Sunday, August 31, 2008
But today she danced out of my imagination and through the tendons and vessels of my arm, quivered through my brush and landed on the thick, milky paper. I'm not done with her, these are just some rough drafts for today, but I rather like what she made me think and feel.
How do you define your imagination?
Do you spend time imagining daily?
I have lots of thoughts about the power of imagination.
If you can imagine it, you can have it. This is the name of the game. This is the lesson to learn. It couldn't be any easier. Reality is not what your eyes show your mind, but what your mind creates for your eyes to see. You are not limited by logic, the past, or the world around you. You are not even of the world around you. You are supernatural, pure spirit. You came first. Magic, miracles, and luck are the consequences of understanding this, the inevitable result of dreaming and acting in spite of appearances.
Tell me, when you think of taking consistent action in the general direction of your dreams do you imagine discipline, stamina, work, sacrifice, monotony, courage, and strategies, or are you thinking adventure, discovery, new friends, excitement at the crack of dawn, magic, surprises, fun, and laughter?
Maybe the real reason your brains are so large compared to most of the other blessed creatures dwelling in time and space, is so that you can vividly imagine all the exquisite, exciting, and enthralling details of your heart's desires; not so that you can figure out who you need to meet, when you need to meet them, where you need to be, or how you're going to pull it all together.
Do you think that if you understood the extraordinary gifts every single challenge in your life makes possible, even inevitable, you'd celebrate your challenges, new and old alike, as the omens that they are of new beginnings, spectacular change, and enhanced super-powers.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Yes. That's right. This is what came to my mind at exactly 6:07 a.m. this morning as I was curling my hair (beauty doesn't just happen people!) and my thoughts were my own...all of a sudden my mind said to me, "Hmmm, what if Miss Havisham had a blog, that would be awesome, I wonder what she would post about? Maybe it would help her connect with other jilted lovers who never see the sun, hate men, and sit around in their yellowed wedding dresses? Then she wouldn't have had to be so lonely, and maybe she wouldn't have caused Estella so much grief."
Sunday, August 24, 2008
OK. Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow the teenagers will flood my room. They will get the freshly copied syllabus, they will begin testing and pushing the limits of my classroom. They will begin looking around and seeing who is popular, and who is not (thus the song from Wicked with Glinda and Elphaba....and yes, at NYU, I did actually get cast as Glinda in a play...I had to play her two different ways...one in which I created a neurotic Glinda who just had a nervous breakdown and was a chain smoker, you should have me show it to you sometime).
Back to the kids....
They will form clicks. They will put themselves into groups, the nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the preppies, the Christians, the atheists, the emo kids....so many, many different ways to label one another and differentiate themselves from the next kid...and when they come into my room, I want to strip it all away. I want them to see a little bit more into each other, I want to encourage the shy student to speak up, the class clown to listen, the bully to feel tender emotions....how will I do this? Through the great literature of the world, through ideas, through discussion, through teaching and fostering and caring and being interested in them....the characters in literature are great reflections of ourselves, and it is through relating to them that perhaps we form a little bit more of who we are. That is the power behind stories.
And so, in preparation, for going back to high school, I took out one of my favorite teenage dramas about the seriousness of cheerleading....and it reaffirmed to me my mantra for the school year...that's right all you teenagers full of angst and hormones. I say to you...
BRING IT ON!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
(Only the first three minutes of this video are relevant to this post, but you know, listen to it all, it's Ella!)
So, I am back on track, that means back to work, back to guitar lessons, back to voice lessons, back to eating only normal amounts of rice pudding (what IS a normal amount of pudding?)
This is the new song I chose to work on this month for my voice lessons. I don't sing it quite like Ella, um, not at all.... but I am working on my jazzy, slow, seductive voice (too bad I am a natural soprano!)...and one day, I want to be just like this, with a pianist and his smoking cigar, I'll pull out my old glasses from 6th grade (which were about that big) and reenact this...and sound almost as good.....
hmmm.....or maybe I see this dream in a nightclub, and I have Lana Turner hair and I am in a silver sequin gown that catches the low light so it looks like I am glowing, and my lips will be super red, and my lashes thick and heavy, and I'll be sitting on TOP of the piano and wowing the old 1940s crowd, and then a solider, on leave, with catch my eye, and he'll look like Viggo Mortensen (because putting his name on my blog ups the number of people who stop by to see what's what) and he'll give me a knowing glance and I'll start singing just to him, as I inch across that black piano....one eye covered by a perfect blonde wave....and he'll raise his glass to me....and....and....
ok, this could go on all night, and I have lesson plans to create! Darn...this is so much more fun...I always knew I would make a great romance writer, I just couldn't bring myself to do it....
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Life is full of "first times"...that first slow dance, that first kiss, that first ice cream cone, that first time you see the Eiffel Tower in real life, that first bruise, that first broken heart.....so many first times. What is so important about these first moments? Is it the newness? the unexpected? the not knowing what the experience will be like?
One of my favorite songs by Of Montreal is "Let's Do Everything for the First Time Forever"
Will you kiss me again so I can pretend we're kissing for the first time. Because when we kissed for the first time I was distracted. I couldn't believe it was true that I was truly really finally kissing you. Will you hug me again so I can pretend we're embracing for the first time. Cause when you held me for the first time I lost my senses. I couldn't believe it was real. Inside I was laughing and dancing like peppermint eels
May we dance again so I can pretend we're dancing for the first time. Because when we danced for the first time I was so nervous. I could hardly stay on my feet. My felicity must not have been very discreet. Will you give me your hand so I can pretend I'm holding it for the first time? Let's do everything for the first time forever. And if forever you are my friend I'll never ever feel unhappy again
I love that idea of doing everything for the first time....forever!
Last night I went home to play baseball with the nieces and nephews and eat dinner. When April and I walked into the door we saw old boxes my mom was trying to go through. We sat down to help her and found all these old photos that I haven't seen in a long time. Some of them not preserved so well, but all of them full of memories. April and I kept saying, "Wow this was the first time I did this.....and this...." and there is magic in that first time!
What first times do you still have to look forward to in your life? What were some of your most memorable "firsts"?
First times make life exciting!!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Hey!! I am out of the weird melancholia funk I was in yesterday! What made me feel better? First of all, this amazing group of virtual supporters whom I love and am SO grateful for! Seriously, this girl has a LOT of gratitude in her heart this summer at the thought of all of you! Also, it's easy to be happy in my home. This is what my home has looked like most of the summer. The flowers change, but we get new ones practically weekly as my sister works as a bar tender for a big wedding resort center in the mountains. After the parties she gets to bring home any and all flowers that she wants! She always takes as many as she can carry and I spend at least an hour arranging them and smelling them and loving them each Saturday morning.
Spending time with my CRANKY niece and being able to hand her back over to her mother certainly DID help.
But what helped the most was realizing I just need to let go of it. Not the DREAM, but the fear of the dream.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Disclaimer** It is my prerogative to feel one way on Saturday and COMPLETELY different on MONDAY. Got it? Good.
This morning I woke up and didn't want to get out of bed. I wanted to pull the covers over my head and so I did (only a few summer days left to be able to do this). My sheets are the color of a September sky and I let them rest on my face, forming a blue silhouette of my body, still as a corpse that's just been covered in a hospital. I could picture the nurse in her glowing white uniform, the sun shining behind her head as she walks up and covers me, saying "Yep, this one didn't make it."
For some reason I woke up wishing to be a "simple" Mormon girl again. By simple, I don't mean simple minded, I mean simply beautiful and believing and full of faith and hope (like Jenn's beautiful comment described yesterday!). Now, I still have all those qualities, but whereas before they were each beautifully laid out on the kitchen table of my life, it seems I have taken them, put them in a blender, pressed the liquify button, and now don't know how to tell one from the other. I'm not quite sure what kind of girl I am anymore, or what I really want to ask from life.
Two years ago my life was a lot more simple. I knew I wanted to marry an LDS man, in the LDS temple, and raise children who believed in all of these things and were strong and immovable in the faith and we would have beautiful time singing Primary hymns about Jesus. We would skip to various places in slow motion. My hair would always be perfectly combed. The sun would always shine. My husband's teeth would sparkle when he smiled. We would say family prayers, kneeling next to one another as I had grown up doing with my family. We would go to church each Sunday, in matching outfits (just kidding, I never wanted this, but I have seen it a lot). My daughters would get the Young Womanhood Recognition awards and my boys would be Eagle Scouts. I would serve in the Relief Society with a smile, and I would know how to grind wheat, and I would know how to bake homemade bread because it is healthier and better and cheaper. I would stay at home and teach my children to read before they went to Kindergarten. Goodness, maybe I would even home school and have children who were on a 9th grade reading level at only 10 years of age! All these things I could see clearly, and I really did want them.
I don't anymore. Not exactly these things.
My dreams are different now...a little more hazy, a little more self-aware. But the two things that have been constants are the dreams of wife and mother.
And I woke up this morning truly wondering if there comes a point in life where you just give up the dream. Does there come a point in a woman's life where she should just let it go? I mean, really! Should I just stop dating, stop trying? Stop putting myself out there again and again? I always told myself it would be when I turned 34. I don't know if I can hold on that long anymore.
It's hard to pose this question to my readers because most of you are married and you do have children and you can't picture your lives without either of those two factoring into the equation.
But, I am feeling old. I am not that old, I know. But today I feel old. And I feel tired. I am tired of carrying around this dream.
So, I've been thinking all morning "Wow, D'Arce, when are you just going to let it go? When are you going to realize this might not be YOUR path. When are you going to get the ball rolling on other things? Isn't it finally time to give up the dream of husband and family and realize it just might not be in the cards for you? Huh? Are you listening to me D'Arcy? When is enough finally going to be ENOUGH? You've been at it for OVER a decade!!!!!!!!!! When you just gonna give it up?"
So, does there come a time to give up one dream, replace it with another, and move on? Is it HUMANLY possible to ever give up that idea of finding the right person? How did it get SO ingrained in our genetic make-up?
P.S. It does not help that I have a bridal photo shoots scheduled for the next four weeks. Not at all.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
OK, in an effort to propagate feelings of mutual respect and admiration between the sexes, and as a shout out to Jenn (who will always call me on my crap), I am putting on this blog, my first, offical post in praise of MEN!!!!
That's right. Did hell just freeze over? Perhaps.
I want to clarify that I LOVE men. Just think of all the great ones out there--Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Leonardo da Vinci, Ghandi, Mandela, The Dalai Lama, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa, Norman Bethune, Aristotle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Apostle Luke, Leonard Woolf, etc. etc. etc. The world would not be THE WORLD without the powerful, good, influential men that have struggled for the truth, fought for freedom, loved their wives, and rejoiced in their children.
Atticus Finch...aka Amasa Coleman Lee--
Atticus Finch, (based off of Harper's Lee's father, a real man) is a citizen of Maycomb during the 1930's, was a role model ahead of his time. Atticus was not racially or socially prejudiced. He was an amazing father who taught his children about love, honor, and truth. He taught them about looking at problems and oppositions from another's point of view. And, in addition, he taught them the beauty of a Mockingbird.
“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
Gordon B. Hinkley--
One of the most AMAZING men to ever live, in my humble opinion. I've been lucky enough to hear words of wisdom from this man for my entire life. So many important, influential messages that have filled volumes. His words have shaped my life in ways of a strong, powerful good.
“Under the plan of heaven, the husband and the wife walk side by side as companions, neither one ahead of the other, but a daughter of God and a son of God walking side by side. Let your families be families of love and peace and happiness. Gather your children around you and have your family home evenings, teach your children the ways of the Lord, read to them from the scriptures, and let them come to know the great truths of the eternal gospel as set forth in these words of the Almighty.”
( “Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 64.)
I know I don't know who this is yet, but the idea of "him" --of that one man that I will choose and who will choose me has played a major role in my life. I have found myself over the years wanting to be a better person for him, wanting to develop characteristics and improve my mind and body in the hopes that he is somewhere doing the same. Then, when we finally come together, we each bring an amazing abundance of wealth and intrigue and interests and love to each other. There are gifts I have worked on my whole life reserved to give only to him.
Gustav, Robb, David Jr., Marty, Jacob, Daniel, Michael, Steve, Nate, Adam, Steven, Rob, Matt, Dave, Kevin, Mark, Hubster and many others. My friends tell me of the continuing devotion and love and affection of their husbands. These men have a desire to serve the world, to be good husbands, to treat their wives with love and adoration. I have sat back and watched these marriages for nine years and I stand in awe at these men who combat Fatherless America. They are strong warriors fighting daily battles for the lives of their families.
I have seen my father ride the waves and storms of life for thirty years. I have seen his devotion to his family. I have seen him struggle to love and find love in his marriage. I have seen him feel sorrow and pain and tell the best campfire stories in the world. I have seen him be shy to the world and be a powerhouse in our home. I have seen him lead. I have watched his continuing humility. I have been blessed to go throughout my life with the ABSOLUTE assurance that my father, come rain or shine, will ALWAYS love me, that he will be proud of me, that he respects me, that he is there for me always. It doesn't matter if I wake him up at four in the morning calling from France because I need to talk to my daddy. I am his "cupcake", his "pumpkin", his "sweetie pie", his daughter. I realize how lucky I am. I DON'T take my father for granted. Each moment I spend with him is precious. So much of my faith in men and their never-ending possibilities comes from being my father's daughter!
Who are the men that you love and admire?
What is the power of ONE good man?
Friday, August 8, 2008
OK, on to the meat of the blog...
I love art.
I love Moliere.
I love Shakespeare.
I love pretending I am a peasant paying a penny for a standing seat and speaking in a British accent.
I love buying Elizabethan pastries and booing Iago from a replica of the Globe theater.
I love taking my tenth graders to the Shakespeare Festival and seeing them grow and gain knowledge and show enthusiasm and excitement!
Most of all...I love being a tenth grade English teacher, and while giving a funny Shakespeare anecdote, suddenly seeing someone familiar....MY tenth grade English teacher!
I have not seen this woman since I was 15 years old. And there she was. Can I tell you the wonder and excitement of seeing her.
"Excuse me, you were my tenth grade English teacher."
"Oh my goodness! Yes I was! This is amazing, remind me of your name again."
"Yes, I remember you, what an AMAZING, talented, gifted, beautiful (ok, embellished story at this point, what can I say, it's what I do) you were! So, what are you up to?"
"Well, this is SO fun to tell you. But I am now a tenth grade English teacher and these are my students! I have brought them to the festival to learn and enjoy."
The look on her face was priceless...I think the greatest desire of a teacher's heart is to know that somewhere, somehow she made a difference to someone.
"And, because of you, all of these students can quote Anthony's 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' speech. I made them memorize it, just as you did me!"
The first play we saw was an AMAZING version of "The Taming of the Shrew" (set in Italy in 1946). I have to admit, the first half of this play, with Kate's spunky independence (this one played less violently than Elizabeth Taylor) is so enjoyable! I love the energy, the words, the fun that the two characters have...but it has always made me sad that Kate had to be tamed. I didn't want her to kiss her husbands boots or her lose her wild nature. The morning after I saw it, I woke up early for breakfast at the hotel. I shared a table with two older women..they began to rant against women who don't give their husbands enough. "Feminism has ruined the American family! Women should be more grateful for their mate. What's wrong with waiting on your husband? This play speaks truth." I sat there and took it all in. I had some thoughts. They both looked to me for a comment...I just held up my bare ring finger and said, "I have yet to be tamed." That's all I could get out....it was an interesting perspective. But the play also played it well...great play on words, eh? The director, the only woman director of the festival, really was able to convey not a taming of sorts, but a mutual affection, adoration, and love that the two developed. I loved it.
Monday evening was "The School For Wives". A delightful production. Moliere is the Shakespeare of France! I have quite the crush on him! If I could pick one person from history to have a torrid affair with, it would be him.
“It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right.”
“To live without loving is not really to live.”
“People can be induced to swallow anything, provide it is sufficiently seasoned with praise”
Stunning. We saw this outside in the Globe. It was raining, we sat through it, the actors pretended it wasn't there. We went to a session with the actors the following morning in which they discussed their motivations and the acting process. We were all enthralled. Othello said that he isn't usually a method actor, but that on the death scene with Desdemona, a prop person had forgotten to remove Cassius's hat. It was on the corner of the bed where she was sleeping. He said it really struck him, caused such anger in him while in character that the death scene that night was probably the most intense they have ever done. My students and I were in awe at this tragedy of tragedies.
We studied "Cyrano de Bergerac" last year in school. The students were MOST excited to see this. They had all the background knowledge. They had acted it out. They had analyzed it. And now they were seeing it for real. It was amazing.
I've seen this musical a thousand times, but this magnificent production made it feel like it was the first. I haven't been part of this story in such a way since I was a child. It was a great finale to our trip.
Yesterday morning, before we left, we were invited to see a read through of a new play about Leonardo da Vinci. In it three characters from his paintings come to life. They talk to him and they ask him to justify his art. They put him on trial in a sense, trying to get to the core of what caused this greatest of inventors and thinkers to create and do what he did.
That's an interesting idea I've been thinking about, if the characters I create through writing and painting could come and speak to me, what would they say? What would yours say? Have you ever had a conversation with something you've created?
Friday, August 1, 2008
To say the the last five months have been "hard" in my life is an understatement. I've had to shovel my way through a lot of guilt, anger, bitterness, sadness, and the constant feeling that I am just letting everyone down.
To wake up today and realize that I can't stop smiling is an amazing, beautiful gift.
There is a big window made up of thick square prisms of glass in my shower. If I time it just right in the morning, I hit the shower just as the sun is shining through. Amazingly this casts thousands of tiny, incandescent, little rainbows all over my body and makes me sing praises of joy. It gives me time to meditate and feel grateful for my body, for this life and soul within me, for the beauty of a simple day in a simple town lived by a simple girl.
As many of you know, my religious foundation and I have had a rocky few years, and I finally took this foundation and broke it into a million pieces. I saw my testimony of Christianity as a solid rock for a long time, then after I served an LDS mission I realized it was a delicate glass globe that I needed to treat VERY carefully, as it was on the verge of breaking. Mostly, I packed it away, did what was expected, and tried to ignore what may be wanting to escape the confines of that globe. Finally, in March, I took the step of taking that globe, which really had become more like a HUGE weight around my neck ready to sink me, and I smashed it into a million little pieces.
What has come from that?
A soul that didn't just dissipate into thin air and leave me cold and alone...but a soul that was yearning to get free...to GROW...to FILL space and time unlimited!!! A soul that has surprised even myself.
For the past few months I have kept a lot of what I have been thinking and feeling to myself. I have made lots of apologies to my friends "I'll come back to church." "I know I shouldn't feel this way." "I know I am a doubter." "I am going through a phase." "I need to take a break from things." "Hopefully, I will feel like being in the LDS religion again." "Don't be sad for me."
Let me just say, those were all attempts to smooth things over, to hope that you would still love me, to pray that you wouldn't judge me or condemn me, or feel sorry for me, or look at me with eyes that say "you are on your way to hell." To those of you who may still think this, I am saying now openly that I am making NO more apologies or excuses for the way I am living my life. I am not going to hide things anymore, so if you want to get to know the real me, then I rejoice in that. If you want to pity me and inwardly think that I have made the wrong decisions and that I am ruining my life, then I respectfully say that I don't want you in my life anymore. If you call me to talk and to get me to progress to an idea that you think is truth, I say you better be ready for me to tell you how I really feel. If you pray for me to come back to church and be the good mormon girl I used to be, I respectfully ask you to pray that your heart will be opened to the many different ways people can connect with this amazing God who loves us all. If you can't handle that I drink coffee and wine and do other things that we have been raised to see as sin, then please...don't feel like I need saving. I've come to learn for myself that belief is personal. Faith is personal. There is something within us that seeks faith. Faith is not a religion. Beliefs come from faith and I respect each of you, your path, your beliefs, the humble and happy way in which you live your lives. Whatever works for you, whatever makes you happy, that is my greatest wish for each of you. I am on the path to discovering what works for me.
So, here I am, sitting on a big stone floor with a million little pieces of the testimony of God and Christ and religion all scattered about me. I have tried to pick at a few pieces and put them in different places. I thought this rebuilding would take me a few months and then I would have it all figured out again. I have felt pressure to replace my old solid beliefs with new solid beliefs. I had a friend ask me "So, you don't keep this "commandment" yet you decided to go to church on Sunday, how does that work?" I immediately went into defense mode (a mode I have been in for 5 months and I am so, so, so tired of it...can you tell?) I came up with a great answer and left it at that. But I didn't really believe my answer. I always thought that to just be, to be uncertain, to be scared, to be happy, to realize that you are finding joy where you didn't think you could, to be all these things was scary...I'd rather be "right" and have the "truth".
Not anymore. I am so grateful for this experience in my life. I am grateful for growth. I am grateful that I am sitting here not being weighted down by a big rock, not tiptoeing around life hoping that I won't drop the glass globe, but instead, surrounded by a million little pieces that are casting glorious rainbows of light over my entire being. I am grateful to let these pieces sit here. I am grateful that one day I will feel like moving them and rebuilding something new. I am grateful that I will probably get cut in the process and have scars to tell my children about.
And most of all, I am grateful that no matter what anyone else wants to believe or think or say about my life...that I feel close to a God who has only ever believed in me. A God who doesn't doubt me. A God who loves me unconditionally. A God that has seen my potential from the very moment of my creation. A God who continues to shower me with love and happiness and joy. A God who knows how strong I am. A God who is a big, big God...bigger than many of us might realize. A God that isn't confined to the religions of today. A God who is there for ALL of his children. Now, I may not know what religion this God wants me to be. I may not know what heaven this God wants me to go to. I may not know a lot of things. But that's ok. That doesn't scare me anymore.
I used to have everything about my life figured out. To the last detail.
I don't anymore...in fact, I've never been so uncertain of my path than I am now.
But I have also never been happier.
Thank you God.