Thursday, July 26, 2012

Guys and Girls: A Limited Yet Observant Perspective

A question was posed to me tonight that got me thinking yet again about the world of dating.  Let's face it.  If you're single, you've had dating and marriage pounded into you for years as the thing you should be doing right now so it's on all of our minds.  Bear with me as there are a lot of scattered thoughts on here.

Some guys in my ward were talking about how confusing girls are.  One of them then turned to me and asked what girls say about guys.  The most common and recurring complaint I hear from girls about guys is how oblivious they are.  Guys simply don't get it.  They don't seem to pick up on anything.  While I agree with this, I also can't really blame them.  Girls are a confusing bunch.  Girls have a tendency to drop subtle hints rather than to speak their minds flat-out.  Everything we say seems to have a double meaning and then we get mad when guys don't understand.  If girls were a little more straightforward, the dating game would probably be a whole lot easier. 

Later on one of the guys said something like, "Well, maybe the reason it seems like we don't get it is because we're just not interested and we're simply trying to be nice by ignoring the girls' advances."  I'll begin answering this question with an explanation.  I would say every girl out there has some degree of insecurity.  Girls have a tendency to see tiny flaws within themselves and then multiply them by ten.  Because of this, girls are very rarely completely comfortable in their own skin.  (Sorry guys.  It's a woman thing that you'll probably never fully understand.)  One of the ways you get rid of some of this insecurity is to realize that a guy might like you despite your flaws.  On top of that, girls analyze EVERYTHING!  I don't care if the girl claims to be a drama-free and nonchalant person about the dating world.  She is lying.  If she has even a smidgen of estrogen in her system, she is constantly thinking about what members of the opposite sex think of her.  If a guy glances at a girl, she'll analyze it.  If a guy is very pointedly looking away from a girl, she'll analyze that too.  So if you combine insecurity with this tendency toward analysis, what do you get?  A girl who will analyze and twist a situation to make herself believe that the guy she likes actually likes her back, even if the evidence isn't all that convincing.  So in answer to the aforementioned question/statement, your intentions may be good but they might not yield the results you want.

But girls are not the only ones that are good at messing up relationships.  As a girl myself, I'm obviously more concerned about and irritated with the single-male side of this discussion.  In my experience, I've come to the conclusion that there are six types of guys, or six ways that girls perceive guys.  Most guys fall into one or more of these categories:
  • The Greek God: This guy looks flawless.  His dazzling smile and chiseled physique causes almost every girl to fall in love with him as soon as he walks into a room.  A look or a glance from his beautiful eyes makes even the most prim and proper girl swoon.  So what's the problem?  For most males of Greek God status, it is that they are good-looking and they know it.  When playing the dating game, they feel that they have to find a girl who is equally good-looking.  They definitely don't consider dating the average-looking girls.  They don't even take out the cute girls.  No, they only focus on the drop-dead gorgeous girls.  However, they come back from dates complaining that this drop-dead gorgeous girl is kind of fun when it comes to surface-level things but she doesn't seem to have much personality beyond that.  Yet they still always go for the same type of girl.  It's been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  HELLOOOOOO!  Stop kicking the same dead horse over and over again and branch out a little bit!  I'm not saying you have to find the homeliest girl on the street and take her out on a date.  I'm just saying that you should date girls based on personality compatibility rather than just physical compatibility.
  • He-Gets-Around Guy:  This guy flirts with just about everything female that moves.  He'll have a great conversation with one girl, make the girl think that he might be interested in her, then he'll run off to the other side of the playground and ask some other girl out on a date.  The girl has convinced herself that this guy likes her but then she finds out that he's been on a date with Sarah, Elizabeth, Janice, Carol and just about every other girl under the sun.  He goes on so many dates that it seems like he is dating just for the sake of dating.  He's generally a nice guy, though, and doesn't realize he's wreaking havoc among his entire female acquaintance.  To this type of guy I'd like to say that the purpose of dating is to find out the type of person you want to end up with and to NARROW down your options. 
  • Just-Friends Dude:  This guy is quite a catch.  He's got both the looks and the personality to make himself intensely attractive.  He has a wide circle of friends that are girls but mostly looks outside of that circle when seeking potential dating material.  He's holding out for the ideal girl.  He wants to feel that spark on the first date.  He's so intent on finding it that he forgets about the amazing people that are already surrounding him.  Yes, set your sights high but don't set them so high that no one can reach them.  Don't rule out all of your friends that are girls.  If you're already good friends with a girl, chances are you are compatible in several ways you haven't even realized yet.  As Marilla says to Anne in the movie Anne of Avonlea, "Don't toss it all away, Anne, for some ridiculous ideal that doesn't exist."
  • The Guy That Tries Too Hard:  This guy really wants to have a good relationship.  He's a really great guy.  He'd treat the woman he ended up with like a queen but...the dating game just isn't his forte.  He takes every date a little too seriously and ends up scaring girls away with his intensity.  My advice for this guy is to keep at it but maybe dial things down a few notches.  Don't go into a first (or even a second) date wondering if this girl could be "the One."  Just go and have some fun and stop worrying about impressing them.
  •  The Tool:  When I say the word "tool" in reference to a male, the image of an extremely tan guy in a muscle tee with his hat on backwards generally comes to mind.  They can be as good-looking as Greek Gods but, unlike Greek Gods, they are generally jerks.  Girls, for some reason, are attracted to them for their "bad boy" reputation.  If they are in a relationship, they don't put much effort into it because they think any girl they date should feel lucky to be with them in the first place.  My advice is to the girls on this one.  Don't date these idiots!  I've known too many girls who think they can reshape these guys into upstanding nice guys, but you just can't.  What they need is a good solid rejection story and a shot in the arm of humility.  Then MAYBE they'll change...but I wouldn't count on it.
  • Mr. Awkward-But-Good:  This guy is the nicest guy you'll ever meet.  He'd probably do anything for you.  He's kind of cute but he doesn't really know how to present himself in a way that brings out all of his good physical and intellectual qualities.  He seems a little bit shy at first but once you get on a topic he's passionate about, you can have a great conversation with him.  For these guys, confidence is the main thing to acquire.  This is much easier said then done, I know, but it is possible.
As I've been sitting here writing this, I've realized that there are female counterparts to all of these categories.  (I can see myself in one or two of them, as a matter of fact.)  I guess all this blog post proves is that guys and girls may have their differences but we are also fairly similar, which is probably why dating can be such a vicious cycle.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Adventurous Weekend for a Not-So-Adventurous Girl

My mom called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if my roommates and I wanted to go down to St. George for the weekend as she would be there visiting her sisters with my grandmother.  Kristin and Faith had prior engagements planned but Heidi said she would be up for the trip if she could get work off.  A few days before we were to hit the road, both of us realized we probably couldn't afford to go if we didn't have other people to share the traveling costs, so we tried to think of others who might want to go with us.  I had heard from several sources that my friends Andrew and Kevin were fun to travel with so I sent them texts two days before we were to leave asking if they would like to go on a roadtrip with us to St. George.  I thought I was going to have to use my limited persuasive powers to convince them to come with us but, after a few questions from Kevin had been answered and I had promised that we would hike The Narrows on Saturday morning, both Kevin and Andrew agreed to come with us.

On Friday evening, we threw all our stuff into the back of Kevin's car, ate at a Texas BBQ restaurant in south Provo, and then, as Dad would say, we "were off like a herd of turtles."  To keep ourselves alert and awake, we played the The Alphabet Game and then an alphabet movie game (which I don't really want to take the time to explain).  Andrew fell asleep.  Heidi, Kevin, and I enjoyed a conversation about Indiana that later morphed into a conversation about differences in speech based on location. (Yes, we're deep and we know it.)

We reached my Aunt Andra and Uncle Kim's house in St. George where we would be staying for the next few days and, according to Heidi, that is when my adventures began.  Mom, Grandma, and Andra came back from a play at the Tuacahn ampitheater and we got to meet Andra and Kim's dogs.  They have two Great Danes and a Basset Hound.  Since I'm normally a little skittish around dogs (animals in general, really), Heidi watched in shock as I smiled down at them and willingly pet their rather large heads.  That momentous occasion set off a chain reaction that resulted in a weekend of adventure, full of semi-adrenaline rushes and moments where I threw almost all caution to the wind.  In other words, while this was an adventurous weekend for me, it could probably be classified as normal life for everyone else.

After a night filled with sonorous snoring and Spanish swear words (in Andrew's case), sniffling due to a dog allergy (in Kevin's case), a good night sleep (in Heidi's case), and bouts of insomnia (in mine), we drove to Zion National Park and commenced our hike through The Narrows.  Knowing there were supposed to be thunderstorms later in the day that could result in flash floods, each step into that water and over those slippery rocks was something of an adventure for me.  At first I was incredibly cautious, barely focusing my eyes on anything other than the water and rocks at my feet.  (The Narrows hike really isn't all that strenuous since it's pretty flat but it takes a lot of mental concentration to keep your footing on the uneven and slippery rocks.)  I became more comfortable throughout the hike, however, and I started to look up a little more.  The rock formations surrounding us were really awesome.  Brigitte, you would have loved this!

The adventures soon began to pile up.  We waded in water waist-deep and we climbed up and over huge rocks.  We climbed up an old wood branch to get to the rock where we ate our snacks.  (Funny story to go along with this:  Heidi kept slipping when she was trying to get up the branch and I could see her leg scraping along the rocks and wood.  I was obviously far more concerned about the pain she might be going through than she was.  I kept shrieking, "Heidi, you're hurting yourself!" and she kept saying, "Celia, I'm fine!")  I was stung on my lip by what looked like a flying ant.  I walked through water inhabited by water bugs and tadpoles (again, this was a pretty big deal for me).  I massaged Heidi's leg when she got a muscle cramp in her calf (I'm not a touchy-feely person so this was another big moment).  All in all, I'd say I was successful in doing some adventurous things I wouldn't normally choose to do.

 We decided to turn back about two and a half hours into the Narrows.  We finished the hike about five hours after we had begun.  On the home-stretch, we began to hear the thunder roaring above us. Fairly soon after we took our first steps back on solid ground, it began to rain.  We congratulated ourselves on our impeccable timing and we were especially glad to have avoided the danger of flash-flood weather.

We drove back to Andra and Kim's house, got cleaned up, and then headed to my other aunt's house for dinner and to meet up with Mom.  Aunt Kristin, "domestic diva" that she is, made us a great meal with ingredients from her own garden.  We talked and enjoyed watching the thunder in the backyard for a few hours.  We then returned to Andra and Kim's house and played card games until midnight.  We all discovered that Andrew is entirely too good at Egyptian Rat Screw (Egyptian War) and that I am a complete idiot when playing the game Thirteen.

We attended Sacrament Meeting at my Aunt Kristin's ward, ate sweet rolls and drank chocolate milk at her house afterward, and then met up with one of Heidi's friends at the St. George temple.  We drove back to Provo on Sunday afternoon.  It was a great trip.  I can't speak for everyone but I had a great time!

The adventures have not ceased since my return from St. George.  At ward prayer, I stroked the back of Shana and Calista's lizard (which caused Heidi to write me a Nice Note which reads, "You've grown up so much!").  While playing Fugitive at FHE yesterday, I hopped a couple of fences, bloodying up my ankles and probably breaking a few laws in the process.  Yep, I am living on the edge.  Who knows what crazy thing I'll do next!  :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Have a Future!

I'd like to tell you a little story, one that I didn't really want to tell before now because I didn't have any idea how it was going to end.  I still don't know every detail of the conclusion to this tale but I have a feeling that it's going to be epic!

I have been a college graduate for almost a year now.  I can't tell you how amazing it felt to click the Submit button for my Capstone paper, to realize that I had just completed my last assignment as an undergraduate.  I felt like I was on top of the world!  I had just put four difficult years of college behind me and I was ready to embrace "the real world."  I would be staying in Provo but I felt confident that I would find a job quickly.  Heck, I had earned a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University!  Who wouldn't want me to work for them?

I applied for receptionist jobs, secretarial jobs, writing jobs, etc.  Most of the time, I didn't hear back from the places I applied to but eventually the interviews started to slowly trickle in.  It wasn't until I had to participate in a group interview that I finally realized just how many people were desperately looking for work.  How could I make myself stand out amongst all those other applicants when everyone was in the exact same position that I was?

Well, days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and I still had nothing to show for all my efforts.  I became very discouraged and I had difficulty seeing anything in myself other than my weaknesses.  I began to feel like I understood why I couldn't find a job.  Why would anyone want to hire me anyway?  I don't know if I can really do the jobs I'm applying for.  There are others out there who are so much more qualified and experienced.  Who am I compared to them?  After months of rejection, I was almost afraid to get a job.  I was afraid that once I got one I wouldn't be able to live up to expectations.  I was afraid of failure.

Then one day, I was reading President Uchtdorf's talk The Remarkable Soul of a Woman and I came across these words: "Don't let the fear of failure discourage you.  Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you -- whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside."  I realized that I was only limiting myself by questioning my capabilities.  I had become my own worst critic and I decided then and there that I wouldn't listen to that voice in my head, that voice telling me that I wasn't capable of doing anything.

I knew I had to make a decision but, like most people, I wanted someone else to make that decision for me.  My lifelong experience with revelation, however, has shown me that I have to study it out in my mind first, make a decision, and then ask whether that decision is right.  So I decided I was going to move to Nashville, Tennessee.  I was going to find a job at some kind of Civil War site.  (By the way, this decision wasn't completely random.  My Grandma lives near Nashville.)  But a few months after I had made this decision, I had the distinct impression that a move to Nashville was not in the cards for me, that the Lord had something greater in store. 

That week, I was talking with my mom on the phone and she asked me if I had ever considered becoming a paralegal.  I had always been interested in the law but I didn't want to go to full-blown law school.  The thought intrigued me so I did a little research and found that California State University, East Bay (which has a campus in my hometown) has a good paralegal certification program.  All descriptions of what paralegals do ("paralegals assist lawyers by investigating the facts of cases, researching relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles, drafting contracts, and writing reports") seemed to fit exactly what I wanted out of a career.  I wanted my History major and my English minor to count for something, and I felt that the research and writing skills I've acquired throughout my college education lent themselves to this profession.  This seemed like a perfect fit for me.

One thing after another began to fall into place.  I went home over Memorial Day weekend for a wedding and came back to Provo with a job for the fall in California.  I went out to the mailbox on Saturday and found this letter:

My roommate Heidi can attest to the excitement I felt.  I was jumping up and down in my living room, shouting, "I have a future!" as I read the first paragraph.  After a year of disappointment and a serious lack of direction, I finally felt like I was going somewhere.

So I'm moving back to good ol' Concord, California at the end of August.  It's a little bit scary to think of leaving Provo.  I've been here for five years now and I've gotten comfortable.  But I know it's time to move forward and the future is looking brighter and brighter everyday.  I'm so grateful for the way everything has fallen into place.  I don't know how everything is going to turn out but I know things will come out all right.  Who knows?  Since everything else has fallen into place, maybe a man will come around the corner soon, too!  Okay. STOP, Celia!  You can't ask for too much too soon!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Heav'n Rescued Land

 Over the past few years, I have made blogging something of a tradition on the 4th of July.  So this year, I've decided to do something a little different and share several excerpts from a few different sources that explain what being an American means to me.

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 
- 3rd verse of The Star-Spangled Banner  

"Religious sentiment progressed as the war continued and many colonists claimed that they could see the hand of God guiding the direction of the war.  In one case, American sailors desperately needed a specific lantern that was unavailable in the colonies.  Miraculously, they were able to capture a cruiser that happened to have the exact kind of lantern they needed.  The Constitutional Gazette said of the event, 'The Lord hath done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.'  In another instance, the Continental Army was trying to build defenses on Dorchester Heights in Boston.  The soldiers believed that God provided the necessary moonlight above them so that the soldiers could work quickly and the necessary haze below them so that they could take the high ground of Boston without being seen by the British.  Even General Howe, the British commander, said, 'These fellows have done more work in one night than I could make my army do in three months.'  The event frustrated the enemy and was seen as a true miracle by the colonists and clergyman alike.  As William Billings wrote in one of his popular war songs, many colonists were convinced that 'God inspir'd them for the fight' and would not let them fail."
- an excerpt from my History 200 paper God is On Our Side:
The Religious Motivations Behind the American Revolution

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
- excerpt from The Declaration of Independence

"No man has to bow, no man born to royalty.  Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was.  Here you can be something.  Here is the place to build a home.  But it's not the land.  There's always more land.  It's the idea that we all have value -- you and me.  What we're fighting for, in the end, we're fighting for each other."
- Col. Chamberlain's speech from the movie Gettysburg

I was able to watch the 4th of July parade this year.  Since the parade comes right down University Avenue, we set a blanket just outside our apartment yesterday and saved a spot on the lawn.
We played Yahtzee out on our blanket on the night of July 3rd before we headed inside to sleep.

We could see hot-air balloons before the parade started.

The float for Miss Provo.

The minutemen!

Patriotic Olympic float.

The float for the city of Lehi.

The missionaries of the Utah Provo Mission joined the parade.  They got a standing ovation (and a ton of candy thrown at them).

The color guard of one of the local high schools.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I'd like to chronicle the last couple of months of my life with pictures.  However, many of these pictures need explanation so I will be describing them for you...and there are a couple of events that I didn't think to snap any pictures I'll be telling you about those things, too :)

It's bathing suit season so Heidi and I started doing a work-out video.  Well, Faith had a little get-together with some of her friends one time and I came out of my room and snapped this little gem.  They were far more into that work-out video than we ever were, I can tell you that much :)    
Our ward had an activity up in some canyon (that I can't remember the name of at the moment).  There was a zipline, campfires to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over, and a field to play ultimate frisbee on.  It was fun!
My ward has put together a couple of intramural teams during the spring and summer.  I was able to play on the ultimate frisbee team which was a lot of fun (even though we kind of stank).  I watched and cheered on the sidelines at a number of intramural soccer games as well.  Go Provo YSA 168th Ward!
I've been wanting to start an online business for a while.  I make painted wood wall hangings, mostly of vintage looking advertisements.  I designed, drew, and painted this one.  I'm thinking of making a tropical fruit set!  What do you think?
  •  I turned 23.  (See a previous blog post for further details.) 

One of my best friends, Hannah, married my friend, Wes, in the Oakland Temple over Memorial Day weekend.  It's so crazy to go to a wedding for two people you've known all your life!  I'm glad I got to go home to support them.
The Oakland Temple :) It was such a beautiful day.
We had such a great group of Clayton Valley 1st ward members our age to grow up with and most of us were able to make it to the wedding.  We had to pay tribute to our years in probably the most rowdy Sunday School class that ever existed in the history of the Church.  Go CV1 (and the Class of 2007, I guess)!
While I was home, I was able to spend time with six of my nieces and nephews.  They're so cute and fun!  This is me with my niece, Sophie, at CV1's Annual Memorial Day Breakfast at Newhall Park in Concord, California.
We had a ward campout near Yuba Lake in Utah.  Despite the crazy number of bugs, I actually had a lot of fun.  The stars looked incredible, the company was great, and the food tasted so good!
So this is my friend Andrew.  He supposedly never takes a bad picture so there is a contest going on in our ward to see who can take the worst picture of him.  While we were all standing around talking at the campout, I decided to take a random picture and this is what I got.  It's still isn't that bad of a picture but it was the best I could do.
We went boating at Yuba Lake the second day of our camping trip.  It was a great activity but also a little exhausting.  Being thrown violently from a tube (twice), lounging in the hot sun, and swallowing lake water can really take all the energy out of you.  Trust me; I know from experience.
We've been trying to get to know more people in the ward so we like to invite different apartments over for dinner on Sundays.  This is a group of us sitting in our living room after a FANTASTIC meal!
After Institute the other night, my roommate Kristin decided she wanted to blow some bubbles.  Then we decided to draw pictures with sidewalk chalk outside of our apartment complex.  Yes, there is still a little kid inside of all of us :)
I've been doing a lot of reading this summer.  This is the normal amount of books I usually have checked out from the library at any given time.

  • I played Quidditch.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  A friend of mine got a group together from the ward to go up to campus and set up a Quidditch field on the lawn in front of the Maeser Building.  The Chasers tried to throw the Quaffle (a frisbee) through the hoops (hula-hoops) at each end of the field. The Beaters used their clubs (tennis rackets) to shoot Bludgers (blow-up balls) at the opposing team.  The Seekers tried to find the Golden Snitch (a tennis ball) that had been hidden prior to the start of the game.  I was on the Ravenclaw team, and we battled the Gryffindor team through three grueling matches.  We only won one match but that's okay.  Members of Ravenclaw House are known for their intellectual capabilities not their physical prowess.  I still think we did pretty well.  (By the way, pictures of the event just popped up in my news feed on Facebook so I stole them to put on here.  Yep, that's how I roll.)

So that's what I've been doing.  Life is hard but summer activities prove that life can be fun sometimes :)