Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Song That Inspired A Blog Post.

What song, you may ask? Well, here it is. Listen along as you ponder my latest ramblings.

As much as I think this is a very beautiful song, it's actually quite depressing. Maybe it's because I discovered it last summer when I constantly considered jumping off the nearest bridge, but who's really to say. Anyhow, that's not the point of this. (Yes, you may breathe a sigh of relief.)

In the middle there is a lovely little part, "I've been convincing myself that I'm worthwhile, because I'm worth what I'll convince myself to be." Oh great, you think. She's going to start blabbing about how it's hard to be confident and it's so easy to feel worthless blah, blah, blah. And you're RIGHT! That IS what I'm going to talk about. Except I'll do it with a little sass to keep you entertained.

While it's almost painfully cliche to say, it is extraordinarily normal to feel a little less than worthwhile. Although you can't see me right now, it took me about 2 minutes to type that sentence. Who likes to admit things like this? Apparently I do. Moving on. Being that this is a normal circumstance it begs to question why I'm even mentioning it. I'll tell you why. Because this is Sparkle, Sparkle, dangit, and I'm here to bring joy to your lives people! At least when I'm not feeling completely self-sympathetic. Now that we've established the given (ahh, math...) let's talk about some implications, shall we? Is this getting to sound too school-y? Kind of? OK.

Listen. Here are some things that I've discovered over my short but meaningful life so far. People aren't going to buy the self-deprication. Believe me, I've tried it. Don't act all distant and standoffish - you're just making relationships (of any kind) difficult for yourself. You must exude confidence in order to grow with others. And the only way to genuinely exude confidence is to genuinely believe that you are worth other people's time. Yes, this may take some convincing yourself that you aren't in the way, or bothering people, or holding them down. Perhaps the hardest part is convincing yourself to take the first step. No one wants to take the first step. I think our generation has mass paranoia of looking desperate or needy. But somebody has to do it! And if you feel worthwhile to yourself, you'll probably feel OK offering a little piece of your life to someone else.

I should take my own advice, I know that. But I still think it's good advice. And if you don't agree, that's fine, it's the internet, anything goes, bro. But if you do, maybe it's a good day to take a little risk. Or you can wait until tomorrow. Just know that your worth does not increase over time, so you might as well get on with it, no? Let me know how it goes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forget About Your Worst Dates.

And no, I'm not talking about dates you go on. Did I trick ya? Baha. I'm actually referring to dates of the year. (Is anyone else thinking about Miss Congeniality right now? "Describe your perfect date." "I would have to say April 24th, because it's not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!") Anyways, I had an inspiring conversation right before lunch, and needed to quick share it before I get all cynical and start believing it wasn't important, as so often happens with my best conversations.

My boss was talking about his daughter, who died in a car accident a long time ago. She was killed by a drunk driver. I don't really know any of the details, but I can't imagine the pain that kind of tragedy would cause. And my boss told me that he remembered what it was like to be at her funeral, but he didn't remember the date. Because in his words, "I had to let go of it." And he was smiling as he said it. Now, my boss is one of the most compassionate, grace-oriented people I have ever met, and I can genuinely believe that he forgave the driver who killed his daughter. And he let go of what happened. Not to forget, but to heal and survive.

For some reason, this idea of forgetting about dates really stuck in my mind. Some of the harder things that have happened in my life are marked by dates, as I'm sure is the same with many people. But isn't that a sort of strange thing to do? Why would we want to commemorate the anniversaries of our dark moments? It would be so much healthier for us to let go. Sure, we might not forget the feelings we had or the surreal memories that form after so many of these unexpected happenings. But to brand them into our years like an ugly tattoo doesn't do us any good. It just decreases the number of days that we allow ourselves to enjoy life and celebrate the good.

So with that, I say goodbye to June 6th, March 2nd, January 20th, August 22nd and basically all of November 2007. I refuse to let these dates be anything but squares on my calendar.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chivalry Is Dead... Or Is It?

Let me introduce today's post with a short story. I had to go to the mail center this afternoon to pick up boxes of brochures for my art show (woo! more on this later). As I lifted the second, heavier box, I thought, "Oh. This isn't so heavy." But as I got about halfway back to my building I though, "Hmm. This is a little awkward to carry." And as I neared the front door I began to think, "Sheesh. I'm glad I'm almost back." So as I walk and the box is gradually slipping from my numbing fingers, the thought strikes me...If I were walking with a male companion, would they ask me if they could carry the box for me?

Cue deep thoughts about gender roles.

Now I know many of you have probably read that post about feminism and stuff from a while back. Just so you know, I don't always think in the context of previous posts, so if I contradict myself anywhere along the line, please forgive me. I haven't sorted out my life philosophy 100%. Anyhow, the question still stands. Who of my guy friends would actually ask to carry the box? Better yet, who would ask before I started to almost drop it? As I run guys I know through my head, I feel like the answer is unfortunately low in number.

This brought me to think of my grandparents. My grandpa is a very traditional man, and he always helps me carry things around if he can. I can imagine that back in the day, it might actually be embarrassing for a guy to be seen with a girl who was carrying a heavy load, as if he was shirking his chivalrous duties. So what happened? Where are the Ray Sloups of the 21st century? Maybe chivalry is dead.

Or maybe it's hibernating. I do believe one result of the feminist movement is the watering down of chivalry in guys today. When ladies tore off their pantyhose and sprinted to the office, I guess men figured they could open their own doors. Obviously I'm making vast generalities here, but you catch my drift. So do women have to retreat into the helpless, fragile female stereotype in order to jolt guys out of their stupor? I would say a huge NO! I'm not talking big gestures here. Sure, we girls can get into the car by ourselves, we're not idiots. But making the effort to show respect and politeness never goes out of style.

So guys, if you've survived reading this, I'm going to reward you with a secret on girls. No, I won't explain why we act fine when we're really upset. What I will tell you though is this: a little chivalry goes a long way. Personally speaking, I would much rather have a guy hold open the door for me or walk on the street side of the sidewalk than get me flowers or something. HONESTLY. With the caveat of course that the gesture is genuine, i.e. doing it one time and then never again is kind of a turn off. It's more a lifestyle thing. And guys, you always, always, always get bonus points if you're chivalrous to girls that are just your friends. Just because you don't want to date them doesn't mean they aren't girls.

So to conclude: No. I don't think chivalry is dead. I just think it's hiding deep (or not so deep) inside most guys. This is me doing my part to make the world a better place. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"I'm Flying, Jack!" And Other Life-changing Phrases.

Raise your hand if you don't recognize the picture above. Anyone? No one at all? I didn't think so. That's because Titanic is one of the best movies ever. And for anyone in my generation, it stands as a symbol of the 90s, a launching point for Leo fanatics everywhere, and a wealthy resource for dramatic sayings. "I'll never let go..." "I'm the king of the world!" "I'm flying, Jack!" And so many others.

This epic movie has been featured in several of my conversations lately, and tonight it was on television. Hello God? You want me to blog about Titanic? Well, Ok then. Here's why Titanic has a special place in my heart. Not only was it a cultural phenomenon, Titanic was a full-fledged coming-of-age experience for every pre-teen/teenage girl out there. I remember the very first time I saw the movie. Not at the theater, but maybe a year or so later at my neighbor's house. I called my parents to see if it was alright for me to watch (it was PG-13, hellooooo) and with mom's approval, I embarked on my Titanic adventure. Not only did I feel very mature watching this film about love and tragedy, I knew that I was watching love in its truest and purest form. This is what everybody's life should be like! Wasn't Rose SO LUCKY?? Sure, she survived a horrifying and traumatic disaster that left her alone in the world, but their love affair was soooo worth it. Right?

Well, I suppose that's probably what I thought at age 11. I've always been impressionable when it comes to movies. Even though you know that a movie is fiction, it's so easy to get swept away into the "what if this was my life" and "it could happen to me." Well, Titanic couldn't really happen to me. But you get what I'm saying. Jack represented everything that a girl could hope for in a man. Handsome, kind, funny, down-to-earth, willing to save your life when your ship hits an iceberg (figuratively or literally). When I catch clips of Titanic on TV now, or occasionally sit down to watch it all the way through, I don't only get a rush of nostalgia for the days of a young, dreamy Leonardo, but also for the way I was so completely enthralled and captivated the first time I watched it. I don't think I've ever been so enamored with a character or story in my life.

Titanic isn't still my favorite movie (although it's up there). But as I told my friend earlier today, whenever I watch it, there's still a part of me that hopes that Jack will survive this time. I still think it's an incredibly romantic story. And I still wish I could get swept off my feet like Rose did (albeit with a slightly dryer and happier ending.) Plus, I still think Leonardo DiCaprio is really hot. So if anyone shares my affinity for this drama, let me know. We can have a movie night. I'll bring the popcorn and kleenex if you bring your passion for Leo & Kate.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Surprise! Or, Blindsided by Life Once Again.

Who here likes surprises? I've never really decided whether I'm a surprise kinda gal or not. I like the concept of surprises, but when put into practice they're not always the most fun. I have been thrown one surprise party in my life and I knew it was coming, so that sort of negated the whole "surprise" aspect. I've been surprised with a little brother on my birthday, which was sweet until I realized that I would have to share a cake for all eternity. And then there are those pleasant little surprises of life... finding out you have a class with your friend, shockingly cheap plane tickets that let you go home, and real live letters in the mail. All of these are great fun and add many points to the Surprise Pro Column. However, there are a few BIG points in the Surprise Con Column too. I don't want to be depressing, but who likes to suddenly find out that there's no indoor pool in thier *ahemSEWARD* town? Or that your sports team of choice loses a game they were supposed to handle? Or that people are indeed capable of leaving you out of the blue? (yes, it's true.)

So there are lots of ups and downs with the surprise thing. However, lately I've had a couple of nice surprises and I'd like to share them with the blogosphere.

1. SURPRISE! I did indeed fit all of my clothes/presents/random crap in my suitcase to bring back to Seward! And I found space for all of it (basically) in my room! I'm a master organizer! (OK, this part is not surprising, but I still just get a kick out of how much you can actually put in a small space if you really try.)

2. SURPRISE! I did not find a huge stack of papers and things to get taken care of when I came back to work! Instead, I found two donations for the CLA! Holler for generosity!

3. SURPRISE! I got to take a two hour nap today! Enough said.

4. SURPRISE! It's snowing! Which is only sort of a surprise because the weather people have been predicting it for a while now, but let's face it, it's still sort of surprising when they're right.

5. SURPRISE! Turns out I might actually have a social life-ish this year! I'm very indebted to a friend here who has introduced me to more Seward-ites, which means that hopefully I won't have to feel all small and lonely in this place anymore.

So, I guess Surprise wins in the Pro Column today. This makes up for all of those dumb surprises that I would really like to return to sender if I could. Anyhow, I know that this post is probably even more arbitrary and boring than my usual ramblings, but I would just like to wish all of you a happy surprise today or in the near future. Cheers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Missing You

I guess I have a complaint to file. You see, it is my opinion that nothing going on in my life is blog worthy. When I first heard about blogs (yes, I head about blogs before I ever actually saw one) my first reaction was "Isn't that sort of like writing a public diary? Why would you want anyone to read that?!  I don't get it."  I guess I don't understand why human beings feel the need to show their lives to the rest of the world. What are you trying to prove?

So, by now you're thinking to yourself, "Devin you are the most hypocritical hypocrite that ever hypocrited." Or something like that. And you know what? You're totally right!! I won't even try to deny it. I guess the real reason I decided to jump on the Blog Bandwagon is that I am forever trying to find ways to stay in touch with the people I care about who are geographically distant from me. These days, most of the people I care about are geographically distant from me, and I just figured I'd provide one more opportunity for my loved ones to keep up with the happenings of my life.

If you know me (which I hope you do because I would really be concerned if you are reading my blog and don't know me... or Abby) then you know that I think having my loved ones far away from me is the emotional equivalent of waking up every morning and smacking my head on a wall; disconcerting and painful.

Mostly what I feel like writing in this teeny little box is "I miss you." Particularly, I would address this to Abba herself and to Peter. Of course, this is somewhat unnecessary because both Peter and Abby hear from me on a daily basis that I do, in fact, miss them. They probably hear it a little too much, and I'm sorry. I guess what I don't say often enough is that I am so thankful for the people I love and I will gladly put up with missing you if it means I get to still keep you around.

Then my thoughts turn to the future (my mom, abby and peter are likely all screaming "DON'T GO THERE DEVIN! FOCUS ON NOW!) and I think gee, I don't want to have a future where I have to miss anyone. And let me tell you, I have spent hours (mostly early in the morning when I can't fall asleep) trying to think of a way to put everyone I love in one place, and you know what? It just isn't going to happen... unless you would all agree to move somewhere with me.... !?!?! So, I am trying to make peace with the fact that I can't have everyone I love all at one time in one place. But let me tell you, brother, it ain't easy.

I know I am rambling now, but I have a point. Kind of. It's times like now when I have just gotten to spend time with people I care about and now they are all far away again when I feel really down in the dumps. All my long distance loves are back where they need to be right now and I stay here and wish I could be with them. But I am also happy. I am happy I get to be with my family, I am happy I get to have some wonderful non-long-distance friends, and I am happy I have such wonderful people to miss.

So that's it, bloggy world. I just poured my guts out to you. I don't know if that is even interesting for anyone to read, but you know what? It's my public diary, and I'll cry if I want to.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's: An Interpretation.

Do you ever have those dreams where you sort of float outside your body and watch yourself doing something? Is that "doing something" ever "being deceased?" No? Maybe it's just my subconscious that's morbid and twisted. But it's true. I did have a dream last night that I was looking at my dead self laying on the floor of my living room. I wasn't too bothered by the entire situation until my poor little self started to breath. Naturally, I freak out (as if just having two me's isn't weird enough already) and stare in horror as the me-on-the-floor starts to open my eyes, shift my shoulders, turn my head. It was like a freakin' zombie film. I'm really starting to get creeped out here.

Then I woke up. Now. I'm not really one for dream interpretation, but I feel like it's impossible to avoid the symbolism of the dead me coming to life. Deva and I discussed this at coffee this morning and she suggested that maybe it was all about the new me waking up and starting over in the new year. This makes sense to me. The past few days have been full of a lot of thoughts about new opportunities and new starts, and I do believe that you often dream about what's been on your mind before you fall asleep. I'm happy to see that my subconscious seems to be rather optimistic.

As much as 2011 has been sort of weird so far (think unexpected run-ins, surprising conversations and new revelations) I think it's all a part of starting over. For whatever reason, January 1st is when people decide to make their lives something new and improved. It's really just another day, but it still seems to promise possibilities that other days lack. Like the possibility of coming back to life after a long hibernation. The possibility of settling into your true self after a long time walking around as someone else. The possibility of finding true joy after a long time of thinking it just wasn't in the cards.

Needless to say, I'm excited and ready for these changes to kick in. I'm not naïve enough to believe it will happen all at once, or even in the immediate future. But I believe it will happen eventually. And I'll be prepared to meet my renewed self, pass on the baton, and wish her the best.