Thursday, May 10, 2012

The girl I used to Be

     From May 2012-

 Two nights ago, I was writing in my journal.  The past few days have been pretty rough, after not getting the job I really wanted, and after not getting the boy I've currently got my heart set on.  So naturally, I was venting all of my frustrations into my trusting journal, not to mention the $100 to fix my computer.  Needless to say, I had quite a bit to vent.  Then I stopped writing about the irritations of the day, and simply reflected on something interesting that had occurred in my life.
On my way out to college- August 2011

       On Sunday, I ran into a past boy-friend, and he was exactly the same.  I got to really thinking about that moment when I saw him, and how I was able to smile and say hi, no hint of hesitation or pain in my whole being, and how he couldn't.  I realized, in that journal-writing time...I really have changed.  I'm not who I used to be, and I am entirely happy with who I am now.  

      Life is a continual progression forward.  We're always so worried about not changing too much, or holding onto past things that were perfect, but I am asking you...why? 
 We cannot move forward if we never allow ourselves to let go of the past.
 That's like tying yourself to a huge rock and then walking forward like you actually might go somewhere...that's not how it works.  

      We are supposed to change, we are supposed to progress.  And this realization hit me with so much emotion, that lo and behold a new song was born.  No- I am not who I used to be, and that is fine with me. I like the girl I see when I wake up in the morning.  I love her inside and out- no matter how much I wish was better, or what love-handles I wish didn't exist at all.  I still love that girl I see, and I am happy with the changes that have taken place in life.  

Remember the days,
 when the world was still new?
I thought magic and kings, fairies with wings,
weren't stories, but true.

Late under my sheets, 
I turned pages and pages,
convincing myself- they were real.

Years have gone by,
 the mysteries have faded 
that I used to see...
I'm not who I used to be.

(Music break)

When I was seventeen,
I believed I could change anything,
about a boy from a different land
who happened to take my hand.

But one day I realized 
It was me who was changing...
not him or his lies.

I've come to know the one in the mirror,
I've seen the hopes of a fairytale dreamer,
coming to life, 
after pain, after strife
and Im finally starting to see...
I'm not who I used to be.

The chains of the past,
hold to me fast,
but I'm breaking free from their misery
I'm not the girl I used to be.

So I wait for the day, 
my prince walks my way,
straight from my dreams
into reality
and to who I'm becoming.

I've come to know the one in the mirror,
I've seen the hopes of a fairytale dreamer,
coming to life, 
after pain, after strife
and Im finally starting to see...
I'm not who I used to be.

After freshman year- May 2012
Now you may not see much of a difference between these two pictures, but to me- one girl is lost, and looking for herself, and this girl...she knows who she is now. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Are you Listening or Hearing?

What would it be like to never hear another song? Never be able to hear your grandchildren one day tell you that they love you?  What if you could never hear the whispers of "You're beautiful," from the man who will one day sweep you off your feet?  

    I know that these aren't exactly positive questions- but it's something we should all consider.  As a younger generation, we plug into our Ipods nearly every day and tune out the rest of the world.  Sometimes it seems like youth feel it is so important to drown out the rest of the world and just focus on their own thoughts and feelings.  WHY?  What is the point? Tuning out the rest of the world just cuts you off from the important things you might hear, or the things that might just mean the most to you...but how would you know if you're never listening?  
     Today I am in Massachusetts with my brother and his new wife, and I got the chance to attend their church meetings with them.  While I was sitting their in the main service (called Sacrament meeting in the LDS church) I noticed that there was an interpreter at the front of the congregation.  I became extremely excited and started paying attention immediately.  This year at school, I selected my language course for BYU.  I chose to study ASL, and it has been an incredible blessing in my life already. So of course, I was all but ecstatic to watch an interpreter during church.  After a few minutes, she noticed me watching and gave me a questioning glance.  I quickly signed to her while she wasn't interpreting that I'm a student of sign at BYU.  She then invited me to help her.  Now- I have never interpreted before, and can I just say- it was SO hard?  But the thing was...I realized while I was sitting there struggling to relay the speaker's story about her childhood, how incredibly important it is to appreciate our senses.  What if we lost them?  The Deaf Community does not view being deaf as any kind of an impairment and I think that is a beautiful thing...but having lived life with hearing thus far- where would I be if I lost it?  
      So now I'm asking you- are you only hearing the things around you, or are you actually listening?  So many kids hear what their parents tell them, but they don't truly listen to them.  And what about when someone is asking for help...even if they don't just come right out and say it?  If you're not listening but only hearing, what will happen to those people?  I am trained to listen for cries of help or distress, between the lines of casual conversation, and if I am not paying attention...what kind of an affect will I NOT have on people's lives?  
      As young women, we should be appreciating everything we have been given, and that includes things that we might often take for granted, like the simple ability to hear the raindrops falling on our windowpane during a summer storm, or the cry of that new born baby, or the crickets on a spring night.  How often do you value the priceless gift of hearing your parents tell you they love you?  Not enough.  I am guilty of this too, and I am challenging myself to truly appreciate the gift of being able to hear, listen, and all other senses or blessing I take for granted. I challenge you to do the same.  Just like those wonderful people I met today who were deaf, and cannot hear their children laugh appreciate the smiles they can see...I want to always remain grateful for everything I have been given.  

    Take the earbuds out...stop ignoring the hidden messages in other's simple words, and start listening to the simple messages of love and beauty in every part of the world. Stop just hearing...but learn to listen, and be grateful every single day for that chance.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happily Ever After..The choice

Unlike Snow White's kiss, or Cinderella's Midnight Ball, "Happily Ever After" is not something that just HAPPENS to you.  YOU have to CHOOSE it every single day.  Obviously its in the big choices, like
Where do I go to college?
What will I do with my life?
Will I choose to sleep with my boyfriend or will I choose to wait for marriage?
Will I choose to smoke/drink/do drugs?
Will I choose to love myself for who I am?

But its also in the little choices that you make every single day. The ones that don't seem like that big of a deal all alone, but add up to make you the person that you are.
What do I do with my time?
Do I speak kindly to others?
Do I have a good attitude?
Do I turn in my homework and try for good grades?
Do I make an effort to get up on time?
Do I lie, even on the little things?
Do I respect my parents?
Do I obey the rules?
Do I try to look nice and take care with my appearance?
Who am I dressing for, myself or others?
Am I the kind of person that makes others feel good about themselves?
Do I set goals and work hard to achieve them?
Do I eat healthy?
Am I a good friend?
 Do I gossip?

As you grow, your situation and your choices will change, but the message is the same.  Each day, you have decisions to make- some you will think about and others you might not even realize are choices.  But it all adds up to determine your level of happiness.  You can't choose the bad things and not have them affect your life now AND in the future.  We all know girls that seemed to have the perfect life and ended up pregnant, right?  Girls, pregnancy is not something that just happens to you.  It is the result of a choice.  And the effects of that choice are life changing, not just for the girl, but for her family and ultimately for her child.  However, even small bad choices can have life changing effects, like a small lie that gets bigger and bigger and eventually smothers you.  One of my favorite authors said

"The sordid things in life
 leave you with nothing but 
tarnished memories" 
(Emilie Loring)

Make the good choices girls, decide what "Happily Ever After" means for YOU.  Maybe that's the perfect job, a college degree, or a home and family.  Whatever your happily ever after is- CHOOSE IT NOW.  And keep making the choices that will get you there every day.  
Keep in mind that it doesn't happen all at once- not like in the stories- but gradually as you choose to live a good life you will come to realize that your life IS your Happily Ever After.