It’s So Unlike Me…

I’m kind of a boring person. At least, I think so… I’ve always done the “right” things because that’s how I was raised. I general had a “clean cut” look even if it wasn’t very feminine. Anyway, last week I shaved part of my head. Intentionally, yes.

Of course I was nervous. My hair probably hasn’t been that short since I was forced to wait for it to grow in as an infant. The scissors were honestly the worst part. She trimmed some of the hair away and the snip-snip-snipping made me feel uneasy, but it was done. The hair fell away and I looked at myself and knew that my mom would hate it, but that was okay.

I have done things outside of my comfort zone before and I felt like this particular thing wasn’t professional so I wasn’t sure I should actually do it, but then I remembered that I’m getting old and now is the time to do some of those “wild ” and “reckless” things I want to do simply because I want to do them.

I was surprised by how many people loved it as soon as they saw it. “It’s so you.” “It’s so cute.” “Oh my gosh, I love it.” “You’re bold.” That last one is a favorite of mine, mostly because I don’t consider myself “bold.” People seem to assume that because I teach theatre that I am somehow incredibly confident and outgoing. People forget or don’t realize that I was not born into theatre, I was converted to it. Not only that but I like to be off to the side directing not acting. So I honestly feel like I tend to do things that allow me to blend in if I can… I feel like I did something very unlike me and did something that the real me would totally love, but normally wouldn’t do because I worry about what other people think and I don’t want them to stop liking me or be disappointed in me because Ivee done something they wouldnt’ do themselves or maybe just don’t like the look of. I’ve teasingly told ex boyfriends or crushes that I was going to shave my head to see what their reactions would be…but I like my hair, I wouldn’t want to part with all of it. That’s scary to me.

The other popular response has been “why did you shave your head?” And I think the reason is that I needed a change that made me feel good about myself and allowed me to express myself in a way that was non threatening and not entirely permanent. Obviously I can’t just unshave my head, but I can cover up the short areas with  other hair and hair grows back. And I kinda figured any guy who is going to love me for this life and the eternities will be able to love me because of, in spite of, or even despite some my hair style. Plus it makes me feel like Lagatha from Vikings…she’s kind of one of my heroes these days…

I met a new friend this week. I think she’s going to help with the plays.

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The Show Must Go On

I took  a  really long hiatus from  my blog. Really. Long. Not the first time.  Surely not the last either, sorry. Spoiler: I’m only human….

The 2015-2016 school  year really did a number on me mentally and emotionally. I rarely have moments whenliveinwhatishappening I rethink my choices or my commitment…or myself. I don’t mean to imply that I am impervious to self-doubt. There are  plenty of things that make me feel inadequate, believe me. But things that make me question my career path? Or at least the direction it is taking me or maybe those who I allow to travel with  me…

I  learned a lot from the mistakes and choices I made during the school year. Some of those  experiences were defeating. I started to  contemplate what I  might do on the off chance that teaching didn’t actually work out… Maybe I could apply to  work  at Disneyland. I  could focus on writing my book – which I started back  in December and haven’t been very diligent about working on (but I do have about 20+ pages written now…)

Learning painful lessons is not fun,  but I’m grateful for them anyway. Haha, today I whispered to fellow teacher that my rose colored “people-love-me” glasses had come off and  it was hard for me to have optimistic thoughts about the “why” in the choices other people make. There will  often be times where someone makes a decision that makes little sense to me (you) and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t what I (you) would have done. That doesn’t make what I (you) would have done better, just different (Though sometimes? Also better…maybe…).

I feel like, there are some mistakes that I like to repeat in my life. Maybe they aren’t “mistakes” so to speak, but similar choices that  don’t lead me in the direction that I wanted them to despite warning myself that they likely wouldn’t lead me where I wanted. Not unlike Little Red with Mr. Wolf in Into the Woods.

RED: Come what may, Follow the path And never stray.
WOLF: Just so, little girl- Any path. So many worth exploring. Just one would be so boring. And look what you’re ignoring…

It’s funny how, right now, that so clearly shows a classic temptation story. The allure of the unknown which takes the innocent away from the known, the safe, path. Despite the “excited and scared” feelings we might have, we sometimes take risks because of…hope we’ll  call it  curiosity, haha…

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So, if we know that the thing we are choosing to do, possibly repeatedly, is dangerous, unfulfilling, or has other negative impacts on our mental, physical,  spiritual, and/or emotional  health….why do we continue to hold onto it or things like it?  Why do we rationalize their presence?

Like most people,  I thought “Heck yeah! 2016 will be awesome!” because 2015 kinda sucked. Not gonna sugar coat it. 2013-2015 were rough years for me. 2016 was supposed to be better, but it feels just as dramatic – maybe even worse than 2015 -…perhaps that’s why I’m a “drama teacher” now?  Haha, to use my life experiences to enhance my craft? Haha…

I want to be done holding onto things that don’t make me happy and stop defending things that give me additional  anxiety.  deepbreathletitgoI told someone that I thought I might have an anxiety problem and they were shocked because of the traveling I’ve done and so forth, but I do feel anxious a lot and many of the choices I make are made to battle those anxieties.

Try CrossFit? Compete in CrossFit? Teach? Teach in “the ghetto?”  Teach theatre (…in the ghetto)? Direct full productions?! Bring it on, I’m a survivor and I’ve been to 5 foreign countries and traveled solo on metros and airplanes… I can do it! But, like I said…  I  am only human! I bleed. And, despite what some may think,  I have… feelings. Sometimes the things people say (or do) hurt my feelings and make me feel like I’ve done something wrong.

But one thing I’ve been  learning,  is that sometimes other humans are just not very thoughtful and they don’t all think like me. Sometimes my expectations, which I hold myself to, are beyond what other humans can or want to give.

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And those are the humans, the  events, the things you have to let go of…sometimes it doesn’t  matter that we can hold on or  that we  can fight. It doesn’t  always mean we should.

Opposition

I have been thinking about opposition. By definition it is, a conflict, a resistance or disagreement. But I have been thinking about opposition on a deeper, more spiritual level. Bare with me here…I remember when I was about 12 years old (I think…it might have been a little later than that…I’m fuzzy on it right now…), I was going through a very tumultuous time in my life. It wasn’t like Joseph Smith whose family was pulling in so many directions as to which church to believe in and attend, but I was feeling like my life was not going the way it was supposed to. My parents were separating and would likely divorce and my grandmother had died recently.

We were on this family trip to visit church history sites back East and I was miserable. I was annoyed by everything. I was angry with my mom and everyone else, because no  one seemed to understand that I was not okay, but I didn’t want to actually talk about what was going on either. I enjoyed being around my cousins during the trip, but more than anything I liked listening to my angsty teenage music – namely Linkin Park. I listened to that CD over and over again the entire trip. And that might have been part of the problem. Not that the lyrics were all that bad, but the Spirit couldn’t be with me,couldn’t speak to  me. Probably because I was listening to the CD so loud. Like as loud as my ears could handle…

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But at one point in the trip, we went to the Sacred Grove.

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If you don’t  know anything about the history of the LDS church, (The Church  of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the Sacred  Grove is in Upstate New York and it is the approximate location of where Joseph Smith knelt to pray after being prompted by scripture to ask  God which church was correct so  that he  might join it. It is also the place in which God the Father and his son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in order to answer his prayer.

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Anyway, when we got to the edge of the grove, there was a sign that talked about how it was a holy place and I stopped to think about what happened there. I purposely separated myself from my family. I wanted to be by myself and I realize now that I was searching for an answer. I was having my own Joseph Smith moment… I was trying to understand why all these things were happening to me if the gospel was true. Somehow I felt that because my family was going through a crisis that the church must not be entirely true. How could it be when families are supposed to  be together forever and my eternal family was broken? As I wandered behind my family, listening to the rustling leaves, the squirrels under the fallen leaves, and in the branches above me, I had a thought.

It was as if someone asked me, if the church, if the gospel isn’t true, why was there a force working so hard to keep one 14 year old boy from saying a prayer? Why was there a darkness seeking to destroy this one boy with a simple but important question?

It occurred to me that if Satan was working that hard to keep something from coming to this earth, then it must be true. I started to understand that if Joseph hadn’t felt confused, he wouldn’t have felt the clarity of the answer he received. If he hadn’t been assaulted by darkness, he would not have felt the peace of the light of Christ and our Father in Heaven. If he had not experienced those things, he would never have had the strength, the faith, and the ability to move forward and endure the trials he would face as a witness of God, a prophet of God, and the man who would translate the Book of Mormon.

Then I started to understand that if I believed all  of those things really happened, then I must believe in the Book of Mormon, if I believe in the Book of Mormon then I must also believe in its teachings. If I believe in what the Book of Mormon teaches, then I must also believe in the gospel and the doctrine it teaches.

And while this answer didn’t explain why I personally was dealing with what I felt like was the end of the world, it did reassure me that if I would just continue to be faithful and try to do the things the Lord asked me to do that I could eventually come to understand the hardships that I was asked to endure and would continue to be given to test and shape me into the person He needs me to become.

I have a testimony of opposition. I know that without opposition we are less likely to succeed. We are less likely to value the blessings in our lives, that we are less likely to be grateful when we are blessed and humble and repentant when we have made a mistake.

I won’t claim to have a perfect understanding of my trials or why I have been asked to endure them, but I continue to gain understanding that they have purpose, that Heavenly Father fulfills his promises when I keep my covenants.

Please Excuse the Interruption…

As a teacher, you probably have  memories or reactions to that when it comes  out over the loud speaker. Usually, it’s nothing important. Usually, it’s  some nonsense that could have been an email, but not every teacher checks their email incessantly.

This year, I  have grown accustomed to  hearing the title of this post blaring in my classroom only to be followed by “…teachers, please lock  your doors. We are  on lock-down. Please do not allow students  to leave your room and  allow students who are outside to come inside.  We will be sending updates via email.”

Yeah, I’m accustomed to these messages. It does not surprise me to  hear  it. It doesn’t really even make me nervous anymore. I’m not sure  if that is a good thing or  not.   But this year we have had a lot of incidents that  have  resulted in trying to come up with a safety plan so that I can  protect my students and myself.

Given that I’m in an actual theater that happens to have classroom spaces attached to it…there are lots of doors to keep  in mind when developing a plan. A few weeks ago it became a huge concern of mine when threats were  made on  the school. I thought about it for a long time. I  thought about all the doors. I thought  about what the doors are  made  of and  how they open and lock. I developed my own plan and figured if anything were to happen, we’d be okay.

Yesterday we had  a mini lock-down that was precautionary. There was a police investigation in  the surrounding neighborhood. One of my students asked me if I would protect them, like put myself in  front of them if  someone came into our  classroom with a gun. I  said,  of course. Especially since it’s  kind of part of  my job, but regardless I would. I  care about them. And if I can protect them, I will. I’d tell them where to go and what to do and  hope that I  could delay the intruder long enough for them to get  to safety.

I think what  bothers me the most, the real reason I’m writing this whole thing…I think  it comes down to the fact that it is absolutely scary to think this way. The reality of world is that there are enough people in the world who no longer value human life, who do not know  how to look passed differences  and love people despite the differences, there are  people who have decided it is their  mission  to  take  out as many people they can  because of  something they believe  in. Because obviously,  that’s the way you get someone to convert or to  change opinions. I mean,  it’s worked so well throughout history.

It’s sad to  me. It’s sad to me that this world has grown to be so  much more dangerous and cruel. Children are  forced to grow up  to soon, they’re taught to be “sexy” and to “get lit,” they’re taught that everyone should win even though that’s 100% a lie. They don’t know how to  work for things and they think it’s funny to threaten other people like  it doesn’t actually mean anything.

This morning I was reading  in Mosiah 29:26-27 (from the Book of Mormon) and it hit me really hard.

“26. Now it is not common that the voice of the  people desireth anything contrary to that  which  is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice  of the  people.

“27. And if the time comes that the  voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time t hat the judgments of  God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he w ill visit you with great destruction even  as he has hitherto visited this land.”

Signs of the times.

 

Trying to Get Up to Date and Failing!

I forgot to mention something about our city tour and going to the Citadel. While we were at the Citadel, which is quite a high point in the city, though not the highest. We were standing there looking out over part of the city, with the Temple of Hercules behind us, when the call to prayer came on over a very loud speaker. I don’t know if it was from just one place or many, but it was a very interesting sound to hear. It sounds kind of sad and reverent and it continues for several minutes. I didn’t know that the call was “broadcast” over the entire city. It’s interesting that this is how serious the prayer time is taken. Mohammad said that not all of the prayers have to be said when the prayer call is made.

Something else I forgot is that each group is assigned a member of the tourism police. What this means is that there is a policeman who deals accompanies the group during their travels. I’m not sure what they would do exactly, perhaps just be a second pair of eyes. Keep belongings safe when they’re on the bus?

Tuesday May 13
After spending some time in Jerash yesterday and seeing some of thee sights in Amman, we headed to Mount Nebo where we believe that Moses gave his last address before he was buried. From this point, he was shown the promised land of Canaan. It was interesting to see everything laid out and we could see part of the Dead Sea and Jericho.

Our next stop was a mosaic school where one of the people who have been making mosaics showed told us that he has dear friends from Utah who are Mormon. Apparently, the people who make these mosaics train for about 6 months or so before they are really ready to create mosaics that are ready to be sold. And some of their projects can take several days.

We stopped in Madaba, which is the city of churches, to see St. George church. It was built over an old Byzantine church and there is a mosaic map that is the most accurate of the time. We had lunch there and then we continued on to Petra, Jordan. We stayed in Wadi Mussa, Valley of Moses, in a really cool hotel that was once a small village if I remember correctly.

Wednesday May 14
This morning we got an early start on breakfast and were out of the hotel, Beit Zaman, by 8:30am. We drove over to the “park” in Petra where we started a hike into an old city and trading post. I remember learning about the Treasury when I took an Art History class, but I couldn’t remember much about it besides that it was a trading post. I don’t think they talked about it being a place where an entire civilization lived. Nabateans lived there and essentially built this place, carving into the rock to create art and dwellings. After many years another group called the Bdools (Dools) came in, I believe they were what they call badoins or nomads, and lived there. It wasn’t until about 1985 that they were moved out of these cave dwellings and given homes to live in nearby.

Our walk was very pleasant on the way in. It wasn’t very hot and there was quite a bit of shade because the rocks come up so high on either side that the sun doesn’t get down to the floor of the sheek. When you walk up to the treasury it appears through the cracks of the walls and then you’re standing there looking up at it. It’s amazing! There are lots of different influences and cultures incorporated to pay respect to the cultures that would come to trade there.

There were camels there so of course I had to ride one. So for $5 I got to ride a camel around in a circle. Apparently, camels are Mohammad’s very animal. He says they are very emotional, smart, and very well suited for the desert. They don’t have to eat every day because they can store food in their humps and they don’t consume water all the time and store it various places. The have 3 stomachs and they also store water on the bottoms of their feet. They have long eye lashes and can close their noses so that sand won’t get in during sand storms. He said they are very shy, but also that they remember things. If their owner is not kind to them they will seek revenge.

We continued walking into the site and saw a theater and then my mom and I hiked up some stairs to a place called the Urn Tomb. It was really cool. I took a couple of really cool pictures up there too. It was interesting to see all the different colors of rock in the ceilings and the walls.

So, more about badoins. These people live in tents, usually black goat hair, and move around all over the desert. The name comes from where they lived, an area called badea which means highlands. There tents are usually really long and they pitch them so that the wind will move through the tent. In the rain, goat hair expands and becomes almost water proof.

It’s amazing to me how much Jordan looks like Utah. The difference sometimes is really just the colors of the rocks in Utah are much more red and here in Jordan they’re kind of a yellowish brown.

The end of our time in Jordan was marred by saying goodbye to Mohammad. He was a nice guy. And as he would say at the end of most visits… We enjoyed him and he enjoyed us, I can feel it. Haha

Interestingly enough, the process for getting into Israel was pretty intense. Two people looked at my passport on the Jordanian side and at least two people looked at it on the Israeli side. The guy who looked at my passport first on the Israeli asked if I was with a group and then hesitated as he asked if I was traveling with my family.

After getting somewhat settled into the room, we went down stairs and had some dinner. There was lots of really good food and not just traditional stuff. It was nice to have a little bit of what you might call “American” food. When we were finished we changed into swimming suits and took dip in the Red Sea. Yeah, no big deal right? I mean, as I write this portion, I am looking out onto the Red Sea from the balcony of my room. It’s ridiculous…

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Spring Break

So a few weeks ago for Spring Break, I went to Utah to visit family and friends. It was a good trip and I had a great time.

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It snowed, which was actually kinda fun.

bowling

I went bowling with Javie and her family.

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We went to this waffle place and my name became Shara. Haha…

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I represented at FUEL.

 

All in all, I was glad I made the trip. I got to spend time with people I missed and made some fun memories.  I even did a little hiking, but I didn’t take my phone with me or get any pictures from that.

 

 

Smattering of the Last Week…

Since I’ve been back home for Christmas, I’ve not been good about blogging. I have had some interesting insights, but also have been duking it out with my own emotions. I won’t go into that much, except to say that Taylor Swift’s song I Almost Do is kinda how I’m feeling these days. Not really what is happening, but sorta how it feels.

Christmas is great! I love Christmas. I love Christmas most, when my family is acting like a family! Sometimes that becomes difficult. Mormon people like to get engaged around Christmas. It’s both sweet and annoying. So there’s that. This year, we went with my step-mom to a candle lighting ceremony in the Palisades area. And we saw this guy…

Ben Affleck

No, I didn’t not talk to him. No, I didn’t take a picture of him. Instead I stood and watched him with his daughter, Violet, and his mother while we all sang Silent Night and held our candles so they wouldn’t get hot wax on our fingers. It was really sweet to hear him talking to his daughter. I don’t know much about celebrities, but I figure he must be a pretty good guy if he goes to Christmas church events, even if he only went because his mother asked him to.

Christmas was filled with the usual baking on my behalf. I made rolls and cinnamon bread like we have every year. And every year I get just a little bit better at making both. This year was declared the best bread and rolls yet. They were just perfect. Let’s see if I can do better next year. hahaha…

I had planned to write some amazing and thoughtful thing here, full of my usual hilarity but I’m coming up short on things to say.

I’ve decided that after I graduate (so June-August 2013) I am going on a cruise with at least 1 other person. Possibly, with one or both of the besties from BYU. I want to lighten up… Sometimes I take myself too seriously. I don’t want to be the kind of teacher that kids are scared of because they think my face would break if I crack a smile. I want to be the one they respect because I try to relate to them.

My resolution is to be the best me, I can be, and to continue to progress and move forward with my life while taking a few (calculated and exciting) risks.

Forgive. Be kind. Be honest. Be happy. Do good. Give your best.