Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your Heart Is Big Enough For Two

Song: Cross My Heart
Artist: The Rocket Summer


It's a beautiful thing. It's one of my passions. Which is a strange thing to say when you consider that I don't play a single instrument, I can't read a lick of music, and the closest i've come to performing was a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz when I was in 5th grade. But if you've been in the same room as me for more than 20 minutes, you've probably heard me sing or hum or whistle.

My sister Kristi once taught me and my friend the cure for the blues pretty early in my high school career. She said that when you need to be, to just exist and think, this is what you do. And the first step is optional depending on if you feel like spending money. But here it is.

Step 1: Go to McDonalds and purchase ice cream.
Step 2: Roll the windows down in your car.
Step 3: Turn up your music.
Step 4: Drive.

I never forgot that lesson. My favorite place on earth to follow those steps is in Logan, taking the long way home along 1st Dam from the Lundstrom Park area to Cliffside.

If you want to know the quantity of music in my life, here you go. You can even ask my roommates. If i'm doing the dishes: there's music. If i'm waiting for water to boil: music. What does my alarm clock do to wake me up in the morning? Plays music. It is constant. If i've ever posted something you don't quite understand or doesn't seem applicable on Facebook or Twitter, it's more than likely lyrics to whatever song i'm listening to at the moment. Where does the name of my blog come from? Lyrics from a song. What does every single one of my blog posts contain? Each title is from a song, and there's usually a link so you can listen to it. What is taking up half of one of the two drawers I have? Band t-shirts. I've made it a point to get a t-shirt at every concert I go to. What do I write at the bottom of every entry in my journal? The name of my favorite song for that day.

It's gotten to the point that I sometimes don't even realize that i'm doing these things.

Yesterday when I was riding the elevator up to my apartment, I noticed the other two girls in the elevator were kind of shooting me confused looks and that's when I realized I was singing out loud.

 Last week one of my roommates said she thought she recognized "that song." I said "What song?" She said "The one you're humming."

I can't tell you how many times i'll be having a conversation with someone and i'll pause and say, "That reminds me of a song." Needless to say, music is a fairly prominent part of my life.

I once had an experience with music that was the closest i've ever felt to transcendent. I won't attempt to describe it because I honestly know that the inadequacy of my words compared to what was felt would be disgraceful. I legitimately do not think the words exist in the English language to be able to adequately portray the experience. I think the friend that was with me will be the only human being i'll ever be able to try and discuss it with. There is one song in particular from that experience that I still can't bring myself to listen to. That is undeniably the most infinite moment that music has ever brought to my life.

The funny thing about music is that it can help you feel so many things. And I choose my words carefully because I don't think music is forceful. Powerful, yes. But not forceful. It can't MAKE you feel anything, it can only amplify what is already in you.

I don't think "that one song" that reminds you of your high school prom MAKES you nostalgic or teary-eyed, it's just a pathway for those memories to flow through. And I don't think my favorite hymn is in and of itself a monolith of spirituality, but what it directs my thoughts and feelings towards, that is what makes it so powerful. 

Don't get me wrong, I realize that not all music is rainbows and butterflies. I think music is one of the most powerful influences in existence, for both good and bad, but that's all it is. An influence. Individuals are still responsible for their actions. And to go one step further, we are responsible for what we let influence us. If I don't like the direction a song is directing me , I am fully capable of using the on/off switch or clicking fast forward to the next song. Don't praise the music for the good, don't blame it for the bad. It's still people making choices when it comes down to it.

That felt a little soapbox-y. Sorry.

The reason I started writing this post in the first place is that one of my favorite songs of all time came on shuffle. (Don't you love when that happens? It's like iTunes is giving you a hi-five.) And now that i'm to this point in the post, I realize that i'm going to need more than one post if I want to truly chronicle everything I feel about music. So i'll cut to the chase here of why I started this one.

The title-song for this post, as mentioned above, is Cross My Heart by a band named The Rocket Summer. I could do an entire post on TRS itself, and come to think of it, I never did write about that concert back in September. I'll save that one for another day though. Anyways, this song is just...amazing to me. The Rocket Summer is one of those bands that is definitely not for everyone. His voice is quite unique and i'll even admit that the first time I heard one of his songs, I was not a fan. I thought his voice was annoying and not that good. And even now i'll admit that he probably is not the most technically sound singer, but I choose to look past that. So many of his songs are just chock full of incredible lyrics. And the story behind his band is just so great if you ask me.

Okay i'm sorry, i'm getting carried away. Back to the point.

Cross My Heart is one of those songs that I could listen to 30 times in a row and never get tired of it. I know this for a fact because after I went to his concert, I did just that. Probably more than 30 actually. Something about the rhythm and how ridiculously upbeat it is and how honest the words are and how intimate the sound is and the way it builds from the simple strums at the beginning to the full blown "If I listen to this song anywhere but my locked bedroom or my car, people will think i'm insane because of how I dance and scream along to the lyrics." and then back to the softer but still upbeat bridge-thing (I don't know what it actually is called). I don't know.  It's just one of those songs that I think could help me smile no matter what kind of day i'm having. 

And my point in writing this post is to ask: do you guys have a song like that for you? If so, I want to know what it is. Comment or write your own post and tell me what song is your Happy Song. When did you first hear it? What memories are tied to it that make it so great for you? What's your favorite line? Tell me YOUR story :)

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." -Aldous Huxley

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Only Way To Really Know Is To Really Let It Go

Song: Maybe
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
(I warned you I was on an IM kick. Which i'm totally fine with because she is AMAZING.)

Do you ever sometimes wonder what kind of conversations you could have with random strangers? Maybe i'm weird, but I think these sorts of things ALL the time.

Think about the last really good, thoughtful, meaningful conversation you had with someone. When I was at SUU this fall, I was lucky enough to have these kinds of conversations almost daily. I had some of the best chats of my life with the friends I made down there. I clicked with a few people there in a way I never had before. Let's just say I haven't had many 5-hour talks about a single subject with too many people. And that's what I miss dearly. Just talking to people.

Well, sometimes I think about the fact that before I talked to those people, I didn't even know they existed. They went to their own high schools, had their own families, did their own things. Yet when the time came for us to sit and chat, there was so much to talk about. Even though I literally had never even heard their name just a few days or weeks or months earlier, there we were. Sitting in the honors common room, or the dining hall, or the balcony, or the grass on campus, or a random bench, or the student center, or all around town, or the picnic tables outside the dorm, or a curb, or a couch, just where the heck ever. And two individuals who had only known each other for a matter of weeks could sit and discuss things for hours. How amazing is that? Sometimes, I love being a human.

Since I ride the bus to and from work, I have a lot of encounters with strangers and time to think. I mean, I also work at Disneyland where I run into at least 20,000 new faces every day, but most of those are just in passing. But at the bus stop, on the bus, walking to and fro...the bus is different I think.

I see these people for the first time ever, and then sit next to them for 5 or 10 minutes and most the time we never exchange a word. But sometimes I think about all those other people at SUU who used to be strangers. Until we talked. And I think that maybe someone who could be my best friend is sitting a bench away from me at the bus stop, but we'd never know because we never talk. Maybe that guy my age sitting by himself could make me really happy. And I could make him happy. But we'd never know.

And maybe I don't even have to have a relationship with these people to benefit from talking to them. Maybe the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair who blasts music and shows up at the same bus stop every night has great stories to tell, and I could learn the importance of education or something. But I won't know because I dismiss him as the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair. And maybe the bus driver has a kid at home whose birthday party he's missing because he has to work that night, and I could learn about sacrifice. Or maybe the guy standing and holding onto the rail is going to his first job interview, hoping that this will be his big break, and I could be excited for him. There are just so many possibilities. And i'd never know the truth behind any of these stranger's faces because I never open my mouth. Instead, I stare out the window or check Twitter for the fifth time in 10 minutes. And i'm not saying I need to become best friends with every person I ever see. It's just interesting to think about. Why is it that I am willing to open up and have people open up to me at school, but not on the bus? I understand that there's this thing called privacy and I shouldn't walk around wearing a shirt that tells my life story. But it's still intriguing to think about. At least to me.

I've heard people say that if you can love someone, that's all they ever really need from you. But I think the most important thing you can ever give someone is a chance. A chance to hear what they have to say. Because if you think about it...

You never really know anyone, until you do.

"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for." -John A. Shedd

Sort Of

Song: Sort Of
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson (I've been on a huge IM kick lately. Her lyrics are so real its unreal.)

Hello friends :)

So I guess this is why I never had a ChiaPet. Or a real pet for that matter. And why I'm only on page 53 of my spanish copy of the Book of Mormon which I began in August. And why it took me two and a half years to finish one journal. I am just not all that consistent.


I'm turning over a new leaf. I've recently discovered how amazing blogs can be. I never thought i'd say that. But being able to sit on my couch in California and read about my friend in Utah or my cousins in Oklahoma has made me realize that they can be a really good way to stay in touch.

So, I want to try and start updating this thing more regularly. However, I want it to be something that you guys want to read. I don't want to just type words that will sit on the internet for nothing. I want to know what interests you guys!

With that being said, i'm going to have to ask a favor. I need you guys to comment and tell me what you like to read. It could be "Missy, I love you, but I hate when you talk about work all the time. Tell me more about living in California!" or "Hey, it's great that you live in a high-rise apartment, but I want random Disney facts!" or "Tell me a joke." or "Tell us a story about when you were 13."

I will write about whatever you guys request. So PLEASE, tell me what you want!

*cue Spice Girls song*

"I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral." - Walt Disney

Saturday, January 28, 2012

That's What You Get For Sticking Out Your Neck

The title is from a song called Giraffe by a band called Miniature Tigers. Very clever if you ask me.

So I guess sometimes when people have a blog, they do things like update it regularly. Obviously, I am not one of those people. Maybe I need to feed my blog Activia so it can become more regular, but that just sounds like a sticky mess all around. So I probably won't do that. Sorry if anyone was looking forward to that. With all that being said, I don't feel like anyone was really missing my blog since I don't really have a theme for my posts and most of them are way too long to be entirely read. Anyways, let's get on with this.

I currently do and for the next 8 months will live in a state called California and work for a company called Walt Disney at a park called Disneyland. You may have heard some of these names. It seems like whenever I mention any of these details to people back home they usually say one of two things.

1 - "Wow! You're so brave. 8 months is a long time. Are you gonna be Mickey Mouse or something?"

2 - "So can you get me a discount? Hahaha just kidding...but kind of not kidding."

Which i'm fine with. If I had a friend or family member who worked at Disneyland, i'd probably try and get  some benefits out of them too. I understand. Here's the only problem. I'm not Mickey Mouse. And half the people who want me to get them in for free, probably had no intentions of acknowledging my existence once I passed the state line until they knew there could be something in it for them.

I'm a custodian. I sweep the grounds, pick up trash, take out trash, clean up vomit and other messes, and many many things that are far less glamorous than being Mickey Mouse. And at first, I was not too excited about this. I didn't even get a cool themed costume like the space-looking outfits for folks in Tomorrowland, or the Indiana Jones-like outfits for Adventureland. I got a white shirt, white pants, a crimson belt and pouch, and all black shoes. I look like a marshmallow. And for the first day, I was almost ashamed or embarrassed. I thought, "No one would ever want this job. I don't even get paid that much, I have to work weekends, and the shifts are at crazy times of the night half the time." And don't even get me started on how much my feet hurt at the end of the 8 hour shifts of constant walking or standing. I was thinking that it would be a looooooooong 8 months. But then one little thing happened.

One of the days of on-the-job training, we were sent out to Main Street to do "guest interaction", basically just make someone's day a little better by taking a picture for them so the whole family could be in the shot, give a little kid a sticker, go pin trading, help someone find directions or give them a map, etc... Just go be a helpful resource, ya know? So we go out, and it was my first time in costume, with my name tag, out in the park. It was kind of one of those surreal moments. It was neat. So I pin traded with a couple people, took a bunch of pictures for people in front of the Castle, picked up some napkins that had blown away from some folks. It wasn't miserable, but I didn't think it was all that magical either. Until one I spotted one little girl.

At the time, there were a lot of people sitting and waiting for the parade to start. It was toward the end of the day, and a lot of kids were tired and sleeping on their dad's lap or in the stroller. Well, one specific little girl wearing a yellow dress just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast caught my eye. I hadn't given out any stickers yet, so I figured this was a good time to do it. As I was walking over, I noticed that her head was kind of in her hands, bowed down a little. I couldn't tell if she was tired or crying or what, but I had already started walking over there and I didn't want to be weird, so I just kept going. I knelt down on the street to get down to her eye level, and just started talking to her. I told her that her Belle dress looked great and asked if she was excited to see Belle in the parade, and when she looked up, I thought my heart was going to melt right out of my chest. This girl had the biggest alligator tears running down her cheeks. It was heartbreaking. But she looked up and she nodded and said Belle was her favorite. So I kept talking to her and she kept nodding while the tears were just streaming down her cheeks. Finally, I asked if maybe a sticker would help the wait for the parade go by a little bit faster. And i'll tell you what folks, in that moment, I understood why people are willing to go through all the sweeping and garbage and messes and marshmallow looking outfits. I have never seen someone's face light up so fast as when I told that little girl she could have a sticker. Just one little sticker turned her whole situation around. She was smiling instead of crying, laughing at my dumb joke about Goofy being goofy, and most importantly, I could see her parents smiling out of the corner of my eye.

That's the magic of Disney, folks. It's not in an overpriced corn dog or a hundred princess themed movies. It's seeing a little kid smile, and seeing how happy it makes the parents to see their kids smile. Maybe i'm still just a rookie and the magic will disappear after a few more months of Code V's and aching feet. But in that moment of giving that little girl one simple sticker, it sure didn't feel to me like it would be wearing off any time soon. And to me, that's even better than being Mickey Mouse because I got to talk to them and show interest and truly interact. Plus I hear those character costumes weigh a ton and are super hot.

So, next time you hear of someone who works for Disney, instead of asking if they are Mickey Mouse or if they can get you in free, ask them when they saw the magic. I bet you'll get a kick out of watching their faces light up too :)

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing. That it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney