Monday, September 22, 2014

Sticks and Stones

In my Biology class today we were talking about nutrients, and my professor decided to also talk about body image, what is considered beautiful, health vs. beauty, etc. We got a homework assignment all about this subject, which I thought was great, because as you know, this is a topic I'm pretty passionate about.

One of the questions was "What pressures do you, personally, feel about making your body look a certain way?"

Although I still get very self conscious about my body (who doesn't?), I have become much more comfortable with it in the past few years. This question did, however, remind me of an experience I once had.

I don't remember exactly when it was, but I was in middle school, so I must have been 13 or 14. I was on Facebook, and at the time there was this thing really popular that you could do. I can't remember what it was called, but basically you could answer these random questions about your Facebook friends, dumb things like "Have you ever had a crush on this person?" or "Do you think this person has ever lied to you?", and the more questions you answered the more points you racked up. When you had a certain amount of points, you could see what your Facebook friends were saying about you in these questions. One time I had gotten a lot of points answering questions, so I wanted to see what someone had said about me. The questions I clicked on was "Would Anne look good in tights?" And the person who answered had put "No".

The guy who had answered that question was a boy. I hardly knew him and I didn't have a crush on him or anything, but that was the first time I ever remember feeling fat. I had never thought of myself as skinny, necessarily, but I had never imagined someone thinking something like I wouldn't look good in tights. For at least a year after that, every time I put on a pair of pants, I had to spend fifteen minutes deciding if they made me look fat or not.

Now, it has been a long time and I am very over that experience. That boy probably doesn't even remember answering that particular question on Facebook, and I'm not here to call him out or anything. What I want to say is first:


And second: Be careful what you say, even if you don't think anyone is going to hear you. Even the smallest, offhand comments can make a huge difference in someone's life. You have no idea how your words are going to affect someone. So to affectionately quote Thumper,

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

(To be grammatically correct, it would be "don't say anything at all, but you get the idea. Be nice!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Church is True

I hope my title didn't scare anyone away- I'm not here to be preachy and in your face about my beliefs. But I think there is nothing wrong with sharing what makes you happy, and today I want to talk about something that makes me happier than I can adequately explain, although I will try.

Today I had the privilege of watching a broadcast of the Ogden Temple Re-Dedication. Whenever a new temple is built, or an old one renovated like the Ogden Temple, it needs to be dedicated before it is used. I had never been to a temple dedication before, so I was really excited about this one.

To attend, you had to have a current temple recommend. (Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can receive temple recommends, also needed to enter any temple, after completing an interview with their bishop and being worthy to hold one.) I thought that was pretty cool, that you needed a recommend to just watch the dedication. It really solidified how sacred of an event this was.

An LDS temple is a special building where sacred ordinances are performed. Because of its sacred nature, only worthy members are able to attend and perform these ordinances.

If you want to learn more about LDS temples, click here.

There are a lot of things about the temple I don't understand. As you reach certain ages and make certain decisions in your life (like going on a mission or getting married) there are more things you are able to do in the temple. Since I am only 19 and have not gone on a mission or been married, I am limited as to what I am able to do in the temple. This isn't as bad thing at all- it is really incredible what I, a regular teenager, can do in this beautiful place. But most of the temple is honestly a mystery to me.

The thing is, as excited as I am to eventually go through other parts of the temple, I am perfectly fine with waiting. More than fine, in fact. I know with all my heart that the church is true, so the feelings I have about other parts of the temple are not doubts or fear, rather they are anticipation and excitement. I felt the Spirit so strongly at the temple dedication today, and it just re-affirmed my testimony that the temple is the Lord's house. The men and women who spoke were so filled with light, and the two apostles we were able to hear from, Henry B. Eyring and Jeffrey R. Holland, truly are called of God.

I know the church is true. I know it with a burning passion and a sincere confidence and an absolute assurance. Being the imperfect being I am, I do have doubts sometimes. But if I sincerely pray and ask for help and answers, I receive them. I know that Heavenly Father cares about each and every one of us individually and perfectly. I love Him. I love Jesus Christ, and I know He died on the cross so that my sins could be forgiven. I know that I am not alone in this life, and I cannot express what a beautiful and comforting feeling that is. I love this church and this gospel, and I am so grateful I am blessed enough to have it.

To learn more about the Mormons, click here. 
To see my personal profile, click here. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Why I Love to Write

So this was actually an assignment for my Comms 211 class, but I really enjoyed writing it. I always knew that I liked to write, but I never took the time to think about why. I mean, you don't really think about why you like something. You just know. But it was cool to really put some though into this.

Here's my paper, titled "Why I Like to Write":

There are a lot of reasons I love to write. It’s fun, first of all. It lets me say what I want to say, it gives me a place to vent my emotions, and it helps me ponder more about my life.
            But the biggest reason I love to write, and the reason I think I started writing in the first place, is that it gives me a voice where vocally I am not as adequate. I’ve never been one of those outgoing people who says hi to everyone they pass and actually introduces themselves to the person sitting next to them (the thought terrifies me). It’s not that I don’t like meeting people, because I really do. It just takes me a very long time to feel comfortable around someone or a group, and until I reach that point, I am the discreet, stereotypical wallflower every young adult novel portrays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Anne, you’re so quiet!” or my personal favorite, “What’s wrong?” (Nothing. Nothing is wrong. If something was wrong, I’d be crying. Or at least frowning. I’m just sitting here, pleasantly enjoying your conversation that includes nothing relevant to myself. I guess I just need to smile and nod more often to keep you off my back.) Not that I’m bitter or anything.
            Truthfully, I would love to be that person who jumps into conversations and feels completely at ease cracking jokes in front of strangers. (What’s that? “Just make yourself more outgoing! It can’t be that hard.” Oh, I have, and let’s just say that “awkward” takes on a whole new meaning when that happens.) It’s just not me. Thankfully, I’ve finally learned to accept that it’s who I am, and I’ve stopped comparing myself to the social butterflies of the world, thinking that I would be so much better if I could only be like them.
            Once I realized this, I started to write. If I can’t be clever and witty in person, I’ll do it on paper. If I don’t want all the attention that comes with an emotional problem, I’ll write it down and keep it to myself. If I have an idea and I don’t know who to tell, I’ll relay it to my journal and keep it there until I find someone who will appreciate it. (Now don’t get me wrong—I have a lot of friends. They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m an introvert, but it’s true. It’s new people I’m worried about, not those I’ve grown up around. So college has definitely been a struggle for me in this aspect.) There are a lot of things I want to say, I just don’t always have the courage to say them out loud. So writing does that for me.
            Another reason I love to write, which sort of falls into the category of giving me a voice, is that I love poetry. Slam poetry, to be specific. It’s interesting, because half of slam poetry is the presentation, which is normally my downfall. I suppose writing the poem gives me the confidence I need to perform it. (I’m realizing this as I’m writing this paper, so I’m having a bit of an epiphany right now.) Anyways, I fell in love with slam poetry during high school, and it has really been a creative outlet for me since then. I am very passionate about helping others (my career goal is to be a journalist who writes stories that will benefit others and hopefully change the world, so these two things really went hand in hand), and slam poetry gave me permission to write all my ideas down and express them fervently to my audience. Being able to write in such a unique way was so freeing and beautiful to me. It showed me that a writer can be so many different things, and they’re not stuck in a box like I had thought before. (I understand that journalists have certain rules they need to follow, and I will abide by those when I become one, I promise.) I guess I realized I don’t have to be like everyone else, and my ideas are worth sharing. It’s a really wonderful thing to finally understand.
            So why do I love to write? I love to write, because it lets me rediscover myself every single day. It lets me speak out with a pen what I can’t seem to say out loud. And it lets me be who I want to be in life, without worrying so much about judgment and opinion. Writing is who I am.