28 January 2014

Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of,
is destroyed. Write it a memorial. (source for prompt)
 Once occupied by the shouts and giggles of children, a field of broken playground equipment and toppled trees rests in dissatisfied pieces. Like many of our own childhood dreams, Phillip Marx Central Park was razed completely by accident. A miscommunication between government and corporation led wrecking balls and bulldozers to the wrong place. Children were ushered our of the park and yellow caution tape was erected with little hassle. An angry foreman with his yellow hard hat pulled low over his forehead chewed his cigar and wondered why a wonderful and well-established park was marked for destruction. Aware that it was not his place to question, he threw his cigar to the ground, squashed it, and shouted for things to get going. Sadly, but with no hesitation, machine operators went to work and smashed and crushed and upended till nothing was left standing.
The ruckus drew the attention of most the neighborhood and the nearby police department.
Once the dust settled, and disputing parties were assuaged the machinery was cleared out and Tehachapi was left to look at the sad remains of a once pleasant and cheerful place.

Once so solid, now irreparably broken. No matter the next course of action, Phillip Marx Central Park will never be the same. Old memories are erased, and satisfying strolls must occur elsewhere.

Thankfully, a new park will be built in its place, and new reminiscences will be created and shared with future children. Though the adult generation will surely never view the redone Central Park with the same amount of appreciation as the old, their opinions don't really matter as it's not being built for them.

02 August 2013

I'm not the greatest at logic, but here's something I've learned.

 ―Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Normally, I really struggle having a desire to read books that everyone else reads, and I've never really been sure why that is.
I recently ran across this quote on Tumblr and, after much pondering, realized that I have subconsciously thought/believed/followed this thought process.
And, while continuing to ponder, I realized something else.

I shouldn't avoid what everyone else is thinking.

Now, if you know me, you know that I am snooty and think that society is dumb and blah, blah, blah. You know that I hate the trend of American living. You know that I am a stereotypical "hipster." I don't even consider myself a hipster--which, I've been informed, is a tell-tale sign you are, in fact, one (which could lead me off-topic into another, less thought-out and more emotional blog post...but that's not what this post is about, so I'll save it).
However, while pondering this quote, I realized that understanding another person's thoughts, another person's position (or thoughts, if you will) is vital in understanding other people, and continuing to pursue that goal of increased charity for this year.

I cannot feel greater charity, and continue to find the thoughts of those around me inferior and dull.
Considering others stupid is...well it's stupid! Every person has a story, a history, some complicated combination of events and tradition that trap them into their own thoughts and world and opinion. They have a base for everything they do. Everything about them can be traced back to something and their response to it. And that response can be traced back to other somethings and other responses. Every person is a complex chain of event and response.
I am. And I have plenty of stupid thoughts. I can look back on my short life and be ashamed of everything I've done, but I've come to understand that I am a chain of event and response. This has helped me to overcome shame about silly and not-so-silly mistakes I've made.
So why haven't I yet realized that about other people?
I am a person. Why should they be any different, at their core, than I am? We are the same animal with different stories.
That's what I've come to realize.
We'll see where this takes me.

19 June 2013

Short Ramblings of Joy

In a book I read recently (Clothed with Charity), I encountered a quote I found particularly moving. I didn't record who said the quote, nor on which page of the book I found said quote (for which I am terribly sorry, how unprofessional of me), but I've decided to share it with you anyway:
...joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of God.
 This definitely leaves room for some personal pondering as that implies some stuff I'm not quite sure I want to believe. I can be joyful and in pain? I can be in pain and with God? Despite my misgivings, I thought the quote was worth sharing--particularly since it relates to things I tell myself all the time, which can be found in my favorite scriptures.
As some of you may be aware, my favorite scripture, found in 2 Nephi 2:25, relates to this quote:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Similarly, my second favorite scripture, 2 Nephi 4:26, 28:
...why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? 
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
Besides the obvious fact that I have a thing for 2 Nephi, I think I can honestly say that joy and sorrow are definite themes of my life. With each rotation of the Trial Mobile, I learn the substance of joy on a deeper and more personal level. Although I still have a constant childish shoving match occurring between despair and joy, I am learning to root for joy. I am learning to incorporate her into my life.
I think the same can be said for all of us. Being joyful is a constant practice; we are never the master of joy, although we may experience brief intense periods of it. I don't think we can ever experience joy alone. When I have experienced joy, I felt the Holy Spirit with me; I was not alone, for God was with me. This definitely relates back to earlier.
Joy is the presence of God.
This still leaves unreconciled the possibility of the continued presence of pain with joy. And this is something I will continue to ponder. Do you have any thoughts?

30 May 2013

Depression is an Ongoing Battle with Strange Triggers.

Before I begin this post, please let me be clear and emphasize how much I love and appreciate my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my boyfriend, and even strangers on the street. Even though occasionally they are triggers to regressions (through no fault of their own), they are my strongest support. The people I have been blessed to be surrounded by never ask me for a reason for my inexplicable bouts of intense sorrow or self-doubt. They are never afraid to remind me that they love me, and that they support me, and that they'll be there for me no matter what. I could not be the person I am today without them. When I just need a hug, a blessing, or a cone of ice cream, they're there with open arms, access to the priesthood, and a supply of ice cream--or a lactose free alternative. I know that they don't always realize what a help they're being--in fact I'm sure they're seldom aware. They have helped me to overcome, and to grow to become a much stronger person.
Even when I'm not receptive to their help, they have never given up on me. I get emails, random texts, and an excess of hugs when I don't even think I want them. Of course, I always do, but sometimes I don't realize how much I need it until they force it upon me.
I am also so eternally grateful for Christ and the Gospel. When I feel absolutely alone, He is there reaching out to me. When I sink into the deepest and darkest holes of myself, He alone truly fathoms my despair. He alone can lift me and comfort me at the level I sometimes need. I truly believe He inspires my friends and my family in their actions, and I am so eternally grateful to be surrounded by strong members of the church, and worthy priesthood holders.

I have officially struggled with depression for several years now (in hindsight, however, I suspect I have struggled for much longer). The longer I struggle, the easier it gets to resist the urges to hate myself or lash out at those I love. In fact, I have a pretty good handle on the chemical imbalance in my brain now because I know what I need to do to stay on top of it. I eat balanced meals often, I get enough sleep, and I do my best to get outside-alone-in-nature time frequently. Most importantly, though, I have adopted several habits and safeguards into my life.

19 May 2013

An actual case of irony.

I am well aware of the irony of my previous blog post's title. I posted to let you know that I wasn't dead, and then I disappeared off the face of the internet. Let me reassure you...I was just fine. All that happened was school. I am now two semesters further along than when you last saw me, and I could potentially be graduating with an associates in English a year from now...which, we'll see how that goes. The budget cuts in education will probably mess that up for me. But my fingers are crossed.
Here are three big updates for you to digest: I've turned 21; I got an incredibly handsome, funny, and polite boyfriend; and I was called as institute president. Hurray!
Anyway, I'm around. Mostly I'm spending my time sewing, hypothesizing about Doctor Who, and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, and adventuring with Derek, my amazing boyfriend.