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.Cockatoo ,Adieu

Annee ❤

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Love Will Find You There

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can’t have one without the other

—Frank Sinatra

I’m currently taking a class entitled “Sociology of the Family.” We’re mere days into this class and already there has been so much good information. One of my favorite things about school is the classes and things that make you think. I’m not talking about “Give your opinion on blah blah blah” or “What was the author trying to say…” No. But what I do enjoy is the classes with readings that I actually want to read and I end up marking the margins of the book with thoughts and questions.

This class is doing all of that for me. We are reading a book called, “Marriage Go Round” and it’s so interesting. Along with this, we have articles to read for class each day. For class on Tuesday we had to read this article which was so informative to me. It enlightened me to ideas I had never considered or realized that these were even real things. Marriage without love? Who-da-thunk-it?

As I learned in class, the idea of love before marriage and falling into love has only existed for about 200 years. Before that, the feelings of “love” were something associated with adultery and a socially disapproved of relationship. Arranged marriages were popular, but even if a marriage wasn’t arranged, it was simply a union based on the benefits that would come. A man had no reason to marry unless he inherited land or something so that he could start a family to help him care for the land. Marriage simply made sense for society. In fact, if a marriage was not approved of, it could be annulled simply for that reason. One thing my professor pointed out between differences of relationships today and in the past is that it used to be that marriage, sex, and childbearing were a package deal. Today though, those things are very separated. In fact, you can separate all three of them. (If you didn’t know this, go have a talk with your Mommy or Doctor 😉 ).

 Immediately after learning all this, my mind started going back through history and trying to understand and it surprisingly made a lot of sense.

Take the classic example of Romeo and Juliet. They were in love. It was disapproved of because A) it was not an arranged or approved of marriage and B) they were “in love” but “love” didn’t exist like it does today. So many people romanticize Romeo and Juliet, but for what purpose? They were going against societal norms and we find it romantic. Kind of odd if you ask me.

Now let’s talk about fairy tales. If you’re up to date with the modern world or have read the original tales, you probably know that most stories don’t have the happy endings we generally associate with them (Thanks Disney). A lot of the princess-y stories center around this idea of true love. Many of them meet and “fall in love” after hours or days and sometimes it’s even “love at first sight.” When most of these stories were written, love was still the taboo thing that I talked about earlier. Perhaps that’s why these stories fit in so well to our modern day is because of our acceptance of things such as “love at first sight” and “soul mates.”

 Another example could be the book, “The Giving Tree.” I’d like you to think of this book as a mix between the old view of love and the new. The book begins with the old kind of love. The boy and the tree love each other and do things for each other which makes them love each other. Later on, the boy’s view changes though and he begins to have the new view. In this view, individualism is a large part. He takes from the tree without giving back. The boy is happy throughout these parts, but the tree is not. In the end of the book, he reverts to the old views and their love is true because they are focused on that idea of self sacrifice again to make the other happy.

Basically the old idea of love is that marriage and such came first for the benefit of everyone and then you grew to love that person. However, that love was not necessarily the romantic type of love. Nowadays, we fall in love first, and then get into a relationship. The author of the article mentioned earlier talked about this. Her point was basically that if we view marriage as a business type deal, then a union has been made that allows for the benefit of both parties. However, if we have to “fall in love” to get married, then without any other foundation, we can “fall out of love” and therefore destroy the marriage. “George Bernard Shaw once described marriage as an institution that brings two people together under the influence of the most violent, delusive, and transient of passions, and requires them to swear they’ll remain in that abnormal, exhausting condition until death do them part.”

(Update: I’ve also realized that this whole idea of no falling in love before marriage completely eradicates the modern view on same-sex marriage and transgender and all of that. If marriage is just a business contract for the benefit of both parties and attraction plays no part in that, then same-sex marriage and attraction is irrelevant).

All of this thinking this week has caused love and marriage to separate in my mind. Why the heck do they have to be involved? Do I want love or do I want marriage? Isn’t it better to attain marriage and then gain love rather than risk loosing love AND marriage?

Of course, it’s absurd for me to say I don’t want love, especially when this new view is the only one I’ve ever had until this week. But now I’m beginning to realize that this romantic love really isn’t what I want at all. Of course I want the feeling of excitement when my potential mate walks in the room. Of course I want him to hold my hand and dance with me in the rain. But I don’t need this romantic love view that we could lose for that. All I need is a best friend who I care about. Love should be about that self sacrifice and benefiting of each other. It should be a companionship with which you navigate life rather than the fireworks that go off when you kiss but eventually fade away.

All of this had been on my mind this week, and then in class today I asked a few questions which sparked a discussion. It ultimately ended with us questioning whether love was even real or not. We talked about Lee’s different styles of love and how he came up with different words to explain different kinds of “love.” Another thing mentioned in the last class was the idea of how our increasing technology and such causes people to continuously ask “Is there someone better out there for me?” There’s so many dating apps and such which widen the dating pool on such a grand scale. In the past, there was the people you met in real life and that was it. I would guess that this question is what causes people to cheat and/or break up. It causes unhappiness.

My patriarchal blessing when talking about my future husband mentions something about a “choice.” Because of this, over years I’ve come to realize how much of “love” is a choice. I am a firm believer that I do not have a soul mate. I can make a marriage work with any man who loves God so long as we are willing to work together and choose to love each other.

Within the church, there has been some talk of this in recent years. I know that church leaders have said that soul mates are not “real.” In addition to this, Elder Hales gave a wonderful talk. This information from the church is great, but I’ve also realized that I need to dig deeper. We’ve learned in class about the history of marriage, but what about marriage within the church? What about polygamy? What is God’s “stance on love” and does he think we should get married and then fall in love or fall in love and then get married? What is “right”?

What do you think? Am I right about all of this? Or do you completely disagree?

I’m constantly surrounded by couples and “I love you’s” and I’m pretty sure that 95% of my songs on spotify have some mention of love. Valentine’s day is in a few weeks so it’s only going to be getting worse. I’m curious though and I want to know more. I’ll get to the bottom of this and maybe find myself a man along the way 😉

a voice inside is telling you,
you’ve never gone too far,
whispering the promise of a prayer,
love will find you there.

Blow a kiss, Goldfish!

❤ Annee

If it Makes You Uncomfortable…

If this post makes you uncomfortable, literally in your own skin, and makes you think a little harder about the world around you, I will have succeeded in purpose. You guessed it, it’s time for Sociology again. The other day in class I was shown a video a faced with a question that I had never before considered: Does White Privilege exist?

I want you to take a moment to think about this, and if you find yourself question what White Privilege actually is and itching to Google it, hold off for a minute. You’re not alone in that lack of knowledge and I’m going to help you understand better what it is.

While you’re thinking about that, pause for a few minutes and take one of these quizzes for me. You don’t have to share your results although I would be curious to hear what they were, rather I ask you to keep your results in mind as you read the rest of this post.

After my class the other day and being faced with this question, I was curious about what others had to say, so I turned to Facebook.  I asked a few questions:

1. Does white privilege exist and if it does, why does it exist?
2. How has white privilege affected you?
3. Does reverse racism exist and is it the same thing as white privilege?

With the responses I got, a few things were obviously apparent:

  • People don’t know what White Privilege really means
  • They also don’t know what Reverse Racism means
  • People are very adamant about their beliefs
  • Most of their beliefs on this topics are based on a few experiences and not educational experiences on the actual subjects (to be expected)
  • I was surprised by the people that responded

That all being said, I got a large variety of answers all of which were really interesting for me to read and I want to discuss some of them but first, some definitions.

White privilege has many different definitions as it is a socially constructed concept, but in my own words, “White Privilege is the tendency for Whites to be treated with unearned benefits due to their skin color (whether consciously or subconsciously) by the majority of society.” Please take note now that my own interpretation and definition may not be the same as yours. Also, this is a MACRO idea. This means that this idea applies to society and institutions on a large scale, not individuals personally. That means that you may say, “Well I don’t treat people differently based on their skin color!” And while that may or may not be true, it doesn’t matter because this idea doesn’t apply to you. Rather it applies to large groups, such as an organization, city, state, etc.

That all being said, also take notice that White Privilege is not how you treat others, but rather how whites are treated and “privileged” in society. Here’s some examples of how that could happen. While going through this list, I ask you, no matter your skin color to see how many of those things actually apply in your opinion and tally them up and then tell me. I’ll tell you how many I can apply to my own life: 48/50. I can also tell you that when I first read over this list, I was really surprised by a lot of things on there. My thought was, “People really have to worry about this? I thought everyone had this benefit.” But because that list was even written, I know that someone of a different skin color than mine has felt the opposite of every single thing on that list. That right there is evidence to me of the existence of White Privilege.

So now take a moment to look over that list one more time. This time think about someone of a different skin color than you. How would they agree/disagree with those statements? Does it surprise you? Every time I look through that list I find another thing I’m surprised by. No one should have to go shopping alone with fear that they will be followed or harassed. I don’t face that, I’ve never have and I likely never will. But someone does and it’s because of their skin color. I have a privilege that they don’t. That is White Privilege. Now before you get all upset, I’m not condoning this or bragging on my skin color, I’m just trying to help you understand what White Privilege is.

White Privilege is the stories that plague the media these days about whites committing crimes and getting let off easy. It’s this. And this. This. This. And this. And this. It’s why I can wear any one of these and people will tell me it’s cool. It’s why people think this movie is funny. Open your eyes. Look here. Or here.

Go ahead and tell me it’s not real, I will listen but you better have some good arguments to make your case.

That being said, some of the arguments against it are interesting to me (borrowing from things I’ve heard and from responses to my Facebook post).

  1. It’s a made up term: Yes, thanks for noticing, it definitely is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value or isn’t real. Race is a socially constructed concept as well and you don’t argue very often that that isn’t real (a post for another day). Nearly everything in our society is socially constructed. Why does money have value? Because we say it does. What the heck is a selfie? You can answer this, because the term was made up and became popular.
  2. It doesn’t exist because I’m white and I’ve never been given anything just for that: See the list I linked to above. Maybe you have and you just haven’t realized it. Also remember again that this is a Macro idea and doesn’t necessarily apply to you alone.
  3. No, because sometimes I’m favored in society and sometimes people with different colored skin than mine are more favored than I am: While this may be true, remember again that this is not a Micro idea and doesn’t apply to just you. There are more factors, including class, gender, age, sexual orientation and religiosity but based on our social stratification, we can attribute much of privilege to skin color.
  4. Everyone has equal opportunity: Tell that to the family living on the corner, see how they like your comment, and surely don’t give them anything to help them out because they of course have the same opportunities you do.
  5. What about whites having less opportunities because of minorities taking them? (I.e. Jobs, Scholarships): Look up the statistics and then come back to me with this same argument. I dare you.

So basically in my opinion, White Privilege is very real and apparent in our society. Racism is very real and apparent. The facts are sad. I’ve nearly cried writing this post while looking at a few things and I’m still not finished. We still have more to talk about. Ready?

Reverse Racism, I’ve realized, is a very misunderstood topic and term. My definition of Reverse Racism would be something along the lines of, “A form of racism that occurs as a response to or result of past or ongoing occurrences against group A, where group B was the group originally wronged.” That being said, I’m just going to tell you now that I think this is real too. It happens back and forth and it’s similar to White Privilege in that that may be one of the responses or causes of White Privilege.

This term is also socially constructed and you could argue that it’s simply racism. I would argue back that it is only a form of racism. I’m going to be blunt and point out simply that racism and arguments between people of different skin colors seem to always be “whites” against “insert skin color, ethnicity or ‘race’ here.” Am I wrong? Maybe in some instances but in my experience and education it’s always been just that. Sometimes it’s even whites against whites, but still.

For example, Reverse Racism is what I would call it when Whites complain about scholarships that are directed towards and exclusively for people of a specific “race.” These whites feel as though they are being discriminated against. Racism generally occurs from a majority population to a minority population. Reverse Racism is the opposite, when a minority is discriminate against the majority. Doesn’t happen? Look here.

I’m not going to point of the disputes of Reverse Racism because the responses I got basically consist of disputing the term—which is a concept whether you like it or not—or misunderstanding the topic. If you do have an argument though, I will happily discuss.

Anyways moving on, to sum up here’s a few more interesting thoughts and things to think about:

  • On the conversation of “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter,” Why do people say “All Lives Matter?” Ex. Is it just a way to distract/detract from the meaning of Black Lives Matter and put them “back to where they belong in social stratification”?
  • How would you say the Social Stratification in our country is organized? I.e. Who has the power in society?
  • Are the Young or the Old more empowered in society and why do you think this?
  • Is one group or section of society more ignorant to these concepts (everything discussed) and why do you think this? Statistics to show for it?
  • What should be done about inequality?

Thank you for reading and I hope this was enlightening. Comments are more than welcome and I’d love to hear more opinions (So go poll your friends and come back with more data for me 😉 )

So long, King Kong!

❤ Annee

Wanted

‘Cause I wanna wrap you up
Wanna kiss your lips
I wanna make you feel wanted
And I wanna call you mine
Wanna hold your hand forever
Never let you forget it
Yeah I wanna make you feel wanted

—Wanted, Hunter Hayes

Dance tonight was such an ideal night. There was not a single moment I was not having fun. I had tons of opportunities to teach and tons of amazing dances with really good friends. So here’s my night:

It started with teaching by myself. I taught cha cha, then swing, then waltz and then foxtrot in the beginners class. I had maybe 12-16 students and some of them were beginner beginners, so that was a bit of a challenge and I had to adjust my class from what I’d normally teach to some easier steps, but I also taught some things I don’t generally teach right of the bat and they went well. A dear friend, Jordan Hardy who teaches 180 was an onlooker and pulled me aside after my class to tell me what a fantastic job of teaching I’d done. He said I did great commanding attention and having authority and he hadn’t seen those skills in my before.

I sat the first song out and then a night-club two step came on and I already knew who my dance partner would be; Yovhan Daas. He found me and we danced. His lead is so strong but gentle. It’s next to impossible to step in the wrong place when Yovhan is leading and I’m following. He never fails to compliment me on my following at the end of a dance and I take pride in that. The rhythm of nightclub coincides with some pattern buried deep down in my genes, so that when the music hits just right, endorphins spill from the perfect side-cross-side of my feet.

Hey soul sister, ain’t that Mr. Mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey soul sister, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do tonight

—Hey, Soul Sister, Train

I’m hardly back on the carpeted area of the ballroom when I’m pulled out onto the floor again by another wonderful friend, Billy, for a Cha Cha. His style is so unique and such an interesting mix of moves from different dances but I follow all of it perfectly after switching over to the mindset of following his lead. He’s also a strong lead but very very different from Yovhan. Yovhan is gentle and precise in his guiding while Billy move quickly and always changes up the ending of every move. There’s no predicting what he’ll do. We make faces at each other while we dance, having so much fun with it. I catch glimpses between my turns of the beginners on the carpet watching our advanced dance, full of bronze and silver moves and styling.

After that I sit out another song before a Blues comes on and Billy takes me to dance once again. We’re the first ones on the dance floor and the mood is so different from the cha cha we’d danced earlier. The Cha Cha was sassy and playful. Our Blues is intimate, more simple and yet still full of moves not fit for a beginner. He does lots of turns and there’s lots of looking each other in the eyes. Billy likes to tickle me and tickles my neck so I duck under his arm and spin away but he catches me and spins me back into a closed embrace. All that’s on my mind is the dance and matching his rhythm. It’s dances like this that make me realize how much dance relies on your partner. It’s the best thing about ballroom dancing; two people become one and move together. Frankie Manning put it in the best way I understand it, “When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes, you are in love with each other.”

Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are.

—Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran

I dance a Cha Cha with Garth and it’s something we’ve rehearsed a thousand times. By the time we start dancing we’re already halfway into the song so we don’t have time to do everything but it starts with technical basics and cross-body leads, then we do the chase and pull out all of our styling. He can do more than I can and does double spins and perfect tremendos, while I do single spins and half-okay tremendos. Usually I call him a showoff teasingly at this point. We finish out the dance with syncopated breaks and a rondes which we were taught in a class long ago by Pono and it took me months to get right but now I get it every time. It’s still not perfect but my feet go to the right places and I know what’s coming.

I’m out of breath now and planning to sit the next dance, a tango, out but my friends have other ideas. I’m talking to a friend but interrupted by a gentle hand on my back asking how I am with tango. I turn to tell Yovhan that I don’t know a whole lot but I’m willing to try and he willingly takes me out onto the dance floor again. I haven’t done very much tango at all and have a rule of saying no when inexperienced people ask me. I always say that I would say yes to someone like Pono or another really good dancer, but that never happens. Well tonight it did. I followed most of his moves but since I haven’t done tango in a long time, I needed a little verbal guidance with Yovhan was more than willing to help out with. He directed me and honestly enjoyed the dance. I felt amazing and for those few minutes was completely in love with tango. He told me once again that I was a great follow and that I catch on very quickly. I thanked him. He and my other friends have no idea how much these compliments mean to me. They light up my soul.

There were a few dancers with beginners and not as skilled dancers throughout the night. One with Alex, Lisa’s cousin, who is graduating this semester. I try to ask him to dance because he doesn’t get asked or ask people a lot and he’s always really happy to dance with me. We danced a cha cha and I simply let him make the conversation, following his unsure leads the best I could and being happy to be his friend. There was Justus, one of the ballroom managers who still is really inexperienced with dance and I had to guide him through a few steps but he tries really hard. Then there was Jason, an older fellow, who had just begun dancing this week. He asked me to dance several times for different dances, all of which required me telling him which foot to step on where and when.

I danced a Rumba with Tate, which is always fun. He knows I can follow and never shies away from the opportunity to teach me things that he’s learned in his higher up classes. He taught me three new moves and after a few times of doing them I caught on. Our Rumba was more of an instruction and time of learning for me than the real sensual and intimate feel that characterizes the Rumba, but I didn’t mind because just as Tate likes to teach, I love to learn.

There was one more dance with Billy, a swing because of course, Swing is where we met. We we’re both really tired by this point in the night though and found ourselves being a little sloppy but had fun with it anyways. I would turn the wrong way or he’d move too far away from me and we’d just laugh and jokingly ask the other what the heck they were doing. There was never a dull moment dancing with Billy.

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

—Rockin Robin, Bobby Day

I danced a Samba with Ben and a Quickstep with Garth. Surprisingly, the Samba didn’t wear me out as much as it generally does. We hadn’t danced Samba before or at least not a lot so it took some time for both of us to get the feel of how the other dances. There were a few leads I was unsure of but I wasn’t sure if it was something I was doing or something he was doing that caused that. The Quickstep with Garth can be summed up in one word; exhausting. Garth has a lot longer of legs than I do so when he drives, he really travels far and I already knew I needed to drive more. I’ve finally got the pivots down okay but my footwork really needs work. It was fun though and I enjoyed it. We had to pause in the middle of the song to go use the microphone to tell people not doing Quickstep to get out of line of dance and out of our way.

I had to stop a couple of times throughout the night to look at the DJ because I realized he wasn’t announcing what type of dance each song was like the DJ’s normally do. But I knew every song, and every dance. I could have danced every single one. Two years ago, I couldn’t tell a cha cha from a nightclub twostep because I’d never even heard of nightclub, and now I can dance every single dance played at a social ballroom night. I’ve come so far and learned so much and even if I’m not the greatest dancer, I can say with total confidence that I am a good follow. I’ve learned to listen to my partner speaking to me through the hand on my back or an extra finger touching my hand when I’m supposed to stop spinning. I can usually tell exactly where my lead wants me to go and when I’m supposed to get there. I can lead others and be confident in it, communicating the same things to them that tell them where to go. When I’m following, I don’t have to pay attention to the fingers on my shoulder blade, they just put pressure in a certain way and my body knows exactly where to move and how to get there. The mix of the music and my partner’s frame can tell me what’s coming next and exactly when to stop spinning, when I’ll have time for my own styling or if we’re going to follow a routine. There’s so many unspoken words in dance, and not just the words that are saying what steps to do but also the feelings and emotion and connection that’s all concentrated right in that little bundle of a three minute song. Tonight was one of the best nights of dance I’ve had in awhile. I wasn’t worried about how I looked or why someone wasn’t talking to me or if someone was watching me dance. Tonight I just danced and had fun. More than anything, after all the different dances I was asked to dance song after song nearly nonstop, more than anything, I simply felt wanted.

Better shake, rattlesnake!

❤ Annee