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I'm Kyle, and I forget when I start my laundry. Also, I am a small human being and apparently a college student. I laugh a lot - usually in my brain, and usually when nobody else laughs. Oh, and I've probably consumed more Skittles than any other human being on planet earth.
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Liebster Award

Monday, September 30, 2013

So apparently the Liebster Award is a thing, and approximately exactly one month and some days ago, I was nominated. Thank you, thank you. Now, being nominated for an award you've never heard of may not seem like a very big deal to you - especially considering the fact that all you have to do to 'win' the award once you're nominated is accept it, and all you have to do to accept the award is create a blog post - but stop being such a negative nancy and raining on my parade while simultaneously stealing my thunder! I've never been nominated for a thing before - I feel like my entire life has been preparing me for this moment, and I intend to think too highly of myself as a result!

My nominator is a famous lady you've probably heard of before (because she's famous) and let's just be honest - you wish you were as cool as she is. She is the world's fastest woman, the biggest Jazz fan on the planet, and just a wonderfully kind and determined person. She is Brooke, and her blog is here - visit it!

Now, back to this award - I don't know what it is, so I'm copying Brooke's description which she copied from Lindsay (who will soon no longer be in the country - missions and such..), which I assume Lindsay copied from someone else, because nobody seems to actually understand where this award comes from... The point is, read this and you'll understand Earth's greatest mysteries:

This is an award given to up-and-coming bloggers with under 200 followers.  You are nominated by a fellow blogger, and once you accept the award, you do the following in a post:

//Answer the 11 questions that the nominator gives you.
//Post 11 facts about yourself.
//Nominate a few other bloggers for this award.
//Make up 11 questions for those bloggers to answer.
//Thank your nominator, and let your nominees know that they've been nominated by you.

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty....

1. What is your favorite sport? Why?
I am an avid sports lover. Just a little something about me. I'm not good at any sports, but I like them so much that I can even watch tennis and golf. One time I watched Olympic walking. Feel free to re-read that last sentence - there's more to digest there than meets the eye. (Ok, I'll break it down for you - there is such a thing as Olympic walking. Somebody gets a gold medal for walking. Like..somebody makes money, and makes it their life work, to do the same thing that gets you to class and/or work each day. They just do it faster than you do. And I watched it. On purpose. Like..I turned on the television to watch the Olympics, realized the only Olympic event that was on was walking, and I sat down on the couch and watched it anyway. Until the end of the race. This is a thing that really happened in my life.) So, this is a tough question, because I have a lot of favorites.

But, my very favorite sport is actually soccer. Why, you ask? Er...Brooke asks? Because it is beautiful. Each goal is a combination of random happenstance, loads of luck, stars aligning (ish) and often (but not always, if I'm honest) incredible amounts of skill, precision, timing, and finesse. The sport is almost impossibly difficult to play at a high level, the gameplay is (ideally...if you can avoid pansy flop artist/drama queens) (sorry if the term 'drama queen' is offensive) near non-stop, and when things go right, the sport is completely mesmerizing.

2. What is one dream you have on your bucket list? Are you working on doing accomplishing that dream?
(I'm changing your words Brooke, I hope that's ok...)

In pondering my answer to this question, I keep getting confused between my dreams and my bucket list - some things are on both lists, some things are only on one. So, a bucket list specific dream of mine is to go BASE jumping. Seriously, I just think it'd be so much fun. Am I working towards this in any sort of measurable way? Well....no, not at the moment. Lame, I know.

3. Favorite 2 songs right now?
To be honest, my two favorite songs at the moment are both spoken word poems by Shane Koyczan, the first being "This is My Voice" and the second being "Help Wanted." Also, "Apology" and "To This Day." I really love his poetry, it's moving and powerful and insightful and great. Also, in the spirit of honesty, sometimes it's a little vulgar (there's a good chance "Help Wanted" drops the dreaded 'f-bomb' a couple times as does "Apology"...feel free to judge me). You should give him a listen - it's good stuff.

Now, if poems don't count as songs, my two favorite songs at the moment are "Taxi Cab" and "Car Radio" by Twenty One Pilots.

4. What was your first job?
Does farming count? If so, I was definitely a miniature farmer as a child - helping my grandparents with their cows and picking up sticks at the farm. My first job which earned me a paycheck was cleaning grocery store floors after the stores had closed. I don't really remember how it happened, but suddenly these people I'd never met wanted me to go work for them, so I did. If a person offers me a paycheck, I'm pretty much just going to say yes..

5. Beach or Mountains? Why?
If I would have answered this question a week ago, I would have said mountains without having to think twice. The beach doesn't really interest me - I don't like swimming, I don't like cold water, I don't like seeing people who are too proud of their flabby bodies, and I don't like places where people go to be seen. However, I basically almost died in the mountains recently, so now I choose......living room couch. Never leaving it again.

But for real, give me the mountains. I love amazing views, I love camping and four-wheeling, and just getting away, and I love the fresh air and wildlife that you find in the mountains.

6. What is something you've learned the last year that you think would be helpful for others to know too?
It's not about you. This is a lesson I've learned many times, and not just within the past year, but it has been made clear to me once again, and it's a crucial lesson to learn. It's not about you, get out of the way. Keep your eyes peeled for a future post dedicated to this idea.

7. What is one of your biggest fears (that you're willing to share)?
Spiders and failure. Not like, 'I didn't do very well on a test' failure, but 'I completely failed at life and am now alone and living on the street' failure.

8. What is a pet peeve of yours?
Eating noises! AAAAAHAHHHHHHH!!!!! Also, dirty dishes, and open cupboards, and time left blinking on the microwave, and feet, and un-flushed toilets, and water on the bathroom floor, and slow drivers, and overly fast drivers, and scooters (you are not a motorcycle, get off the road!), and loud talkers, and too long text conversations, and..............I think I just got carried away a little bit. The question asked for one, I don't know what happened. Another pet peeve? People who can't answer a question correctly..

9. What is your favorite thing to do when you have free time?
Nap! I'm actually skipping nap time for this little award, so.....you're welcome. This is a great personal sacrifice.

10. What is your favorite restaurant?
Um....every restaurant? Let's see....54th Street Bar and Grill, HuHot, Jade Mongolian BBQ,  5 Guys, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cafe Rio, Chipotle, Jeffersons, Rocky's Place, Rockin' Robbies, Wendy's, The Grill, El Azteca (newest addition to this list) and on and on....

Or any restaurant that serves tater tots.

11. Why do you have a blog?
Because I like to write and I like to rant.

And because I'm not very good at being open with people, therefore most people only see one side of me - a sarcastic, mostly indifferent, and sometimes quite silent side, and I thought blogging would give me an opportunity to introduce a different side of myself to people. Or something along those lines.

11 Facts About Me

1. I once bit off a piece of my tongue. I'm pretty cool...

2. I really dislike the sound of my voice (I've been told I sound like Kermit the Frog and I don't disagree..), but it's the only one I've got so I use it anyway.

3. I have a bald spot. It will be the cause of my death, I'm sure of it.

4. I am seven years old. Also, I am seventy-eight years old. It's confusing.

5. I have eaten more Skittles than you.

6. I love cool views, and empty stadiums.

7. I want to go boating always.

8. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Gospel is extremely important to me, and although I make plenty of mistakes and fall short of the person I should be, it gives me hope and helps me improve.

9. I once stood on my head for over eight minutes. That was pretty much the high point of my life.

10. Sometimes I communicate with squatches.

11. I want nothing more than to be Ron Swanson.





So now we're at the point in this Liebster Award acceptance letter/blog post (I just spelled post 'poast' and now I'm craving roast) where I list the newest nominees. Yippee!

The nominees are:


(A quick note to you three nominees - If you don't like my questions, because they're dumb, just make up your own questions and answer those. I won't be offended. Or don't accept this award. I still won't be offended.)

Questions for the Nominees

1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

2. Mayo or Miracle Whip?

3. If you were a ninja, and the ninja suit company was out of black ninja suit fabric, what color would your ninja suit be?

4. What is your favorite quote? Why?

5. Favorite place on planet earth? Why?

6. Favorite tv show of all time? Why?

7. Did you read "Choose Your Own Adventure" books as a child? If so, did your adventure always end up with you dying?

8. What is your favorite book?

9. Favorite way to waste time?

10. Favorite Disney princess?

11. Biggest irrational fear of your childhood? (Mine was Leprechauns...so scary!)




So there you have it, the Liebster Award. Thank you Brooke for nominating me, I felt so honored. I've never really won anything before.


The End.

Stop Being Modest For Me

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wait!

Please, hear me out.

I do not mean to suggest that you ought to stop being modest - I don't mean that at all, in fact. I mean only to suggest that perhaps our stated reasons for modesty could use a slight adjustment.

If you spend any time on the internet, in particular facebook and twitter, odds are you have read a certain blog entry dealing with 'the bikini question' that has been shared and re-shared many times, and you have likely seen a video quickly chronicling the history of swimwear. I have both read the blog entry and watched the video, and I have to be honest, I do (slightly) take exception with both of them. Not only with these two pieces of social media gold, however, but with a common theme running throughout the cries for modesty we hear today.

Now let me explain.

In both of these pieces (I will draw mainly from these two sources, but like I mentioned above, the same idea is prevalent in many calls for modesty) the idea is presented that women should dress modestly because of, or on behalf of, men. That if a man sees a woman who is scantily clad, she instantly becomes nothing more than a tool in his eyes, that a man looking at an immodest woman sees an irresistible piece of chocolate cake, as it were. In fact, it is suggested that these tools, or pieces of cake, haunt men and completely rob them of their ability to function, to think coherently and decently, to sympathize with another human being, and to resist what is obviously a terrifyingly powerful temptation. Perhaps I'm being a little hyperbolic, but you get the idea - a man who sees a certain amount of a woman's skin can no longer control his thoughts, and no longer sees the potential for greatness in that woman.

Listen, some of you already know this, but I do not think highly of male-kind as a whole. I just don't. I think males, in general, are chauvinistic, overly proud, unsympathetic, unfailingly narrow-minded, and typically quite selfish. I would even agree that guys, too often, do see girls as tools, as something to be used - as a means, simply, to personal satisfaction.

However, I will now defend them (us), if only slightly, and if only for a moment.

The study referenced by Jessica Rey in her video is, as she mentions, a study performed by Princeton University - a prestigious institution, to be sure. This is part of National Geographic News' explanation of the study: "Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up." And "some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another's intentions."  What is glossed over in most (if not all) of the explanations of this study is that the 'scantily clad women' in these photographs are positioned in such a way that their heads have been cropped out of the pictures, or digitally removed. Let's just be honest with ourselves for a moment - it's much more difficult to ponder a person's intentions or emotions when they don't have a face. It's also quite easy to remember a picture of a person without a head. In presenting the results of this study, Susan Fiske, a Princeton professor, said "This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses." In other words, if you present an image designed specifically to provoke a certain response from a man, the image will do exactly what it was designed to do. Imagine that.

I should mention, though, that my real issue isn't entirely with this study, although I do think it was set up in such a way that the researchers would inevitably find the result they were looking for (as most studies are). It's right - men often do see women in ways such as these - the thing is, a man who thinks (or reacts) like this, will usually do so whether the women around him are scantily clad or fully clothed. I believe a man who doesn't respect a woman who is dressed 'immodestly' won't truly respect a woman who is dressed modestly, so this study, in many ways, becomes unnecessary. The author of "The Bikini Question", Rachel Clark, wrote, in describing one of her reasons to avoid a bikini, "I don’t really want a guy to look at me and notice me for my butt, upper thighs, or chest." Well here's the thing - a guy who will notice you for your butt, thighs, and chest when you wear a bikini, will notice your for your butt, thighs, and chest in no matter what you're wearing. When a guy sees women in this way, it's typically an all-the-time thing.

My issue is this - men need to be responsible and accountable for their own thoughts and actions. The fact that women are taught and instructed to dress modestly for, or because of, the men around them is a bit disheartening. 

To the men - It is time for us, no matter who we are, where or what we've been, to be better, and to hold ourselves to a higher standard. It is never acceptable to view a woman as an object, and it is never acceptable to live in such a way that the women around us expect us to view them this way. Understand who you are, and who the women around you are, and act accordingly. Be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you are today - it's a process, improvement is, but clearly it's a process worth undertaking. Be responsible, be accountable, and stop living in such a way that the women around you feel that they need to protect you from yourself. Know that the women you meet throughout your life are capable of incredible things - greatness - and see it in them.

To the women - don't be modest for me, you shouldn't have to. Be modest for yourself, for your family, your beliefs and your values. Be modest because you feel, deep down, that you should. Understand that you are capable of much more than being looked at. Please don't assume that every male sees you as a piece of cake, and please don't compare your body to a piece of cake in the first place. Know that you are not in charge of keeping another person's emotions in check. Expect the men around you the be responsible for their thoughts and actions, to treat you with respect, and to help you aim higher, and accept nothing less. Remember that you are capable of greatness - see it in yourself.

This post is an attempt to address a very complex issue (more complex than we realize), and therefore, inevitably, is quite incomplete. The topic of modesty will continue to be discussed and dissected, but that discussion likely will not continue here, because I obviously have no authority on the matter - I'm just a random fella who likes to stand on a soapbox from time to time.

I believe in being modest, and I thank those of you who have dressed modestly, at least in part, on behalf of the males around you - I just wish we didn't put you in that position in the first place.







p.s. the link above brings up interesting points in the modesty discussion, and is worth considering (it's also well written and intelligent, unlike my rambling post...). Sometimes labels, even positive ones, can be damaging. I have not intentionally promoted damaging labels in this post, although I may have done so. Being modest is surely different to different people, and I've thrown it around as a blanket term throughout this post....sorry about that.

p.p.s. I probably sound really hoity toity throught this post, sorry about that too. I realize I am an extremely imperfect person, although it probably doesn't sound like I realize this fact in this post, and know that I too have to improve and become better - I don't mean to seek to set myself apart from the rest of male-kind, I'm an idiot from time to time too!







Guest Post 2.0!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

(This guest post comes courtesy of my dear friend Chelsea, or, as my phone calls her, Chelsea Is The Best Ever. Quite the name, right? Chelsea is an amazing person and a great friend, and was kind enough to accept the invitation to be a guest blogger, and for that, I am grateful.

Once again, this is her chosen topic - I hope you enjoy it!)






So this is my very first blog post…ever! So no judgment, please! First off, I would love to say that Kyle is the best guy friend I've ever had (till my husband comes along at least)!! He is such a fantastic guy and some girl will be very lucky someday! I know he hates when people write about him so that’s all I will say on the matter. So here it is…Life is an interesting idea. I have been alive for 24 years and I have not even come close to understanding the way God works; he definitely works in mysterious ways, that’s for sure! I would like to say I am a put together person and very independent which is why I have needed some humbling experiences in the past few months. Whenever trials come upon us, I feel like we usually ask why it is happening to us? That has been happening ever since I moved to Salt Lake. Life is hard, I already knew that but working through your trials is a perfect way to show Heavenly Father how much faith you really have when it comes down to it. I try to be the best I can be even when I’m not going through tribulation but I can become complacent and that is usually when we are tested. Staying close to God can be difficult when everything is going well in your life. Everyone goes through trials; it is how we deal with it that sets us apart. Luckily, I was able to get over my pride during these trials and know that everything would work out. It took me a while to get to that point though, even when I knew God was there for me every step of the way. I always keep that in mind, but it doesn't stop you from becoming depressed. There were times when I would just want to move home to Oregon so I could get away from everything; it was rough. I never really showed to anyone how I was truly felt because I tried to stay happy and not let myself get down; but Satan works harder when we are in our low points to make us feel terrible about ourselves. I must admit…it worked at times. I thought of myself as stupid and worthless sometimes, even though everyone told me I wasn't. Only you can decide your feelings, whether good or bad! When I was feeling down one day, I started looking through some papers on my desk and came across two quotes that really hit me. It said, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted.” -Orson F. Whitney and, “Enduring adversity is not the only thing you must do to experience a happy life. How you react to adversity and temptation is a critical factor in whether or not you arrive at your own ‘happily ever after.’” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf. After reading those, I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. I knew that with faith and staying strong to the things I know are true, everything would end up the way it is supposed to. I still have my doubts obviously, even though I shouldn't but things have been going more my way lately so that is always a plus So what I’m getting at is to never give up, endure to the end and you can have your own happily ever after! Even if it may not be exactly what you wanted, you will find that whatever happens is the best thing for you.

Once more - Dear Wife-to-be

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Listen, there aren't many things I enjoy more than a good letter. I like writing them and I like reading them. Usually, of course, when I write a letter I know who I'm writing to - makes sense, right? But, on a few occasions, I've written letters to an unknown recipient. These letters are addressed to my future wife, but I obviously don't know who that is. I'm not at all sure why I felt the need to write them, but I felt it, so I wrote them. This isn't the first of these letters that I've posted, but it will be the last. I'm posting it for two reasons - 1) It's the last day (last minute, in fact) of the month and I haven't posted anything yet, and 2) To hold myself accountable to what I've written.

So, while sharing these letters with you may defeat the purpose of writing them, I'm sharing them anyway. Read them if you'd like, scoff at them if you'd like, ignore them if you'd like - lots of options!





Dear Wife-to-be,

I am a work in progress.

This is no secret, of course, but I thought you should hear it from me before discovering this fact for yourself.

I will make mistakes, I'm sure of that. There will be times when I don't know what to say, or how to say it. There will be times that I say too much, and times I don't say enough. I am a work in progress, and at times, it seems, progress is slow - but I won't stop, I can promise you that.

I want you to know this as well - I believe.

I believe in laughter. I believe in happiness, and magic. I believe in dreams. I believe in love.

I believe in you.

I believe in you, in your happiness, and in your dreams. And I can't wait to hear all about them.

So please, tell me. Tell me your dreams, and let me help you with them. Tell me your deepest fears, and your greatest joys. Tell me about the happy times, and the sad times; the good days and the bad. Tell me what matters most to you, and what you hold most dear. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes your day?

Will you dream with me?

It doesn't matter so much, to me, where you are right now - I know you're where you ought to be. What matters to me is that you're happy, and that, when we find each other, we're ready. So brace yourself - be prepared to laugh, to shake your head, to wonder and to wander; be prepared to cry, to try, to look a little foolish, and to be so happy it almost seems unfair.

Prepare now, because once we find each other, things just won't be the same. And I look forward to that.

You will change my life - of that I am certain, and for that I am grateful.

I simply adore you.





To This Day

Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm short on words and short on time, so this post is not really written by me. It's simply a poem by Shane Koyczan. I saw this video, like many of you probably have, and I loved it. Great message, great poem, great animation. Read the poem or watch the video, or both, and then, if you have the time, feel free to check out more of his work. It's impressive to me, you may or may not feel the same way. Enjoy!


When I was a kid
I used to think that pork chops and karate chops
were the same thing
I thought they were both pork chops
and because my grandmother thought it was cute
and because they were my favourite
she let me keep doing it
not really a big deal
one day
before I realized fat kids are not designed to climb trees
I fell out of a tree
and bruised the right side of my body
I didn’t want to tell my grandmother about it
because I was afraid I’d get in trouble
for playing somewhere that I shouldn’t have been
a few days later the gym teacher noticed the bruise
and I got sent to the principal’s office
from there I was sent to another small room
with a really nice lady
who asked me all kinds of questions
about my life at home
I saw no reason to lie
as far as I was concerned
life was pretty good
I told her “whenever I’m sad
my grandmother gives me karate chops”
this led to a full scale investigation
and I was removed from the house for three days
until they finally decided to ask how I got the bruises
news of this silly little story quickly spread through the school
and I earned my first nickname
pork chop
to this day
I hate pork chops
I’m not the only kid
who grew up this way
surrounded by people who used to say
that rhyme about sticks and stones
as if broken bones
hurt more than the names we got called
and we got called them all
so we grew up believing no one
would ever fall in love with us
that we’d be lonely forever
that we’d never meet someone
to make us feel like the sun
was something they built for us
in their tool shed
so broken heart strings bled the blues
as we tried to empty ourselves
so we would feel nothing
don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone
that an ingrown life
is something surgeons can cut away
that there’s no way for it to metastasize
it does
she was eight years old
our first day of grade three
when she got called ugly
we both got moved to the back of the class
so we would stop get bombarded by spit balls
but the school halls were a battleground
where we found ourselves outnumbered day after wretched day
we used to stay inside for recess
because outside was worse
outside we’d have to rehearse running away
or learn to stay still like statues giving no clues that we were there
in grade five they taped a sign to her desk
that read beware of dog
to this day
despite a loving husband
she doesn’t think she’s beautiful
because of a birthmark
that takes up a little less than half of her face
kids used to say she looks like a wrong answer
that someone tried to erase
but couldn’t quite get the job done
and they’ll never understand
that she’s raising two kids
whose definition of beauty
begins with the word mom
because they see her heart
before they see her skin
that she’s only ever always been amazing
he
was a broken branch
grafted onto a different family tree
adopted
but not because his parents opted for a different destiny
he was three when he became a mixed drink
of one part left alone
and two parts tragedy
started therapy in 8th grade
had a personality made up of tests and pills
lived like the uphills were mountains
and the downhills were cliffs
four fifths suicidal
a tidal wave of anti depressants
and an adolescence of being called popper
one part because of the pills
and ninety nine parts because of the cruelty
he tried to kill himself in grade ten
when a kid who still had his mom and dad
had the audacity to tell him “get over it” as if depression
is something that can be remedied
by any of the contents found in a first aid kit
to this day
he is a stick of TNT lit from both ends
could describe to you in detail the way the sky bends
in the moments before it’s about to fall
and despite an army of friends
who all call him an inspiration
he remains a conversation piece between people
who can’t understand
sometimes becoming drug free
has less to do with addiction
and more to do with sanity
we weren’t the only kids who grew up this way
to this day
kids are still being called names
the classics were
hey stupid
hey spaz
seems like each school has an arsenal of names
getting updated every year
and if a kid breaks in a school
and no one around chooses to hear
do they make a sound?
are they just the background noise
of a soundtrack stuck on repeat
when people say things like
kids can be cruel?
every school was a big top circus tent
and the pecking order went
from acrobats to lion tamers
from clowns to carnies
all of these were miles ahead of who we were
we were freaks
lobster claw boys and bearded ladies
oddities
juggling depression and loneliness playing solitaire spin the bottle
trying to kiss the wounded parts of ourselves and heal
but at night
while the others slept
we kept walking the tightrope
it was practice
and yeah
some of us fell
but I want to tell them
that all of this
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself
you signed it
“they were wrong”
because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a clique
maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
to show and tell but never told
because how can you hold your ground
if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
you have to believe that they were wrong
they have to be wrong
why else would we still be here?
we grew up learning to cheer on the underdog
because we see ourselves in them
we stem from a root planted in the belief
that we are not what we were called we are not abandoned cars stalled out and sitting empty on a highway
and if in some way we are
don’t worry
we only got out to walk and get gas
we are graduating members from the class of
we made it
not the faded echoes of voices crying out
names will never hurt me
of course
they did
but our lives will only ever always
continue to be
a balancing act
that has less to do with pain
and more to do with beauty.

I Got Nothin', I'm Too Tired: A Blog Post

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


(Listen, here's the thing - the month ends tomorrow, and tomorrow starts in seven minutes. I have been focusing pretty intently on school as of late [just survived another semester. word.], which has led to a significant lack of potential blog topics. Now, I realize this is a rarely read blog, and nobody has actually noticed this, but I apologize nonetheless. So, with all of this school nonsense on my mind, I decided simply to post a little snippet from one of my papers. You're reading it out of context, so, uh....sorry....and you should know that this guilt I mention is from an incredibly silly/ridiculous incident in my life, not something that would typically be guilt-inducing, at least not to the degree it has been. The focus of this class was compassion, or literature of compassion, or compassion and suffering. It really just depended on the day. Also, please forgive my strange dashes everywhere - I'm addicted to them and I don't care who knows. Also, you may notice that this paper, or this portion of it, doesn't sound very academic. Deal with it, academia is a joke.)

(Update: tomorrow now starts in negative 19 minutes.)





            In like manner, we run from fate, we run from suffering, but we fail to realize that we will always be outrun. That which we fear will meet us. We cannot continue to run:
“For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you. (Life of Pi, 162)
Instead of running from fate and avoiding suffering, perhaps we would do well to rush headlong into fate, and accept the suffering coming our way. For, whether we are ready to accept it or not, it will come, and it will not stop to ask questions.
            Compassion allows for this, for fate to do its worst, and for suffering to take its toll. With compassion, pain is temporary, setbacks are not set in stone, and progress is always possible. Learning to be compassionate means having compassion for others, and having compassion for self; it means loving patiently, forgiving consistently, and helping tirelessly. Compassion for others means their concerns are your concerns, their success is your success - their pain your pain. Compassion for self means forgiving oneself, learning to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, and yet accepting the help and hope and forgiveness offered to you by another. Compassion means standing tall in the face of the storm, and accepting suffering as the weathering effects necessary for a smooth, polished, and enduring existence.
            I have carried guilt and shame with me for years, and have never sought to remove them from my life. They were reminders of a bad decision, and necessary barriers designed to shame me into shaping up. Only now do I realize that ‘shaping up’ requires compassion, that pretending to suffer – which is what I have been doing, attempting to create an artificial and superficial suffering by holding past decisions over my head – means nothing, but learning to stand tall through real suffering is where true strength of character is forged. Developing compassion prepares one for life; prepares one to say yes to life - to say yes to that which life expects, and to have the courage to have expectations of life. 
            Perhaps expectations really are just premeditated resentments, and it is not wise to expect much from life, or from those around you. Perhaps expectations are just a na├»ve trick of the gullible mind. But I refuse to believe it. I am learning, now, that developing compassion affords one the opportunity to have expectations – to have expectations of life, of self, and of others. You see, a person striving for compassion – a person expanding to include more and more – will not resent unmet expectations, but will lift one who has fallen short, whether it be themselves or someone else, and will always find meaning in life’s refusal to comply. We create resentments when we selfishly assume we have been wronged; it is not the unmet expectations themselves that we resent, simply the unmet cravings - the unsatisfied demands. Resentments spring from selfishness, compassion allows for none. Resentment is a bitter pill that brings jealously, bitterness, and more resentment; suffering is a bitter cup that, while painful, is filled with meaning and leads to compassion, help, and hope.

Not Necessarily Necessary

Friday, March 29, 2013

I've made a life of not saying what I'd like to say, what I ought to say, or what I need to say.

I've made a life of not allowing myself to feel what I'm feeling.

As far as I can tell, this is fairly normal - there is nothing unique about my situation - we all keep quiet when we want to share, and we refuse to feel when feeling is all we can do.

I'm writing this because, well, it's necessary.

I learned something this week - a lesson from a fictional character to, of course, another fictional character - but fictional or not, I loved it. Sometimes speaking may seem unnecessary, or too soon, or too late - and sometimes maybe it is - but I don't want to keep letting that stop me. There is a difference between unnecessary and wrong.

So feel what you're feeling.

Joy

Pain

Hope

Fear

Love

Confusion

Happiness

Sadness

Confidence

Doubt

Say what you're thinking.

Thank you.

I'm sorry.

I missed you.

I still do.

Stop.

Go.

You're wrong.

I'm wrong.

Yes.

No.

I've made a life of silencing myself. In all honesty, it's been a pretty good life, but I think I'm ready for a better one. So maybe I'll try this whole speaking and feeling thing, and see how it goes. Maybe it's a good idea...maybe it's not. Join me and we'll find out together - it'll be an adventure, and everybody loves a good adventure.

Honesty it moderation, and with discretion. Please. People are fragile.

But seriously....

Sometimes, things just need to be said.

It's always necessary.
 

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