Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night

The stars last night were gorgeous. I wish you could have seen them. Even if you live in this area and we shared the same spot in the sky, I doubt you would have taken the time to really see. To stop what you were doing and take two seconds to look out the window and really see the stars and moon. The jet trails were highlighted purple with black undertones as they hung in the sky, flying over all of us. I felt so little and yet like I was a part of something so huge. It was almost as if I wasn't supposed to see it, like it was message between angels that humans are never supposed to witness. I know I talk about the stars like this for the majority of my posts, but it inspires me. So be it.

One thing that I wanted to write about specifically is change. Those changes taking place in my life right now.

It has been a year of change. And trust me, I know change. I've moved at least a dozen times, been to seven schools, so I understand change. And I embrace it, wholeheartedly. This is different though. These transformations and alterations in my life have been based solely on my decisions. Not because my Dad's job required us to move, or because of homeschooling and stuff. No. This time it was all me.

So, senior year: I've dropped debate, drama, and band. All these activities which have defined me for years are gone. I'm not an integral part of any of the departments or teams. Yes, I still love all of them but I am no longer actively performing with any of the groups [except for band classes]. It was hard, but I decided to do that. I was just about to justify the choices, but I realized that I don't need to justify anything on my blog. Thank goodness.

Well, so I dropped all of that. On top of everything I've dyed my hair. Brown. Platinum blonde to brown. And I really like it. But it is so different from the old me. I've lost the majority of the things that I was identified with. I have changed.

But it is all good change. I don't think I have ever felt more like myself. It is so much easier for me to talk to people, relate, and just be Emily. I don't know that I've ever felt more comfortable in my own skin.

I am totally and essentially Emily.

So, what do I have left, you may wonder? My faith, my religion, my friends, memories, experiences, talents, and now time. Time to be me and figure out what role I will play in this world. Where I will best fit. It has taken me long enough, but I am finally there. To that place where I can exist in no form other than the essence of my soul, the bare character.

Forgive me for rambling, and talking about myself. But, that is what this is here for.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

These are our amber days

Real quick, I just wanted to post a few of my college essays. I think they are so cool! Props to my Dad for being a major factor in getting these done!

I am a curly headed world traveler who strives for excellence. My school years thus far have been an eclectic mix of theatre, debate, travel, music, and change. I am the oldest in a family of four, plus two dogs. I have been active in my ward and branch youth programs as the class president of the Beehives, Miamaids, and Laurels. Theatre is something I enjoy greatly, both performance and production. While living in Southeast Asia I was part of an improv and classical acting school group, and traveled to Beijing for a thespian conference. Recently I was in a major school play and I am currently a part of my school’s improv troupe. As a National Forensics League member I have been captain of the forensics team, won district titles, and competed in the national tournament. As for music, I am an accomplished saxophone player in both the wind ensemble and jazz band, and taught myself both piano and guitar. I have been on the school’s academic honor roll since sixth grade and am involved in the National Honor Society. I am fluent in American sign language and soon hope to become a part of the American Sign Language Honor Society. During the summer you can find me at a local barn as a camp counselor teaching kids how to ride, groom, and tack horses. I love camping, backpacking, and travel of all kinds. I plan to pay my own way through college with minimal help from my parents, and believe that only then will I truly value my education and choose a path that makes me happy and forces me to challenge myself. I enjoy challenges and learning, so college will be the perfect environment for me.

I lived in Jakarta for two years and traveled extensively in Asia. Travel with school groups took me to Indonesia’s national parks, the Krakatoa volcano site off the Java coast, to Bali, and also to Beijing to attend an international theatre conference there. I also traveled with my family throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo (East Malaysia), and Thailand. The human and geographic diversity built into these experiences have shrunk distances to bring the world closer, from the slums of Jakarta to an orangutan preserve, from Singapore’s glitzy Orchard Road to devout Thai Buddhist monks and Muslim radicals.

I learned very early that you have to face trials to succeed. My Mom, now a seven year cancer survivor taught me that lesson first hand. Although listing accomplishments would be the standard approach to telling you more about myself, I know that deeper lessons lie in our reactions to life’s disappointments. Most recently and thus most painfully, I auditioned for a play that for years had been my dream to perform. As an experienced upperclassman, I was sure to fulfill my dream. But alas, I was cast in what I saw as the smallest role. Although it seemed nearly unbearable, I went into the long rehearsals with the attitude that I would do what I could with the role. Although it was painful to watch others in the parts I had visualized for myself, I received many compliments on my performance that I know I would not otherwise have had. Another experience that I’ll take with me on life’s journeys.

And the winds that blow remind me of what has been, and what can never be

My muse tonight, the rain, is pushing me to write something. I don't know what that something is yet, but I guess we'll find out together.

Today...was a day of reflections. But not the passive, ponderous type. I was out doing and discovering things. I rolled out of bed feeling older. Why this doesn't happen on my birthdays, I don't know. Regardless...I finally felt like a senior. And I came across something from my freshman year, what it was is a different story entirely. I remember feeling so old when I received it. It was like "oh, now I'm mature". I couldn't have been more wrong!

That got me to thinking, what does it mean to grow up? Most people use the 'social norms' to gauge their maturity and experience, things like turning 18 or 21, etc..Others use actual experiences that everyone is supposed to have. Such as your first kiss, first love, or first broken bone.

Maturity and 'growing up' to me means so many different things. Whether I'll ever be mature, well I doubt that. But I know I'm growing up because I have a much more developed sense of myself. I know what I like and dislike, my strengths and weaknesses, etc.. When I think of growing up, I think of a song by Taylor Berrett called "Grow Down".

Life was easier when we were three feet tall
And when we made mistakes we didn't have so far to fall
Problems are so far away when you're so close to the ground
Why can't we all just grow down?

There is another line that goes something like "when planning for the future meant saturdays, calling up a friend to come out and play. and when the time comes begging mama to let them stay". There is so much truth in that. I really miss when planning for the future meant 'saturday'. Not 'the rest of my life'.

Back to the point...kind of. After I found that freshman memory, I was tempted to ask this person if they didn't feel that too. I feel the same way I did back then, age wise, but I have many more experiences under my belt and realize mistakes I made. Does that make me more mature? *sigh* I really don't know.

As I am in the home stretch of senior year, I'm starting to think about these things. I want so badly to leave, but can't imagine actually doing it. So many of these people that I see everyday now will never reenter my life. The hallways are filled with bodies that will soon become forgotten in my mind.

Plus, this is the longest I've ever stayed anywhere. Then why doesn't it feel like home?

You can thank the rain for this lovely and unrelated conglomeration of thoughts.