Monday, October 26, 2009

Acts 17:28

I was weary not of existing, but just of living today. I feel the need to do something drastic. To make up for all the things I didn't do and didn't say and didn't think.

Maybe faith is endurance even when your soul is a little groggy.

I've never had an unkind hygienist

I hate going to the dentist. I hate having a bright light shining in my eyes and rubber gloves in my mouth and nice hygienists asking you questions while your mouth is stretched open as far as it'll go. I hate the posters on the walls and the vulnerability of being at the hygienist's mercy. To quote Gurgle in Finding Nemo -- "The human mouth is a disgusting place." I really don't like thinking about it. And so I feel guilty that the place I hate so much is a privilege that so many people don't have. I mean, this is a testament to the fact that I live in a nation of unprecedented prosperity, that when I was given my fluoride treatment I had the choice between four different flavors. This privilege feels hollow.

Actually, can I just say, fluoride is poison. Fluoride is more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic. It accumulates in your body, and the distinction between "safe" and "unsafe" amounts is extremely fuzzy. Why are they making me take this, according to my Google search fluoride isn't even that great for one's teeth! I don't want this stuff in my mouth, even if it is grape flavored!

So I floss now. I mean, I flossed before. Like twice a week. When I wasn't in a hurry to get to sleep, and when I remembered to floss. I know how good flossing is for oneself, that it can prevent heart disease and add up to three years onto your life, and I know periodontal disease is awful and stuff. I just thought flossing regularly was overrated, so I didn't do it regularly. I didn't really get its importance. What's a good enough reason?

I think I must be so wise in my own eyes. I have to know things first hand and for myself before I can see any reason to care. Which means I'm not easily bandwagoned, but, it's a fallacy to treat my own mind as the end of all good reasons. I definitely don't know all that's good for me. I'm struggling with this idea of taking counsel, of taking steps that aren't my own, of trusting other people to tell me what I ought to do. It's a dangerous tightrope. But, the dentist tells me I need to floss every day, and, I can't be an expert on dentistry. I'll trust him, and floss every day. I'll take their toxic fluoride treatments. And I'll be thankful that I have access to experts I can trust.

Sometimes I foolishly wish I knew everything. But it is a blessing to be able to trust.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Proof I AM politically self-righteous.

I registered to vote today.

The nice man behind the counter asked me, "Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated?" I glanced at my mom to make sure she wouldn't take my choice as a streak of teenaged rebellion or political self-righteousness. She smirked. "Not registering Democrat? Bad Rhode Islander!"

It wasn't until we left AAA that my realization bloomed.


Really, government?

If I don't subscribe to the two major parties I'm only unaffiliated? It doesn't matter if I do have an affiliation if it's not to the Dems or the GOP?

I guess one can't go listing every party in existence on the voter registration. Obviously.

But "unaffiliated" feels like lying. And stinks of political marginalization.

Careless use of language, government. Very careless.

Go Bull Moose party?

[EDIT: while I'm ranting, people really need to stop using "socialist" as a buzz word. That's not good enough anymore. This isn't the McCarthy era, and the word "socialist" is not a persuasive buzzword anymore, especially when it's a strawman argument. Darned political vocabulary . . .]

He is Not Silent - Out of the Grey

The people said this desert never ends
We have no bread, our throats are dry,
Our heads are heavy and our feet need rest
Has He left us here to die?

And we've forgotten all His words
As if we never heard
We take our hearts and turn away

We wander through this world
In disbelief
Shake our heads at every tear
Searching endlessly
For some relief
Has He left us dying here?

We take our daily bread
And after we've been fed
We take our hearts and turn away

But He is not silent
He is not whispering
We are not quiet
We are not listening
He sends a lifeline
We keep resisting Him
He is not silent
We are not listening

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 "Now choose life, that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life."

Monday, October 19, 2009


One of the best things I learned at RYLA was the value of networking. Apparently, one is supposed to meet people, make a connection, establish a friendship, et cetera, so that later you can exploit their skills for when you need them. I happen to have to have skilled friends. (Whose opinions are exceedingly invaluable to me.) Therefore, it is my duty as a student of networking-slash-RYLArian to exploit this.

What I'm posting here is one of my numerous attempts as writing a college application essay -- this one only happens to be the first I've managed to finish. So, um, if you feel like it, could you maybe help me? I need your criticism. Whether I need to scratch this essay altogether and start afresh, if I need to crystalize the ideas more, rearrange the focus, fix grammatical errors, switch around the structure, whatever criticism you can give me would be really brilliant. I need to know if I've missed the point of application essays. So yah. If you'd do that for me. I'd be indebted. :)

Once upon a time I turned eleven and I was scared to death.
Ten is exciting. The first year in double digits, the thrill of fifth grade. Eleven is scary. One is practically grown up by eleven, on the slippery slope of tweendom. I’m the oldest kid of four, and in between changing my brother’s diapers I felt strongly my first-born responsibility streak maturing and my ambition flowering. That is, until my birthday came. Eyes soggy with tears, I mumbled to myself in the safe darkness of the after-bedtime hours, “I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to get old, I want to stay like this forever.” Fear of the unknown? Perhaps. But maybe it was more that I loved the present so much I couldn’t fathom it getting any better. It’s so much easier to dream about “growing up” than to actually do it.
For years I resisted the inevitable growing up, clinging to what my mom called my “Peter Pan complex.” With each birthday I inwardly cringed, with each “teenaged milestone” I dug in my heels—I didn’t want to learn to drive, I didn’t want to get a job, I didn’t want to open a bank account, and, couldn’t I be homeschooled just another year? “I like the way things are now, I don’t want to get older.” I insisted. I loved my comfort zone, and was convinced that nothing wonderful could lie outside of it. I was satisfied with stunted living, I assumed that what I knew at the moment was as good as life could get.
Then, for my British literature class freshman year, my teacher announced the class reading content, book pages for points. This class was larger than I had been used to (I’m home schooled, after all; a class of twenty kids was a novelty to me) and I was determined to find some way to stand out. The reading contest seemed like an easy way to do so. I started with J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, because I was an infatuated teenaged girl who had just seen the live action Peter Pan movie (staring dreamy Jeremy Sumpter) nearly a dozen times. If I may say so, sound logic!
It was a really sad book. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the book itself was more delightful than I had been given reason to anticipate, but the knowledge that Barrie had written the book en memorandum of his mother’s delusional grief over her dead son who would never grow up, was sobering. An English proverb I have tacked on my bulletin board reads, “Do not regret growing older for it is a privilege denied to many.” Maybe there’s a reason we all grow up.
One of my favorite lines from Peter Pan says, “When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.” It’s exhilarating that I see the truth of that statement more each day. I’m so young, so foolish. I have been humbled by the realization that I don’t know all there is to know about living. Tomorrow might be different than today, and with it I will change, like-it-or-not. I can’t do what I was made to do if I maintain my comfortable distance from “growing up” forever. Change may not always be pleasant, but it will always be necessary.
I’m finally ready to write my Bildungsroman. I’m ready to grow up some more.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To die. In the rain. [FAVORITE]

And thus we combine my two favorite forms of humor: stupid jokes and cultural references . . .

Plato: For the greater good.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's dominion maintained.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll find out.

Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Oliver North: National Security was at stake.

B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road", and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken- nature.

Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus: For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

Jack Nicholson: 'Cause it (censored) wanted to. That's the (censored) reason.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

Ronald Reagan: I forget.

John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Mr. T: If you saw me coming you'd cross the road too!

Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ... and suck all the marrow out of life.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Molly Yard: It was a hen!

Zeno of Elea: To prove it could never reach the other side.

Chaucer: So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

Wordsworth: To wander lonely as a cloud.

The Godfather: I didn't want its mother to see it like that.

Keats: Philosophy will clip a chicken's wings.

Blake: To see heaven in a wild fowl.

Othello: Jealousy.

Dr Johnson: Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

Mrs Thatcher: This chicken's not for turning.

Supreme Soviet: There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

Oscar Wilde: Why, indeed? One's social engagements whilst in town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience - although, perhaps, if one must cross a road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.

Kafka: Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

Swift: It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.

Macbeth: To have turned back were as tedious as to go o'er.

Whitehead: Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Freud: An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)

Hamlet: That is not the question.

Donne: It crosseth for thee.

Pope: It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

Constable: To get a better view.
Sourced: [shoved across my path thanks to Cody "The Win" Min, and my Facebook stalking skillz]

Friday, October 16, 2009

"The radio plays a whole lot of nothing."

I like half of my music because it makes me feel things, it helps me think and helps me focus. Some truthes seem more true when set to music. But, I can't help but feel like that's artificial, to let music manipulate my thoughts and emotions like that.

I like the other half of my music because it's fun, it's good to run to and better to dance to. The kind of music that's perfect for kitchen jam sessions while I'm doing the dishes, where I can appreciate the throbbing bass line or the resonate cello sounds.

One of the most frustrating feelings in our little culture bubble: when you hear a song you adore in passing, and then you're obsessed with it, and you listen to it twenty-seven times on repeat, and then you just chance to hear a part of the song you hadn't really been listening to before, and horrified you think, "Did they just say what I think I just heard?" And you can't listen to the song ever again. Because there's an ugly word smack dab in the middle of the awesome, and you just can't justify listening to the song anyway. And so your full-fledged love affair is cut off at the roots. It's a shame.

I'm not sure if this means I need lower standards or higher ones.

I feel like there's so much I've accepted, unchallenged, about music. I mean, yeah, I don't listen to swears, I don't listen to songs about sex, and I don't listen to music I don't like. I apply my Understanding the Times-learned worldview deciphering skills, and weed out the heretical or humanistic songs. I appreciate music for the lyrics and melody and instrumental & vocal skill and creativity. I try hard not to be mindless about listening to music, but . . . that's not enough, I don't think. I just don't really think enough about music, or the power it has over me, or why I love it so much, or how much I do love music.

There are just so many ways music has ministered to my soul, that, maybe I've tricked myself into giving it credit it doesn't deserve. That's all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"The stillness of October cold--"

I'm wearing two shirts, a hoodie, and a jacket and I am still freezing. I've been looking for reasons to do school away from my desk so I can have my computer to warm my lap. Yesterday I stayed wrapped in a quilt the whole day. And since October started I've been going to bed early to seek solace from the cold under the covers. I am just so cold! Once November comes we'll turn the heat on and everything will be hunky dory, but for now my fingers are in a perpetual state of Raynaud's induced whiteness. I need to invest in some hardcore fingerless gloves.

Autumn is speeding away too quickly! The days got too short too quickly, the leaves changed colors too quickly, the temperature inside and out got too cold too quickly. Time has gotten away from me.

And yet this fall is just so different from last fall, I am so different than I was last fall. Different must be a form of good. Learning how to work hard, learning how to cope with stress, learning to let go -- ah, how much letting go must be done before everything's finally gone?! I have more of an iron grip than I thought.

I'm reading again, and it's lovely. Not only is Wuthering Heights a bizarrely wonderful book, but there have been so many surprises on my reading list! The Enchanted Castle is the most charming and intelligent piece of classical children's literature I've read in so long, and everything else I'm dabbling it . . . there are few things lovelier than reading without obligation and a deadline.

Mm, thank you God for books and the cold and October.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On writing . . .

The Excellence in Writing program taught me to use adverbs. Perhaps I use them superfluously.

Dickens taught me how to use asyndeton, now I hate conjunctions.

Markus Zusack's Holocaust novel The Book Thief opened my mind to the possibilities of imagery and atypical descriptions that actually say something.

Mary Shelley sufficiently instilled in me a fear of clumsy narration, autobiographical fiction, and deux de machinas.

But I feel like I haven't the faintest idea how to write. Or, that's not quite right. Phonics gave the sounds meaning, the letters became words, and the words marry in subject/predicate form to make sentences. But see, the sentences shouldn't be all the same structure, they should start different ways, and have clauses, or not. Variety is more interesting to read. And of course these sentences should be arranged to make a point, and when you get enough of them on the same topic, you can group them together to form a paragraph. Enough of these paragraphs under a broad subject matter, arranged to promote and support a point, serve a utilitarian enough purpose, and one can say, "I have written something."

In that sense I do know a little about writing. Thank you Mr. Pudewa. But.

You should say something interesting, and you should say it concisely and persuasively. And maybe, you should say it creatively, like no one else has said it before. And maybe, you should say something no one else has heard or thought or said before. Because what are words for if they do not communicate something both true and beautiful?

I wish I knew how to write like that. I'm not sure there's a book to teach me.

I'm terribly desperate to say what I mean, and mean what I say, and verbalize what is so full but intangible inside my mind. I want freedom from self-importance, freedom to describe things the way I see them without feeling silly or self-indulgent or pretentious. I want to speak without feeble metaphors and veiled meaning, I want to say what I mean and continue to mean it. I want to have nothing to say, so I won't have to agonize about how or when to say it. Words and language are a feeble tool, if only I had the mastery to make them say what I mean.

"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous." -Henry Adams

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What are we so afraid of?

Of ghosts and vampires and mad scientists?

Of the depths of the ocean, and the limits of outer space?

Of cancer and pandemics and germs?

Of being completely alone?

Of being thought a fool?

Of the darkness?

Of what I can't see?

Of what I don't understand?


of being complacent and apathetic

of straying from the goal

of forgetting the majesty

of underestimating the power

of neglecting to love

of missing an opportunity

of holding back the good news

of failing to speak the truth . . .

On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.
[Psalm 138:3]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thankfully, I am ineligible for the swine flu vaccine

I conceptualize everything. Hence, little things like standing in line for a flu shot today, are made ten times worse. Think about it.

A giant school gymnasium is filled with hundreds of people, over the course of a day, many of whom are coughing and sneezing. Think of all the germs. People -- presumably nurses, but hey, I don't know them! -- are filling syringes with a mysterious clear liquid. They're not wearing gloves as they do this, and who knows how many airborne bacteria the needle is coming in contact with . . . just saying. In a few moments, I will sit down in front of someone I've never met, she will wipe my arm with an alcohol pad, inject me with a possible contaminated needle, full of a vaccine that 1) contains preservatives, 2) contains a disabled strain of influenza (the disease that killed many French and English troops during World War I) that will permeate the muscle in my left arm, enter my blood stream, and spread through my entire body. Don't get me started on the potential side effects, achy arms and dizziness.

My mom, being a nurse, has only scorn for the anti-vaccine crowd. It's easy for her to say. She's studied this stuff, she gives shots. She knows how the vaccine works. But to a seventeen year old with only a rudimentary understanding of biology, injecting oneself with a virus just does not sound like a good idea! You know what I'm saying?!

There is a line of kids with tear-stained faces against the wall, under a sign that says "first time." Even though I've survived the vaccine routine each year, I understand their fear. Maggie and Sarah love shots. Caleb and I harbor many irrational fears.

It's all in my head. Which just makes it harder to dismiss. The needle goes in, comes out, band-aid's slapped on, I roll down my sleeve, and we walk out. I feel fine. It's all in my head. I feel fine.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I feel so silly. I must be a feeler.

I called in a prescription refill to Rite Aid just now, but instead of going through the automated menu, I had to speak with a person. Because when I picked up my prescription there the last time, that's what the kind lady behind the counter told me to do. But the person I just talked to was apparently not in agreement. "This isn't our problem. Call the Atwood Avenue store. :click:" My eyes filled with embarrassment-and-frustration-tears as I hung up the phone.

Come on, Hayley. Every moment people who don't know the Lord are dying, and you tear up when a stranger's brusque with you on the phone? I can hear Cindi talking to her daughter in my head, "When do we cry? When we get a boo-boo or when we're sad. We don't cry when we don't get our way. Shake it off."

I keep opening up this familiar new post window, to write nonsense to myself when I feel particularly listless. Which is nearly all the time.

One thing I've learned from my AP English Literature class thus far, is that good writers use fewer words. Also, that that's what makes poetry a distinct form from prose: intense feelings and ideas are conveyed as concisely as possible, unless you're Milton. Brevity takes a lot of work; that's what Mark Twain meant when he said he would have written a short letter, but he only had time to write a long one. I can ramble, easily. I can exhaust thousands of words and never say what I mean. My American Legion speech went through so many drafts last year, of my mom's pencilled remarks in the margins, "What does this mean? Cut the fluff. Get to the point. What are you trying to say?"

I hate not saying what I mean. I hate that I can't help it. And yet, saying things that don't quite embody what I mean is still preferable to not saying anything at all. I can accept the imperfections of expression. But I'll still whine about it occasionally.