Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Disease Addendum

I feel like the post I made earlier needs an explanation.

I talked to my mother right before, and our conversation left me feeling a little bit irritated. You see, growing up in another generation gives someone a completely different view of dating and marriage, and my mom was just trying to come to grips with why my dating life seems to lag at times.

She wasn't saying that there was anything wrong with me, but after I hung up, I still felt like I had been hit by a plague. I wrote the synopsis of my "disease" - singleness - and posted it in a desperate attempt to find a cure.

It turns out that the only cure is time, and I'm willing to wait as long as I need to find someone worthy of my love.

So no, I'm not contagious. You needn't run away in fear. And, I most likely won't bite... unless provoked (just kidding). I'm completely happy the way I am, and I'm not worried at all about the label of 'single.'

It just means I'm not planning to settle for less than the best.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here are the symptoms:

  • I dress like a girl.
  • I brush my teeth at least 2 times per day.
  • I shower... daily.
  • I usually eat three meals, though they aren't always the best.
  • I speak my mind.
  • I have an expansive vocabulary.
  • I am tall.
  • I have a broad sense of humor. Some may even call me witty.
The diagnosis:
  • I am 24 and unmarried.
There is something out of place. I can't tell you what it is, but I'm sure that one of the symptoms above is the cause of my painfully obvious disease.

Please, I'm begging you. Help me find a cure.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

i am emily.

"Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.” - Henry David Thoreau

I copied this quotation from a tumblr thread that I spent two hours reading last Saturday morning.

Tonight I watched "i am sam" while I knitted what is sure to be a magnificent creation.

And then I thought, I need to blog.

So here I am, trying to join two seemingly disjointed thoughts into a coherent post. This is the post where I once again explain the beauty that comes in uniqueness. For the past few days, I've decided to slink back in my shell. I've started apologizing for things I should never be ashamed of. I've decided that being me isn't good enough, and I've tried to decide exactly what portion I want to portray in order to get people to like a particular version of myself.

Tonight I had a phone conversation with my sister in which I explained this particular dilemma. I told her that I cannot believe that people would want to be my friend. I am never surprised when people I care about decide not to care about me, because I don't necessarily deem myself "worthy" of their love.

When she questioned my self-esteem, I assured her that I love myself so unconditionally that some might find it annoying. I think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I probably won't believe it if you think so, too.

It's an interesting paradox, and I'm not quite sure I can explain the way I feel about my professed unworthiness.

I just know that, like Sam Dawson, I am extraordinarily unique, and no one can do Emily quite like me. So, I'll continue to do just that, and maybe someday someone will understand the intensity, loyalty, and love that I have.

I think that's a wonderful choice.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

(500) Days of Me.

(The following is an extremely self-centered post. You've been warned.)

Have I ever mentioned how I want to be Zooey Deschanel when I grow up?

Well, I do.

In a half-hearted effort to be more like her, I cut myself some bangs. I rock them, and they definitely help me fill out some of the prominent facial features of Miss Zooey. Now, I just need to work on the rest of her trademarks:

First, I need some jumpers or other 50s-esque attire.

This uber-expensive dress from Kate Spade should do the trick.

I've got the bicycle, the bangs, and the guitar-playing best friend.

I could probably use some fans, or a random cult following, but I actually prefer my anonymity.

And last but not least, I'll need some signature dance moves. Currently, my style is something between the mashed potato and the jerk, but it's a work in progress.

I'll definitely keep you posted on my 500-day transformation from Emily, the quirky girl with bangs, to Emily, the quirky Zooey Deschanel lookalike with bangs.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh Life.

While I drove back up to Logan after a weekend-end excursion in Salt Lake City, I got caught in a freak rain- and snowstorm that scared me a little and made me extremely grateful for the soothing effects of the radio.

After I got tired of switching between Usher and Peter Cetera, I decided to change the station to NPR, and I drove the last 40 minutes listening to the news about Egypt, the Superbowl, and this little thing called life.

I heard Liz Murray on the BBC, and her story removed me from the blizzard in Sardine Canyon and took me to the streets of the Bronx. Her memoir, "Breaking Night," is something I need to own, and her story was exactly the thing I needed to hear on my scary drive. Nothing seems scary after hearing about her life, though.
How can someone take a set of hellish circumstances and turn them into powerful lessons of love and forgiveness? How am I so self-consumed that my life has yet to make anything half as beautiful as what Liz has made?

Coming from two drug-addicted parents, Liz spent most of her childhood watching her mom cash the welfare check only to buy heroin and cocaine. She watched her parents shoot up in the kitchen, and even though she went to bed hungry, she knew that they loved her. By the age of 15, Liz was homeless on the streets of New York City, and only after watching her mother die of AIDS was she able to take a hold of her life - her right now - and create a future different than the prescribed destiny of hopelessness.

She went to high school.

She went to Harvard (with a $12,000/year scholarship from the NYTimes, no less).

And now, she's creating a world where people can discover that homeless does not equal hopeless.

What a crazy thing this life is. I'm so grateful for people like Liz Murray, who help me understand the big picture. Someday I want to be a teacher at the Broome Street Academy, and I want to let everyone know the power that responsibility, respect, and love have on every single life.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Bridal Faire

I added the -e to fair to give it more of a renaissance feel. Did it work?

Today I had the opportunity to attend my first bridal fair. I went with a friend - who is as single as I am - and we had an overall good time seeing all of the commercialized venues for wedded bliss. Mostly, I wanted free food and swag, and I managed to walk away with a stomach full of wedding cake and a purse full of advertisements.

The best/most awkward moments came when we tried to decide what to tell the vendors, who wanted to know about our "special day." Lauren moved a ring to her wedding finger, we made up fake fiances, and we even questioned the lesbian idea for a couple of seconds. When it all came down to it, though, we decided to tell the truth.

No, we're not engaged.

Yes, we were only there for the goodies.

The looks of condescension definitely made me feel good about stealing two cakes from a couple of booths, but overall, most people were pretty nice to us. And when one lady asked me if I had a date picked out, I let her know that I did indeed, but that I was just hoping that the groom got the memo for September 14. Ha.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wow. Just wow.

I got this email today:

Dear Students,
We have two request for interrupters.
One is from the Logan School district. They need someone who speaks Mandarin Chinese. If you are interested please call xxxxxxxxxx.
Second, we need someone to help the missionaries interrupt Marshallese for a family they are teaching. If you are interested please call xxxxxxxxxx.
The Logan Institute

I responded as such:

Dear Institute,

I'm just writing to inform you that I won't be volunteering to interrupt anyone. I think that interrupting is rude, and I don't appreciate you asking us to do something so un-Christlike. Also, I can't interpret for you, either, because I'm not fluent in Mandarin or Marshallese. Good luck finding someone to do this job for you. In the meantime, I'd brush up on your fluency in English.

An Institute Student

Am I going to Hell for this? Probably. Does it feel good to let stupid people know that they should learn to spell? Definitely.

The Post-High School Dance

I'm sure this post will step on somebody's toes, but I never claimed that I didn't have two left feet.

As a 24-year-old single gal, I'm fully aware of the crazy things that young girls do for love. I've even been a victim/perpetrator of some of the craziness, but I feel that the past few years have mellowed my taste in whirlwind fairy-tales. If anything, the thought of having a chick-flick-esque romance leaves me rolling my eyes instead of swooning.

That's why I was so glad to leave the era of the high school dance. I never really loved the big hurrah that girls (and guys, for that matter) make out of an awkward evening, but in Utah it is an especially big deal. You can count on people asking each other at least a month in advance. The asking goes beyond a casual phone call and, "Hey, are you free this Friday?" No. We have to outdo ourselves, making elaborate (and expensive) gestures to let the recipient know just how badly we want to go to the dance with them. Then, we wait for a reply, which makes a three-letter word into a three-hour charade, with girls unwrapping hundreds of Starbursts just find the one chewy candy marked yes.

Gag me.

Well, I haven't thought much about high school dances since, well, high school. I thought they were a thing that I could leave in that era of bad fashion and 10:00 curfews. I was wrong.

I'm sitting in my bedroom right now as my (freshman) roommate prepares for the dance tomorrow. They're cutting hair and primping, talking about how they asked their dates and how they have yet to find the perfect dress. Her bedroom is filled with balloons, and I'm filled with sorrow at the way my life continues to mimic high school foolery. It makes me sad that she still hasn't left high school. More than that, it makes me sad that, no matter how hard I try, I can't escape it, either.

Life is so much better than those three years I spent inside the Bingham bubble. I'm so glad to be done with the dances and the drama, and no matter how much you paid me, I would never go back. I acknowledge that life will always be a little bit like that awkward prom date, but I hope that I can make something better out of my experiences than that poofy ball gown and dinner at Chuck-a-Rama.

{Even Molly Ringwald agrees on the awkwardness of high school dances.}

Suck that Marrow

"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." ~Henry David Thoreau

I stole the quote from my favorite blog. You know, the one I mention in every single post. Anyway, as I went through my daily repertoire of internet reading, I realized that there are so many people out there (and even more whom I haven't yet found/blog-stalked) who don't understand the marrow sucking process of living fully. I see countless women (and plenty of men, too) who wish their lives away, pretending that things were better in the past or that they will be better in the future. Needless to say, this empty living is the exact opposite of how I want to approach my life.

I've seen the meanness of life. I witness the cruel injustice of fate every single day, and it makes me more determined to suck the marrow of my life. Maybe that little boy in my class can't talk or move, but his eyes inspire me to live. My classroom alone holds the weight of a million unfulfilled dreams, and I'm determined to shake the dust off of my littles, and let them know that it's okay to get back up after they fall. The marrow is sweetest when you understand the work that comes with it.

My life is a tribute to all of the incredible opportunities that arise when you dream. More importantly, I am living proof that marrow suckers don't just dream. They do. It's work, and it's sucks (literally) to suck that marrow sometimes. Don't give up, though. Life is grander, more beautiful, and more worth it than anything you've ever known before.

Suck it up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Single and Snarky

My past few posts are more cynical than I'd like to admit. As a self-professed optimist, I maintain that life is only as great as I can argue it. That being said, I like to allow a healthy level of cynicism in order to gain perspective. And as of late, I think that my general angst has allowed for some deep reflection, healthy motivation, and a general push in the right direction.

I've also been contemplating where I want to take this blog. As I said in my last post, I'm not like most other Mormon mommy bloggers out there, namely because I'm not a mommy. I don't have any recipes for canning your own baby food, and I most definitely couldn't tell you where to find a spouse. So, maybe I'll market my singleness - my fresh perspective on what it's like to be a single woman in a society where you only matter if you're married.

A couple of days ago, I found this beautiful song online. Nellie McKay says it better than I ever could, and so I'll let her tell my story for me.

I celebrate and revere motherhood. If you read past the last few cynical entries, you'll find that I'm pretty much destined to be an elementary school teacher or a mom with a minivan full of children. While I understand this intrinsic need to bear and nurture life, I also fight against the societal norms that rank my worth on my ability to follow a Martha Stewart recipe.

I want to do it, have it, be it all, and in the process, I want to tell the world that I matter and that my single voice can rise above the chorus of screaming children (and their parents).

And no, I cannot stand Danielle Steel.