Thursday, November 6, 2014

A poetry post! Huzzah!

Hi, all. I wrote a poem for my poetry class and I wanted to give it to you. Basically the prompt was to take a poem we like a lot and lift lines from it and let it inspire us and create our own new poem. So here they are.

Hope you all missed blog posts of poems forever.

And Then It Was Less Bleak Because We Said So by Wendy Xu
Today there has been so much talk of things exploding
into other things, so much that we all become curious, that we
all run outside into the hot streets
and hug. Romance is a grotto of eager stone
anticipating light, or a girl whose teeth
you can always see. With more sparkle and pop
is the only way to live. Your confetti tongue explodes
into acid jazz. Small typewriters
that other people keep in their eyes
click away at all our farewell parties. It is hard
to pack for the rest of your life. Someone is always
eating cold cucumber noodles. Someone will drop by later
to help dismantle some furniture. A lot can go wrong
if you sleep or think, but the trees go on waving
their broken little hands.

Untitled (inspired by Wendy Xu) by me
Today we realized that the saddest thing about death is
the people who get left behind, so much talk about mothers now without sons and how 
the mothers should never die second.
Love lives in overalls and always brings food downstairs. Eventually, in a few weeks or a few
years, with more sparkle and pop will be the only way to live. Until then,
someone is always eating cold cucumber noodles and waiting for the autopsy results.
Whispers of gratitude that at least it 
wasn't their sons this time hum between the
handshakes of the funeral-goers. 
It is hard to pack for the rest of your life.  Someone will call later to send their condolences.
A lot can go wrong if you sleep or think, but the seasons will
go on slipping from fall to winter to spring again.

"I walk into a poem and walk out someone else." -Nayyirah Waheed
Happy almost weekend,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On Loving Myself (and On Loving Yourself)


Okay, so a thing happened a couple weeks ago that made me feel like my blog still mattered, which is a silly thing, but like, as a writer, even a teensy little undergrad baby with a little old blog, I want to MATTER. I'm a leo, so that's a thing, right? Also maybe it's just because I'm a human.

Point is: I have been meaning to write about something very important to me for a while, but I just haven't had the drive to sit down and write lately, but today I am full of words and I'm just writing like a madwoman and wowee I just want this feeling to last. I don't know where it's coming from but I do know the stars should stop being in chaos soon (that's a real astrological thing that I don't really understand but everyone's life is insane right now so I believe it; google it I guess), and I am starting to want to write like a real writer girl again.

Okay anyway the thing I've been meaning to write about is how I'm in love with myself.

At some point in high school, I totally fell in love with myself. There's this whole sense that I think happens in high school, and maybe even starts in junior high, and definitely carries on through college and, I'd be willing to guess (though in all fairness I have no idea if this is a true assumption) it carries on into adulthood for infinity, and it's this weird thing no one really talks about where hating yourself the most is the most poetic and interesting. "Oh, I'm so fat and I'm having such a hard time in French and I am just absolutely failing math and ugh I haven't cleaned the kitchen in weeks and I just haven't ever created anything of meaning," and sometimes those feelings are very real and very valid, and I'm not diminishing that at all, but I do think sometimes we create a culture that feeds a competition of hating ourselves the most in the most poetic way.

When I was 16 years old, I had this distinct epiphany that I am wonderful. I am pretty and smart and I know lots of stuff and I am curious about everything I don't know and I am a good traveler and I am up for adventures and I am loved. This was this strange sort of idea that made its way around my brain for a few years and then finally came fully to fruition when I did my yoga teacher training this summer.

On the very first day of my training, we all introduced ourselves, and we all said things like, "I'm a student/mom/lawyer/doctor/cosmetologist..." and then we were asked to try it again and introduce ourselves without attachments. Who are we without the material things we're tied to? If our jobs and houses and cars and clothes and nails and titles were all gone, who would we be? All of the sudden, the whole room had answers like, "I am creative! I am smart! I am beautiful/loving/gentle/sweet/loved..." And we all realized that when we take that all away, we aren't anxious or stressed or overworked, but we're nice and we're good and we're curious. We're all good things, and when you look at yourself like that, in the way that's the most important, that's what matters the most. YOU ARE GOOD THINGS! ISN'T THAT COOL??!

The very foundation of yoga, the first yama of the yamas is ahimsa, which is the practice of nonviolence to yourself in order to practice nonviolence to every other living thing you interact with. And while I think the old cliche "If you don't love yourself, no one can love you," isn't true at all, because, well, that's sad and untrue, loving yourself and treating yourself with care -- not saying things like, "I suck at..." or "I hate when I..." -- makes it so much easier to refrain from things like "She sucks at" or "I hate..." about other people, either. Loving yourself doesn't mean you love other people less or that you're better than them in any way -- in fact, I think it's sort of the opposite. Loving yourself makes it so easy to see the beautiful things in everyone you come into contact with.

So YES, I still have terrible things. I have terrible days. I have terrible weeks sometimes, but I'm starting to realize, with more and more surety, that loving myself is the greatest asset I've got. I am smart and beautiful and curious and creative and I love myself, and this helps me heal. This helps me to be resilient and to be kind. And those are very important things to be.

So I just wanted to put this out there and write about it and I hope that one of you reads it who needs to hear it.

"You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time." -Angela Davis

I love myself and I love all of you,
Addy Sue Baird

Saturday, May 17, 2014


So I’m on a plane from JFK to SLC right now. I want to write this blog post because writing End of the School Year posts is ritualistic for me at this point. I don’t really know what exactly I want to say this year, though, because for every year before it’s been like, “I’m moving from grade 10 to grade 11” or whatever. This year it’s like, “I got a new life.” I got a new life. 

A couple nights ago, it was about 3 am and I was on the phone with Tris gossiping and crying and understanding the whole world and I started to think about this life I’ve created over the course of this year. It’s strange to think back over the course of it because it’s so complete now. I know exactly what happens when I wake up every day. I have people, a weird family that even fills family roles in its own way, mother, father, sister, brother, brother-in-law. I even have that old uncle who uses his socks as a way of having controlled fun. We eat dinner together.

I think the weirdest thing about this school year is the way that school and life just blended together into one life, and in my mind it was just going to continue on into infinity just like this. As the school year’s come to a close I’ve been being the most pretentious ever and I’m constantly like, “Ugh, there’s this T.S. Elliot poem that ends ‘This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper,’ and that’s how I feel about ending of this school year.” Because it’s true. College is weird. I’m so used to K-12 at the end of the year how there’s always cupcakes and water balloons. In college, you just get to panic about your miserable life and how you really should’ve paid better attention in math class all semester long and then you don’t sleep for a week and everyone just has this insane mutual panic – and then it’s over. Not with a bang, but a whimper because you probably failed something and now there’s nothing you can do about it.

So I tried to create my own cupcakes and water balloons – but, like, metaphorically, because I can’t cook and also I don’t like getting wet. I tried SoulCycle for the first time and even though my butt is still sore, it was completely the best workout ever and I can’t wait to do it again as soon as I’m back in the fall. (Also if any of you want to get me their gear for my birthday, you should. You can buy it all online. They have the best tanks.) Last night at midnight, the gang went to French Roast and we sat around and ate hummus and reminisced and wrote an opera and talked about how we’re going to come back in ten years and be like, “Aw, remember when?” We’ll all be rich by then, also.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s a part of me that feels like my life’s ending. Back in January, I wrote about how sometimes having two homes makes me feel like half a person, but that I also realized that I can have 100% of a life in New York and 100% of a life in Utah, which actually worked out great for me, except now it feels like 100% of me is dying. Having a life stretched across 2,000 miles, as much as I would love to say it it's so, to say I’ve got it all figured out just isn’t even possible. But I realize also that I’m coming home to another 100% life and I get to do my yoga training and see the few friends I have left and sleep in a bed that is actually the size for a real human and spend time with my family, and that’s going to be the best thing ever. I also realize that the best way to love New York is to leave it. But I’m really over the “not with a bang, but a whimper” analogy, because yesterday, last night, this morning, it all felt like a bang. Not even exaggerating, I think I cried fifteen different times yesterday, and every time it was something different. One minute I was sobbing because I didn’t want to leave and the next it was because I couldn’t wait to be home and the next it was because I was stressed about my French final and the next it was just because I still think New York is the most beautiful place in the entire world. I just love everyone and everything and everywhere so desperately, and, like, it hit me really hard. I think I freaked everyone out.

I also get really nostalgic before I leave a place. Everything feels important. It’s all like, “Aw, last time I’ll sleep in this bed, and last time I’ll eat Siagon Shack for three months, and last time I’ll have this stupid monkey shower curtain sticking to me while I try to shave my legs.” It’s sort of silly because I’m only leaving for three months, but I think that’s also part of the reason that the best way to love New York is to leave it. I start to love everything about it again, even the sticky heat and the weird smells and the way the water drips off the air conditioners outside buildings and for a second it’s like you’re getting rained on but with the grossest water ever but it’s great because everyone hates it together.

When I sat down to write this blog post I thought I’d write something like, “Oh, look what I’ve learned! Look how I’ve grown! I’m an adult!” But, like, as far as actual adulthood goes, I might have actually moved backward. I can’t drive, I can’t cook, I can’t take my high school friends seriously when they get engaged. There’s a huge part of me that wants to say, “New York changed me. My first year of college changed me.” And I definitely think a lot of people want me to feel that or be that or have that be a real thing, but when I think about the person I was this time last year, I’m really still the same. I have a higher caffeine tolerance, I wear more black, I am entirely disenchanted with Times Square. But I’m really still the same person at my core. I believe the same things. I want the same things. And I think that’s because I was always going to end up in New York. It’s always where I belonged, and it wasn’t going to sweep me off my feet and shape me into its image when that’s what I already was.

I have learned, though. How to be a person. How to navigate a city. How to be sad and still love everything in the world. A year ago, if you’d told me what I’d be today, I don’t know if I would’ve believed you. A part of me thinks I’d have wanted to know I had changed so much more, but a part of me, a bigger part, probably, knows I would’ve just been like, “Yeah. Of course."

So that’s my new life. And now I’m finishing this blog post on the floor of my bedroom in Utah and there are four suitcases and like fifteen boxes and I’ve been driving so much, even though I hate driving more than anything, but also I did yoga and I was safe and Hayley is coming to help me unpack boxes and Morgan is here and Tanner is here, and this isn’t my old life, and it isn’t a new new life, it’s just an extension of the new life, and I feel like that sentence made no sense at all, but here I am, and things are going to be good.

I’m finishing this blog post after four days of being home and I guess all I want to say now is that if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t do anything different. Which is probably the coolest feeling in the entire world.

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." -John Steinbeck

Monday, April 28, 2014

Instructions for Universe Construction

I've been meaning to blog for a while now. You know, a narcissistic instinct to update you people on my life or give you some sort of inspirational "lean with the curves of the universe"-type something or other. I have a handful of drafts. One's about ruling the world. It fluctuates every time I go back to work on it. It's like, "I am going to rule the world someday! Woohoo! Yeah!" and then it's like, "But also I don't know how to handle people or the world or anything." I have another draft that just says, "I love New York. I don't say that often enough because sometimes I am very bad at living here."

It's been a long few weeks. Not in a bad way or a good way, just long. Late nights, early mornings, late mornings, late nights. Etc. I've been homesick for Utah and then homesick for New York in some sort of strange preemptive way. I've been anxious and sad and wanted to stay in bed and leave only to see movies by myself. And I have. I think sometimes that those are the times I should blog. Those are the times I should go all Sylvia Plath, let my sadness drive incredible work or blah blah, but I'm pretty much in the habit of blogging only when I'm actually feeling good, wanting to send good vibes out into the universe or something.

And today I'm feeling good. I'm wearing shiny red lipstick and a leather jacket and camo pants and I did my hair today. I went to class today. I'm taking control of my life today. I'm listening to Iggy Azelia and she is singing me the songs of how to handle my life today. I signed up for yoga teacher training this summer today and it's the best thing that's ever happened and I've wanted it for years.

I don't really know where this blog post is going. I guess what I really want to say is, yes, lean with the curves of the universe, but also, like, construct your own universe. Put on lipstick and buy soft underwear and admire how pretty your own tumblr is (or admire mine) and be alone when you need to be but also reach out to people. Lay in the dark with your friends instead of laying in the dark alone. The dark is better that way. Drink caffeine but not after 3 pm because getting enough sleep is important. Drink enough water. Sweat.

On Saturday I just decided that I'm going to go to Boston this weekend. I just decided it and made it a thing. I feel lucky because I have the coolest, smartest friend out there at Harvard who has a place for me to sleep, but also, like, I suddenly realized that I am young enough to do things like that, decide to just go to Boston this weekend, but also I am old enough to do things like that. It's so weird and little but also it's enormous and spontaneous and wonderful. I rarely even leave Manhattan, and I should do that more often. I should leave my footprints or my words or my instagram posts all over the world because I can. And I feel so lucky to feel that.

The idea of constructing my own universe is something I've understood for a long time in a sort of large, shoddily constructed way, and it's not like I woke up today and I understood and was so perfect at it or anything, but also I did. I woke up and I bs'd half a French paper (that I think deserves an A+ for that reason alone, because if I can bs in French, I'm getting good, right?) and I chose music that made me feel powerful and clothes that made me feel good and made a to-do list and I just did it. And that doesn't mean every day is a day when I have my life together, or that every day even should be a day when I have my life together, but, like, today it is. And it feels good. These are lessons in constructing my own universe and being the Queen of it.

So at risk of sounding like a self-help book, like, start constructing your own universe. It feels good. Start by getting out of bed and washing your face and wearing good underwear and listening to Iggy Azelia:

Happy Monday, weirdos, and happy almost-May.

"There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours." -Jean-Paul Sartre
Queen Addy

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Your Blog is my Favorite Thing on the Internet

Blogs are the eighth wonder of the world. I've been blogging since mid-2007 -- this is like, my fourth blog (and no, the first two no longer exist, so don't go looking). I feel like the height of blogging was sometime during my sophomore of high school. Everyone had a blog. Everyone was a poet. Everyone's life was a drama. Ever since early 2011, I've been sure that blogging was on the out and out. I blame Twitter -- I think that's what did it for me, at least. I blog less now than I ever have in all my years of blogging. 140 characters makes things easy.

The millennial generation gets a lot of flack for being self-involved and overly dramatic and lazy. Again, I blame Twitter. 140 characters makes broadcasting the drama of your existence to throngs of followers easy. Don't get me wrong -- I love Twitter. It's my social media of choice. Validating my narcissism in only 140 characters and I don't even have to leave my bed? Yes please. I am, evidently, the poster child of the millennial generation. Please love me.

But here's the deal, on Twitter, there's a tendency, as with all social media (and this is something I incessantly blog about (here & here), apparently) to make your life look beautiful and great, and even when there are those horribly sad and dramatic tweets, they're this tactic of being like, "My life is complicated and interesting just like I am a complicated and interesting human being." But blogs are a whole 'nother story.

Right as I thought blogs were dying once and for all, they started to come back. Everyone's on Tumblr or Blogspot or Wordpress, and you can usually find the link to their personal blog in their Twitter bio. Blogs are back, and they're here to stay. I swear to you, every single day I see someone new tweet something about "I got a blog!!! Go follow it and see the adventures of my life!" But here's where things sort of go awry: These blogs seem to be less life-glorifying and more real-live honesty. I know it's true for me, at least. I would like you people to look at my Instagram and be like, "Ah, she's so pretty and chic and fearless," or go through my Twitter and go, "Ah, she's so clever and cool and wise," and I make sure that the only things you see there are things that wouldn't ever make you think anything differently, but here? On the blog? Shiz gets real. I'm scared of the dark. I feel lonely and lost a lot. I don't do my hair. I wear sweats.

You people all have these blogs where instead of trying to be funny or look pretty or sound cool, you're sitting down and writing honestly about what it feels like to get your heart broken for the first time and what it feels like to graduate from high school or what it means to fall in love or how you feel about your best friends or why you're being angsty this week. It's amazing. Blogs, somehow, produce an honesty that I can't find anywhere else in the cyberworld. I mean, sure, we all still life-glorify and vie for attention, but blogs are different. They're special, and somewhere in between your pictures of your wedding and your vague, dramatic post about who-knows-what, two amazing things have happened:

1.) You have discovered that your feelings are valid, and
2.) I have started to genuinely care about your feelings, because I feel the same feelings.

And that's what I love about blogs. All of this crap the millennials get is, sure, in some way valid, but also it's kind of amazing. Suddenly, we have this generation who is going, "My feelings are valid! My sadness is allowed! My joy should be celebrated!" and then I read your blog and go, "Hey, my feelings are valid, too! My sadness is allowed, too! My joy should also be celebrated!" We're this amazing generation that really loves itself  and then blogs give us this incredible outlet to broadcast that love, that validity and people read them and feel less alone because they feel those things, too.

Alan Cohen, who's the guy behind those Chicken Soup for the Soul books, said, "Wouldn't it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. You can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from the inside out." And he's totally right. Loving yourself, feeling that you are this valid, wonderful being is the number one way to be fulfilled and blogs are this cool, weird, wonderful step in that direction!

So, no: I don't think you're all amazing writers, no offense. And I don't expect all of you to think I'm an amazing writer, either (even though I'd like you to think I am because again, I'm the millennial generation poster child and also because I'd like to make a living doing this (please buy my book someday)). But the point is, I LOVE YOUR MELODRAMATIC BLOGS. I LOVE YOUR OUTFIT OF THE DAY BLOGS. I LOVE YOUR LIFE ADVENTURES BLOGS. They matter to me so much. Your feelings are valid and I'm just so obsessed with all of you for discovering that because I think it's just a healthy and generally awesome thing to discover.

So keep bloggin', babes. You're all the coolest.

"I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do." -Gertrude Stein
XOXOXO x infinity,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Super Bowl is coming to New York and other cool stuff.

Hey, weirdos, it's me: Coming at you live from my bed, having just cleaned the bathroom and managing not to do laundry for the millionth day in a row. I am clearly handling adulthood brilliantly. I am the envy of the modern world.

I've officially been in school for four days (go me!) and I've learned loads. Allow me to enlighten you.

Some Stuff I've Learned Since I've Been Back At School:
1.) lots of French curse words
2.) the "pigeon hole" concept in maths
3.) how to pull a hamstring
4.) how to nurse a pulled hamstring
5.) that not having any classes before 12:30 pm is the best thing in the whole world
6.) the fact that everything I thought I knew about writing essays is apparently wrong
7.) that Ernest Hemminway was a brat
8.) how to apologize to a girl who hates you

It's been an eventful few days, basically.

I also discovered another thing, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and it's this: I think perhaps the defining trait of writers is an understanding that writing is truly the only thing they can do with their lives, even if they are capable of other things. Writers seem to understand the sense that having to write, for some reason, is inevitable. I've felt it since the fifth grade.

I went to my new creative writing class (it's three hours and fifteen minutes long (!!) and I'm so jazzed about that) and my new instructor was surprised when I told him it was both my second workshop class and my second semester in school, and he asked how long I'd been so "seduced by the thought of being a writer." The truth is I've been seduced by the idea of it my whole life and when I told him that he laughed and said, "Aren't we all?" And it's true. There's this sense that like, I could go to law school or I could be an actress or I could study architecture, but also that I can't. This is the only thing I can do or I'll just burst or something. And I don't know, maybe that's a very normal thing that everyone in the whole world feels about their specific career or life path and that writers just talk the most. That sounds like a very plausible thing.

There's this brilliant essay by Joan Didion called "Why I Write," and she ends it saying this: "...This 'I' was the voice of no author in my house. This 'I' was someone who not only knew why Charlotte went to the airport but also knew someone called “Victor.” Who was Victor? Who was this narrator? Why was this narrator telling me this story? Let me tell you one thing about why writers write: had I known the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel." So I'm pretty obsessed with that.

In other news, I miss my BFF soul twin sister baby Kaitlyn Lindley a lot this week. She was the queen of bloggers and we wouldn't be friends if it weren't for some weird pre-teen blogs we both kept. She's out slayin' it on an LDS mission in Philly and I miss her and her letters make me laugh always. The last one she sent me has a very long paragraph in all caps about how we used to eat frosting out of the container "even though that is so bad for our arteries."

I guess what I'm saying it that I'm still learning to deal with change. I still think a lot about what life was like when me and Kaitlyn and Avery ran the world and high school happened and how my entire universe was encapsulated inside of a little valley in Utah. I've never been great at change, and that's something I'll freely admit, so sometimes I think about how I packed up my entire life (almost 6 months ago now!) and moved to the other end of the country, and how that was just such a wild thing to do, but also it was something (sort of like writing) that I've known for my entire life that I was going to do. I can't help but be struck almost every single day by the fact that everything happens for a reason and I wouldn't go back or change it or do anything differently even if I could. There's an old Arabic proverb that is just "What is coming is better than what is gone," and I think about that a lot, because it's true. Life is about loving where you are, or you'll turn into a pillar of salt, probably.

Anyway, I guess that's about it for today. Have a happy weekend. And also enjoy this super cool song by my favorite rapper, Stromae, who's this Belgium dude who everyone's gone (understandably) nuts about lately. French rap forever.

Okay, wait you need a couple more from Stromae because he's my number one jam.

That's all. Bye, guys.

Oh, wait, happy Super Bowl weekend. Go... team. Yay sports. I have to care about this because the Super Bowl is coming to New York City (or, really, New Jersey (ugh)) and everyone here is 1000000% crazed about that and I love New York the most, so I'm also being thrilled about the world series of football because it's like my duty as a New Yorker or something -- and yes, I am a New Yorker; don't pull the whole Sex and the City, "You have to have lived in New York for 10 years to call yourself a New Yorker," because that's lame.

Okay, now we're actually done. Over and out.

"Art is what you can get away with." -Andy Warhol

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Math of Things: An Indulgent Blog Post

If you went back through my blog(s), I'd say that probably 90% of my posts say one of two things in the first paragraph: 1.) "I'm sorry that this isn't beautiful or calculated or lovely like I have lead you to believe my blog posts will be." This is, of course, always followed by something arguably beautiful/lovely and mostly certainly calculated, because despite how cluttery and ADD I am, I am also calculative to the point of being occasionally manipulative, and I'm pretty sure we all knew (and I think even I knew that you knew) what I was doing when I would apologize for "not writing pretty things." 2.) "I'm sorry for posting more poetry/something so long/something so ugly, but it's my blog." I wasn't really sorry. It is my blog.

About a year ago, my friend Avery wrote a very long, very sad, very inspiring, very enlightening post over on her blog where she basically did what I'm about to do, but, as always, Avery said it better: "...while I probably am a narcissist, I'm not such a delusional one that I actually expect you to read all [any] of this morbidly long, disaster post. It was more of a long overdue journal entry, a post for myself really. It's all the things I've been withholding from this neglected blog for the past...forever, all in one monstrous, rage-y, pointless post that I 100% forgive you not for paying attention to. However, I want you guys to know that I really love you, especially a few of you that I actually really really love, and that I'm okay, and also thanks for being whatever you are to me. Great. I just made the post another month longer. Whatever." That's pretty much the introduction this post needs. It's not for you. It's for me, like all the things I post with the new year. 

Some part of me thought I was going to get away with some simple, condensed, nice-looking New Year's post, but who was I kidding? I am a narcissist, and for that reason, there is some part of me that wants to publish this and say, "My readers and fans, read it and weep!" But mostly, I just want to write this blog post because for some reason, my mind works differently when I'm blogging than when I'm journaling because it sort of edits out the stuff that is 1,000,000% pointless (but still sort of leaves the stuff that is anything less than 1,000,000% pointless), because I guess I still think people are going to read it or something, and it just needs to be written. For me.

What I'm getting at is two things: 1.) I am not sorry, because I am going to force even this to be something semi-beautiful/lovely and, despite the fact that it is certainly, in many ways, less calculated than basically anything else I've ever posted, I am not sorry that even this post is something I have carefully calculated in my little brain. 2.) I'm not sorry for posting it, and I won't even pretend I am.

One last premise to all this is that if you only want to read one little part, read the last part that's called "On social media/final thoughts," because it's really what I'm getting at and something that I really do want people to know. Okay.

On having two homes/feminist theory/my family:

Ever since I came home for Thanksgiving, I have wanted to write a blog post that was "Thoughts on having two homes." I thought about it a lot and even sat down and tried to write it once, but it didn't work for some reason. This was because my thoughts on having two homes were extremely unclear and hazy and hard to polish up into a bloggity-blog-blog post. Mostly, they come down to a few different things:

1.) A thought I have had more than once while being home is, "I am so happy here that it scares me."

2.) A text I sent to one of my friends from NYC last week was, "You know that part in Orange is the New Black where she says, 'I'm scared that I'm not myself in here, and I'm scared that I am'? That's how I feel about being home."

I should confess before I move forward that the blog post I wanted to write didn't look like either of those things. It was going to be polished and slickery clean and something I could read over the pulpit.

Since I've been home for Christmas, I've had a lot of feelings. There's some part of me that wants to run around like the little wild child baby I was and hang out with all my supercool, ultrabeautiful friends and climb mountains and go to Velour and watch movies and wear cool clothes and perform slam poetry and be the best. On the other hand, there is some part of me that wants to do yoga when I wake up and not put on any makeup and only wear things that are comfortable and only leave the house to do yoga or to do things with my family. Because I have always been the type of person who tries to do absolutely everything, I have tried, with little success, to fulfill both parts of myself, and then the part of me that wanted to run Utah like I used to [think I did], got murdered by the part of me that didn't even really want to leave the house.

I got to talking to two of my very best friends in the history of the whole world, Avery Taylor and Emily Henson, and, as they often are when I talk to them, the mysteries of the universe were suddenly glaringly obvious to me, because, as we talked, though the nature of our relationship as Grrrrl Squad Queen Bee Wonder Baby Princesses has not changed at all, everything else has. Kaitlyn is gone. Avery and Emily have glamorous wonderful new friends who live in a house that they've named and they know people who play in bands and understand a whole new set of rules. I am not a part of those new glamorous wonderful new friends who live in a house that they've named and I do not know the people in the bands and I do not fully understand their whole new set of rules. As Avery and Emily and all of you and everyone else should know, this is not in any way Avery and Emily's fault. It just is.

Part of the shocking realization I had listening to them talk was that those people could be my friends. They could be my people and my rules, and above all, I could be happy with those people and friends and rules. There was a part of me that said, "I will leave Utah, and I will be happy." But I was happy here before, and I did leave Utah, and I am very happy in New York, but also, I could be happy with this world. It could be my world. And that could be more than okay.

But, of course, Avery and Emily's new friends are not my new friends. They have new people. They have new music. They have new secrets. They have things to discuss that I do not understand. On top of all that, nearly all of my friends that kept this place together have taken off, most of them on LDS missions, and then the spaces they filled have a way of shining so bright it might blind you (especially the space Kaitlyn Lindley occupied). But, of course, Avery and Emily's old friends are my old friends. We have so many of the same people. We have the same music and the same secrets and so many things to discuss. I have half of a life here.

The thing that cannot, by any means, be counted out is that I have SO MANY GLAMOROUS, WONDERFUL NEW FRIENDS. They live in apartments we have named. I live in an apartment/dorm I have named. I can see the Empire State Building out the window of said apartment/dorm. I have friends who run the fashion world and friends who will someday fund the theatre world and friends who take beautiful pictures and friends who talk me into sleeping on the sidewalk outside of the Rockefeller Center to see SNL and friends who take the train to church with me and friends who watch American Horror Story with me every Wednesday and feed me and let me take over their space.

I have a whole new set of rules. Elevator etiquette is a big thing in my life. Trains and parks and taxis and tip money and organic food and libraries and quiet hours and politics and snow days and avenue blocks dictate my life. I understand these things. It is my world. In many ways, I have a very lovely, very complete life in New York, but it is not 100% complete because there are still pieces of my soul in the corners of Kaitlyn Lindley's kitchen and Matt Colemere's couch and Katie Thueson's backyard and on Avery Taylor's dog and in the upstairs bedroom of Emily Henson's old house and Morgan Nelson's basement and the list goes on and on. In a devastating way, I only have a half-life in New York, too.

The worst part is that, especially when I am here, in Utah, that sense of having only a half-life feels glaringly evident, and, late at night, when I can't sleep, it leaves me feeling like a little bit of a half-person.

While we're here, I should say also that my family is very separate from this half-life phenomena. They have been the most beautiful thing and remain mostly unchanged, or at least unchanged enough between my twice-daily phone calls that I feel complete and full and whole with them. In fact, I have had many moments since I have been home and with my family when I have sort of taken a step back and looked at them and thought, "Here, I am content."

Point is, I was a little bit of a mess with the whole, "I am a half-person living two totally separate if equally beautiful lives and it's very much to handle, I am only a child." But, alas, I am no longer a child. As with most things, I started to freak out to Avery so much, and she reminded me of something interesting that I have been thinking about a lot lately, which is this:

There is this sort of feminist theory that says that, in a marriage, it isn't two halves equalling a whole, but rather two wholes coming together. It basically says that you aren't completed by another person, but instead you are already a complete being, as is your partner. When I discussed this idea with my parents, they even took it further to say that it's not 1/2 + 1/2 = 1, but it's also not 1 + 1 = 2, but rather 1 + 1 = 3. A good marriage, they told me, isn't about completion of one another or compromising, but rather about creating something new and better and beautiful. Marriage, instead of being two half things completing each other, should be two whole things creating something beautiful and making each other better.

In reference to my life, Avery basically told me that my problem was that I was looking at my life, and then to a greater extent my whole being, as a half-thing, when in fact, I am a whole thing. I am complete being, and the marriage of the pieces of my life is a little difficult sometimes because I was forcing them to complete each other instead of saying, "You are 100% of me and my life, and you are also 100% of me and my life." Because they are. Because Utah, in all its glory, is 100% of me, and New York, in all its wonder, is also 100% of me.

And those are my honest thoughts on having two homes.

On love/more on being a complete being all by yourself:

After this blog post (the one with the set of poems), I started fielding a lot of questions. Let me answer all of them here: Yes, the centerpiece love poem is definitely, to an extent, about a real, specific person. Yes, some of you probably know him. Yes, he has probably read the poem, and if he has, he definitely knows it is about him. Yes, this is okay with me. No, I will not tell you who it is. No, it is not completely true. No, he is not my boyfriend. No, he did not propose to me.

The poetry series was more of a way of exploring my ideas about myself and my future, and to use a love poem (which was, in many ways, a work of fiction) as a centerpiece for that seemed like a good way to hew together the ideas I was working with.

And although no one actually asked, let me tell you that, yes, I got 100.8% as a final grade in the creative writing class for which that poetry set was written.

But enough about that. What I really want to get at is this: No matter where you are in your life, like, mentally or geographically or whatever, love is hard.

There have been four times in my life when I have said that I was in love and truly believed it. Considering the fact that I am only 18 years old, this feels like a lot of times. The reason I tell you that, though, is to admit that, looking back, I can only stand by 1.5/4 of those times, and even then, objectively, I can't really even stand by 1/4 of them, so I think maybe the more appropriate ratio might just be .5/3. I am not a numbers person by any means, but this is an interesting thing to consider.

On a less sentimental note, I had a conversation with one of my favorite friends (her name is Hayley Walker) about soul mates the other day. To some degree, what she and I talked about is very similar to the idea that, in a good marriage, 1 + 1 = 3, but we also sort of talked about fate and if soul mates exist and here's what we came down to:

As idealistic and wonderful as it sounds, fate and soul mates do not exist. A fundamental belief of Mormonism, which both of us hold true, is that in this life, we have complete agency of choice. The idea that you have a soul mate not only takes away from the fact that you are complete soul all on your own (and you most definitely are) but it also takes away from your agency to choose. While there is for each of us "the one" in the sense that somewhere out there, the person you or I or Hayley or anybody will marry -- "the one" -- exists, but not as some predetermined, fate-driven being. Soul mates -- even beyond marriage, in friendships and families and business relationships -- basically come down to the fact that there people you will come across in this life who you kind of turn into your soul mate. This means that you could marry any number of people and be happy. This means you could do any number of things with your life and be happy. This means you are already a complete being, and this is great news.

While on the topic of love and as a bit of a side note, I would like to make a sort of bold move and say this: I am 100% for marriage equality. This is something I am sure many of you know about me and have known for a very long time, but I have never come out and said it on the interwebs. I wanted to bring this up because this blog post is long and honest and might even be long enough that anyone who would be mad at me for saying this isn't even reading this part, but also because it is something that is important to me. Quite frankly, most of my dearest friends are homosexual. To deny them the right to obtain one of the most basic of human desires, a marriage with someone they love, seems wrong. While I understand that there is a religious basis of this argument for many people I know here in Utah, and I can certainly (to an extent) respect that opinion, especially because includes to an extent my own beliefs and upbringing, I would just like to politely point out that this is a country founded on equality, and the separation of church and state also stands as an important pillar of the freedoms which make America great.

Because this section of this very long and messy blog post that you probably aren't actually reading has started to sound a little too metaphysical and poetic (with the 1 + 1 = 3 thing), let me rope us back down to earth to admit that this is all easier said than done. I know because my heart gets walked all over pretty often. Yeah, a lot of that is my fault. I fall for boys easily. I trust easily. My love language is physical touch. I tell you this because if nothing else, I know that love ["love"] (remember my .5/3 ratio?) is blind and usually ends badly. There is nothing you can do about it, so don't try to fight it. This knowledge will not, as it has not with me, save you from any pain. I am learning to be okay with this.

I will say this: Though I do not believe in love at first sight or soul mates or fate or any of that, as much as I so terribly want to, I do believe that God or the universe or whatever it is you believe controls all of this puts certain important people in your life. And I believe you can know from the moment you first see them that they will be important to you. In fact, one day, about a year ago, a certain red-headed boy walked into a library I was in. I saw him walk in and I said to the girl next to me (a girl, by the way, who is now studying at Harvard), "Who is that boy? I love him." And then I did not see him or even remember him for another 8 months, and now, a year later, he's one of my best friends in the entire world. And I still love him, so I guess I can't explain everything.

On social media/final thoughts/if you want to skim this blog post, this is the part you should really read:

I said to my mom just the other night, and I've even said it before on this blog back on a post where I reminisced about life a lot, that the whole point of social media is to make people think your life is awesome. "But everyone on twitter talks about how much their life sucks!" you cry. Yes, a lot of people on twitter talk about how their life sucks. I see 50 tweets a day that say something like, "You walked into my life and then walked out without telling me and left me to whither away without you." (For those of you not familiar with twitter, I am not exaggerating even a little bit.) Even tweets like these are some cry for attention and love and acceptance. You start to think that their life is more interesting than yours. We are the millennial generation. Welcome. What I'm getting at is that social media, including, if not especially my own use of social media, is to make people think your life is great and interesting and worthy of some prize and then because of that insane little facade we've all built, we all get very sad and worked up about how our lives are not as interesting or wonderful or worthy as everyone else's. I am acutely aware of this fact, and I start to feel upset about how my life is less awesome or interesting or noteworthy or pretty as anyone else's all the time.

I say this because while this has been a very, very, very selfish blog post (for which I am still not sorry) and it has been almost entirely for me, this is a part for you, because I love you.

I want you to know that my life is wonderful and full of cute boys and adventures and nice clothes and a truly incredible family and New York City and travel and wonder and fun, and while those things are certainly real things to me, those are the only parts of my life that you see on social media. Those are the only parts of my life that I put out there for the masses to view. I want you to know that the person on social media is the same person who cries because her life (and by her life I mean my life) feels stretched out and imbalanced sometimes and has a hard time going out sometimes and misses high school some days and misses coming home to her mom always and aches for the city when she's away from it and worries about grad school all the time and wonders if anyone will ever want to marry her sometimes. I want you to know this because I know I am not the only one who doesn't let you see those things. I want you to know this not because I want us to start using social media as a place to post videos of ourselves crying in bed at night, because that's just disgusting and no one wants to see that, but simply because I'm trying to rethink the way I view social media, because it's definitely not always proactive to my happiness and maybe you need to rethink the way you start to feel when you're stalking some girl on instagram. "Comparison is the thief of joy." 

I just want you to know that we're all the same at the end of the day. We are have good days and bad days. Your life is just as interesting and noteworthy and pretty and special and unique and prize-winning as mine or anyone else's in the whole world (except BeyoncĂ© -- hers is better and that's just a fact).

So. Let me sum this whole thing up in a few final thoughts:
1.) Thank you for letting me have this blog post. It was good for me. If you read the whole thing, I am simultaneously pleased and flattered and saddened and shocked.
2.) Happiness is not climate-controlled, and it is not lessened by finding joy in many, many places.
3.) You are a complete being. You do not need anyone else to make you such.
4.) Fate isn't real.
5.) You aren't the only thing running this life, and not everything can be explained.
6.) Equality makes America great.
7.) Comparison is the thief of joy.
8.) I love you.

I guess that's sort of it. I guess now's the time when I push "publish" and feel a little more grounded because I have been honest with all of you and, even more importantly, honest with myself.

This has been a very long blog post.

I'm still not sorry for it. I still love all of you.

"Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row." -Catcher in the Rye