No Control

Becoming a part of the One Direction fandom is a little bit like I imagine falling down a mountain would be. You get a little bit too close to the edge just to peek at the view, and before you know it you are plummeting into a place from which there is no escape. The only difference, I think, is that once you get to the point of no return there’s absolutely nothing you regret.

Actual footage of me entering the 1D fandom

You’re broken a lot, there are a lot of feelings, and you may even be dead in some ways. But you do not regret it. In fact, you’d do it all again.

I have been a serious blogger for four years now. Some of the biggest pride in my blog comes from my very well thought out and deeply emotional posts. I’ve spilled my soul to all of you a lot of times.

Imagine my shock then, when I found myself pulled rather roughly in the One Direction world last summer, and with that was pulled into a world stereotypically labeled as that of fifteen-year-old girls.  And it is not only the fact that I was pulled into the fandom, it is the fact that I am more than happy to be here now.

I regret nothing.

Here’s the deal: I’m 22 years old. And One Direction is currently on hiatus.

midnight memoriesSo there are a few problems with me joining the One Direction family when I did. Namely, I have to make my way through their whole library of songs as well as enjoy their solo music as it comes out. That is a lot of phases to navigate through all at once, people. Another problem is that I feel like such a proud mom…even though I’m basically the same age as all of them. I’m not sure why that is, but that is the way it is. The final problem is that I find myself missing One Direction so much. Very much, even though I wasn’t around when they were making music together.

You can think or say anything you want about One Direction, obviously, though I respectfully submit that if you don’t like them you didn’t have to read this far. One thing that I would like to say about One Direction, or maybe just about music in general, is that they helped me in a time when very little else could. Call it what you want, but the boys helped me through some very, very dark times. I think that is the true beauty of the music we love, or whatever it might be. The power these important things have to help us through the dark times. explain why

It obviously isn’t a secret that I love One Direction, I have blogged about them before. But I guess that the difference in this post is that I just wanted to highlight the beauty of loving something. The One Direction fandom is huge and extensive, and there are moments when I find myself simultaneously terrified of the lengths my fandom will go to to get information about the boys or proud of the lengths we will go to to protect them. But in the end, there is a very real, if sometimes strange, connection that binds us all together as One Direction fans.

I think one of the greatest things about being human is that we have the opportunity to find things like this that we love: music, movies, sports, art, or whatever it is. Whatever it is that brings you this joy or helps you through the dark moments. It could be one thing or many things, but whatever it is it’s beautiful.

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The Post I Have To Write

Well, here we are. At the end of 2017. And those of you who are avid blog readers have already read a thousand posts like this one. You know, the “This-Has-Been-My-Year-And-Everything-I’ve-Learned-And-This-Is-How-Awesome-Life-Is-Going-To-Be-Because-I’ve-Been-Through-Hell-But-Look-How-Much-Stronger-I-Am-And-Please-Be-Inspired-By-My-Story-Here’s-Every-Good-Thing-You’ve-Ever-Needed-To-Read-Sunshine-Rainbows-Smiles” post.

eyesI’ve been thinking a lot about my blog recently and in particular this post. As a blogger, I kind of feel obligated to post something about the changing year. But honestly, as I’ve rewritten this post about 53 times in my head, it was vastly different every time. Some were long rants about specific things, others were lists of rants about specific things.

You see when I blog I just have to hope that if I pour my soul out there somebody will read it and it might actually do something. They might say, “Hey, what I read on that blog. That was good.” And maybe some small part of their life will change or they’ll think differently or do differently. Maybe that’s too much to hope for, but it’s what I hope for when I blog.

I’ll be the first to admit that my blog hasn’t been it’s finest lately. After four years of blogging on this same blog, believe me, I understand it’s not going to be chart-topping all the time. And I’m okay with that. When I began this blog I did it to enhance my writing skills, and if any of you have been around that long (which some of you have) you’ll agree with me when I say that my writing has indeed gotten much better. I’ve considered a lot of things when it comes to my blog: waving goodbye to blogging in general, creating an entirely different blog and starting over, taking a hiatus from this blog for a while. None of which I’m going to end up doing. This is just my blog and one aspect of my writing personality is that I’m a blogger. And that’s the way it is.

So. The changing year.

Oh, what do I say about 2017? If you’d have asked me that a few days ago, or even yesterday, I’d have had a whole lot to say about 2017. None of it good, all of it very angry and bitter. But as often happens in my life, I had a pretty intense conversation with God last night. And as only He can do, He pulled it all back together and set me back on the path He wanted for me.

One thing I will say about 2017 is that it began with me taking charge of my life. I was certain it was going to be my year. I wasn’t going to waste time on things that weren’t working out, I wasn’t going to wait around for anything to happen anymore. I made loads of plans for my future, and I decided it was my time to shine.

God had other plans, of course, as He often does. All of my carefully laid plans god is goddisintegrated pretty quickly when God followed through on some incredible promises. It was, in fact, my time to shine, but in a very different way than I’d planned for myself. It’s interesting how that is often the case with God.

There was one moment, in particular, this last year that I will never forget as long as I live. In fact, there were many, but I’ll just stick to this one because it was quite powerful. I was in a very beautiful moment, the kind where you’re about to burst because everything is so perfect that you wonder how God could be THAT awesome. And I remember a very soft voice in my head saying to me, “This is so right. But it isn’t going to happen the way that you think it is.”

To be honest, I ignored that voice in the moment, and to be more honest I kind of forgot about it as time passed and darkness fell.

But as I think back on this now, I realize that this statement doesn’t necessarily only apply to that one thing in my life. I think it applies to everything God puts in our life. It can be a little frustrating when God gives us a clear answer but then the way forward is hard and rocky. It is hard when we know something is right but we have to take a different route to get there. I’ve had that experience a few times, one, in particular, was with my schooling. And there are other examples, too. It’s hard, but often times when we’re given an answer from God, we are given the answer and then told to trust Him. Almost as if He’s saying, “This is what I need you to do, so go for it. But the way forward may be different than what you’re thinking so I just need you to trust me.”

That’s a powerful life lesson right there. I’m not sure why trusting God can be so hard, but I think it’s something many of us struggle with.

soul recognitionAnother thing I’ve learned is that life is different for everybody. In the continued spirit of honesty, I’ll just go ahead and say that this all began on Pinterest. My Pinterest feed is usually a great place, I mean with One Direction all over it I’m at least 15 again and it’s incredible, but Pinterest has been doing this thing recently that’s got me all worked up. It all started when I pinned one quote about love to my board which inspires my latest novel. I had to pin it because it accurately portrays the relationship between my main characters on a level that killed me. It simply had to be pinned.

Well, Pinterest being the let-me-show-you-all-the-things-based-on-this-one-tiny-thing-you-looked-at site that it is, there were about 7,324 pins about love blasted all over my newsfeed for the next 100 years. I read quite a few of them before I felt my blood begin to absolutely boil. In fact, if I had read one more “real love is this” or “real love is supposed to be this way” quote I would’ve committed unspeakable acts against humanity.

And it made me realize something.

Life, love, or whatever you wish to apply this to, is different for everybody. And my version of “real” love is going to be different than your version of real love. True love is different across countries and cultures and what you view as a soulmate completely depends on you. (Now that I’m writing all this out maybe I should just write an open letter to Pinterest or something and call it good.) Anyway, the bottom line is that it’s all different for everybody. That’s why having a personal relationship with God is so important: so that you can do what is best for you personally. Regardless of what any person or site says is the right way to feel, think, or act. star

You know those moments when you’re looking at the ocean or the sky at night? When you look up at the blue-black and see all of those billions of crystal stars and it just takes your breath away? Those moments when, for just a split second, you are faced with the vastness of the world. Whoever or whatever comes into your mind in that moment is where your heart belongs.

I’m not sure what the new year holds. To be honest, I’m not even sure about the next week, but that’s okay. It’s a new year with new beginnings, but I’m still me. And God is still God. There are some things that never change.

The Predetermined Poem

I recently had this idea for a poem. Now, it’s a really intriguing idea, and I’ve heard of poets doing similar things. But there are several potential problems/facts that come along with this idea. But first, the idea itself.

By now, you are all aware of how important music is to me. I’m constantly listening to music, writing about music, trying to find the perfect song to fit my mood. I’m really, really into music. One of my favorite things about finding a new favorite song is identifying that ONE LINE in the song that strikes a chord in my soul. That one line in the whole song that says everything I need it to say.

I recently wondered – what would happen if I took all those lines that struck my heart and created one giant heart-striking piece of literature? What if I took all those lines from all these songs I love and made a poem out of them? My first thought was something grandiose about my level of genius.

But, like I said, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. I know A LOT of songs. Like thousands and thousands and thousands of songs. Making this a ridiculously huge project from the get-go.
  2. Is this even legal??? ……I honestly don’t think so.
  3. I won’t get to choose what this poem is about. Essentially, every song is about love. This is going to be a giant love poem filled with heartwrenching lyrics. So there’s that.
  4. How do I choose which songs to use and not use? How do I choose lines that will somehow all work together?

All of these factors and several others not here mentioned make this project and its aspects:

  1. Something I now have to do just to see if I can do it
  2. An unnecessarily extra thing I’ve now decided to do
  3. Largely predetermined due to the nature of songs
  4. A very interesting writing challenge

So I’ve been working on this project and it has been really interesting. I’ve come to the conclusion that this project must be done in chunks, and we’ll see what happens. I’m also not even sure what to do with this project once it’s finished…due to the fact that I’m quite certain it isn’t legal.

One thing that has surprised me about this project is that even though I strictly have to work with just the lyrics – no adding words – there is still quite a bit of room for me to create something that I love. I can still arrange the words into a pattern that means something to me.

I finished the first chunk of this project this evening. Which consists of some of the artists I listen to regularly and the lines of only some of their songs that have always really touched me. I’ve decided to share this chunk of the project with you. Enjoy:

The Predetermined Poem

I said, “Remember this moment”,
in the back of my mind.
Cause you feel like home,
you’re like a dream come true.
Feels like this could be forever right now:
everything will be alright
if you keep me next to you.

When all those shadows almost killed your light,
I saw a shooting star
and thought of you.
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight,
the truth is I never left you.

I’ve been there too a few times.
I thought, “Heaven can’t help me now.”
Just grab my hand
and don’t ever drop it.
Come morning light,
you and I’ll be safe and sound.

You can see it with the lights out:
how the kingdom lights shined
just for me and you.
And pain gets hard,
but now you’re here
and I don’t feel a thing.
I think I might give up everything
just ask me to

I’ll be waiting,
all there’s left to do is run

 

“Don’t Even Get Me Started”

This phrase – don’t even get me started – is a very well known and well-used member of my vocabulary. Call it the veteran if you will.

Now the reason behind this is pretty self-explanatory.  You see when you first meet me it’s pretty easy to mistake me for a shy person. I’m an introvert, and as such, I hate meeting new people. My biggest thought when it comes to meeting new people is usually, “But wait. I already know people. My people capacity has been reached.” Unfortunately, the universe has consistently seen fit to ignore my people capacity.

So if you’re persistent enough to actually get to know me, you’ll come to understand a few things.

  1. I’m really not shy. Like…at all.
  2. I actually have quite a bit to say about life in general.
  3. And as a general rule, it’s best not to ask me what any of those things are because I will tell you. And it will be rather emphatic.

So here’s how it normally goes: some kind of topic will somehow come up in the natural flow of a conversation. And I will immediately say, “Don’t even get me started.” Now the fact that I have developed this self-regulating mechanism is actually a source of pride for me. Truly.

However.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where it continues to be self-regulating. Let me explain: after I say this phrase it is totally up to whoever I am talking to to decide whether or not I actually get started.

Those closest to me generally respond in one of two ways:

  1. They think it’s hilarious when I “get started” so they sit there very patiently in silence, waiting for the topic to begin bubbling under my skin so as to drive me crazy until I explode. And therefore “get started” anyway.
  2. They change the subject as quickly as they can, saving themselves from the very passionate rant that will surely follow if they don’t act immediately.

I’m telling you all of this because today I’ve got the blogging itch. I’ve got this itch to blog and it’s been driving me nuts ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had at least 47 topics all vying for attention in my head today. If I were a better writer, I’d think of some very clever way to connect all of these topics into a glorious blog post that would existential your mind to pieces.

But that’s not going to happen because I’ve gotten started and this is where it ends people.

  1. I have a friend who pushes herself too hard. Plain and simple, she pushes herself too hard. She holds herself to an impossibly high standard because in her head if she isn’t working so hard that she nearly dies then she isn’t doing her best. If she isn’t working so hard that she can’t see straight then she’s a failure. If she doesn’t spend at least 10 hours studying for the test that we both have to take this week then she’s not doing all she can do. And as much as I love her, and I do with all my heart, I can’t tell her enough times how absolutely absurd this is. Nobody can live life on 150% all the time. Nobody can and nobody should. We have to give ourselves some grace and decide what is and is not worth our time. And not be so hard on ourselves.
  2. Do you ever have those days when you are just drowning in memories? Every now and again this happens to me, and it usually isn’t the same memories or the same times. Some days I feel like I’m reliving my religious mission all over again. Other times it is memories from my time at my previous university. And no matter how hard I try I just can’t escape them. I spend the entire day in a memory field. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often. But I’m not the only one this happens to, right?
  3. The Prince in Snow White. OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are very, very, very few things on this earth that I have such passionate negative feelings about. But this character is one of them. And I’ll tell you why: he is the most WORTHLESS character that was EVER created in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD. He shows up for five minutes, sings a song, leaves, and then at the end, he shows up and is all, “Oh, I sorta remember her. She looks dead. Maybe I’ll kiss her and see what happens.” Then he gets the girl – because he did absolutely nothing except smooch her – like he is the hero of the day. He is worthless and stupid and stupid. He got way better than he deserved. He is worthless and stupid. The dwarves were totally the heroes of that story. The prince is worthless and stupid.

So I know that I said there were about 47 topics in my head, and that – though a slight exaggeration – was quite true. Has been true, in fact, all day. But now that I’ve written this out, I think those were the most important.

As far as all the other ones go, though, don’t even get me started.

Eggs & Fitzgerald

It is quite unusual for me to go this long without blogging. It’s been about two weeks since my last confession – I mean, blog post, and I must admit it has been a little weird. I’m used to posting quite often.

paperBut I hit a rut, you know?

Every now and again I hit a blogging rut where I’m positive that everything to do with this blog has been unutterably spent. So I have to take a break for a while. And when I come back I’ve absolutely convinced myself that I do, in fact, have loads more to say and so much genius to share with the world.

I’m not sure that any of that is true, however, I am back. And just spent a ridiculous amount of time explaining the whole situation that is really quite simple. So there’s that.

Anyway, let’s talk about eggs.

You may think it is random of me to bring up eggs, and you would be 100% correct. It was suggested to me to write about eggs in my next blog post, and I saw it as an acceptable challenge to my writing abilities.

I really have only a few things to say about eggs. They are as follows:

  1. I don’t love them. I’m sorry. I just don’t. Eggs aren’t my favorite thing.
  2. But as a person who loves to cook/bake, I’m very grateful for the existence of eggs.
  3. Every once in a while I enjoy a good egg white sandwich – which is basically just cooked egg whites on two pieces of toast. Creating an exceptional sandwich. With just the right amount of salt and pepper and butter, this is a really lovely breakfast.

Okay, mission accomplished. Let’s talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald now.

The other day I read the short story Winter Dreams by Fitzgerald – but wait. I’m gettingfitzgerald ahead of myself. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about Fitzgerald on this blog. But if I haven’t then shame on me. Because my love for Fitzgerald knows absolutely no bounds. As a writer, I can’t even begin to comprehend how he wrote what he wrote – the beautiful language he used, how he could say so much with so little. As a reader, I practically drool over his writing. It is so fulfilling to read, so pleasing to every sense. To put it as simply and succinctly as I can: F. Scott Fitzgerald is everything.

I love F. Scott Fitzgerald so, so much.

Winter Dreams was an interesting story because many believe it to be a sort of prequel to The Great Gatsby. The main characters, Dexter and Judy, are quite similar to Gatsby and Daisy.

Of course, the ending was incredibly sad. It wouldn’t be Fitzgerald if it wasn’t. But besides that, it left my mind turning with all kinds of implications. As Fitzgerald does. I believe that one of the main themes of the story is beauty. Dexter is so in love with Judy, and according to his description, she is strikingly beautiful. By the end of the story, Dexter hears through an acquaintance that Judy is alright looking, or pretty enough, or something to that effect. And it completely baffles Dexter that somebody could even begin to think this about the woman that he was in love with for so long.

I found the story tragic, but wonderful. I’ve come to believe that Fitzgerald’s language is just so beautiful that you can’t help but feel good after you read one of his novels or stories. Even though they tear your heart out. It’s a secret I think all writers should learn. You just wow the reader with your wonderful diction skills and then they don’t mind so much that you’ve caused them irreparable emotional damage.

So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a recommendation for the upcoming weekend, mine is this: an egg white sandwich and Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Golden Lads And Girls

14375342_1898733117020628_440956483_oA little over three weeks ago, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eleven hours later I got off that plane in London, England.

While I have traveled the U.S extensively, this was the first time I had ever traveled internationally. I went to England for three weeks with a group from my university on an English Literature study abroad tour. I knew it would be amazing, I knew it would be perspective changing and life altering. Fulfilling dreams has a way of doing that. However, I had no idea just how amazing it would be, just how perspective changing, or how thoroughly life altering.

I love it when you feel yourself changing into something better as a result of something beautiful you have experienced. Of course, becoming better is a good thing even if the circumstances are less than favorable, but if something is so thoroughly wonderful that it seeps into your soul and changes who you are, then that is the most magical thing of all.

While we weren’t able to visit my ancestral homeland of Scotland, we saw so much of 14408386_1898732953687311_1195077434_oEngland and Wales, and even popped over to Ireland or a few days. I went into more cathedrals than I can count. I stood in each one of them in complete awe and reverence of the beauty surrounding me, of the hundreds of years of worship I could see with my own eyes. We were able to attend Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral as well as Salisbury Cathedral. Those are incredibly special experiences that I will always carry with me.

We saw a host of Shakespeare plays, we visited the homes of the Bronte family, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen. We spent four magical days in London, where I left a good portion of my heart. We saw castles and manor houses. We basked in the breathtaking beauty of the countryside. I fell into a relationship with scones and hot chocolate from which I shall never recover. We visited Cambridge and went punting. We spent three glorious days in Stratford-Upon-Avon, a city that has completely and utterly stolen all of my love and then some.

14360354_1898733463687260_617352064_oI have been home now for about four days, battling the jet lag and mostly winning. But I feel so different. While I love my home very much, I would be lying if I said that I’ve come home the same person. This trip was not only a dream come true, but it felt as though a piece of me that had long been yearning had finally come home.

So my only request, England, is that you take very good care of it until I return.