Monday, April 1, 2013

We all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun.

The other day my very wise and beautiful little sister said, “You know that you're amazing, right?”

I looked down in uncertainty, very much unconvinced.

Amazing people climb mountains and cure cancer and turn their homework in on time. Amazing people don't disappoint others or sleep in late. Amazing people aren't disorganized or distracted.
I felt like everything I did was tinged with disappointment, weakness, and failure. Like, yes, I did do something great...but it could have been better and I managed my time poorly and somehow those small things became equal to my accomplishments. The good things I had done, the good decisions I had made outshone by my mistakes and immaturity and humannness.

But today, I believe her a little.
I feel like I have something bright and solid and strong inside of me.

And that i'm not working towards some unattainable goal of having worth--that I'm already there.

There is something inherently worthwhile inside of me, no matter what I do or what happens.

I've been wallowing in this sensation of weakness, loneliness, helplessness.
I've been letting the worst parts of myself dictate who I am.

But today for the first time I realized how beautiful it is that I have been able to accomplish things that were hard and good and hurt. That in spite of all of my weaknessess, there is something divine inside of me. That even though I procrastinate and disappoint people, that amazing things still come out of all of my human traits. That even though it took me way to long to write that essay, or prepare that presentation, or make that painting, that I still did it.

Despite everything I've ever done wrong, the people I have hurt, the stupid things I have said or done, I still can do great things. I panic when I think of all the doors that are about to close, all the people and places that I am about to leave. But everything feels so resolved and purposeful. People have shaped me and sharpened my focus and self-worth. My failures have propelled me into better places.

My sister also reminded me of a simple, luminous truth:

“God created beautiful things for us to enjoy. He didn't have to do that. They are reminders that he loves us.”

He didn't have to do that.

I think so often about the trials and difficulties of mortal life and I also think a lot about how God probably thinks I could do a lot better. I think a lot about how these difficult things in my life have made me a better person, and that life is hard and through this, we are refined.

But he didn't have to create the sparkling ocean, or tall grass you can disappear in, or intricate patterns on tiny bugs. He didn't have to give me the ability to create, or let so many quandaries and juxtapositions and viewpoints exist for an analytical and ruminating mind to process. He didn't have to create a space for loving, honest friends who speak their mind and make my cheeks and stomach ache.

This was always my favorite song when I was a child, and I return to it now as an adult with the same wonder I had when I was innocent:

  Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.
  He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev'rently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Data Visualization

For another class project, I created artwork based on
my location. I wanted to interact with my space in some way, and be more conscious of it. So I created the following guidelines for myself/for anyone who would want to try a similar project.

  1. Collect Data. Keep track of the places you go for a certain period of time. Document details about these places. For my purposes, I used my check-ins on Foursquare as my data, and went back about two weeks.

  2. Set constraints for how you will represent your travels. I decided that I would outline the places and connect them to each other using Google maps, and take pictures of my locations. I would use the Adobe Ideas app on my phone to create color schemes from the photographs. I took screenshots of the schemes and e-mailed them to myself. I would then use the colors from those pictures to create the colors of my routes.

    I also used this system to determine the weight of the line, based on the time of day I went to the location:

    6:00 am-9:00 am .75

    10:00 am-1:00 pm=1.00

    2:00 pm-5:00 pm=1.50

    6:00 pm-9:00 pm=2.00

    10:00 pm-1:00 am=2.50

    I also used "offset path" on Illustrator to create my traveling.
    Here are all the pictures I took colors from:

Here's the final product, based on my previously established system:

Identity Project

For one of my classes, I did a project about identity/perception/stereotype/coming to terms with who you are. Many students deal with the issue of identity. They try to fit themselves into social niches, and express themselves through dress, music, and outward appearance.The overall assignment for a future class of mine would be to get out of their comfort zone by exploring a part of themselves they don't like or are scared of, or exploring other identities and groups of people. I would want them to find the best possible way to explore this new identity, but the requirements would be that a. it needs to be documented in some way, b. it has to legitimately be outside your comfort zone, c. you need to publicly interact with the identity, and consciously record their own feelings and other people's reactions to their exploration.

When I was a Freshman in college, I couldn't leave my apartment without make-up on. I was concerned with my physical appearance, which became a priority over school and other responsibilities. Now I rarely wear make up or worry about my appearance, because I am busy and have a lot of other things to worry about. For my project, I decided to wear make up and dress up every day. I struggle with this “girly” side of myself because of my past obsession with appearance, and because I feel like pretty or cutesy girls aren't taken as seriously. I once had an art teacher tell me that my art was too "cute," and it's something that has haunted me ever since. For some reason, I attribute some stereotypically feminine things such as cooking, crafts, etc. with being less intellectual. I feel less intelligent when I am "cute" in some way. An example of this is Pinterest, a social site where you post pictures of things you like, etc. People make fun of Pinterest, and the demographic of crafty cliché moms. I think Pinterest is a great way to catalogue findings on the internet, but I also feel conflicted because I don't want to be perceived as unintelligent or cliché. So, for about six days, I made a conscious effort to wear make-up and dress up in my “cutest” outfits.

I used Instagram to take the pictures, since a lot of Pinteresty people use it (though plenty of other people use it, as well.)


Here is me on a regular day: Zero make-up, hair maybe brushed, and that's it (besides the obvious hygienic things like brushing my teeth).

My photos over the course of the experiment:

The people who positively complimented me included:
My roommates
My mom
My boyfriend
My brother
Girls in my printmaking class
A girl in the ARC
A classmate (who even touched my face she was so excited about my appearance)
A co-worker

The comments were generally enthusiastic, surprised and very complimentary. It was obvious that people noticed a major difference.

I interviewed some of my close friends about make-up and appearance. Some of the comments are below:

"Women are taught that to be strong or smart or noteworthy in our society, we should exemplify more traditionally masculine traits. Adorable women are not taken seriously" --Tink Safeer

Commenting on the week she followed her sister's rules about make-up and dress: "I got lots of compliments that week, but I was constantly looking down, trying to hide my face, hiding from everyone. It felt unnatural, and weird, and like I was trying to be the center of attention, which I wasn't." --Tink Safeer

My roommate Lauren said that people think women are more attractive with make-up because it makes them look healthier, and we are genetically predisposed to be attracted to health so that our offspring will be healthy. She also said she doesn't wear make up a lot because she doesn't want to have to keep up that standard.

My boyfriend Blair said that he generally is intimidated by women who are more appearance conscious because he perceives them as high maintenance, and that they won't have the same interests that he has.

I did notice that I felt more self-conscious. I was focusing on my appearance more, and could physically feel make-up on my face. Compliments didn't sway me to wear make-up more. It was uncomfortable for me to be out of my comfort zone, but I think there are times when it is nice to dress up. I just won't be one of those girls who always looks cute, even if that makes people like me more.

Friday, April 8, 2011


This is who I want to be:
1. Someone who wakes up at 6 am and exercises.
2. Someone who knows where all their earrings are.
3. Someone who has a license.
4. Someone who goes to all their classes.
5. Someone who takes a lot of pictures.
6. Someone who can walk through their bedroom without potential injury.
7. Someone who is prepared.
8. Someone who works hard.
9. Someone who is early.
10. Someone who brings a sketchbook everywhere.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday Night

I just want everyone to know, that reads this, how I honestly spend my Friday nights.

For this particular evening, I was supposed to go to the Organ Loft for a wonderful silent movie with live organ music. However, Blair and I are sick. I've spent the last four days complaining on his couch, while he does productive things like prepare for his presentation on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles he's giving at the Art Institute in San Francisco in May. I know, right?

Anyway, I arrived at his house around 3, after spending most of my day watching Scrubs. Then I did about a half hour of work, then I slept until about 8. And then we played the seven minutes game, where we went through some films in his archive to find one that starts with "Y" to show for movie night. There were some promising ones, like a Korean Godzilla movie, and one set in prehistoric times with this warrior who kills a triceratops. And then drinks the blood.

I helped him practice lines, because he's going to be in some online commercials dressed as a woman.

He tried to entice me into a game of Battleship, but I would have none of it tonight.

Then he kicked me out because he was tired.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

I love the hymn "Ring Out Wild Bells" because it's so melancholy and a bit morbid. But I guess anything in the minor key that highlights death will do that.
Anyway, although I slept in until 2 pm today, I am ready to take on the new year.
On New Years' Eve I even made a decision that made me incredibly sad, but had me choose what I really wanted. I had to decide to either keep dragging the past behind me, or show that I was ready to completely enter the future. I learned that relationships are hard, especially healthy ones. I knew why dysfunctional relationships were hard, but even one that is good for me takes work. Sometimes you have to give things up for someone, even when they act like it's not a big issue, even when it doesn't seem like it should be. If you love someone, you don't want to cause them any pain, even if in the process it has to cause someone else pain.
Vague enough?
Also, I went to a rad place called the Unknown Museum and encountered what my life will be like if I stay with Blair. And that means a house and warehouse full of strange historical media artifacts and records. Seriously, this guy is Blair in 30 years or so. And I decided I could definitely live with it all, even if it can be a burden. Blair was like a kid in a candy store, to be completely cliche. I only went the first day, and I could contribute very little to the talk of 50's electronic music and cash-in records and rat fink. I mean, three months ago I didn't know what a 45 or 78 was, or how to play a record.
So yeah, the fact that most of this is about Blair shows that I'm officially one of those boring people in a relationship. But don't let all the naps and x files and mst3k watching fool you, we are totally fun. I'm just sleeping 50% of the time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Five best moments of being hit on while on Public Transportation (and otherwise)

Being a female who frequents public transportation, I am subject to male advances more often than is comfortable. In no particular order, I give you the five best moments of these special encounters.

1. Fox. Oh Fox. I would have given him my number if he weren't in his thirties and someone who hit on me on the bus. He is probably the coolest of this collection. First off, he's black, which automatically makes him more awesome. (Racist comment #1.) Second off, his name is Fox. Enough said. He was wearing sunglasses, baggy clothing, and his voice had a barely discernable mumbly quality. Based on this assessment, I assumed he liked rap music and clubbin'. (Racist comment #2). However, he busted these myths during our twenty minute conversaton, during which I learned he: didn't actually go clubbing (he actually prefers to sit down with a lady at a nice restaurant), his favorite movie is Goodfellas, he regularly watches the Discovery, History, and Animal Planet channels, and prefers natural and organic foods. He also gave me advice for my acne. Oh, and had scars from being in a knife fight. Or so he says.

2. The Rapper. This fellow was rather large, had diamondish earrings, a thin goatee, and some serious street cred. Apparently he does this whole asking women for their number thing a lot, because when I told him he could give me his number, but I don't give mine out, he said "psh, that means you'll never call." He asked me if I listened to rap, I replied that I only listened to a little, like Jay Z and Biggie, and when I asked who he listened to he gave me a minute and a half long list. He clearly was into West coast, and with my limited knowledge, I was into East. He would not tell me whether or not he was in a gang, but he claimed to have been shot five times and shot at others. My biggest regret is that I didn't ask him to rap for me.

3. Mistah Elliot. This wasn't on public transportation, but is heavily related. I kept forgetting my pass on the train and was fined for multiple offenses. I was then sentenced to 25 community service hours, which I completed at the Bishop's Storehouse in Salt Lake. Basically I helped people go around and get groceries. Mistah Elliot was one of these people. He is also black, and years older than me. He started off with "Well, this is my lucky day." Nervous smile from me. "I get to talk to such a pretty girl!" Nervous laughter. And the clincher: "Do you play any sports?" "Um, not really." "Whew, you could NOT tell that lookin at your body! You look GOOD." "Um, thanks." He stared intently at my rear for a great portion of my enounter, according to another volunteer. He also, of course, asked for my number. Mistah Elliot, you're very smooth, but you picked both diapers and tampons, so you obviously already have some ladies in your life.

4. Mr. Persistent. Obviously not his real name, I think it was James or something. Anyway, this was back when I was uneducated in the ways of being hit on, and I would give my number out. The first time I saw him, he told me he used to mess around with satanic 'stuff.' I have no idea what this means. But he said he stopped because it opened up a 'can of worms.' Don't want to know. Anyway, I gave him my number, and I think he even called a few times. Well, a few weeks later, on Frontrunner, he walked by me and dropped his cd player, the batteries falling out. He claimed he couldn't "see very well" and asked for my help in collecting them. And then he asked me why I hadn't called him. I made up some excuse about being busy, and learned my lesson.

5. The Man in Orange. This is probably the strangest one. He came and sat next to me in Trax, dressed in an orange jumpsuit (I think he wasn't an escaped convict? Maybe?) and offered me a cigarette. Then he pretended to surf on the turntable thing on Trax and then said "I don't really know how to surf. I just wanted to impress you." He also said his last girlfriend's name was Ashley, this obviously being a sign. He asked for my number, I somehow came up with the lie that I was visiting from Wisconsin. He wouldn't stop, asking me to go clubbing with him, until I got off at my stop and escaped.

The end. For now.