Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Life, man

I have not blogged in nearly a year. Coincidentally, my last post was about being disenchanted with dating and it was on November 2... that was the week I started dating my now fiance, who I am marrying in 9 days, on November 2nd! Life is weird, man.

But yes, let me repeat, I GET MARRIED IN NINE DAYS!
I'm marrying a boy who is perfect. Actually, he's very much not perfect, but he is definitely perfect for me. He is shy and hilarious and so so kind. He is nerdy and comfortable and supportive. He is caring and hard working and completely ridiculous. I've never been so happy, rolled my eyes so much, cared so much about basketball, or loved someone this hard. He's nothing like what I expected to fall for and I wouldn't ask for anything different.
He loves Star Wars and Lord of the Rings maybe more than I do. He proposed to me with a Harry Potter board game, even though he's not a huge HP fan (don't worry, this will change). He knows my heart and he knows how to make me laugh. He's just one of those feel good people. You just get around him and feel comfortable.

I could go on forever about how great he is, but I will refrain. You're welcome.

What I will say is that timing is the weirdest thing. My life has been in limbo so many times in the last 5 years, so when it kind of went off the tracks and into limbo again last fall, I thought nothing of it. All of my friends in Salt Lake had gotten married and I had no one left to live with, so I moved in with my 95 year old great grandmother for an undetermined amount of time. This was strange, but also normal, because strange and uncertain living situations had been my normal for years. And that is when I met Alex.
Life is strange and unpredictable and when I met him, I thought nothing of it. I had met a lot of cute boys in a lot of wards and nothing ever came of them. When we started dating, I thought nothing of it. This had all happened before and it always ended, that's literally all I knew. I honestly think that subconsciously endings is all I expected from dating. So when we hit 6 months of dating and I realized this was the longest relationship I had ever had, I was SHOCKED. People don't date me for this long; they figure out I'm crazy and try to avoid me or I get bored and dump them, but never ever do we keep dating for 6 months.
And then we kept dating.
And then he said he wanted to marry me. And again I was SHOCKED. I always wanted to get married and find someone to spend forever with, but the fact that this real, living, breathing, awesome human boy was saying he wanted to spend forever with me... I just didn't know how to handle it.
For about 3 months he would say the same things: he wanted to marry me, but he didn't want to rush me or push me into something I wasn't ready for. He said he he was willing to wait for me as long as it took. WHAT. Who even is this amazing, patient boy. This boy who never pushed me, this boy who never made me do anything I didn't want or wasn't ready for, this boy who supports me in my career and in my dreams. I still don't know why it took me 3 months to decide that obviously this is the right boy for me.
But here we are. I'm grossly cheesy all the time and I hate it. I'm in love and I roll my eyes at us sometimes. We're getting married next week, and I could not be more excited. Here's a picture of our faces:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Disenchanted Dating

I've seen too many people become disenchanted with dating and become pessimistic about it. This breaks my little, ever-loving heart.

I am 26 years old and single. In a Mormon society that puts such an emphasis on marriage, this is a weird thing. The grand majority of my friends are married; most were married by the time they were 23 or 24, and honestly I think my friend group got married later than the average age for Mormons. Lots of my friends have kids or are trying to have kids. What I'm trying to get at is that I am an oddity being 26, single, and Mormon.

My two best friends got married within 2 weeks of each other last year. My younger brother got married a month before that, and another friend got married a month or two after. Within a manner of 4 months, I was a bridesmaid 4 times. This was beautiful and amazing and I was so so happy for them all, don't get me wrong. But that was also a very crappy, hard time.

So my point is: I GET IT. I understand the frustration with dating and the feelings of inadequacy and heart break. I totally get the overwhelming (and usually unintentional) pressure to GET MARRIED NOW that sometimes comes from friends, church leaders, relatives, or even myself. I understand how it feels when I talk to my best friends and realize that I can't relate to the phase of life that they are experiencing. It sucks and I get it.

But what I don't get is the negativity. Now I'm not here to be Miss Unrealistic and Peppy and tell you that you need to be happy and positive all the time, even when things suck. That's not realistic and I would be a hypocrite if I told you I always enjoyed dating. I have had moments when I am so frustrated and confused and all I can do is shout to the sky or write in my journal or cry on the phone to my mom and say, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?"

I have been there more times than I would like to admit, but it does not have to be that way!

Despite all of the nonsense and frustration that comes along with dating, I full-heartedly believe that dating should be a wonderful thing and no one should ever give up on it! Dating doesn't need to be stressful. It's just a time to get to know new people and see if there are any of them that you want to continue getting to know. Honestly, it is that simple.

I've seen too many friends become so pessimistic about anything and everything to do with dating. They don't feel like they're living up to the expectations being placed on them. They feel constantly judged. They get frustrated and discouraged when they get rejected or when they feel like they've tried and failed over and over. They just assume that everyone else is out on dates every weekend and they're the only ones sitting home alone.

I think the problem stems from making dating the main focus of ones life. When that is the case and when that part of their life is not particularly successful, then they feel down about everything. Yes, dating is very important and I think marriage is a goal that everyone should have, however, it does not need to be the ONLY goal. There are so many other things in life that people can focus on and improve and succeed in. I wish that people didn't make dating the only way that they gauge their personal success.

I can't really work out how put my feelings on this matter into words, but what I want to convey is that there is so much in life to love and be happy about. If you focus on the stupidity of any situation, you're going to hate it and become bitter, but if you focus on the positive moments, you are going to love it. This applies to everything in life, including dating. I have to constantly put myself in check about this because sometimes that is so much easier said than done.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Change your hair, change your life

Sometimes, when you need to make big, difficult changes in your life, you just have to start with your hair color and then work your way up from there.

I wrote this in my journal about a year and a half ago and this is a sentence that I will stand by until I die (or dye... get it, because hair dye..). I did this very thing back in December of 2014. I was unhappy in my life and I knew I needed to quit my job and move and change pretty much everything and I was intimidated by it, so I was procrastinating making the changes. So I dyed my hair for the first time in my life. It's something so simple and silly, but I did it and that seemed to be the catalyst for change. Within a month, I had quit my job and moved out of Provo and made the changes that I knew that I needed to and that I knew would make me happier.

Now I'm not saying that you have to dye your hair when you feel like something needs to change in your life, but what I am saying is that if you are not happy, you have the power to change that. Change one small thing and see how you feel. It's empowering and it will help you work up towards big changes that you may need to make.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Thoughts on America

I realize I have not blogged in ages, and I probably won't start blogging a ton after this either, but I had thoughts running through my head that needed an outlet. And my thoughts today are too long to fit into a 140-character tweet, which is what I usually do, so I have turned to the blog.

Today is the fourth of July. Independence Day for the United States of America. One of my favorite days of the year.
I love celebrating the 4th of July. My family always goes to the parade in the morning and it is a huge, fun, loud ordeal. And then we swim and play and eat to our hearts content. And then we watch fireworks. Fireworks are one of the best parts about the summertime. Overall, this is simply one of the best holidays with the best traditions.

But here's the thing: America is struggling. Maybe in my maturity I'm just more aware of the world than I ever have been in the past, but I feel like this nation, especially lately, is in constant contention with it's self and with the rest of the world. Specifically the contention within ourselves is the part that is overwhelming and disheartening to me. It seems to be eating us up from the inside. People are always arguing; not just having civil disagreements, which I think is a very healthy thing for all societies, but fights and name calling and an unwillingness to even listen to an opinion different than one's own. Sometimes these disagreements even turn to violence and that is unspeakably terrible.
It's really discouraging and heartbreaking to hear about such occurrences within this place that is supposed to be so happy and so free. I hadn't even realized it until today, but recently I've developed a somewhat negative attitude toward this country that I love so much. So often all we hear about is the bad, and I was beginning to believe it to be 100% true. While I do recognize that this country is not perfect and we have some major things we need to work on, today reminded me that this is still America. We are still so blessed to be in a country with all of the freedoms and rights that we have.

The majority of the youth that I work with are extremely underprivileged. They come from poverty situations, broken homes, and very rough neighborhoods. In my work, I focus so often on how unfairly society has treated them and how they were born into a situation where they never had a chance to succeed. I read articles and talk to my fellow professionals about how these youth are so underprivileged and lacking so much by way of materials, experiences, and finances. It's quite discouraging to realize that statistics say that it is incredibly unlikely for most of these kids to overcome the circumstances that they were born into. Most studies say that these youth will follow their parent's histories of violence, crime, lack of education, and poverty.

I could go on and on about the links between poverty, education, and delinquency, however today I realized that this is not the only perspective. This negative, static view of the future of these youths is not the only way of viewing their potential. Today I was reminded of hope and potential for the future of all of the youth of this nation.

We live in a country where it is completely possible for a kid to be born in the worst of circumstances and to eventually become anything they could ever dream of. Yes, this is difficult, and yes, this takes time, perhaps even a lifetime, but the bottom line is that it is possible. The youth of this country have the potential to change their lives and change the world. We live in a country where our destinies are not predetermined and we have control over who we become and how successful we will be. Yes, this country is still struggling and still has hatred, fear, and misunderstanding of so many minority and underprivileged groups. But people are advocating for change and understanding, because that's something we can do in this country! We are allowed to have a voice and we are allowed to try to change the things we don't like. We are not perfect and we have lots to work on, but isn't that exactly how America should be? This is a place of constant change and adaptation, and that is a good thing. And this is a place where our children have very bright, hopeful futures, and that is what America is all about. I'm not giving up on America and the future it holds for our youth, and I hope no one else is either.

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