31 October 2009

Christian Morbidity

This summer I attended a five-day Christian leadership camp for teenagers. The camp was held on a local university's campus, and so the girls were all housed in the same dorm. In order to truly keep us 'unruly' campers under tabs at all times, girls were divided up into groups of 8 to 12, and a staff person was assigned with each group. Supposedly, the groups would do everything together - eating, walking, sitting during lectures, as well as quiet time and something they called 'T-time.' For those in the groups fortunate to have friends attending, the only time we were required to be around the group was one meal a day, and at T-time.

My group was interesting. We had a very sweet girl only a few years older than I as the group leader, and she turned T-time into 'arts-and-crafts' time. Thus it was that the second night, I came out of T-time with a name tag for my door, with the legend "death before dishonor" scrawled on front.  I really don't know why I got such a hard time about it... I even put stylized flowers on it like all the 'normal,' 'perfectly healthy' girls. Well, they were stylized purple roses, but it was a huge concession on my part! As were the bright colors elsewhere on the placard.

At this point, my introduction has only something slightly to do with the title of the post, so I'll wrap up. The group leader and the other girls saw my name tag, and rather than seeing the phrase "death before dishonor," they could not get past the "death" part. So I was roundly ragged on for being 'morbid.' In fact, I was in informed that Christians should not be morbid, and that it is not pleasing to God.  Oh, and that by using that phrase, I was most likely depressed.

...Wait a second. Rewind there. What is this, saying that Christians should not be morbid? Christians believe that this world is just the temporary precursor to the afterlife. Last I checked, the only way to get there was to die.  Christians should be the most 'morbid' people in the world. We realize that the mortality rate is 100%, and that everyone is going somewhere when they die. Which means that Christians should be spreading the news of "we're all going to die, but guess what?! We've got a solution! His name is Jesus!", not avoiding the issue like the plague.

By treating death as 'taboo,' Christians adopt the same fear of death as the rest of the world, in direct violation of the phrase 'in the world, but not of it.' What is so scary about death when we've got our Lord and Savior waiting for us on the other side?


Edit: I didn't realize that my morbid post would be published on All Hallow's Eve... What an interesting coincidence. 

27 October 2009

Problematic's Rules of Living

I will now present to you a few of my mostly light-hearted truths of life. They are things I try to incorporate into my daily life, and maybe you can too. NB: These are newly rearranged in order of importance.

Rule 12: "Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast." Oscar Wilde
Rule 11: "Chocolate flavor" is not chocolate.
Rule 10: Chew, then swallow.
Rule 9: Coming home is always more fun if you have to break and enter to do so.
Rule 8: It is impossible to gracefully hike in a skirt. Either you hike, or you walk gracefully.
Rule 7: "Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist." GK Chesterton
Rule 6: If your water has an ingredient list, it's not water.
Rule 5: Music is life.
Rule 4: Living is a hard habit to break.
Rule 3: There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Rule 2: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Rule 1: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30

I have to admit, rules 2 and 1 are the ones where I have the hardest time, but as rule 3 so aptly puts it, there's always hope.


25 October 2009

New Background 2

I rather liked the last one, but I'm also attached to this one, too. We'll see how long it sticks around. :)


The Merry Men and Robin Hood

This week, in case you didn't know, has been designated by some blogger as "Maid Marian Fashion Week." Which is why, in case you've been paying attention, there are quite a few Robin Hood related posts on the internet. As a loyal Robin Hood fan, of course I felt the urge to blog about his lady love. In all actuality, I didn't. But the fact remains: This post is - and will be - devoted to a topic pertaining to Maid Marian.

Something about heroics intrinsically captures human imagination. Maybe disbelief is a factor - disbelief that another person is willing to risk their life for a stranger. Or perhaps it's admiration - of the hero's bravery, courage, strength, or other attribute. Well, whatever it is, heroes attract our imagination, and, by corollary, we are attracted to the ones loved by heroes.

For instance, numerous stories, paintings, etc. have been dedicated to Maid Marian, Robin Hood's romantic interest. This post is another example.

I've always imagined Marian a kind of elf. As in, straight from Middle Earth. In fact, when the Lord of the Rings came out, I saw Galadriel and thought "Wow, she's like Maid Marian, only legal!" Everyone seems to think that Marian wore boots. In my extremely humble opinion, she went barefoot. And she was kind of like a ninja - assassin.

Imagine it. The scene cuts to Sherwood Forest, where a road winds through a shadowed grove of trees. It is dusk, and a group of nobles are traveling quickly, eager to get home for the evening. One nervously glances toward the shadows in the roots of the trees, but sees nothing. The perspective changes, and Marian is crouching behind the tree, readying her medieval-English versions of ninja stars. The nobles are startled as Robin Hood and twenty-odd men stop the path in front of them. Marian smiles as Robin launches into the usual rot about rich people sapping the lifeblood of the poor, and she slips from behind the trees, and climbs onto the bottom of the carriage, clinging upside down as the cavalcade starts again. Foolish Robin. If only he didn't try so hard, he might be a half-good outlaw.

Later that night, she sneaks into the Sheriff's castle, and as he sleeps, she carefully places her black-mail letter on his headboard, held in place by a wickedly sharp ninja star.

I was kidding about the ninja part. That would be a little weird. But the fact remains, I always think of Marian as the one caring for the plants of the forest, like an elf. Ah well, it's too bad we'll never really know.

But hey! It's fun imagining it.
B, who is feeling very silly

21 October 2009

Rain Walk #2

2 down, 3 to go.

Once again, I was able to get myself soaked. And once again, I have come up with a fresh batch of interesting thoughts. My next post shall be one of those. As a side note, 'The Highwayman' sung by Loreena McKennit is a great song for long walks in the rain.

Now, if you don't mind, I've got to dry off now. :P


Edit: Not the next post, but the one after that.

Letter to the Editor

I usually pre-write my posts the week before I plan to post them, but today, I'm going to break the mold. For my Rhetoric class, we were supposed to write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper about media bias. The following letter is presented for your political-junky reading pleasure. Enjoy.

"Editor, the Times:

Although a private company, a newspaper has a responsibility to all of its readers. This responsibility is delivering truth about the day’s news to its readers. Some newspapers find themselves in the unfortunate position of providing propaganda, rather than filtering it out.

Biased media representation of facts harms not only the truth, but the readers of these newspapers. Newspapers do a disservice by prepackaging half-truths and interpretations for their subscribers. When readers subscribe to a newspaper, they expect to receive reliable information, not propaganda; personal opinion presented, not as fact, but merely opinion. Most of all, readers expect fair-dealing with hot topics.

These hot topics include such controversial issues as evolution and its critics, the fight over homosexuals’ place in society, and political candidates. It is in these areas and areas like them that newspapers tend to stumble with the concept of ‘truth.’ Misrepresenting ‘the opposition’ on these issues does not make ‘the opposition’ less trustworthy, it only misinforms voters.

To sum, when a newspaper steps from providing news to reporting misleading news, it has violated its responsibility of delivering truth to its subscribers.

Best of wishes as you strive for accurate reporting."

19 October 2009

New Background

It's time for a change. Change we can believe in. Change to celebrate the sheer magnificence of the word 'change'. This new background will only stay for a few days, to celebrate a particularly imaginative mood of mine.


18 October 2009

A brief complaint

The problem with being known for plotting is that people always suspect you when you're not doing anything. The other day, I was out and about with my good friend Lady Speckles. She was trying on a ring in a jewelry store, and, though I was not particularly interested in engagement rings, I made a genuine compliment on how the ring looked on her finger. She gave me a sharp look, said "I don't think it looks that bad,"  and tried on another.  Later that same day, she asked my opinion on something, but I didn't have an opinion, so I made a non-committal reply, and she gave me the same look, and said something to the extent of "Whatever you're planning, I don't want to be in it."

Now, I like the reputation of be a plotter, but it takes a lot of energy to plot properly. So when people accuse me of plotting when I'm not, it's slightly annoying.

End Rant.


As you look through literature, common motifs become apparent. One such motif is the eagle. Specifically, the eagle has come to represent the heroes in books, while bats or ravens represent the villains. The eagle and the raven face off, prepared to fight to the death, and all the attention focuses on this 'match of the century.' But no one ever remembers the pigeons, the extras, the set changers of the main drama.

Eagles are the important folk. In stories, they tend to have big, shiny swords, larger egos, and a moral center that constantly pits them against those of opposing views. In real life, they are smart, witty, and centers of attention. When an eagle walks into the room, you're certain to notice. People observe every move, every word spoken. Each action an eagle makes has thousands of effects that ripple outward like waves in a still pond. They can be political, like President Obama, or scientific, like Einstein, or even just flashy, like the actors in Hollywood or Oprah Winfrey. Eagles are, in short, the noticeable, 'cool' ones. They go out to combat with zeal, passion, and energy, trying to raise the poor, oppressed population as they go.

Ravens are the Eagles' doppelgangers. They are charismatic, energetic, 'go-do'ers. Ravens are the ones that dress in black, have evil henchmen, and tend to live in dark, stormy castles. The job-description includes oppressing the poor population, burning villages, and serving as the Eagle's scape goats. The truth of the accusations laid against them may vary, but from the Eagles' perspectives, they are always in the wrong, and should be destroyed. They too, are political, like former President Bush or Vladimir Putin, or scientific, like Oppenheimer, or flashy, like Oprah Winfrey or Rush Limbaugh. Regardless of the truth of the accusations, they are always shown in the worst light possible, and can be counted on to fight the Eagles to the death, burning and destroying Pigeons as they go.

But what of these Pigeons? Who are they? We are. The unimportant, unflashy, non-sword wielding, oppressed population is us. We're ignorable. When an Eagle is present, no one looks at us. We are roused by the Eagles to fight against the Ravens, and then the Ravens come through, and we fall with the Eagles. We are caught in the middle and used by both of the important birds. Our plumage isn't fierce, nor is it glossy. It's gray, fluffy, common. We have no talons, no sharp beaks, and we scrabble on the ground for the leftovers of the Eagles and Ravens. We're Red Shirts.

If this prospect depresses you, I have an uplifting message: Embrace your mediocrity! Where would the Eagles and Ravens be without their extras? They'd be left in a room, glaring daggers at each other, unable to do anything. Without expendable, unimportant background players, the plot of a story cannot progress. Just because it may not be as interesting, awesome, or cool, the stories we possess are just as legitimate as the ones the heroes and villains occupy. We are the heroes of our own stories, and we should not wait for the other birds to make fools of us. Seize the day, because who knows when you'll be thrown under the band wagon?

Proudly a pigeon,

17 October 2009

Thank you, everyone

My birthday party was today. After all is said and done, I had a good day. I woke up this morning, and didn't feel like celebrating much, and I was slightly worried that no one would have fun at said party. But even then, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My least favorite part was the awkward handshake things I gave to my guy-friends, but hey, it would have felt just as awkward to give hugs to you... So sorry, Escapist, Qwip, and A.O for the awkward bits. :P

I'm tired right now, so I'll keep this short. I just wanted to thank everyone who attended. It was such a blessing to have my friends celebrate with me. So thank you everyone, for making my day truly happy.



16 October 2009

Now this is confusing

Dear Ophelia, from The Reluctant Dragon had a photo contest these past few months. The rules where simple: Take a photo of yourself doing something weird, and photoshop the words "Weird is the New Normal" onto it. Send it to the official email, and await the results. I did that, and surprisingly, I won the contest. This is just a shout-out for a good friend. Check her out.

Here's the entries: http://lereticentdragon.blogspot.com/2009/10/entries.html


Mr. Sandman

I've been having sleepless nights recently. This last time, rather than feeling sorry for myself and angsting (can-of-wormsing that now), I actually had a brilliant chain of thoughts. Well, maybe not. But the fact remains, I did do something more useless than moaning about my life. I classified the types of sleepless nights I have. Yes, you all should be inhaling a collective gasp.

As I wrote in a previous post, some nights I stay up, doing nothing more than angsting. This provides a much needed emotional - release, 'specially when considering how much I bottle them up. I cry, I journal, I weep, and in short, I have a bad old time. Some nights, though, I don't release my emotions. This may be because I'm asleep.

On the occasions that I am not asleep, however, I am having one of two types of insomnia. My favorite type of insomnia is summarized by the phrase "the melody of mermaids keeps me awake at night," from Senses Capture, by Leave's Eyes. See, sometimes my creative juices get going right around midnight. It's on these nights that I stay up and write, draw, hum, notate, and emote into the wee hours of the mornings. Sometimes, it's lyrics to a song, or lines of a poem. Sometimes, it's new inspiration for one of my countless stories. And other times, I get the idea for a motif in a new musical composition. It's a fact of life that I physically cannot go to bed until I've recorded all of these new inspirations. So I sit in my room, scribbling madly on a piece of paper, listening to my music, and the product may be music clefs, pictures, poetic twists of a phrase, imponderable questions, or lines from a story. Good times.

The third type of insomnia, however, is much, much more mundane. It is pure sleeplessness. And it was this type of sleepless night that I've been having this past week. The ones where you stare at the ceiling for hours, feeling the sweet touch of sleep brush against your consciousness, only to be frightened away as you reach out to it for relief. Those are the nights where you just think. And think, and ponder, and pray. Ah well, such is the life.

Count your sheep,

14 October 2009

It rained!

I wrote about my love of rain a few weeks ago. I also wrote that I wanted to go and out get soaked in it a few times before spring.

Today, I am happy to say, I had that opportunity. After getting up quite early to take the PSAT, and after sitting through two hours of rhetoric, I was quite ready for a change. So I took a while and went rambling in the rain, finally ending up sitting on a rock in a park, thinking. While I was joking in that previous posts about the 'great contributions' to art from these sessions, I do end up thinking interesting thoughts. Today was no different.

When at last I got home from rambling, I had acquired a new pile of sopping clothes, a soggy journal, and a fresh, shiny pile of interesting thoughts that I don't care to share at the present. The forecast predicts more rain, and I'm going to try to get ahead in my school work so I can spend more time in my favorite element. :)

Wish me luck,

13 October 2009

My value is romanticism!

You may recall from a few posts back that I'm a 'hopeless romantic.' Due to my preference for time period extending from the 1800s until the end of the Industrial Revolution, I've picked up some mannerisms. For instance, saying 'excuse me, [gents/ladies]' as passing someone in the hall.

I said this the other day as I was passing in the hall, and a small kid (4-5 year old) asked me what a 'gent' was.

That opened a whole can of worms for me. It was a very good question indeed.If you can't tell where this post is about to go, I fear I shall have to be more specific: What makes a gentleman a gentleman?And more relevant to me, what makes a lady a lady?

Historically speaking, the terms 'gentleman' and 'lady' were used to describe a specific class of people in England... Today's usage, however, is what I am more interested in. Surprising as it may seem, the present day use of the term 'gentleman' was used back during the time its other use was common.

For example, in 1386, Chaucer said thus: "Certes he sholde not be called a gentil man, that... ne dooth his diligence and bisynesse, to kepen his good name." In plain English, "Certainly, a man should not be called a gentleman unless he endeavors to keep his good reputation with diligence." This is only a mediocre definition, so I shall provide a few more.
William Harrison, during the 16th century, writes that "gentlemen be those whom their race and blood, or at the least their virtues, do make noble and known." In other words, gentleman are those widely known as noble spirited either because of their noble birth, or their virtues.

My favorite one, by far, though, is General Robert E. Lee's "Definition of a gentleman." :
"The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman. The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others." This is such a lovely definition, I shall do nothing to explain it.

So to sum, a true gentleman is a 'gentle-man' - one who treats everyone with respect, and does nothing to push others into decisions unless it is for the other's good. The list probably could be expanded, but I sense my shoulder editor has something to say.

This may be all well and good, but it isn't it a little demanding of you, B, to expect others to be gentlemen but leave no responsibilities for yourself as a lady? Good point, editor.

The attributes of a great lady may still be found in the rule of the four S's: Sincerity, Simplicity, Sympathy, and Serenity. - Emily Post

"And now when everything is made as simple and striking as possible, there probably is no time to develop such a complicated characteristic as "being ladylike" (in its former soulful meaning). ... the former concept "lady" meant also beauty. Not the beauty of features or clothes, but a graceful behavior coming from self-control. A lady is not loud-voiced, her laughter is not shrill, she moves freely and peacefully. Everything in her is beautiful even when she is homely. ...

In the era of competition the ideal of woman has become somewhat hard and "efficient". Perhaps this will be once overcome when a real lady steps forwad, in her refined and composed brilliancy." - Kersti Bergroth, Finnish writer

A lady is a woman who makes a man behave like a gentleman. - Russell Lynes 

Sometimes I look at the list (sincerity, simplicity, sympathy, serenity, grace, self control, thoughtfulness) and feel a little overwhelmed. I notice that the phrase 'sarcastic' is tellingly missing from the descriptions of ladies.  Actually, that's been bothering me a bit the past week or so. While it can be validly argued that Christ was sarcastic on occasion, the scriptures only record a few examples of Him doing so. So my argument that being sarcastic is being like Christ, something He ordered us to do, I can't justify my continual use of it. Christ only used it to point out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and didn't use it in every day language. The conclusion I am forced to is that my over-use of sarcasm is not a good habit to possess.

Oh, the struggle it is to be a lady, to be kind, charitable, and to ignore my inner cynic.

"Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady. "- Thomas H. Huxley

Praise to you if you stuck through that long and rambling post. End part 3


11 October 2009

Learning Experience

Last year, as you may or may not know, I was in the class of my nightmares. Literally. I used to have bad dreams about walking into a doorless room with a bunch of faceless guys who laughed at me. Logic class wasn't quite so bad. There were two doors, and they all had faces.

However, during that class, I had a few unfortunate encounters of with the young men in my class. The school year started out alright, but a student transferred into the class a few weeks in, and it was from this chap that I had the most difficulties. At first, it was just making too many 'girl' jokes or syllogisms based off the difference between boys or girls. Pretty soon, he was sitting next to me because "you look depressed and need friends." Things came to a head when this particular young gentleman started picking inappropriate subjects for conversations with me, and I told Dad. Dad threatened to change this guy's voice up a few octaves, and in the end, the young man in question was made to offer an apology (of sorts) for his behavior. A week later, he pulled me aside and told me that 'it wasn't really serious' and that I 'shouldn't have got my parents involved,' not to mention that I'm {censored}teen and I "need to become independent from what my parents think." After that, I had no problems with him.

However, there were a few other mild cases from different young gents last year, and by the time June rolled around, I was feeling fairly creeped out. Well, the other day, when I was writing my previous post, I realized something. Something that was important enough to write a separate post. See, while I was wrapped up in all the mildly traumatic happenings, I'd completely forgotten that there are, in fact, decent gentlemen out there. They weren't as obvious or flashy as the indecent ones, but nevertheless, they were there. And I didn't really notice it last year.

Before last year, I was pretty wary of guys due to other unpleasant encounters. But looking back, I think that God was using logic class and the other places to teach me not to be distrustful of the group as a whole. Not all of the three who helped me read this blog, but I still am terribly thankful.

(end sappy part two)


08 October 2009


I had a landmark birthday last month. I was asked if I felt like I was my new age. The funny thing was, it felt no different than the year before, and the year before had felt like the one before that, which, in turn, resembled strongly the year before that. However, this birthday, I definitely feel older than two, three, four, or five years ago.

Five years ago, I was holding conversations with other girls using only the word 'hi!' Not too much has changed, (but the word is now 'death!') except now I know what subtext is, and can have a real conversation using subtext alone. Four years ago,  I was in the middle of exuberant puppyhood. Three years ago, I realized how lame it was getting crushes on people and forswore it completely as 'yucky.' Today, I acknowledge there is a time and a place for it, but now is not that time. Two years ago, I made myself introverted. In the present time, I struggle to reverse the process. And last year was ... a learning experience, shall we say. This year, I have realized what I learned.

Through this short timeline, it's fairly easy to see that I've matured as a person. The funny thing is that it feels like maturity ambushed me one day and gave me no warning, and yet, it doesn't feel like one day I woke up and suddenly had a new measure of it. Before I was in double-digits, I always wanted to be 'grown up,' but now that I'm on my way, I'm not so sure about it anymore. To put it frankly, some days I feel like a little kid in a big kid's mind, and I want out. *sigh*

Help me if you can, but I want to get back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh. ;) This is the first in a series of three related posts.


Another amusing fact: this is my fiftieth post. There will be cake.

06 October 2009


Last night was the type of night spent tossing in bed, trying desperately to find sleep, but haunted by all one's private concerns and fears. They are certainly not good nights, but enduring them always brings temporary relief during the day. Last night, confronting those inner demons, I had something of a non-unique revelation: We are what we fear, but not in the most obvious way.

Fear does interesting things to us humans. We do anything to deny, ignore, or otherwise twist out of the realization that there are things that deeply, deeply unsettle and unnerve us. If we fear hurting people's feelings and their bad opinions about us, we adapt to outwardly be bubbly, high-spirited, and nice all the time. If you're like me, who fears not being understood and being alone in a crowd, you do everything to make it appear that you don't care what other people think, and you *try* (with various levels of success) to appear friendly and open.

In other words, it's all a facade. I'm not the only one who does this: Inside a little bomb shelter underground is a cardboard box, with my true, slimey little self huddled in a corner, desperately ignoring what I truly am. The bomb shelter, is, in turn, underneath a shiny, bright, socially acceptable building up on the surface, the one that most everyone sees. Everything I see others do is merely a display to cover up their weaknesses and fears, and everything other people see me do is the same: a facade. A mask. A posture. The clothes I wear, the expression on my face, the words I speak, they're all the costume of an incredibly talented actor. I assume the role I wish others to see every day as I get out of bed.

It all seems so depressing, that no one really knows the real me. And then I gaze into my own soul, and see that it would be more depressing if people knew who I really am. Some nights, that concept consumes all of my thoughts.

While I was wallowing in grief and self-pity about this world of actors going about their daily lives, another thought sprang to mind. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7.

It was with this balm on my troubled mind that I fell asleep last night.

This morning, I got out of bed, adjusted the mask, and prayed that God would give me courage to go without it someday.


05 October 2009

Elysian Peace... or not

I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to have dropped a class last week. Without the two extra hours of homework a week, I'll feel much better! Well, probably not. Last week, I dropped a class called Broadway Review. The hour - and - forty - minute class usually was spent standing on stage, not singing, and waiting for the teacher to block your actions. It also assigned roughly two hours of school work each week.

Now, two hours isn't terribly significant in light of the overwhelming loads of work from AP World History, Algebra II/Trig, and Rhetoric (adding the homework from those three makes at least 20, if not more hours of homework), not to mention Biology, Spiritual Classics, the class where they grade my personal relationship with God, and violin, speech, debate, and Latin. The impact comes in when you realize the time of the class.

One morning of the week, I go to Co-op A. There, I have Biology at 8:30. I then stay at the co-op until 2:00 in the afternoon, hoping that I've brought enough schoolwork along to last until Broadway Review. Usually, I do, but since the study hall is so noisy, most of it doesn't get done. I can get more done by going home after Biology, since I seem to study better in my own house.

It looks like that nervous breakdown is going to be delayed by a few more weeks this year! That, in and of itself, is cause for celebration.


04 October 2009

Concerning Hugs

About a month ago, I helped staff a speech camp for the area's competitors, and those interested in starting. On the last day, after a mock tournament and awards ceremony, there was an icecream social for all of the participants. After being introduced to my tenth person sibling or parent of various participants, I noticed something odd: I'd hugged each and every one of them, and I'd just met them. This startled me, since I've usually got boundaries about people I do and don't touch, so in the intervening month, I've done some very specific people-watching. The results are kind of interesting... In fact, if they weren't, I wouldn't be blogging about it.

Girls have an interesting habit: Hugging. The first thing I observed was that we tend to hug people hello and goodbye, kind of like shaking hands and greeting each other. This makes sense: I started doing it when I started homeschooling. But watching on, past the obvious greetings, I noticed something else.

If we're happy, we hug people. Conversely, if we're sad we hug people. Girls will also hug if they are excited, feeling down, relaxing, appreciating humor... basically, if we're in the clutches of some emotion, we'll hug someone.

This whole month of observation has been rather interesting, because people watching oneself is, pardon the comparison, kind of like depersonalization disorder.


02 October 2009

Music in the blood...

As the year of my graduation approaches much too quickly to my liking, I've been receiving more and more pressure to decide what I want to do "when I grow up." One evening recently, Dad decided to tell me a little paradox:

"My daughter," he began, "sometimes I really can't understand you. I see you doing these* these musical things, BUT then I see my daughter saying she doesn't want to earn her living through music, that she isn't really that serious about her gift. That she really isn't interested in using it, and that it's more of a personal expression than a serious talent." *'these' has been substituted to protect the author's privacy.

"Dad, I didn't say that! I just said I didn't want to be in a symphony or be the next Itzhak Perlman or Sarah Chang!" I protested.

"It's the same thing! You've got music in your blood, girl, and I don't want to see you go to waste without your music. You always say it's the thing that keeps you sane. I don't want an insane daughter! Make up your mind! It's the personal connection that you make with your instruments that people like about you. Music in the blood never goes away. Don't waste it."

The purpose of that long-winded anecdote is summed up by a phrase : 'music in the blood.' Why are some people talented in arts, whether it is musical, or physical? Is the capacity for producing art born into only a few people, or is it something innate in every person, but only exploited by a few?

I think that God has placed the ability to creatively produce and appreciate art in every person's soul. We are, after all, formed in God's own likeness, and we possess other attributes of God: the ability to think and to reason well, the ability to discover what God has created, to name a few. But then, why do we run across people who "can't sing" or are "no good" at painting?

Maybe the answer to this question comes from the story of talents in the Bible. For those fuzzy on your Bible, a story tells of a land owner, who, going on a trip, divides his wealth (named "talents") among three servants for safe keeping. Two of them worked hard and doubled the amount of money the owner had given them for safety, while the third buried his in the ground so it wouldn't be stolen. When the owner returned, he praised the two who had used their talents and multiplied them, but the owner became angry at the cautious servant who had not done anything with his talent.

Bear in mind that this is pure speculation on my part... I think that God has gifted all of humanity with His likeness. Everyone can reason, everyone can think noble thoughts, and everyone can appreciate music to some degree, even produce it. But God has also given special talents to people, which makes us unique. My brother, for instance, is very gifted in the scientific and mathematical areas, and understanding of those topics comes easily to him. Everywhere you go, you will see people who are gifted in specific areas, and specialize in the areas they're talented in.

But having a specific area of talent does not mean that all focus should be directed to that one area, to the neglect of other gifts. My brother, the scientific mathematician, used to play piano beautifully. He had to work harder at it to get the emotions written into the piece, but he could play. Just because you are talented in one area doesn't mean it is acceptable to ignore other, less talented areas God has given you. A musician should not focus on music to the exclusion of history, mathematics, or other creative areas. Neither should an architect forget his love of music.

This is the problem facing society today: people have ignored the old adage: "Jack of all trades, master of none, but far better than the master of one." Vocations, interests, and talents have all become so specialized that adults spend their lives trapped inside the little boxes of their professions. Outside of their specialty box, people are, or at least feel, clueless. They are 'masters of one', rather than 'Jacks - of - all - trades." God intended humans to use all of their giftings, not just their main talents. By specializing to the exclusion of all things, we have cut ourselves off from what was originally intended.

We still feel the lack of 'well-roundedness,' as evidenced by the way music stirs emotions in even the most logical of men, of the delight a musician feels when discovering the mathematics and logic behind their 'audible emotions.'

All people have music in the blood, but not all choose to acknowledge it. All people have logic, reasoning, curiousity, in their blood, but most choose to bury their talent, to let it rot in the ground, rather than to exploit their talents to the fullest extent. Do not think that your work is less pleasing to God because you are not talented in that area.

As a musician, my conclusion, naturally, is going to be a quote about music: "Music is a fair and glorious gift from God." ~Martin Luther. As is mathematics, science, history, any area of study you can name.


01 October 2009

A quick notice, and a not-so rhetorical question

I got bored of the recipe gimmick from last week. But I did make the autumn bisque (and Bracie/Ophelia, I'll probably be bringing it to church on Sunday)...

And now, I leave you with a question that has been troubling me all day: Why do parents take their infants out in strollers for walks? They don't get exercise, and since the hood thingy is usually down, they don't get fresh air either...

Chew on that,

Yay for disillusionment!

I'm going to shamelessly borrow this explanation from an email conversation I recently had with a friend. (Qwip, don't laugh, it's the best I've explained it yet). So, without further ado, the completely uncalled-for explanation of why I like what I like.

"I don't get depressed. I may look like I am depressed, but I vastly prefer the term 'melancholic.' Depression is a clinical state of mind that needs to be treated with specific drugs. I am not depressed. I do, however, have an inclination to be more introverted/spective, and that inclination is what is mistaken for depression. Most of the time, when my friends think I'm feeling unhappy or depressed, I am neither - merely thoughtful or not happy. (The difference between unhappy and not happy is that unhappy is 'depressed' or 'sad', while not happy is neither happy nor sad.) So there.

Okay, the long awaited reveal is here... not. I'm a hopeless romantic in the sense that I really like romanticism (an artist of the romantic period or someone influenced by romanticism). I classify myself as this due to causes which seem to fit the bill nicely: I much prefer large-picture 'epic' type - well, anything really: literature, music, and clothing. The mood I get when I surround myself with things like that is one that I like quite a bit. It's not happy, but it's not depressed either. It's kind of like exultant joy. Classic literature and speculative fiction usually helps, as does most any type of music not widely listened to in mainstream culture. And of course, old styles, steampunk accessories, and rich browns and creams in my wardrobe also help. Bright colors, stylized flowers, kittens, and butterflies don't add to it at all, and they usually end up detracting from it."

Happy? Good. Because it's not happening again.

Ponder on that one,

Now this is interesting...

I took a limited survey of a few friends recently about their first impression of me. The results just go to show that I really am impossible to define.

According to the average opinions of 5 friends, they first thought I was a bubbly, extroverted, happy, annoying, disturbing, troubled, and slightly scary introvert.

I think there must be something wrong with the image I'm putting off. Besides this completely nonsensical description of me, I've had some personal experiences that would seem to imply some rather troubling results.

Exhibit A: I was accused of cutting myself at a dance during the 2008-2009 school year, as well as in a class last year. This is a problem: I'm not emo!

Exhibit B: I was accused during a class last year of being depressed... "Be depressed, be depressed, Walt Disney is the best?" Er... no.

My conclusion is that I still am not viewed as a happy person. Alright, I'm not a 'happy person', but I'm not an 'unhappy person' either!

So, if you'll excuse me, I need to write up yet another self-centered post about my mental health to disillusion you (hey, where are you going? I'm talking to you!) about how I view the world. Oh wait, this was a self-centered post... Shoot.

Go out and be friendly!