Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In which comics are more profound than expected.

I'm really trying to break my addiction to xkcd. I really am. Promise.

But today...I went to go check if there was a new comic up and I saw this one. And it hit me pretty hard. Thankfully, it doesn't apply to my life right now. But oh goodness does it remind me of how I felt all summer.

Without going too much into the unnecessary, gory details, I will state that this summer was one of the darkest times of my life. I spent much of it feeling alone and broken, not knowing where to turn for comfort. I worried that I was doing something wrong. After all, they teach us that if we do all the right things, share our toys, and believe in ourselves, everything will work out hunky-dory, right? So if you hurt or you're scared or you're alone or you can't go a day without locking yourself in your room and bawling you must be making a mistake, right?

But I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, and that made me mad. Every inspirational quote about the power of optimism, every song about finding hope in adversity, every loved one who told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and find my own happiness just hardened my anger. I felt that I was doing everything I was supposed to to be happy: working hard at my job, going running every day, spending time with family and friends, spending a lot of time outside, trying new things, serving others whenever I could. And yet my heart still was ravaged by pain and loneliness.

After a couple of months, however, I came to realize that whether or not my anguish was my own fault or the result of my circumstances, I needed to do something about it. I talked to my parents about the possibility of clinical depression. I started taking vitamins. I made an appointment with a therapist. In essence, I said what the main character in this comic said: "Screw this. My attitude isn't my problem. My disease is my problem, and I'm treating it. I'm going to be glum and depressed and pessimistic some days, and I'm going to get better anyways."

And, little by little, I did get better. I stopped feeling guilty for my own emotions. I accepted the fact that I'd gone through a major ordeal, that I was still dealing with the repercussions, that some days were going to feel like crap and that was okay. I can't even express how liberating that felt.

So, I survived my summer. I am into the next season of my life, and I am happier than I remember being ever. I think I can honestly say I love everything about my life right now. Do I feel perfectly optimistic every day? Not at all. Some days I feel like I'm back where I was this summer, but instead of beating myself up, I'm learning to just wait it out then move on. And you know what? Life is beautiful.

I don't know if I'm being very clear. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're hurting, if you're scared, if you're sick, do not feel guilty about it. Please don't. Don't tell yourself that your pain is silly or pointless or unfounded. Do what you can to treat the problem, and then wait, realizing that some days are still going to suck. "There are no silly fears...If you're afraid of something, it's real, and it affects your thinking and performance no matter how valid or invalid someone else says it is. It's like there's no minor pain when it's yours. If it hurts, it hurts. What you got to do is figure out how to deal with it, not use up your energies trying to decide if it's real or not." (Phule's Paradise).

Pain is a part of life. It is a part of everybody's life. Not just the weak, or the inadequate, or the pessimistic. Everybody. I think when we try to pretend everything is cheery and rosy all the time, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to feel true pain and to grow from it. And somehow, that deep darkness gives greater meaning to the glorious light that replaces it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In which I have a flashback

So when I was in junior high, I was forced every day to watch ChannelOne News, a news program oriented towards teenagers. The anchors were all young, hip individuals, meant to inspire us to care about current events. I had the names of all the anchors memorized, knew which ones were cute, which ones would be adorable together, and which ones seemed a little...less heterosexual than the others.
So today I'm sitting in my boyfriend's front room doing my homework while his sister watches Katie Couric. And I overhear Miss Katie say, "Seth Doane has the story." And that name sounds so familiar. Why? Did this Seth used to be a Utah reporter? And suddenly I remember...Seth Doane was a ChannelOne reporter when I was a young'un. A ChannelOne reporter I had a massive crush on.
I'm glad we were reunited.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In which I sally forth

I am going on an adventure!
An adventure the likes of which I have never experienced!
An adventure full of new experiences, below-zero temperatures, lots of food, and wonderful company.
I'm a little bit terrified.
But mostly thrilled.

That is all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In which I quote

Sometimes I run across things that are perfectly what I needed to hear and they make me happy. I thought I'd share just in case it's what you need to hear too.
"Too often we want to be given answers to questions and problems that, if they were given in the manner we ask for them, would take away our agency and the blessings that come from reaching out to the Lord for answers and direction. Some think it would be nice to have "spiritual fortune cookies" we could open to find the answers to life's challenges. Wouldn't it be nice to have a labeled jar we could reach into for our answers? But that is not the way it is meant to be." Elder Robert D. Hales

In which I share

I found...

A new favorite blog today! Hooray! You should all look at it. Here is my current favorite post.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In which I narrowly avoid being offensive.

Once upon a time a few minutes ago, one of my facebook friends had a status with which I strongly disagreed. This fellow is a good friend of mine, and I thought I might be hurting our friendship by disagreeing, but my argumentative nature won the inner battle, and I composed a snarky and biting response.
When I hit "Comment", instead of seeing my witty words appear under his status, I saw an error message from our good friends at Facebook Inc. "Oops, something went wrong. We're working on getting this fixed. Please try again later."
A bit miffed, I tried again. "Oops, something went wrong!" said Facebook.
I paused, reread my comment, and realized that I wasn't being fair to the writer. So I toned it down a bit, still retaining my sarcastic tone, but trying (and perhaps failing) to keep it civil. Resent the comment and...
"Oops, something went wrong...."

It was all starting to seem entirely too coincidental, so I closed the browser tab and took my test.

Later, I saw that my friend had removed the offending status from his facebook. He probably wrote it in the heat of emotion, without pausing to think of the repercussions. when he did realize that it may offend, he quickly removed it. Had I allowed my comment to post, I could have made the situation worse. I would be angry, he might be angry back...no bueno.

Facebook, I thank you. Your error messages may have just saved a friendship.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In which I take a religion test

Please read the following excerpt and then choose the best answer from the questions below.

Dear BYU religion professors,
Thank you for wording your tests in such an utterly confusing way. It really helps me focus on the exact wording and nitty gritty details of every verse instead of on the actual principles being taught. I'm so glad that you have your priorities in place. I know emulating the "simplicity that is in Christ" by actually asking straightforward questions would make your class far too easy to pass.

Is this letter-writer
A) Sappily sincere?
B) Quite fed up?
C) Named Karissa?
D) A BYU student?
E) Happy that temple recommend questions are worded more clearly than religion test questions?
F) Quite pleased with the religious education program at BYU?
G) A and B only?
H) B and C only?
I) A, C, G and H only?
J) All of the above except for C?
K) B, C, D and E only?
L) All of the above?
M) None of the above?

Answer: K.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In which productivity has decreased

Turns out I really suck at focusing on homework this weekend.
That's about it.