Monday, April 29, 2013

Never been better or worse!

My friend 'grammed this the other day and I had her text it to me because duh.

Oh, this too.

It makes me miss NYC for a hot 3 seconds and then I remember I have this.

And things like the Torrey Pines Reserve... probably the top 3 most beautiful places in the world, which boasts a very favorable ratio in terms of hiking output (minimal) and view payoff (HUGE). My kind of hiking. The past couple years, it's become my sisters' and my default thing to do when we have out of town guests, and every time I go I wonder why I don't spend more time there since it's like 5 seconds away.

So my docs still say I'm still not doing that well even though I feel like I've never been better, and it's starting to finally hit me how much of a load I've been carrying for 25 years. It's an interesting thing to mourn a life perception you've always known, and also feel really vindicated that things will only get better somehow? Some conflict and strange optimism of the unknown complex going on.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Reading Twitter is like playing slots: addictive!

This past week highlights:

Stayed up til 3 am last Thursday morning reading Twitter about the Boston manhunt, eyes glazed over like a gambler at a slot machine pulling the lever, flicking at the screen for more text.

Fielded numerous calls and texts from my already predisposed to worry sister in lockdown. She has a friend who went to prom with the kid. Crazy.

Worked some. Rested some. I'm still. just. so. tired. all. the time and I just want a more definitive diagnosis to my "I just don't feel like doing anything most days, but I inevitably push myself, and then I get super tired, sad, apathetic and my neck hurts" symptoms than "you're just really depressed, keep taking these pills." 

Snapchat sounds like the most absolutely pointless app in the world, but it's actually SO GREAT. I never imagined the whole "expiration" factor to be such a powerful motivator to keep in touch with people, knowing they can't analyze just HOW dumb a photo is or unflattering a silly selfie.

Went to the Clippers kinda last minute. I'm totally late to the party, but am nevertheless ON the Blake Griffin crush train. Haha.

Oh! Cool story!! So my devil comp is home from the mish, friended me on The Face, and I'm freaking out about it. I mean, I still haven't even cracked open my journals since I'm expect a huge shitstorm of horrible memories. She sent me a pretty complimentary letter a few months ago, which really confused me and made me conclude that maybe she IS just that oblivious to how ghastly she is to be around. Either way, I'm scared! I've never struggled so hard to get along with (or at least, just understand and appease the demands of) someone, and when you're forced to spend 24/7 with them and there's so much pressure to love them and it gets wrapped up in Jesus-guilt like "I am a horrible person if I don't at least think she is awesome," it's compounded several degrees. I actually just started crying a little bit at the memory, I thought I was done with that, ugh. What the hell...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Reconciling the Gulag with Conference

Last LDS Conference October 2012, my horrible mission experience was still so fresh, I found myself incredibly angered and mentally combative with the approximately 4 minutes I watched and had to leave.

I found myself nervous but kinda open this time around, and then I read this post and felt heartened to know that actually, a lot of people watch it with a critical lens and this is ok, if not, the way it should be done. There is beauty in the struggle, in the dissonance. Pretty sure that's the crux of life.

I felt vindicated from my experience in the MTC (aka the Gulag/a horrid mental trip of a kibbutz/"Spirit Prison"/Concentration Camp/a coed sexually frustrated convent-monastery), when I raised a pretty provocative (by their, not my standards) statement that (paraphrasing) you have to always stand back and evaluate what patriarchy presents, as they have historically contradicted themselves and continue to do so today; this is the nature of organized religion and it's ok, etc. This proved frightening to my poor 3 years my junior (not to be ageist) teacher and he took it upon himself to chat with me for an hour privately (without my comp! I should totally report him for breaking the rules! Plus, a man a a woman in a closed door room? That's pretty much adultery-status in the MTC. ). Apparently, having anything but an akin to Deity view of the Lord's anointed is "scary." Direct quote. I remained unchanged in my opinion (I guess it's an opinion? But I was raised to critically think and ask questions, this is not wrong....?) and resigned myself to counting down the days in "Spirit Prison" with increased misery and urgency.
(Not to mention, I felt a little offended that the "class time" essentially comprised redundant primary lessons- Dude, I have been through 24 years of this curricula (more than you!)! I actually went to seminary and out of teacher-ly respect and general interest in learning, stayed awake!)
At the MTC, I actually begged to go to Spanish classes (so I could at least engage my mental faculties somewhat), but of course they turned me down hahaha.)

I had a set of insane out of body promptings that I was supposed to be out here, surely that first of many transcendent "wow it all makes sense this is so amazing i love missionary work so much this is the best thing EVER!" experiences would come soon. Spoiler alert: it didn't.

Once again, The Bubble brought out the worst (most resourceful/clever?) in me- I tuned out "class time" as much as I could to write letters to people, the best thing I could do to outlet my stifled creativity and anger, to write with different audiences in mind. This angered the same aforementioned "teacher" because sure, it was disrespectful. But he hadn't done anything to merit my respect anyway. Eye for an eye. ;) And when the 8+ hours of daily "instruction" is not even scripture study but rather surface level pre-fixed skimming for sunday school answers to Preach My Gospel exercises and your questions are answered with discontented variations of "it's not important," and we need to, instead, for the millionth time rehash 'the importance of The Spirit in teaching,' I didn't know what else to do. It's enough to make banging your head against the wall for 8 hours a very attractive option.

I guess I was being primed for the shock of having a BEYOND crazy cold rigid first comp (and Mission President's pet) in the field who would regularly check my subject comprehension, and would say my answers were "wrong" if they weren't verbatim out of preach my gospel. She'd also get visibly distressed when we were a minute off-schedule, among other really endearing qualities. I DIGRESS.

Anyway, I liked the session or two I watched last weekend, especially Uchtdorf (I just love the guy for the love of humanity and sympathy for human struggle he emanates) and Holland (the visual of Abraham taking Isaac to the alter to be sacrificed was powerful. I thought of what Abraham's thought process might have been, like This. is. absolutely. crazy. illegal. punishable by law. immoral. Is this just all in my head?! And even how uncouth his thoughts might have been- like Why is God f*$%ing with me like this?! Because I'm lying if I haven't had this thought, recurringly, the past year, even while a missionary).
My sister raised her annoyance at the unflagging conservative hard-coreness that is Boyd K. Packer and his distaste for all things tolerant, and my mom and I expressed that you really can just toss some things out and tune into others more intently. I came back to my personal conclusion that faith is an organic, multi-layered struggle, more beautiful and admirable than blind acceptance of things said by one individual. Provocative, I know. ;)

RIP Maggie T

I feel some shame that my interest was really piqued in Baroness Margaret Thatcher by the movie The Iron Lady. I am not excellent at movie watching- I have all the unfortunate characteristics of a Gen Y attention span and it takes a lot to keep me engaged - but I found it incredibly compelling and just the right balance of freneticism and stillness. 

I'd always knew who she was roughly but wrongfully assumed she'd been born into a legacy of politicians of some old conservative London family. Not realizing how much she overcame to reach such unprecedented success (daughter of a grocer in the humble countryside), I was drawn to her epic story of rising above so many classist and sexist barriers. She may not be your political cup of tea, but I don't there is any fair-minded person who wouldn't acknowledge that she was undoubtedly formidable in a very interesting time in history, on the heels of monumental womens' social change and in the concluding years of the Cold War, to name a couple.

Others I know call the movie's back and forth to the present "declining Margaret" disrespectful to her legacy. For me, it touched a meaningful chord- my own grandmother, an intelligent feminist trailblazer in her own right, had declined pretty identically.  

I think in years preceding my feminist pseudo-awakening of the recent present, I had a lot of misdirected anger and confusion, so I am grateful to the many resources available, which avail me to learn and dig a progressively deeper well of gratitude for women like Thatcher who continue to empower women with their courageous legacy. 

Here's a quote I read of hers the other day. Truly, it's impossible to please everyone, and sometimes you gotta stick to your guns. Rock on, Maggie. 

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."