Friday, April 26, 2013

The cost of being beautiful

I'm sure by now, almost everyone in the world has seen the Dove "Real Beauty Sketches". At last glance, the video is currently up to 28,774,413 viewers on YouTube. I always thought "Bread on It" was worth such high numbers, but maybe it was just too ahead of its time.

By now, I'm sure you've also seen some of the backlash for the ad. There's a men's version parody. There's this article with the astute quote: "You should feel beautiful, and Dove was right about one thing: you are more beautiful than you know. But please, please hear me: you are so, so much more than beautiful." There's the sermon that a pastor at my church gave when he reminded us that we are more beautiful than we think, but that fact is rooted not in beauty products, but that beauty is rooted in the fact that we are made in the image of God.

I laugh at the parody. I hear the criticism. I amen the sermon. However. I still like the video. And this is why:

Last night after going to the gym I went home to take a shower. My before bed time routine consisted of the following things: washing my face, toning my face, using "repairing lotion" on my face, using a 6% sulfur overnight face mask, putting repairing cream on my feet and sleeping in socks, lotion on my hands and elbows before getting into bed.

I have a clear memory of myself as a kid getting ready to go outside and play. I was wearing leggings, summer dress, crew socks rolled down, tennis shoes, and my hair was in a pony tail. And I hula hooped for hours and hours standing in the sunshine. Getting dressed enabled me to run outside, stand in the sunshine, and play. Now getting dressed enables me to often feel bad about myself, pick apart my muffin top, and sit uncomfortably at my desk.

So, I get all the Dove backlash. They are after all a company trying to sell you something, and not a philanthropic organization. But there was a time when if someone said to me "You are more beautiful than you think you are" I would have been confused...because I never gave much thought to whether or not I'm beautiful. I just did life. And I'd like to rediscover that girl.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friends who tell you what you're thinking

I have a few friends who know me well enough to not only tell me what they're thinking (and believe me, they do) but to also make sense of the storm cloud of thoughts perpetually above my head and tell me what I am in fact thinking.

I am currently in Nashville visiting my friend Liz, and she is definitely one of those friends. We've known each other since our freshman year of college, so September will mark 10 years of friendship. A crazy but true fact.

One example of this deep knowingness which Liz has. During lunch I said something to the effect of, "I always just thought since I think through things so deeply and intensely that I should be with someone who thinks the same way." Liz's response: "Your poor children."

Thus far our time (my roommate Karen is here too) in Nashville has consisted of: seeing some parks, taking a tour of the Vanderbilt campus, eating lots of food, going to the same coffee shop twice b/c cinnamon honey latte amazingness, eating meatball subs in a car, meeting Liz's friends at a game night, witnessing Liz win a competition for her thesis presentation, and a craw fish boil.

Also, I am well, well, well, on my way to accomplishing many of my 2013 goals. But that update will be for another time.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reasons why this day rocks

1. My Pandora station (inspired by The Civil Wars) is killing it this morning. Just started playing my favorite Gungor song.
2. I'm studying participles and only feel of slightly below average intelligence.
3. Wearing a pair of brand new size 8 petite jeans which I got to buy recently.
4. Just got word I got into the class I was waitlisted for.
5. My coffee is really good.
6. My shirt is pink - like VERY pink.
7. I am sitting by a window in the coffee shop and the sun is shining slightly through the clouds.
8. I ate a ham and cheese croissant about breakfast.

On my way to my Tuesday morning study session in the coffee shop I was praying very earnestly that God would equip me to love well today - to see every interaction and moment as an opportunity to love those who he has entrusted to my care. On days like today, where everything is spectacular, it seems easy to do such a thing.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

If at first you don't succeed, eat another piece of cake

Back in January I resolved NOT to make any New Year's Resolutions and instead made 13 New Year's Resolutions. One of which was to go three month's without any refined sugar. So, starting February 17, I set out to accomplish that goal. The start date was strategic as it meant I'd be able to eat birthday cake on May 17.

I am sad to say that as of Friday, March 8, I fell off that New Year's Resolution wagon. And tonight, instead of opting to get back on the wagon, I went and bought a comfortable pair of shoes because I'd rather walk. And as I walk I'll be eating another piece of carrot cake and some M&Ms.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Is guarding your heart a bunch of bs?

I have a crush on a boy.

I don't want to say anything related to said boy, i.e. how long I've known him, whether or not we've spoken, etc. All I will disclose is that he is a boy, he is of legal dating age, and he is not married (I don't think.) I also realize that saying "crush on a boy" may be juvenile, but saying "I have strong feelings for a man" just sounds ridiculous. I choose juvenile.

I have two friends who have differing feelings about this whole crush thing. One is fully on board. The other is still on the shore, arms crossed against their chest, dubious about getting on a ship called "The Titanic 2". The cheerleader is telling me to put myself out there. The aquaphobic one is telling me to guard my heart. They literally had this conversation over my head the other day, as if I wasn't even in the room.

So, which is it? Team risk or team guard?

I recently read this article on Prodigal Magazine where a columnist explores the idea of guarding your heart. What she's actually responding to is the way that phrase has been misused to imply that we as women have a responsibility to hold our emotions close to our chest until the moment we discover that the guy is going to put a ring on our finger, and then we can open up the can of crazy. I know I've heard this at times when I tell friends I'm interested in someone. Just interested. No dates have been had, no phone numbers exchanged. Against what, precisely, do I need to guard my heart against when all I know about a boy is he's cute? Am I basically being told to stop having crushes?

If so, then I am in big trouble...

I'm starting to think that guarding my heart, as it's been pitched to me, is a bunch of bs. I'm 27 years old, and I've never had my heart smashed, which is a huge blessing. But there's something peculiar about hearing 32 crossed in love songs from Taylor Swift who is only 23 years old and not being able to relate. Hey, at least she's trying.

Which is why I might take a hiatus from guarding my heart. Because I may get mashed up, but I'll also write some kickin' pop songs.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just a couple of wild and crazy girls

This year for Christmas my roommate and I opted to gift one another surprise "experiences." We cashed in my present to her last month when I took her to the Queen Mary Tea Room and this week we cashed in her present to me.

First we went for happy hour at the The Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union. A wicked Tom Douglas restaurant with delicious burgers and homemade pretzels. We each got Diet Cokes because that's how we roll on a Friday night. Hers had a twist of lime because she's crazy like that.

After happy hour we went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum at the Seattle Center. We've both wanted to go for a good long while, but Karen wanted to make sure we went at night so we could see all the outside glass sculptures lit up. We wandered around the museum until it closed and each made a mental note to go back when it was warmer outside. King County residents also get a $4 cheaper ticket price which is awesome!

All in all a wonderful Friday night, and it almost makes up for the fact that we haven't seen each other's faces in 50+ hours. Sigh. At least we have this cute picture from our date night to remind us what the other person looks like.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sigh of contentment

You know those mornings where you wake up without your alarm clock but are able to lay in your bed daydreaming for a while?

And then you lazily get out of bed and go for a 3 mile run, thankful that your body works to run all three miles in 28.5 minutes while listening to music, that while not Grammy worthy, makes you happy?

And then you take a long hot shower, and put on an outfit that makes you look cute while listening to the same song by The Head and the Heart three times?

And then you make breakfast and fresh coffee and you can just stand in your kitchen savoring every moment?

That's what contentment looks like. And it's a blessing, and it's good, and it's soul refreshing. So, thank you God, because I didn't know I needed this today but you've gifted it to me anyway.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is being a good friend sexy?

I have a good guy friend who I've known for a while. For the first two years of our relationship he would call occasionally call me "mom". Part of this was because we had served in a ministry together for a year, and while he was new to the ministry, I was a veteran so I very often was the person most "in the know" as it were. I also enjoy taking care of people and making sure they feel comfortable and included. He tried to get other leaders to call me mom, but thankfully it never took off. Finally, I put my foot down and told him he absolutely cannot call me mom.

It was a very fruitful conversation which he totally understood and as someone who so often sweeps things under the rug, I was very proud of myself for saying something.

Over the past 12 years or so, I've heard some variation of the following messages repeated often:

  • "You're not the kind of girl a guy is going to want to date. You're the type of girl a guy is going to want to marry."
  • "You're really smart and that's very intimidating to guys."
  • "Just be yourself and the right guy will come along."
But, what do you do when who you are is a "most excellent friend"? Is being a good friend sexy? 

I had a friend over to study last night and as I was getting some food I asked him if he wanted a glass of water. He said, "I'm good." To which I responded, "I know you're good, but would you like a glass of water?" He responded by telling me that his ex-girlfriend's mom used to say something pretty similar. 

Fantastic. We've been friends for 10 hours and already I remind you of someone's mother. Is being a mom sexy?

The flirting thing doesn't come naturally to me. The moves I have are being friendly, smiling a lot, making people food, and taking a genuine interest in their life stories. But these are my friendship making moves just as much as my move moves. So I guess that leaves me concluding that I can't worry about being alluring. Really all I can do is focusing on loving and serving other people well. And while I've never personally heard anyone say, "what really attracted me to this person was how good of a friend she was " I've got to believe that at some point in the history of the universe those words were spoken. 

Because it may not be a super sexy move, but being a good friend is really one of the only moves I got. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm going to be the best lab partner you've ever had

I adore personality tests. Ever since the days I spent as a child in California, lazily reading the same Seventeen magazine for the tenth time, taking the same quiz promising to clue me into my flirting style (despite my complete and total lack of understanding as to what flirting actually was), I have looked at tests and quizzes and "cootie catchers" as perhaps providing some insight into my deepest and truest self.

Cut to personality tests. I'm an ENFJ just in case you were wondering. But I recently discovered a NEW (to me) personality test called the Enneagram. And it basically reconfirmed the fact that I am an ENFJ, but it is fascinating none the less. According to the Enneagram, here are some things that are true of my type - type #2.

1. My characteristic role is that of helper
2. My ego fixation is flattery
3. My basic fear is being unloved or being unlovable
4. My basic desire is to feel love
5. My temptation is to deny my own needs
6. My vice/passion is pride
7. My virtue is humility

Furthermore, according to some thought surrounding the Enneagram, you can have a "wing" which is a bent towards one of the bordering types on the Enneagram diagram. I apparently have a wing to the #1 type, aka "the perfectionist." So, I'm a helper, but I strive to be a perfect helper. Which is why my new life motto shall be: "I am going to be the best helper you've ever had."

Inspired by Eunice from She's the Man

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sometimes I think my brain might be broken

In Greek class last night we began to learn about how to modify an adjective so it can be used as a compare nouns. I think (know) that I'm still fuzzy on this, but the gist is that you can add a prefix to an adjective and depending on the prefix, you know its relationship to the noun. We have this in English, but they're usually suffixes.

So we have...

Tall
Taller
Tallest

Using -er and -est we can establish relationship between an adjective and a noun. "Over there is a taller tree. But behind the barn is the tallest tree." Tracking with me?

To demonstrate the way this works, our Greek teacher had a simple request: shout out three adjectives. Now, I should state that at this point I was in hour five of class, was a little punchy, and that punchiness was punctuated by sitting next to my friend Eric who had worked all day and had all but given up. Eric shouts out "Fantastic!" And when Renee asks for another he shouts out "Fabulous!" And then she asks for another.

And I provide the adjective of all adjectives. An adjective that I don't think I ever actually uttered until last night.

"Engorged."

Where did that come from? From what part of my brain did that little adjective shake free and make itself known to my 25 classmates? Why that word? Why then?

And this is why sometimes I think my brain is broken. Because I didn't think of "happy" or "pretty" or "small." You know, things that if I was in middle school wouldn't get me sent to the principal's office.

Thankfully, Renee is a rock star and she joined the majority of the class by responding with a mixture of uproarious laughter and disbelief. And then she did me a solid and wrote the word on the board. But this meant that for the next 20 minutes every time I looked at the board and saw the word "engorged" I started to giggle.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Putting myself out there, with mild success

I was recently challenged by my little bro's girlfriend to take more risks and put myself out there relationally. And, I have been doing my absolute best to head her words and proactively build some new friendships with people I'm in grad school with. It has not been going well.
 
Okay, it hasn't been going poorly, per say, but it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing. Here has how my most recent three attempts have gone. (All names have been changed in the event anyone from grad school ever actually reads my blog.)
 
1. Tim. I found out Tim rides his bike to class and happens to live a mere 30 blocks from Karen and I. So, I had this brilliant idea to give him a ride to my apartment and then he'd have a mere 5 minute bike ride as opposed to a 45 minute bike ride. He took the front tire off the bike, couldn't get it to fit into the car, so Karen and I left him stranded in the parking lot near school as we drove safely and warmly home.
 
2. Matt. I tried to get a Greek study group together but our schedules didn't quite mesh well. I was excited when Matt asked me in class if I wanted to get together with him and a couple other people to study at 4pm on Thursday. Unfortunately I work until 5pm, so I told him to text me then and let me know if they were still studying. I didn't get a text, so I opted to go and meet them anyway and just trust they'd be there. They weren't. I did, however, write a (self-proclaimed) hilarious email to try and explain why none of them were there. Here's an excerpt:
The mistake you made, however, was that you left your almost completed chapter 17 worksheet on the table. They saw with one glance that you totally understood everything they were agonizing over, and so they joined forces and turned on you. Each of them emptied five packets of sweet 'n low into their palms and blew the poisonous powder in your eyes blinding you, but leaving a sweet after taste. After that it got really out of hand. In short, bloodshed, ruined lives, etc. Rich Erickson happened to be there on a break in between classes, and I don't even want to relive what happened to him.
All of that to say that I totally understand why you guys weren't there at 5:45 PM when I showed up Greek flashcards in hand to study. You couldn't be there, because you were in prison.
3. Katherine. After talking in class for a bit, K sent me an email asking me to friend her on Facebook b/c she couldn't find my Facebook profile. I had to break it to her that I didn't have a Facebook but we set up a "crazy reading party" on Saturday so we could just sit and read in the presence of another person and then I would make us dinner and we could hang out a bit. After making the plan, she emailed me a couple hours later saying she's unsure whether she'll be able to make it b/c she has to get homework for her other class done.

So, there's the record. I'm currently 0 for 3 in the making new friends department. But, Tim and I are going to study this weekend. Matt promised to bring me a treat to make up for the unintentional ditching. And Katherine and I are going to try next weekend if this weekend doesn't happen. Maybe that'll make me 3 and 0?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Music that gets me through


As much as I love music, I have a very hard time listening to it while trying to study. Especially while trying to study Greek. Something about the intense concentration it takes for me to learn a new language paired with English phrases flying at my ears. Which is why I'm thankful for my Sigur Ros Pandora station. However, tonight, while making flashcards I decided to tempt fate and listen to something with...wait for it...words I can understand! I figured since all I was doing was writing words down that it wouldn't hurt for me to listen to some music I love. So, Mumford and Sons Pandora it is.

One of the best decisions I've made all week. Here are the songs that got me through (and are actually doing so as we speak) this incredibly long day (links have been put in for the two songs that were new to me tonight):

January Wedding by the Avett Brothers
Dust Bowl Dance by Mumford and Sons
Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
It's Time by Imagine Dragons
Broken Crown by Mumford and Sons
Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine
Ho Hey by The Lumineers
The General Specific by Band of Horses
Home by Phillip Phillips

But the night is not done. And it's time for me to do some Greek. Which means I'm going to finish listening to this song (The Way We Get By by Spoon), and move on to un-understandable but delightful Icelandic music.

Taking care of yourself is hard

It's not just the eating well that sometimes throws me for a loop, it's doing all the other things that make for an all around healthy person: getting enough sleep, finding time to go grocery shopping and cook food I'm excited about, cleaning my room so my head doesn't feel like it's going to explode, taking time to call or write emails to the bajillions of people I want to stay in touch with.

Right now I feel like I'm doing well at being "healthy" in my grad school life, I'm "healthy" in my work life, and I'm "healthy" in my health life, but I'm kind of lacking in the healthiness of my "me time" life. I realized yesterday at 9pm that I hadn't stopped moving since 6:30am.

I walked to work. Worked for 8 hrs. Came home. Skyped with my brother and his girlfriend while making dinner. Cleaned up a little after dinner. Went into my room to start packing my stuff for the next day and about went to bed right then (9:00 pm) because I was just so tired. However, I powered through and studied for an hour. Getting barely 7 hrs of sleep, I woke up at 5:30am this morning and studied for two hours before going into work.

And trying to balance friend time so emotionally I stay healthy? And exercise time so I can continue to be physically healthy? All I can say is, it's really hard.

Thanks to everyone who has provided me a random word of encouragement or lifted up a prayer on my behalf. Also, apologies if you call or email me and I take days, weeks, or months to respond. I promise I'll get to you. Really, I will.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The year of 13

I hardly ever keep New Year's Resolutions. So, I decided to address that by making 13 of them. One is bound to stick, right? For some reason, framing them in terms of "goals" rather than in terms of resolutions make them seem more manageable. Who knew that utilizing a thesaurus could be the deciding factor in success over defeat?

13 things to accomplish in 2013 - in the order they occurred to me
1. Make a decision about grad school
2. Pay off my Chase and American Express credit cards
3. Audition for a play
4. Visit Liz in Nashville (March 2013!!)
5. Read Sense and Sensibility 
6. Visit Kara in Bellingham twice
7. Do five (5) full push-ups
8. Get into a healthy weight range
9. Cut my hair (12 inches!)
10. Go three (3) months without refined sugar
11. Write forty-five (45) blog entries
12. Write two (2) finished plays/scripts
13. Take a "for fun" class (not grad school related)

Let the games begin!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year - A New Game

I have actual semi-relevant things I could speak about with this blog entry - my first in many many months. And I will actually do that. I'll definitely speak about my 13 things to accomplish in 2013 list, and being in grad school, and work, and life, but right now the purpose of this post is to play a new game.

My friend Tanya and I work together.

Today we emailed each other.
Then she texted me.
Then she IM'd me through our interoffice IM.

I pointed the abundance of forms of communication and invited her to send me a carrier pigeon.

She wrote down a note on a post-it and put it on my desk.
I created an ecard with my message.
She created a webpage.
So, now I have a blog entry.

To answer your questions, Tanya: I'm doing kickboxing tonight and so that is how I'm going to get my workout in. Why do you have to meet with Beej before 8pm? Did you put a time limit on your good habit? Or is it related to sleep? I miss writing fun things with you as well! I'm going to try and include an extra curricular into my study schedule in the spring, but I think my extra thing this quarter will be kickboxing three days a week. Maybe taking a modern dance class next quarter!

Also, this post is helping me with one of my goals for 2013 which is writing 45 blog entries. Love you, Tanya, and love this game.

-Suzanne