Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Day of School.


Five years ago today
was my first day of college.

I didn't take the most direct route
to my classes
because I had been too proud
to go and find my classrooms
the weekend before
like everyone else had done.

I went to Physical Science,
which I would later
stop attending altogether
because I couldn't handle
waking up for an 8 am class.

I went to Book of Mormon,
which I would later
come to hate
because the girl in the front row
made too many comments.

I went to French Literature,
which I would later
learn was easier
than my AP French class.

Then I had an hour break
and I went home
because I lived 5 minutes away
and I didn't understand college.

I went back for Writing and Rhetoric
which I would later
write my final paper for
on the morning it was due.

For dinner that night
I had popcorn,
frozen vegetables,
and a kiwi.

I went to the ward ice cream social.
Rachel and I went on a run,
and I met the RB stairs for the first time.

Then some boys
started throwing crab apples
at our window,
so we went out and met them
and chatted with them
for the first
and only
time.

And I had no idea
that five years later,
I'd be sitting at my desk
in front of my beautiful, perfect window,
in my wood-paneled bedroom,
a college graduate,
a member of the workforce,
a grad student,
writing this
and remembering this
and smiling back
at my little old self.

Not my first day,
but I remember how cool I felt
walking around campus
with dat gold bow in my hair.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sometimes, Part II.


Sometimes everyone on facebook
is travelling to other countries,
or getting married,
or getting engaged,
or posting pictures with a new
significant other,
or posting pictures of 
flowers/chocolates/promises you don't intend to keep
that their perfect boyfriend/husband got them,
or announcing that they're pregnant,
or giving birth to a super cute baby,
or landing a new job,
or starting school again,
or just moved somewhere new and exciting,
or
at the very least
is pouring a bucket of ice water
over their head
for reasons never fully explained.

Sometimes I am never doing any of those things.
Especially not that ice bucket business.

Sometimes I am moving into a new house,
and living by myself for a week,
and feeling like my car
is one of my best friends,
and making frequent trips to Rock Canyon Park,
and worrying about all the exciting directions
that my career could go,
and teaching myself microeconomics
on the side,
and working 9-hour days that start at 7:30 am,
and teaching a room full of boys how to tutor,
and getting free lunch at work
three days in a row,
and trying to remember what it's like
to do homework,
and sometimes feeling extremely lonely,
and sometimes feeling overjoyed
that there are people in my life
that I love.


Sometimes I just feel good
that I successfully used a staple gun
to attach this bunting
to this lemonade stand
at the Ericksons' wedding.

So good that I took a picture of it.

We're not so different after all,
are we?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Who Needs Feminism?

I have only been interested in feminism
since January of this year.
I can't remember how I felt about it before,
to be honest.

But now
it's a basic food group
of my intellectual diet.

I recently learned that
there's a Tumblr called
that has posts like this,
uploaded by real people.




There's also a Tumblr called
that has posts like this,
uploaded by real people.




(Obviously,
I selected these examples as typical of each website,
and my selection is inherently biased by my opinions.
If interested, please visit each website
to gain a fuller understanding
of the arguments voiced by each group.)

My initial feeling
was that the Women Against Feminism contributors
are just missing something.

Some of my rebuttals to their arguments include:

-Catcalling is not as serious as rape,
but is still emotionally destructive,
and accepting it will lead to a culture
that embraces violence against women.

-Feminism is not a trend.
It's an ongoing movement
to heal centuries-old wounds
of inequality and violent hierarchies.

-Being feminine is not incompatible
with feminism.

-A patriarchy is a system in which
men hold most of the power
and women are largely excluded from it.
Even if we don't live in a de jure patriarchy,
we still live in a de facto one,
even in the United States.

But despite all my rebuttals,
I had a feeling that
these women must be somewhat right.
There are many of them.
They have some valid points to make.

What I was most struck by,
after reviewing hundreds of their comments,
is that these women don't personally feel
that they are oppressed
or that they are victims.
The men in their lives
treat them as equals,
and they are respected
and loved.

They uphold traditional values
and worry about a movement
that advocates for more liberal values,
which, if allowed to take root,
may upset the society that they hold dear
as the healthiest setting
for raising a family.

In my own life,
I don't feel that
violent male-dominance hierarchies
have affected me personally.

My parents are paragons
of equality in marriage.

I am smart.
I went to a charter school
where girls excelled at math and science
alongside their male peers.

My dating relationships
have been full of respect.

But.

I can remember
scores of times
that I have laughed at misogynistic jokes
told by my male friends.

I did this on purpose,
so that I would be seen as
a cool girl--
one who understood
and could parody
the shortcomings of her own sex
without getting whiny
or being a buzzkill
or launching into a lecture.

If we as women look at our lives,
I think we will find these instances,
no matter how much we think
we don't need feminism.

I think all women
and all men everywhere
need feminism.

We need to build respect and teamwork
if we are to succeed as humans.

But the question is
Can you make people care about something
that they don't think affects them?

Should they have to care about it?

If you want to make them care about it,
are you just as bad as what you're fighting?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nostalgia, Part II.


Oh sweet nostalgia.

Nostalgia for
late nights
watching Catfish last summer.

Nostalgia for
running on Slate Canyon Drive
with Katilin
when I was training
for my half-marathon.

Going to weddings
makes me nostalgic
for James & Tash's wedding
because it was perfect.


I got on the 830 bus this week,
and even the smell
made me nostalgic.

I love nostalgia,
because it reminds me
that I have a nice life,
even if I don't notice it
until after the fact.

I love nostalgia
because it reminds me
that my heart is big enough
that anything
can become dear to me--
even the smell of a bus.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Timpanogos.


Today, I hiked
all the way
to the tippity top
of Mount Timpanogos.

View from the top. 

I've wanted to do that
for five years,
and I did.

There we were,
on the top of a mountain
taller than
all the other mountains
around it,

huddled with friends for warmth,
sharing snacks,
taking selfies,
while we waited for the sun to rise.


We watched it slowly light
the mountain faces
and the whole valley,
and then the hills burst to life
with wildflowers
and trees
that we couldn't see or imagine
during the 7 miles up
in the dark of night.

We saw mountain goats
and I crossed fields of rocks
and one million switchbacks.

Photo Cred: Mike Shaha

I have always felt like
Mount Timpanogos stands
as the queen of the valley,
and today I was queen of the mountain.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sir Paul McCartney.


Last night,
I went to a Paul McCartney concert.

The Paul McCartney.
Sir Paul McCartney.

He played at least 5 different guitars
and two different pianos
and the ukulele.

He's 72 years old
and he played for nearly 3 hours straight
and never missed a beat.

Several times
when we were clapping for him,
he'd hold up his guitar in the air,
like he was giving it half the credit,
and we'd clap for it, too.

He had us clap for John
and he had us clap for George
and I shed a tear.
.
.
.
The minute he came on
and started singing Eight Days a Week,
I died and went to heaven.

I'm at a Beatles concert.
This is 1964--
the year The Beatles came to America.
My dream of living in the 60s
finally came true.


The crowd screamed
just like you see
on that old black and white footage,
and I imagined myself in a mod dress
with cat-eye glasses
and a beehive.

My heart was singing
and crying
with excitement.
.
.
.
But the longer the concert went on,
the more I realized
I was glad it was 50 years later.

That wasn't some 22-year-old Paul on stage,
freshly famous,
with a prolific songbook
still up in his head
waiting to be composed.

It was Paul
after 50 years of fame.


That wasn't The Beatles
of the Vietnam Era
and the Civil Rights movement
that I love so much.

It was music
that had been born then,
but lived on and on
through all the ages of men since
to stand timeless
at the top of the mountain
forever.

I felt like I was experiencing
an iconic human moment,
singing endless choruses of
"Na, na, na,
na-na-na-na,
na-na-na-na,
hey Jude"
with Paul
and with a stadium full of people.

How many hundred thousands of people
have heard Paul McCartney?

And now I'm one of them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Good Life, Part 2.


2014 has taught me something.

It started on New Year's Day
when my cousin Becca had a baby.

We've added two babies to the family
and two husbands
and lost one grandma.

And I realized
that what's most important
is when families grow
or shrink.
When people make covenants.
When you're separated 
from people you love
and when you get reunited.
When things happen at temples.
.
.
.
Last weekend I went to LA
because Clark & Lizzie
were blessing their baby.

We are all different people
than we were two years ago
when we spent every day of summer together.

But we still love each other.
There's nothing like seeing your friend
holding her baby
and realizing you love her more
because there's more of her to love
because now she has a son.

I feel like something is missing now
because I don't have this baby
in my arms.


And today Jon & Jess got married.

The room was filled
with people that love them,
and I danced in the rain
at their wedding reception.

Mary was there with me
because she's back from her mission
and I was overjoyed.

There's nothing like seeing your friends
love each other
and realizing you love them more
because now they have each other.


This is the good life
and this is what matters.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Convertible Conversion.

So there we were standing
at the rental car counter
at 12:30 at night,
and the boys decided
that we should upgrade
to a Mustang convertible.

I was skeptical.

But then we peeled out of the parking lot
just as a plane was taking off.

I put my head back
and there was the black sky
and the stars
and that plane
flying right above me
with nothing between us.

And the LA traffic
didn't seem so bad
with the top down.

And even though my hair looked crazy
the entire trip
(we're talking
pre-dreadlocks here),

by the end,
I thought,
"How will I get along now,
just driving in a regular car?"


But really.
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