26 February, 2009

Tackling My Issues. Talking, Most Inanely. Totally Monumentally Introspective.

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They don’t ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like ‘maybe we should just be friends’ or ‘how very perceptive’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

-Neil Gaiman

I have a mental list, about six bullets long, of sentences that I have vowed I will never, ever say. Some of these include, "In ___ days, I will officially be Mrs. _____!!!!" There's also, "The gospel is like ______," unless, of course, one is speaking facetiously. "I love you but _____" is on there, although it's possible that I've screwed up and said that once. I can't remember. Is that bad? Two are too personal to share here. And finally, there's "I was talking to my therapist the other day, and ________." Totally awkward. Totally embarrassing.

So I was talking to my therapist the other day, and darned if we weren't talking about love. Well, indirectly. I was telling her about some things that have happened to me, a long time ago, and how I was ANGRY at the people who did those things to me. We have been talking for several weeks now about how to avoid catastrophizing and other such irrational thought patterns, but how do you get rid of anger? This I asked her. She looked at me sort of strangely, then said, "Is it unreasonable to be angry about what has happened to you?"

Well, no. I guess not.

"So why do you feel you aren't allowed to be angry?"

Well, because being angry doesn't feel good. I really don't get angry very often and when I do, it really bothers me. Also, if I'm angry, I haven't forgiven them, right? It's like carrying all those people who have hurt me around in my head. And it's getting crowded in there.

Then she said a bunch of stuff. Here's a summary: A lot of times we push away negative emotions because dealing with them is bothersome. Nobody likes to be angry. Well, that's a lie. Some people do. But I don't. But if you ride them out, it's easier to get over them, and quicker. Holy cow. Sign me up.

23 February, 2009

Chronicle of a fortnight

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel?”

- Jim Morrison

Today I wore one of those cheap sequin-y tank tops that you buy in high school because you imagine it's what the cool college kids wear clubbing (they don't). All day, I keep shedding sequins, like little lizard scales, all over the place. One ended up on my notes about L1/L2 fMRI experimentation. One ended up my wallet somehow ... I guess I did buy some food today. And I kept taking out my ID card to print stuff. One ended up on the inside of my left wrist, and I'm trying to see how long it will stay there. It's been about six hours so far.

I feel like that. Like a snake. Like the things I'm getting rid of aren't ugly or bad, just not for me anymore. Because I'm really not a sequins person at all. At the end of the (figurative) day, will I notice that I've replaced my entire outer covering with something else entirely? Or will I still look like me, only a different color and size?

I am trying really hard to keep myself sane. Vilja took me shopping this evening (or rather, she went shopping and dragged me along) and it was nice to just stare blankly at clothes for a few hours. I like being with Vilja because she makes me feel calm, no matter what is going through my head. When I'm with her I start thinking of cheerful things, like what we're going to be for Halloween in eight months. I even bought a red tank top. It makes me happy.

For Halloween we're going to be X-men. I'm going to be Jubilee. She can shoot lightning bolts from her fingers. Or something like that. I bought pleather leggings a few weeks ago and they are going to be perfect.

I've been doing some really great things lately. I've been reading a lot, and going for walks. I send loving text messages to my brothers and roommates while I'm walking to school. I don't listen to much music. My goal this week is to be able to walk all the way to school silently, with no distractions, and not be afraid of what goes on in my head.

I can never tell what, precisely, is going to send me reeling. I keep seeing pictures or images or hearing specific sounds that send me into a tailspin of emotion. Usually rage. It makes me wish I were in the grocery store so I could sit in the beer/chips aisle and cry. No one ever bothers you there.

I am applying to be a lighthouse keeper in Michigan this summer. Just for a fortnight. it's something I always envisioned doing when I was old. But why not now, right? I need light. Literal light. And all the other kinds too.

Writing about EVIL.

Note: this is a response to this, this, and oh-my-goodness I love that.

I remember believing in God before I can recall being taught He existed. I wish I could remember learning about satan. I don't, but I assume I learned about it in Primary (this was the source of most LDS-specific doctrine I learned as a child). Of all the unique doctrines the LDS church espouses, I think our beliefs about Satan are truly unique, and yet very rarely talked about. Now obviously all Christians believe in the devil. Even other, non-Christian religions claim there exists some form of opposition, be in the form of man's fleshy carnal instincts, evil spirits, or whatever else. But our belief that Satan was a guy like us who chose to fall from grace and now fulfills (albeit begrudgingly) a crucial role in God's plan for opposition in all things...that's some nightmarish stuff. Because Satan isn't some jerk in a red Halloween costume. He's guy just like us who made really bad choices. Making him not only difficult to identify in a crowd, but almost sympathetic. I know we can't (or rather shouldn't) empathize with Satan, but really, who doesn't empathize with being too smart for your own good and, upon being rejected from everything you've ever known, seeing no other viable option but to seek the destruction of all who didn't commit to the good vs evil dichotomy as passionately (one way or the other) as you?

Okay. Maybe not everyone can empathize with that. But I can. And I'm not meaning to sound like an advocate for Satan. That douchebag is trying to destroy my life as much as yours, and I definitely resent him for it. My point is that the real satan is scarier than the satans in Renaissance paintings. Because he doesn't carry a pitchfork and run around throwing cobras into people's faces (at least, not literally). He actually seems alright. He makes some excellent-sounding points. As President Faust pointed out, if satan's voice didn't sound so good, no one would ever listen to it.

It's important for us as writers to realize that. That most villains in fairy tales are a vast oversimplification. That evil is a subtle thing. And that's how it ought to be portrayed. Oftentimes in movies (both those made by Mormons and those that are not) evil is portrayed as something fairly easy to recognize. Like Professor Snape (even though he turned out to be good ... which was part of the genius of that story). The ugly guy in black is always bad. Now obviously to some degree, evil can be recognized with the aid of intuition and the spirit. But it's not easy. And if we make it seem so, we would be doing ourselves and the gospel a disservice. I think it's really important that when we talk about or write about satan and his followers, we make it abundantly clear: EVIL IS HARD TO PICK OUT. If it weren't subtle, if figuring out the difference between good and evil weren't really, really, tough, why else would we need the assistance of the Holy Ghost to figure it out? Exactly.

Another freaky thing about satan is that he's not alone. Maybe I'm off here, but in my opinion most of those so-called "satan-worshippers" are too dumb and too messed-up to be much of a threat to God or his aims. They don't know enough about anything to be entirely accountable, or else they wouldn't do it. It's the people who worship satan unconsciously who are the real threat. There shouldn't be any Sauron-type characters in Mormon media or in any media. Evil for the sake of evil doesn't make any sense, and nobody in our generation is going to fall for it.

Finally, we need to make it clear that being enticed by evil or even having experience with evil does not doom anyone. Yet another general Christian concept that some Mormons seem to miss: we are all sinners. Everyone has fallen for satan's tricks many, many times. Obviously in the next life the divide between good choices and bad choices is much clearer, but in this life, those that mess up do not automatically join satan's forces and start raising hell, as it were. I think it's really important that we recognize we're in a war, but the sides are nebulous. There's all sorts of crazy stuff going on in the mortal world, and like Scott said, we would be dishonest not to portray all of it.

19 February, 2009

Dolgok amiket szeretek.

Without being too exhibitionist (this is the internet, after all) for the past few weeks I have been making an increased effort to figure out what makes me happy and eliminate anxiety in my life. Turns out little things can be me even more joy than, you know, a relationship. Even more than employment! Here is what I got so far.

Things that Make Me Happy

1. A grilled cheese sandwich with muenster cheese, raspberry jam, and sliced pears (thanks Robbie).

2. Videos of people tap-dancing.

Tangent: this one has always been my favorite and my official go-to for when life seems unbearable, but since it came from a 1981 SNL special, it recently got taken off YouTube for copyright reasons. I am not ashamed to admit that I googled for SEVERAL HOURS on Tuesday in order to find it. And I did. Clearly, God loves me. He just likes to see me sweat.

3. Black and white pictures of people kissing.

4. Pero (fake coffee) with lots of sugar and soy milk.

What makes YOU happy?

13 February, 2009

No Identifying Information.

Here is a funny story. My friend agreed that I could share it with the world, as long as I didn't identify her or give away (in any way) who she is.

Hint: she wears shoes.

So in class today we were talking about Catholicism and the various effects the higher-ups in the church had on the English language, mostly their specialized language, etc. I made a somewhat snarky comment about the Catholic church, and the following conversation ensued.

Me: I can say that.
Anonymous girl: Oh yeah. I forgot about that. That your family is Catholic.
Me: Well, technically, we're Jewish. We became Catholic during the Inquisition so we wouldn't die. We were wusses.
AG: You're Jewish?
Me: I guess. Like, ethnically.
AG: You can't be Jewish! You're too pretty!

She then proceeded to ram her foot so deep down her throat I am positive her shoe will never be recovered.

Thus, if you see a girl walking around campus with only one shoe: STONE HER!! STONE HER!!

06 February, 2009

I don't use the internet to be left alone.

I just read this exquisitely heartfelt tribute to the "25 things about Me" fad here, and it actually inspired me to want to write one of my own.

1. I feel terrible about the way things ended with my maternal grandmother. We had never gotten along very well, but that was mostly because she was pissed off that I joined the Church (The Mormon one, I mean) in 1992-ish (?). I cut off all contact with her when I was in high school. Nor did I go to her funeral in 2006, but now I wish I had. The odd thing is, I think I would have gotten along with the young version of her really well. My mom tells me stories about her and she was a lot like me: kinda spacey, creative, loved to dance, had a hard time following rules. I did her temple work for her after I got back from my mission, and although that was nice, I still wish I had reconciled with her while she was alive.

2. For those of you familiar with the MBTI personality test, my favorites types are as follows: INFPs (because that is what I am), ISFPs (both my brothers and a large number of my friends are ISFPs ... I really think it is my favorite to be friends with), ENFJs, and ENFPs.

3. I love mayonnaise. It is my favorite condiment. I like to eat it on peas instead of butter. I know how gross that sounds, and most people find it disconcerting to watch, so I generally eat it when no one else is around. Except Pamela doesn't seem to mind. I love you, Pamela.

4. I have little to no contact with a bogglingly large number of people that I am facebook friends with. However, I will never delete anyone, because having lots of friends makes me feel cool, and I am somewhat voyeuristic by nature. It's a writer thing.

5. I love YA novels. Particularly the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I like them much better than trashy books written for adults.

6. That said, when I was ten or so, my mom bought me one of those crass Harlequin romance novels, and I read it cover to cover several times. It was there that I learned several crucial anatomical terms that I am too classy to list here. However, if you ask me, I will tell you.

7. As a kid, I loved coffee.

8. Additionally, as a kid I shoplifted fairly regularly, but never liked it. I only did it because one of my cousins made me do her dirty work. I was also never caught.

9. I hate it when people use the word "just" when talking about something very important to them. "I just wanted to say that I know Jesus is the Christ." Just? Just???? I have no impetus to tell anyone else how to bear his or her testimony, but my kids will be forbidden to use such a construction.

10. I probably attach too much significance to language. If you are ever in the doghouse with me, all you have to do is SAY something nice or penitent, and all is forgiven. You don't actually have to DO anything. I know this is foolish, but I doubt it will ever change.

11. There is a certain hallway in the Provo Temple near the Celestial Room, and every single time I walk down it, I feel a strong urge to dance irreverently. If no one else is around, I sometimes do.

12. One time my friend Becca ran over my foot with her car. Incredibly, my foot wasn't broken, although it was very painful.

13. When I was 14 and had the chicken pox, the pustules were concentrated on my face, neck and chest. The first time I looked in the mirror the morning I came down with the pox, I actually screamed. I believe that this was in some form of punishment for being so vain about my skin when I was in middle school.

14. I never learned the multiplication tables. I am absolutely wretched at math. This includes counting. I hate counting out loud or doing math in my head, especially in front of other people. Once, my former elementary school teacher came into a retail store where I worked, and I tried to count her change out for her, and I couldn't do it. I was embarrassed but luckily she was nice about it, otherwise I probably would have lost my job.

15. I never learned how to type. Still can't.

16. I can easily pinpoint the specific time in my life when I was the most miserable. It was in the MTC.

17. I love dinosaurs. I am excited to die so I can go to Heaven and watch movies of real dinosaurs. If this is not possible, I will be a very disappointed dead person.

18. When I was in second grade my mom bought me a training bra even though I had no need for one. I tried wearing it to school one day, but it itched so badly I took it off in the bathroom and stuffed it in my coat pocket. Later that day, on the playground, it fell out.

19. I don't like two-faced-ness (is that a word?). If I don't like someone, I find it impossible to be nice to them. Thus, if I am nice to you, congratulations! I like you. No, really.

20. On New Year's in 2005, I cussed out an old lady in a parking lot, because she was mean to my best friend. To this day, I do not feel bad about this at all.

21. On my mission, I was grabbed and kissed by men in various states of sobriety on eleven different occasions. It averaged out to once a transfer. I kept track of these instances using stickers on the back of my nametag, but when people asked me about them, I said it was to keep track of how many transfers I had been in the country.

22. I cry more often during movies about animals than movies about people. Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey, for example, makes me cry every single time.

23. I forged several of the signatures on my Honor Society application in high school. Not because I was fibbing, just because I had forgotten to take it around and collect all the signatures I needed. The irony was not lost on me, either.

24. My favorite Hungarian word is: fogcsikorgatás. It means "gnashing of teeth."

25. Adopting my brother in 2003 was my idea. My parents don't like to tell people this, and I've never figured out why.

Well, that was fun. If there is ANYONE in the web-0-sphere who has not yet participated in this little exercise: tag.

04 February, 2009

I just had a TERRIBLE experience.

So in case you've been out of the loop, my mom is in love. She's quitting her job and moving to Phoenix this summer to move in with a guy named Dave. I don't know his last name. I'm delighted for her, really, it's just a little strange. He owns two houses and used to raise English Bulldogs as a hobby. My roommates and I speculate that he is actually an Italian count who must marry to keep the family fortune. Whatever. What's really important is that she's happy.

However, there are some things I will NEVER, EVER feel like discussing with my mom. Sex is one of them. I'm sorry! I know it's old-fashioned.

Although, for full disclosure's sake, when I was five and my mom explained to me about sex, I thought it sounded so interesting that I asked her if she had some examples I could watch. True story.

Moving right along...

The other night I was talking to my mom, and she was telling me about the wonderful weekend she had spent with her new beau in Seattle. I was curious, but too afraid to ask, where he had stayed while he was in town. But don't worry. My mom filled me in.

Mom: And then we went out to dinner and back to the hotel, and I don't know what much of this you want to know ... but I stayed with him and--

Seriously, if I hadn't been driving I think I would have thrown my phone OUT THE WINDOW.

Yes, I'm immature. And it's also embarrassing that my 63 year-old mother is getting more weekend action than I am. Dear Lord.

03 February, 2009

My Last Words.

So I came upon this very funny blog via Ralphie recently. There, I read about a recent lesson in church in which Kristi's husband was required to imagine that he was dying and write 25 last words to his family. I thought this seemed like an interesting, albeit morbid exercise. Here is what I came up with.

"DESTROY MISSION JOURNALS. Mom: Sego yours now. Good luck. Dad: Be kind. Read Book of Mormon, whole thing. David, Carlos: drive safely. I love you."

If you have to ask why I want my mission journals destroyed, either you don't know me very well or I have purposefully avoided mentioning to you that my mission journals reveal a side of me that I am not proud of. This might also mean that I was writing mean and/or humiliating things about you. While a missionary. For God. Which makes any indiscretion infinitely worse. I am starting to hate myself just thinking about this. Maybe I should just destroy them now and save my family the trouble?

The only person I would want to give my dog to is my mom. She loves Sego too, and the guy she is marrying loves dogs, so this would theoretically work out quite nicely.

Also, I was wishing her luck in Phoenix and her new life in general, not in taking care of my dog.

My dad is Mormon, and yet has never read the Book of Mormon. This makes me sad. Additionally, he could stand to be a lot nicer.

I know my brothers will turn out just fine as long as they stay alive to the age of 30. However, I don't want them to feel left out. Leading cause of young American men? Car accidents. Voila.

For a moment there I actually started thinking about how beneficial it would be for my family if I died young and tragically. Bad thoughts out! Nothing would be worth that.

INFPs really ought not participate in activities like this. Never again...