Mormonism, Politics and Why I’m Saying Bye to Social Media

Guys, I’m so tired. I feel physically tired, mostly because this afternoon while out I was suddenly hit with an enormous wave of depression that has left me alternately sad and apathetic and filled with physical pain.

And also the title is probably overly dramatic, because I’m really only peacing out to Facebook for now because people tend to be less dickhead-ish on Instagram. I have some friends with very adorable children whose lives I need to follow somehow and a makeup business to maintain, after all, so I can’t just go off the grid entirely (although writing that makes me think, “But maybe I could.”).

I’m going to say this once, and then I’m never saying it again on a public forum (and I assure you, I am filled with a lot of trepidation over even mentioning it in a not-very-publicized or even read blog, fear that I will be attacked by racists and/or misogynists or, even worse, friends who claim they love and respect me): I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I’ve been planning on it since 2012 and haven’t read anything that’s changed my position or made me think I’m making the wrong decision for myself. For a much better, more detailed explanation than I could ever give about the root of Hillary’s problems is that she is, unfortunately, a woman, check out this amazing article here (you’re not going to read it, are you? You’re going to skip it and have already thought up horrible things to say to me. Go ahead. I won’t read it for awhile anyhow.). Plenty of men, plenty of politicians, plenty of Republicans have done many of the same “egregious” and “unforgivable” things with little to no consequence, but America can’t seem to give her a pass. Do I love her? Not really. But I certainly don’t despise her, and I think she’d make a very fine president. Anyhow, I didn’t want to say it, but it’s important that you know my stance before I get into the rest of my post.

I am faced with two pretty glaring problems, however: 1. I am a liberal living in a predominately VERY conservative state and 2. social media has turned us all into argumentative, vicious monsters who are quick to anger and slow to forgive. We speak loudly and carry multiple big sticks (or assault rifles, you know. Whatever.), and we believe it is our God given right to tell everyone how wrong they are. I abstain from this behavior because my anxiety can’t take it, I respect my friends, and I think by now it’s been VERY effectively proven that arguing online neither changes minds nor strengthens bonds. It’s a whole new world of us vs. them, but we’re sacrificing families and long-lasting friendships in the name of being champion. If that isn’t America’s tragedy, I’m not sure what is.

Growing up Mormon, I’ve spent a lot of time questioning certain aspects of the religion, periods of disbelief, and moments of quiet contemplation, but I certainly don’t claim to know all there is to know about Mormonism. So most of what I’m about to say is kind of the Gospel According to Mary, and you may take it as you will.

Election years always bring to mind Article of Faith #12, which states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law (emphasis added).” So basically what it’s saying is we will uphold the law (except when it comes to driving down I-15 apparently) and we will honor and sustain our lawmakers, which includes but is not limited to our president, and that’s the rub, isn’t it? We claim to believe we will honor (which can mean respect, not attack or cyber-bully, or spread lies and rumors) the President of the United States of America, but in a religion that is somehow very Republican (and for those of you not particularly familiar with the Church, we are not told to vote one way or another — this is just how the cookie has crumbled, politically, within the Church’s culture for decades, and damned if I understand it), that’s pretty hard when the president is a Democrat. And I’ll say this goes the other way as well, of course, although the last time we had a Republican in office, social media certainly hadn’t taken off in the way it has today, but Democrats are not exempt from this particular Article of Faith. We don’t have to agree or like it, but we have to be respectful.

Newsflash: most aren’t. #religiouspeopleamirite

This year’s election, which simply cannot come to an end faster for me, has also brought to mind Article of Faith #13, which states: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men … (emphasis added).” So this says very plainly that Mormons believe in not spreading lies, gossip, rumors, or falsehoods, and that we will bestow upon all others benevolence (which is defined as offering charity and goodwill) and virtue (which is defined as moral uprightness). I mean, basically we claim to believe in being literally the best versions of ourselves, kind, tender, forgiving, and honest. So I find myself utterly confused when I see dozens of Mormons all around me (and this is just within my circle of friends and acquaintances — I have no doubt in my mind that there are thousands, if not millions, of Mormons capable of this as well) posting anti-Hillary sentiments on a daily basis. It’s easy to repost a meme or a picture or an article or something that’s awful (even if it may be true). And apparently (and I’m speculating here, but I feel pretty confident in my assumption) Mormons believe in being benevolent to and honest about anyone except for Hillary Clinton because somehow she doesn’t fall under the umbrella of “all men” (I could say something again about misogyny but I don’t want to beat a dead horse). So that’s weird to me. And I feel like there’s some sort of discord and disconnect.

I’ve been heartbroken this year, particularly, to see individuals whom I held in very high esteem be, quite frankly, terrible humans online. It’s shaken my faith, it’s made me question why I belong to the Church still, in spite of everything, and I imagine Joseph Smith, who was martyred in the name of this religion, coming down from the proverbial mount with the 13 Articles of Faith, a modern-day Moses who just received the Ten Commandments, weeping because we’ve built a golden calf and do nothing but idolize it all day long.

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Snow: it Deserves its Own Post

A friend recently mentioned snow after I posted my 5 reasons why winter is worst. At first I was shocked I somehow failed to mention it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I’d subconsciously done so on purpose. Because snow sucks so badly, I needed to feature it in its very own low point post.

Snow, you bastard.

I hear a lot of people in Utah getting all excited about snow. They’re sick, sick people. Also, they’re into winter sports, and if there’s one thing Husband and I really don’t participate in on any level, it is the winter sport. I love the outdoors … until it becomes late fall/winter, and then I avoid it as much as possible. Unfortunately, going outside is required of me to remain a functional member of the human society, but one of these years, I’ll probably throw in the towel, sign up for home delivered groceries, join Amazon Prime, set up an account on WebMD, and never leave the house again.

Photo courtesy of patient.co.uk

Photo courtesy of patient.co.uk

My distaste for snow began when I was a kid, which I realize is when most people really enjoy it, but when you live in the Pacific NW, any images you may have of fluffy, bright white snow are completely killed because what you get is a hard, almost icy snow, that rarely sticks to anything, and when it does, it turns muddy and slushy awfully fast. Our relationship (mine and snow’s, of course) was damaged even further when I was fourteen and nearly broke my spine on a church snow tubing trip on Mt. Hood.

I could regale you with that whole story, but it would take too long. Suffice it to say, it involved a knife, a wooden board, bad walkie talkie reception, and a trip home listening to 80s music, which at the time I despised (I’ve since gotten it together, don’t worry).

And yet despite all those things, when I was choosing a college to attend for four straight years, I didn’t even consider places like California, Arizona, or ANYWHERE OTHER THAN UTAH because Mormons. No, seriously, that’s why I came here. I needed other Mormon kids to play with. And I got them in spades. Thousands and thousands of them. It was actually kind of freaky and a real cultural experience for me, but here I am back in Utah, surviving, so perhaps that was like a pre-apocalyptic prep course. But I digress.

There’s something about a northern Utah winter that is different than winter in the rest of the state, something of which I was unaware (or perhaps I was extremely aware and decided to kid myself and deal anyhow because, again, Mormons). My freshman year wasn’t too bad, and for the most part, I’d say that was God blessing me with a mild(er) winter because I didn’t really have friends or good grades (okay, I’ll admit, I was on the Dean’s list first semester, but I did fail a few quizzes, which for a 3.9 GPA high school graduate was thoroughly traumatizing) or even an enjoyable first semester.

But then my sophomore year came.

Four feet of snow. Blizzards. Classes in session, regardless of all the things. It is really horrifying to walk to class in four feet of snow WHEN YOU ARE 5’1″. There was one afternoon where we jumped out of our kitchen windows about six feet up into the piles because there was no way we’d hurt ourselves. That was relatively fun-ish except for the cold, wet parts.

Fast forward to 2008, when my roommate and I were literally stuck in our apartment for three solid weeks, taking time off work without pay, and almost missing Christmas, because both our cars were snowed into the parking lot and there’s no road clean-up in the entire state of Oregon. We would walk to Costco for fun. One day, we even trekked a mile to Fred Meyer just to shake things up a bit, but of course we didn’t buy anything because we couldn’t afford it. That we didn’t kill each other in those three weeks is remarkable, not because we didn’t like each other (on the contrary, she remains one of my closest friends) but because three weeks in 950 sq. ft. with another human person is taxing.

We were just so excited to not be inside.

We were just so excited to not be inside.

And here’s the thing about snow. It is merely glorified rain. People can’t seem to complain enough about rain (especially non-Pacific Northwesterners, and I know, I know, this is the point when you remind me I’m a hydrophobe, but I’ve been taking medicine for that, and I’m pleased to report that I can tolerate it now without panic attacks), but then they get excited over snow? You realize when it melts, you’re going to have cold, nasty puddles … like when it rains … right?

People tell me I have to start doing winter sports (Ski Utah!), but I remain completely unconvinced. I mean, almost becoming a paraplegic from a snow tubing accident can kind of kill the magic for you, plus skiing takes coordination and leg strength, and snowboarding looks like skateboarding, which I attempted once and was then required to wear a helmet the rest of the afternoon. Just in case.

Snow also ensures that you’ll have to bundle up before stepping outside (seriously, when I was in college, my nose hairs froze. MY NOSE HAIRS. I didn’t even know that was a thing.) because it’s below freezing (I know, I’m a scientist), but you can certainly expect to be hot, sweaty, and really gross upon entering any location that is not also set at a balmy 34 degrees Farenheit. So snow can muck things up even when you’re inside, not even touching it.

So all you crazies who think snow and winter sports are great, go ahead and live in your delusions. Enjoy the chapped lips and potential frostbite and frozen nose hairs. I’ll be inside, cranking up the furnace, wearing several pairs of socks.

Hey Remember How I Used to Blog?

Here’s what happened.

I took a lead role in a community theater production over the summer, and then I basically had no free time. I worked a half-time job (I know, I’m a total wuss because I wasn’t even working full-time) and spent dozens and dozens of hours rehearsing and performing and whenever I was on the computer, I didn’t really feel like blogging.

*Because sometimes I’m just a bad person.*

And then I quit my job and went to Disney World and got sick and started makeup artistry school, and I realized my blog wasn’t going to write itself (last colloquialism of the post, I promise) and I was probably losing followers, and the last thing I need in my life is for fewer people to like me. I just really like being liked.

So.

Let me tell you about the time I auditioned for a lead role in a professional theater company because I didn’t really know what exactly a professional theater company entailed and figured it would be more or less the same as community theater, except paying (which, I mean, is sort of accurate except NOT EVEN AT ALL, I AM SUCH A MORON). So I put on a dress and did up my makeup and worked with both voice teachers on my 16-bar cut (yeah, I have two voice teachers now, no big deal) and met my best friend, K, at the theater to razzle dazzle a bunch of strangers who would either receive me well or look at me, stone-faced, and say “thank you” after I sang. And to be honest, I figured this was just my foot in the door for the production staff to start getting used to my mug.

Husband + iPhone = best headshots I've ever had. Seriously.

Husband + iPhone = best headshots I’ve ever had. Seriously.

As it turns out, they liked me well enough (see also: I’m Asian-American in Utah — but seriously the director laughed several times in all the right places, so I think they did actually like me, and it’s just an added bonus that I’m, like, the one Asian actor in the entire state) and told me, upon finishing my audition, that they’d like to see me back the following day FOR A LEAD ROLE. This was baffling to me. I thought perhaps they were confused. I left before they could change their minds.

But here’s the thing. I realized in high school, after a brief stint thinking I might end up on Broadway, that I’m a great singer, a mediocre actor (this has improved thanks to my most recent director, Andrew Hunsaker, to whom I am eternally indebted), and a bad dancer. So I changed my plans because a lot of people on Broadway dance. It’s just kind of a thing, although why I have no idea because I think singing and acting SHOULD JUST BE ENOUGH, thankyouverymuch.

And I’d auditioned for a dance-heavy show.

WHICH I realized the day of callbacks, when almost every single woman was donning a leotard and the world’s shortest skirts and dance tights and character shoes and tap shoes, and I was walking around in my H&M leggings and then sitting in the corner eating glue, waiting for my turn. And then I kind of blew it. I was funny enough and charming enough and I sang really well under the circumstances of getting over a nasty head cold I picked up in Disney World (yeah, I got sick in Disney World, how lame is that). But dancing.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

To be honest, if I’m at a dance or a mixer (I don’t even think those exist any more, and I don’t really have a lot of opportunity to dance these days unless I make it so, see also: the dance party I threw together post-Aida when we were breaking down the set, and by “we,” I mean the rest of the cast while I danced around holding an electric screwdriver so it looked like I was participating — I kid, I kid … that was more or less how it happened, but no one ever had anything for me to do, or perhaps they realized I’d be ultimately worthless in their attempts to go fast and just had me be guardian of the tools) then I’m not too bad. I’ve got a good sense of rhythm and I’m very bendy and limber and I can get down. But if I’m given choreography, particularly that of the fast variety, and I’m surrounded by people who know what they’re doing, I kind of freeze up and forget how to move my feet at the same time as my … everything else. And that’s what happened. I shuffled my feet around and stared very intently at the feet of the man to my left, which almost led to a collision, and I walked away feeling rather dejected.

But we’ve got the race card. And I was called back for a principal role at a professional theater on my first go around, so every once in awhile, I am struck with a false sense of hope like maybe, just maybe, I’ll make it into the show. As a set changer or something.

Something you should know and might already know if you’ve been following my blog or are my friend: I’m ridiculously impatient. Ridiculously so.

I just found out tonight that casting won’t occur for another 2-4 weeks. WEEKS. As in I will probably see at least 4 more photos of baby bumps from a couple friends. As in I could go on the Special K Challenge and lose 6 lbs. As in I could grow my hair out almost an inch. Things just HAPPEN in 2-4 weeks.

Ugh. Gross. Put me in a medically induced coma. Cryogenically freeze me. Anything to make the time pass.

She Really Wasn’t Good at Math

Hey remember that time I had a flight to Portland leaving Salt Lake City at 6:05, and then I somehow decided that scheduling my ground transportation should result in my arriving at the airport at 5:45?

Yeah so that happened.

I’m not entirely sure why I thought that was a good idea when I used the trip planner on the UTA website, seeing as I’d have to get myself to the terminal from the TRAX stop, check my bag, print a boarding pass, go through security, and then get in line to board. Perhaps that afternoon I was feeling especially ninja.

Image courtesy of blendswap.com

Image courtesy of blendswap.com
Oh look, I was only at 55%.

So I got into the car to drive myself to the Frontrunner stop and suddenly I realized I had a bad, bad plan. But I was in the car and my flight was leaving at 6:05 with or without me, so the only option I had was to drive straight there (which I didn’t even do — seriously I followed the signs and took a rather roundabout route) and park in the economy lot (with money I don’t actually have — hey Husband. You’re looking pretty handsome. Every day of your life).

My best friend told me to consider the positives, namely that I realized my mathematical fallacy before getting on the Frontrunner, and after all, there is never enough money, so I may as well stop being upset about it. For the record, I hate it when she’s right.

Dating. It sucks.

After writing one of my most recent posts about my first ever break-up that occurred when I was about 8 years old, I started thinking about my dating history as a whole. It only took me about ten minutes because prior to meeting Husband, I think I went on about fifteen dates my entire life and had only one other serious relationship, but that’s all moot. Because the first few minutes were undoubtedly colorful and magnificent.

Let’s talk about blind dates for just a minute. Blind dates are probably the dumbest societal creation of all time (no, wait, that might actually be “Jersey Shore”) — you rely on your friends, who are probably either equally as single as you and therefore just as jaded or super married and therefore stuck in the love bubble, making them as distracted as toddlers in Disneyland, to find a suitable mate for you. This is a bad, bad plan. Things that make it worse: relying on college roommates.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com I've never known anyone to have roommates like this.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
I’ve never known anyone to have roommates like this.

So this one time, my three roommates, who were about as opposite as me as other people could be and still maintain similar gender and species, and I came up with this brilliant plan. We’d have a group date (red flag #1 because they were not exactly the types of girls I wanted to spend any sort of evening with) and choose each other’s dates. Brilliant. Nothing could possibly go wrong here. As it turned out, the three of them had men they were either dating or interested in, so the choices were more or less theirs. I, on the other hand, was kind of stumped.

Or maybe I wasn’t — there’s the possibility that one of them asked the guy I wanted and he wasn’t interested/available. I can’t really remember.

And then once we chose each other’s mates, who would probably end up eternal and everlasting, we would also choose each other’s dinners (SO MUCH FUN! SO NOVEL! Utah is weird.) and come back to the apartment to eat and have oodles of fun. Oodles of it.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com I've never known anyone to have a blind date like this either.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
I’ve never known anyone to have a blind date like this either.

I certainly had my reservations about my Utahn roommate, who pronounced the city from where she came “Hurrrr-i-ken” (Hurricane) and had so much Utah accent that my parents had to hold an intervention to get it out of me that following summer, but I figured she knew me well enough that she’d make, at the very least, a mediocre choice. She knew I was from the suburbs of Oregon, she knew I preferred city life, she knew that  I was remarkably extroverted, and she knew I was liberal beyond belief, so there was no way I’d end up with a guy like …

… a fellow in a cowboy hat, wearing Wranglers and cowboy boots, with a tendency to be a slow, slow speaker. Also an introvert.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

*SPOILER ALERT: we did not go out again.*

The date was unquestionably one of my most awkward; it didn’t take us very long to realize we were on very opposite ends of all spectrums in regards to everything, and his lack of conversation mixed with my lack of interest carrying on a conversation by myself made for a lot of uncomfortable silence. I don’t even remember his name. But I remember those cowboy boots. They were kind of rad, actually, but he didn’t strike me as the type of guy who wore cowboy boots to be rad.

The Wintry Day

Things happen when it’s colder than Alaska in a landlocked state. Lots of things. For starters, if you live in a place like Utah, where they focus more on making pre-dinner cocktails illegal rather than cleaning up the air, you get an inversion.

Wait, what’s that? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Right? I had no clue what an inversion was till I moved to Utah. It wasn’t even sort of a real thing to me. Oregon has fresh, clean air, full of oxygen. And rainbows and fairies. But my sophomore year of college, I discovered the inversion and everything that meant.

Gross, dirty, nasty air. That’s what it means. Gross, dirty, nasty air that doesn’t go away for weeks at a time. They instituted red light days (I’m not making this up), in which elementary, middle, and high schools were actually canceled because HEAVEN FORBID children get lung cancer from walking outside. But if you’re a college student, the general advice is: Don’t breathe as you walk to campus.

And, I’m sorry to say, inversion happens in Utah County as well, which I had the misfortune of discovering a couple weeks ago.

This is a photo of a mountain.No. Seriously.

This is a photo of a mountain.
No. Seriously.

Inversion looks like fog except it makes you sick. So that’s fun.

Other things happen too, though. Like your limbs start to lock up and, as you’re walking up the 104 stair staircase to your office building, you start to get the distinct feeling that you are going to fall backwards to your frozen, bloody doom.

Then your nose hairs will freeze up. That feels gross, btw.

Finally, when you reach your warm, dry destination, your body will officially start to shut down. Your organs will fail to function. You will have a headache and a backache and a stomachache and your feet will hurt, despite your best efforts in wearing long pants, wool socks, and knee-high boots.

Knee high boots and boot socks

So far, I can confirm that my spleen, appendix, and duodenum are completely toast. My lungs are shutting down as I type (and cough). It’s been a good run, guys. I’ll miss you. I know you’ll miss me too.

Oh Say, Can You See?

The other night I sang the national anthem at a Utah Jazz basketball game. If you think I’ve mentioned this too many times, you’re going to need to get used to it because this whole pseudo fame has just gone straight to my head.

That Matt Harpring sure is a tall fellow.
I sure am a short little girl.

I came in to work a whole hour late today and everything.*

*Also, I may or may not have worked too many hours and have been required by my boss and the college the past couple weeks to come in late and leave early whenever I am able.

Anyhow, the day was generally awesome aside from mass hysteria, resulting in several Facebook and Instagram posts, plus a lot of chitter chatter to friends about a whole lot of things (oboe concerts in college, Snopes, Cheetos, what have you).

But it all led up to this, for which I’m fairly proud:

And the Jazz beat the Nuggets, which is what you always want to happen, and I was kind of famous in the bathroom and the arena and the parking garage, and that was all fun and good.

The Low Point

There is one thing you just don’t ever want to see, as a germophobe or I presume any other human person, on the rim of a drinking fountain as you bend in for a drink because you live in the world’s driest state, and you are parched beyond belief because you weren’t allowed to bring a water bottle in and the water bottles that are being provided for you cost about $5 apiece:

blood

This thing happened to me. Of course it happened to me. A grasshopper once fell in my hair — anything can happen. Blood on the water fountain just happened. And it wasn’t, say, a bit of ketchup. It was the unmistakable, bright crimson of a stranger’s blood.

It gives a whole new meaning to stranger danger.