Friday, October 2, 2015

tentacruel's grasp

One of the most annoying moves in the original Pokemon games was a move called "WRAP." The concept is simple enough- a Pokemon uses its tentacles, vines, or snake-like body to wrap you up. At first, the attack seems useless; it deals pitifully low damage. That is, until you try to make your next move. Instead of being able to fight back, your Pokemon is trapped, and you get the message "Enemy Pokemon's attack continues!" Your basically stuck watching your Pokemon get slowly squeezed to death (err, fainting) until the other Pokemon either misses or uses another move.

One of the fastest Pokemon to use wrap is called Tentacruel-- a seriously evil looking squid with a seriously bad attitude. I mean, just look at the guy.
what a dirtbag.

He's faster that most Pokemon, which means he'll probably attack first. He'll wrap you before you get a hit in, and then it's more or less game over. You can't hit back, you just watch in agony as your Pokemon's consciousness slowly fades away in the gross tentacles of this dirty, dirty, jellyfish. If you could just land a thunderbolt, you might have a chance to knock him out and get free.. but good luck with that.

So what, Scott, what's that have to do with anything? 

Only EVERYTHING! I mean I just saved you a world of pain by prepping you for one of the most annoying tricks you might find yourself in next time you have a generation 1-specific battle over some linked game boys on 15+ year old technology. You're welcome.

K just kidding. There's a point. Think of the last time you were hurt. Like really, really hurt. Could be a nasty breakup. Family troubles. Betrayal. Injustice. Got depression/anxiety? That works. Those hurt for no freaking reason.

Our friends, who love us and don't want us to be in pain will try to comfort us or at times even fix the issue. Sometimes we annoy our friends with our afflictions. We've all been there. No one's perfect at handling their problems, and no one's perfect giving comfort or advice. I would bet that all of us, at some point, have either been frustrated or frustrated our friends to the point where the ever magical, problem-fixing, empathy oozing words are spoken:

"Oh, just get over it!"

Lol. Yes. OK. Got it. Just take whatever emotional pain you have and effortlessly drop it from your life. Let it go, sing a catchy song and craft a dress out of ice while you're at it. 

Cause, you know, that's how emotions work.

Well, granted you have psychopathic tendencies, that's how emotions work.

The thing is, if we could just "get over it," we would. SPOILER ALERT: people with depression actually don't like having depression. The problem isn't always that we don't want to let go (though some people really do just want to hold on). A lot of the time, it's that it won't let go of us. Like a freaking Tentacruel (or Arbok in this case) wrapping it's victim, some pain just sticks and we don't know what to do about it.

Just get over it, Jolteon. Let it go.

But now what do I do? I want my friends to be happy! WHY CAN'T WE JUST BE HAPPY!?

Well, I think what we forget so often is that being a good friend takes time. It takes time to know someone, it takes time to get to love someone. It also takes time for emotions to heal, whatever the problems are. But we can be so bent on instant results that we forget the value of letting our emotions process and them heal.

And a good friend doesn't have to fix emotional wounds. You're not a failure of a friend if you can't do that. You just have to care.

My best friend through high school did this well- not by outright fixing problems, but by being part of my process in healing. You may or may not know that I lost my dad within the first few months of high school. It sucked, and it was painful. A lot of people, while well-meaning, wanted to just sort of outright fix the problem. There were a lot of offers from people who didn't know me well to "let me know if you need anything," a nice gesture, but weird coming from people who I normally wasn't talking with. My school counselor tried to help, though ended up deciding that I had depression (I was deeply sad and in pain, but depression is a different beast). 

My friend Sean on the other hand didn't pretend like he could fix anything, but he also didn't pretend like nothing was wrong.He didn't try to cheer my up with cheesy one-lined advice, but he did spend countless Friday nights playing video games with me. He didn't try to cover my problems with an overly optimistic attitude, but he'd walk/ride home with me from school most days. He never tried to counsel my grief- he just played along as I wrote ridiculous stories about us being superheroes.

Most, if not all of that is stuff he would have done anyway. But that's what I needed- not someone to fix the emotional gap that my dad left (and let's be real, that gap can't be filled)- I needed someone to be a 14 year-old kid with. 

That's what I think it is at the core. You don't have to fix someone's pain to be a good friend. You just have to see their pain as what it really is- a monster gripping them with its tentacles- and not the other way around. Care first, then you can figure out what your part is. Maybe it is to give advice. Maybe it is to cheer your friend up with optimism. Or maybe you just need to give it time, and try to feel the pain with your friend as they heal.

And why not play some Pokemon while you wait? Or whatever it is the kids are into these days ;) You're the friend, here. You know what's up.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Square Dancing

I remember well the day when all of us 4th graders were herded into the gym at Loyola Elementary like a bunch of sheep to the slaughter. Unknowing of our fate, we blindly followed the so-called educators that our parents had trusted our care into uncertainty. Boys were partnered up with girls while my large, obnoxious teacher (who consistently made fun of my handwriting) placed what looked like a giant CD into a strange looking device with a cornucopia-like horn sticking out of it. We were instructed to square dance.

The look of utter horror and disgust on my partner's face was seared into my mind as we grudgingly reached out to each other and touched one another's hands. Nine years old is far too young to be subjected to such torture.

Most, if not all of the silly dances we learned would have us switch partners mid-song, revealing the awful truth that I would have to touch all the girls in the 4th grade. Some liked it way too much. The tall one always hunched over so she could look me in the face and add insult to injury. The one I had been secretly wanting to dance with would cover her hands with her sweatshirt- an ingenious idea even if it did bring me to a disadvantage.

It was terrible. But we did kind of like it. But not really.

The awful truth hit us all too clearly- eventually you're probably going to be attracted to other people, and you'll probably like it. Nine years old... so young...

Ironically, years later while walking my dog, I found a group of old timers square dancing in the Loyola Elementary gym, not unlike this group here. I still see them from time to time XD

Junior High came around, and things went crazy. Seriously, nobody wants to ever go back to junior high. Some people relish their days in college or high school, others wish to go back to the carefree days of childhood, but I've never met a soul wanting to relive the terror days of junior high.

For the most part, my days there weren't so bad, though looking back, I was a turd, and so was everyone around me.

At this time we were all discovering at some point or another that it's actually OK to be attracted to each other. People start talking about who likes who and whatever. No one really did anything about it though, and for the most part no one really cared to either. We had more important things to worry about, like video games and pizza. Even when someone did do something about it, no one was really sure how to react. Rumors spread that some girl was severely crushing on my friend, all leading up to the first school dance, where she wanted him to dance with her, AAANND....

He did. And as far as I remember nothing really ever happened after that. Other kids went on, including myself, secretly liking each other and hoping we would get noticed, but not really doing anything. Again, Super Mario and Legend of Zelda were still waaay more important, but it wouldn't have been so terrible if a certain girl or two could read my mind and start talking to me and liking me for no reason. Just saying...

Then high school happened and kids would go out like nutso. If kids were dating, they made sure to do everything to make sure everyone knew it. They'd go to dances together, hold hands everywhere, get singing valentines, throw in some lovely hallway PDA (cause a 5-minute passing period is obviously too long to break from eternal love), and plaster Myspace with pictures of each other (cause Myspace was a thing at the time).

My first year at BYU was more or less the same as high school, just exchange myspace with facebook. I dated a handful of girls during later high school and early college times, all of whom were very cool and treated me with a ton of respect (respect I hopefully also can say I gave to them).

Then came my time to serve a mission, which is more or less our cultural rite of passage for manhood. Upon returning I was ready and excited to fulfill the prophecy given to every single guy who has ever served a mission was promised: dating. It will be easy. It will be fun. You'll be more attractive than a super-saiyan is powerful/screamy.

What I found in my following years at BYU (and in the wacky world of LDS dating) was less than fun. It has not been easy. In truth, it has been more painful than anything else. Sadly many others have found themselves in the same, miserable boat.

The problem, I feel, is that we really just need to grow the crap up and start acting like adults. And treating each other like adults. Too many of our actions are reflecting our nine-year-old selves square dancing in circles, or the terrible junior high kids we want to leave behind.

I've seen it too often- girls going on dates and then coming home to tear the guys apart with gossip to their friends.

Guys who will flirt with any girl with a pulse, but won't commit to more than (maybe) one date.

Girls who lament about the "creepy" guy who won't stop calling, yet never state their disinterest out of the risk of "feeling bad."

Boys and girls, complaining with all the drama of a teenager, about things that probably aren't even true.

Girls and boys, ignoring the interest of another person, and swatting down compliments like flies, as if to shame a person for being attracted to them.

"Oh, poor me, nobody likes me." Except for when they do.

"No one wants to date me.." As long as you don't count the guy/girl I've been avoiding all month.

"I just wish she/he would notice me." And can read my mind so that I don't have to put forth the effort.

Look, I know dating can be a nightmare, but if you're gonna complain, at least be accurate. If you're gonna whine about the people who don't like you, at least remember the people who do (or did). If you're gonna worry about getting shot down, remember when you've done the rejecting. If you want people to give you a chance, be willing to do the same.

I don't think that means you have to go out with every guy who asks you out or every girl who shows interest. If you really know you don't want to spend time with someone then don't waste their/your time. You don't have to go out with legit creepies, weirdos, or the guy who creeps up on you in random places.

Lookin at you, Brainy

But if you got one of those special someones who just won't leave you alone.. You know, the kind who talk to you at church, ask how you're doing, maybe even say hi at ward prayer, you know, the real stalkers.. just act like an adult, already. Give them a chance, or not, but don't ignore it. You may be wishing for them to "get the hint," and they may just be hoping that their efforts will get them a chance to spend some time with you. Cause in their mind, you're worth the trouble, and chances are, they're probably right.

I will end with a little story that I think about often when I get overly frustrated with the silliness of dating. At one point while I was at BYU, I remember walking home with a couple of friends, both of whom were women. One was frantically asking advice, worried soo much about her man troubles at the time. She was afflicted with interest in one man, yet catching the interest of another. The second man had asked her out on what was either a first or second date (I can't remember).

My opinion was that she really had nothing to lose in going out with this guy. At best she'd like him and at worst, she'd have a fun time not paying for whatever it was they were doing. Either way it was up to her and like an adult, she didn't play games and she didn't ignore it. Her choice was to give him a chance. They've now been married for a year or two or three (it would be kind of weird if I kept track of it) and have adorable babies.

I take comfort in the fact that when it comes to dating, none of us really have any idea what we're doing. But in the end, most, if not all of us will succeed. Until then, I hope your efforts are fun and relatively stress-free :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

your inner powers

Ok, so it's not like I've ever made it a secret that I kind of wish I was a superhero. It's kind of been a lifelong dream- have awesome powers, save the day, stop the bad guys, you know, everyday superhero stuff. You'd think I'd have outgrown it by now, but nah, I'm still contemplating all the time what I would do if I actually had superpowers, and how I would manage my day to day life with my job, church, "social life" and crime fighting while still keeping my friends and mom fooled. I watch stuff like Batman or Spidey or like any of the X-Men and think, dang, I wish I could be like insert just about any superhero excluding Aquaman here

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who does this. I think we all wish we were cooler than we see ourselves as. The problem though is then was start to ruthlessly beat ourselves up... except we don't have the whole Wolverine healing power thing to dull the pain. 

In our quest to hate ourselves, we might make superheroes out of other people; which on the one hand is awesome, but on the other is terrible. It's good cause we see people for everything that makes them good, but bad when we compare their best that they see with our own worst that we know all too well, and maybe even believe we're not as important or valuable as them. 

Or, just as bad, we'll turn others into supervillians and only see them by their faults or what they're not so great at. 

Beating yourself up only makes things worse, as it makes it harder to see where your own power is. You might see others and what makes them great, but not see yourself and what makes you great (which, I should add, is incredibly hard for many people to see in themselves). But I'm willing to bet that your experiences and talents, the stuff that makes you who you are- your superpowers- are much more valuable than you (or others for that matter) give yourself credit for.

But Scott, I don't have anything cool or interesting about me! I'm just a normal person! I haven't overcome any crazy challenges or traveled to any interesting places or even stopped a bank robbery! I can't help anyone with my "powers!"

You may be thinking the same thing as that strange voice that just interrupted my writing of this post. You might feel that you're unable to help with a difficult situation or that your powers are right kind to save the day. You might think you're no use at all, or that your skills are even worse than if you didn't have superpowers-- kind of like how this guy might feel--

Heheh. Admit it, you thought it was gonna be Aquaman.

I'll tell you though, as boring or powerless as you might think you are, you're stronger than that. Trust me. Looking back, it wasn't always the super experienced people who helped me survive the harder times of my life. It was often people who had just as much confronting my struggles as I did. 

My freshman year of high school ranks pretty high, if not the top of my terrible years of my life list. A lot of people were there to help me get through it. One in particular was my good friend since the 6th grade. He was more or less my only close friend going into high school and I think it was pretty clear to us and others that we were good friends even though we didn't really ever say it. 

While life was sort of blowing up in my face, my friend didn't change too much. He didn't try to pretend like he understood what I was dealing with. We'd walk home together, play video games, and talk after school about whatever high school kids talk about-- I don't think it would have been much different if life was normal for me. But for me, having a normal, consistent friend who wasn't faking it went so much further than he or I really thought it did at the time.

Contrast that with my high school counselor, who within a couple of 10-minute meetings, told me I was depressed and needed to be on medication. Granted, my life sucked, and I was sad, but I didn't have the emotional trouble that comes with depression at that point in my life, and deep down I knew she was wrong. 

The sad thing is, my counselor probably could have been a huge help with all her training and experience, if she had actually tried to get to know me and care about my point of view. But I really just felt like another box to check on her list of things to do, which made all of her knowledge and experience pretty useless, where my 14 year old friend was making superpowers out of being a normal kid.

No matter how dull or amazing you think your experiences are, you can turn them into powerful tools when you put your heart into it and use them to care about others. When you take the time to really know someone, you'll know which of your superpowers to use and when- whether a friend needs your advice, or to hear how you dealt with a situation, or if they just need a hug and for you to say you love them.

And though you may not be flying or shooting laser out of your eyes, you've made yourself a true hero to someone and shown more power than ever seen in a comic book or cartoon show. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

becoming a menace

as i grow closer to hitting the detested menace to society age, i have noticed that the universe continues to fight back with unsolicited dating advice, pressure, and everyone and their mom trying to set me up with girls who they know (which i'm not complaining about.... yet). with less than a month left to be a good, regular member of society, i've been reflecting on the choices i've made that have been slowly turning me from a good, somewhat productive guy into the kind of scum Batman beats off the streets with his fists.

which is actually kind of hypocritical when you think about it

so to help you guys out, i thought i'd outline my fool-proof, 100% effective steps to becoming a menace to society, so you can easily avoid going down the path of darkness (or follow it for all i care). i guarantee results, cause i mean, if it works for me, it'l work for everyone else, right? so here it goes- here's some of my top reasons why i think i've become a menace to society:

dating for the wrong reasons

it hit me that i've been asking girls out and dating them for all the wrong reasons. dating people to show interest, get to know them, or just spend time with someone you like are surefire ways to fail and start your transformation into the Joker. don't do it.

what i should have been doing is what all the successful missionaries do- and that is get good, high numbers (actually, my first mistake was not comparing dating to missionary work enough). i mean what did all the most successful missionaries have in common? high numbers. tons of lessons taught. lot's of people with baptism dates and tons of baptisms. dating, like missionary work, takes faith, and the best measures of faith are the outward results that everyone else can see. 

so in conclusion: date for the right reasons- which is being able to tell others how many dates you've been on this week, how many progressing relationships you have, and how many people you have a marriage commitment from. it's bound to work itself out from there. 

dating the wrong people

i've also noticed that i've been dating all the wrong people. i've been going after girls who i like, who i am attracted to, who might be interested in me, or who are just so dang nice you have no choice but to like them. obviously, since it hasn't been working, then i must be doing it wrong, and you shouldn't do it either. 

well who is the right kind of people, then? probably freshmen. freshmen girls are always dating someone. so if you aren't dating freshmen girls, you should be, or for the girls out there, simply be a freshman girl.

it's waiting to be robbed. just do it already.

not taking married friends' advice

your friends who are married usually have pretty good advice when it comes to dating, and rightfully so. i mean they are married, after all. forget any past failures they had or how many crappy relationships they had to trudge through, they got it right one time, and that's all you need to be an expert on something. they totally know what they're talking about. 

so of course, i've got it wrong when i haven't been listening to the things that worked for my friends and their spouses, since what worked for them will 100% work for me. stuff like "you gotta be persistent," and "don't go too fast or anything. just be friends," are words to live by. don't go by your own feelings or ideas or anything, cause those gut feelings didn't get your friends married, now did they?

don't be too straightforward

absolutely never tell someone if you like them. this isn't junior high, people! you can't just tell someone you like them or think they're cute and have it not be a big deal! we're adults now! we have to remember that being liked or complimented is a terrifying experience, and honest, straightforward communication is the wrong way to go. know a person at church or in class that you think is cute? better not tell them. have special person you've been friends with for a long time and are crazy about? don't even think about saying your feelings. communicating your feelings should be sketchy, mysterious, and confusing at the very best. 

what i should have been doing is playing more mind games. be really friendly to a person, and then purposely go out of your way to ignore them- and none of that being busy and forgetful stuff, i mean straight up avoidance! or you should only communicate through texting- and be sure that the tone of your messages are near impossible to figure out. if you do slip up and stoop to complimenting, just overdue it, and flirt like crazy with the person. keep flirting and flirting, but then never ask them out- this should balance out for the perfect mind game and then you're in the clear.

mind games. this guy knows. 

well i hope you find my advice useful. if you just avoid the steps i've taken, you'll be well on your way to a non-menacing, productive, happy member of society lifestyle! it's too late for me, but hopefully you can be spared :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

random encounters

one of my favorite genres of video games is the RPG, (role-playing game) which is more or less plot and character-driven game, which a heavy focus on building your characters- as in developing said character's abilities and items and other stuff that makes them cool. most RPGs are set in a fantasy-type world with fantasy-type characters accomplishing a fantasy-type quest. there's variations, but that's the very very basics.

many (if not most) RPGs, especially the older ones, are plagued with an annoying occurrence known as the random encounter. the premise of the random encounter goes as follows: you're walking outside, having a good time, much like this guy here ---->

so you're walking along, having fun when all of the sudden----

the screen flashes, goes dark, and you and your group of friends are standing before a group of monsters who are ready to fight you. your choices are usually pretty simple: you beat the monsters up, burn them with magic (or use it to help your team), use an item, or run away. sometimes fighting the monsters is worth the trouble because they give experience (which makes your characters stronger), and sometimes running away is a good option because they're either not worth the time or they could kill if you if you fought.

while the Final Fantasy series is notorious for its random encounters, most other traditional RPGs have them too. some games like Pokemon will confine random encounters to certain areas, like the tall grass or caves- though anyone who's played Pokemon up to Mt. Moon will know just how annoying a random encounter is when you find another dang wild zubat appearing in front of you face for the 100th time... make that the 101th time. other RPGs will-- gosh, is that ANOTHER freaking zubat!?-- try to justify random encounters by making little-- oh GOSH another zubat-- enemies for you to walk up to on the map screen before going to the fight screen to-- come ON! i used a super repel for crying out loud!-- beat the bad guys up, and then-- HOLY CRAP, I GET IT, THIS CAVE IS FULL OF ZUBATS!!!

there is a monster who i would like to talk about who is a beast that we must all fight many times throughout life. the beast is called anxiety. we've all fought it. we've all probably tried to run away, wish that we could destroy it with magic, or use an item to get it off. but we've all dealt with it in some way at some point.

we all have reasons to be anxious. school, work, church, friends, family, pretty much anything we care about will probably give us some anxiety at some point. stress is pretty normal, and a lot of the time it can be pretty good, as it pushes us to do what we care about.

but i'm going to talk about the more annoying, more trollish, zubat-like anxiety that comes up for no reason. the kind that is basically like a random encounter with a bunch of stupid monsters-- you're moving along with life, things are good, and then boom. you're fighting a pack of trolls that were literally not there a second ago.

this kind of anxiety can manifest itself however and whenever the heck it wants, and it will probably do it in the most annoying way possible. it can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be both of those. some people feel intense panic or embarrassment, even when things are going well and nothing's wrong. you might feel your fears increase and go nuts in your head.

 for me, it feels like someone is clenching my stomach with their fist and won't let it go. when it decides to show up, it usually hangs around for the rest of the day. or week. or month. on a better day, it's just a stomach ache. on a bad day, the stomach convinces my mind to turn against me and try to obsess about reasons why i'm feeling like crap. fears may get intense. positive emotions can get very very suppressed. it can go on and off for long amounts of time, and i'm sure many others have dealt with the same crap

i've named my anxiety my troll stomach, because that's really all that it is. a troll. a more or less useless feeling that only tries to annoy. i could be driving to work, and it's all like--


or i could be on an enjoyable date with a woman i might actually like, and my "friend" comes in all like---


or i could be trying to have a good experience in the temple, when... you guessed it---


while i'm in no way an expert or professional on the subject, i hope that i can say a few things that might help you or someone you love fight the troll that is anxiety.

first off, anxiety is not a sin. is you have random, stupid, trolling anxiety, you are not bad, you are not evil, and you are not weak. the difficulty is that we often associate feelings or anxiety with guilt, often because when we do mess up and feel bad or guilt, it can cause stress. when we make things right, this stress usually goes away. for the most part, when you do something wrong, you know it. you don't need a terrible feeling to tell you.

if you need to get help, that's ok. there's nothing wrong with it. people might judge, but they don't know anything anyways. it's good to get help from people you trust- friends, family, professionals, anyone who wants to help. there's nothing weak about asking for help- the whole core of what we believe and why we are here is the Savior-- that we need Him to get through this and get back to God. we need Him to help us, and there is no shame in asking him. similarly, there's no shame in asking for help with the problems you fight in life.

next, try to learn the difference between your feelings. this can be very hard, as anxiety might suppress everything else you feel. but that doesn't mean you still don't have emotions, cares, worries, and feelings that are genuine and real. when you do something that you know is wrong, pay attention to what leads you back in the right way-- and it's not going to be the anxiety. when you do something enjoyable or just plain nice, pay attention to what things override the troll. with some practice, you can find what things help lower anxiety, what makes you actually feel good, and the difference between the anxiety and other less than fun emotions like sadness or anger.

if nothing else, know that God has your back no matter what. He really does love you and really does care about you. He's shown me that over and over the last few months, despite my troll-stomach being stronger than usual. learn how He talks to you. the way He speaks with you is for you and no one else. be brave and follow what He might ask you to do. if you feel the urge to do something good, something nice for another person, show faith in any way, follow it- and it will often lead to feeling the Spirit, feeling good, and kicking out the troll- even if only for a short time. when you see or feel a blessing from Him, remember it during the hard times when satan tries to sucker-punch your feelings with the troll.

for all my friends who have suffered from or helped me or others in the fight with anxiety-- you are awesome and incredible people. you are like the warriors in my stupid RPGs that crush monsters and save the world. your faith and love are much stronger than you probably give yourself credit for, and i am confident that God is happy with you when you act this way. keep it up. it makes a real difference. :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

have a nice day

in addition to adventure, fighting evil monsters, and saving the world from darkness, most fantasy video games also have an element involving visiting boring little towns where boring little people live. towns are more or less a necessity, as you need them to stay at the inn (which miraculously heals any and all wounds), buy new weapons or other items, or just get information useful for your quest. these towns always have quaint little people who you can talk to by going up to them and pressing A. usually they only have one like to say unless they give you a side-quest. otherwise, it's the same boring sentence every time you walk up to someone to talk to them.

as hilarious as these interactions can be, they are often much less pathetic than some of the everyday interactions i have with people whom i know. how often do you find yourself walking on campus, at the store, or elsewhere and see someone you know walking towards you? you avoid making eye contact till you're about a good appropriate 10 feet from him/her. as you walk by, one person starts the riveting conversation by saying, "oh hey, how are you?" to which the other responds, "good, how are you?" you then walk by each other before the second person can actually answer. wait, what? seriously, at least in the video game you stop moving to talk to a person (despite main characters never actually saying anything).

now, how honest are we being when we say "good," when walking by? how often is the real answer to "how are you," something more like, "oh, i'm stressed, anxious, and kind of hate everything right now.." but do we really want to say that? and do would we really care if someone opened up to us like that?

take another example from a more obscure super nintendo game- Faceball 2000. the premise of the game is pretty simple, you choose a giant floating shape with a weird face on it, and run around in a maze shooting other weird giant floating shapes. basically like paintball, but with faces. and the shapes kind of pop when you hit them. 

anyways, when you get destroyed by another face-guy, their face pops up on your screen, and you hear them tell you in a snarky, sarcastic voice to "have a nice day."

have. a nice. day.

i think often our interactions with people are sometimes kind of lame. like these weirdos from my nintendo games. do we walk on by or do we actually stop to talk to people and see how they're doing? are we the kind of friend that people can open up to, or do we just halfheartedly listen, give our judgments and yet tell them to "have a nice day" after not really listening or helping at all?

James teaches it better--

"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, by ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them no those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:15-17).

let's try to be nicer to each other, let's try to be better friends, better brothers and sisters, better followers of Christ. we won't have all the answers for every problem or be able to fix every burden, but life becomes that much easier for all of us when we love and care for each other and actually mean it. 

and then it's not so weird to see a smiling face tell you to have a nice day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

red potion

i pretty much just laughed when i realized that valentine's day is actually this coming friday. i laugh cause it's probably the most emotionally weird and just plain funny day to go through and see others' reactions (and my own for that matter). i'm sure that facebook is going to be drooling with the typical "OMIGOSH I JUST LUUUUUHHHVE MY GFBFHUBBYETERNALWIFEYLOVER<3<3" on the one end and the "yet another single's awareness day in front of netflix and ice cream #singleprobs #ishouldjustgetmarried feeling lonely :(" on the other endand everything in between. if nothing else, my students will make the day interesting.. to say the least.

another great thing about this friday is that it will mark the last valentine's day before i hit the "official" menace to society age in just a few months. i'm actually looking forward to becoming a menace, because i'm actually more or less at a point where i'm contributing more to society than i ever have in my life...

..and that's what you call ironic!!!

to be blunt, the dating pressure in the Church and especially in provo/BYU is pretty intense. the religious reasons for it are actually pretty sound- we believe that marriage is a covenant with God, and that's nothing to take lightly. but we've added a TON of social pressure to it (and sadly our other covenants as well) that make it so much more frustrating that it needs to be. we've all been in a church meeting where we've gotten yelled at for not dating enough. we've probably judged each other when we see relationships fall apart or things not go well for ourselves/others. it's hard enough on it's own- let's not make it any harder.

i'm not gonna pretend that i have any answers to the "menace" issue. everyone is far too different to give solid dating advice to. no one really knows what they're talking about- which is OK, cause most people end up together somehow anyways!

so if i could say anything to my frustrated friends this valentines day- be you menace, pre-menace, or a lonely lady (cause you know, it's solely the men's faults we all suck at dating), its that you are awesome. very much more than you give yourself credit for. why? cause despite the frustration, the pain, the yelling, judging, the being told you aren't good enough, the feeling like crap, and everything in between, you keep going. you stay faithful. we don't value that enough.

i remember once i was driving to general conference with a friend, while listening to it on the radio. in part of Elder Anderson's talk he said something like-- "I am amazed to see so many single people going into their late 20's and 30's..." we both groaned as we waited for his apostolic rebuke, then he said-- "... who still keep the law of chastity!" we then collectively cheered. we really don't give enough credit to those who keep trying, keep moving forward, and don't let the past (no matter how crazy) get them down.

try to be happy this valentines day. whether you've got someone or not, with or without plans. try not to dwell in the past if it hurts. try not to demonize people who may have let you down. if you can, try to be brave. do something nice for someone you care about. say something nice to someone you might like. but most importantly, just don't beat yourself up. you're too awesome for that.

worst case scenario, i'll just become a full-on hermit and give bad advice to people in caves and dungeons. come visit and maybe i'll give you a sword or a note or something XD

pay me for the door repair charge.