Sunday, March 25, 2012

In which I doze off on a Love Sac

I think one of the most important developments of early adulthood is coming to know yourself well enough to know exactly what it is you want at a given moment, no matter how simple the desire is. There is something empowering and satisfying in saying, "I am an individual, with unique desires, and what I desire at this moment is to sit on a couch surrounded by friends who I love and watching a movie that I have already seen before (so that I can fall asleep in the middle of the movie without worrying that I'll miss the end). Also, it would be nice if this movie-watching/naptime could also involve me cuddling with a cute boy who I care a lot about." There is a freedom and a power in knowing your own desires, whether big or small, because once you know what you want, you are in a position to seek it out, to make it reality.

However, another important development that comes at this time of life is the understanding that you can't always get what you want. Even the most satisfying self-knowledge cannot change the fact that tonight, the friends I want to watch a movie with are all busy, in different states, or otherwise M.I.A., and if I'm being honest with myself, there will probably be no cuddling in my life any time in the near future. Along with the power and confidence of knowing my own desires comes the helplessness of knowing that wanting something isn't enough, that my will isn't the sole force in the universe. And the trickiest lesson of adulthood, one that I'm not sure I've learned fully, is that even when things don't work out how you want them to, they still work out. That even if you wanted nothing more than to fall asleep on a couch full of friends with "Beauty and the Beast" playing in the background, sometimes you instead get to blog, catch up on the news, and then go to bed wonderfully early, and that's okay too. 

But there's one more important thing about life that I keep forgetting, and that is how often life can surprise you by giving you exactly what you want. That sometimes, even as you are in the middle of writing a blog post about how things don't always work out the way you'd like, you'll get a text that causes them to work out exactly that way. There wasn't any cuddling, but there was a movie, a projector, a Love Sac, and four of my best friends. And as I drifted off to sleep on my Love Sac, I smiled at how wonderfully surprising life can be.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

In which they say I'm goin' crazy, got a lot of water on the brain...

To the freshman I frightened at work today:

You'll understand when you're older. Sometimes, there are days when the pressures from school, work, church, dating, and trying to plan your summer (oh, and your entire future) become so intense that the only possible way to keep from going crazy is to rock out to Queen's "Somebody to Love," with all the volume you can muster. And if you  happen to have a large mop that can double as a microphone for you to dance with as you channel the frenzied genius of Freddy Mercury, well, so much the better. The startled look on your face when you came upon me swaying, dipping, and belting indicates that you have not yet reached such a desperate emotional state, and I am glad that you have been spared thus far. But just know that one day, little freshman, you too will join the ranks of the crazed upperclassmen. And that is the day when you will have to explain to a terrified, timid first-year why you were dancing with a vacuum cleaner to your rendition of the Who's "Baba O'Riley." I only ask that you remember me when that time comes.

Sincerely,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Custodian

P.S. Singing along with Ke$ha is also completely normal. Just so you know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In which the future seems realer

So, turns out one of the coolest/scariest things about college is that you can be going along, doing your reading assignment for class, when you suddenly realize that you're going to need this information later. And not just for the test. Like...for your actual life, and career, and stuff. That never happened back in high school English.

Friday, March 16, 2012

In which a letter to a hypothetical individual is composed

Dear whoever I end up marrying, assuming I get married someday, because I fully understand that that may never actually happen,

There are a few things you should probably know about me from the get-go, so there aren't any nasty surprises after our nuptials:

  • I don't want a diamond on my ring. Or really, any kind of rock. Just a really awesome looking band, with maybe some cool swirlies and just a few tiny colored stones inlaid in it. Also, please don't spend ridiculous amounts of money on it. I think a couple hundred dollars is a good upper limit, though I bet you could find an awesome one for much cheaper.
  • I thrash a lot in my sleep. And kick. And sometimes tear all of the blankets off of my bed. Sometimes I wake up with my head where my feet should be. I've been known to walk, talk, sing and laugh in my sleep. I hope you're ready to never get a good night's sleep for the rest of forever.
  • Unlike the majority of my Mormon peers, I really appreciate facial hair on a man. So you have my permission and encouragement to grow out your beard. Just no Hitler staches, k? (Also, I think the fact that I'm letting you grow facial hair means I shouldn't have to shave my legs).
  • In the four years I've been at college, I've never checked the mail. (Excluding the time I walked with Dria to the mailbox but didn't actually open it myself, and the week in Vienna when I obsessively checked the mail at school every day to see if my birthday package had come). I'm trying to continue this streak as long as possible. So...you should probably be in charge of checking the mail.
  • I have really weird taste in music. Be prepared to come home to me blasting anything from Beirut to Schumann to Celtic fiddle tunes.
  • I will be really really happy if you want to come with me to art museums and concerts, or if you want to go camping, hiking, or running. But it's no pressure if you don't want to, that's all stuff I like doing by myself too (except camping. Solo camping sounds intriguing, but a little scary).
  • It's okay if you're scared of spiders, I'm a champion spider-killer.
  • I'm never going to grow out of climbing trees or jumping in puddles. Please join me. 
  • I'm really excited to meet you. Like, crazy excited. But feel free to take your time, I'm in no rush. We've got forever.
Love, 
Riss

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cry, "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.

Man, every single year I tell myself I'm going to have an Ides of March party...and every year I forget. Though I'm not really sure what one would do at an Ides of March party...eat...Roman..food? Pretend to stab each other? Imitate creepy soothsayers? But, in honor of this most fateful day, I thought I'd share some moments from Julius Caesar, possibly my favorite of Shakespeare's plays.

Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have seen,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come. (2.2.34)

Poor Brutus, with himself at war
Forgets the shows of love to other men. (1.2.46)

The ides of March are come.
Ay, Caesar, but not gone. (3.1.1)

And of course...

Et tu, Brute?
Then fall, Caesar! (3.1.77)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In which I smatter a disjointed smattering of thoughts.

I think I'm a morning person at heart. I love feeling like I'm the only one awake, like I have a head start on the rest of the world. I love the pink-grey-gold of morning air, the streaks of sunrise peeking from behind the mountains. I love the prattle of birds welcoming the day, the quietness of a still-sleeping world. Unfortunately, my circadian rhythm doesn't share this love of the early hours, making me wired with energy late at night and sluggish in the early hours. So...mind over matter, I guess?

My dear friend Bekah is back from her mission and I'm remembering how much I adore her and her blog. This morning I was 25 minutes late to a choir rehearsal because I was rediscovering her writing. And it was probably worth it.

So this one time a few weeks ago, I was in a band. We played at the ward talent show, had big plans to try out for Acoustic Explosion, and then kind of fell apart.. But it was a good run. There's something magic about the artistic collaboration and creative sharing inherent in playing music with other people. That's probably why I prefer accompanying to soloing, actually. Anyways, I have high hopes that the band will re-form...sometime. And when the time comes, we'll need a good name. Readers, want to help out? Any good name ideas for an indie folk-pop band? If my band-mates read this: we seriously need to play at Acoustic Explosion sometime, just not the March one. And to any of my readers in bands: if you want a keyboard player or vocalist, hit me up. I already miss band practice.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't interested in so many things. I feel like I want to do and try everything, which results in me having very diverse, exciting experiences, but it also means I don't ever get very good at anything. It's hard to specialize when your attention is drawn to a million other things. So as much as I would love to write the Great American Novel, tour Europe with my immensely famous band, play concertos with the world's great orchestras, reform the public education system, and climb the world's highest mountains, all while teaching elementary school music, there are just not enough hours in the day. I suppose I'll have to settle for being a mediocre pianist, a fairly good writer, an occasional band member, and a sporadic world traveler, and loving my students with everything in my heart. Not quite as glamorous, but I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In which I become an elephant hunter

I have a tendency to get embarrassed easily. I care a little too much about what other people think about me, about looking smart, or fun, or sophisticated, or at least normal. So when the other members of my choreography group in dance class wanted to make our dance a story...I was skeptical, to say the least. I wanted to be taken seriously, to create beautiful, flowing shapes and get comments from the class on our wonderful use of energy and rhythm. My group members wanted to act out two hunters stalking an elephant in India, complete with Bollywood moves. I thought that sounded childish and stupid, but I was outnumbered, so I decided to swallow my pride and roll with it. And here's what I discovered: We didn't have the smoothest choreography. We didn't have the best technique. But dang it all, we had fun. And we made our audience laugh. And I got to creep through imaginary trees and bushes (creeping is once of my favorite activities) and do a victory dance over our "elephant's" dead body. I could have easily been embarrassed and self-conscious, and I would have ended up looking stupid and unsure. But since we all decided to put all we had into creating this story, it ended up being a joyful, exciting experience, both for us and for our audience.

So I've been thinking about this: why be embarrassed about things I honestly enjoy? Why should I act ashamed when I tell people I love webcomics and Miyazaki films? Why should I feel self-conscious when I need to teach a South Indian raga for a homework assignment? Embarrassment is usually a waste of emotion anyways, and just drains the pleasure and satisfaction from the experience.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If wishes were fishes, my room would smell like Pike Place

I wish
         that I had somewhere to be alone
                 that I was a poet
                          that all my boxes of mac and cheese would turn into real food
        that my voice was as pretty as hers
    that I had someone to hold me.

I wish
        that I could remember what feelings felt like.
                that I had choices besides "neutral" and "apathetic" and "meltdown"
                       that I was better at being punctual
                       that I had gone snowboarding this winter
                that it was spring.

I wish 
         that I had succeeded in giving up Facebook for Lent
                 that I could play the guitar
                       that I could still eat ice cream without getting sick.
                that I was brave enough to ask for a hug.
        that I could see past what I wish for to what I have...

Like  purple Asics
               and legs that can dance
                       and  no-bake cookies
                            and an inviting bed

and a hope that tomorrow will be different than today.


                  

Friday, March 2, 2012

FRIG. YES.

You have no idea how excited I am about this. Han Solo as Colonel Graff? The adorable Abigail Breslin as Valentine?

Yes, the only thing that could make me happier  would be Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Helena Bonham  Carter starring in a movie version of Les Miserables. Oh wait...


Life is so awesome.