March 24, 2018: Memories and Movies

I love movies. I may or may not be a movie-aholic. It may have been my love of movies that eventually cemented my love of reading (the comparison factor).

I really had thought I had seen an average number of movies.  Turns out that for pre-streaming days I had actually seen many more than the norm. This realization kicked in when I went into a video rental (aww, remember those, that dates me) with my friend Chelsea in college. She kept pointing to movie after movie asking if I thought it would be good. I had already seen all but one she had pointed to in the entire store.

I’m also a movie re-watcher. I didn’t realize that some people didn’t enjoy this until I lived with my friend Bethany for a few years. She actually is kind of annoyed by this habit of mine. I don’t think she would be if it wasn’t that I can re-watch movies right after I’ve seen them (granted…only if I liked the movie). She preferred if I rewatched it there was a significant amount of time between each viewing.

I also really love going to the theater. Some of my best memories are going to the theater to see movies. There is just something about the big screen, overly loud speakers, and cheap (actually expensive food). I’ve also been lucky enough that both of the primary areas I’ve lived (Houston and the Joplin area) had out door movie theaters. I LOVE out door theaters because they combine so many of my favorite things; movies, outdoors, spring/summer nights, cozy blankets, theater food.

I love movies that are deep and make me reevaluate life.(Butterfly Effect had me thinking for months as a High schooler.) I love movies that are like stepping into an entirely different world, one that can only really be understood through film. I like movies that are a waste of time but you get away from the stress of your own life and laugh for an hour or so.

I was thinking of all of this on Wednesday. I went out with friends to the theater in Pittsburg, KS. We saw a Wrinkle in Time. This is one of my favorite junior novels of all time. I sort of read it by chance in a Children Literature class. We had to read 100 books and a certain percentage had to be award winners. I randomly picked a book out of the library (not an award winner) and it kept referencing A Wrinkle in Time. I didn’t understand the comments, looked into the book, found out it was an award winner, read it, fell in LOVE.

As I sat through the previews (which sadly did NOT excite me) I tried to think back to my first experience in a movie theater.  My mother may correct me later but the first one I can remember was Pocahontas. I remember being REALLY into learning about my native american heritage at the time (I think we were doing presentations in school). The movie came out around the same time and my mom told me a quick version of the story it was based on. I really really wanted to see it.

I must have been talking about it a lot because my Aunt decided to take me as a birthday present. But not before my mother had already taken me. I remember I didn’t want to hurt my aunts feelings, and I really wanted to see it again, so I didn’t tell her I had already seen it.

I fell for a lot of things in that experience. Disney movies for instance, my parents started buying me at least one a year for either my birthday or Christmas (I still own most of the VHS’s…if they still work). Celebrations at the movies, most of my birthday’s I request to go to the movies. The movie theater, it may be the most ridiculously expensive hobby but it makes me happy.

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March 23, 2018: Hair and Highlights

“You have to have fun with hair. It’s a great accessory.”

-Serge Normant 

I read something online today about a woman who couldn’t remember what her original hair color was. I have to admit I’m guilty of this.

The truth is that hair maintenance is one of my indulgences… on the girl side of things.  I’m not a huge fan of manicures or pedicures. I do a lot of labor with my hands and ruin my nails frequently, and I have a hard time with people touching my feet. And makeup, I wear it, but it’s never been something I’ve really enjoyed.

My hair though… for some reason taking an hour out of my day and have my hair washed, cut and combed is one of the most relaxing things after a few long weeks.

The first time I colored my hair I was a sophomore in high school. I picked this really pretty auburn Loral box color. I had done highlights in the salon (with that horrible pull through cap thing) for a while before that. It was never a very dramatic shift, just a shade or two different.

The dye from the box might have said auburn, but it was black. Black as midnight with no moon. My mother got a fair portion on my forehead which of corse died my skin. It was an . . . interesting look for me. Thankfully, after a few days it toned down considerably.

I continued to experiment with box dyes for the next several years. It was fun. Something new and different, not too out there.  I liked the somewhat dramatic results.

After I started a salaried job I started including it in my hair appointment ritual, no more box dyes. It’s still one of the most relaxing things. I sit there in my chair, have a little chat, enjoy someone “playing” with my hair, read while the dye sets, then they was my hair and style it. Having a professional attend to the coloring is much better than box dye!

Over the years I’ve started to have a little more fun with the colors. I now take summers to play around with some wild colors; fire red, blue, green. My favorite so far has been purple.

Up next?

…Mauve.

Gotta’ love the 21’s century.

 

March 22, 2018: Psychology and Personality

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The first time I understood myself.

Psychology is what some people call a pseudoscience. This means that they believe its practice to mimic science but not actually be scientific. As a great lover, learner and practitioner of psychology I will say this. It’s a bit like the ocean. The human mind, much like the ocean, is abundant in information of which we are only cracking the surface of.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of psychology is the discussion of personality. I’m a little odd and LOVE taking new and different personality tests. Each one is set up and functions a little differently. Each one has different results and is testing for different things.

The FIRST time I took a personality test was in a Psychology class at OCC, with Peter Buckland. It was the Myers Briggs, probably the most well known and popular. My results were INTP. If you’ve never taken it before let me explain the basics. Myers Briggs tests four areas; introversion and extroversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving.

There are those that think, based on your results you are one thing and not the other. So for instance, as an INTP, I am an intuitive introvert who has the ability to perceive through my thinking. Therefore I am not an extrovert who possess the skills of sensing, feeling and judging.

Really, this isn’t the case. I can be or possess those qualities but they are not dominate. It’s not a one or the other kind of thing, people don’t work that way.

I remember that when I got the results back one of the descriptions talked about INTP’s often struggle with empathy. A light bulb sort of went off, that was something that was true of me. It wasn’t that I didn’t posses the ability to empathize, it was just a struggle to find empathy in a situation that my logic took over.

As I kept reading I saw more and more things that seemed to hit the nail on the head. I saw myself through another pair eyes, one that not only saw but interpreted. Now, not everything was right on the money. Why? Because I’m an individual. I am the only me out there. And without knowing me personally there is no way to get it all right.

I think that moment was the one in which I found a true interest in Psychology. I liked that there was something out there that could not only help me to understand myself but understand the people around me. As I took more classes in it I actually found my empathy growing, I started seeing things in new ways with a wider perspective.

I eventually decided to continue following the path of psychology and pursued a masters in it.  I still find it as fascinating now as I at that very first psychology test.

March 21, 2018: Respite and Refuge

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” 
― Thomas MertonNo Man Is an Island

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 
― Pablo Picasso

Some of you (who ever is reading this) may have noticed that I like art. Okay, I love art. I always remember loving art, well before I could even scratch the surface of it.

  • I love how art can be personal to the artist and subjective to the viewer.
  • I love that art exists in an ever expanding list of ways.
  • I love that art isn’t just about technical skill (something not all of us have) but emotion (something all of of have).
  • I love that art inspires.
  • I love that what is beautiful and moving to one person may not be to everyone.
  • I love that art can hypnotize me into loosing track of time.

I could keep going but I think I’d better stop for now.

I had said in a prior days post that Art classes were the only good grade my report card was ever guaranteed. I had always done well in art. I think part of this comes from my mom. Before I went into school my mother ran a daycare. She always allotted time in the day for “crafts.”

My mother has one of the most ingenuitive minds I’ve ever met. Not only is she artistic but she has the unique capability to look at one thing and see it in numerous forms. (Half the things I see on Pinterest my mother has been doing for years.) So, perhaps it’s fair to say that I come by it naturally.

A few years ago, just after I finished college (the first time around) I was stressing out. Something about that first year, you love it but you feel like a dog in a flood struggling to keep their head above water. As a way of decompressing, I dug my supplies out of storage and started painting again.

I’m not the worlds best painter. I still struggle with the rigidity of the way I think things “ought to” be done. But it’s relaxing nonetheless.  Some things I know right away aren’t right for me. For instance sewing. As the daughter and granddaughter of a seamstress, I do it but really only out of necessity. Knitting and crocheting I’ve been taught (more than once). While I’m amazed by what people can do it doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Traditional mosaics…I’m a really terrible tile and glass cutter.

On the other hand there are some things that fit right in. Digital art has so many potential products. Photography, I wanted to learn how to develop film in high school but my camera got stolen. Even performance art, primarily acting and speaking. I imagine I would love singing if we had had more classes for it in school. Creative writing, I’d always been a story teller.

In high school it was a resting spot. As my sixth and seventh hour classes it gave me a chance to unwind from the day. In my junior and senior year I was in self directed study (art 2 and 3). Mr. Heckman would be waiting at his desk. When I’d walk in he’d pull out a HUGE sam-club size jar of peanut butter and hand me a disposable spoon. I think he knew I usually skipped lunch or ate at the vending machines. We’d sit there and eat several large spoonfuls then I’d go off and get lost for an hour and create.

The thing is, I’m never content with just one (or five) outlet for creativity. So, I started to expand my horizons. Now I do a little furniture restoration, up-cycling, and I’m going to try my hand at gardening and flowers this year.

The joy in expressing and creating holds strong to this day. But, it all goes back to that first drawing that the itch struck. It was in third grade. We were doing a unit on the ocean in our main classroom. Our art teacher set up lots of two demential and three demential displays of ocean wild life. We got to pick one and draw it. I picked the puffer fish. For some reason I was enthralled by them. I remember at one point she told me it might help me to squint while looking at it. I don’t know why, but the advice helped. Sometimes when I’m hung up on details…I still find myself doing it.

Art has always been a safe haven for me. A place that I was free to express my ideas without the struggle of writing, reading, or calculating it. It’s been a place where I can find a way to make abstract ideas tangible. It’s a place where I can find respite from a weary world.

March 20, 2018: Lessons and Laundry

“Talent is a gift but your attitude, work ethic, and character are things you have to develop yourself.”

-Rebekah Harkness 

It seems to be a theme within a theme that most of my firsts happen at a young age.

Which is still true of today’s first,. My first job.

My parents made me who I am. One of their primary tenants of child rearing is, make them independent. For this reason I was taught a lot of things a a young age. I learned to do laundry when I was six or seven. I started cooking around a year after that, by junior high it became my primary chore to make dinner. I was required to learn how to check my oil, air pressure, drive a manual, and how to change a tire before I could get my license.

There are other things but lets move on to the topic at hand, my first job. While I did small jobs around the community (babysat, mowed lawns, picked up walnuts) my first daily job started in eighth grade. (I think. This one is a bit hazy, I really just remember late junior high.) It was a combination of things. Some janitorial activities, organizing and accounting for supplies, gopher, other small jobs when needed.

I had another one of those moments. One where I was talking to a friend and mentioned a memory from my past (first job). They were surprised to hear my age. I went back later and asked my mom about it. Why? It was really her, one day she announced that I was going to start. Then I did.

I was wondering if it was just a way to keep track of me. Know where I was. She said it was so I’d develop a work ethic, that one day that would count for a lot no mother what I did.

My mother has been steadily pushing me towards independence my whole life, one experience at a time. I’m not sure that’s a gift I could ever return the favor of.

March 19, 2018: College and Composition

“I think I can, I think I can.”

-The Little Engine That Could

I’ve made more than a few allusions to the fact that I was a little lost in high school. It wasn’t the easiest or happiest of four years for me. I often felt like the round peg trying to go into the square hole.

I have also told the story of how I eventually decided to attend college, despite the naysayers. Tonight I thought I’d tell the story of my first college experience.

My preacher had signed my youth group up to attend the Ambassadors Rally at OCC. If you’ve never been it’s kind of like a professional development event (but more aptly Christian development event). Teens attend classes of their choice and main seminars for everyone.

One of the cool aspects (in my opinion) is that you stay in dorm rooms with the students and can attend class with them. I got the opportunity to attend a class called Creation Science. This is a class which takes fundamentals and tenants of biology, astronomy, chemistry, physical (and other scientific domains) and views them through a creationist perspective. It’s a very intriguing and provoking class.

What took the experience up a notch for me was that I actually understood what was going on! Maybe that sounds silly, but it wasn’t what I expected. I barely made it through most of my high school classes with a C. And yet, here I was, fully engaged in a college lecture.

A thought occurred to me, maybe it wasn’t that I struggled with the material. Maybe it was that I wasn’t stimulated by it.

Now, very much intrigued by what potential I had locked away I went back into my studies with renewed energy. Aside from my Arts classes (which was one class I always did well in) science classes were my best grades, especially biology.

In fact I enjoyed it so much I stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up to take the dual enrollment quiz. (If your school didn’t offer them, they give you credit in high school and accredited college.). There was one catch. Our school offered three dual credit classes (algebra, biology, composition one). For some reason you couldn’t sign up for the entrance exam to just one class, all three came together.

Much as I expected, I did not do well on the algebra exam. Much to my surprise, I did do well enough on the writing exam to be accepted into the composition class!

College biology went by without a hitch. Composition wasn’t so easy. In fact after the first two weeks I knew I was going to fail. My teacher, Mrs. Stilley pulled me aside for a heart to heart and gave me the confidence to keep at it and learn from my mistakes.

And, I did! I pulled my grade out of the gutter and found a true joy in writing. I’ve always been a storyteller (as my family will attest to) but Mrs. Stilley made me a writer.

-Au revoir

March 18, 2018: Philosophy and Prom

“I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?”

-Kat Stratford; 10 Things I Hate About You

Prom, a right of passage.

…or so I was told.

Honestly, I was never really into it. In fact, I would have skipped it all together if given the choice.

There are several reasons:

  1. I was a bit of a Kat Stratford (from 10 Things I Hate About You) in High School. Not in the jerky way but in the reluctance to join in to status quo events. Kat’s philosophy, “I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?” That was me  in a nutshell.
  2. I’m a severe introvert and not a fan of large crowds.
  3. You have to get dressed up in uncomfortable clothing and stay in it for HOURS.
  4. It’s expensive no matter how you slice it and my parents could have used that money for more important things.

My first prom experience was my Sophomore year.

Prom is really set up to be a Junior and Senior event. I don’t know about this area but most high school girls where I’m from almost make it a goal to get invited before Junior year. It was about a month out and prom and the plans surrounding it was the topic of every conversation.

It seemed that about half my Sophomore class was going, my boyfriend included. He had been asked by a Junior well before we started seeing each other. He asked if I wanted him to tell her no. I honestly didn’t mind if he went, I was pretty sure it wasn’t a platonic ask on her part I didn’t think he fancied her.

A few weeks out from prom, I got asked. A German foreign exchange student on my tennis team asked me. He was very confused when I declined, he thought I’d say yes because my boyfriend was going with someone else. When I tried to explain I didn’t mind that and just didn’t have the desire to go, he got a little upset.

One week from prom one of the Junior classes faculty advisors, who helped plan and supervise prom, came to me with a request. Would I man a refreshment table?    I explained once again that I just wasn’t interested in attending.

The faculty member looked quite distressed when I said no. While I don’t have a hard time saying no to things I don’t want to do, I do have a hard time saying no to someone when they need help. I could tell from their reaction they were having a hard time filling the need. I amended my firm no to a, “if you can’t find anyone to fill it by the night before I’ll help.”

Wouldn’t you know, they couldn’t find anyone. I already had a dress that my mother had purchased as an alternative when I participated in Miss Merry Christmas. My mother did my hair and make up and I borrowed some of her jewelry. Off to the prom I went to dole out mini-quiches, not even enough time to give a heads up to my boyfriend.

It was just about what I imagined, a lot of pomp and circumstance and boring as all get out (at least for me). My boyfriend came up to me as soon as he saw me. I noticed his date, who I was on very friendly terms with as we had a couple classes together, went in the opposite direction when he headed my way.

About midway through the night he came over to ask me to dance. This time I saw it, supreme annoyance and even a little anger as she shoved back in her chair and made a fast path for the bathroom. I don’t know what her plan was for the night, but I had obviously intruded on it.

The evening ended and I went home and fell into bed exhausted ready to forget the night. I was not very impressed with this right of passage and felt like I should have stuck to my guns and not gone. If I decided to go next year I’d do something to make it an event that I’d enjoy.

I’m glad I didn’t let that first experience sway me. I had so much more fun at my Junior prom. I learned the secret to finding joy and happiness even when it’s not what you’d choose to do. Surround yourself with the right people.

The summer before my junior year I met one of my best friends ever. When prom rolled around I asked him to accompany me. That made it a night to remember. (Especially after he convinced half my school, who didn’t know him from Adam, to start a mosh-pit to the song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.)

That was a lesson I need to learn in High School so I could carry it with me into the future. The people you choose to share life’s moments with should leave you with memories you want to remember, not ones you could care less if you forget.

prom 2

He got bored with the picture taking and took off to root into his little brothers toy chest. Vampire teeth and Groucho Marx glasses had me in stitches.

prom 1

I told him he could be Bond in his tux, off to the toy chest again. This time he came back with a squirt gun and I put on my best damsel in distress look.