Friday, January 24, 2014

Are you cheerful or skeptical?

"Warning: Images in this mirror may be a socially constructed image of beauty." -sticker on a mirror in the women's restroom in the science building

At Brigham Young University, one of the most goody-two-shoes universities in the U.S., I'm pretty used to seeing things around campus that are meant to cheer up passersby. It's not at all unusual to see little notes like "You are beautiful!" or "Smile!" or "Somebody loves you!" or some such.

I typically have two responses. (Not one of two. Two, together.) A cheerful side, and a cynical side.

Cheerful Me: How sweet!
Cynical Me: How disgustingly sweet.
Cheerful Me: You only say that because you wouldn't take two seconds out of your day to do something like this.
Cynical Me: Yeah, because I have better things to do. Like homework. And studying. You know, the reason we're all here at BYU in the first place.
Cheerful Me: Oh, lighten up. Someone is just trying to make your day.
Cynical Me: Whoever wrote this doesn't even know me. They don't know whether I'm beautiful or not.
Cheerful Me: Everyone is beautiful.
Cynical Me: Right. And some note on a bathroom mirror is supposed to convince me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why I listen to songs that make me cry.

Maybe you've heard this song by now:

"Say Something" by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

I sort of stumbled upon this song online (I don't normally seek out songs by Christina Aguilera), and was instantly moved, by both the song and the video. I've watched the video several times now, and each time, I can't help but cry. 

As a child and teenager, I didn't cry much. I would occasionally sob out of frustration alone in my bedroom, with only my stuffed animals watching. But it wasn't natural to me to cry in cases of true sadness or tragedy, especially in front of others. 

I knew that others envied my ability to stay dry-eyed in my saddest moments. I've often heard embarrassed excuses or apologies from people who cry in public. But in those moments when my body seemed to desert my emotions, I learned the value of crying.