Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jordan is cool infinity

We're celebrating our second anniversary this week.


Jordan's my best friend. He does a lot of stuff for me. He's my househusband and breadwinner. He cuddles me when I'm sad, and talks about smart stuff when I feel like it. He encourages me to exercise and eat good food even though it's not very fun sometimes. The best thing of all, though, is that he loves me unconditionally, encourages me to be myself, and supports me in the things that are important to me.

Here's to a great third year of marriage, best friend.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest post adventure!

I guest posted over at Empowering LDS Women, so you should read it. (I announced it already on my other blog, but probably not everyone reads that)

Depression. Meds? Buh...

If you've ever dealt with a long-term illness and figuring out what meds help you feel better, you know what a tricky process it can be. In addition to the antidepressant I've been on since March, I've added another one, and I've added an anti-migraine medicine. The migraine pills don't have any side effects except for making my fingers tingly, but the new antidepressant makes me so. Drowsy. When I wake up in the morning, I feel so sleepy I just wanna go back to bed! Also, all that ridiculous sleepiness puts me in the worst brain fog ever. I'm pretty bad at talking right now. Just ask Jordan. It takes me like ten seconds to respond to a question. So... my life is pretty interesting.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Everybody writes a self-serving reflection post in December. I'm just beating everybody to it.

We went to the Christmas devotional yesterday.

Proof that I go out in public sometimes. In real clothes, not pajamas.

It was fun. I liked that it was short, and I also liked that it wasn't boring. It also helps that I love Presidents Monson, Eyring, and Uchtdorf so much. I wish they could all be my grandpas.

Also, Sunday School yesterday was great because I didn't go. Heh. Instead, I sat in the gym and talked to my friend, Eniss. I consider her my other mom. She's the nicest, least judgmental, most beautiful person I've ever met. Every time I talk to her I leave feeling a little bit better and more hopeful about life.

So. This has been the weirdest year ever. I feel like I've simultaneously been doing nothing and everything. I probably attended 30% of my required classes last semester, but I've never put so much effort into getting passing grades for graduation. I still feel a mixture of pride and shame when I think of last semester. I did it. I graduated, with everything stacked against me. But school has never been hard for me. Ever. My GPA last semester is just... embarrassing.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is watch tv, but other times I feel like I'm learning the most freakin amazing things in the entire world (usually not from tv, but I do watch smart things sometimes). I'm starving for knowledge. I want to know everything.

And my Church attendance? So spotty, so unreliable, it's unreal. But I've never been more interested in the gospel, studied it with more attention, prayed harder, or searched with such intensity for answers.

And for some reason, I've suddenly decided this year to be super open with people about my incredibly personal experiences and my opinions on incredibly controversial things. 17-year-old Andria would probably have had a panic attack about that. But 23-year-old Andria feels pretty good about it.

So I guess this means I'm... growing up? Is this what growing up feels like?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What up, blog?

I've been kinda preoccupied with my other blog, so I've neglected this one a bit. Plus, I haven't really had anything to say.

Know something awful? I only ever get good ideas for blog posts in the middle of the night. And if I don't write stuff down, it's gone forever, so I always get up and write out the whole thing at 2 AM.

I watched two documentaries yesterday: one was about the food industry, and one was about the world of film rating in America. The food one made me never want to eat meat again (but I know I probably will anyway). The film rating one simply reinforced what I already knew; it's a completely arbitrary system and people should use better qualifications than film ratings to decide if they want to see something.

I've already advertised it all over the place, but in case you didn't know, I'm on Pinterest now. You can follow me, if you want.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This was a triumph

I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

So, attending all three hours of Church has been tricky for me lately. Why? Because:


  • Three hours is a looooooooooooong time
  • Migraines and depression: bad mixture
  • Church is sometimes... really boring
  • Church is sometimes... full of weird pet doctrines from weird people
  • Social pressure to make a bunch of friends is stressful for me

But! I found a great way for me to survive without going completely insane.

First, I built up my self-esteem to have some good energy before I got there. I've been practicing my driving lately, and on Sunday morning, I drove ALL THE WAY TO THE GROCERY STORE. Awwww yeah. So I was feeling pretty confident and happy with my success when I walked into Sacrament Meeting.

Secondly, I brought stuff to do in order to fight off the boredom and irritation. I did my scripture study during testimony meeting, I did sudoku during Sunday School, and I read Daughters in My Kingdom during Relief Society. I know what you're thinking: you're thinking, "Goodness. If you didn't even plan on paying attention at Church, why did you attend all three meetings?"

That's a fair question. I went to Church and stayed there because I wanted to. I went to Church and stayed there because I want to build up my three-hour endurance again. I want to enjoy being at Church, so I had to start somewhere. And for me, that meant going there with stuff to keep my mind busy. My learning at Church is no one's responsibility but mine, so I brought things to do to help me participate and learn in my own way. In my defense, most of the stuff I brought was pretty productive and gospel-related. The sudoku... maybe not so much. But it kept me from paying too much attention to That Guy in class who preaches his personal brand of Church doctrine, so it was a good thing for me. I paid enough attention to catch the occasional gold flake, so I'm good with that.

Thirdly, I didn't force myself to make small talk. I didn't obligate myself to make friends. I didn't try to meet any new people, only to forget them five minutes after Church ended. For me, that was HUGE. I stayed in my comfort zone, and the chatters chatted with their own kind. I didn't feel bad about it, either. I am not good at making new friends in five minutes. It's stressful, and I find small talk with strangers kinda obnoxious. I saved up my social energy to focus on my visiting teaching sisters that afternoon--people I actually have stewardship over, and will talk to more than once ever. 

My Church-surviving techniques did come at a small price, though. I got Looks. Jordan tells me an older woman stared at me in Sunday School while I minded my own business, doing sudoku. In Relief Society, the outgoing lady who plopped down next to me as I was quietly reading seemed a little annoyed that I only politely answered her questions, rather than enthusiastically spilled my life story. A woman lifted up the cover of Daughters in My Kingdom in order to see what I was reading (weird, right?). 

Even though there were some awkward moments, it was well worth the cost. I dealt with the stress of Church on my own terms, and I'm proud of the progress I made. And you know what? I know it'll only get better from here. Who knows... maybe next week I'll graduate to listening to the Relief Society lesson!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"

Dear readers,

I am not Dria. Sorry about that. Just thought I should get it out in the open before you start expecting cute drawings or adorable crochet projects. Maybe I'll show you some more cute drawings of my own, but that's not why I'm writing today.

I'm writing today to get some things of my chest and to give you all a little insight to my personal life. I tend to be a very open person, but I've been struggling a lot lately with some more of my myriad brain problems, and I usually like to keep those under the carpet so people don't think I'm as crazy as I really am. Today, however, you get the pleasure of peering into the mind of a man who thinks way too much and gets himself into mental trouble because of it.

My dad has mentioned that I have some genetic disposition to some form of OCD (from my mom's side of the family, of course, of course). Personally, I think I have a strong disposition to hypochondria, so naturally I started noticing just how obsessive and compulsive I really am as soon as I learned about my disposition toward it. I've recently been diagnosed (self-diagnosed, maybe?) with anxiety, and have started taking medicine for it (oddly enough, it is almost the opposite of what my ADD medicine does...). I'm starting to wonder if I'm really as crazy as I think I am, or if I've just thought myself into a psychological corner and now I'm trying to get out.

One ray of illumination struck me this morning as I watched this Mormon Message, extracted from this talk by Elder Christofferson. The first thing that struck me was the idea that Heavenly Father has a specific plan for me, and that my own goals may conflict with what I'm actually meant to become. That was what inspired me to go on from the Mormon Message to read the actual talk that it came from (yeah, I just dangled that participle; what're you gonna do about it?). As I read, well, first of all, my heart was filled with the Spirit. I did start my personal study with a prayer, after all, and I actually wanted to know what Heavenly Father had to tell me. This attitude is really what lead to my second discovery, which came, however indirectly, from the following quote (taken from that same talk, obviously):
Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations. His expectations for us are expressed by His Son, Jesus Christ, in these words: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). He proposes to make us holy so that we may “abide a celestial glory” (D&C 88:22) and “dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57). He knows what is required, and so, to make our transformation possible, He provides His commandments and covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most important, the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son.  
In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”1
Maybe as you read those paragraphs, you learned something completely different from what I learned. Good! That means you're listening to the Spirit, which is teaching you something you need to know, which is clearly going to be something different from what I needed to know. Remember that; there will be a quiz on it after class.

What I learned as I read this comes down to a few simple truths:

  1. Christ's commandment to be perfect isn't an impossible standard. It is a pronouncement of our divine design and destiny.
  2. God knows what each of us individually needs to do to reach that potential.
  3. Going to church and listening to talks on Sunday alone isn't going to do me any good at all; allowing the Spirit to change my heart as I carefully listen to the Lord's personal instructions to me while I attend church will.
  4. It's more important for me to listen to the Spirit, ponder, and allow my heart to change than it is to accomplish any given tasks, assignments, or even commandments that come from the gospel or the Church.
That last point was a real zinger for me. Blame it on video games, OCD, or the fact that my parents gave us our allowance according to the number of check marks we had on our daily job list, I have developed an extremely task-oriented approach to life. Possibly my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from having a lot of check marks on my Google Calendar, or getting a maximum number of chores done in a Saturday morning. I love feeling like I'm getting a lot done! I feel lazy if I only accomplish one or two things in a day, no matter how important those things may have been. Turns out this may not be the right approach to life, though, dangit.

I recently participated in a tournament on entervoid.com, a wonderful community of comic-style artists who help each other improve their art, storytelling, and character design skills by challenging each other to comic "battles" and then rating each other on each comic produced. I love the growth that comes from this site, and the challenge of becoming a little better each time I compete. My wife, however, gets the short end of the stick. Because of how task-oriented I am, for each of the three rounds of this tournament before I finally quit (because I just couldn't be defeated for some reason), I was so obsessed with finishing my comic that I allowed my wife to become an innocent bystander in my grand scheme. Instead of being the focus of my life (which she is), I allowed her to be a passenger in my wild ride to fame and fortune as a comic-drawing fiend. To any men who may be reading this: YOUR WIFE IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE! NEVER LET ANYTHING ELSE BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN SHE IS!

Let me clarify: Dria is, has been, and always will be, the most important part of my life. Even though I spent so much time drawing that she started feeling abandoned, I never believed that comics were actually more important than her. My problem was being too task-oriented to realize how badly my priorities matched the way I actually spent my time.

So now we arrive back at my original point: after reading just the first five and a half paragraphs of this talk (here it is again for those of you who forgot), my heart was changed completely. I realized that no matter what I do with my life, if I'm only doing things to get them done, I'll never really be happy. To be happy, I need to let go of my obsession with to-do lists and check marks, and I need to embrace becoming instead of just doing. I spent over 30 minutes reading those first five and a half paragraphs, pondering them, writing notes to myself (one reason I love doing personal study on LDS.org), and praying for personal revelation. I learned more, brethren and sistren, from those five and a half paragraphs, than I've learned from any single personal study in the past month, at least. The reason? Quality over quantity. Mind over matter. Becoming rather than doing. Esse quam videre.

From now on, instead of breathing away my days in idle busyness, I will take time to ponder, to question, to learn, to think, and, most importantly, to become what my Father knows I can be.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

... yeah, I crochet a lot

Hello, frens! Over the summer, I've crocheted roughly thirty things. That's a lot of things. Here are a few of the recenter ones:








Crochet is a good anti-depressant.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My exciting new project

I've started a new blog called Through Feminist Eyes, with the intention of helping bridge the gap between feminism and the gospel. Whether you like it or not, there are many Church members out there who are hurting because of confusing (and sometimes contradictory) ideas taught in the Church. My hope is to create a place where people feel comfortable expressing their ideas, asking questions, and seeking answers that will bring them peace, all while supporting the gospel. I know I have some cool awesome sweet feminist friends out there who might be interested in that sort of thing, so I thought I'd spread the word.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Awesome podcast

I just listened to a cool podcast about Hannah Wheelwright, the author of the Young Mormon Feminists blog. I know I have some feminist peeps out there who would be interested, so check it out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sugar and temples, mostly

Well, hello.

Things are good. Mentally, I've been feeling great. I haven't felt sad for a little while now, which is cool. I've even been feeling up to facing my fears and getting back into driving again (I drove around my block!! Wooooo!). Physically, I've been all over the map. I got a gross nasty cold, and have determined that granola, Cheerios, and Frosted Mini Wheats definitely have too much sugar for my poor little head. Sad face. But eating un-sugary cereals has made a big difference so... buh. Goodbye, delicious, sugary breakfast cereals.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming temple dedication in Brigham City. Temples are cool. You should like them.


But you don't actually have to like them. But you'll at least agree that they're pretty, right? Good.

Oh, and here's another exciting thing upcoming. Tomorrow, actually.


If you aren't watching Parks and Recreation, shame on you. Shame.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Further thoughts on women and the Church

You guys are super awesome and have shared a lot of interesting, thoughtful ideas about women and the Church, and I'm really glad. Also, I'm in a much better place mentally than I was at 2:00 a.m., so it's easier to look at a broader perspective and whatnot.

I want to mention some of the ideas that I found interesting, for the benefit of anyone who cares or has questions like I do. Maybe something will click for you!

First, I really enjoyed this article a Facebook friend referred me to. I felt validated to hear that many others feel the way I do, and I liked seeing some of the author's suggestions on how to make the Church more inclusive. It's a long article, so... yeah. TL;DR: many women feel hurt and confused about seeming inequality in the Church, and there are ways we can make it much better.

A few of you pointed out that in your experiences, women in your wards have been referred to as "President Person" instead of "Sister Person," and that your ward councils are very supportive of the female leadership and the ideas and concerns they bring up. That makes me really happy! I guess my experiences have just been a little more negative than yours, unfortunately.

An idea that my mother-in-law and husband have previously mentioned is the "women=physical responsibilities, men=spiritual responsibilities" idea. What they mean by that is this: women are in charge of bringing children into the world and nurturing them (especially physically), and men are in charge of bringing children back into the presence of God (so, Priesthood duties). I find this idea very interesting. My husband suggests that perhaps either a) women were given some sort of Priesthood authority before coming to earth, so they could "officiate" in their womanly duties, or b) women gain some sort of Priesthood authority from covenants and ordinances to officiate in womanly duties. Or maybe the "power" is something different altogether. But still: this resonates with me and feels pretty okay. (Also, this makes me wonder: is childbirth an "ordinance" that women "officiate" in? 'Cuz you can't get any of the other ordinances if you're never born, so... )

A thought that goes along with this is the "women have certain innate qualities that help them return to God, but since men don't have them, they need to learn them" theory. So, men need to serve in Priesthood offices in order to gain traits that women typically have naturally: nurturing, self-sacrifice, etc. (and, men have to receive the Priesthood for exaltation, whereas women do not). I've heard this before in Church and several of you brought it up to me. I think the idea has merit, and could at least partly explain the division. One thing I do recognize is that Priesthood holders are not directly benefited by holding the Priesthood; it is all about serving others. This does bring me great comfort.

Also: well, I've obviously never been a mother. Duh. So I haven't had any of the cool experiences related to that calling and gift and until I have fat little babies, I won't understand. Maybe I'll finally feel more valid and appreciated when that time comes. My frustration with motherhood and the Church is that people in the Church only seem to praise women when it comes to this calling, and try to make it sound like it's totally perfect and awesome all the time. Maybe it is, but it looks like a lot of poop and crying to me. Maybe that's more awesome than I've been lead to believe. Poop, after all, is one of the best words ever invented, and it's fun to use. But my point is, until I'm a mother, it's hard to understand who else and what else I can be, in the eyes of Church members. I want to do and be a lot of things, but with my current situation, I can't do a lot of that, and I often feel like I slip between the cracks and am viewed as broken or something. I want to be recognized as a full human being even though I'm not a mother right now. I want to be valued and appreciated for who I am right now.

What I really want to know is this: what is the REAL REASON that women do not (appear to) use the Priesthood on the earth (outside of the temple)? Is the reason doctrinal? Policy-based? Knowing this would help me feel so much better. It just feels confusing to me that it seems that men=Priesthood=Church leadership, when something in my heart tells me that isn't quite the truth. It's hard to perform the mental gymnastics to explain how, exactly, women are equal to men in the Church, and why, exactly, we apparently don't need to hold the Priesthood. I would love a straight answer.

I know that God loves everyone the same, and that in His eyes, we really are equal. But I feel that a lot of societal attitudes and cultural values obscure that equality for me. The Church is good and wonderful, but it is also subject to racism, sexism, and all the other -isms. I'm tired of the rhetoric that implies men are terrible people and that women are perfect angels. It hurts everyone, because I know many amazing men AND women, and many not so amazing men AND women. I'm tired of being labeled in certain ways that constrict me from fully experiencing being a human. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I shouldn't be assertive, shouldn't ask questions, shouldn't get angry or depressed. Because I do all of those things, and I know for a fact you guys do, too. How can I learn to be happy if I'm never sad? How can I find truth if I don't look for it? How can I get anywhere in life if I don't stand up for what I believe in? And I hate that men are made fun of for being gentle or kind or tender-hearted, when apparently they're supposed to be tough and grow some balls and always take charge and not act like women or else they're sissies (or much more insulting terms). Jesus Christ is the most gentle, kind, tender-hearted, nurturing person I can think of. Isn't the point of the gospel to become more like Him?

I'll quit here before I get too rambly, because I could say lots of other stuff but it might get boring and plus I've said the most important stuff. So: share your opinions, please! Tell me what you think about the position of women in the Church. If we ask the tough questions, we can find the answers that will bring us light and peace. So... ready set go!

Women in the Church

The stuff I'm going to talk about today might make sensitive readers think I'm crazy. Also, it's like 2:00 in the morning, and it's not going to be concise, probably. You're invited to stop reading now.

It has taken me a little while, but I have finally realized--and embraced--the fact that I am a feminist. The idea of promoting equality, love, and respect for all of God's children feels so right to me. But a lot of my strong beliefs seem to clash with the structure of the Church.

Let me get a few more disclaimers out of  the way, since you should've stopped reading when I told you to, and you definitely think I'm crazy:

1. I believe in God the Father and the Mother, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I believe that when 'God' is used in the scriptures and talks, it really refers to both our Parents. I believe that the gospel is true.

2. I believe in the Book of Mormon. I believe that the Church is directed by the Savior, and that He reveals truth to our leaders, and to us.

3. I believe that God is no respecter of persons.

4. I believe that most all Church members and those who identify themselves as Mormons are very good people, and have good intentions.

5. I believe that the Church is an earthly institution to spread the gospel, and because it is primarily run by imperfect humans, it is imperfect.

That being said, the Church makes me feel so sad sometimes, and the reason is that I'm a woman.

As a woman, I don't feel very valued or special. I feel ignored, misunderstood, and misrepresented. I long to be honestly seen alongside my sisters as equal to the men in this Church.

Church leaders and members *try* to value women, in a weird and mostly annoying way. We're told how Incredible We Are. We're told that motherhood is the Best Thing Ever and how we're so amazing and angelic and glorious for doing that. We're told how virtuous and pure and perfect we are compared to the women of the world, and how they're a bunch of selfish floozies.

The problem to me is that if everyone thinks women are so great, then why are we left out of so, so much?

Understand me: I love being a wife, and I look forward to motherhood. But I am more than just those two roles. Womanhood is certainly about more than those two roles, which many women, by the way, never experience.

It hurts that the leadership is predominantly male, who decide things for and about females without consultation, as far as I'm aware. It hurts that, when there are female leaders, they are called "Sister Whatever" instead of "President Whatever." It hurts that some callings are only given to men, even though absolutely no Priesthood keys are required. It hurts that we women are excluded from being witnesses or participating in baby blessings in any way (although I can see loopholes in the official policy and you can bet I will take advantage of those loopholes). It hurts that we don't talk about God the Mother; I really, really want to learn about Her and from Her. I want to learn how to be a woman from another woman.

And yes: it does hurt that men are given offices in the Priesthood, when it appears that there is no doctrinal backing for why women aren't allowed. Most of all, it hurts that no one will tell us why.

Well... that's not 100% true. Some people try. But because they don't know, the explanations fall short, don't make sense, sting. Women can't hold the Priesthood because they have uteruses, and dudes are totally jealous? Women don't hold the Priesthood because they're subject to men? Women don't hold the Priesthood because they're so much better than those gross, icky men, therefore they don't need it? Women don't hold the Priesthood because they have to be protected by others? Women don't hold the Priesthood because they're not supposed to, and that's how it will always be, amen?

The most insulting accusation regarding women and the Priesthood is that it's unrighteous for us to want to have it, because we're mothers and it's just wrong and yeah. But if we in the Church believe that men and women are striving to become kings and queens, priests and priestesses, gods and goddesses... then who are you to say that it's unrighteous to want to exercise Priesthood power? I want to serve people in a fuller capacity than I am currently able!

Speaking of a fuller capacity, being a temple worker is so fulfilling to me because I get to officiate in several important ordinances. As far as I know, one can't perform ordinances without the power and approval of God. I believe that we as women are more fully able to use the Priesthood--or maybe our Priestesshood?--within the walls of the temple. It feels so right to me to be able to serve my sisters in the temple in this way.

Here is what I think: our Church is subject to long-standing cultural values, just like everyone else in the whole dang world. I think that Jesus is merciful, and lets us make mistakes, but corrects us when we are ready for it. (... Blacks and the Priesthood, anyone?)

I also think that, perhaps, we just really don't understand the Priesthood all that well, and that until we do, we will continue to come up with confusing answers and shame the questioners for daring to ask.

All these thoughts and feelings, coupled with lingering depression and the occasional migraine makes Church attendance very painful. But because I believe that the life after is going to be so much better helps me hold on. I love the temple so much because I can see a glimpse of that.

This post, while a helpful emotional rant, is also a call to action. If you feel that women and men are equals... show it. Encourage it. Some of the things I'm going to do include calling female leaders by their titles; speaking up for women in ward councils (if I'm ever in a position to); teaching my children to respect and love everyone; giving the same attention to my future daughters as my future sons will inherently receive at Church; doing Visiting Teaching; teaching modesty in a way that isn't male-centered and female-shaming; and finding my own ways to be more involved in things. These are all tiny things. And I know I'll find more. Because by small and simple things are great things brought to pass*, yes?

I believe that things will change. If not in this life, then certainly the next.



*Alma 37:6, in case you were wondering.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Progress

My experiment is going well, and I do believe I may have found a trigger: added sugar.


I had my first migraine in about two weeks yesterday, and I'm almost positive it was because of all the sugar I had the day before. Tricky, right? So, if it does end up being a trigger, that's great, because I'll avoid stuff with lotsa sugar and probably feel healthier. But it will also be sad, because I like sugar.

Craziness: my stake was COMPLETELY REORGANIZED last weekend, and I have been moved into a ward that didn't exist before last weekend. I just don't even know what to do with that. The good-for-sure news is that we have Church at 11:00 now instead of 9:00...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm an introvert, and I'm okay

A cool person named Mike posted a video about introversion on Facebook, and it got me thinking.

When I was in high school, one of the many identities I tried on for a while was that of an extrovert. It seemed like the ideal of a good, likable, righteous person. I saw extroverts as the bright, shiny, bubbly, popular people who did cool things and were loved by all. I felt a lot of pressure to get out there and make stuff happen and be bold and exciting and be friendly and fun. This pressure seemed to come from... well, everywhere. Peers. Teachers. Church leaders. The Media.

I tried really hard. I jumped into all sorts of stuff to "be outgoing." Although many of the activities were fun, the drive to be with people and seen by people never felt all that great to me. I could pretend, but I didn't like being the center of attention. Trying to constantly keep up with social events and friends and Cool People exhausted me.

It always seemed somewhat unfair to me that the qualities of extroverts were held as the highest traits a person could have, and that if someone hadn't yet attained those traits, they needed to get on it. Stuff like enjoying group work or public speaking skillz or finding parties to attend and getting in the middle of all the action. It made me uncomfortable that I simply wasn't like that, and it made me uncomfortable that no matter how hard I tried to enjoy those things, I was uncomfortable. I felt deficient.  

I was not deficient. I am not deficient.

It has certainly taken a while, but I've come to understand myself better than ever. I'm an introvert, and I'm okay. I love spending time alone with my thoughts. Quality time alone is refreshing and energizing to me. I prefer to listen to conversations, rather than lead them. I'm not a huge fan of spending time with lots of people at once. I prefer books to parties, and spending time at home over Having Adventures.

While I have a few different theories about why I've struggled with depression, one that really stands out is feeling guilt over my introversion. I've been told so many times that my personality is wrong, and that I have to fix it. I have to anguish over making friends, and feel guilt when it takes a long time. Enjoying alone time makes me a loner, and that's bad.

Please don't misunderstand my complaining; extroverts are amazing, and I love them. But they are not socially superior, and we introverts have no reason to feel guilt over our quiet natures.

(Parents and other readers with sensitive constitutions, you are now invited to stop reading so you don't get offended by the dreadful language coming up, which would surely make you worry about my being thrust into the depths of Hell.) 

I can honestly say that I like myself, and I'm happy with who I am. I am a really good person, and I have a perfectly wonderful personality. The world needs people like me. So you know what, Society? Suck it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooking is boring

Hiya, cool people. I don't mind cooking, but I don't love it, either. I usually only cook stuff that takes 20 minutes or less to prepare. I figure that a lot of people might feel the same way; they'd prefer NOT to eat Ramen everyday, but they also don't want to roast a turkey on a spit.

So to make your life a little easier, here's a list of some of the awesome things I've been cooking lately:

Delicious onion-flavored baked veggies. Instead of cutting up a bunch of veggies though, I just used a bag of frozen vegetables, plus some diced potatoes. Bam. Super easy and DELICIOUS.

Chicken-potato-tomato thing. This was especially good because a friend brought me some fresh, garden-grown tomatoes the day before, and they were so so good.

Marinated chicken. I was surprised at how good this was, considering the kinda weird ingredients. I intend to make it again sometime.

Chicken rice soup. I used brown rice instead of noodles, since I had lots of rice leftovers. I followed the recipe very loosely in general, actually, but how can you mess up soup, anyway?

Sweet potatoes!! This is so easy to make it's almost silly to have a recipe for it. We like to have beans with this, but I'm thinking rice would be pretty good, too.

SMOOTHIES. This is my afternoon snack pretty much every day. I don't technically have a recipe for this one. I just put half a banana, some strawberries (or raspberries) and rice milk into a blender and blend. I like to use a small amount of milk to make the smoothie really thick. But maybe you're weird and like to drink fruit-flavored milk.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fer cute

Today is day three of my migraine-safe diet. It's been prooty good, although it's hard to come up with quick snacks I can eat throughout the day that aren't fruit, veggies, or rice cereal. Suggestions?

In other news, I've been further improving my legit crochet skillz. The tiniest project I've done was this little set of flower earrings; I'm planning on making other little crochet things so the earrings can be switchable.


I'm currently working on a big ol' basket. It looks weird in this picture. I'm (loosely) following this pattern, but I used t-shirt yarn that I made instead of normal kind.


I made what the interwebs folks call a boutique bag. Look at it.


Finally, I've been crocheting around the edges of GAJILLIONS of baby blankets and stuff my mom made. It's strangely addictive.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Elimination

What do the following foods have in common?









I love all of them. Also, I can't eat any of them for the next 6 weeks. Along with beef, soy products, corn products, caffeine, and sugar.

What is this madness, you ask? I'm embarking on my second attempt at an elimination diet to see if I can identify any migraine triggers. Here's how it will work: for two weeks, I eliminate all the above foods from my diet. After that, I challenge each food, one at a time, to see if reintroducing it into my diet triggers migraines. When I introduce a food back into my diet, it is only for 24 hours; after that, it's gone again. I don't want different types of food interacting with each other somehow and messing up my experiment.

I'm gonna be eating lots of fruits and vegetables for the next little while. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lately

Exciting things have been going on around here for us. First and awesomest, we get to work at the Provo Temple as ordinance workers! (Once renovations are over.) I say "awesomest" because it's a cool word, and also I've always wanted to work at the temple, and now I have my chance. It seems like you can only do it when you're really young, or when you're really old, so why not now?

Second and pretty awesome, I've been feeling normal, as in happy. I'm still not up to my former level of productivity or self motivation, but feeling so good makes up for that.

Third and sort of awesome, I'm rededicating myself to figuring out my migraines. I've had pretty bad migraines since I was about 14, and in the past few years, they've become more severe and I've had them more frequently. While the good news in the migraine department is that they aren't nearly as gross and painful as they have been, the bad news is that I've been getting them almost every day for the past month and a half, so... ugh. I'm hoping that keeping track of daily activities and (eventually) talking to a specialist will help me conquer this illness so I can have an even more normal life.

Fourth and also awesome, I really like my ward. Maybe it's because I'm more interested in socializing now, but this ward seems friendlier than the last one I was in.

I know this has been a pretty boring post, so sorry about that. To make up for it, I'm going to include some pictures of babies with animals.












Also, this:




Friday, July 6, 2012

Cool tapes

If you like learning without the obligation of homework, check out this list of FREE online lectures, courses, and other good brain food. I've already checked out a lecture series on happiness/mood disorders, and am currently watching a series on Ancient Israel. Awesome stuff! Now I don't have to worry that my brain will waste away from lack of nutrients. Y'know, metaphorical ones.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time to mow the weeds!

One of the great things about living in a basement apartment is that we get to take care of our own house! (The other great thing is having a driveway.)


For example, I spent an hour on Saturday with a broom and a hose annihilating spider webs and crushing their grotesque hosts. I felt so manly, protecting my helpless maiden from the hordes of monsters invading our castle.


The only downside to taking care of a rental home is that the people there before you may not have left you with an easy job. When Dria started asking me to mow the back weed patch, I knew it was time to do something about this invasion on our turf. So to speak.

After a little digging on the internet, I discovered two things about killing lawn weeds. First, there is a variety of miraculous products that somehow kill weeds while leaving the lawn intact. Second, pouring a cocktail of poisonous chemicals onto an expanse of tender earth can lead to clubbing baby seals. Or something like that. I didn't really pay attention to the details, but it definitely involved mass destruction of nautical biospheres.



But since the only alternative to polluting the urban water table was weeding the lawn by hand, the weed killer was my only option.



After reading several reviews online and a quick trip to Walmart, I returned home armed with a gallon of Ortho Weed-B-Gon, a pump spray nozzle, and a herbicidal spirit, ready to go to work.

I began by carefully reading the instructions, which were conveniently hidden inside of the back label:

1) Aim at the center of the weed.

2)Cover the entire plant with a mist of the spray.



Amidst the thick underbrush of weeds, I discovered a colony of snails. It was only after I had sprayed the poor creatures that I thought about how the weed killer was supposed to work:
"This product works by causing uncontrollable and unsustainable growth..."




An hour or two later, I emerged victorious, having both sprayed the entire weedlawn and realized my dream of having Popeye forearms. I couldn't move my fingers anymore. Needless to say, I decided to wait a while before spraying the front lawn.

PS--I also sprayed a spider.


Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm an English-loving weirdo

I think people may get the wrong impression of me when I tell them that I love English. They think that loving English is equivalent to loving to correct grammar.



In case you didn't know, English isn't just about grammar. If it were, I would probably suck at it, because I don't really like grammar all that much.


Don't get me wrong; grammar can be interesting and fun and lots of other adjectives people don't really believe. But I'm not interested in catching people in grammatical errors. Yes, I have pet peeves, like when people say the Bible uses Old English, or when people hypercorrect and say weird stuff like, "It was such a nice day for Jordan and I." Gross. But I would never call someone out on grammar stuff. Prescriptive grammar should be reserved for formal writing (and occasionally formal speech). The only time I'd correct someone would be to tease them, and only if they're secure in their English-using abilities. Like my smart, attractive, linguistically-gifted husband.


Anyway, I love English BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME. No, really. I know I can't persuade people on this, you included, but English really is freakin' awesome. It has a pretty interesting history, involving lots of countries with their own languages (this is part of why English seems totally messed up). We have gajillions of words, and a lot the words have synonyms, which provide shades of meaning. There are lots of dialects in English, and who doesn't like to hear a sweet Scottish/New Zealand/whatever-tickles-your-fancy accent? And I think it's fascinating that, not only do the sounds and their order in words influence the pronunciation, but the mechanics of our bodies do too, making everyone's English a little bit different. Plus, I just think it's flat-out interesting that English is structured in the way it is--we have pretty basic sentence structures, don't technically have to worry about cases, only have three moods, and don't have gendered nouns! Thank you, English!!


You probably aren't into English, even though you speak it and write it and think it and dream it. You're kinda weird for not liking your own language, but that's okay. That's why I majored in English Language and you didn't.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Take a gander at my hardcore skillz

Hello there, cool people. Since I'm an official BYU alumna now and I'm not working, I have gajillions of free time, all to myself. Aside from watching every tv show I can think of, I've been making lots of crafts.

Doesn't that sound lame? Crafts? What am I, a kindergartner? Seriously though, I like crafting, as the craft-savvy call it. Here's some of the stuff I've made:

I crocheted these slippers using this pattern. I had to do several practice rounds, but I'm pretty happy with the final result.


I made tiny books! I've always been interested in bookbinding, but never interested in spending a bunch of money to take a class/buy legit supplies, so I made up my own method.



Finally, I made this purse. No pattern, just made it up. The material is from an apron that I never wore. Aprons are weird.