The Longer Ones

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Who Are You?

There's a lot of people everywhere.

I'm sure you're cool or perfect in your own little way. But you're not the only one.

Everyone in this college or university is special and has done things just as amazing if not more than you. Maybe there's times when it's hard to accept that but it's true.

This thought used to scare me. That I am in a place where I know I am not special.
Then homework and academics kicked me back into gear. In fairness I don't really mind that thought anymore. If anything I can have real meaningful conversations with the strangers I meet on a daily basis. We don't just spew a random talk about the weather or a sports game because in a way we know there's a million billion better things to talk about. Of course let's be real here, not everyone is like that, and if you want to meet the shallow, douche, and/or tool category, simply go to building nine (inside joke sorry). But what I'm trying to say is that it can be so much better than a comparison of beliefs and talents because that will only bring contention or regret or just self-pity. Rather we can grow from all of our backgrounds to become people that we are proud of. Because isn't that why we're here in college?

To learn and experiment and grow and find ourselves and succeed... among other things.

After a while I guess I just learned to stop comparing because it's not helping me. As Mark Twain once said, "Comparison is the death of joy."

I learn a lot from other people and it's really nice. I hope I'm turning into someone I like.

ALSO names... I can never remember them. There's approximately 30,000 students on campus, I struggle with that. But it's okay because if you give them a fake name like "Voltron," "Thunder Cheeks," or "Stormaggeddon," they'll think you're cool and give you a high-five anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pshhhhh Love? Try Friends.

Am I in a relationship? No. Unless you count friendships.

Do I want to be? Sometimes.

Do I want to be married? No, at least not yet.

I have a few best friends in my life, and fortunately one of them is on campus. She's pretty cool and we hang out literally everyday. CORRECTION almost**. But you get the idea. It's nothing serious, it's like every friendship. We hang out. Make jokes. Study together. Take drives. Regular stuff.

Personally I don't think I'm in love with her (or with anyone for that matter).

However we fulfill each other's desire to have a friend or at least someone to talk to. And though there's times we disagree, we're happy just being here.

Love is weird. People romanticize it for a grand quartet of roses, flowers, sonnets, and maybe a literal string quartet. However I don't think reality works that way. Maybe it does for some people and I don't want to discredit that, they could be feeling it because they met this awesome life-changing person, but I just don't think she's currently in my life (at least not that I know of). Therefore I just keep on moving and be happy.

Lately people have been telling me that being in a relationship is a requirement to be happy, to that I say, BULL. At the moment, I'm starving and as long as there's food in my dorm, I am happy. Secondly, though some people believe that, I think it's only because it's just their desire to have companionship or to finally connect with someone they care about. And if that's true, I'd like to argue that you don't need to be in a relationship to do that.

All you need is a good friend.

Because no matter how awesome or sucky your day has been, they always know how to make you smile again. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Me Me Me

Recently my midterms ended. OR SO I THOUGHT! It never does. 

It's okay though, I've found my groove, I've found my friends and I know how to study so it's going great.

I've been smiling more.

Even though I haven't been seeing my friends a lot, when I do see them, I wouldn't trade those experiences away. 

A couple of nights ago, we walked under a waterfall and saw the stars diffracted in the waves. It was beautiful under there. We cuddled for warmth, and it felt like I wasn't alone, even though I knew they won't stay.

We left early because we heard there were clowns in the area. FRICKIN CLOWNS. And then we trekked back to our homes. 

3217. Home sweet home.

For a while I felt satisfied with the loneliness of my existence. In fact, until I was 14, I preferred it. In my defense, I have more time for myself, I have time to think, and it gives me the opportunity to do the things I want to do, rather than follow what everyone else thinks is cool.

I guess I was just starting to miss people.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


I'm sitting on a chair.
And I'm playing with my hair.
I'm looking out the window.
It's 3 am, and all I see is a rainbow.
I'm tired and exhausted.
And all I feel is the pain in my head.
I'm supposed to be thinking about chemistry.
But I'm writing and thinking about something weird or just plain poetry.
Or maybe it's just because I'm hungry.

Harrison gave me a cookie earlier.
He's a cool guy.
Sometimes deep and makes me want to cry.
I should go back to work, before it becomes later.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Skepticism and Faith

            Last night I was talking downstairs with this other student, and he wondered how some people can have faith while doing so many things contrary to their beliefs. Consider this quote by Pres. Boyd K Packer, “Save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness and your capacity to forgive. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ.” And because of that, it gave me faith that at the very least this church was the one going in the right direction.
            One aspect of faith that most people forget is free agency and our ability to see things in different perspectives. Consider this parable that I sorta made up. Imagine there are two guys in a bar in the Canadian wilderness. One is religious, the other is an atheist, and they are debating about the existence of a God with the intense honesty you can only get after your fourth diet soda. The atheist says to him, “it’s not like I don’t have my reasons or I’ve never experimented with the whole God thing. Just last month I was stuck in a blizzard and I prayed to any and every God that if he would save me from that blizzard, I would believe in a God.” The religious man responds with, “then you do believe in a God, don’t you?” he responds with, “No, there just happened to be Eskimos walking by at the same time that saved my life.” The purpose of this mini parable is to show you that regardless of Heavenly Father’s work and miracles in the world around us, there’s always a choice to believe or not to believe in him. Now that doesn’t make free agency a bad thing, but we need to realize its role in opposition. In a naturalistic perspective, free agency isn’t about spiritual dogma; it’s simply truth. That regardless of being an atheist or a theist this is one of God’s gifts that no one can ever deny. That you have a choice. Regardless of faith or evidence, you can decide what has meaning in your life. If you currently don’t have a testimony, I’d advise to look up 2 Nephi 2:25, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” One of the reasons why I believe in the church is because that’s what Heavenly Father wants from us. Because contrary to the bleak beliefs of atheism, I believe and have faith in free agency and the plan of salvation because ultimately Heavenly Father wants us all to be happy.
            I’m not sure if you are aware of this but the idea of faith is being attacked. One of the fastest growing demographics is called the “The Ominous Rise of the ‘None’ [or nothing].” Basically atheism and agnosticism for 18-30 years olds has risen from 12% to 33% in the last 7 years. And that’s sad because now there are so many who are willing to give up this chance to find truth... and it feels like I should always be doing something more. Most of my friends back home were atheists too and I pray for them whenever I can. I told them about this statistic and I asked them what made them believe there is no God. They called us by one name and it stung like hell. They are atheists because they believe the ones who do believe in a God are hypocrites.
            I’m going to simplify for right now, but they called us this because in their experience, they thought we weren’t acting in faith. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). It is not enough for you to have faith or to hope for things, which are not seen, which are true. You have to act by faith too. To be clear, this means following the Lord’s commandments. This means loving one another. This means having the capacity to forgive. When I was 15, though I didn’t have a testimony at the time, I stayed in the church because I believed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had the greatest capacity to hope, to love and to forgive. So please don’t make a liar out of me. Another way we can exercise faith is through love and acceptance. Because isn’t that how Jesus Christ taught us? As Elder Oaks said, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is based on love, respect, and agency,” so shouldn’t we preach or go though our lives with love, respect and agency too? That was my friend’s complaint. If we were really taught to love and respect one another, then why don’t we show it more often? Now I don’t necessarily mean this directly towards you, however we are part of the same environment that has allowed it to exist. Though you may not be part of the problem, you can be a part of the solution by preaching the way Heavenly Father wants us to; not by Bible-bashing or hate, but by love. That is our obligation, no, our responsibility to having faith; by defending it and maintaining its integrity, without degrading theirs.
            Now of course, it’s good to mention that we’re not the only faith in the world, so what should we do? There’s missionary work going right now and that’s pretty cool, but I’m not serving a mission right now, so what should I do? One way we can spread the teachings of Jesus Christ is by leading with religious tolerance. Just because we believe we have the most complete religion, doesn’t necessarily make theirs wrong. For example, let me read you a passage from the Qur’an, “So let not this present life deceive you from the truth and glory that is the Lord thy God” (Surah Fatir 5). In the Torah it mention, “You must repeatedly give your brother and let not your heart to feel bad when you give him because of this your deed, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all the labor of your hands” (Deuteronomy 15:10). The verse from the Qur’an teaches us that we must keep our eye single to the glories of the Lord. The verse from the Torah teaches us to have charity for our fellow man. And aren’t these teachings true? Just because other religions may not be as complete as ours, that doesn’t make them wrong. In my research looking for the main themes of each religion, what I found was something unexpected. That almost all of them preach the same three themes: love, respect, and hope. That is what faith is centered around, so shouldn’t we give them the respect they deserve? This past year has been filled with an intense negativity towards religion. To those who wish to restrict someone’s civil rights because of their faith, I need to say, how dare you politicize a religion you know nothing about. Trying to remove them because of simply what they believe in. Regardless of your reasoning, it will give off the same effect, that you are taking away someone’s agency to believe, that you are ostracizing others from believing in any God in general. It took me 17 years to find joy and faith in our church, how dare you try to take away theirs. That’s not what Heavenly Father wants from us. He does want us to preach and proselyte the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, but not in a way that will deter them from the truth.
            Now of course, I’m not saying that this is the only right way or that this is how you should live your life, because it’s hard. There are different ways to think in these situations, and depending on the person you are dealing with, it can even be the opposite. But if I let myself get stuck in that default setting that my faith and my desires and my needs are more important everyone else’s, I’m only going to feel angry and frustrated with the world around me. It’s possible to believe that the Lord loves every one of us, and that they are only committing sins because it’s the only way they were taught. It’s possible to believe that, that one jerk in your hall is actually just suffering from homesickness and depression, and is only acting out because they don’t know how to handle the stress. It’s possible to believe that, that slow guy in traffic just went through a major car accident, and the only way he can feel safe is to drive 5 miles below the speed the limit in a huge SUV. Now of course, these things aren’t likely, but they’re not impossible either. If I choose to not act in faith, to not show love towards my fellow man, if I stay in the default setting to love only those who agree with me, then how am I making the world a better place? Now I don’t want to discredit the difficulty of doing these things, because they’re hard. To be honest there will be times when people challenge your faith to an extent where you flat out won’t want to love. But if we are diligent, if we maintain the integrity of our beliefs and honor them, I promise you that in any situation, you can feel the spirit in your life. It will actually be within your power to be in a congested consumer hell type situation and feel the love and hope and charity with the same intensity as he who lit the stars.
            This probably isn’t the happy-go-lucky kind of post you were expecting from me. What this is, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. Because isn’t that the reason why we repeating lessons and morals throughout our lives? So that in the end of the day we can tell ourselves, over and over, this is the truth. This is the truth. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Marriage talks

Ok wow, You'll be amazed at how much pressure there is to get married. In every other college it's, "hey don't get pregnant! Be careful! Carry a rape whistle!" But here it's normal to hear a parent say, "Don't get married, remember you've only been there for a month!"

Ay yi yi....

You know what the biggest turn off is? On the first date, going to their favorite chapel/temple, then listening to when, where, and how they want to get married. And if you're really lucky they'll tell you how many kids they want and their names. First off let me say that, THAT IS TERRIFYING. I can't even correctly fold laundry, let alone handle kids or a marriage!

I am but a wee 18 year old student. And maybe it's just me but that's not what I'm looking for at the moment. Even though apparently that's what everyone else wants right now!!! As a result of this contrast of beliefs, it led me to miss one of my dearest best friends, let's call her C. She's really cool and she is the very definition of what it means to be a feminist. I told her some of this situation and she sent me a sonnet to counter all of this pro-marriage propaganda.

A wench does oft dream of a long white veil,
To walk along an aisle unto a man.
But I, forsooth, shall never come to fail
To scape that fate of hell as best I can.

I can’t forsee myself committing aye.
I thus must say it’ll be over my corse.
To say I’ll be content would be a lie.
Alas, I’m apt to likely show remorse.

For ev’n if I met one with wit and brains,
I guarantee we’d fall apart in years.
The time would leave me heavy and with pain.
And being a wife, reducing me to tears.

Mark this, I know that marriage can exist.

But me, it seems it wouldn’t be the best.

Thank you C, and now since it's too early in the morning, goodnight.

Academic prostitution

Selling yourself to the school. That's basically what it is, and as weird as it sounds, it's necessary for you to have a good future. I'm not really sure how this all started but if I were to guess, it began when everyone started to act more seriously.

Let me explain.

In elementary school and middle school, there was no real academic pressure. The only real struggle was fitting in and finding real friends or making sure you're not in the bottom of the imaginary and now obsolete hierarchy that once held us all in captivity. It's hard to believe that those memories are almost five years ago. Oh well.

In high school things changed more towards academic prostitution where you learn exactly who the good teachers are and how to bribe them or at least suck up to them. I don't really know why or how, but all of the sudden, "BAAAAMMM." People changed. Our priorities changed and we weren't focused on a hierarchy at all. Academic took over us. In the first few weeks, we were still all glittery and new like the shrink wrap on a new ream of papers, giving us a new feeling of curiosity and excitement. But soon that changed as fast as it started, and we were all trying to impress one another. The hierarchy fell and all that mattered is whether or not you managed to be smarter or better or faster than those you once called your friends. Because now it's a competition. And academic prostitution was the way to win. Now it's not always like that of course. They were still my friends and we still had fun, but never before did my friendships have an academically competitive edge.

Before I left high school one of my favorite teachers told me that, "no matter how smart you may think you are, it doesn't matter because you're about to go to a college where everyone else is just as smart if not smarter than you." And he was right.

I was very intimidated. And quite frankly, terrified.

Soon I discovered that it's okay, because you know what? Everyone else is too. We were all going through the same thing and I realized that friendships and academics can go together in the same direction. They are proportional in that I can let my friendships flourish and let my grades rise and IT CAN WORK. I'm not disregarding the difficulty in this, because it truly is hard. But it's not impossible either.

However that doesn't mean we are successful. We sold our identity and voice to our classes in hopes to raise our grades or network with the right people. I don't want to justify this because it's wrong, but it's necessary to be successful. I made a point that friendships and academics can be proportional, however it comes with a price. I am selling myself to my school. I do my best, I bite my tongue, I hold my breath, I work harder, I walk faster, I make it in time, I suck it up, I type my resume, and I pray that they accept me. And I think in a sense we all do this. To our bosses or our parents or our teachers or our god(s) or to whoever you hold in a position of authority. We voluntarily give up our individuality for these models and hope that everything works out. One of my church leaders said that, "we are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." And I do think there is some merits in his words, but again I need to ask if the sacrifice is really worth it.

I am committing academic prostitution in hopes that I'll be successful. That's reality. And whether or not that is wrong, chances are we're all doing it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


I apologize for not posting in the last few weeks, I have been busy with my very first midterms (YAAAAAAAYYYY but not really), and now that that's done I hope I can keep on writing.

If my absence seemed like I hated blogging or anything like that, I did not intend for it to have that impression. My goal is to write to help release my thoughts in a medium that does not feel restricting (i.e. through blogging), that is why I write and I don't plan on stopping soon. If I disappointed you due to the lack of posting then I am deeply sorry. However I plan on continuing and I hope you like my thoughts.