Progression

According to WordPress, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 3 years now.

But the “I” who started this blog hardly even remotely resembles the “I” who sits behind the keyboard now.

DownWithTheNorm was founded by an 18-year-old girl during the spark of her *formal* feminist awakening. That girl was fiery, angry, confused, and determined to fix the world. Misogyny was her only foe, and she was vigilant and determined to take him down, and took every opportunity to bare her teeth in the face of opposition.

But, as with all sparks, hers was extinguished.

Gradually, she let her inquiring mind guide her as she learned more and more about the world; how it probably works, and how it most likely doesn’t. She developed an air of cynicism, and became understandably tired of fighting the good fight. Others grew tired, bored, annoyed, or a combination of the three of her persistent, yet non-refreshing wordy posts on social media that accomplished nothing but a temporary emotional relief for our young author.

She did her best to keep her mind open, while simultaneously drawing her own independent conclusions. Especially in the context of her religion.

She spent a short duration as a walking contradiction; trying to force her newly acquired world views into a mold that simply would not fit. She wanted to be the change from within, but that resulted in her being pushed out.  She lost friends, but she gained an identity that she felt comfortable in. An authentic lifestyle was drawing nearer and nearer, but exponentially more solitary.

This girl was anxious-so much so that she couldn’t bare to even hold still even for a minute. Sleep was just a five-letter word. She had to be the fastest, the best, the smartest, and the skinniest always. And she was failing miserably at all of it.

But, breaking down turns into breaking through, if you let it.

The girl behind the keyboard is an enhanced version of the girl from 3 years ago.

I’ve had so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am now, whether that be for the better or not. I’m not the girl with the eating disorder anymore. I’m the girl who maybe spends too much time thinking about food and not enough time about breathing, and probably uses her bathroom scale more often than the average joe. And binges on breakfast cereal once in a blue moon. Oh, and HATES going to the gym.

I’m not the Mormon Feminist Anomaly anymore. I’m simply the feminist woman-person who believes that whether or not there is an afterlife is irrelevant. What really matters is that there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop and enhance as many interpersonal relationships as I possibly can during the time that I am allotted here. I believe that this life isn’t a test at all. Rather, it’s an opportunity to develop oneself to the fullest extent possible, and perhaps find an individualistic sense of happiness while we’re at it; whatever that looks like.

And for all of you looking to slap a label on me (because that’s what people do-no judgment), you can call me an Agnostic. Like I said, I’m not looking to shut out any possibilities completely.

I love tattoos, science, coffee, wine, and angry heathen misogyny-laden rap music. And I let myself love these things, because this is MY human experience. And what I choose to drink, put on my body, or listen to, does NOT make me a bad person, contrary to what I was led to believe growing up with religion

I’m not anxious anymore. Through the process of extensive trial and error, I’ve finally settled on a path that suits me. I got a job that makes me excited to wake up in the morning. I have a degree of self-sustainability that I never have had before. I feel liberated and powerful and in control. Rather than planning for my future, I’m actively taking steps toward living it, and I’m doing it calmly, mindfully, and relatively maturely.

As far as interpersonal relationships go, I’ve made strides toward getting out of my own way. I’m still a bit more self-isolating than I’d like to be, but baby steps are the name of the game. I can let loose now, and go out with friends once or twice a week. Hell, sometimes even on a school night! Because, as I mentioned beforehand, in the grand scheme of things, people are what matter. Yeah, going to bed early so I can bring my A game to school and work is important, but so is making time for those I care about. It’s all about balance.

I breathe easy, sleep easy, and am patient and engaged in every moment, which is much more than I could have ever said 3 years ago. I know I’m no sage of wisdom, and that I have much more developing, improvement, and revision to do, but I genuinely like the direction I’m heading.

Documenting my experiences over the past 3 years has been truly enriching for me, and hopefully at least mildly entertaining for you! I genuinely appreciate anyone who has ever and will ever take the time to read anything that I write.

Here’s to 3 more years!

M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Petulance, Intoxication, and Antiphon

Before I dive into this post head-on, I’d like to start with a diminutive disclaimer. 

Here goes: 

I have no problem with peoples’ choices regarding the substances they ingest. I do, however, have an issue with discourtesy and unmannerliness.

Disclaimer over. Let’s get to the good stuff. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a Journey concert at my local outdoor amphitheater with the rest of the family. Despite minor altercation from sister to sister, or worse, sister to parent, we were having a splendid evening. 

When we first arrived at the venue, our first objective, naturally, was to find something to eat. Heaven forbid we all agree on the same food truck, so we split up and stood in multiple, seemingly eternal lines with rumbling bellies. 

Once we’d all purchased our dinners, we rendezvoused at a small picnic table with one of those umbrella things puncturing the middle, providing relief from the scorching, July sun. 

There were three other concert spectators sharing our table with us, due to the ratio of tables to concession consumers. One of these was a stout woman, perhaps in her mid-fifties, with glasses and more wrinkles than both of the other table mates combined. While I was scarfing down my absolutely disgusting, and completely overpriced salad, this woman turned to me and inquired whether or not smoking was allowed in our current location. 

“I don’t smoke,” I replied, “I don’t know, I’m sorry.” 

She nodded and we both went back to our own business. She turned to her other table mate, another woman of similar age, who was sandwiched between the smoker and a man of similar age, presumably her husband. The smoker told the woman in the middle that she was going to take a smoke. My mother overheard their conversation and politely asked that the smoker wait until my family had finished eating and had left the table to start smoking. 

The smoker responded, “Why yes, of course, I’m not THAT disrespectful.” She then got up and searched for an authority to receive directions for the designated smoking area. 

After a moment, the other woman stood up and addressed my mother. She said, “Y’know, I don’t think that’s right of you to ask my friend not to smoke. You came and sat with us. We were here first.” She was holding a plastic cup containing approximately four ounces of Budweiser. Unfortunately, she lacked the ability to contain herself. 

She continued babbling pathetically at my mom, saying how disrespectful and wrong it was for her to ask the smoker to wait until we’d gone to light a cigarette. After a few more seconds of her slurring and complaining, my father interjected and informed her that smoking was not allowed at this event. 

She responded that there were no signs prohibiting smoking, to which my dad reminded her that there were signs all throughout the entrances. They argued for a while, my dad getting increasingly more flustered and choleric. 

If we wouldn’t have picked up our stuff and simply walked away from this woman, my dad would probably still be sitting at that table, arguing with her. 

I learned a few things from this experience. First of all, despite signs that indicate that there is no smoking allowed, people will still sneak in drugs and light ’em up at the Journey concert-especially marijuana. Second, don’t order salads from food trucks at concerts. Just be a normal human and get pizza or a burger or something. Third, I may not be able to attribute ALL of my sass to my mother. My daddy’s got a little in him, as well. And fourth, Journey has an Asian lead singer now who sounds practically identical to the original.

Life lessons are everywhere, folks. Even at Rock N’ Roll concerts. 

M. 

 

Car-Gazing

I am a girl of many hobbies. My list of hobbies is topped off by items such as, but not limited to, sweatpants-wearing, carbohydrate-consuming, and, of course, people-watching.

My homosapien-observing abilities seem to amplify when I am behind the wheel of my adorably typical, silver Toyota Camry. If I am going to be frank (and I’m going to), I probably shouldn’t ever be occupying the driver’s seat in the first place. Let’s just say my driving record isn’t exactly spotless and leave it at that. Okay?

Anyway, I don’t know what it is about driving, but it becomes exceedingly easy to become distracted while commuting alone in your vehicle. Naturally, I always have my Panic! At The Disco CD’s blaring through my speakers to help me stay alert while on the road. My little car has a surprisingly strong base if you crank the volume loud enough.

Yes, I’m that girl. The one with all of her windows down, one foot on the dash, left arm hanging out the window in a thug-like manner, while the entire car rattles in sync with the beat of This Is Gospel. And, of course, belting not only the lyrics, but the guitar, drums, bass, and back-up vocals simultaneously. What can I say? I’m a one-man show.

While veering in and out of traffic on the highway on the way to viva la university or wherever else I’m going (Probably the library, or some place that sells edible substances), my eyes tend to wander off the road and into the windows of other peoples’ cars. Is that creepy?

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they drive their cars. For example, by observing me through the windshield, you can correctly infer that I am a delightfully happy, glamorous, musically-inclined beauty.

Have you ever been at a stoplight and looked over to the car next to you and caught someone in the midst of a car-cry? It’s best to sympathetically look away and pretend you never saw them and make sure that as soon as that freakin’ light turns green, you get yourself out of that situation.

The best kind of people to catch eye-contact with on the road are the wavers. The ones who are happy campers just like yourself, probably lip-syncing some totally rad track (woah, sorry bout the 90’s lingo), and give you the “nod of fellowship” or the “wave of brotherhood.” (Or sisterhood, I am in no mood to get technical.) We should all collectively drive like this.

Then there’s the texters. I feel like a substitute teacher catching an ignorant teenager grinning at his crotch while he thumbs some stupid message to his homeboys in another class when I see someone texting and driving. Except for the fact that I can’t send the culprit to the principal’s office for immediate disciplinary action like the sub can.

Don’t text and drive, people. Just don’t do it.

Where was I?

Other types of drivers… Oh! The eaters. They’re my favorite. I once witnessed a woman down 3/4ths of an entire cheeseburger in one bite while stopped at an intersection. She must be a human-chipmunk hybrid of sorts. And a hungry one at that. No judgement, just pure admiration.

Stay weird while driving, my friends.

M.