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

‚ÄĒFrank 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 ūüėČ ).

 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 ūüėČ

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

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It’s Not a Game

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

My last post was all serious and this one is going to be as well. For years, basically since the 2008 election, I’ve looked forward to the time I could vote. When John McCain and Barack Obama went head to head in the election, my school did well to keep us informed. Then again, with Romney and Obama in 2012, I was informed by my seminary teacher and history teacher. We threw our planned lessons to the dogs and had discussions on the current events, making our opinions known. When it comes to opinions, I have a lot of them. But because I don’t like contention, I’m more likely to stay quiet when the people I’m with bring them up. In my school classes though, my words come out and I defend my position. This is what happened during both of those elections and happens in a lot of my sociology and history classes. The world I live in¬†is¬†important to me, even if I don’t voice my opinion all the time.

Now that I’m old enough to vote, I’ve been paying attention to the world of politics again so that I can figure out who I’m going to vote for. Back at the beginning of the year, I had a roommate who was very vocal and pushy about her political opinions and kept me well informed about what was happening. I talked to my parents about who they would vote for and why and was surprised to find that I disagreed with them. I found myself leaning in favor towards O’Malley.

With the election growing closer and the news stations blaring in the background, I know that I need to start making decisions about who I will vote for. About who I support. Because even the electoral college is the one making the decision in the end, I need to be able to defend my beliefs. So tonight I decided to research the candidates. I didn’t read every single thing on every one of their pages, but at surface level it was easy to see that I don’t agree with any of them. There’s very few that I find things that I do agree with. I-side-with tells me who I supposedly agree with, but even then it’s one or two questions. There’s gotta be something better. I want something better for my world and for my children. If anything, I want people to know what I believe even though the world doesn’t agree. It’s important for people to know that I stand for something different. So here’s what I believe based on the questions and topics given by I-Side-With. (Note: I am skipping some questions but ask me if you have a specific one for me to answer).

Social Issues:¬†This is really important to me. I’m going into Sociology after all. Let’s start with the beginning. Pro-life. There’s so many parents that ache to have children and are unable to. I know many of them. They would love to have children. So give them one or don’t get pregnant in the first place. Same-sex marriage. I don’t support it. I’ve been taught and wholeheartedly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe in that 1950’s American dream. Leave it up to the state or whatever, but don’t shove it in my face. The Bishops in my church are able to wed people in matrimony and currently can be fined if they refuse someone (even same sex) that service. I don’t agree with that and think that that should ever happen. I want same-sex marriage left out of my church. Death penalty is a hard one for me, so I’m going to take a raincheck and explain that on another day. Assisted Suicide however, I do support. I don’t think that someone should have to suffer through different medications and trying to survive a term of suffering longer since they will likely die anyways. As far as gender equality, I agree that women should have the same opportunities and consequences as men, end of story.

Environmental Issues:¬†This area is less important to me. Not because I don’t care about the environment, but rather I feel like there shouldn’t be questions about it. I feel like everyone in the world should simply be doing their best to take care of the environment. Climate change is going to happen. I don’t believe that we can truly prevent it. We need to do our best to use renewable energy sources.

Economic Issues:¬†Minimum wage should be decided by state‚ÄĒa higher national minimum wage will cause inflation. I had been thinking that welfare recipients should be tested for drugs but I’ve changed my mind and don’t think that anymore. National debt needs to be reduced‚ÄĒpartially through military spending‚ÄĒbut we also really just need to cut back on spending. [interuption because in the room I’m sitting in, someone is currently on speakerphone discussing politics (YELLING) and I can’t handle this. On one line, the man is for Trump and his argument for Trump is to degrade Clinton. I will not support someone degrading another human]. I don’t know about taxes but I think that it should be up to each state.

Domestic Policy:¬†Yay! I find this area of importance and interest to me. Restriction on purchasing a gun: yes. Training and/or proof of training about guns should be required to purchase a gun. Be safe ‚̧ Yes! Legalize drugs! Why? Look at prohibition for example. Prohibition of alcohol caused so much fighting and underground problems. All of the problems that occurred with prohibition are the same that occurred with the legalization of alcohol, except that it was illegal then and there was more violence. Now though, drugs is the problem. If we legalize them, I truly believe that we can cease the war on drugs and decrease the everlasting violence on the US/Mexico border and underground in the US.

Healthcare:¬†I really don’t know what to say about this category. I agree with medical marijuana. I think everyone needs health insurance, but I don’t think it should be free for everyone.

Education issues:¬†What we have isn’t working. I’ve talked about that in many of my other posts and I stand by it. For sho’ no free college tuition. That stuff needs to be earned. Common core is currently crap. It’s a good idea in theory but needs to be changed.

Foreign Policy:¬†Accept the refugees, don’t put up borders and don’t get super involved in other peoples business. No war on ISIS and no citizenship for illegal immigrants. However, for their children they can recieve citizenship IF they were born in the US and apply for citizenship. Really though, basis is we need to stay out of other country’s crap. We have so much debt of our own, we need to take care of ourselves. Put on our own life vest before helping others.

Criminal Issues:¬†Body cameras aren’t a bad idea for police officers, particularly if issues continue to arise. I approve of solitary confinement.

So I guess that’s about it unless someone has questions. Some of these other questions and things I have more opinions on but they aren’t as important to me as the things I talked about. I’m just so sad about what our country and world are coming to and I wish it could change for the better. For now though, I’ll just sit here and root for the second coming to happen ūüėČ Kidding. It matters. This election is not a game. This election is not a race. It’s not all fun and games. This is a matter of life and death for our country.

Teach the Children

There’s a Christmas story popular among the general Christian public today about Santa Claus coming to a Father and giving him a number of objects, each a symbol, explaining to him what they mean and telling him to teach the children. The idea of the story is basically to inspire people to teach their children about the true meaning of Christmas and Christ’s birth. In my last post, I talked about some of the future relationships that I’ll have, including being a mother. There’s responsiblities given to parents to teach their children truths.

I’ve been reading some books of real topics lately and all of them touch my heart with every page. They’ve started a spark, a flame inside me that burns with pain and love for those in the world have been hurt. I was reading today about Columbine and was brought to the attention that two of my dear friends just older than me have no idea what Columbine was. I was in shock. Not to bash these friends at all, I just can’t understand how someone in our world today can’t know about tragic events that have happened in our lifetime and shaped the world into what it is today. Every time a school shooting occurs, I hear mentions and comparisons of Columbine. How could someone not know about this event?

After learning that they didn’t know about it, I was overcome with an overwhelming feeling that I must teach my children. When I have a family of my own, my kids need to know about what went on in my lifetime, before my lifetime, and what goes on in theirs. They need to know about the good and the bad and be informed so that they can be sensitive to others. I owe it to them, and I owe it to my Heavenly Father.

I’ve always beena ¬†seeker of knowledge, wanting to know about people and pleaces and things and learning as much as I could from books and articles and school. I learn things everywhere and I pay attention. Current events always interested me and I shed countless tears over the lost lives of strangers whose stories became important to me. There’s been so many things I’ve learned that I was appalled to not have learned earlier (Key example: About the Lithuanians in World War II held captive in Russia‚ÄĒGo read Between Shades of Gray if you have no idea what I’m talking about). There’s been a lot about World War II that I wasn’t taught in school that has caused me to be distrusting of the education system whom it seems would rather keep me in the dark about distasteful things my country has done than tell me the truth. I was taught about Columbine in school as well as from my parents. They made it known to me that this was an important event and that I should care. In school we learned about Rachel’s Challenge, a challenge issued by the parents of the first Columbine victim.

I want my kids to be seekers of knowledge as well. I want them to be educated about the Wars that have plagued the world, about the leaders of our country and other world leaders. I want them to know about 9/11 and Columbine and Sandy Hook and the life of Christ. I want them to know all of these things and more. I want them to look for more. I don’t want someone to mention a large event that occurred int heir lifetime to them someday and them to not know what it was. This is my responsibility. I have to teach them. And for me to teach them, I have to know more.

So if you’re reading this, I hope you too will want to learn and will decide to teach your children. They need to know.

Why?

Remember all those Dystopian and Utopian novels that have been popular in the last several years? I would venture to say that those people either didn’t teach their children, or they weren’t brave enough to do anything with the knowledge they had.

Go out. Make a difference. Care about the world. The news may be dreary and depressing, but that’s what it is. We shouldn’t stop caring just because they only talk about sad things. We need to know about our world. If we don’t, how will we change it?

Learn a lot, Camelot.

‚̧ Annee

Someday

“We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”‚ÄĒAlma 56:48

Someday, I will be your girlfriend (you, being my future boyfriend, whoever that is). You’re out there somewhere and I hope you’re preparing like I’m trying to. My Heavenly Father is probably putting you in some pretty difficult situations to refine and teach you in preparation for meeting me. I think the key parts of the words girlfriend and boyfriend are¬†friends.¬†More than anything, I want a best friend.I have a lot of those, actually, but none of them are you yet. I can list off ten people immediately that I call “my best friend” when referring to them. But someday I’m going to have you.¬†I’ve talked about my rules for dating in my other post, A Safety Guide to Natural Selection and all of that still applies. I want to be a good girlfriend though, supporting and not overbearing. I want to be someone worth spending time with. For the last several months, almost year, I’ve been really missing two of my best friends. They were my texting buddies. We’d talk everyday about the most random of things but now they are both gone on missions. I miss them dearly and I plan on resuming our normal friendships when they get back, but in the mean time, I had to find something else to do. The other day I started up a page of notes on my phone full of things that would be texts to you. Now before you get the wrong idea, realize that these are things like “I learned today that snails grow their own shells.” It’s the things I pick up my phone to text you before remembering I haven’t met you yet (cue Michael Buble music). It’s the things I want to share with someone, but especially you. Somewhere, you’re there. And obviously we’re not ready yet, but I hope we are both ready when that day comes that our adventures together begin. It’s going to be great.

Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me
And loving me tonight

Somewhere out there
Someone’s saying a prayer
That we’ll find one another
In that big somewhere out there.

Someday I will be a fiance. Please, oh please don’t let me be a bridezilla. Remind me everyday that you love me and to be kind to those that are helping us prepare for that wonderful day. And please care, just a little bit, about our wedding. I want to make choices together since that’s what we will be doing for the rest of our eternity. If we can’t work together for a wedding, how can we possibly do anything else. Remind me to have patience. I have so many wedding ideas I’ve fallen in love with already like every other girl on the planet, but most of all I just want it to be a day I share with you. And also I want lots of dancing. And pictures. And a trillion ring. And a knee-length wedding dress. And of course a temple marriage.

If I had three wishes/ I tell you what they’d be/ If I had three wishes/ You would be all three

Someday, I will be a wife. I feel like this is what I’m least prepared for out of all of these roles. I don’t know how to be a wife. Still, I look forward to it and the way your last name will sound with my first. I’m excited for our adventures. I will apologize now for my lack of knowledge when it comes to cooking. I can follow a recipe and cook well, it’s just that I don’t cook often or make many different things. I’m going to try though and I hope you will join me. Actually, you better join me. Cooking and cleaning are going to be team efforts. Deal? Also I hope you love reading. I want to go to bookstores and not be rushed. I you to¬†look at the books and gets just as lost in different worlds as I do. It’s magic.¬†I hope you will preside over our household, protect me and love me always. I hope we never raise our voices and everything we do is out of love. I know it won’t be perfect but I think we can be amazing together. One more thing: kiss me everyday. And let others see it sometimes. Oh and…

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

Someday, I will be a mother. I don’t know how many kids I will have or if they will even be mine, but I will be a mother. I pray that I will be a good one. I also pray that you will be a good father. I pray for our children. I pray for the world they will have to grow up in, likely worse than the one we had. In one of my sociology classes, I learned that the parenting structure for the lowest risk of juvenile delinquency is with the parents in equal power, the father slightly more. This better be the way it is. Parenting is a team effort. I want my children to be raised steadfast with love and in the gospel. I learned from an example once, of a man who never grounded his children. When they did something wrong, he would sit down with them, tell him he loved them and then talk about how they can fix their mistakes. I aspire to be like this. I never want to be angry with my children. They are just children. They are children of Heavenly Father that I have been given permission and responsibility to watch over. I hope we make time for family everyday: family prayers, family scriptures, family laughing and family love.

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

With all of these things, I want to be like the mothers of the stripling warriors, like Eve, like Heavenly Mother. I want to be the best that I can be and continually improving. I know I can be too. With patience and love, with teaching and learning, with honesty and integrity, and other Christlike attributes, I will become.

I see my mother kneeling with our family each day.
I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray.
Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears,
And I am thankful love is spoken here.
Be sweet, parakeet!
‚̧ Annee

You Are Not Beautiful

In my last post, in addition to with everyone I’ve talked to lately, The Road to Character has been a popular subject in my mind. I can honestly say that this book changed my life, and the way I look at the world but¬†not in the way other books have. This book was probably bad for me in a way, from the world’s perspective, in the way that it changed me. (Once again, quotes unless otherwise stated are from The Road to Character.)

This book taught me something about the way the world is now, compared to how it used to be.

It talks about how in the past, pre-World War 2, everyone had a different view on life than they do now. Basically, this pre-view was focused on morals and values, becoming more efficient in these things and therefore becoming a better version of yourself while staying humbled. The focus wasn’t on the self though, it was on gaining better mores. You didn’t matter. The idea was/is/should be that honesty was worth more than the clothes you were wearing. People were taught mannerisms and behaviors that made them thrive in society and morality was valued.

The shift between views occurred “in the 1950’s and 1960’s to a culture that put more emphasis on pride and self-esteem.” This wasn’t bad. It helped minorities gain notice and recieve basic rights that are important in our country today. Before that, minorities were taught to look down on themselves. They weren’t as important as say, an upper-middle class businessman. This shift made all the difference for hundreds of thousands people.

However, the book explains that the shift went too far. This new view went from teaching minorities that they were worth receiving the same rights as everyone else, to teaching everyone that they were worth more. They were worth receiving more. The book labels this shift as the shift from Little Me to Big Me. This Big Me idea contains the beliefs that you should trust yourself, listen to your gut instinct. It teaches that you are the best judge of yourself and know what’s best for you. “In this ethos, sin is not found in your individual self; it is found in the external structures of society‚ÄĒin racism, inequality, and oppression.” I think this shift of where sin is found is one of the most important parts of this whole idea. In the church, we are taught and warned of the sin in the world, of things to avoid. But very rarely do we discuss the natural man, the way sin is also in ourselves and is something to be overcome and wrestled with.

In the last post I talked a bit about how the book explains that the world is centered around YOU. This last chapter of the book talks more about that, and how some people blame technology for this shift. We can customize everything. Everything is based on our technology and how many “likes” we get. But when did this become worth something? How is a “like” or a “follower” worth more to us than the time we spend with our family, than the people we serve. It’s true that these materialistic social media things bring us more value, more worth in our society. But social media isn’t all the problem.

In the last year, I’ve begun to have a problem with many of the quotes I see on Pinterest, and many of the ones I myself am guilty of pinning. Just scrolling through my own board, I see “If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs” and “We are stars wrapped in skin-the light you are seeking has always been within.” The church too brings in these quotes: “You are a treasured daughter of our Heavenly Father with infinite worth.” Now I’m not going all anti-church and anti these quotes, but I am saying that I see the problem this book points out. The world (including the church) is CONSTANTLY telling people how beautiful, wonderful, magnificent, talented, worthwhile, valued, and priceless they AND their dreams are. But the world didn’t used to do this. It’s a new development of this day and age and I honestly see it as a bad thing.

This shift went too far, with 1) Positive Psychology, 2) Self-branding ethos and 3) Competitive pressures.

This first idea, of Positive Psychology is one I see around me SO much, especially with the church and having depression. I spent a week in the Behavior Health Center in Idaho Falls this year and one of their biggest focuses was self worth. They taught us to recognize our worth and recognize our strengths and do what we could do and to not let the negative things in the world affect us negatively. The biggest fight that I see against self-harming, is recognizing self-worth.

Okay, so yes, it’s true, we have worth. We¬†are¬†children of God after all. But that doesn’t make us perfect. In fact, we are very, very imperfect. So why then, do we value ourselves so much instead of valuing honesty, humility and integrity? ¬† Our worth, while always existing, does nothing if we don’t achieve the Character we strive to be, finished only by God’s grace.

“The things that lead us astray are short term‚ÄĒlust, fear, vanity, and gluttony. The things we call character endure over the long term‚ÄĒcourage, honesty, humility.”

Our self worth does not make us a good person. Thinking you’re beautiful no matter your weight, scars, birthmarks, etc. does not make you have mores. Telling your child how special and loved they are won’t make them grow into a successful person. Reaching for your dreams doesn’t mean you’ll learn the skill of hard work. Keeping calm and carrying on won’t help you when you have anxiety and literally cannot stay calm. Making lots of money won’t necessarily make you happy. External challenges don’t complete our inside character. Success and worth are not the same.

We all struggle with things internally, but I think we’ve lost the ability to stop and think about those things, to battle our internal struggles. When I try to stop and think, I find myself focusing on the things around me, what happened that day or what someone else said. I don’t think about if I was honest with someone. We’re taught to shy away from the things we do wrong. To forgive, forget and move on. In our society, it’s not encouraged to reflect on how we’re doing ¬†with values, how we’re working to overcome our weaknesses.

After Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah were visited by the angel, Alma was stuck in astonishment so strong that he wasn’t able to speak or move for two days. His internal struggle was so much bigger than himself. It took time for him to recover and sort through all of his problems and feelings. I think each one of us also has the potential for this kind of necessary repentance because although our sins are not the same, they are all bigger than us. We can’t handle them alone. The natural man within us is very real and in many ways, more important than the external struggles we face. “Sin and limitation are woven through our lives. We are all recognizing the stumbling and trying to become more graceful as the years go by….People do get better at living.”

This shift that has gone to far, forcing us into this self-focused world where all we do is try to make ourselves look better and be better and worth more than everyone else is pointless. We are all worthwhile to God and those things mean nothing. This book made me realize that and I’m sure I’m going to end up rebelling against this Positive Psychology now, fighting the system simply because You are not beautiful. You are not strong. You are not irresistible. You are not extraordinary. You’re just a person with a whole lot of faults and problems.

Get in line, porcupine!

‚̧ Annee

Quiet the Self

I read a quote somewhere for my religion homework today that said something along the lines of, “If you think you have humility, you don’t.” I’ve been reading about humility in this book, The Road to Character (which by the way is where 99% of the quotes in this post are from so just assume that’s it for citation purposes). I’ve found so many interesting things in this wonderful collection of words.

“They had to descend into the valley of humility to climb the heights of character.” A lot of times we see people and think what a character they are. But what does that¬†mean?¬†Take Jennifer Lawrence for example. She has a lot of character and many view her as humble, but I don’t think she’s a prime example. She’s certainly portrayed as more humble than other celebrities but she’s not like the people exemplified in this book. Dorothea Day, it says, wore donated clothes and slaved alongside others to serve people even more unfortunate than herself and still, she had to catch herself because she’d find herself looking forward to and seeking gratitude for what she was doing.

Dictionary.com defines humility as a “modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance.” That sums it up pretty well and by that standard, to the world, people probably seem more humble than they truly are. Still, I think the answer of what humility is lies deeper.

I was sitting with a friend the other day at a dance show and he commented on how he had a problem with prideful dancers. He said he tried his best not to be one and then pointed out examples in our friend group of people who were and were not. He told me I was not and that I was fun to dance with. His counter to being a prideful dancer was being a fun dancer. The thing is, I seem myself as a prideful dancer. I’m a Ballroom Snob who tells people no to dancing with them sometimes at dance nights purely for the selfish reason that I don’t want to have to suffer through an awkward tango or look stupid in front of my friends doing only the box basic in waltz. I’m a snob and I know it. I used to suck and my friends struggled through dances with me and now, I won’t always do the same for others (Most of the time I say yes‚ÄĒI do have some semblance of social courtesy). Many of my friends who are better dancers than me will also say no to less experienced dancers, which by my definition, makes them a snob as well. A couple of these “snobs” are included in the mental list of kindest people I know, yet they’re still snobs.

I find that there’s a fine line between pride and humility. One of the best dancers/kindest people I know exemplifies this to me. He is an amazing dancer and he knows he’s good. He will stand by that talent and his knowledge of it until the day he dies. He doesn’t put himself down. But he also recognizes that there are many better than him and he has room to improve. He’s humble enough to know he still has more to learn, but proud enough that he’s sure in his ability and will say no to dancing with people (But he will say yes to teaching or turn the teaching over to someone he knows, likes and trusts‚ÄĒlike me‚ÄĒto help).

Still, another of my dance friends is so kind and patient. I have the utmost respect for him and his everlasting goodness. I’ve never see him raise his voice in frustration or anger, and he compliments everyone around him. He teaches so much of dance, but also teaches through his example. He is without a doubt one of the people I look to for an example of humility and although he’s an amazing dancer, he’d never say so, but rather thank you sincerely if you told him so.

This book has taught me so many things about being humble and the people make me want to better myself. The book explains that we are self-centered. Literally everything happens around YOU. You are with yourself literally all the time (something else I’ve been very conscious of lately). You are always in your mind. All of your experiences are yours, the way you see them. The book talks about how our world today is based so much on “finding yourself” and “being true to yourself” and “chasing your dreams. Maybe what this world needs though is simply¬†to be. Simply to live in the conveyor belt of cheerful idiots. Because it we’re all trying to be craftsmen and chase our outlandish dreams and spend years finding ourselves, who’s going to keep the world running with all of it’s working parts? Maybe we need to stop focusing so much on changing things and maintain what is, changing little by little. It’s about us. It really is. We come to this earth with our agency, determined to determine our destiny. But so much of what happens relies on others. If we’re so busy finding ourselves, what happens to the person in front of us that just fell and scrapped their knee?

I’m reminded of a video of spoken word poetry where the message is simply to look up from your cellphone so that you don’t miss life passing you by. I think part of humility requires us to be in the moment and not so much in your own head.

Humility is freedom from the need to prove you are superior all the time…Humility is the awareness that there’s a lot you don’t know and that a lot of what you think you know is distorted or wrong.” It’s not just being modest, it’s accepting yourself as a figure that won’t be perfect until after the resurrection. We’re here to make mistakes and that’s okay.

“Truly humble people are engaged in a great effort to magnify what is best in themselves and defeat what is worst, to become strong in weak places.” Being humble encompasses standing strong. It encompasses making a difference and being courageous. It¬†is¬†standing firm in the faith.

“Self-respect is not the same as self-confidence or self-esteem.” Perhaps this explains my friend and why he can be seen as both proud and humble. He knows the difference between these and he knows where he stands, but he isn’t afraid to stop and help someone lesser in a particular skill than him. And he will recognize the better.

“We’re not bad. But we are morally inarticulate.”

Give a hug, ladybug!

‚̧ Annee

 

Two Sides of the Same Coin

I am confident. I am beautiful. I am talented. I am the best at a lot of things and constantly getting better at others. I perform well.¬†I nailed a combination in ballet today and it felt great. My teacher definitely saw and was proud. My standard walks are better than a lot of people which is why Sister Reed doesn’t always have comments for me. Yesterday, I saved a bee from getting squished. It was grateful. I carry a mini disco ball in my purse because anywhere Annee goes is a party. I wear bright colors together and patterns that don’t match because only I can pull it off. I have the best collection of music, 2224 songs and counting. I can make civil war jokes to my southern friends, the worst puns and be sassy to my teachers and get away with it all. People laugh. People think I’m funny.¬†I¬†think I’m funny. I’m a friend to everyone I meet. I don’t judge people. I’m kind. I read my scriptures every night and say my prayers every day and make them meaningful. I am a great big sister. I am patient. I am persistent. I don’t give up. I work hard. Tonight I could’ve gone to dance where I would’ve been asked to dance more than the majority of girls there because I’m a good dancer and have a lot of friends and people can see that I know how to dance. There were people there expecting me to be there. I make delicious food and give it to people struggling with things. I’ll invited them over when I know they’re having a hard day and give them treats. Nothing scares me. I’m different from everyone else with things like my favorite animal being a dinosaur and this makes me unique and worth something. I have a place here. There is a reason I am here and I want to be here.

I am weak. I’m not beautiful. I have no talents. I’m not good at the things I enjoy like dancing. My teachers don’t always give me tips because they don’t watch me or think there’s no hope for me improving. My clothes look stupid. Everyone pretends to like me and can’t stand me. I’m just as annoying as a ¬†fly on a summer day. No one really wants me around them. I judge people too harshly. I gossip too much and it gets around. Everyone knows I gossip. I start rumors. I’ve almost dated so many guys. There isn’t anyone I’m meant to be with. No one would ever want me. ¬†I’m rude and too honest with people. People laugh at me, not with me. People make fun of me, the way I talk, the way I dress, the way I act. I can’t make it through a three hour block of church. I don’t understand or focus enough when I read my scriptures. My prayers are redundant. I’m impatient. I give up so easily on everything, and I already know I won’t succeed in life. I don’t know why I’m still here. I suck at dancing. I’m not good at writing, or teaching or any of the things that I love. Nobody wants to be around me. My ideas are stupid. I weigh too much and eat too many unhealthy things. People notice and judge me for it. People can see right through me and everyone knows about my illnesses. My family thinks I’m stupid. My doctors find me annoying. I am worthless, not worth anyone’s time, money or anything else. I shouldn’t be here. I would be better off dead or not existing.

Maybe two, Kangaroo!

‚̧ Annee