (I personally have dated several), it is undeniable that men raised in the faith whether they remain active in the church or no, have that certain something that seems to be missing from the male population in general.

The reason that "good" guys seem to be going the way of the Thunder Cats is that traditional values are going the way of the world, They are not being taught in the homes and the are certainly not being taught on television. In an age where female value has been reduced down to their waist to breast ratio, it is nice to know that there are still men out there that are trying their best not to buy into it. Are they perfect? No. Are all Mormon guys perfect examples of chivalry? Obviously not (I have dated several of those as well). But my point is, maybe it is time that we as women opened our eyes and started seeing the good men that are all around us. If you want to end up with a good guy, then DATE good guys. But if what you are really looking for is a jerk who devalues and belittles your value by reducing you down to the level of a sex toy, well then, take your pick, for there is no shortage to be had.

I truly believe this principle holds true whether you are a practicing Mormon or attempting to practice abstinence or merely practicing your words with friends skills. A good man is not measured by the faith he follows, but rather by the values that he allows to guide his actions. So let's hear it for all the GOOD men out there, the ones who listen to us rant and still love us, the ones who rub our feet after THEY have worked a 10 hour day. Here's to the guys who change diapers, hold our hair back when we get the flu, and make midnight runs to Walmart; be they black, white, mormon, muslim, atheist,single, married, gay, straight, Coke or Pepsi fans....I know at least one anxious virgin who takes comfort in knowing you are still out there.

Introduction to an Anxious White Mormon Virgin

*Taps microphone* "Is this thing on?"

Hello world. My name is Brittney, and I am a 29 (almost) year old white mormon virgin living in Salt Lake City, Utah. And these....are my stories...

With all the hub bub surrounding Mormons in the media these days, you may find it hard to know what to believe. You may find yourself wondering how much of what you hear about us and our culture is true and what is total crap. While I make no claims to being any sort of Mormon scholar, I am an expert of one aspect, and that is the aspect of being 29, unmarried, and still a virgin. Some may find the fact that I have decided to talk so openly about this very private aspect of my life...shall we say..."in poor taste". But the way I see; if the Kim Kardashians and "snookies" of the world get to talk about how awesome it is to give "it" up, well then certainly I am within my rights to discuss the other option.

Now I know what some of you are thinking at this point, you're thinking, surely this girl must be what we Mormons call a "sweet spirit"...(translation): Face like a sack of frogs and body like a sack of marbles. You imagine that this must be the reason I have never "known" (Biblical term for had sex with) a man. And while I am appalled by your superficial judgments, I also recognize that in todays society, looks matter. And a "sweet spirit" may not find it quite as hard to stay pure simply because her options are limited. But to all of this I would reply that this has never been my case. I was blesses with a tiny waist and large....endowments. I have found success in the performing world including print, film, and stage work, and even more success in the dating world...kind of...By sucess I mean I have been on literally over a 100 dates with 100 different guys, and yet I seem unable to seal the deal. But we can talk about that later.

All you need to know right now is that I am going to be totally honest with you about what it is like to date within a culture where everybody is trying to "save" themselves for marriage. Believe you me, you have to hear it to believe it.

Stay tuned.