All Aboard the Bandwagon

I would be lying if I said that I was an expert on Maya Angelou’s work, but her passing away reminded me that her poem Still I Rise was one of the first pieces of poetry that I ever liked and understood. Since beginning the English major I have had exposure to other styles of poetry, but when asked what one of my favorite poems is, Still I Rise will always be a given. So thank you, Dr. Maya Angelou.

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As I jumped on the bandwagon to find out more about her I came across so many quotes that I loved. I pulled these from all over tumblr and the internet based on what resonated with and felt relevant in my life. In no particular order, drumroll please:

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sum·mer

noun \ˈsəmər/

1.My skin feels warm and sticky
Summer takes me in, kisses me deeply
And the feeling is ever so giddy.

There’s a yearning for vacation and much needed hydration
The getaway car waits outside my door
The midnight is mine with so much to explore.

The dress code is light and the colors so bold
Because the sunlight is heavy and the showers so cold.

It’s the season for no reason other than to simply exist.
It’s middle name adventure and all worries are dismissed.

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Growing Pains

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We often talk about resolutions and new beginnings come January 1st. The start of a calendar year sets so many on this communal track of “new year, new me.” Yet, for all it’s glitz and glamour NewYears hasn’t ever really felt like a time of resolutions and fresh starts for me. Maybe it’s because I am opposed to doing something because everyone else is doing it—you know the whole retaining your individuality blah blah blah mentality. Or maybe it’s because I run on a different time.

If you’re still in college, and I am, this probably means you’ve lived most of your life around a different type of calendar year. Sixteen or more of my years of life have been centered around this idea that the year begins sometime in August or September and ends around April or May. This in turn means that summer has always felt like a fresh start, like an actual break, and after all isn’t a new start something of a break from the old? Plus, I have a theory that the time of the year you were born in can alter your own internal clock. New life started for me in July almost 22 years ago so every July, or birthday, is a “New Year.”

So my summer clock has started and I am feeling the newness, the change, the resolutions—everything, and it’s tough. I feel my soul and body trying to stretch and I am trying so hard to catch up and keep up. There’s a reason they’re called growing pains and I am feeling them, but it’s good. Really. In fact, it’s great.

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Spring. Spring. Spring.

salty drops slip, slip, slip.
down the stream to my two lips.
taste is tangy. bitter-sweet.
but it’s okay. it’s not defeat.
water is life for all tulips.

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Forever Young

Two Years Ago: 

As Zumba class began to slowly fill up an odd group of people stood on the dance floor. Everything from the usual studio dancers, moms, the awkward and rhythm-less, and then—open door and cue: the elderly couple.

It’s cruel to admit but my mischievous and immature self summersaulted with childish delight. I was already giggling and envisioning the amusement the new students would bring.

I hate to admit it, but I purposely went and stood next to them.

By the time the second dance started I could hardly contain my laughter. Our Zumba instructor spared no one in her hip movement, chest pops, and overall sassy choreography. How could anyone keep a straight face with two elderly people reflected in the mirror who were trying to imitate young sassy movement with an old not-so-sassy body? I finally had to discreetly walk out of the classroom and laugh.

Yes, I’m heartless, but not thoughtless, for as I giggled my brain thought.

I thought about how brave that couple was for taking a Zumba class. I thought about how their relationship must be strong and still exciting after years of being together. I thought of how they must have sat one night and talked about needing to try something new. I thought about how silly and insecure they must have felt standing there—yet still reassured and strengthened by the fact that at least they stood awkwardly together. And then I thought of how they probably felt it was really everyone else who looked silly. I thought of how much they must love each other to stay the whole time. I thought about how their bravery made them by far younger than their bodies gave away.

Most of all I thought of how someday I wanted to be like them: To be old, but young in spirit; to try new brave things and never be set in my ways; to find someone who would do the same by my side.

I want to never place restraints on my life simply because of the newness of experience and the oldness of me. I want to be forever young and awake in my thirst for adventures even when my reflection shows old age.

I want to be forever brave.

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in bet(we)en

It’s gray sheets. Gray skies.
Neither black or white.
I’m stuck
Somewhere in bet(we)en
Yes
and
No.

Fat cold drops. Wet skin.
Not dry. Not soaked.
I stand
Somewhere in between
(Stay)
and
Go.

It’s bright light. Cool breeze.
Neither hot or cold.
I fall
Somewhere (in) between
High
and
(Love)

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That Time My Life Became a Sitcom Episode

Earlier this month everyone in the world started posting these Facebook loopback movies that showed your last five years in top posts and pictures. I was not entirely prepared for what happened when I clicked to watch my own. My top moments were pictures from my awkward high school days—you know, the ones where I look like a 12 year old instead of the 16 year old I look like now (confession: I’m actually 21). But best of all were my top posts. They included me telling Facebook about having my t-shirt stuck to my sweater while taking it off in class, the picture of an engagement ring my roommates posted as a “funny” hack, oh and the time I wore my yoga pants backwards to school all morning.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s my fault for posting about it, but come on Facebook, couldn’t you highlight the time I won a Nobel Prize or won a Grammy? Geez. Alas, so is my life. Though I may cringe at what people find to be the most likable in my embarrassing life, nothing has been funnier than the train incident thus far.

The Train Incident:
I am convinced the accumulation of awkward moments in my life have all led up to prepare me for this most juicy tale of shock and awe.

I’ve been interning for Salt Lake Magazine this semester and one of the perks of being there during the winter is that the interns get to help out with the Dining Awards. All the delicious restaurant bosses dress up to get an award for their yummy food while the interns sit downstairs and pretend like they know what they’re doing. I’m still hoping my going through the guest list 10 times to find their name made them feeling like I was hard-core and not incompetent.

Look how cute we were

Look how cute we were

When we were given the thumbs up to head upstairs to the event I lost no time in chasing down the hors d’oevours servers with absolutely no shame. For an event honoring food there was little food but lots of booze—it made me feel confused. But I was hungry and I had to leave to catch the train back home.

Looking back I blame my classless hunger for the results of that night.

Since I would miss the train and have to wait another hour if I changed out of my dressy clothes, I decided I would wait until I was on board. There is only one restroom on the train that everyone has to use and I locked the door firmly behind me.

Well at least I thought I did.

As I am in the process of changing from classy to comfy, the door opens as I am in my pants and bra facing the entire train car… Also it was two pre-teen boys who opened it. It was a downfall of classy to comfy to trashy. Their faces looked something like this:

Oddly enough, I kind of recall the kids slightly resembling this guy’s looks

Mine looked something like this:

And also this

This is when I realized there were more on-lookers

And finally this:

Yeah, except not so cute and flattering

Because it was so hilarious that this was happening to me. Really, this is the stuff that happens to cute characters like Jess on New Girl or Mindy from the Mindy Project, but instead it was me. So basically, Hollywood needs to make a sitcom show of my life. It would be the next Friends, just wait.

The kind boys (ha!) closed the door in shock and since the entire train was now aware that the bathroom was in fact occupied I figured it was safe to continue getting dressed. I left the bathroom without making eye contact and moved to the upstairs level where no one had gotten a sneak peek of my goodies.

When I texted my roommates about it later they replied with, “Classic Doridé.” As in, this is common and to be expected of me. So yup. This is my life and I accept it. Highlight this one for next time, Facebook.

I'm hoping this photo will convince you of my professional side and make you forget my awkwardness.

I’m hoping this photo will convince you of my professional side and make you forget my awkwardness.

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Take Back Mission

So I bought myself a Tiffany’s ring.

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A few months ago I overheard a conversation at work that went something like this:

Co-worker 1: I heard you got engaged this weekend
Engaged Co-worker: I did!
Co-worker 1: Well show me the ring
(Engaged co-worker shows ring)
Co-worker 1: Whoa now that’s a ring. He must really love you that’s for sure.

I nearly had to super glue my eyeballs to keep them from rolling. There are so many things wrong with the conversation above that it deserves a post all of it’s own, but I will keep it brief. 

For some reason we’ve come to associate the cost and sparkle of a ring from a man to a woman to be the tell-all show-all of how much she really means to him. If it’s some dingy plain band surely he doesn’t love her… is that what I’m understanding here? It’s ridiculous and materialistic, of course, but it got me thinking. When was the last time someone asked to see something you bought for yourself and said, “Wow! You got that for yourself? You must really love yourself. Good for you!” ? No? No one? Yeah, me neither.

The past few months I was dating a boy pretty seriously. When I went home for the holidays, and even when I was at work, I had people asking me when we were getting married. That question is expected especially within the LDS community, but it didn’t bother me until it became more accusing, “Why isn’t he proposing to you?” See, I’ve never been enamored with the idea of a wedding or the thought of getting married young but for some reason that one hurt. I knew people were trying to frame it in a way that made it seem like there was something wrong with him for not “putting a ring on it,” but in the end it made me wonder if there was something wrong with me.

There are a lot of things in life that one can know very logically within the mind. Logically I know there is nothing wrong with me and I also know there is nothing wrong with him, but emotionally it was not connecting. I tripped over my feet a bit and began to feel insecure about myself and it sucked.

One day as I was reading over past writings I came across an epiphany a wiser and past me had experienced. After having gone through heartbreak a wise-past-me had decided to write about the experience and present-me has never felt more grateful. The short version of that long entry was that my greatest accomplishment wasn’t that I’d never stumbled, “The accomplishment was realizing that I could survive. Worn and torn for all its worth but alive in the end.” I needed to remember that. I needed to believe that again.

But this isn’t about marriage or engagements, it really isn’t. This is about me. me. me. Truth is that I had forgotten to invest in myself.

I kept thinking about the idea of a ring and how it is symbolic of commitment, the key word being symbolic. This means that it is the representation of a promise, not the embodiment of the value behind such promise. Look up the meaning of representation and embodiment and you will see how different they are. Ultimately this should mean that no matter how fancy a ring someone gives you it doesn’t signify how valuable you are, and likewise no mater how simple it does not dictate your worth or their love. Still, particularly as women we are taught that this little trinket is the ultimate token of love. Fine. So why not flip it on it’s head?

Historically there has always existed this notion of “taking back” something (idea, word, tradition, etc). For example, feminism as it developed in it’s third wave took words such as “bitch” or “slut” and reclaimed them. So rather than trying to eliminate their use it’s a way to “disarm their derogatory meaning.” It’s an ongoing debate, but that’s for another post another time. Now, what if I did the same thing in my life? What if I reclaimed the idea of a ring?

I’ve always liked infinity rings and so I went online (and by that I mean tumblr) on a hunt for prices and design. While doing this I stumbled across these little gems:

The message was pretty clear that infinity rings, or any ring pricier than something you can buy at Forever21, should come from a “significant other.” So I searched Instagram to see what the hipsters had to say about it. Not only were majority of the photos of infinity rings from Tiffany & Co. but they also most came from a guy with hashtags like #he’sakeeper #spoiled #thankyoucurrentfancy (okay maybe not that one). Serious kudos to the guys giving out Tiffany’s like it ain’t a thang, but why weren’t more women hash tagging these as #treatyoself #selfloveisforever #isolemnlypromisetolovemyself?

This is where my take back mission kicked in. Infinity is another word that means forever and in the scheme of things the ultimate and only guaranteed forever is yourself. Now, I am not saying there is no such thing as eternal love or families, but you first have to make peace with yourself before you can make peace with anyone else, even friends or family. If every day you hate the skin and mind you live in then life will be miserable. Yet, as women we wait for a man with a ring to promise forever when we already live with forever—ourselves.

So yes, I bought myself a Tiffany’s ring, and before my mom and dad give me a talk about saving my money, hear me out. I could have bought myself a cheaper ring from somewhere like Etsy or whatever, but you know what? I’m worth it. If that little blue box means somebody must really love me and a pricey ring is the ultimate proof then so be it. But it must first be me before anyone else. Yeah, I love myself and I am willing to invest in my own happiness.

I even wrote myself a little love note

I even wrote myself a little love note

See how quick I flipped that social paradigm?

But it’s not about a ring, although it seems like it is. It’s about the value we as individuals give ourselves. It was such an empowering feeling to open that blue box and know that I had bought the ring with my own money, that I could do something for myself, that I was perfectly content with who I was. I firmly believe every woman deserves to invest in herself, in a metaphorical way every day and literally at least once. Find something that will be meaningful for you and go for it. It doesn’t have to be a ring, in fact one of my roommates considers her love sac the self-investment of her 20s.

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I know who I am. I know my worth. My insecurities are only temporary and that’s what I will remember when I look down on my hand. Now how will you love yourself?

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Five Sentences: Reality in Five Seconds

When I began this piece I had spent hours on hours trying to write an article on how LDS culture could be stifling and harmful by making people feel like outsiders. However, every draft I went through lacked the right tone and often sounded accusing and immature. I started to question my perspective, and whether it was something only I had created in my mind, yet as I started to ask questions and talking to my peers I came across a hidden truth: we all have secret lives.

Our secret lives emerge when we experience a moment where we are made so keenly aware of how outside the mold we are so we go through every possible measure to keep this concealed. But the funny thing is that every one is out of the mold, but few speak openly about it. It’s as if we all see the emperor to be naked, but fear works as a paralyzer and we remain silent.

It’s not just LDS culture, it’s human culture. My accusation-like tone and immaturity left my writing when I looked at the precise moments where reality had seeped in to my life and the life of those around me.

The reality that we are all struggling; the reality that we aren’t perfect; the reality that there really is no mold.

Still, I believe we can save each other. I believe that if we discard the desire to appear perfect at all times or keep our struggles to ourselves we can save someone from living a secret life. A secret life where one might feel like their problems make them unlovable, abnormal, or like a complete outsider.

It’s about time we were honest about the truth, don’t you agree?

Five Sentences: Reality in Five Seconds

Her family asks me what sort of pet names my mom and dad call each other. Perhaps, ‘sweetie’ or ‘darling’ they suggest. Smiling huge, eyes bright, I reply, “Pet names? Are my parents each other’s pets?” They laugh endearingly and call me clever and witty. I smile blankly and realize loving names are supposed to be common in real life happy families.

 I am conscious of my reality.

***

 I sit in a freshman class my first semester on campus and the professor asks for a show of hands to see how many people have musical talents, such as singing or playing a musical instrument. Every single student raised their hand—well, at least almost every single student. My hand remains stoutly planted on my desk. All of my qualms and insecurities about attending BYU resurface because for the one hundred thousandth time I feel like I am out of place. If my forms of art were revealed, would everyone in class see me the same?

 My talents are out of the mold—this is my reality.

***

Everyone’s eyes look at me accusingly; their looks hold all the questions that seem to say, “Why are you here? Why are you home?” It is a look of shock, so quickly concealed, that transforms into a demanding curiosity because the question still lingers in the air: “What did you do?” The feeling of blame courses through my blood and all I can taste is shame. I deserve this. I don’t know how to respond and much less how to openly admit I have returned because I have a panic disorder.

I feel the guilt of my shortcomings and my reality is silenced. *

***

“Just let me in and tell me what is wrong, please!” The banging on the door heightens my shame and self-hatred; I never thought my life would turn like this. If I explain to her all the things I have done wrong and the mistakes I have made she will never see me the same again. Through slits of puffy eyes and streaming tears I explain to her the things I have never spoken out loud before—those things I swore to never do. She looks me dead in the eyes and says, “I have been there too.”

 Perfection is shattered and mistakes are suddenly revealed as reality.

***

*A special thanks here to my dear friend NRL for inspiring and sharing this very personal experience.

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Street Dancing

You and I dance on a dim lit street.
The racing of our hearts
Provides the right beat.

We listen to the silence as our bodies
Say the words we cannot speak.

There is no rhyme or reason
To the movement that we make.

We exist in our own world
Held together by a strong
Magnetic pull.

I inhale
As you exhale;
And we take each other’s
Breath.

Your breathing places
Life into my lungs
And in that moment
I am full.

Our hopes give a hum,
Our hearts set the harmony.

And alone on this street
We danced to a symphony

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