Friday, August 30, 2013

Foam fingers will never look the same

I am becoming more disappointed in my generation as the days go by. I am disappointed in the lack of integrity, respect and the overall morals that we seem to ignore. I am embarrassed in the arrogance that we embrace and the shameless audacity that we continue to portray.

I have felt compelled to write about this topic for a while. Even more so, in light of Miley Cyrus and her inappropriate twerking all up on a married man, and this said married man letting it happen?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR CULTURE? Where has the respect, integrity and loyalty gone in our society? We live in an age where self gratification outweighs morals and respect for ourselves. To me, this signals the beginning of a nasty road ahead.

This week I experienced a few "ah, ha!" moments. One in which I realized that I need to be more wary of who I choose to surround myself with. I am finally starting to realize that those who I thought I could trust, love, confide in are sometimes not the people who you thought they were. Some people value their own agendas at the cost of friendship and loyalty. I think this was a moment where I finally shed the last little layer of youth I had left in me. My wishful thinking and willingness to trust so quickly, has suddenly disappeared. I have felt my skin achieve a level of toughness that I never thought it would. It is already sucky enough that we live in world where I fear that leaving my Tory Burch sunnies in my car will lead to theft, it is just extra garbage to know that it is becoming harder and harder to trust anyone in this world today.

Not only has this experience made more aware of those surrounding me, it has also made me think about what the effects our societal & cultural norms have had on my generation. What happened to being able to trust in your fellow man? Or lending a hand to those in need? Just over-all decency in the American public?! It seems to have disappeared off of the radar within my generation. Or maybe it just has skipped a generation--kind of like what doctors tell you about having twins. Whatever it may be, it most certainitly isn't present here in America. Because heck, even married men aren't considered off limits, according to Miley.

So I guess my question is, when did we turn into a bunch of self-serving, jerks?

We are so consumed within ourselves that we cannot see how our actions will effect others. I am sure in the moment Robin Thicke thought it was a GREAT idea to allow a mega star like Miley boost his mediocre (at best) fame. Sure we get it, the tabloids love controversy. But is it really worth it all? What do you think he had to say when he faced his wife later that night? How could he look into the audience knowing that while some twenty-something, serpent tongued, crazy child was all up on him, his wife was watching amongst the crowd? It seriously gives me the creeps to think that he didn't have the discernment to consider any of these things.

I believe that this lack of foresight stems from a few things. However, the most pressing issue is the vacancy of accountability that seems to run rampant amongst the world. We don't understand how to respect others and even worse, ourselves. This is constant struggle that I see within my own generation.

We have developed a complete abcense of decency to care for others. With our images, gratifications and worldly desires taking the front seat, we have lost sight of what really is most important in life. Sure we could argue that Miley and Robin are entertainers, so their job is to push limits and make the big headlines. But is imitating lewd sexual acts still okay if it is for entertainment purposes? No, absolutely not. Because in my eyes Robin Thicke is making a complete mockery of his marriage to his wife. He vowed to honor her, love her, and to serve her. How could he possibly argue that he is honoring that vow when he is allowing another woman to act sexually on him in front of thousands of people?

I wish that the Hollywood elites and those that have the media's ear, would use their influence to remind the public of the morals that our existence was based on. I hope that as a generation we will start to think more before we act. Shoot, if we did that a little more often we could have avoided a lot of awkward things within our generation (Like Rocketdog flip-flops? WHY?).

Then maybe our world would be slowly making its way back on track.


Monday, July 29, 2013

My ideal happily ever after (with just a few more diplomas involved)

I must admit, I am guilty of getting sucked into the whimsical, uber-gushy hopes and dreams that I will one day stumble upon this perfect specimen of a man who happens to think the same about me. And that is okay! It is a great dream and totally my guilty pleasure and something that I hope to have in the future. Like seriously, Ryan Gosling, please come back to church already, I have been waiting for you ever so patiently. (For further explanation of why I am rambling over RyGos please see here).

I am VERY much afraid of regret. It is easily my number one fear in life. You can ask my parents, I once gave them a Christmas list that was four pages long when they had asked for us to jot down a "few things"---no I wasn't 8, I was 17. Making a decision has never been my forte. However, ask me to make a decision for someone else though, and I will map out your life for the next 10 years down to your hair color and what kind of dog you should get. I think that this is where most of my zest for life comes from. I literally want to do everything I can before I die. If I could somehow become a doctor, lawyer, investment banker, real estate developer, dog whisperer, and a Pilates instructor all at the same time you better believe I would do it. That is just me. I have always been wired this way.

I find that a lot of times cultural norms expect women to sacrifice more than men (like postponing college), in order to end up living their definition of an ideal happy family. This proposed plan is happiness that has been defined by someone else, and not necessarily satisfies the needs of every driven young woman with out there. While this concept works for many, like several of my most adored friends and family, it doesn't always seem the most appealing to someone who (right now) is trying to pursue the road less traveled. Personally, I just cannot buy into the ploy that if I sacrifice my ambitions and dreams that I will later on in life just magically forget I ever had any & realize that my husband just knew better for me.... UH EXCUSE ME? No. Sorry, I am not sorry. I just can't, I CANNOT. I know that if I did that I would have major resentment issues.

[Just to clear the air a bit before you roll your eyes at me. Do I think that traditional families are out-dated? No. Do I want to be a mother and raise children? YES! I totally want that and I am very much guilty of baby fever from time to time. Do I think that men and women have defined roles when it comes to the family unit? Yes. But do I think that these said roles should limit me from pursuing an education or a career? No. I think that as long as you can pursue your goals without it negatively impacting your family or future family, you should totally go for it.]

As of late, I have been struggling a lot with this hovering expectation among some of the men I interact with. One mention of me going to law school and I feel as though I am instantly labeled as the "high-maintenance, bossy, b-word", and they just write me off as untouchable. Wait, wait, wait...Hi my name is Amber and I am just ambitious, okay thanks I didn't think you were cute either, SEE YA NEVER, BYE.

Is it so bad that I have always wanted to push myself academically? Just because I want to further stimulate my brain functionality does not mean I have forgotten my other duty as a woman, motherhood. You would almost think that is something that dudes would admire. Here is the kicker, I have realized that guys SAY that is what they want, but in all reality y'all still go for the 20 year old forever-a-nanny-I-am-still-figuring-out-school chick. I am on to you guys, you ain't fooling anyone.

Recent real-life conversation with an eligible dude in my life. The topic of discussion was in fact a possibility of a future together and when the topic of my law school dream came up this is how said boy reacted.

Boy: "Well there really is no point in us dating because you are just going to go off to law school next year. So it would never work." 

Me: Wait, what? Have you ever heard of U-Haul? You pack up your stuff and move across the country.  It is like a really simple concept......"

Yes. This is a real conversation. Yes, the thought of him moving somewhere to support ME through school was about as enticing to him as rewriting the U.S. tax code. Why is this so out of the ordinary? I would happily do the same for you if you were pursuing your dream! I just happen to be a little ahead of you, is all. This concept is seen (to some) as a kind of emasculation to guys. I get it guys, you are intimidated by my brains, but come on I am still a girl and I can assure you that I am not hiding a travel-sized castrating tool in my pocket. You'll drop me off at my door at the end of the night with your manhood still safely intact. Sorry for my crass....But it is true! I can still hold a conversation with you about about sports for days (actually play catch with you, there is an idea!), and still bake you the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies your mouth will ever behold--just don't tell your mom I said that.

So with this being said, some men have expectations of us. (I say some because there are a FEW exceptions to the majority). These expectations can be found in every area of our lives. They want us to be spiritually giant but fairy-like in body size (size 25 waist with a J-LO booty). Smart but not too smart. Sexy but not too slutty. Funny but not too funny that it makes them feel inferior. Athletic but not to the point that we will show them up on the field. LIKE WHAT? No wonder women go crazy. It is like we have to walk on this tightrope over an active volcano, one wrong step in either direction and we are toast.

Just as quickly as these said guys are to have expectations of women, the second one of us might actually have an opinion --or heaven forbid a request for them-- it is like we've asked them to delete their Xbox Live account.

"Wait, you want me to get my bachelor's degree finished by 25? But like why can't you just be okay with me going to community college for 5 years, getting my Creatine workouts in and selling pest control during the summer? It is so fun!"

Yeah, fun for a whole five seconds. Then start factoring in kids, a mortgage, car payments, sports camps and swimming lessons and it starts getting REAL.

With that being said, I say this with the complete understanding that a lot of success comes with sacrifice. I am talking about the kind of sacrifice that entails me giving up my lavish shopping sprees at the JCREW or the Nordies Anniversary sale (sooooo guilty of this offense), living solely off of PB&J, giving up my beloved Sonic Happy Hour dirty Diet Coke runs, or selling my car to help pay for grad school and in turn buying a junkier one without AC--which is literally death in Arizona, and even sacrificing my 5 pm Pilates class to go pick up the kids from their soccer practice (obviously these are my future kids I am referring to). These are all worldly sacrifices that in the end don't necessarily make you a better person, they just make you more glamorous. These are the types of sacrifices that allow a means to an end. Not the kind of sacrifice that requires you to stall your intellectual growth as a human being.

Trust me, I get it. I am still living with my parents, and if I didn't I would be eating Cup O' Noodles and drinking Capri Suns every night. But, I am heading towards a direction in life that I can say with 90% certainty, will supply me with the tools and credentials needed to provide a great life for my future family. Is it too much to ask for a guy that has a similar said life plan? No, I don't think it is. But I think guys get offended if I expect that. I just think it is only fair that spouses feel like they can ask each other to sacrifice equally. The term "happy wife, happy life," comes to mind. If you allow me to express myself through whatever avenue it may be (beauty, law, med, dental hygienist school, etc.) then I will gladly do the same for you. Loving and supporting one another is key to a healthy relationship.

At the end of the day I just want someone who will walk in stride with me, keep-up, praise and adore me. Isn't that what it is all about? A partner who will not only applaud me for my accomplishments but hold me accountable for when I am not being true to myself and the goals that I have set for myself. All of these qualities are what I look for in a man. I want to do the same for him! I want to be someone's number one fan, confidant, and ally. I want an equal. Someone who won't feel like I am demeaning them just because I have ambition. Lifting each other up, and supporting each other 100%. It is time to practice what you preach, dudes. You say you want smart girls, then start encouraging rather than discouraging us from achieving our goals. Maybe it is time the cultural tables turn a little bit.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I is for insecure introductions

Friends, family, acquaintances, creepers and fellow frontiersmen of the inter-webs, welcome to my blog.

Not going to lie... I am a little nervous! Knowing that this is a publicly viewed blog, meaning ANYONE on the web can read it, blows my mind. Yes, I am talking to you person from Korea who has already viewed my blog--Thank you Google Analytics.

I have always enjoyed expressing myself through my writing. It comes relatively easy for me --with that being said I probably have now jinxed myself to numerous typos. I prefer to write how I actually speak in real life. None of this APA or MLA format garbage. My friend Abe, wittily coined it "dictatus scribus". So if you ever wonder what I sound like off of the page just imagine the words on the screen in an slow, obnoxiously high voice, with a slight valley girl-esque twang.

So what is the point of this thing? Well, I have found amongst many of my peers that our 20's really haven't been all that easy, contrary to popular belief. Non-stop partying, endless energy, carefree eating and a lot of wild adventures seems to be what the media and older adults try to convince us is our actual reality. As much as I wish this was the case, my life could rarely be described as an ongoing frat party in the Hollywood Hills.

Mostly I am writing in this blog as a emotional release. I want to be open and real with people. I want people to realize that we don't need to have a facade of some perfect, instagram, filtered life. It is ok to be genuine. Writing is a way for me to feel completely expressed and understood. Often times I can't ever get out the words that I am trying to say. I am pretty sure God knew this about me, so I thank him for waiting to send me out into the world when text messaging was invented. Writing also helps remind myself to stay true to who I am as an individual and remember what my heart is saying. I sometimes get led astray by what other people and societal pressures tell me to do. I am totally guilty of succumbing too these pressures (like swoop bangs-why did I ever do that?). If I sit down and write my thoughts, I am quickly reminded of what my heart really wants me to hear.

I think my "ah-ha!" moment occurred one day whilst I was casually perusing around one of the cutesy mommy blogs that we know we are all secretly obsessed with. Face it girls, I know your Google reader is stacked full of them. I think it was amidst my serious consideration in entering a contest to win a Bugaboo stroller that it hit me. What was I doing? I had somehow convinced myself that if I did win this stroller I would just store it in my hope chest for later use...whenever that would be. It was in that moment that I realized I needed to stop trying to keep up with Mrs. Robinson next door, when I was only a Miss. I needed to be true to myself and be ok with it. So, ta-da! Here I am, writing my crazy thoughts, ambitions and struggles down on the internet for all to see.

I knew that I couldn't possibly be the ONLY person in the world experiencing these challenges and obstacles. I hope that whoever happens to stumble upon this blog will find my anecdotes and experiences as a comedic relief. We all need a little laugh sometimes and my life is full of jokes. So why not share my embarrassments, happy moments, struggles, temptations and ambitions with others who are experiencing the same?

So here we go. Welcome to The Mormon Girl Burn Book, I hope you stick around for the ride.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

My [own] Mormon girl thoughts.

My thoughts this week have been quite the whirlwind. Recently, I have been completely consumed by stress and worry of what I plan to do for my imminent future. I recently graduated from college and moved back home with my parents after living in one of the best cities in the country, Washington, DC. Everyone has asked me why I left DC and my answer is always, "It just felt right." And it did, still does and I don't doubt my decision ever. Whether or not people validate that as a good enough answer, I don't really care. However, the weeks following my move home have been so emotional you would have thought I was going through menopause---sorry mom.

Everyone tells you to go to college. What no one tells you is what you are supposed to do AFTER you graduate. I have found that the time after graduating college has been some of the strangest, empty and confusing moments of my life so far. Being a single Mormon girl in her 20's is hard enough. However, being a single, Mormon, college graduate girl with a career oriented mind is like being thrown into a G-force simulator where your face flops around uncontrollably and you want to vomit, all at the same time.

I didn't choose the traditional, run of the mill Mormon path when it came to college. I went to BYU for two years but after feeling awkward, out of place and realizing that I really wasn't into the whole Disney and 80's night obsession, I made the decision to transfer to school in California.  Hands down the best decision I have made in my adult life, but also one of the scariest. Why, you ask? BYU is the breeding ground for young Mormons. There is a joke within the culture (that I hope is fading away) that girls go to BYU to graduate with their Mrs. degree. I remember hearing that when I first enrolled in my classes at BYU and I wanted to curl up and die. Mrs. degree? Is that a thing!? I am only 18! I was still getting over the fact that boys have cooties let alone thinking about one becoming my husband, ick. (DISCLAIMER, totally over that now. Bring on the cooties).

Now let me clear the air, most of my friends are married and some have even started their eternal families. *Side note--My friends make the cutest babies and I am a self proclaimed aunt to all of them. No apologies.* In no way do I resent my friends or their husbands. I have been to countless of my friends weddings and I feel so much joy and love for them and their commitment to one another. Plus, who doesn't love a good Mormon wedding reception with endless amounts of sugar, dancing and cutesy non-alcoholic beverages served in Mason jars?

The most awful part about being my age and single is the uncomfortable hesitation that adults treat you with. It is like you are Mr. Humpty Dumpty himself, one crack away from going AWOL. They ask, "Are you dating anyone?" When you answer "No, I am not," they cringe ever so awkwardly and try to casually but not so casually change the subject. At that point you know that they are just trying to keep conversation with you because they feel bad for the poor single girl who has no one to go home to except her cats and her closet full of muumuus.

My early twenties have been anything but easy. I would compare it to being thrown into the Sahara desert with a pool floaty, diet coke and tanning oil. All items I LOVE but completely useless for being stranded in the Sahara. That is precisely what being 23, childless, and husbandless has felt like. Full of all these awesome things like freedom, late night escapades and unlimited amounts of fast food. While all of these things are incredibly satisfying, you still don't know what exactly to do with them because you feel like they aren't really helping you get anywhere (other than up on the bathroom scale, oops).

Yeah, I have aspirations. Yeah, I want to go to graduate school. Yeah, I want to leave a kick-ass legacy when I die. Do I want to have a family and a husband? TOTALLY! Bring on the babies. Am I ready for that right now? Probably not. But I definitely know that my future entails cute, little, round, bald, rosy-cheeked babies.

Right about now you are probably thinking to yourself,"Who is this pants wearing feminist? She sounds completely bitter with her life."

Let me stop you right there.

Am I a feminist? Nope.

Do I hate men? Not even close. (Just don't ask some of my ex-boyfriends, they might offer up a difference of opinion.)

Some of my most trusted mentors and idols in my life just happen to be men --George W. Bush, Ron Price, Luis Gonzalez (clutch hit to win the WS is pretty rad if you ask me) and Mitt Romney (bless the Mittens).

I just haven't completely written off my dreams and aspirations. I recognize that at one point in my life that I will full heartedly commit myself to my kids and my husband. But that doesn't mean that I need to stop everything I am doing right now and wait for that to happen. Nope. The way I see it, is that I need to keep moving forward and making myself a better person for my future Mr. Right (You can thank me later dude). I think that this is a tragic epidemic that I see happen to often amongst young LDS girls. Time to put away the Singers, Vikings and the Cricut vinyl cutters, ladies. We aren't 70, yet! Don't get stuck in the cultural mud, keep moving forward, keep being YOU.

People my age who aren't married are often treated like we are still 16. It is as if because I am not married I am not validated as a "real adult". I technically still get sent to nursery, this thing called a YSA ward, that is semi-disguised as a regular adult ward. Where Monday night family home evening, is basically a continuation of Wednesday night mutual. No, 21 year old return missionary, you are not my "FHE Dad", you don't even know how to talk to girls let alone pretend to be the patriarch of my pretend family.

Life at my age is supposed to be so simple, right? By law you are technically an adult, but lets be serious, we are all still mooching off of our parents to some degree--shout out to Ron & Judi! Within our culture there are some unwritten rules or expectations that are floating around the LDS atmosphere. From what I gather, this is pretty much what they are (in no particular order): graduate from college, find a real life job, start preparing for graduate school and find a husband.

[[Insert face to palm motion.]]

What was that last part? Find a husband? Say what?! I swear these people who created the rules act like there is a giant husband tree that you can just go picking from.

"Hey Amber, whatcha up to today? Oh probably run a few errands and then go harvest my husband from the husband tree. I think it is about time, right?"

Seriously, where is this damn tree?

Moral of the story. Moving back home has been a blessing yet it has made me face a few cultural challenges that I thought I had long outgrew. I hope that as I continue to write on this blog that I will encourage girls who find themselves in a similar situations as me, to find strength and pursue their hopes and dreams. Stay true to yourself, your dreams, your ambitions and your righteous desires. I know that the pressures of the LDS culture can be overwhelming and downright crazy, but just know that there is a whole slew of 20 something's that are feeling the heat just as much as you are.