مرحبا عليكم!

I study languages.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Some nights, I listen to you drown yourself inside my mind.
I see the flood come up through your hands and wash away your capacity, and as you go numb, I take the pain you push away. It flows into my chest as I watch you abandon your body, your screams immortalized in a mosaic of stained glass and anguish, both beautiful and terrible.
Worst of all, I don't stop you, and your potential seeps slowly into the atmosphere, a negligible tribute offered up to the ice cold laws of physics.


Yesterday was our final Machiavelli class, and I surprised myself by taking on a ridiculously idealistic girl in an emotionally charged argument about human nature. Usually, I sit back and let people believe whatever they want to believe, but this time, I really stepped it up (and in a BYU class; go figure). She insisted that people are inherently benevolent and kind, and I argued that they are primarily unpredictable and self-motivated. I destroyed her, with cold empiricism and genetically predisposed survival instinct as my key witnesses. My teacher approved, but I saw the self-righteous anger in my antithesis' eyes as she condemned me silently from her corner. I took an extreme position, maybe more so than I believe, and I won. She was honestly disgusted at my opinions, and I felt radical for the first time in my life.

In other news, I was complimented on my words today. Those are always the best sort of compliments--the ones that highlight an area in which you've been working to improve. I interviewed for a position in a research lab, and the junior I talked with told me I "sounded smart." I got to use my medical vocabulary as I discussed the indicative pathology of osteoarthritis, explicating everything from the components of the extracellular matrix in articular cartilage to symptoms and risk factors for the disease. I need to remember to speak more slowly, though, and to get less excited when he mentions medical things; I think it gives away my age and lab-oriented naivete, which are my main obstacles to getting this position. Everyone in the lab is much older than me; at BYU, sophomore boys are 21 (LDS mission), so accepting a barely-18-year-old, inexperienced freshman is kind of a long shot. I really hope it works out, though; I'd be incredibly enthusiastic about having lab research experience this early on, and the subject matter is fascinating.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm a tiny speck in the midst of a dense university mosaic, so I meet new people every day.
What interests me most is that when I meet these people, they aren't so new; the patterns of speech, vocabulary words, tones of voice and nuances of body language are familiar to me. I'm slowly realizing that I've had these discussions before, both verbally and emotionally; I've sifted through Marxist theory, liberalism, egocentrism, utilitarianism, nihilism, humanism and pragmatism with the people I know, and finding bits and pieces of them here is not only a surprise but a comfort. I see new people in terms of the old, the unfamiliar in terms of what I know: each person a unique concoction of my friends, teachers, and acquaintances. It's interesting to see what a difference everyone has made in the way I see the world; pieces of acquaintances I never expected to remember shimmer suddenly from a new friend's ideology, nudging me effortlessly into nostalgia.

Every one of you shaped me, and now every one of you is me. I am beginning to recognize that we are in everyone else. I think about humanity, and how much we must truly resemble each other--every person I have ever known is absorbed into what I now call "me," each addition altering the mixture slightly but irrevocably.

I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together.
I think I get it.

Friday, August 22, 2008


For the past week, I've been caught up in the whirlwind of pre-college preparation, buying storage bins and Ethernet cables, cleaning out my closets, and creating collages of wall art for my dorm room. I'm at BYU now, in the Late Summer Honors program, and I'm taking a class on Machiavelli. My professor is intelligent, confident, and (thankfully) not what I expected in terms of BYU homogeneity. It's obvious he has his own (somewhat radical) opinions about things, which makes me happy. He speaks well, and I like listening to him. I'm still struggling with my own speech--I know I speak too quickly and don't make use of the vocabulary I've worked so hard to know, and I'm trying to remedy that, but I think it's just going to take time. Our final, though, is a Socratic method oral questioning session in front of the entire class, which kind of freaks me out.
We'll see.
As is to be expected...I'm learning.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I laughed. And then I decided to review applied calculus.

(ds/dt) s(t) = s'(t) = v(t) and s''(t) = v'(t) = a(t)
s(t) = position
v(t) = velocity
a(t) = acceleration
with respect to time t.

Better late than never.

I was pleasantly surprised by an e-mail that appeared in my inbox this morning--my notification for a $1500 renewable scholarship I'd applied for in February and written off as my loss when I was never contacted! Yay!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my final financial aid totals:
* National Merit ($2500)
* Utah Hospital Association ($2500)
* National HOSA ($2000)
* Robert C. Byrd ($1500/renewable)
* DATC ($150)
* Full tuition from BYU
= $8650 + full tuition

Sweet. I love how being a nerd in high school actually pays off.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I saw a matinee yesterday, and the teenage girl in the seat next to me was drunk. It was only four in the afternoon, but she was completely trashed. She was loud and obnoxious, and I was annoyed, but at the same time, I felt for her. I wanted to apologize for whatever it was that drove her to voluntarily lose control so early on a Wednesday afternoon, to buy her a Gatorade and some simple carbohydrates and drive her home so she could get some sleep.

It's a pull I can't resist, taking care of people too impaired to do it for themselves. When I think about my four years in high school, I am unable to count the times I've driven for intoxicated friends, talked them calmingly through late-night phone calls, bought them food, made them drink water, or kept them from embarrassing themselves in front of others who would not be so understanding. I don't know why it's so deeply embedded in my personality to look out for these people--when a person chooses to drink or do drugs, they elect to lose conscious control of their actions. It's a choice, and the consequences are more than clear. The concept is selfish on paper, opting out of conscious action so someone else has to make sure you're all right, and I guess I should view it that way, but I've never been able to see it differently. When a friend is impaired, I am taken from my usual social indifference into a warm rush of instant familiarity--I feel secure and capable because I've handled the same situation countless times. I don't have to worry about appearances, try to impress anyone, or be anything other than me--someone whose help is needed and appreciated, if only for the duration of the night. The next morning, all my friends are left with are blurred memory watercolors accompanied by brief flashes of emotion, and my help is lost in the faded, incomplete picture.

The sad thing is, I really don't mind.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I'm a natural optimist tempered by the realism of the rationale I create and maintain.
Some incomprehensible part of me is always building things up in my mind, embellishing my world through impossible, glittering lenses until my other half finds an angle from which to shatter the fantasy: a single shot through the middle of the head with the detached efficiency of a military execution.
Will I ever learn?

I guess I have to figure out which one is more me, the pastel panoramic with the dopamine aftertaste or the minimalist xeriscape's majestic wrecking ball.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mirror image.

I think it's time to diagram my new personality.
College is a chance for me to become the person I want to be without having to allow for existing stereotypes about myself. No one will know me, so I can carefully shape my public image. I can't wait.

I want to speak confidently and more slowly, so I can be someone people listen to. I want my vocabulary to reflect my personality. I want to be an intelligent conversationalist. I want to dress in a way that will make me seem professional, capable, serious and efficient--mildly unapproachable, but not overly intimidating. I want to genuinely smile and be happy and friendly, but not annoyingly outgoing or socially obsessed. I want to be a nice person, someone who sees a need and fills it before it is noticed. I want to work hard so I can be confident in my study skills and my academic knowledge, and I want to share my love of learning with my classes. I don't want to be arrogant, selfish or power-hungry, but I want people to know that I am very serious about what I am doing, and I want them to respect my love of honest competition. I want to be taken seriously. I don't want to be petty or gossip about other people. I want to be secure in who I am. I want my opinions to be true to each other and to my moral and social philosophies, and I want to be able to defend them adequately in arguments. I don't want other people to exert undue influence over my beliefs and judgements; I want to be okay with myself and not regret my choices.

Most of all, though, I want to be me, finally free from all controlling influences-- unadulterated and unique. I will not have to act like someone I am not to satisfy everyone else. I'll make some bad decisions and some brilliant ones; I'll make some friends and some enemies, but all of the making will be mine, and I will take the credit and the blame with not just responsibility, but pride.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm still grinning.

I have officially lived one full day as an legitimate eighteen-year-old.
Anticlimactic, eh?

I slept late, had sushi for lunch, watched Arrested Development, had dinner at Riverside, participated in a fire pit, and watched House. It was a good day, made hilarious by a prolonged interaction I didn't expect to have, in which I actually learned a lot (but mostly things I didn't ask to know).
Thanks to everyone involved for making me smile!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I'm eighteen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


They hit me in waves, or is it particles?
Innumerable, sightless specks surround me as I ride,
swirling and twisting in mass discontent.
Beating wild and breathless against my skin,
they goad their cousins in my blood into passionate rebellion,
overthrowing my hypothalamus in a violent coup d'etat and
forcing my vessels to relinquish control as my water molecules are stolen,
one by one.

Kinetic energy in air
is my enemy.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Number theory.

My birthday's on Thursday, and yet I don't feel eighteen.
I never felt seventeen, either.

There's a dissociation between the numbers and me; I don't feel part of any of them anymore. It wasn't always this way; I remember the days before my early teenage birthdays, feeling a new number overtake me and gradually melt into my consciousness. I always knew my birthday was coming because I could feel the new number's warm breath on the back of my neck, inviting and yet strangely forceful, conveying the inevitability and the excitement of a brand new year. I absorbed it into my psyche, embracing it, feeling it slide perfectly into place against the contours of my spirit. I felt familiarity in my annual rebirth, because the number was already a part of me; it'd snuck up on me in the weeks before my birthday and carefully mimicked my mannerisms, my habits and preferences; the day it moved in for good, I was pleased to see it, but not surprised in the least.

Things are different now. I see eighteen, but I can't grasp it. It's somewhere else, somewhere I'm not, and though I know I'll take its name in four days, it will be in proxy, a simple formality. There is no excitement, no colorful blending of my soul with something new, and the loss is tangible. I wonder if it's part of growing up; will I be as detached the day before I turn twenty? Forty? I hope the numbers will rediscover me somewhere along the way. In the meantime, I'll watch them from my lonely distance, hoping that one day I will feel the breath behind my soul again and remember that I am changing.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hide me.

I spent all day in the hospital with my baby sister, who is inching out of the critical numbers and back into the "high intermediate risk" zone. My mom hasn't slept for more than an hour at a time in a day in a half and hovers over the baby's little crib night and day, adjusting the phototherapy lights and making sure everything is perfect for her baby, whom she can't even hold for more than half an hour after every session. The baby has to wear a special hat and eye covers when she's under the lights, so she looks like a pathetic little Martian in there, and you just want to pick her up, snuggle her in a blanket and run away from everything, but you know it's impossible, so you just sit next to her and stroke the glass on the window, feeling horribly inadequate. I don't feel prepared for college, and I don't have anything I need for my room or my classes, so I'm stressed out about that, and to make matters worse, my eighteenth birthday is on Thursday. I don't know if I'm sadder that it's going to be passed over in the midst of all this baby drama or that it's going to be another source of stress for my parents, who like to make things special, and I know they're feeling bad about not having time to plan a celebration or shop for presents. My little brothers (ages 9 and 12) can't seem to stop fighting and screaming at each other about pointless, trivial crap, so I'm in a perpetual state of annoyance whenever I have to be around them, and my little sister (age 5), who is used to being the center of attention, is acting up because she feels neglected in the wake of this new baby and all our family stress.

Through all this, I've felt emotionally subdued and totally helpless; at the beginning, I was affected, but now, it's like my capacity to feel has been shot up with transcutaneous Lidocaine. I don't seem to have an attention span anymore; it's easier to keep my mind on the trivial things I don't have to remember. I read no more than a few sentences from books, watch idiotic television shows, and just sit there and stare off into space. Maybe I should see a psychotherapist or something--with college starting in just a few weeks, I desperately need to regain the ability to focus.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Critical care.

So, um, the baby's back in the hospital.

My family's kinda stressed out, because her numbers went way up today. My mom was crying this morning as we packed up all the pretty baby things we had organized so carefully, and my dad canceled all his patients so he could drive them to the hospital. We had to call my aunts and uncles who were driving down from Salt Lake to see her and tell them not to come.

When I look at Baby's tiny face, I want to do everything I can to protect her. She's so innocent and beautiful, and there is no way she can know what is going on. It's especially hard because no amount of love and attention can bring those numbers down, so we have no choice but to put her back on the pediatrics floor under industrial strength phototherapy lights to try and stop her RBCs from destroying themselves and flooding her liver with their byproducts.

Religious or not, pray for her.