Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thoughts on a Friend

Last night I had a dream about a friend of mine. At least, he used to be a friend. We haven't spoken in years, so I'm not sure what we are now. Not because we fought or because we changed or because anyone did anything wrong, it just...stopped. I moved away and we stopped talking. I tend to do that. Pick up and move and forget to hang on to what I had. It's not a very good thing to do. But severing ties is easy. It shouldn't be. But it is.
Anyway, this particular friend has been on my mind on and off for years, because he is one of the few people that I am no longer close to that I really and truly regret the distance. And we weren't even that close! But I always have felt that there was something more I could have done for him, something more that I could have BEEN for him that would change the way things are now. I have prayed for this friend night after night on and off for years and years, but I've never reached out again, mostly because I have no idea how he would respond. He doesn't need to know that I feel guilty about being absent, because I don't even know that I was missed. It's a conversation that probably doesn't need to happen, because life has changed both of us, and the woman I am is not the girl I was. But why do I still feel that tug in my heart, that "would have, should have, could have" feeling that won't leave me alone, the "what if" scenario that toys with my mind, bringing up imaginations of a friendship rekindled, or, in the best versions, was never lost.
Would it have made a difference to him if I'd stayed in touch?
If I had been there for him, even if he didn't need it, acknowledge it, or want it, would it have mattered?
I hate that I've abandoned people. I don't know if I really have, but it feels that way sometimes. It's like a reverse version of "It's A Wonderful Life", where my reality is the dark part and every now and then I catch glimpses of what could have been if I'd only been there or been involved or told him this or been more like that.
And he's not the only one that makes me feel this way. There are a few others. Every so often they come into mind, and I think, "I could have done more for him/her." I pray for all of them, individually. Not every night. But when they come into mind, I pray for them.
Because it's all I can do now.
So if any of you that are reading this feel let down by me in any way, shape, or form, I am so sorry. I have never intended to abandon anyone. I never wanted to hurt anyone, or let any friendship slowly shrivel and die away. It was just so easy. But know that I love you. Each of you. And if you want me to reach out, I will. I want to reach out and heal hurts that I've caused. Or hurts that just need some soothing, and maybe I can help. It's what the Savior would do and I want nothing more than to do what He would do.
I've lost a lot of friends. They're still my friends, I guess, if you count Facebook friends as actually being your friends, but it's in name only. Not real friends. Not anymore.

But last night, in my dream, that was all fixed with my friend.
And it was amazing.
Then I woke up. And I missed him.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Apology

Okay, so I felt bad today about my rude comments about Anne Hathaway, honest as they were. I thought, "Now what if she stumbled across your blog and read what you said about her? How would that make her feel?" I know, I know, it's silly, but I blame my mother. She always tries to see the best in people, especially when they are doing something that annoys me. Example: When someone is being a really stupid and inconsiderate driver, my mom will inevitably say "Maybe he's on his way to the hospital because his wife is having a baby". If it's a woman, "Maybe she's having a baby." It's always about a baby....
Anyway, not that Anne Hathaway will read my blog, but just to make me feel better, here I go.
I am sorry for being so rude about her performance in The Dark Knight Rises. My opinion on casting is not important, and I am sure that she did the best that she could. I said it could have been worse, and I still feel that way. she looked like she had fun with the performance, and since acting is her job, I think she should have fun with her roles.
I do not know Anne Hathaway personally, and so it is probably harsh of me to say that I do not like her. I'm sure she is a lovely person with a good heart and a strong devotion to the art of acting. I thought she was fun in The Princess Diaries, which was her breakout role, and I really enjoyed her in The Other Side of Heaven. Actually, I just saw One Day on TV the other day, and she was really good in that, too. And I do love Becoming I guess I don't hate Anne Hathaway. I'm excited to see her in Les Miserables because I heard a snippet of her singing on the preview, and she sounds good! Should be fun!
So, Miss Hathaway, if you ever read this, I'm sorry for my rudeness. I don't really dislike you. I hope you forgive me.
There. I feel better now. =)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

WARNING: The following review is the opinion of the author and no one else. There are tragic circumstances surrounding this film's release, and I will not be discussing them at this time. This is purely a movie review and should be taken as such.
I have been looking forward to this movie for a loooooooong time. I have loved this Batman series, and I just knew this one was going to be fantastic, if for no other reason than because it was one of the very few series that had a god 2nd movie. It's a fact of cinema that the sequels are always a letdown. This was an exception.
But this isn't the 2nd film, it's the 3rd. So.
It was fantastic.
The music was brilliant and evocative, and that is Hans Zimmer for you, so it was to be expected. The cinematography was excellent, which was also to be expected, given the other movies. The movie was a liiiiiitle long, but I never really mind that.
Christopher Nolan has done an AMAZING job with this franchise! New aspects to a hero whose stories had already been told! The man is a genius, and I am convinced that he will be making many more amazing films in the years ahead.
Dialogue was good, banter was fun, and the special effects were AWESOME. Did we have any doubts, really?
Now to the meat and potatoes:
Christian Bale. What. A. Hunk. Seriously, I could watch him all day. He could read the dictionary out loud and I would say, "Do it again." Sorry, but it's true. He was absolutely brilliant. He delivered a stunning performance, with a depth to the character that I hadn't expected at all. Dimensions previously untapped for our favorite caped crusader are what you will get from this movie. I've long been a CB fan, but this movie might have made me devoted to him for life.
Michael Caine. Oh, I adore Michael Caine. The man is fabulous, and not just because he's British [although that helps]. Alfred has always been on my awesome list, even when I watched the Batman cartoons. But MC puts such tenderness and wit into his performance of Alfred that it just makes your heart go "awwwwwww". I wish there had been more of Alfred in the film, but I guess it makes me value those moments even more.
Tom Hardy. Ohmygosh, he scared the bejeezes out of me. I wish I could have understood his dialogue a little better, but that kind of made him all the creepier. I was thinking "what did he just say?" and then he would do something that made me jump or made my jaw drop. One of the greatest bad guys ever. And THEN he has the GALL to make me feel sorry for him by the end! The nerve of some people.
Gary Oldman. Brilliant. Was there any doubt? The man is a genius and I love him. The end.
Morgan Freeman. Phenomenal. Of course. He's Morgan Freeman. He could read in any language on earth and it would be amazing. I love him.
Joseph Gordon-Leavitt. I still see him as the crying kid in Angels in the Outfield. Haven't taken him seriously since. Boy, did he prove me wrong. He was AMAZING. It was an awesome character and he totally delivered. Put him on your watch list.
Marion Cotillard. I have been fascinated with her for a few years, ever since she won the Academy Award. She was fantastic in this movie, but I had trouble buying the supposed romance between her and CB. It went from zero to WHOA in like 4 seconds, and the build-up was just not there. Maybe there are deleted scenes that will help me with that, but oh well. I can't fault her for the performance, because by the end, I was gaping in awe. literally open-mouthed. No spoilers here, so go see it and you will understand.
Lastly, and leastly [is that even a word?] Anne Hathaway. I do not like her. I do not like her as Catwoman. I could write an entire blog on my dislike of her [blog, not blog post. as in multiple entries] but I won't. I will say that she did better than I expected. I almost liked her. I honestly think that almost anybody else could have done a better job [almost....I think Kristen Stewart would have been worse]. But nobody asked me, and she wasn't trying to be sexy, so it was okay. Definitely had better chemistry with CB than MC, but that's cuz she was being fun and flirty. Whatever.
The story was awesome, but a little slow to get started. Once it gets started, however, you have to shake yourself and go "wait, what did I miss?!?". Nice little trick there. And the ending.....WOW. It took me completely by surprise, which is a little hard to do with me, I think, and I loved it. When the movie ended, I said out loud, "That was freaking amazing." It's always good to end a movie with that.
Now for my parental warning: THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN. I would think that the PG-13 would tell people that, but there were children in the movie theater when I saw it, and I just shook my head. It was an intense movie, and it isn't for kids.
Non-children, go see it. Go see it now. Amazing. I will see it again, and soon!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

All New

I'm sitting here in my apartment bedroom at my little, but already crowded, desk, my knee is shaking up and down restlessly, a movie is playing, and my eyes are wandering to my clock every few seconds, wondering if it's time for bed yet. Am I tired? No. But I want it to be tomorrow. Badly. Because I hate waiting. And tomorrow, the waiting is over.
I got here on Thursday, and had a bit of an adventure with my apartment. It's all better now, and I don't want to drag it into cyber-space, but suffice it to say, it was not QUITE ready for me yet. That was fine, I had an entire weekend to get settled. So Friday the parents and I came over and started the process of moving me in. Oh my goodness, was it a lot of work. It took all day Friday and half of the day Saturday just to get boxes and suitcases empty. And that wasn't even the organizing process. My parents left Saturday early afternoon, and I worked really hard to be busy the rest of the day, and it worked. Until about 7 pm. I had done everything I could think of, and I was alone in my apartment. My roomies don't come for a few weeks, but there is still one girl here. But last night, I was alone, and it was not good. I started to freak to myself about being in a new place completely on my own without friends or family to help me or take care of me. Twenty-six years old and I was more scared than I had been when I went off to BYU at 18. I had no idea what I was getting into with my assistantship, not to mention the whole grad school thing. And then there was the prospect of church on Sunday. I was desperate to have friends there, so that it wouldn't feel so lonely here. I knew that once things got under way with work and school I would meet people and there would be real purpose to my being here, but that seemed forever away. I wanted to call my mom, but I knew that if I heard her voice, I would dissolve into helpless sobs that she wouldn't be able to do anything about. So we texted. Thank you, technology. She helped me get to the root of what was really bothering me, and then I came to the realization that I should have come to years ago. I needed to take care of myself in all aspects, and I had forgotten the most important part. I was moved into my apartment, had bought groceries, brought my textbooks, and picked up notes from my new job. I was following the promptings the Lord had given me about school and location, but I had forgotten that the biggest part of following His plan is to put everything in His hands. I was still trying to hang on to everything, to control everything, and the unknown expanse ahead of me was absolutely terrifying. I wasn't sure that I actually could stop the worrying and the fear and the panic that was starting to set in. No one was here to tell me things would be okay. I'd received a priesthood blessing from my father before he left, and there were some amazing promises and assurances in there. But those all seemed so far away. What was I supposed to do here and now, when I wasn't close enough for a mommy-hug? I went for my first thought: youtube. I went to the MormonMessages channel and clicked on the first video I found. It was one of the new Bible videos about the Savior, and He was teaching the beatitudes. My tears came back as I heard Him say "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." I thought, "That's me!" I wanted to do what God wanted me to do. I wanted to be what He wanted me to be. I felt empty and I wanted to be filled. Then He said "Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." I have a responsibility here to be a light, to be an example. I couldn't do that if I was filled with worry and fear, especially when they were all so needless. But how was I supposed to get rid of them? I watched more movies on there: clips from general conference, message videos about getting through hardships and loving whatever comes, a brief clip of the prophet speaking just so I could hear his voice. I read the comments on Facebook that people had made, and one of my favorite women said this: "Bloom where you are planted. God sent you there for a reason. Find it, love it, and you might find a miracle." How I wanted that to be true! I wrote down quotes from what I was hearing, and posted them all over my room. "The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, and leave the rest up to Him." (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin). "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come til heaven, but for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland). "We can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We need never feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord's service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up and He always keeps His word." (Henry B. Eyring) Trust God. Leave everything up to Him. We are never alone. It was so simple, and yet I hadn't done it. How could I have forgotten to trust the One who had sent me here? I was ashamed of myself, and I knelt with my heart aching. I knew I had been stupid not to trust Him, and that it was silly to be so worried when He was in charge, but that is what happens to us mortals. So I poured my heart out to the Lord, and I told him that I would turn my worries and my fears over to Him, that I would put my trust in Him because I knew [and I DO KNOW] that He has a plan for me here. He told me in the blessing, and I knew that if I went forward with faith, that I would be protected. I would flourish. Even if the road ahead is hard, I can keep my head held high and my heart full of faith because He is guiding my steps. I never realized this before, but it is REALLY HARD to take that step out into the darkness, with the unknown ahead of us and no light to guide us more than that one step. But I have also learned, in the few hours of my being here, that if it were easy, there wouldn't be a reason to do it at all.
So. I am going to be patient here, in my new apartment, in my new city, in my new job, in my new school, in my new ward. I am going to put one foot in front of the other on this path that God has put me on, because I know He is taking me somewhere great. There are lessons to learn, people to touch, and rough edges that I need knocked off so that I can become refined and more fit for His kingdom here and to come.
Anyways, my apartment is now officially home. I have referred to it has such already multiple times. It's a little too quiet, and a little too lonely, but that will change. I went to my new ward today, and it was incredible. Tiny and mighty. But it will grow as students come back. Not that it needs to. I was filled today and I honestly a truly believe that this is going to be one of the best times in my life. Easy? No, not at all. In fact, I'm sure it won't be. Fun? Could be, should be, that's up to me. Worth it? Absolutely, and without a doubt.
It's a new adventure, a new challenge, and hopefully, a new me.