Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day, He's Just Not That Into You, The Bachelor, and Thoughts on Love...

I'm a sucker for love stories. I love romantic comedies like the next girl, and I get caught up in shows like The Bachelor even though I try (sort of...) not to every season. And probably like most viewers, I overanalyze every relationship "the bach" has. From my observations I can clearly tell who is the best match and who is real and who is superficial...surely I am omnipotent when it comes to The Bachelor's life, right? Probably not. (especially because I didn't see tonight coming, but that's another story...)

But there is something that has always bothered me about the way love is pitched in the movies and on television: the phrase "falling in love."

Does one really fall into love? You fall into holes, you fall on a banana peel, or you fall down the stairs. Those things are accidental. I don't know anyone who goes throwing themselves down a flight of stairs or off a cliff on purpose (except for maybe the guy on Jackass). I don't think that love is accidental, and I'm fairly sure that most people in love would agree that it didn't happen by accident. Most would probably agree with me that love is, in fact, a choice you make (or choose not to make).

As one who has never actually been in love, maybe I shouldn't write from my inexperience. But I've observed, I've listened, and I've witnessed countless relationships from beginning to end, and from beginning to growth...and those that continue to grow only grow because two parties choose love. The relationships that end typically end because two parties choose to end it.

What saddens me most is that there are so many girls out there who buy into this "falling in love" idea and end up hurt. There is such a misunderstanding of what love really is. And I can honestly tell you that I can in no way understand it fully until I share it with someone else. I realize that. But tonight when Jason Mesnick, the Bachelor, claimed as he broke up with Jillian that he "had fallen for her but was not in love with her," I realized what lies we've told ourselves. Can you say that you've fallen for someone but you're not in love with them? I'm confused... But I would imagine that anything you "fall" into, you might "fall" right back out of in just as much time.

On a related note, in the way that we all buy into this "falling" idea, we also fall prey to the "signs" and "sparks" we think may exist. The movie He's Just Not That Into You addresses this well for those of us girls (we all do this, or have done it, or will do it) who read into every little word, action, touch, text, email, facial expression, hand gesture, etc. that guys express. Did he say "It was nice meeting you" at the end of the date or just the beginning? Did he say "I'll call you later" or "I'll call you next week"? Did he just touch my hand? He hugged me...what does that mean? His friend told me "I've heard great things about you." He must like me...

I'll be transparent in saying that I have read into things one too many times. (how can you not?) When watching HJNTIY I had to laugh at a few parts (to which my single friends also admitted) that reminded me of things I've done or read into in the past. I've been on the side of "he's just not that into me..."

But I've also been on the side of "I'm just not that into you..." and I know I've handled it all wrong. I avoid the truth and any confrontation that might hurt someone's feelings, so often when I am not into someone, I've come up with other excuses. (if somehow you're one of those people now reading this...i'm sorry...i'll just be honest now: i was, or am not, that into you...) Though it may be harsh, isn't honesty always the best policy? It's going to hurt either why not rip off the Band-Aid instead of making the pain and foolishness last longer? Right?

However we are dealt the truth or a lie is bound to play a role in any future relationship. It may build up a lack of trust that could take years to rebuild. We build up walls that take years to tear down. Vulnerability feels like moving a mountain that sometimes crashes right back down on top of you once you've moved it.

But I imagine, and I trust, and I hope that love will change all of these things. As hard as it is to get to that point, I have seen that it is worth getting through past hurts and the vulnerability of making mistakes and the lesson of forgiveness and the difficulty of tearing down walls. And I hope it is worth it. I believe it will be, even though not all love stories have happy endings.

I imagine that love, in the process of building it, is healing. I imagine that love, in the daily choice that it is, is difficult. I imagine that love, in the unfolding of all of its deep dark corners, uncovers beautiful things.

I look forward to love. Real love. Chosen love.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So I just found out today that the Jonas Brothers have a song called "Mandy" (and it just so happened to be their first released single).

That kinda made my day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here's a smattering of things:
  1. I'm considering switching over to Wordpress. I'm not 100% sure. But I might. Any suggestions? Opinions?

  2. I'm in Springfield (IL) right now and it just so happens to be the night of Obama's speech in honor of Lincoln's birthday. Whoops. So of course major roads get blocked off, but I ended up pulling into the parking lot of the mall just in time to sit amongst many other cars waiting for the presidential fleet...and I saw it! Kinda cool. Maybe the only time in my life I can say I saw the president drive by. Then again, who knows?
  3. I am really hooked on this lately:...particularly the Blood Orange flavor. I've been going to every natural foods store nearby to try and find it. It's amazing. Next flavor I'm going to try: Blackberry Cabernet. mmm...sounds yummy.

  4. I'm excited that one of my best friends is pregnant, and I just found out that another one is!!! YAY!!! (I'm not telling you who it is yet...just in case.)

  5. Related to #4: Gosh, I'm getting old. When certain friends are on kid #2, and I'm still just trying to find a date to various weddings, I have a feeling their kids are going to be babysitting mine someday...

  6. Related to #5: I really dislike Valentine's Day, and before you go judging me, it's NOT just because I'm single. Even if I were dating or married, I would still much rather be surprised by flowers, a card, dinner, or whatever else on a random day of the year when not everyone else in the world is getting the same thing. I'd be fine w/ just a silly Barbie valentine like back in the day...or maybe a Jonas Bros. valentine ;)

  7. I'm going to Florida again in one week. In fact, I'll be there in one week. And then again in April. Don't hate me.

Monday, February 09, 2009

the Grammys

Did anyone besides me watch the Grammy’s last night? This may be a bold statement, but I think last night was possibly the BEST night of Grammy performances I’ve ever seen.

For starters, the collaborations were INCREDIBLE!!!

  • Justin Timberlake & Al Green? Come on, can it get any better? and then JT again with T.I. - any double dose of JT performances I can get, I'll take...
  • Miley Cyrus & Taylor Sparks were absolutely adorable...and they sounded incredible together!
  • And I realize for being 26 years old, I may have an unhealthy fascination with the Jonas Brothers, but their performance with Stevie Wonder was completely unexpected and great!
  • Sugarland and Adele were amazing as well...what a surprising combo!
  • Kanye West & good.
  • the tribute to Bo Diddly (not gonna lie, I really don't know who that is but I should) with John Mayer, BB King, Buddy Guy, and Keith Urban. WOW. Fascinating combination.
  • Lil' Wayne & Robin Thicke - Robin's soul is so unexpected coming from his voice. You'd think he'd be black.
  • OK, not a collaboration, but Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" made me so happy. I just love that song.
  • the tribute to the Four Tops with Smokey Robinson, "Duke" Fakir, Ne-Yo, and Jamie Foxx - loved the old songs...loved it.
  • Radiohead performance with the USC marching band? WOW. I flipped back to the show (while also watching Brothers & Sisters) and only caught the 2nd half of this one, but AMAZING! Loved the drumline.
  • Not sure how to comment on the "Swagger Like Us" combo with very preggo M.I.A. and Kanye, T.I., Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z, other than to say that little mama can hold her own w/ those guys. Though I do think she was slightly dressed like a preggers ladybug...
  • Coldplay with Jay-Z in the beginning of "Lost" was awesome. But you all knew that was coming...of course they were awesome.
  • Do I really even need to comment on U2 and Paul McCartney? I'm pretty sure Paul got plenty of recognition throughout the night...

I just can’t get over how music can get me so excited! Yet everyone I texted about the great performances had something else going on last night, so was anyone else watching? There is something about a great musical performance that gets me excited about creative artistry. There is some incredible talent out there in this world.

And then, of course, celebrities with absolutely no talent do exist, but that’s another story...

It’s overwhelming sometimes just how talented so many people are. In fact, that’s a large part of why the music and entertainment industry overall is so cutthroat-competitive. As many artists out there that are known, there are probably twice as many great talents who have yet to be discovered or who are just on their way to climbing the ladder of success.

Music is so powerful. For some a song is just a song...instruments combined together, sometimes with lyrics, maybe even some vocal harmonies tossed in. But to those of us with an artist’s heart, music carries the weight of emotion, power, passion, and story. Even in rap and hip-hop music, though some would argue it to be pointless, there is a great deal of power.

Most of the time, it’s the lyrics that get me. But there’s something about great instrumentalists jamming together as well. I love seeing the heart of the artist playing or singing coming out in their music.

I’ve always loved music. Ever since I was little, I’ve always been known to sing along to whatever is on the radio, on a commercial, on the soundtrack of a TV show or movie, or in the background at a restaurant or store. Wherever I may be, I’m always listening for the music. I guess it’s just a part of me. I'm still a human jukebox or my own walking version of the Shazam application people have on their phones. Because no matter where I am--speaking both literally or metaphorically--I’m always looking for the music.

So thanks Grammy’s...I’m sure glad you decided to make this year a great one. You revived my heart for music, and I hope you’ll help music to revive our generation for things that are good.

And for a pretty good list of the "best" and "worst" comments of last night, check out MSN's compilation.

Did anyone else see them? What did you think???

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"winter me"

It's winter, and I'm officially lazy.

Most nights I come home from work, put together some thrown-together meal (usually consisting of a salad, sandwich, or vegetable of choice & pan-seared salmon). I then proceed to my wonderful couch (on which I could pretty much live all day, minus going to the bathroom and getting up to get something to eat), to watch TV or reach the ends of the internet via facebook, various blogs, or editing photos for fun.

That's usually about it. Sometimes throw in many consecutively addicting games of spider solitaire, and I'd call it a night.

I know I've been lazy. It's easy to do in the winter. I don't work out, because I only like running outside when it's nice and warm, and I don't like going to the gym on campus because it's too busy most of the time. I have been lazy about reading my Bible and reading books in general. I just don't make the time. I haven't been writing, which is usually how I process my "deep thoughts" or things I've been reading.

(Sidenote: I have been fairly creative in painting and creating some other things, to come in future posts...)

But I need to start practicing discipline again. I'm not exactly sure how yet, but I need to put it into practice. Tonight I actually went to the gym to work out for the first time in months (thanks to Lindsey's encouragement!) and then sat down and ate my meal in music, no TV, no internet in front of me. And then I just read my Bible and a chapter from our SFG book, and it felt good. It felt like the normal me. Not the lazy me. And though the normal me likes to be lazy sometimes, I can't let that part take over.

But I don't like routine, and I don't like rigid schedules. I like to be flexible and play things by ear. How does one practice discipline and do this? And how does one practice this without inflicting self-guilt? Any words of advice?

It's always an endless cycle for me of going in and out of phases of discipline and laziness. I'm hoping to stay on the disciplined track for awhile...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

teaser trip

You probably know by now that I absolutely despise the cold. And I really love warm weather and beaches. And sunsets on beaches. And a good fruity drink while eating outside wearing flip-flops, a swimsuit, and a cover-up. With good friends.

I got to do this last weekend in Ft. Myers, but not for very long. It was kind of a teaser vacation, because most of my week being gone seemed to be spent in transit from one place to another. As noted below, I flew to NYC for a night, then to Ft. Myers for 3 nights (keep in mind, this only meant 2 days at the beach...which is not enough for me), and then to Boston for 2 nights, and then back home. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the few days in sunny Florida and a short escape from icy Illinois. I just wish it were longer!

Here's a few pics from the trip: