Friday, September 28, 2007

"What's in a Name?"

Recently, it was brought to my attention that there was a certain vicious rumor circling about me in one of the social circles that I am part of. I was hurt and injured that anyone would believe such a thing about me. It defied the very essence of who I am. I tried to take it with a grain of salt and thought of the reasons that people feel a need to start a rumor. Often it is due to a miscommunication or an ignorance of fact. Other times rumors are started purely from jealousy, hurt and spite. I try to avoid rumors, although I am far from perfect. I also try to be honest and straightforward with everyone. Sometimes that can be taken the wrong way, but I prefer that to the hurt that can be caused by misinterpreting and relaying incorrect information.

Well, I tried to get to the bottom of this rumor. I had my suspicious, of course, but no conclusive evidence linking a particular person to this rumor. I was advised by a wise friend to just try and let it go. The rumor would fade, as most rumors do. I have tried to do this, but even though this lie was not particularly widespread, it was still being tossed in the wind like the proverbial bag of feathers, never to be completely regathered.

I couldn't get the thought of that out of my mind. It even affected how I treated one of my best friends who tried to post an amazingly sweet and beautiful post on my profile as a tribute to me and my friendship with him. All I could see was how someone could take this post another way. I did not think about how hurtful this interpretation of his post would be to him. He had put a lot of thought and effort into his post (now taken down), and I belittled it without meaning to. Why would I do this? Why would I let some stupid little rumor affect me this way? The conclusion that I have come to is because it drags my name through the mud.

Juliet asks the question, "What is in a name?" in William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Sorry, Shakespeare, but I beg to disagree. Our name is who we are and how we are viewed and defined. A rose, not named a rose may smell as sweet, but it would not be a rose. A name is just a word until it is assigned, and then we define it; it becomes who we are. Past history, especially Biblical, illustrates the importance of a name perfectly. In the old testament, in the story of Ruth, Naomi's name means pleasant. She lives in the land of her husband with her sons who eventually pass away and she is faced with much sorrow. When Naomi and Ruth return to her homeland and are greeted, Naomi informs them that her name is no longer Naomi. It is Mara, which means sorrow and bitterness.

I am beginning to wonder if I should change my name. I have worked hard for my name to be what it is and to have it so undeservedly tarnished seems extremely unfair to me. I do realize, however, that no matter who I am and how I act there will be someone who doesn't understand me or for some reason or another feels that they need to lash out. It is not something I can control. I can, however, control the value that I give to other people and their names. In fact, that has recently gained importance at the top of my list of goals. I hope that maybe someone who has read this makes it their priority too. The pain that rumors cause other people are not worth the short-lived exhilaration of spreading them.

Orange Juice and Chicken Soup for Me

I absolutely love the change from summer to fall. The air cools and becomes all crisp, the leaves start to change, and blankets are added to beds. Yes, there are many great things about fall. However, where I live, this change is very dramatic. One day the temperature will be in the eighties and the next in the 50s. That is why at this time every year I get sick. My body is used to one thing and all of the sudden it is disrupted and has to re-acclimatize (sometimes multiple times as our weather is so unpredictable). It does horrible things to my immune system and I am likely to catch whatever horrible disease that is going around at the moment. This year it seems to be some sort of bacterial infection. All my nephews have had it...thus I am sick. I am, however, thankful that I have an immunity to strep throat. My brother-in-law had that one. Anyway, I am stuck at home with all sorts of symptoms and am not able to enjoy the crispness of the newly cooler fall weather. This is a tragedy to me. Not only have I missed work and school, but I have also missed being outside during one of my favorite times of the year. I love to play in the leaves and bonfire in the cold night; barn dances and getting my Halloween costume ready; hot chocolate with big warm comforters and fires in the fireplaces. Instead, I am sitting here...drinking orange juice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bla Bla Bla

School has now officially been in session for a month. Somehow it seems like so much longer than that. I do have a countdown to the end of the year on my facebook account. It says that I have 237 days of school left. That seems like a lot, but considering that I am finishing up my decade of post-secondary education, it is hardly any time at all. However, I have already hit the wall. I can tell this because of the fact that when I am sitting in class my teachers begin to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. It all blends together and all I hear is the muted trombone noise of "wah wah wah wah wah wah..." You get the idea.

In fact, I am in a class right now; Marketing Research. This particular teacher is actually quite amusing. I'm not sure that I have ever heard her jokes, but I try to laugh at the appropriate times. The test that she recently gave us? Well, I think she had the key from the test that Charlie Brown's teacher gave. That and I am horrible at multiple choice did not combine for a very good score. I'll be honest. I don't understand what the purpose of a multiple choice test is. I mean, WHEN in real life will we ever use this? I can see it now...
You're in a meeting at work discussing marketing (my current emphasis) and you discuss different definitions for a particular marketing strategy. Your manager is not sure that everyone understands what all the words means and so stops the meeting, handing out sheets of paper and starts to administer a test. ABCD or all of the above. "If you get below a certain percentage, you are fired." Yeah, that would suck.

This is one of the few classes that I have that even has tests. Thank Heavens I have have reached the point in my education where we are all about application. Of course, getting an MBA also means that you are in many, many groups. Let me paint a picture for you...
six dominant, red, type A personalities in a small room trying to come to a conclusion. Let's just say that assignments really can take three times as long when everyone is vying for control of the room. Lucky for me I am loud. Loud enough that people usually listen, if only so I will shut up after I have said my piece. Heck, I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So Long, Summer

My buddy calls me a water baby. I don't know if that is a compliment or not. All I know is that I love playing in the water. That is definitely the best part of summertime. Unfortunately, this summer was a bust as far as wakeboarding and swimming went. I did get to Lake Powell a couple of times, but that was the extent of my boating sojourn. As for swimming...well, I swam laps intermittently during the summer, but not often enough for me to get a great tan like I did last summer. Oh, and by a great tan, I just mean that I actually had a few tan lines. Anyway, there is just something so calm and relaxing about gliding through the cool water with it smoothly flowing over your body. I love the fact that I can put my head under water and it muffles all the outside sounds, creating your own little world of solitude. Swimming laps is when I get my best thinking done. There are no distractions, just me and the ripples of light on the pool floor. You may think, well, isn't an indoor pool during the winter just as good? I beg to differ. The cramped feeling of being indoors and the over-chlorinated pools with that dirty pool and the echoes of kids screaming and whistle blowing ruins all the ambiance that the water affords. This is why I hate to say goodbye to summer, even as much as I enjoy the colorful leaves of fall. Of course, then I think...brisk walks with fallen leaves swirling around my feet. Every season has it's magic.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Eternal Questions of an Old Maid

I am an avid reader of Jane Austen. There is something about her writing and stories that draw me to them. Although her language is flowery and sometimes difficult to read, her stories (considered six of the best books ever written in the English language) are timeless. Obviously any girl who has seen one of the many versions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility or even the movie Clueless (based on Sense and Sensibility) knows this. My favorite Jane Austen book is Persuasion, the story of love lost, eight years of loneliness and enduring love, and love rediscovered. The language of this story draws me in. The pain and confusion of the main character speak to me; it seems I am forever in that state. The love letter at the end of the book, "You pierce my soul..." Wow. That's all I have to say about that. I've read it over and over. I've dreamed about reading those words, only addressed to myself. Who hasn't? Of course, then I have to think, "Wait. Why hasn't that happened to me?" I'm not the first one to feel this way. Let me refer to another 19th Century writer of love stories:

Love and Friendship

Love is like the wild rose-briar
Friendship like the holly-tree--
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild rose-briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.

Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

I have heard that love is friendship on fire. We also hear that we should marry our best friend. Well, does that mean that a friendship should have immense passion in it or does love grow slowly, like the embers of that same fire? How do you know when you are "in love" with someone? How do you know when it reaches that point where you could be with this person for the rest of your life or eternity? Or do I trust the fictional writings of Jane Austen and wait for my Mr. Darcy to whisk me away? What is the constant in the equation of love? What is the secret to a long marriage of strength, hardship and happiness? I guess the biggest questions are, why can't I find it and do I look for the rose or the holly? Which one brings lasting happiness?