Monday, September 28, 2009


*Definitely brought up Beyonce in our relief society presidency meeting a few days ago.
"The woman empowers me lately. It's all I need in my speakers."
"I mean, at least she thinks marriage is important," Bethany says.
"She ain't sayin If you like it then you shoulda cohabitated."
And there we are around the table, snappin and bustin a move.
Yes please.
Can we get that in the handbook?

My life is insane.
There is so much in it.
People Schedules Appointments Assignments.
My next word was going to be: Obligations.
And here's the beautiful part-- I can't write that word.
It applies to no person, no meeting, no assignment which I am trying to accommodate.

That's right, I want to work it out with you.

I want to deliberate for hours over fifty-some girls.

I want to write letters to sad friends and mission friends and the mass number of people who simultaneously have something to say to me.

I'm not sure where you all came from, but I'm trying to answer.


I want to call you back!

I want to answer 
all these big big assertions 
that people are presenting to me.

When I do not, it is sometimes because I am scared.
Sometimes because I am at a loss for words.
But most often because I am letting my free-spirit translate to: disorganized-life.
My hippie everythings-gonna-be-alright attitude 
will not bring answers.
It will leave people neglected, 
letters unanswered, 
and potential unfilled.

Dear Self, 
Stop running through fields and poems and start looking at a calendar!
My soul says "Nightmare!"
And then, "Okay, fine, you're right."

But I can still be me.
Still the girl that quotes Beyonce in our meeting and challenges the new girls at get-to-know-your-presidency-pancake-sunday. "I ate all seven on my plate! Whatchu got?!"

I want to tell you that it's not all about this calling thing. 
And it's not, there are so many things I want to do (for you/with you/about you.) For the ones who are not part of my list of girls. But it has taken over my mind and perspective, so it is about balancing you with that. It is about this motivation-- this new kick in the pants to be better. Because-- and here's a shocker-- my progression is not all about me. Did it used to feel like that? Other people are depending on me to step it up. Thank goodness. Keep kickin. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary

From a letter I wrote to Katie, Saturday November 8th 2008.

He tells me he had no idea I wasn't wearing makeup. (Do you think boys really mean it when they say that? I don't know about that.) Anyway, he says I look great no matter what. And I mean, that's nice, but I don't put much weight on those types of comments. It's not that I think he's flat-out-lying to please me, I just don't fall on the floor in flattery, you know? 

So then he says 
"I've been thinking about something, and I want to tell you..." 
This is how a lot of our conversations start out. It's kinda like saying 'There's this thing that I understand, but it's weird... but sometimes you understand my weird things-- so here it is..."  

"I think every girl has her own thing about her," he says.
"Like... some girls are really charming. They tend to say lots of funny things and that draws people to them. Some girls are quiet and have a graceful way to them.... and anyway, I think I figured out what your thing is. You have a radiance. It's like a happiness, a bright youthfulness that comes out from within you-- and so when people see you, it doesn't matter what makeup you're wearing because they see this part of you too. It shines towards people. You are red. And golden.

She replies:
"Lovie he is DIGGIN for you. Diggin so see who you are. I know you know this but it's such a big deal. Like it's one thing for a boy to let you dig for them-- to answer all your questions and nod when you say stuff about your soul. But he listens and remembers and applies. Woah. And he likes you for those things instead of just tolerating them."

* * * * * 
Remember when you saw me one day at a time?
There was a reverence there, at the beginning.
You remembered my name.
That scar was forming at the bottom of my thumb,
It was the skin over my bone-- my trapezium.
You kept watch
Over that burned skin
And my trapeze.
We were both surprised at how brave I was
in what I spoke to you 
in the tricks I attempted up there.

"How is your burn today?" you'd ask.
I'd hold out my hand.
I'd let you see.

Did the transition of today's air feel familiar to you?
Because we felt it once together, 
this space between seasons.
(It was conference weekend. The leggos and the roof.)
I used to think: "What's coming?"
Now I know: A Fall.
I was inside this air, when I jumped for that trapeze.
one. year. ago.

We drove away
to escape the cold, 
That's where
You named the flame colors in my countenance.
Remember when you told me you'd found them?
On the road, I played this song for you:

If it is born in flames
Then we should let it burn
Burn as brightly as we can...

And if its gotta end (Let it burn)
It ends where it began
So hot with love
We burned our hands.
We drove home from the heat, and
in the end you were winter.
What felt brave, was now humiliating.
I grew tired of showing you my tricks.
So I came down.

"My love is like a blanket
It gets a little too warm 
I wanna wrap somebody in it
Who can hold me in his arms
Cause when it got a little too hot in there
He was always steppin out for air
And he froze.
Oh he froze."
"How is your burn today?"
You don't ask anymore.
So I don't show you.
I don't tell you that 
I have another scar now.

But I am still Red. And Golden.
Don't you forget.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall together.

When I grow older, I promise to never have a job in accounting.

(No offense accountakids, I think ya’ll make great dads. Not because of the hours or the nature of your work, but because every time I meet a dad who is also an accountant, he is honorable, kinda goofy, and gentle.)

Regardless, I promise to never join you in the field of numbers and money.



My Dad is an airplane mechanic, 

which I have ALWAYS thought is cool.

(I don’t think he knows that.)

Sometimes we would go to his work—it’s called The Hanger.

Does that make you think of closets? Me too—but it’s not about that. It's where the Dads open their toolboxes to show each other pictures of their daughters. It's where they fix the airplanes. 

The Hanger.

This is where my family would sit on top of the mini van

and watch the planes come in to land.

The sky was usually pink when we got there, dark purple when we left.

I would look at those planes and think of all the people in there,

The people and their unknown stories.

And I would think 
“My Dad helped that thing to fly.”


Today I am also thinking that I want to have tons of good movies when I’m a Mom—but none of those empty-and-kinda-raunchy ones. We will have only movies of substance! 

(My kids will get annoyed at their nerdy mother, always shouting "substance!" with one hand in the air, making them trade in their subpar DVD's for literature. They will gag.)


Thursday night I was in the car with my new friend Sarah Motley.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” she said.

I can tell her things like this—like graduated but not an accountant or dumb-movie-owner.

But I cannot tell her much.

“I’ve been shown recently that I have no idea what’s happening around here. Nothing is turning out how I thought it would. So I’d rather be open and adaptable than make a solid plan,” I say.


I try to explain this to her. It’s hard.

Because here’s what my brain keeps saying.


This is a word we’re learning about in my Native American Literature class. I have a nifty blue handout full of what it feels like to experience this word.

Here’s a piece:


“The existence of the her belief, the nature of her destiny, the very shape of reality itself are all, in a flash, brought into radical question. The daughter can either accept the world as bereft of meaning… or find some deeper sense in the ceremonies and objects which had come to mean so much to her. The naive realism of her previous perspective has been exploded. Necessarily, she begins her religious life in a state of serious reflection and in quest of an understanding of the sacred profound enough to sustain her new life.”


It means my world gets turned on its face, 

and yes, it’s been doing that lately.

I do not understand the way my relationships are shifting. God still talks to me, but he doesn’t explain why these things are happening. I want to tell you about it.


But how can I explain this to you publicly 

without overstepping my bounds?

(Translation: How can I show you these people I have stories with, and the confusion of the plot-lines, without exposing their hearts unfairly?)

Zach. Jordan. Jared. Claire. Stoph. Emily. Brody. Corey. Lacey. Dad. Sabrina. 

This intersection of timelines splatters across past journal pages and I watch from the side as my understanding dwindles and my predictions humiliate themselves.

* Some of them are saying “I love you! Come back!”

I say... “I’m not sure why, but I can’t. I’m sorry.”

Or... “Really? Are you finally saying this? Because I don’t know what to say back anymore.”

Or... (speechless).

*Some I will never get answers from.

* Others are popping in and out of my life unexpectedly—planting their roots in the middle of my path. Sometimes I trip over them. Sometimes I have to watch my step for days and days, but sometimes I stop and see their tree coming forth. Trees I never thought could belong to my world. I would not permit my path to be smoother by digging them up and away.

*Some surprise me with their choice to be someone else for a while.

*Some are filling me with love and possibility where I assumed there would always be shadows and contention.

*Some: are just Gone.


And so I am disenchanted with my own predictions—a loss of faith in all things once hopefully deemed “Obvious. Natural. Coming Soon.”


I am by no means obliterated, only silent for a while—telling myself to relinquish control. And then, relinquish the idea that I have any knowledge of what is to come.

“But I am not that girl!” I say to myself.

“I am not the girl with the 5 year plan who refuses to deviate. I’ve always been okay not knowing the answers.”

“Oh please. You’re NOT the girl with the 5 year plan and the permanent mascara, but you ARE the girl who is thrown by all these twisting outcomes at once. It’s okay that you’re that girl, but you have to change your perspective now: You make choices. God makes outcomes.”

He is the only relationship I can predict as Obvious. Natural. Coming Soon.


With this on my mind, I walk into that Native American Literature class.

My professor speaks up. “I’m passing the role,” she says.

“Circle your initials if you’re prepared for discussion today.”


I look down at my blue handout,

“Disillusionment means ‘to be in the condition of being disenchanted.’”

So I reach for the clipboard.

“LSB.” I write.


I have a lot to say today.


As my stories with these people take exits I could not see from the driver’s seat—I realize that I am not wholly driving this thing—that the map I’ve got across the dashboard is drawn by my own narrow predictions.

“That’s a nice map you’ve worked on,” God says to me.

“But in the past I’ve always navigated by my own omniscient vision, and I think we should stick with that.”

I tell him it’s okay, and slip out of his seat. I think I was cramping him a little bit.

See how he talks to me like he’s just my Dad?

The truth is: I am thankful, even desperate to believe in something beyond my human limitations—even if I have no idea where He’s going with all of this.

“Fine. But do I have to be an accountant?” I ask.

I think he said no, but he probably just laughed.


Here’s a piece of hope from the blue handout:

“The rites of disenchantment must end on the threshold of revelation, for it is only through the living of the religious way that the sacred becomes fully known.”


I’m willing to fully know the sacred, to let my hope get of the ground.

I see myself as a passenger in that ungraceful airplane,

The child in me looks up to see her future fly over.

My unkno`wn story is contained in 

an impossibly huge and bulky machine,

and I am comforted to know:

My Heavenly Father helps these things to fly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Against the white.

I'm walking to my second class today, with 15 minutes to spare. 
I come to an opening where the sun shines clear and fierce. 
"Ouch," I hear my heart say.
Not interpreting an emotion as if it were audible, but honestly feeling that singular word rise.
It is then that a mocking voice drips down through my brain:
"Funny that you think your heart has a right to say ouch about this." 
As it seeps in, I am hazed by guilt and my own inadequate apologies.

"Hey stop that. We agreed to play nice remember? No more mocking your choices."
This voice is resurfacing from something I wrote ten days ago. I cannot remember what it was like to agree with her, but she is annoyingly congenial.

I step in.
"Can all of you just shut up? I hate fighting with you. I just want to go to class and do my homework and be normal."

Another voice quietly asserts:
"No you don't. You have never been normal, and you know that to quit this conversation would be to banish yourself."
I know.
The final voice
is my truest voice.
Being self-aware is a constant battle, and it's not about schizophrenia, it's about the recognition of all my complexities. It's about listening. (I think.)
Regardless, this last voice is hearing the booing crowds, the bias past, and again saying
"But this is who I am."

Resigned, I give my heart permission to say ouch, and keep walking.
* * * * *

From ten days ago:

"I believe. 
Not only in my potential
     -- which I always talk about.
     -- which rarely gets a break from any analysis or criticism.
I will not be mocked for my conviction."

* * * * * 

This is the cover I put on my newest journal. 
I have since looked at it and wished I could make it words.
Because this image is how I feel. All the time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A page I can show.

Today I am walking down the street with resolve.
I feel powerful. It's Nine AM and I've been up for 3 hours.
I set up the water coolers, hung posters. 
Cut bananas for the 5K runners.
No big deal. (SO much better than sleeping.)
I walk home in my free t-shirt, no outside motive except I BELIEVE in what this thing is about. 
"Voices of Courage."
5 K for abuse prevention.
People register to run and then attach inspirational quotes to their backs.
Here's mine:

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself. 
Harvey Fierstein.

I stand on the hill and take pictures, with no need to shout my story. No need to center myself as a main event-- just joining. Being this girl. "Here, have a pin. Wanna pose for a picture? Make a strong woman face!" At the end I sign the pledge, my name the same size as the others. We are pledging against silence. 
On someone's back:
"In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that they eye can't see."
That's my line! A million journal pages of this quote flash in my head and I realize: 
I am not the only one who separated it from the song. 
These words stand out, and there is no need to justify my conviction.
I turn from the pledge and duck out of Brooke's way, a camera suddenly between us.

"No," she says.
"Stand up. 
I want to take a picture of you."
I stop. Smile.
"Do you want to guest post on our blog?" she asks.

Yes. I say.
Really? I ask.
"Yes. Definitely. I love you."
Her sincerity matches mine and I am both comforted and taken aback by this. Maybe that's why this morning is big, because my sincerity is being matched in a clear and bright way, which feels different than the shadow of hesitance that usually meets this subject.
YES. Yes I want to write for this. I have so much to say.
And then there I am, walking home with resolve.

"Your voice matters." I remind myself.
Not because I get to post, because it does.
It matters even in the absence of blogs and journals. 
For the first time in weeks, I feel indisputably VALID.
That my perception will lead me, instead of confuse me.
I'm not nuts. It's going to be okay.

Lyndsi Shae