Thursday, December 31, 2009

Me and Vera. =)

So I've noticed this weird trend in my life- I really really like to give my inanimate objects human names. My Chevy Silverado is named Chuck (short for Charles Maximillian Chevrolet the First). My phone is Tiberius. My laptop is Alphonso. I realized this had gone a little too far the other day when I was talking to Brenton about his new guitar. My very first question about it was, "So....does it have a name?" Thankfully, he didn't think I was a total freak and said, "Not yet. But my other two guitars are Lindsey and Roxy."
This morning I realized an unforgivable fact. My snowboard didn't have a name. I started brainstorming...it's definitely a girl board...and it's cute and young-ish...but classy and not-quite-ordinary...Anna? Clara? Suddenly I thought of the perfect name. Vera.
And this is how nerdy I am: I named her after another anthropomorphized inanimate object. I named my snowboard after Jayne's gun from Firefly. I just had this moment in my head of Jayne stroking his gun saying, "Her name's Vera." And then I stroked my board and...her name was Vera.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This would probably be a good New Year's day post...but I'm writing it on December 22nd instead.

Today I had one of those magical moments where I found the answer to my own thoughts and prayers in someone else's words. I was reading my friend Todd's blog, and it near about floored me. He was writing about the way history tends to repeat itself, and said, "So my friends, don't be surprised if 2009 ends the way it started or if a semester comes to a close in the same fashion it began. The trick of it all is to learn from the often symmetrical journey and be better for it." Holy Cow. For me, 2009 is ending nearly exactly the way it started. I started 2009 with uncertainty and excitement, along with a fair amount of heartbreak and angst. It's been a year full of ups and downs, lessons, strange romances, wrenching of guts, and newly discovered strengths and weaknesses. And yet somehow, I'm ending the year where I started it. Same uncertainty and excitement, albeit about different people and events. And, unexpectedly, the exact same feelings of angst and heartbreak. Same cycle of existential pondering--doubt, inner anarchy, acceptance, confidence, certainty. Same Karissa. So Todd, maybe you're right. Maybe history repeats itself. And maybe it repeats itself so that we can do things better the second time around (or the third, or the twenty-seventh). I've been handed some of the same events and opportunities I was handed a year ago. The difference is, I'm going to do it right this year. I'm going to trust what I know to be right, and simply do it, even if it hurts. I'm going to move forward instead of clinging to the past. And, though I may not get it 100 percent right, I will live 2010 better than I lived 2009.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tree-freaking-house

I was running yesterday through the pretty-old-house neighborhoods near Provo Center Street and I saw the COOLEST. THING. EVER. On 500 East, there was this huge tree with a treehouse in it! But not just any treehouse. It had a...pointy roof thing with window? Gable? Hold on....googling.....I think it's called a gable. Anyways, it had a window inside of the gable too. And it was so high up that I was both terrified and immeasurably excited for whatever children play in that thing. I wished that I'd brought my camera running with me.
Also on that run I saw a little brick house with an extension built on the front. The extension was painted--wait for it--bright orange. A thing of beauty to be sure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Silence

Today, I was trying to explain to someone why I don't listen to music when I run. I could've explained it better, but somehow, it touched a part of my mind that I was a little afraid to share. Not because of the nature of the things I was going to share, just the closeness, the fear I wouldn't be understood. But...I want to share this. Why I run, not just to exercise, not just to lose my belly fat.
When I run...that is when I reunite with myself. I can think my thoughts...not the thoughts of BYU, or of the Provo dating scene, or the music program, or my apartment. I can think my thoughts, about love, religion, God, beauty, truth...or snow, quail, crunchy leaves, old houses, hair and wind. Whatever thoughts I want to think about, day-to-day or eternal, trivial or significant, they are my thoughts. I leave my life behind and surrender to a continual motion, a motion going nowhere particular, but taking me everywhere.
When I run, I reconnect with my body. I feel my heart beat and remember that I have a heart. I feel my lungs expand and contract and thank the Lord for giving me lungs. My muscles' ache reminds me of their presence, and my usually-awkward limbs feel long, strong, and noble. If I'm lucky, I get to that point where "every step is a struggle, but every breath a blessing" and I learn that my body, mind and soul working together can conquer.
Perhaps for some runners, music helps them achieve this state. Maybe it's a focusing mechanism. However, I think most use music as a distraction from the pain, the tedium. But that is to distract myself from the very purpose of the activity. I have music in all parts of my life--in all of my classes, on the way to and from school, while i do my homework, while i do the dishes. Music is my life. And running is a break from my life, from my music, where I can just be me in rare, blessed silence; in still, endless motion.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My self-imposed isolation

Sometimes, I get lonely. That's pretty normal I think. Right now, my roommates are home, but I don't want to talk to them. And yet, I'm craving human contact. So i browse facebook, hoping to see someone I know on chat. I write this blog post, both to figure out my thoughts and to quietly say, "Hey world...um...i exist. Just thought I'd remind you..." Somehow, this need for people makes me feel weak. I've been staring at my phone for half an hour, knowing all I have to do is text Jeff or Brenton and, odds are, I'll have myself a conversation. I could pick up the phone and call my Mom, or my grandma, or Jessie. But I don't because, for some reason, I feel ashamed that I need people. I should be able to sit by myself and do homework without having this unsettled feeling in my stomach, without wishing someone would call me just to say hi. I shouldn't NEED anyone except for myself!
And yet...I do. Maybe that's the way I'm supposed to be. I guess if nobody needed each other, we'd all live in quiet isolation. We'd be satisfied I suppose, but so many discoveries, adventures and joint work wouldn't exist. The increase in efficiency that comes in cooperation would be unheard of. The sharing of knowledge would decrease, and perhaps even literacy would decrease for, as C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know we are not alone" and if we didn't mind being alone, why read? Maybe we need to need each other. Maybe God made us need each other so we could practice needing Him.
Hmm....well, maybe I will call my mom after all.
Or, you know, step outside my room and talk to my roommates. Couldn't hurt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Comforter

In John 14, Jesus promises to send his disciples "another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." This Comforter was sent as a source of comfort and peace, and to "teach...all things and bring all things to your remembrance." Jesus would soon be leaving them, and they needed another comforter to guide and comfort them in his absence. We, like Jesus' disciples, live without Jesus' physical presence. This makes it so much harder to have faith and hope and to find meaning. I so often find myself wishing for more physical evidence, for something concrete to fasten my faith to. And that is why I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life. The Spirit testifies of Christ to my soul and gives me a reason to keep believing. Through the Spirit, I can more easily see God's work in my life and I feel myself guided through decisions both small and significant. I also don't know what I'd do without the Holy Ghost's comforting power. So many times when I've felt stressed out, alone, or afraid, I feel the Spirit communicating God's love for me.
It makes me sad that I live so much of my life without the influence of the Spirit. I let my stress, egotism and even my fun cloud out the "still, small voice." I let my fear and doubt overcome my faith, and refuse to hear the testimony of the Spirit. And yet somehow, I sit still and listen just long enough to let the Spirit in, to hear that whisper saying, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you....let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." And on those days, I resolve to make space for this Comforter in my life.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Interesting thoughts on Environmentalism

Came across this while working on a research paper:
"Environmentalism includes desires to get closer to nature, to preserve it, to leave it alone, to clean it up, and to pass on stewardship of it to the next generation. We alternately feel possessive, defensive, protective, harmonious, and alienated towards what we blithely call the 'environment,' having very little sense of what the environment actually is. We frequently need to be reminded that the term contains no determining sense of what actually does surround us, of what place we find ourselves in, of how we may recognize or define it, and especially of how we come to value it. It is an obvious but troubling fact, for instance, that downtown Toronto or suburban Los Angeles are as much 'environments' as the Galapagos Islands or James Bay. We distinguish them by the degrees and kinds of human involvement in their physical or imaginative construction, rather than by some essential inherent difference."
Onno Oerlemans in Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature

Compensation?

You know, today should be a really dreadful day. For parts of it, it was. I had an absolutely terrifying piano lesson, I haven't slept enough in a few days, I had to stay home from Divine Comedy to write a paper, and it looks like there is no possible way to get everything done in time. But on the other hand-my English class was canceled so I got an extra hour to practice, I woke up on time for the first time in recent memory, I got to see Jennie at the library today, Brenton brought me muddy buddies and gave me the best hug I've had in a while, I have beef stew in my belly and I'm listenin to some Ben Folds. I feel really happy and content and peaceful. And why shouldn't I? All the past few days I've prayed for my stress not to overwhelm me, to find a way to be happy. And so I've found little blessings strewn across my room.
So, in spite of it all....life is good.
Wow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The rush

So yesterday I learned something about performing-when done right, it feels crazy cool. Last night at masterclass, I had to...I mean...got to...perform one of my jury pieces for the studio. I decided to play my Mendelssohn "Andante and Rondo Capriccioso", which is my longest piece and probably my hardest. I didn't really feel prepared, but somehow I didn't feel nervous either. My feelings could probably be best summed up in the phrase: "Ok, let's just get this over with." As I sat at the piano and began to play, I felt more focused than I ever have when playing that piece. My every thought centered on the music and I realized I was playing pretty dang well. Of course, as soon as that thought crossed my mind I slipped up--badly. But I was able to recover and get to the end of the piece. When I finished and stood up to take my bow, I felt unbalanced ,like I'd abruptly dropped an enormous weight I'd been carrying all day, or like someone I'd been playing tug-of-war with had let go of me without warning. All my muscles instantly relaxed, leaving me feeling weak and dizzy. I staggered back to my chair, my brain reeling to the point where I could barely form words to respond to my classmates' congratulations. Pumped full of adrenaline as I was, I didn't stop shaking for a full 3 minutes after I got to my seat..I felt unsettled, shaky, and completely used up, but a little voice inside me said, as if I'd just gotten off a rollercoaster,

"WHOA!! Let's do that again!!!"