Special Skills

I’ve often thought that the ‘special skills’ section on resumés and applications should be much less narrow than it is. Relevant special skills are old hat—I have loads of random talents that are going to get me nowhere in life and you should hire me because of them.

  • the ability to wake up and resemble a blonde and bespectacled Morticia Addams.
  • a highly sought after encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway show tunes/random 80s music, such that anything you say can and will be transformed into a vaguely off-key rendition of the relevant song
  • see also: encyclopedic knowledge of commercial jingles/ancient TV theme tunes
  • a fondness for passive voice (obviously)
  • (and parentheses)
  • the most amazing pout face you will ever see.
  • psychic powers to predict what you’re going to say 50% of the time
  • an uncanny ability to wrongly predict what you’re going to say 50% of the time and be disappointed about it
  • “amazing” dance moves
  • rollercoaster emotions that are less like a rollercoaster and more like one of those tower, free-fall ride things (i.e. the froghopper)
  • that one time I missed a question on SmartyPants about James Joyce because I am a complete failure at aiming a wii remote this isn’t much of a skill
  • the ability to fall down the stairs much more than the average person
  • the ability to look 17 while actually being 90 years old
  • the ability to freak out about homework you have coming up for three weeks, forget about it after it’s actually been assigned, and then scramble and half-dash it all the night before it’s due
  • the ability to whine about everything (“It takes a genius to whine appealingly.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • sock slide prowess
  • falling over prowess
  • an annoying habit of pluralizing everything that ends in ‘us’ by changing it to ‘i’—also, ‘is’ to ‘es’ (blame Latin, not me)—even when it’s not correct
  • saying “I need to do something about my hair” every day, then going to do nothing about my hair, ever
  • terrible sleep habits
  • excessive clumsiness
  • the ability to ingest 5 cups of caffeinated coffee/tea in one day and still remain a zombie
  • faulty brain wiring that makes bad ideas look like really excellent ones. (ESSIE, I know, I need you to leave the children you’re babysitting with my brother and drive me to the bookstore even though my mom—and your mom—will flip that we left them and drove by ourselves to get my mom a birthday present because I forgot until today while she’s out of the house she will be so touched yes this is foolproof) (Note: attempted to pitch this to Essie two days ago. She said no.)
  • can sometimes identify composers while listening to classical music on the radio
  • being right once and so proclaiming myself infallible
  • being wrong once and still sticking to the claim. “I’m right unless proven wrong. Always. Unless I’m not. But I always am, so.”
  • never being sure how to spell ‘dependent’ or ‘relevant’ (though I may have figured it out, finally)
  • constant grumpiness that almost never goes away and can be brought to the forefront by the tiniest thing
  • the ability to complain about something while doing the exact same thing myself
  • the foolish idea that you can wear the same clothes three days in a row without anyone noticing. (But I’m going somewhere different today.)
  • the ability to nap just about anywhere. (The carpet is actually pretty comfy, no lie.)
  • a fondness for naming as-of-yet-unnamed childhood toys as they are rediscovered after really obscure, nerdy characters or classical composers—hence, Chekov, Ismene, Schubert.

And most importantly at all, a special skill that might actually be useful:

  • the ability to just pretend I know what I’m talking/doing about until I actually do. Basically—fake it ’til you make it. Excellent life-schlepping advice from one who obviously has it all together.

Disclaimer: please don’t take life advice from me. Thanks.

Best wishes,
Hero

BEDA Day 13: Inspired

I know you’re all desperate to hear about art camp (hah), but before I post about that, I have some poetic religious gushing that I have to get off my chest. If you don’t want to read it, that’s fine, but I feel like it will offer a peek at my world view and my spiritual life, so if you’re interested, continue on.

I’ve put this post off because Saturday and Sunday I was too exhausted to do it justice, and I don’t want to lose my train of thought by putting it off any more. Almost the entirety of this post occurred to me during adoration on Saturday, so y’all should feel flattered that I’m thinking about you all the time. 😉

So on Saturday I went to a LifeTeen event at a theme park. (Not telling which one, for safety reasons, however feeble they might be.) We spent the day riding the roller coasters and eating overpriced ice cream and sweating a lot. It was incredibly hot. As fun as the roller coasters and the ice cream and the heat (ha) might have been, the best part started in the late afternoon, when we gathered in the stadium for Mass and adoration.

Before Mass started, we sang a bunch of Catholic songs and punched the air and danced — I recognized a guy who spoke at the Made to Love retreat I went to back in February. It was awesome.

Then there was Mass. As a rule, whenever our Archbishop says Mass, it’s awesome. You know how (or you may not know, actually) how Pope John Paul II was so invested and enthused about the youth? Our Archbishop is the same way. He’s fantastic. His homily was fantastic, but the part of the Mass that really spoke to me was the Eucharist. This seems to always happen to me at retreats, but because it always takes so long to distribute to Body and Blood, I end up having a lot of time to contemplate and it always really moves me.

I’d spent the whole week at art camp, surrounded by people who weren’t Catholic and probably weren’t even Christian. At one point during the camp, I’d had to explain how we Catholics don’t worship Mary, we just honor her. (That’s always fun, right?) I can’t help but pity my non-Catholic/non-Christian friends. I know they’re happy how they are, and I mean no offense by any of this, but I am so happy to be Catholic. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like not to have Mary or the saints in my life. Not to have the Eucharist; not to have adoration.

I have to wonder how it feels not to have that special relationship with our Heavenly Mother. I know that when I’m feeling the most alone – when I’m crying late into the night and can’t sleep because of the sobs pulling apart my chest – she’s the one who kisses my wounds and rocks me in her arms until I fall asleep. She’s the one who holds me, the one who comforts me. One night at camp I just lost it completely. I’d never felt so alone, so much loss, so empty inside. I spent a good fifteen minutes kneeling by the window and just crying my eyes out as quietly as I could so I wouldn’t wake up my roommates… I finally settled under the covers with my rosary and ended up falling asleep halfway through the third decade. She is with me when others aren’t, or can’t be. And I can’t imagine life without her.

As I knelt on the cement ground of the theme park stadium, watching the Archbishop give communion, I felt huge emotion welling up inside my chest. The band was singing How He Loves, which I absolutely love, and this one line just echoed through my head… “If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking…”

I felt so tired. Emotionally and physically, I was exhausted. I was sick (still am) of crying myself to sleep, of the ache in my heart that comes from nowhere and catches me unaware. I just wanted to stumble forward into His arms and drown in Him. I wanted to give everything to Him, and I did. My aches, my pains, my joys, my fears, my sadness, my excitement… Everything that I am, everything that I am to be, I want to surrender to him. I want every molecule, every particle of my being to be filled with Him – every time I breathe in I want Him to fill my lungs, to fill me inside and help me stand up, help me carry on, help me hold up my head. And I want it so desperately – the only thing I want as desperately is for my friends to be able to feel this way; to experience what I experience. I want the people I love to know how it feels to have Him in their life – not that they don’t already, but a lot of them don’t have Him in this way.

Not just my friends, either. The people on the roller coasters surrounding the stadium, their squealing cutting through the silence – not realizing how close they are to Christ Himself. Not realizing that the one person who loves them more than anyone on this earth ever will is right there. He loves them more than the boy sitting next to them on the coaster, more than the mother who tucked them in at night, more than the girl who broke their heart said she did. More than all of it combined. And they don’t even know it.

They don’t know how it feels to see the priest process in with the monstrance and to have their breath catch in their throat and their heart skip a beat. To not want to tear they eyes away until they have to because their vision is flooded with tears and they have to wipe their eyes.

If I am drowning, then I want to grab hold of everyone I know and drag them under with me, because drowning has never felt so beautiful and filled me with so much joy. My life has been rough and confusing lately, a lot like the roller coasters I rode on. There have been loops and twists, plummeting drops that still haunt me, and the inescapable fear that I am going to fall off the ride. But through it all, He has been with me, holding my hand and teaching me how to breathe again.

I realized on Saturday that Jesus is and always will be my one true love. He is my bridegroom, and every Sunday (and usually at some point during the week, too), I walk down the aisle to be with Him at the altar. He is the only man who will love me more than I could ever possibly love Him – even though I love Him with everything I have, He will always love me more because He can. I cannot love Him like He loves me because I am just human. I’m a weak and exhausted teenage girl, and despite my many flaws, He loves me and He always will, even when I sin, even when I break out in pimples, even when I feel like the most unloved and loneliest being alive – He is always there.

I am never truly alone. I cannot be. That is the simple truth that has kept me going since June. When love and hope and happiness feel as though they are gone from my life, there is someone there for me, there with me.

That’s why I pity people who don’t know Christ. Because without Christ, I would feel even more lost than I always do. I have a road map, and even though I feel like I can’t read it a lot of the time, I know I have it and the reassurance of that has kept me sane.

That’s why Catholicism is the most important aspect of my being. That’s why I go to Mass every Sunday and why I keep a rosary by my bed. That’s why Mary is my mother and my greatest friends don’t live on earth. Without Christ, without the Eucharist, without someone to feed me – someone to tell me to GET UP AND EAT – I would be nothing. I would not be able to go on.

Have a blessed evening, you guys. Stay tuned for some art camp shenanigans and some paintings and stuff. ‘Til then, best wishes! 🙂

~Hero

On Learning to Trust (or How VBS was Entirely Too Relevant to My Life This Year)

Here’s a fact about me: I am terrible at trust falls. Maybe it’s because I’m heavy – or at least perceive myself to be – and so don’t fully expect the person catching me to be able to, well… catch me. I always end up buckling my knees at the last second and catching myself. This is probably because every experience I’ve had with trust falls in which I actually trusted and fell, I knocked the other person over and we both went tumbling to the ground. Landon can attest that I have “trust issues” when dancing – when I’m dipped, it’s rather awkward because I won’t just relax and allow the guy to dip me. (Because I’m afraid he’ll drop me, or that I’ll knock him over – both have happened before. Grace is not my strong suit.)

It’s not that I’m afraid of falling, or of embarrassment. I fall over all the time: usually not intentionally, but there are times when I feel the need to demonstrate how to properly collapse. And I’m outgoing to the point at which nothing really embarrasses me. (At youth group our leader will give us motivation for gathering together quickly by saying, “The last one over here has to stand up in the front and sing ‘I’m a Little Teapot’.” I always linger back so I can run up to the front and show off my now-famous I’m a Little Teapot routine.)

So why do I have trouble with trust? Maybe it’s because of my temperament: I’m reading a book called The Four Temperaments, and I’m pretty sure I’m a choleric, which basically means that I’m motivated, strong-willed, stubborn, and outgoing. It also means I have a tendency to think I’m sufficient all by myself, and I don’t need others. I don’t need to trust people to get along in life. I’ve also always fancied myself like a spy… Trust no one, I work alone, etc.

The problem is, now I need to trust… Need to trust more than I ever have. And I can’t.

I mentioned a couple blog posts back that I’ve been having some issues (that I did not elaborate on). I’m not going to go into much detail, but I’ll just say that there was a boy I very very very much liked who recieved the call to the priesthood. I was heartbroken: really, actually heartbroken – not like my thirteen-year-old version of ‘heartbroken’, which seems laughable in retrospect. My whole world felt like it had been flipped on its head, and I alternated between crying and kicking myself for acting like such a Bella Swan.

This all happened about three weeks ago, and I’m still hurting, but I’m healing, too. My problem is the whole trust thing. I thought I had things under control. I had a plan. Things were going well. And then everything flipped and now I don’t know where I am or what to do.

I don’t even know who I am.

I’m not implying that my entire identity and life rested in this boy, because it didn’t. I’ve been troubled by not knowing myself for a really long time. In Marian Group (a sort of religious/youth-group-y/study group I’m in with some friends of mine), we’ve been talking about identity and discovering ourselves – who we are, truly. It’s a hard question answer: 2-4-6-0-1 doesn’t cut it, in this case.

So add to this whole situation the fact that I’m fifteen and hence overemotional and overdramatic, and you’ll see why I’m sort of a wreck. There are other factors at play besides everything I’ve listed that I am not going to go into, but for our purposes, just assume that nothing makes sense and I feel like I’m stumbling around a maze, blindfolded.

I am lost.

I should also mention that this all happened on the Friday night before VBS started. I woke up Monday morning to discover that the entire theme for VBS was ‘Trust God.’ I spent the entirety of VBS teaching kids about trusting God in every situation, the whole while I was finding it hard to trust God myself.

We sang this entirely-too-relevant song a lot.

That song is basically my life right now.

Everywhere I look, the world is screaming at me to trust God. I have a little plaque in my room that I got for my confirmation. Guess what Bible verse it has on it?

Basically the most accurate thing I’ve ever seen ever.

And this morning at Mass, the homily was all about trusting God despite your troubles. It’s ridiculous: is everyone inside my head right now? Like, living in there? (Hello population of the world. What are you doing inside my consciousness?)

So the solution seems simple, right? It’s being broadcast at me from every outlet – it’s not even trying to be subliminal. God has constructed a flashing billboard and planted it in front of my face: TRUST ME, HERO.

But it’s not simple! It’s not simple at all! I’m not one to sit by and be passive – I want to trust God, but I don’t know how! And I feel like I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and hope God brings about whatever’s supposed to happen to me… I mean, I need a plan, an idea of what’s going on so I can move forward in my life, so I know what action to take.

But like I said: I’m blindfolded. I’m lost. I don’t have a map.

I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m here for. And I don’t know where to go. People try to offer me advice, and it’s not helpful. I’ve been taking lots of naps because when I’m asleep I can escape it all. Pretend I’m five years old, when life was easy: cheerios and Blue’s Clues. No problems.

I have to learn to trust Him. I have to remember something that Julia told me, something that really struck me: God doesn’t just have a plan for this boy – God has a plan for me. And I have to realize that trusting God doesn’t mean not doing anything and expecting my life and identity to just plop itself into my lap. After all, I’m in a maze and I’m blindfolded – I need someone to lead me out… But being led out requires effort on my part. I have to walk forward through the twists and turns and I have to trust God that I’m going the right way. And that’s really hard for me – to let go, to not have a game plan or a map. But I know He is leading me somewhere, and I just have to trust that it’s somewhere good.

I’m going to figure it out. Somehow. (Someday… Somewhere… What? You thought I could get through an entire blog post without referencing West Side Story?)

In the meantime, I’m going to be praying and journalling a lot to try and get a handle on things. I would really appreciate it if you guys would all pray for me. As much as the Slytherin in me says I can do it alone, I can’t, and I know that.

I’m falling backwards, but my knees are buckling before God can catch me. I’m not letting go, and I need to. No matter how I feel, I’ve got to trust God – I said that so many times at VBS. Now I have to start believing it.

~Hero

Heh. Heh. (Eoin’s Bio)

…Hi guys. So I’ve been plot charting. And watching The Legend of Korra. And then going old school and watching the original series. (“SECRET TUNNEL! SECRET TUNNEL! THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS! SECRET TUNNELLLL!”)

I also watched Return of the King last night and cried like a little girl. I can’t help it! They bow to the hobbits! And Legolas and Aragorn and everybody… and then FRODO LEAVES AND PIPPIN CRIES AND I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT!!! *bawls*

So, yeah. I’m still freaking out about auditions, of course, but I’m pretending I’m not… Right now I’m just reveling in how awesome it is to be an earthbender and pretending my cello is not sitting twenty feet away from me, nagging me to practice.

*ahem*

Anyway, as promised, here’s Eoin’s bio. (I completely love Eoin. Just saying.)

Name: Eoin

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Appearance: Red hair, thick and long enough that it grazes his eyebrows, but not so long that it obscures his eyes or covers his ears. Pretty muscular, makes him look slightly chunky. Has a big goofy grin that endears him to everyone. Fairly tan, but not brown.

Height: 6’1″

Strange or unique physical characteristics: Is much more graceful than he looks.

Favorite clothing style/outfit: Actually enjoys getting into his official initiate uniform and dressing up for parties (unlike Caerwyn, who hates anything fancy or stuffy).

Where does he live? Eildur Castle.

What is it like?  See Caerwyn’s bio – note that Eoin doesn’t spend time in the dungeons, as they’re not his assignment.

Defining gestures: Talks with his hands, waving them around all over the place; when he’s trying to figure out what to say, he furrows his brows and scowls a little.

Things about his appearance he would like to change: His weight – he feels like a baby-faced kid.

Speaking style: Loud, animated, fast. He’s very talkative.

Pet peeves: Arrogance, same as Caerwyn, but also negativity (on the part of others). He hates it when people mope around and are depressing all over the place.

Fondest memory: When he received the request for him to begin Initiation – he never thought he’d make the cut.

Hobbies/Interests: He, like Caerwyn, doesn’t have a lot of free time, but he very much enjoys music and wishes he could play an instrument. His main hobby is making people laugh.

Special skills/abilities: He puts people at ease. People feel comfortable talking to him.

Insecurities: He feels like a dork and that Caerwyn will never love him because he’s too derpy. [Oh my goodness, my brain while I was writing.]

Quirks: Laughs in a strange way – sounds like he’s hiccuping/weeping. [If you’ve seen any Messy Monday outtake videos, think of Jordan’s laugh – it’s like that.]

Temperament: Easygoing. Comfortable and content. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have drive, but he’s happy in every stage and moment in life on the way to where he’s going.

Negative traits: Doesn’t give himself enough credit. He also belittles himself.

Things that upset him: When the people he loves are hurt or upset.

Things that embarrass him: Himself. Eoin finds a lot of things about himself, or his words or his actions, embarrassing.

This character is highly opinionated about: What’s right and what’s wrong.

Any phobias? Nope – nothing you could label a phobia.

Things that make him happy: Eoin is happy all the time, generally, but Caerwyn is what ‘makes him happy’, per se.

Family: Oldest of seven kids – he’s always been under a lot of pressure to be a good role model, and never felt like he was.

Deepest darkest secret: Is hugely in love with Caerwyn.

Reason he has kept this secret for so long: Is afraid of rejection, of course, and it’s not like it ever came up.

Other people’s opinions of him: He’s friends with everyone, and everyone likes him. They don’t like how he’s so down on himself, though… It gets annoying.

Favorite books: Doesn’t have a lot of time to read, but he enjoys a good fantasy story – dragons and whatnot.

Favorite foods: Stew from the castle kitchens, fresh out of the pot, in the company of good friends.

Physical health: Very good – strong, fit, healthy.

Dream vacation: Doesn’t care. He’d go anywhere as long as he was with Caerwyn.

Description of his house: He lives in the initiate’s dorm, like Caerwyn.

Description of his bedroom: He’s in the standard dorm – plain stone walls, three simple beds and a chest at the end of each bed.

Best thing that ever happened to him: Caerwyn [This bio is a lot sappier than I thought it was when I wrote it… Whatever.]

Worst thing: The princess. Also [SPOIIIIIILER].

Superstitions: Slightly afraid of magic because of the princess going NUTS.

Three words to describe this character: Content, loyal, strong.

Supporting Character Questions

Relationship to protagonist: best friend & love interest

Favorite thing about the protagonist: her humility and her perserverance

Similarities to protagonist: white initiate like her, also very loyal like she is

Differences: more talkative, slightly more optimistic, but also less humble than she is (in a self-derogatory way)

Anyway. I’ve changed Princess Serafina’s name to Princess Eila – it sounds more Gaelic, and it makes sense that she’d be named after the kingdom (Eildur) since she’s royalty. I’ll have her bio up tomorrow.

Bonus ‘Hero-Is-Easily-Guilted’ Post

Okay, so I was glancing over today’s post, and it’s kind of boring and it doesn’t really instill the feeling of how awesome prom was, and it sounds really impersonal because I originally wrote it as an article… I just feel bad because I didn’t post on Sunday and so you guy have waited a whole week and I gave you… THIS.

So because I feel really guilty really easily (I’m not kidding – if I beat someone at a board game, I feel bad), I’m going to quickly go over what’s been going on in my life and try to give you something interesting to read. Sound good? Okay.

Yesterday we had our final religion class of the entire year… I didn’t even think I’d be emotional, but the class ended with me crying my eyes out. Granted, I’m a crier, but it’s just that… Augh. You know when you have a class that’s just the best class ever because the teacher is amazing and your classmates are hilarious and awesome, and you look forward to every Tuesday so you can talk to them all and learn a lot and have a great time? That was religion class. And now it’s over – and even though I’m going to request the same teacher for next year, the chances of me getting into another class with all of the same kids and having the same great experience like I did this year are really slim. And it’s just driving the point home: school is almost over, and even though I’m really looking forward to summer, tenth grade has been the best school year I’ve ever had. I made so many new friends, and had so many great experiences, and I learned so much… I’m going to be really sad to see it go. 😦

On a happier note, my dad FINALLY got a job! He retired from the military back in October, and he finally, FINALLY got a job last week! I’m really excited, because this means we’re probably going to buy a house in the Fun Neighborhood soon, and I might get a new cello, and a bunch of awesome things! 😀

I have auditions for this HUGE and Fancy Schmancy youth orchestra here in town at the end of May and I am FREAKING OUT. I’m practicing like a madwoman every day… I absolutely HAVE to nail this audition, or I don’t know what I’ll do. Along the same line, I have my end-of-year concert for my current orchestra on Friday, but I’m not worried – our pieces are easy.

I’ve been feeling sad about my lack of writing recently, and have vowed to get back into the swing of things and get back to my novel. It’s been ages since I’ve sat down and worked on it, and I miss it, honestly. How can I call myself a writer if I don’t ever write? I mean, honestly. Lately I’ve been identifying myself more as a cellist than a writer, which is really sad, because as much as I love my cello and as much as it means to me, I am a writer! It’s my dream, it’s who I am. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be and it’s what I always will be, even if I have my off-months.

I also haven’t worked on my Driver’s Ed at all recently. *shifty eyes* Oops. But I just haven’t had TIME! You guys have to understand how ridiculously busy I’ve been! Stop judging me! *hides from all the judging*

I’m trying to find a picture of my prom dress for you guys, but they all have my face in them (surprise, surprise) and chopping my head off of a photo of myself in prom getup is mildly disconcerting to me.

Let’s see… What else… Ooh. I did my hair like Taylor Swift’s today. 😛

I look like this:

Except I actually look like this:

My hair has gotten long enough to the point that it’s heavy and weighs down the curls… As a result, they’re not really all that bouncy by 9:30 at night. I legitimately DID look like Taylor Swift this morning, though. (I mean, hair-wise. I’ll never be as pretty as Taylor Swift.) I think it’s funny that Julia and I both went the Taylor Swift route today, though, haha. (Great minds think alike, right?)

Oh, and excuse my horrifically short nails. *sigh* The string-musician’s curse.

Anyway. As I mentioned, it IS nine-thirty, so perhaps I should turn in… I’m exhausted thanks to staying up too late on the internet exchanging rapid fire PMs last night… *ahem*

Thanks for being awesome. Don’t forget that today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts… If you’re like me and pretend once in a while that Harry Potter is real and that all that stuff actually happened, today is a good day to do it.

I hope you’re all having a lovely week and that this makes up for my incredibly lame former post. I’ll talk to y’all again on Sunday. 🙂

Hero

P.S. I really hope this posts… My computer just decided apropos of nothing to have an aneurysm… WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU, MY BELOVED LAPTOP? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? *falls to knees* WHYYYY? (Or as Landon likes to say: PORQUE???)