Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walking-Contradiction, or Just Human?

I have been thinking about the ways I am my own contradiction... and yet, how that is not necessarily a negative feature, at times. I am not sure how to address this topic, so I will be short in my thoughts.

I was talking with one of my friends about different events in my life and how I tend to become the focus of a conversation because I am loud and dominant. I'm a little crazy and I speak my mind - sometimes, I am even witty or funny! Sometimes... :) I don't mind that. I mean, I don't mind being the one in the spotlight for those reasons... I actually don't really even think about it or notice while it is taking place.

Next, when I am on stage... That's a literal spotlight for you! Haha... The focus is on me because it is meant to be. I am performing with the desire to be watched and listened to. I love those moments. I mean, I love those moments. I live to be heard - as we all do - and my desire to be heard is stronger when I am singing or acting. I am in the spotlight, and it's a positive thing, I think.

I also find the focus centered my way when I teach, but that's different. That's legit cause the students I am working with SHOULD be paying attention to my instructions, etc. Just a thought... Haha!

Then, there are the times when people call attention to me. It might be in a group when no one is focused on me or when attention is already on me... or, it might be in a more intimate setting when I am only with one other person. Either way, someone brings my name to the forefront or says something about me that brings all eyes or attention on me. My shoes become a little more interesting. The potato is to hot with all eyes on me and I pass it to someone else in the circle, and quickly. It's not that I am embarrassed - that isn't too common with me, cause I figure, 'that's life' - I just don't enjoy the attention. I know, I know... For someone who tends to draw attention to herself quite frequently that's bizzarre. Or, perhaps the reader believes this statement to be false...

It's true.

I was thinking about wedding toasts, for example. Now wait, hear me out! I was thinking about how I am going to enjoy what people say to me, but not in the way it is said. What do I mean? Well, nice things being said about me are much apprecaited and welcome. However, in a group setting it just feels like it should be more personal... and I don't want the attention there. Perhaps it will be better because I am with someone...

I remember the times that people would stand up on my birthday and say something they loved about me (seminary, family dinners, SHA, etc.) and I always greatly appreciated the words, but felt... not awkward... what's the word? It just felt like something personal in a generalized setting, and it felt misplaced. No, awkward might be correct. I guess I must admit that it is a bit awkward for me.

I would say that it is just a group setting that I feel this, but that would be a lie. When I'm with someone alone even, in a more intimate setting (not just lovey-dovey, either) it feels a touch awkward. If the focus is on me because I am just talking to someone or a group, and it happens to be on me at that moment - no sweat. However, if the focus is forced on me - even for a positive reason - it's a tad awkward. Not intimidating. Not unmeaningful. Perhaps, just a little awkward...

I think that everyone feels this way to some extent. I mean, I guess some people really love the spotlight all the time, and some people hate it all the time... For me, it's just a matter of circumstance.

There is no real point of this entry other than to record my current thoughts... I just wanted to document how I felt about the lime-light. There are times I long to be in it, times I am chill being a part of it, and times when the moment I am placed in the spotlight seems to drag on through eternity.

Today, I didn't even touch the limelight (as I stayed home finishing HP6), and that felt pretty nice too... :)


Song of the Day: I have grown obsessed with this song since someone performed it at the gig Ben and I had last weekend. It's by a girl names Sia (who I had only heard one song of hers previously), and the song is called, Soon We'll Be Found. It's an AMAZING song, and I have posted the music video below - It's way unique & creative... Love it. Enjoy!

Sia Soon We'll Be Found - Click here for more free videos

P.S. A Funny Quote from a friend's facebook - haha!:
We're humans. We live on land. Shark's live in the water. So, if you're swimming in the water and a shark bites you, that's called trespassing. That is called trespassing. That is not a shark attack. A shark attack is if you're chillin' at home, sittin' on the couch, and a shark comes in and bites you; now that's shark attack.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Jet Planes and Self-Confidence

WARNING: The first few paragraphs written are somewhat unimportant... The meat is served after the potatoes today.

This past month I have accumulated four plane tickets... I have gotten to feel like quite the big spender, until I looked into my dismal bank account and realized that this big spender better knock it off.

First, my ticket to the American Idol Finale... regrets? I think NOT! Not one... not one.

Second, my ticket to HAWAII!!! That's right folks... While many of my friends and family are celebrating Thanksgiving on the mainland, I will be having pineapple with my Turkey and loving a Hawaiian life for the week... 7 FULL days in Hawaii with my friend Sarina! I have never missed a Thanksgiving with my family, but I feel okay about branching out. As long as I'm not missing Christmas... NO WAY! Oh, AND I got my ticket to Hawaii for under $300... yea.

Third, my ticket from SLC to LAX so that I can actually get to Hawaii... Haha! Might not count, except for the fact that I had to buy the tickets from separate airlines.

Fourth, and finally, my ticket from SLC to Denver so that I can do the AI auditions... Keep those fingers crossed ladies and gentlemen! I could be your next American Idol... or someone on the showcase reels that - Haha! Dare to dream is how I see it... :) My friend Katie and I are going together to both try-out, and Sarina is meeting up with us while we're there. No matter what, it'll be fun!

I'm thinking... Almost Doesn't Count by: Brandy. However, I still really like Foolish Games (Jewel), Feels Like Home (Bonnie Raitt), When I Fall In Love (Nat King Cole), You Had Me (Joss Stone), or Never Gonna Get It (En Vouge).... Though En Vouge and Jewel are at the bottom of my list. Still liking Almost Doesn't Count...

*Sidenote: Sarina is involved in every one of my trips... She is OFFICIALLY dubbed, my travel buddy. I know, right? A big honor...

Now, for the more serious portion of this entry... I was thinking about the "line" people walk on between caring what others think about them and fully disregarding them. Regarding this "line" one should walk... sometimes I think I am right on, and sometime I think that I don't care enough! Oops.

This was my little thought - take it as you may - I wasn't sure how to word it, but it was this: Don't care about what others think, care about how they feel.

Except - Peoples thoughts are important... inside of certain arenas. I like to believe that people care about my opinions and ideas. I like to believe that people are actually listening when I am talking... Well, 90% of the time. Ten percent of the time I say whack things and people just look at me funny. That's when I wish they were tunin' out a bit more... Haha!

Thus, I came up with "take-two" of the idea above: It's not okay to worry about what others think, but its a necessity to care about what others feel. Bare with me as I try to explain...

When someone has a fleeting thought like, "Oh my word - did you see what she was wearin'?!," then they don't put much emotion or real feeling behind it. Or, when someone sees you do something stupid or embarrassing, ten seconds later they forget it. It's a quick judgment. However, when someone is talking about their beliefs on a subject or an idea they have, they have put some form of time into it, and it is laced with emotion. Thus, those are the things that we should care about.... Or, for example, when someone has worked really hard to put together a nice, fancy dinner party and their date shows up in jeans, and that embarrasses the host... Their work had time put forth and was also and emotion grew from giving that time. Therefore, we should care about how the person feels within the situation.

(Sidenote to Self: Time = Passion & Connecting Emotions)

I guess it comes down to two things.

One, are your motives for wanting or not wanting to do, say, wear, be something selfishly based. In other words, if you are worried about what others think because of how it might make you appear, though it has no real affect on others, that is selfishly driven. I'm not saying this is always wrong, but if you are constantly focused on what others think about you, then you are focusing on yourself - not others. Thus, you run an even greater risk of feeling self-conscious and holding yourself back from doing, saying, wearing, believing, listening to, or being what you want.

Let's be honest (I know, you're welcome for not lying...) - People are mostly concerned with their own lives. They have busy days and personal storms to weather. They do not have time to focus on your mistakes, embarrassments, wardrobe choices, etc, etc. If they do have time to constantly focus on those minuscule things, they don't have much of life anyway. As harsh as it may sound, at that moment they are taking up space.

You are not THAT important... in that aspect... :)

*Disclaimer - I know that many of my friends spend a generous amount of time focusing outward, and helping others. That's different.

Now, second... It's about self confidence. Are you comfortable in your own skin, and with your own skin??? It's great to care about what others say and think when you have self confidence. See, when you are comfortable with who you are, truly comfortable with you are, only the things that matter will stick. Now, I know we all have insecurities, but it is something to strive for - and you can be confident in yourself and still have things you wish were better about you.

Example - I feel fairly confident in who I am, but I do wish I was skinnier sometimes. It is something I am working on. Do I think about it all the time? No... but it is a thought in my mind that has become a personal goal, rather than a weighted focus. However, I have grown confident in who I, and now when people make comments about my weight, it doesn't really bother me. I have enough to think about besides adding someone's snarky (or accidentally misplaced) comments. They know what I am (or what they think I am). I know what I am becoming... That is my focus.

So, in shorter terms: Be confident and not selfish. Look outward and inward with positivity... Judge others as you like to be judged, and don't sweat the minuscule things - aka: Don't waste your time.

Time is a gift. Time is precious.

Song of the Day: Hm... As I was watching "17 Again" for the third time in theaters (don't be a hater - it was in the dollar theater... haha! I encourage EVERYONE to see it because it is hilarious and a good, clean film...), there was a song that played in one of the closing scenes that I fell in LOVE with. It's by Cat Powers, and it's called The Greatest.

Listen to it. Love it. Enjoy!
P.S. The video is interesting... I don't know if it's legit as HER music video, but it makes you think. The LYRICS are incredible...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Personal Pathways and Fair Judgments

I am thankful for great Sunday School teachers. I mean, the majority of my Sunday School teachers have been good, but only a select handful are truly great teachers. Most follow the lesson plan ideas and are scared to deviate if it feels appropriate, or deviate so far from what the lesson is meant to be that nothing ties together at the end. However, every once in awhile you find a really exceptional teacher... Someone who cares about what those who comment are saying, and validated those individuals. Someone who know how to follow the spirit and speak appropriately not only doctrine, but their opinions or thoughts - and clarifies the difference.

Most of the Sunday School teachers in my current single's ward (for non-LDS folk, that just means where I live in boundaries that send me to a certain church building) are fairly great. Some struggle a little bit, but we all bond together and try to help that person's confidence grow, as we watch them improve over time. See, in my religion we don't pay our Sunday School teachers, or Bishops, etc... It is purely volunteer work, and we are placed according to where the Bishop feels is best for us to be, and within our comfort level... Don't worry - they always ask first, and you can give your thoughts on the calling.

Anyway, back to Sunday School...

Yesterday, I was sitting through what could have been a potentially common-placed lesson. However, our teacher was incredible... Really, I found myself re-realizing things about myself and about our Heavenly Father, and I love those moments. Those moments meaning, moments in which you learn something new or re-learn something with more power to it this time around.

We discussed how our Heavenly Father has designed the plan of salvation, or life, to allow us to live it as individuals. Yes, I believe that we have been given boundaries and regulations to live our lives by, but he lets us decide how we wish to accomplish our personal destinies and plans. For example, some members of my religion serve full-time missions, and some serve in different ways. I had always wanted to go on a mission growing up, and I made it a goal to strive for -thus, I was always living so I could be worthy to go. However, as the time grew closer I was pulled toward other things and could strongly feel that I wasn't suppose to go on a full-time, knockin' doors mission. I thought, maybe I am feeling this way because I'm not worthy to go, or not as spiritual... haha!

I laugh now because I have have realized that this has nothing to do with it. I realized how ridiculous, and somewhat asinine, that is. I am a great person, but it wasn't necessary for me to go on a mission at that time. I am being used to spread the gospel in other ways and I am working on other things that are important for me to accomplish in this life. My "path" in life is unique and personal, and I feel good about where I am heading...

This lead to a discussion about everything in this life being personal and individual, including the final judgment. This quote came up from Joseph Smith, "God judges men according to the use they make of the light which He gives them." Now, I don't know about you, but I find such comfort in that thought. I know that I will be judged only according to what I know and go through... He doesn't say everyone in one religion is judged one way, or everyone who hangs out shall be judged together... Because even though my best friends and I have a lot of the same experiences, we aren't the same people and our understanding is different because we see some things differently. It would be unfair to lump people together - even if it's similar people. Thus, I will be judged according to where Heavenly Father believes that I, Linze, am... and no one else. I love that.

Now, this also led me to think about two other things... One, I think that the LDS Church is often looked at as the most strict, or exclusive, out of any religion because others believe that our view is that if you aren't Mormon, you will be damned. Not true. Not even CLOSE... and thank goodness for that, because some of the BEST people I know aren't LDS and the thought that they would go to Hell for that one reason wouldn't make sense.

Now, I believe what the LDS religion teaches, and yes, I believe it is correct and is the full, true gospel. Does that mean I do not believe that other churches or individuals have truth? No. I believe that almost every religion has a piece of the truth, or many pieces of truth and light. However, I believe that my church has been given the full truth. It's not about "my horse is bigger or better than your horse," or about a hierarchy. I hope that every individual has a testimony of their religion, a strong conviction to stand beside, and can say that they knew its true, like I can for the LDS church. Otherwise, why would you stick in that church or belief system? It's true for any belief in our life, not even just religious ones... Why would you stick next to a belief if you didn't really believe in it? Figure out what you believe and stand for that...

For me, I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is found in its fullness through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that. See, I believe that beliefs can turn to knowledge... Thus, I am going to believe that we have the full gospel, and I want others to have the opportunity to partake of it. However, if they do not accept what I know, then they will be judged according to the light and knowledge they do have - not what I believe, but by what believe. I think that proves that God loves us - and that he loves us individually. He has designed it so that we can all succeed if we will but come unto Him. It's beautiful...

Then why be LDS? Can't you be any religion? These are tough questions, and I would be happy to answer them if someone wishes me to expand. However, at this moment I am going to move on to thing #2 that I noticed...

Second, I thought about how we all tend to judge others on a daily basis. Whether its how someone is dressed or what they believe, we see others and conclude (usually quickly) what we think of that person. We form these ideas about who someone is, based upon our personal analysis of them, when that doesn't matter. God's analysis, and our personal analysis of who we are, are the only ones that mean anything... We look at others and think, "They know better than to do that!" However, do they?

Who is anyone to say what another really understands or believes is right or wrong? Who are we to look at someone's actions and assume they agree with us as to what is right or wrong? They might not.

Yes, I believe in righteous judgment - in the sense that you must be wise in the company you keep and things you get involved in. It's a good thing to judge a situation and see if its where you should be. It's good to look at someone, and talk with them, and see if they are the kind of person you want to continually surround yourself with. However, it's not okay to assume the person believes like you do.

Does this mean I am saying we should lay back on what we believes and not stand up for them? No. Everyone should definitely feel comfortable voicing their opinions. Everyone should stand for what they believe in and fight for what they believe is right and true. But, we should allow others to voice their opinions to, and understand when they do not agree with us. They don't have to - and you don't have to agree with them either. That is the beauty of individuality, freedom of mind, and being allowed to use agency.

Imagine if God had put us all on earth with the same routines and we were forced to believe the same things, do the same things, and not make any opinions and choices for ourselves. We wouldn't learn anything. We would not grow. We would be robots... and then, what's the point. Everyone has agency for a reason, and I believe that we should respect how everyone uses their agency to create beliefs and create who they are. You do not have to agree with someone to respect and accept them.

You do not have to agree with someone to respect and accept them... We are all unique and different, and thank goodness for that.

Song of the Day: I have missed doing this... Today's song is by Jason Reeves - who should be MUCH bigger than he is, cause his work is INSANE, off the hook! I did JUST discover him too....

Check Jason Reeves' song, Photographs and Memories, in the video below. He also has an AMAZING song called Someone Somewhere and a cool duet with Colbie Caillat before she was famous called Permanent. Just love him, and ENJOY!