Monday, July 23, 2012

A Noble Heart

I believe every book that I have read has had a character with an exceedingly noble heart. This character often times is not even the main character. The stark contrast between the antagonist and the honest heart of that particular character is what gives a book texture. This may be an odd analogy but the Nobel character is like oil and the villain is like balsamic vinegar. Put the two together and shake them up they become mixed up but eventually the vinegar will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the top. The nobility of such characters is incredibly inspiring and I always seem to fall in love with them. I look up to them and I have hope that I can one day be like them.

*Spoiler Alert

Take Samwise Gamgee for example. I don’t think there has ever been a more noble, honest, optimistic and real character ever created in modern literature. I would, if I were a little hobbit lady, marry him on the spot given the chance. Sam, though he faces adversity and evils and tribulations much larger than himself (quite literally) manages to see the good in life. The simple memory of the taste of strawberries, Rosie’s ribbons, and blooming flowers bring him joy. When he and Frodo are being chased by Ring Wraths he sees the glow of elves and is, once again uplifted. He and Frodo witness a host of Sauron’s allies making their way to Mordor and as the initial horror of it passes Sam, ever optimistic, notices that they have Oliphant’s and is overcome with excitement. Covered in war paint and trained to kill thousands of soldiers these enormous beasts pass by and Sam sees through all of that and is glad of the chance he has to watch these creatures, that he has only ever dreamed existed, living and breathing. It is this way with many things in life. Events occur that appear for all the world to be entirely evil and terrible but if we see through Sam’s eyes and look past the war paint and endeavor to see the amazing Oliphant that is crossing our path our lives may be spent more happily.

Another example is Morrel in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. The ship owner, from the beginning, is steadfast and courageous and honorable. Through no fault of his own Morrel is almost in ruins and even then he endeavors to save his family from the dishonor he fears may befall them if he is unable to pay his bills on time. This man, who has spent his life in the best way possible cannot fathom living as a man who is unreliable. He almost kills himself to save his family. Edmond Dantes saves him (disguised of course) on the verge of bankruptcy.  This man was rewarded for his integrity and loving heart. It does not always happen this way in the world but when it does it is an extraordinary site to see.

Jane Bennet, The oldest sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is another example of  an amazing character. She embodies all the good of this world and chooses to overlook the evils in people and tries her best to love those who have wronged her. She is so very honorable and virtuous. The first time i read the book I wanted to be like Elizabeth, witty, scintillating and confident but the second time through I began to admire Jane above all of the characters in that book. She is smart and intelligent and funny and most of all humble. Her good deeds go unnoticed and her diligence in maintaining loving relationships with others, even though it may turn out the worse for her, is admirable. Her kindness and charity is insurmountably inspiring. I wish to be like her. With all of that unworldly strength she is real. She is gentle, friendly and happy. She is a sister and a daughter and friend. She is vulnerable and hopeful. People take advantage of her kindness but she never loses faith in the goodness of humanity and life. She may be innocent but she is not naive. She lives her life unhampered by Pride or Prejudice. 

All of these characters are real. Real in the sense that they are imperfect like all mankind. They make mistakes but the difference is they take responsibility for them. They step up and weather the consequences of their actions. These characters were often disregarded and their good deeds overlooked but for those who were benefactors of their kindness and virtue they were loved and respected.  They choose to be this way. They exercise the fullness of their agency to better the lives of all those they love and because of that their spirits are indefatigable. I cannot express how these characters have changed my life and how I desire with all my heart to be like them. Their integrity is eternally inspiring.

So “Be happy, noble heart. Be blessed for all the good you have done and will yet do. Let my gratitude remain hidden in the shadows like your good deeds.” - Dantes "Count of Monte Cristo"

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Hiatus from Hiatus

Life. It gets pretty crazy sometimes. Between work,goals,dreams, taking action and a social life time can be scarce. Some people simplify. Some people shop. Some people have sleepovers and eat a gallon of ice cream and some people just take a day off. I have what I call "cave days". Usually these days consist of me watching movies on netflix, sleeping and hiding from the world. Just for a day. Unfortunately the whole "just for a day" thing turns into a "three weeks in a row" thing sometimes. Taking a hiatus from life every once in a while is great. Re-prioritize, reshape,renew it's all good but turning that time into three weeks is a bit irresponsible and a waste of time.  Being an introvert in an extroverted world can take it's toll sometimes but being an extrovert in an extroverted world can be tough too so I am tired of making excuses for my absence and have decided to get back to taking responsibility and taking action. I have a million things I want to do with my life. Bucket list things, work things, school things, friend things,simple things. I can't continue watching episodes of 90210 all day and shirking my responsibilities to find out how Annie and Naomi's latest evil plot is going to turn out. It's lame. I am done thinking 90210 is lame. I'm not even going to go there. Some people like it and that's cool. I like it too because it helps me not to think. I don't know, there is something strange about watching actors live fake lives of Beverly Hills high school students. It is just relaxing. I don't have to think. The occasional momentary indignation I feel when a character is wrongly accused and monstrous assumptions are made only to make one of those characters lives more difficult is just that, momentary. It also makes me 10x more grateful that I have the awesome, fun, laid-back, honest, and drama free friends that I do. I mean the "he said she said" kind of drama free. The real life good times, bad times we all go through and support each other during is what friends are for. So I guess I "went there" so there you have it. An opinionated circle. Oddly related, I guess when you speak more the more likely your chances of saying something that might hurt someone even if that was never your intention. The stress of that alone can cause a social butterfly to crawl back into their cocoon.  I guess life is about taking risks though. I just have a hard time understanding how someone can want to intentionally hurt someone else. I still try my best to be harmless but there are those who seek to be offended and being confronted by them is difficult but I want to have opinions and I want to be me. Being me isn't about "sticking it to the man" or being over the top. Being me is hard to explain. Not in a "no one understands me" kind of way just the whole "human beings are extremely complex" kind of way. I just know that there are things in my life I want to change and I know they'll take time but I just have to be patient. I mess up. I "disappear" for a few weeks. I have a huge book list but have only managed to finish a few books off of it. I want to travel the world and I have been a few places but not everywhere I want to go yet. I want to write but I get writers block sometimes. I believe in magic even though I still haven't received my Hogwart's acceptance letter yet (one day....). I want to learn but sometimes I don't study. I'm LDS and surprise,surprise I don't  know everything and I know that and I am okay with it. I get tired. I don't want to think sometimes. I just want to watch a TV show with superficial characters and so-so acting sometimes and like it. It isn't a bad thing to do every now and again but if it gets in the way of my life I'm going to change. So I may revert back to the reclusive me again someday but I'm going to make sure that when I do it won't be for too long. Usually after those "cave days" I go on a "living spree". I stay in, recuperate then I'm back to enjoying life again. So I started on Monday. I went camping on a whim. Went on a trail run the next morning and was happier than I have been in a long time. Something about the trees and the dirt and the fresh, clean air just rejuvenates me and makes me want to be a mountain goat. Then I hung out with my roommates, went to a new restaurant (I am so excited because it is in a new health food store here and it is delicious and a dream come true for me) I went to a Nas and Tinie Tempah concert last minute last night in Salt Lake and it was insane. My feet and legs are all bruised because I lost my cheap flats 30 minutes into the concert and proceeded to get stepped on for the next 3 hours. It was totally worth it being 10 feet away from Nas for 2 hours and just with a bunch of people having fun. I am going on a 4 hour hike I've never done tomorrow with some friends, singing in a talent show and working all night long. It's going to be fantastic. And I am writing and reading again. I am thinking again and that is nice. I really do like to think I promise. This world gets really crazy and people change all the time. I think one of the most difficult parts of life is knowing that even when you are trying our best to be harmless people can blow things out of proportion or chose to think the worst of someone. I like the idea that what people think of me means nothing but I am not naive enough to believe that it is true. I live life with other people, for other people, because of other people and we all think. Think about life, love, nail polish, food music and other people. We have to make decisions based on the evidence we have and the best way to find out about someone is to get to know the real them. I'm not one for making assumptions, but then again I know I probably do no matter how hard I try not too. I try not to judge but I think it is inherent that we do. It's survival right? We have to make good decisions to stay "alive". Maybe I don't judge someone on wether or not their nail polish matches their shoes or if their greens clash but I judge to try to determine if someone is safe to be around. I know this whole wide world is full of amazing, honest, good people who deserve the benefit of the doubt but I am just being realistically cautious. In my senior English class we talked about tattoos and how having them can affect one socially. Negatively sometimes and positively at other times. For example,those with tattoos can be judged too quickly. One of my Co-workers Jo has a lot of tattoos and studies show she is less likely to get various jobs because of her tattoos and that is a shame because she is awesome, she makes a mean "soy hazelnut steamer", likes Harry Potter and is honest, fun and hard working. Most of my friends have tattoos and they are some of the world's greatest people on the planet and any firm or work place would be lucky to have them. We all make choices and suffer the consequences wether good or bad (however I don't think I'd suffer to much from a positive consequence). We weigh our choices and act accordingly.  I know "Living" isn't about how many concerts I've been to, how many books I've read, what bands I listen to but how I utilize who I am to benefit the world and the people in it. That doesn't mean I have to change to fit in I just have to enjoy life and laugh when I stick out like the hair on the back of Alfalfa's head. So I raise my peppermint, totally Mormon, herbal tea for living the "me life" and making the most of it for the people I love. Bring it on.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Order's Up

Yesterday I was at work when a man walked in with a few of his friends several minutes before our kitchen was to close. His friends ordered but he, hanging back, looked unsure of ordering. I asked him if I could get him anything. He explained that he was trying out a new thing called "intuitive eating." He only wanted to eat when he was truly hungry. The problem was, he said, that he still didn't understand if what he was feeling was hunger or not. I explained that our kitchen would close in a few minutes and that if he wanted anything he had to order soon or else he would not be able to order. It was then that he decided that he was not hungry.

Sometimes the kitchen closes before you arrive. Sometimes you have arrived just in time. Sometimes you order just a drink. Sometimes you order, although not hungry, just to buy a little more time. And sometimes you arrive in time but, seeing nothing you want, chose to leave with out a thing. Some order the same thing over and over and over always unsatisfied but safe. Some order something new every time sometimes spending weeks in recovery after choosing poorly.  Sometimes when you get your order, it is wrong. Sometimes it is the most delicious meal you have ever tasted. Some stick with their less than savory meal. Others ask to change it. An still yet others spit it out, ask for a refund, and cash out on love all together. Life can make us decided before we think we are ready. But you see the kitchen may close for the evening but it will open again in the morning. Maybe the items on the menu have changed. They could be better than yesterdays items or they could be worse. Will you take a risk and order now or later? In the mean time......
Order's up.