Saturday, August 20, 2011

Being Right

Does someone being passionate (verging on forceful) about an opinion necessarily mean that they are the type that always has to be right?

Or does it just depend on who you're talking to?

Because some folks just don't even want to discuss things; they yield really early instead of arguing for their side.

Which lends itself to another question...

Can someone who prematurely yields, fairly accuse someone else of being the type that always has to be right?

Because if you don't argue for your side, you don't know if the other side would have submitted to your claims. Maybe they would have acknowledged the other position. Then they wouldn't "always have to be right."


Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to Work

So without going into great detail, I've been a little worried about myself lately. I've felt really despondent and depressed for a couple of months now. I have felt especially bad about myself in the last few weeks due to some situations I'd rather not have gone through.

My sadness has gotten increasingly worse as the summer has progressed. I guess I can only take so much hanging out by myself and feeling lonely. But it really has been bad. I haven't been able to find the motivation to do much of anything that needs to be done. And those who know me know that I am a highly motivated person, usually. No matter how much mental coaxing and self-lecturing I did, I literally have not been able to bring myself to do anything.

I finally cleaned my apartment last week, but it got pretty bad (for me). I haven't done any planning for my classes. I repeat: I haven't done ANY planning for my classes. I've picked novels, and that's about as far as I've gotten.

But today was teachers' first day back at work, and I tell ya, it was a serious kick in the pants. While other teachers got a lot of classroom time (like from 11:30 AM to 3 PM), this is what my day looked like:

Meeting number 1 (for all faculty) from 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Meeting number 2 (for provisional teachers) from 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Worked in classroom from 12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
Meeting number 3 (for those doing the training on common core tomorrow) from 1:30 - 1:45 PM
Worked in classroom from 1:45 - 2 PM
Meeting number 4 (for all the teachers of a student with a 504) from 2 PM - 2:30 PM
Worked in classroom from 2:30 PM - 5:15 PM (everyone else left at 3 PM)

FOUR MEETINGS?! I got not even two hours of paid time in my classroom to get things together. Wow.

I managed to get all my bulletin boards covered in butcher paper (much harder than you think, when you're doing it alone). I got some posters up on my bulletin board. I got my desk set up. I got my computer and printer networked and hooked up. I got some books organized and most of my stuff put back in its place from before the carpet replacement. I prepared my whiteboard. I got an extensive checklist made to work my butt off for the rest of the week. And probably a lot more stuff that I can't think of right now.

My car was, as usual, the last one in the parking lot.

Then I went to Wal-Mart to get myself a planner. Everyone knows this is a must-have for me. I'm feeling better already just having one.

Tomorrow will be a professional day (in which I have to be one of the teachers of the faculty) from 8 AM to 3 PM. That means no classroom time or planning with everything I have to do (and literally could not bring myself to do before now). I don't even get to sit in the bored crowd to do some brainstorming!

After many weeks of struggling to fill my time, I am now feeling terribly overwhelmed with all that I need to get done. I came home completely exhausted. I seriously sat in my chair and closed my eyes for several minutes, just to do absolutely nothing, because I couldn't.

My exhaustion today isn't even the good, satisfying kind, because so much is still left to be done. Hopefully Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will be as productive as I hope.

I need sleep. But first! dinner, a shower, baking shortbread cookies, and watching The Office.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Liberal Agenda

I was reading my Rolling Stone Magazine today while I was at the gym. I like to read about celebrities and music and the lives of famous people. I love music so much and love to know about the geniuses behind it. So I tend to avoid the politics of it and be aware of the angle of every article.

I was pretty anxious to read the one about plastic bags, who is fighting against them, who is fighting to keep them, etc. I recycle and re-use my plastic bags all the time. In fact, last time I went to the store, I brought my same plastic bags from last time to use again. I think we should take better care of the planet, and I try to do my small part.

I couldn't help but notice this graph at the bottom of the article...

Click them for full size.

I find it ironic that those things "with us" root for energy efficient cars, renewable energy, and the curbing of pollution... But those things "against us" consist of a beer shortage, someone fighting pornography, and the restriction of medical marijuana.

Really though? I just don't see how I can see things so similarly and so differently from these people. I want to take care of the planet and recycle and work for renewable energy and energy efficiency. But I also do not support substance abuse or pornography.

I just thought it was kind of interesting (and a little bit sick) that they'd be so blatant and clear about the things they are against which I consider to be a plague on society. At least they're not hiding their agenda, I guess.


I Touched Conor

On Thursday, the free concert for the Twilight concert series in Salt Lake was Bright Eyes.

I love Bright Eyes. I really do. And I think Conor Oberst is so freaking darling. I can't even contain myself.

Usually if I am not a die-hard fan who knows all the lyrics and albums, I leave a show kind of sad that an artist didn't do the songs I DO know.

My favorite Bright Eyes album of the ones that I own is I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Naturally, I figured I might hear one or two songs I could name and sing to.

But they performed about half of the album! I was so excited.

Sydnie is so cute.

They opened up with Another Travelin' Song. They also played First Day of My Life, Land Locked Blues, and Road to Joy. They played Four Winds, which was really good. Road to Joy was probably my favorite performance of the night because it was one of the encore numbers and was rock-out status. So fun!

The best part of the night, though, came when Conor climbed down from the stage into the overflow area in the front. I was all the way to the left, see?

So he spent some time with the backstagers/VIPs, touching them and kissing the girl in the wheelchair and stuff. I was seriously envious. He stood up on the stools at the gate to let the crowd touch him--the stools that the security guys use to grab the crowd surfers. This happened front and center, like these folks weren't spoiled enough. But what's this? He starts walking in my direction!

Oh man. Oh man. OH MAN! I'm excited just thinking about it. There was a stool right in front of me, so basically his stomach was in my face. Since his hands were reaching far out into the crowd, I wasn't really sure where I should touch him. That sounds naughty, but I don't mean it to be. But how was I supposed to reach up and back for his hands? So I grabbed his right hip. Then I managed to hold his hand for a half a second. His hands are very soft by the way. I immensely enjoyed holding his hand. Really. I really did. He was like, standing over me! Oh, it was so great.

I recorded a couple of songs. You can hear me kind of cursing about the stoned girl who was singing obnoxiously (and lyrically incorrectly) to First Day of My Life. She sort of ruined that one for me.

Anyway, it was glorious. The crowd was huge...

And just look at his cute bum in those darling skinny jeans...

He was a really fun performer. Did mini-choreography to his own lines. For example, for the line, "back at the car," he pointed his thumb back over his shoulder. He was very energetic. And I thought he'd be cocky, but he wasn't. And he is just so darling. This show was SO fun.

And remember... If you love something, give it away...

Skipping Beats

Since I was 18, my heart has done some weird things. My doctor didn't really listen to me and satisfied her conscience by having me get an echocardiogram, which I knew wouldn't show her anything, unless I luckily and coincidentally happened to have an issue in that small amount of time.

Six years later, with my random heart palpitations--fast beating, hard beating, skipping beating--I have finally sought medical help again.

For the past week, I've been wearing an event monitor. I have to wear three electrodes. One on each side of my chest, and one on the lower left side on my ribs.

There's two of them. Now, they don't give very thorough instructions with this thing. So for the first few days, I was wearing the electrodes in the same place. This is what happened:

The picture doesn't really do it justice, and now it's all flaky and weird, like I got burned. So anyway, I called them and they said to move it around/rotate positions so that doesn't happen. Well, that would've been helpful to know when I first called you to start this thing up.

So I guess it's constantly monitoring me. And I use the Samsung cell phone (which is huge, by the way) to report an event.

Then I have to call them to tell them about my symptoms. I have done so twice already. I had two other events, but they were very quick, and I didn't have time to push the button. They said to push it anyway when this happens because it will mark a minute before I pushed it to show irregularity. Also would have been helpful to know when I first called to activate it... Can you tell these folks don't really prepare you? I mean, how was I supposed to know what questions to ask at that point?

Some annoying things besides the rash... the pager-clip thing where the electrodes are attached really sucks... It doesn't stay clipped onto wherever I have it. The cell phone is huge. I can't wear dresses--only shirts and pants/skirts/shorts because the wires and pager thing need to have a place to hook onto. I don't think hooking it onto my underwear inside of a dress would be ideal. If I get these devices more than 15-20 feet away from each other, they start making some seriously obnoxious noises and beeping. It's woken me up while I've slept because I've blocked the signal or something. It takes time to put on in the morning. If I get sweaty like at the gym or wet like while tanning at the pool, the electrodes kind of slide right off.

Anyway, it's all an adventure, right? Something to tell the kids about. I hope they can tell me what's wrong when it's all over though, because this is quite an inconvenience.

The Wall of Cynicism

Remember this blog from a couple of years ago? I explored my path toward cynicism in regard to relationships and love. So we all know I am familiar with the dangers involved of becoming that way, and that I do not want to encounter them.

But I think this tendency has gained some pretty deep roots within me. I say this because even though I do not want to be this way, I think I am. It's no longer even a conscious decision that I make! Here's why...

I have been told by three different men in the last month the following things:

- I don't appear to have feelings.
- I am difficult to read.
- I am very reserved/hold back a lot.

If three completely unconnected individuals have made these observations about me--two of them after having spent a considerable amount of time with me--then something is obviously wrong.

Here is the thing... I move pretty slowly, emotionally speaking. I have always been this way. It takes a lot (lot lot) of time for me to get to know somebody and for them to get to know me for me to decide that it is worth pursuing a serious/exclusive course. With my ex-fiancee, it took both of us six months of being friends and four more months of in-between, kind-of-dating before we went exclusive. With a recent ex, it took four months of talking every day and texting constantly, plus three times of him pushing, for us to go exclusive. Granted, many of my relationships have begun online, so it just goes without saying that you've often got a lot of time to get to know somebody before even meeting.

I guess I like to know somebody is invested and is really trying to get to know me. And I like to really get to know a person. In this process, I come to appreciate who somebody is and start to fall for them that way. When my feelings for somebody grow, I invest more and more of myself and risk more and more of my emotions.

I don't see anything wrong with that part about me. I am not non-committal in the least. I probably am overly committal, actually. But I think the problem has come from this last relationship...

I put a lot of myself on the line this last time. I really jumped in. I put a lot of work in, and a lot of emotion. And he knew everything I had been through, and what a big step it was for me to try a relationship again. He knew what I was risking, and what might happen as a result if he couldn't give back. But then, well, he didn't reciprocate at the level I needed. Or really any level at all, to be honest. He ignored me, didn't answer my calls, said he'd do lots of things that he never did... It got so bad that I barely even shed any tears at the end of everything. I honestly just built up a lot of emotional scar tissue to protect myself from being hurt by him or anyone again.

So now, when I like somebody, I don't want to tell him. If I want to be affectionate with someone, I will not make a move at all. I make it look as if I don't have feelings. I make it difficult for men to read me. I seem to be reserved.

Recently, someone I had been dating casually for a little while (and actually felt a good connection with), told me that he just wanted to be friends. He said that he didn't feel a huge connection. And he said part of it was because of my tendency to hold back, which he had pointed out to me several times. That really bummed me out! I felt like he understood me really well without my having to say much, so I wasn't too worried about how little I expressed. I wish I could be more like Larissa in this post, where she celebrates the fact that she put herself out there vulnerably.

Here's the thing, I didn't really hold back on purpose. I just get scared not knowing what someone else is thinking or feeling, so I say nothing in case they shoot me down or don't feel the same. I don't want to be the first one to be vulnerable. It's not a conscious decision I'm making, like, "Protect yourself Janae. Say nothing." So that's why I say I think the cynic has gained some pretty deep roots--it's like I've got no control over it anymore.

I think if someone does put in the time and effort that I typically require to move forward, I will definitely be willing and ready to put myself out there and be vulnerable again.

But will anyone stick around long enough to see that? Or will I keep driving everyone away with the walls I've unintentionally built up? The walls that dictate to my subconscious what goes said and unsaid, done and undone.

I think I'm going to miss out if I can't open up a little more quickly.


Monday, August 8, 2011


So... I go in spurts of being consistent and good about my scripture reading. During the school year I'm pretty good about it because I'm in more of a routine. But I've been struggling lately.

About a month ago my bishop instructed me to read two chapters of the Book of Mormon per day, starting from the title page. For the first few weeks, I wasn't doing so hot. I had read, but not even close every day, and hadn't made a lot of progress.

I had some obstacles come up that made me realize how very much I need the scriptures, and what a strength they are to me. For the past week or so, I have been reading every day (except I forgot on Saturday, and I felt really bad about it). I am now in 2 Nephi, on chapter 5.

I have always loved the book of Ether, particularly this chapter. It's always been my favorite, with a few chapters in Alma on my favorite list as well. But I always forget (until I read it again) how much I love 2 Nephi 4, the last half of the chapter in particular. I was going to pick out my favorite verses of that part, but I can't do it because the whole thing is so amazing. It would be better to just say what I love about it in detail.

I love that Nephi says his soul delights in the scriptures and that his heart ponders them. That's what I've been doing.

I love when he says, "O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities." I can relate to this, especially lately. If a prophet of God felt like this, then I should probably feel like this much more frequently. But it's good to know that everyone has moments of weakness and despair and loss of respect for themselves. I needed this.

When he says he is "encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me," I also can relate. Temptation and sin just come so easily to us mortals, and so much more easily to me, I feel. I love knowing that Nephi felt weak and sinful just like I do.

With this verse, "And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted," I love how he changes gears. I love that he wants to be happy, but he can't because of how rotten he feels. And then he says, "Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." This hits close to home for me. I want to be happy, but am letting my mistakes get in the way. And I need to remind myself like Nephi does, that I need to trust in the Lord and in his atonement.

And then he reminds himself of all of the ways the Lord has blessed him! God has "been my support," "led me through mine afflictions," "preserved me," "filled me with his love," "confounded mine enemies," "heard my cry by day," and "given me knowledge and visions in the night-time." And when Nephi prays mightily, "angels came down and ministered unto me." His prayers are more than answered. This is something I needed to be reminded of--to acknowledge all of the the things the Lord has done in my life, and to trust in him because of it!

The next two verses speak to the depths of my soul and bring me to tears. Nephi is battling with himself, asking himself why he should be sad because of his tough times: "Why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?" Why am I feeling sorry for myself? Why am I sad? His inner conflict goes on even more, "And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?" Now it's more than, "Why am I sad?" It's, "Why have I brought this upon myself? Why have I fallen and given up my peace? This is my fault." This is so me right now. Nephi and I would have a lot to talk about.

And then he tells himself to KNOCK IT OFF! This is the best part.

"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."

He tells himself not to let his enemies get to him, to stay strong in tough times. For all of us, the enemy is different. For me, right now, it's mostly myself (and some other things/people). I should give place no more for the enemy of my soul--the natural man.

His rejoicing continues poetically and joyfully, and I love, love, love it!

"Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?"

In other words, I'm telling myself to shape up now. I'm handing it all over to Thee. You are the rock, and you will save me, deliver me, and strengthen me. "I know in whom I have trusted"--I just needed to kick myself in the pants to remind myself.

And he goes on as I need to, with a repentant heart and the desire to do right, saying his "heart is broken and [his] spirit is contrite," as mine has been lately. He asks begs for another chance and determines to do better: "O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!" I love it. He begs and begs for help, for an escape, for fewer obstacles. And after asking, he affirms his desire to follow the Lord, "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever." It's like he is covenanting here--please help me, and I promise to trust you forever.

And he closes his powerful, emotional prayer with testimony:

Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Just ask for the right things, and you will be blessed. Pray to him, and cry to him, and rely on him. The Lord is Nephi's rock; he says it three times. And he says, "O Lord," six times--he crying to the Lord with so much passion and emotion.

At this point in my life, I read these scriptures like I was struggling the same way Nephi was. O wretched [woman] that I am... I love how poetically his inner struggle is written out, and how beautifully he praises the Lord. And how powerfully he resolves to put his faith and trust where it needs to be, to get him through his struggle.

And back to the beginning... I, with Nephi, delight in the scriptures, and "pondereth them" because they are exactly what I need every day. I needed this, and so appreciate Nephi's openness and his testimony. He reminded me of what I need to do to get through, and has inspired me to have more determination.

I love the gospel.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saying No

I fear that our watered down communication methods are putting many of us at a disadvantage. Here are some that I can think of:

1. When we rely on texts and emails, we are relying on technology to deliver our messages. People seem to use this as an "out," as it were. They can pretend like they never got that text you sent, asking them to hang out.

2. We are probably all guilty of reading a text and planning on responding to it later, but then getting too busy, or forgetting.

3. The phone was on vibrate, or they "didn't hear" that they got a text till it was too late. So they just don't respond--not even to apologize for not responding.

In any case, I think everybody needs to grow a pair and just say, "No," if they don't want to do something. Here is one instance where this is a problem:

Text to friend #1: "Hey, are you available for dinner later?"
Friend #1: (no response)

So... How long do you wait before trying to find somebody else to go to dinner with you? 5 minutes? 10? 30 minutes?

Here's where the problem is exacerbated...

Text to friend #2: "Hey, wanna go get dinner with me?"
Friend #2: "Sure, yeah!"

How many of you have had it happen where Friend #1 responds after you've already asked someone else? Then you have to say, "Oh, sorry, I found someone else to go with me. I assumed you were busy."

Really? I think this all could have been avoided with a phone call.

Or sometimes Friend #1 just never responds at all, and you wonder why they couldn't just tell you that they were busy, or didn't feel up to it, or whatever.

Then of course, there's dating. Where, as Twitter member Sofifi says, "All we can be sure about in life is that it's always important not to be the first one to text."

The whole "ignoring" thing is just rude, under any circumstance, but especially with dating. Why do people rely on a lack of response to get the point across?

"Oh, I'll just ignore her, that way she will know that I am not interested." But wait! What if situation #1 above actually happened, and they just never got your text? Is it failed technology? Or is it that you failed?

Honestly, if you don't want to go somewhere or spend time with someone, or you're not interested in dating them anymore, why not just say so? Don't make a person wonder A) if you even got the text or B) if they said or did something wrong or C) if you all of a sudden think they're really ugly or D) if you suddenly have found every other individual to be so much more dateable than they are.

It's really simple. "You know, you are a great girl, and I had a fun time with you, but I think we should just be friends." Or even the less reassuring, "I'm not interested in you romantically."

If they ask why, then you can answer. But really, you said your piece, and you said it politely, and you didn't ignore the person.

Finally, texts make life too easy for people. It's too convenient and doesn't require any sort of risk. Women (and by women I mean "I") can use texts or other electronic means to be more aggressive about dating--to actually pursue men and ask them to do things. Shouldn't men be flattered by this kind of aggression? I think they should! And if they're not interested, they should have the decency to respond, since the girl's not supposed to do the asking anyway. Another solution is to just admit up front, "I'm not good about texting back." Fair enough, I will know in the future to call you instead!

Really though. People need to either communicate in different ways, respond to messages they get, or apologize when they weren't able to do so in a timely manner. If you rely on texts to communicate anything relatively important, then you accept it as a valid means of exchanging casual invitations or other communications. And if it is a valid means of communication in your world, then not responding is nothing short of RUDE!

I think I'm done with my soapbox.