Monday, January 30, 2012

One Year Ago

Want to know what I did one year ago?
I climbed Mount Sinai. 
I'm SO glad that I kept a blog during my trip.

I remember waking up early (2 a.m.) that morning and putting on every layer of clothing I could fit in my suitcase. I remember taking the slow route. I remember not being able to see anything in front of me without my flashlight. I remember stopping for moments of silence just to look up at the stars. I remember nearly falling off a cliff and thinking "How in the heck did Moses make up up here with TWO stone tablets?!". I can remember thinking about how it must have felt to come up alone just to talk with God. I remember talking with God. I remember reaching the top just as the sun was starting to peak over the endless mountains. I can still hear our shivering voices singing to welcome the day. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I still can't believe that it is real.

I don't mean to sound braggish with these posts (yes, I know braggish is not a word... I just made it up).
But I just feel so blessed to have been able to experienced the things I did on my study abroad.
I don't think I'll ever be able to see the stars the same way again.
I don't think I'll ever sing a hymn without picturing the places I am singing about.
I don't think I'll ever be sitting in church without imagining the view from the Jerusalem Center.
I don't think I'll ever stop dreaming of just walking down the streets of the Old City in the rain.
I don't think I'll ever stop missing Jerusalem... and that's why I talk about it so often. It has altered my life so completely that I can't imagine where I would be without it.


I've always been bad at Math.
In the 5th grade, I got my first C+... in Math.
It was the first year that I didn't make the Honor Roll. Ever since then I've been bad at Math.

I always believed that you had to be good at one or the other, Math or English that is. I remember learning about the separation of thoughts. There is a right brain and a left brain. You are either a visual learner or a factual one. You can either write or solve. You are saturation versus a grey scale. So I choose to be a right brain. I chose reading books and I chose writing papers.

By choosing to be a right brainer, I also chose to be bad at math and science. I thought that I might like these subjects at some points in my life. But ultimately, english was my thing, so why try to be good at experiments and factuals, I simply didn't have that left brain. 

What I didn't realize at the time is that this is all a bunch of rubbish. None of it is true. There is no right brain - left brain. There is only one brain with a right, left, top, bottom, front & back side.

It's in our nature to try and categorize. We put people into boxes to organize and make sense of ourselves. There is a box for females and a box for males, there are boxes for ethnicities and religions and there are even boxes for thinking. We call them typicality. I've always hated being a "Typical ______", and it made me SO angry whenever anyone would call me one. Once a girl said to me, "You are actually nice! I always thought you were mean because you were a cheerleader". My mind was blown. I was so upset that someone had judged my character after a sport that I did in High School. I'm such a typical: Mormon, Girl, Blonde, Cheerleader, Blogger, Photographer, Humanities Student, Big Sister, Bohemian, etc. etc. etc. People made all of these boxes and neatly stacked me into them.

But as much as I hated it. I did it to. I would tell myself "Oh, I'd never date anyone at this party because they are all self absorbed and vain" and yet.. there I was... at the party. I put people into boxes. Talk about hypocrisy.

So why is it that we put up with all of these labels? We accept them because they have a truth to them and because not all typicality's are necessarily bad. I am a "typical mormon" because I don't drink or swear. I am a "typical girl" because I like The Notebook. I am a "typical blogger" because I instagram trendy pictures of my feet in the snow. The boxes are right, and so we sit politely inside them without peering out because the small truths kept us there.

This brings me back to my story about Math. I was bad at Math because I believed I was, because I was supposed to be, because that's what my right brain box told me. I actually wasn't all that bad at math, I just had strengths in other places. I imposed those limitations on myself because I believed in the limitations. I accepted my box. Sometimes people put limitations on us by assuming, and sometimes we allow those limitations to make a home in our thoughts.

This act of assuming is possibly one of the most dangerous limits that we can impose on ourselves as well as everyone we come in contact with. How many times have you wanted to say "that's not all there is to me"? How many times have you been surprised by the cheerleader that was actually nice or the Humanities major that scored high enough to test out of college math? How many times has someone proved you wrong?

Erase the line between left and right brain and stitch them back together. Break apart the boxes that you have so politely sat inside. Set fire to them and watch the smoke rise. Expand your life past the thought of what you were and recognize the possibilities you can obtain. 

So starting today I will no longer accept limitations and no longer impose them on other people. Today I will say "I like Math". Today I will give someone a chance that I didn't think they deserved, and hopefully someone will do the same for me. Today I will be the typical Kaitlin. Today I am finished with boxes. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Adventure Time

One particular afternoon, Aimee and I decided it was time for an adventure. So we grabbed some tunes and headed up the canyon for a scenic drive.  I must confess, as much as I complain about the cold (which I do, a lot), I actually love the snow. I mean, its no beach, but honestly it's probably pretty close to being just as good. (blasphemy?!) Hear me out... Its the purest white, it taste great in cones, you can throw it at people, you can ride a small flat board down a mountain of it, and you can even make angels in it. Was that convincing enough for you?

Feel free to listen to this as you go through my ridiculously long photo montage of the drive.
P.S. Isn't Aimee just absolutely gorgeous?! Gosh. I can't even handle it.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Far From What I Once Was, But Not Yet What I'm Going To Be

The other day at work, a friend asked me a usual question... "How are you today Kaitlin?" and I responded with a usual answer... "It's been one of my best days yet." Overhearing my answer, another co-worker asked why today was so great, to which I shrugged my shoulders. Unsatisfied with my  short response, the first co-worker explained...

"She doesn't see happiness the same way most people do, changing day to day, one being better than another. Instead her happiness accumulates with each day and there is no limit to how happy she will become."

I think that is one of the greatest compliment of my life.

I also think that it is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my short little life so far. That each day we are adding on, we have new knowledge. We have our old memories and are making new ones. Each day should be the best of our lives because it is something more than we had the day before. 

As I was reading an essay by Wendell Berry entitled "Life Is A Miracle" I came across this passage, which says it better than I ever could. 

"My own experience has shown me that it is possible to live in and attentively study the small place decade after decade after decade, and find that it ceaselessly evades and exceeds comprehension. There is nothing that it can be reduced to, because "it" is always, and not predictably, changing. It is never the same two days running, and the better one pays attention the more aware one becomes of these differences, Living and working in the place day by day, one is continuously revising one's knowledge of it, continuously being surprised by it and in error about it. And even if the place stayed the same, one would be getting older and growing in memory and experience, and would need for that reason alone to work from revision to revision. One knows one's place, that is to say, only within limits, and the limits are in one's mind, not in the place." - Wendell Berry

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Picture This.

Today, Zoe and I went to dinner and were talking about life in general. I told her "I honestly don't think that I could marry someone who doesn't like music" and she said "I don't think you could either."

This sounds so weird, but when I listen to certain songs, its like they take me to certain places. Each melody has their own story and their own life to them. Sometimes I just lie on my floor and close my eyes as I watch it play in my head. I just think its an absolute miracle that music can do that to us. That someone that I have never met can put these works together and take me to a whole new place. Humans are so interesting to me, how we respond to things like music and art, how we are able to transfer our emotions into something concrete which can continue to create those emotions in others. I love to think that we are all on this same wavelength of sorts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baby Small Update

I've been dressing a lot like this. 


To drive up to a lot of this. 

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To take a lot of these

I've also been listening to a lot of this.

This year has been great so far. I'm learning to take chances and be brave. I'm exploring and writing. I'm putting myself 'out there' a lot more than I ever have before. I'm working hard. I'm trying to be my best self. 

Mood Board

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



I read this poem for a class last year and I fell in love with it. 
When I re-read it HERE, I was reminded of that first time I read it. 
Now I don't think I can watch the snow fall without it popping into my head.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Free Write

Today was my first day of College. 
Not really, because I'm half way through my Jr Year of College... but today felt like it was the first time. Today felt like I was really learning something important. Today school really meant something to me. 

One week ago, I officially declared my major. As many of you know, its been a long journey for me. I came in wanting to do Psychology, applied to the Photography program {twice} and got denied {twice}. I also got accepted into the Art Education program {twice} and decided that it wasn't right for me {twice}. I almost declared as an Art History major, and nearly looked into technology and engineering teaching {what?}. Then one day as I was contemplating my college career, I decided to go major shopping, when I fell upon the Humanities major. 

Let me first start off by trying to explain my brain to you. I'm not normal. My brain has the strangest way of thinking where everything comes in at different angles, shapes, colors, sizes, sounds, and somehow they all work out inside my little head to make sense of the world. Its a jumbled mess sometimes, but I love the chaos. There is no simple "this is equal to this" or "that explains that"... It's always been "How can I answer that with so many different possibilities". This explains why I changed my mind so many times. There were so many things that I was interested in, but nothing I was truly passionate about because I thought by picking a specialized major, I would miss out on so many other learning experiences. 

This is why on that fateful day when I stumbled on the Humanities course catalog I almost fell out my chair {literally}. In essence, the Humanities is the study of what sets humans apart from everyone else in the Animal Kingdom. It combines studying the different aspects of human nature, what we create, how we think, and how those all connect back to each other. In essence, I'm making sense of my brain. I loved how broad of an education the Humanities provides and how it teaches me the skills I need to succeed in whatever path I take in life. I was amazed that I could find a major that satisfied my strange brain and let me have the freedom to explore my options instead of just training me for a specified field of work. 

Which brings me to this semester. More specifically, brings me to today... where as I sat in my rickety old desk, surrounded by chalkboards from the 1950's, my eyes started to water. I blame it on all the chalk dust, but I know its because I was so happy to be right where I was. Instead of merely trying to answer the problems, I was asking the questions. Instead of simply trying to get through the class, I was invested in the material. What my teachers were explaining to me had real purpose in my life, and when I stepped out of each class I felt like a better person than when I went in. 

That's really what the Humanities does to you. There is no destined outcome. There are no job requirements. There is no single path to follow. Essentially, Humanities is preparing you to become more human. Not in the worldly kind of way, but in a way where you really start to look in on yourself and question who you are now and what you want to become. That is why, for the first time ever, I cried in an English class. As I walked home today, I really felt like I was on a whole new level of thinking. I just wished I could stop every student I passed to tell them that they should be learning the way I am... & they probably are in their own ways. This is how other students feel when they study astrology, biology, special education, design, neurology, nutrition, human development, or even accounting. I'm just so happy that I've finally found it for me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Playlist

For those cold days, walking in the snow. 
{or at least looking at it, in our case}

Wash. - Bon Iver
Wait - M83
New Slang - The Shins
Don't Panic - Coldplay
Love Love Love - Of Monster & Men
Make It Gold - Ohbijou
Gathering Stories - Jonsi
Comfort Me - Feist
Breath Me - Sia
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
Tonight - Lykke Li
In The Stream - S. Carey
Asleep At The Wheel - Working For A Nuclear Free City
Nothing Like You & I - The Perishers
So Here We Are - Bloc Party
You Are The Ocean - Phantogram

Monday, January 9, 2012

The New Year

Is it too trendy to do a New Year's Post? Yes?
Well is it still trendy if I do it 9 days late?
Oh that's just me.

This New Years was an adventurous one. So adventurous that I only took two photos. Well, technically I took one and then Aimee took a couple. But that is besides the point. Aimee, Farryn, Porsche, and I met up with Lani to go to this New Years Eve party at Dave and Busters. It was fun to bring in the New Year with some of my favorite people.

Mine & Lani's Trendy Shoe Picture. Twinsies! 

The highlight of my New Years Eve was crossing "Ride a Mechanical Bull" off of my mental bucket list. Seriously though, I had always wanted to try it, and let me tell you, its a lot scarier than I make it look. The whole time I was afraid that the bull's horns were going to impale me. & in case you were wondering... yes, holding one hand in the air does make it easier to stay on. I thought it was just for looks.

bull rider

& with every new years come a new list of things that I want to accomplish, or goals that I want to set for myself. 

1. The first (and the only one I've really worked on) is that I want to write in my journal EVERY DAY. It seemed a little ambitious to me, considering since I never ever ever write in my journal.I knew that if I didn't commit to it every day, then I would never follow through.

2. Be more charitable. My good friend Rousseau posted this on twitter. Thanks for the inspiration Rousseau. 

3. Start my Mission papers. I can't believe I'll be turing 21 this year. I'm excited to be preparing for an amazing adventure which feels right around the corner and so far away all at the same time. 

4. Do my splits again. Seriously. 

5. Pause in my pursuit of happiness, to just be happy.
Inspired by Guillaume Apollinaire.

So here is to you 2012. I think we are going to get along just fine.

"It appears that it would be impossible for me to live unless I gratified the feeling of improvement that is within me... Improvement is the result of labor."- Heber C. Kimball 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Getty Villa

IMG_9907words After visiting the Getty in Los Angeles this summer with Lani, I vowed that one day I would plan a trip to go visit the Getty Villa in Malibu. You have to reserve spots online and they were always sold out when I wanted to go. Luckily, I was able to score some spots over Christmas day and we gathered a last minuet clan of people to go.

It was an absolutely perfect trip. We walked around the gardens while literally soaking up all on the sun possible. I struck up a conversation with one of the guards who happened to be from Lebanon {loved his middle eastern accent} and knew everything possible about the Villa and J. Paul Getty. He told my mom that I was a very interesting person to talk to, and I'm pretty sure that warmed me right to the core. I love old middle eastern men. Gosh that sounds weird.
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 Afterwards, we went to Gladstones for lunch {phenomenal} where they wrap up your leftovers into cute sea creatures. We wanted a spot on the deck, so while we were waiting we kicked off our shoes and ran around in the sand.

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After lunch we went to the L.A. Temple to watch the sunset. I have a good friend who is serving there as a missionary, and after a little talk with the Sister Missionaries in the visitors center I found out that he is serving as an AP and on any other day he would have been there!

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We went home and turned on the Bachelor. Which, by the way, I am SO disappointed with this season. Those casting directors need a kick in the pants. It was the perfect day to end my Christmas break, and now I'm getting back in the grind at school. I already have so much to do I can't believe it. I'm excited for the new year and the adventures that are sure to come.