Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Whirling Dervish

Well, I guess it's time for a new update on my blog. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf- I'm sure they helped since the dance instructor for my Jazz class only let out one uncontrollable guffaw during our first lesson yesterday. I know it was me he was looking at. You see, despite the fact that it was the first time the class met, we commenced dancing. In our first class, we not only learned to walk forward, backward, and in a circle (I liked those parts- they were easy), but we also began more complicated steps such stepping and sliding, stepping and spinning, and (my favorite, and evidently my teacher's favorite to watch) walking while vigorously shaking the hips. After his demonstration of the last move, I'm sure the look of panic creeping onto my face was quite comical, and well-founded after attempting the hip-shaking and finding out that I just don't move like that.

As I told my sister after class was over, I have been iridescently white my entire life, and nothing has changed or will change anytime soon. My attempts to walk with some 'tude were reminiscent of the rusty tinman. My step and slide looked like a brotha with a gimp leg. Snapping was a definite no because it distracted me too much from the task of keeping up with which leg was my right leg and which leg was my left. White men's jumping skills are often called into question, but there's no question about the fact that this white girl really can't dance.

My ballet class, however, is going along quite swimmingly. We move slowly, and that is very very good. I love going to ballet, because I get to feel like a princess- all the movements are amazingly regal. I have never been a tomboy, so feelings of royalty are second nature for me. When I was little, I was the kid who always wanted to wear a dress and would "borrow" my brother's action figures so they could have the opportunity to come to my tea party, which I knew that they were dying to do after being locked up in that glass cabinet for so long. The pain that was inflicted when he found out where his figures went to is still unmatched. It was worth it though....

Another thought that has been niggling at the back of my mind recently stems from a technique instruction in my photography book. When discussing the proper way to focus a camera lens, it says, "Focus on the object of interest...." What an appealing thought. Life would be so much simpler if we all consciously set goals and priorities, then kept our life centered on the prize until it was achieved. All too often we are distracted from our greatest potential by frivolities and superficial hang-ups. I have decided that from now on my life will be focused on my goals, and the choices I make will be propelled by my priorities and principles.

So there.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Through the eyes of a Child

How many of us have ever been in a situation where within seconds you have been completely disarmed by the honesty of the child you are with? Recently, I was employed as a Children's ministry intern at a church, and there were many times when this happened to me. But I can recall one story told by a parent that stands out above the rest.

At my church there was a young boy, Jack, who was about 3 years old. Imagine the most charming, adorable, blue- eyed baby boy possible, and you now have the image of Jack. I have never met any other child as sweet and trusting as Jack is. Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect. But he does hold the gift of making your heart melt.

A couple of weeks ago, it came time for the yearly shots. Yes, we all know them. The time of the year when normal children manage to stir up every ounce of strength and adrenaline that they possess and manage to fend off and outsquirm up to half a dozen nurses in fear of the horrid prick of the needle. The things we go through in the name of health.... And if squirming, fighting, pinching, kicking, biting, and licking doesn't work, then they use their ultimate tool given to them by God at way too young of an age- the scream that would even bring a banshee to tears.

Well, for Jack, there was none of the above described hoo-rah. Instead, his experience was quite the opposite. On the way to the clinic, he was a chipper, excited little fellow, chatting with his mom about whatever crossed his happy little mind- cars, birds, trees, Spider Man, quantum theory, etc. Once they got there and made it into the doctor's office, Jack made himself at home on the examination table, making easy conversation with the nurse in the manner of a true politician, with full confidence and bright-eyed trust. The nurse, of course, chatted along with Jack as she prepared the ominous syringe for his chubby little leg. After about five minutes, she was ready to give him the shot, and Jack was still happily jawing away about new toys or what have you. The nurse made a passing comment about how calm her unsuspecting little victim was, then proceeded to stick him with the needle after a mumbled warning about him feeling a slight prick.

Jack's face went from a look of happy, complete trust, to a look of shocked betrayal. This expression was quickly followed by narrowed eyes of suspicion and angry silence toward the nurse, who had finished the injection and was unsuccessfully trying to re-establish their friendship. Jack was finally persuaded by his mother to take a bright red sucker for being so "brave", but on their way out, as the nurse waved good-bye, he gave her one last vindictive look and said to his mother with an accusing tone and pointing finger, "Mommy, that's the lady who SHOT me!"

If we could only recapture the trust inherent in childhood, the world would be our oyster. Imagine the last time you were completely honest with someone. Remember the power that gave you? Honesty is honestly disarming.

Dirty Dancin'

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, this summer has turned out to be very enlightening. I learned a lot of things. I made some interesting discoveries, and some interesting friends as well. I also found out some things about myself-

I can't dance.

I know it sounds strange for a 21 year old to say that they had only just discovered that they can't dance, but it's the honest-to-goodness truth. But there's a good reason for not having learned this about myself sooner: I've never really tried before. On occasion I've been pulled or pushed against my will onto a dance floor, but I felt like I winged it pretty well. Maybe no one noticed how awkward I was. I know the guys that were there didn't. They were far too busy covering up their own awkwardness. I would know.

But for the first time this summer, I tried to dance for real. And found out that I can't. Amidst the hysterical laughter of all the people surrounding me, I realized that in my sad attempt to get jiggy with it, I only succeeded in pulling off the image, grace, and ambience of a muppet. That's right- a muppet. With arms disjointedly flailing around, I resembled Elmo's happy dance.

I'll be taking a dance class this fall. They may move me from Jazz to Comedic Dance against my will.

Pray for me.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Boredom Strikes Again

Well, folks, boredom reigns once more, and in response to it's presence my mind has declared war upon conventional thought. I was just considering the whole system of higher education and wondering why it is promoted as such a good thing.

Women used to rebel at the idea of being seen as nothing but a piece of meat. We thought that whole perception changed when we were admitted into Universities and given equal opportunities in the work force. I've got news for you: Nothing has changed. The only thing different is that there are new categories in the meat section of Society's supermarket. I am still a piece of meat to be admired by those of the male persuasion, and you know what? I don't have a problem with it. I enjoy getting attention. At times, I want even more attention that I am getting at the moment. I'm sure all of you are shocked speechless.

Now to the point: Women are no longer merely pieces of meat, due to the new categorization. We now have Gourmet Meat selections, thanks to the University system. There are the prime cuts, the thinly sliced, and for those who still prefer the uneducated woman, we still have a bologna selection available. We only think that the system has changed, but the truth is, we are all still meat.

And another thought that occurred to me this morning was the end result of our modern education. You would think that in our efforts to learn to improve ourselves, women would learn how to take care of their appearance along the way. In this case, the opposite is true. We send our young, fresh-faced daughters off to college hoping they will learn something and come back a better version of what they started out as. What the college spits out are crispy tan girls with fried, stringy hair, dressed in clothes too small. They have undone all the effort their mothers put into keeping them greased with sunblock as they grew up and have lost the ability to buy clothes that fit. Is this what America really wants?

So, in conclusion to all of my rambling, I say that women are still meat because ultimately, we want the acceptance and security of male companionship, and seek it through sexual attention: thus, the tight clothing. Here's a newsflash- the tight clothing may get attention, but it is not pretty, and the attention it gets is not the kind of attention that ultimatley gains the end result that women want. Portraying free sexuality does not encourage faithful, committed, loving relationships. Only sex. And if all we are interested in is sex, than we are reduced down to animal status, otherwise known as meat.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Texas vs. the World?

Ok, there is something new that I don't quite understand, yet feel free to comment on. Why do people give Texans a hard time about their state pride? Recently on my college campus, the Student Association came up with the bright idea for a fund raiser where they challenge the Texans to outgive everyone from everywhere else. I don't mind the challenge. I'm from Texas, and I think that we can beat their butts into the ground. The thing I mind is the general attitude toward people from Texas.

Is it our fault that we happen to be from the best state in the US? I say this with all respect toward the other states. But for real, if you aren't proud of your state, then why are you living there? It's ok to move. You don't have to be unhappy. Just because Texans like where they live does not give the oh-so-smart people from Ar-kansas the right to criticize.

On the other hand, if you other people from Texas are so proud of your state, then it's sort of ironic that you came to Arkansas for your higher education experience, and even more ironic that you display Texas pride while in residence. If Texas is awesome, then why aren't you there right now?

Bottom line: We should all be proud of our states, regardless of the fact that Texas is the best, because when all's said and done, we still chose a state for higher education where minitrucks are used as "people-movers", and a highway is also known as a buffet.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

More on Disney movies

This past weekend I went out to see the new disney movie, Home on the Range. I went to see it with my adorable neices, one of my older sisters, and one of my best friends. Throughout the movie, I was surprised that it wasn't the children who were laughing the loudest at the sad attempt at comedy within the show. When will Disney tire of trying to entertain us with cartoon animals doing karate? That particular venue of laughs is well worn, to the point of being worn out. Unless you are five. Or smoking something. Or unless you are my 23 year old sister. Seriously.

That's all for now on Disney. I'm sure I'll have more to rant about later. Since I am merely stating personal opinion, I trust no one will be immature enough to be offended by my thoughts. But then again, how many people are truly trustworthy? The sad fact in making things fool-proof is that people often underestimate the ingenuity of fools.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Disney Subculture

I don't really like Disney movies. To this day, I still cannot watch Bambi or the new addition to their collection, Brother Bear, without weeping pitifully. My roommate looks at me strangely when this happens. I know what she's thinking. I don't even have to ask. "It's only a cartoon. What's the matter with you?!?"

Actually, the sad truth is that I tend to enjoy the creations that Disney manages to come up with. The reason that I dislike them is because of the standards of interaction they promote and uphold for children nowadays. Call to mind any Disney movie you can think of. Now really think about it. Does it contain any standards or suggestions that tend toward Humanism? Yes it does. Now think about any of the Disney princesses. Which of them had a respectful, healthy, loving relationship with their parents, or, more importantly, with their fathers? You won't find one. I think the one who probably comes closest is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but even then, are the viewers encouraged to hold the father in high regard? No. He is merely a silly old man with many foibles that the viewers are encouraged to laugh at and dismiss as a silly old man with zero ability. Where are the father figures in the Disney films?

Bambi's father is a respectable character. Wait, no. He's absent, first physically, then emotionally. What child wants to only be allowed to meet their father if their mother dies first? Bambi's father may be a prince of the forest, but viewer's are not expected to see him in a great light after seeing his cold, hard attitude toward a cute little baby deer.

What about The Little Mermaid? And Princess Jasmine? Pocahontas? Obviously their fathers are close-minded, hard-hearted, ignorant, unreasonable idiots who have daughters who, though only in their early 20s obviously know more about life and the world than their crotchety old overbearing fathers. That's right kids, tie up the 'rents and take over the household right now. You have the right since your perceptions of the world are the only true ones, and your fathers only want to bully you around and impose their will upon you for their own pleasure. Give me a break. Some of these themes are just ridiculous, and yet we fill the minds of our little girls with them, then wonder why they are so disrespectful and rebellious. Why has it become cool to complain about how lame your parents are, or how they don't "listen" to you? Because we tell them it is.

Why should your parents listen to you? What do you know? You're 9 years old! Your feelings are important, but you do not know how to manage the family finances or time schedule.

More later.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Random Ramblings

What exactly is a "Messiah complex"? A thought that was raised this morning during class. I think that every superhero that has ever existed has had a messiah complex, which, by the way, means a person believes he must be the savior to either certain parties or to society in general. Where would Metropolis be without Superman? Little did they know that he actually should have been in a padded room somewhere, proving his shelf life. Gotham also had a resident mental case, but I think that the bat probably rated somewhere along the lines of a grandiose schizophrenic rather than having a messiah complex.

Another thought that crossed my mind: where exactly are we going with this whole gay and lesbian rights movement? Does anyone realize just how much of a minority they are? Why are we allowing the twisted minority ( I know some will be offended by this statement, but I would like to know what people could say along the lines of disagreement with you that wouldn't be offensive to you) to decide what our society and community are going to be? I really believe that we have allowed the portion of society that has not matured past two year olds to dictate what "politically correct" means. For real. Think back to the last toddler that you had to deal with. My guess is that they made quite a fuss as soon as you tried to suggest anything to them that didn't completely mesh with what their will was at the moment. If they were capable of adult-level language, my guess is that their responses would sound something like the garbage we hear from those who pat themselves on the back for being radical or progressive nowadays.

"Maggie, don't poke the fork in the electrical outlet!"
- "Don't repress my sense of creative expression. Just because you believe differently than I do about what will happen if I poke a fork in the outlet does not give you the right to oppress me with your views. You're just saying that because I am 2!"

Sound familiar at all? The only difference is that you can just move a two year old out of reach of their self-imposed danger, whereas with an adult if you try to intervene, you would be accused of abuse, called names, or in desperation bitten (this is just a guess, but I believe it to be a credible one after seeing clips of Jerry Springer.)

SO, back to the original question. Where are we going with all the talk of gay and lesbian rights? Has anyone ever thought about the fact that those kind of relationships are just wrong? I know that some people do it, but what's the point of getting married? I mean, it's not like there are any acts of marriage that they are missing out on by not being married. Realistically speaking, how many same sex couples practice abstinence? I don't know of any.

And my next question is, where is this leading? They are not only pushing to have the relationships in the first place, they are mostly pushing for societal acceptance, in my opinion. Even in Rome, one of the most historically decadent societies ever, although they had people practicing homosexuality and sexual perversions, the society did not view it as right, natural, or good. It was done, but it was not approved. If we go so far as to approve of homosexuality, we will be taking one giant step farther into perverted decay than any other societal giant in human history. Soon we will not only see gay couples being approved, but next we will be approving of pedophilia and beastiality. "I love my pet gopher. I should get to marry him. Then we can clone children that are half-gopher, half-human. We'll call them Manophers."

Pipe dreams

When I was a small child, I used to long for a pet horse. I dreamed of what I would name it, where it would live, where I would ride it, how I would take care of it, what it would look like, and what my gear for it would look like. I used to ask my dad every few days when he would get me my horse. I dreamed of riding away off into the sunset like a rescued princess or world adventurer.

Now, I know it must sound like I was annoying kid when I say that I would ask him every few days. I was not annoying. I was incredibly cute, courteous, and sensible. There was a reason why I would ask him every few days about the horse. You see, if he had responded in an appropriate manner the first time I asked him about the horse, such as, "Honey, I don't have the time, interest, or ability to help you take care of a horse, so no, we are not going to get a horse. Ever." then I might not have strung my disappointment along for so many years. However, he did not respond appropriately or wisely. Instead, he said something along the lines of, "We'll get a horse one of these days." What he meant was, "Getting a horse is a pipe dream. Never am I ever in a million years going to actually get you a horse."

Ok, I said all this to raise the question: When is it that we begin training ourselves away from dreaming the impossible? Ever heard the saying, "Hope springs eternal"? It doesn't in America. In the eyes of our children, (prior to the time period when we begin to squash it out of them, training them that their life can only be so good, and the society that they live in is doomed to be trashy and immoral) pipe dreams don't exist. What would the world be like if there were no impossibilities? Granted, things like gravity and the time/space continuum will always exist, but go along with me here for a sec. Can you even imagine what America could be like in 30 years if our children were taught progression and moral absolutes instead of given restrictions to their imagination and forced to accept and tolerate the status quo, only allowing further degradation instead of improvements. It is possible to have a society virtually free of abuse, neglect, and crime. But only will it happen if we want it to.

My final word of encouragement is for everyone to dream big. Big things are possible.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Cats vs. Dogs

This is a very popular subject of debate. Which is better, a dog or a cat?

Imagine what a cat would be like as a person. Talk about jerks. As soon as they wanted something from you, like recognition, a compliment, borrowing your car, sleeping in your bed, taking over the government.... They would be so nice and sweet, and then as soon as they got what they wanted, you'd get the shaft. Big time. They would be the biggest egomaniacs ever.

On the other hand, what would dogs be like if they joined the world of the two-legged? They would be a regular psychotic. Have you ever seen a dog just start barking for no reason whatsoever? As a person, they would be the schizophrenic who just sits, staring out the window, then randomly turn around and start screaming things like, "Hey. Hey! HEY HEY HEY!!! Someone talk to me! Talk to me talk to me talk to me!!!!!!" Kind of like a middle schooler on IM.

Just a thought.