Thou Shalt Not Judge

Last week’s post was about wanting other people to accept me for who I am. This week’s post, in contrast, is about accepting other people for who they are.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.–Luke 6:37

Let’s start with a little activity, shall we? Below are some images of people who could easily be described as being “different.” Think to yourself the first thing that pops into your mind when you see the people in these images.

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It is natural to make snap judgments, especially about the people/creatures in the above images. But that doesn’t mean we have to cling onto those judgments. Because we don’t know the stories behind what happened in the above pictures… well, except for Ursula. But when it comes to Ursula, we must resist the temptation to assume that all human octopuses (octopi?) are evil creatures that steal the voices of innocent mermaids!

My message for today is that we must strive to accept people regardless of their mistakes. We must strive to accept everyone. That’s right, everyone:

  • Smokers
  • Drug/Sex addicts
  • Raging alcoholics
  • That person who gave you the stink-eye at the bus stop
  • The friend who wronged you seven years ago…

Accept people for who they are and what they feel… that includes every aspect of who they are and what they feel. I was going to include gay people in the above list, but then I thought… that list consists of people who have done something wrong or hurtful. And I don’t believe that’s the case with homosexuality.

Just like everyone else, gay people might make mistakes, but the fact that they are gay is not the mistake. Why do we feel the need to judge people for what they feel?

Our good God in heaven has created humans to be beautiful creatures: both male and female. Or, if you believe that we evolved from apes, that’s cool too. Either way, the fact is this: people are hot. Anyone who thinks otherwise can answer to Katniss and Gale of The Hunger Games.

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How DARE you suggest that one of us is not attractive. Sluts!

Even though I’m straight, I can appreciate the beauty of both genders–perhaps because I myself am so attractive! If I were to see myself walking down the street, I would be quite intrigued! I’m kidding, of course… I mostly wanted to confirm what everybody has probably concluded from reading my blog: despite my insecurities, I can be quite vain. Don’t judge me!

Anyway, back to the topic of homosexuality. Some people believe it’s a choice. I myself used to believe that as well. But every gay person I’ve talked to would give anything to be straight. I mean, why would you choose to be mocked, judged, ridiculed, ostracized, etc.? That doesn’t even make sense, you guys! Let’s be honest, the straight life is so much easier. Nobody will judge you for being attracted to the opposite sex.  And sure, there are some gay people who say they would not change a thing about themselves and claim they would never want to be straight. But those people don’t deserve to be judged either. How dare people accept themselves for who they are, after what has probably been a lifetime of feeling bad about themselves because the world tells them they should? What monsters…said nobody ever.

PLUS, here’s the thing. So a person is gay, right? Who a person is attracted to doesn’t define who that person actually is. A gay person could be the kindest, most loving, most hilarious, greatest person you’d ever meet. Focus on those aspects of his or her personality, not on what sex they are attracted  to.

If a gay person is mean, by all means, keep your distance from that person. Just as long as you keep your distance from all straight mean people as well. Because mean people are the worst! And meanness is something that affects you in a negative way. Homosexuality is not.

What, do you think if you befriend a gay person that you will become gay too? It’s not a contagious disease! That’s not a thing! Guys, there is no reason to treat gay people any differently than you would treat anyone else. They have experienced many of the same things as everyone else has… they have gone to school, they have had both good memories and bad, they have loved, they have been hurt. And in a lot of cases, they are a lot more compassionate because they have had to deal with a lot more pain.

Gay people, as well as anyone that possesses characteristics that the world sees as being “abnormal,” deserve to be loved just as much as anyone else. In fact, I might go as far as to say they deserve love more than other people. It is a heavy burden they have to bear, and they need all the love and support they can get in order to feel wanted in this narrow-minded world.

You might wonder why I’m even writing about this post. Well, this video explains part of the reason:

No one should have to feel that they need to end their lives. And no one should say such a callous and disgusting thing as, “(A gay person) was going to go to hell anyway, so he was just speeding up the process (by committing suicide).” NO! Unacceptable. I refuse to believe that anyone who claims to be a good person could say that with a good conscience. Just… no.

You may not necessarily support the way someone lives their life, but here’s the thing: it’s their life. So let them live it! And just worry about your own life in the meantime. We need to stop trying to make everyone else into alternate versions of ourselves. That has never been successful and it never should be. To think everyone needs to think exactly like you is very Hitler-esque, in my opinion. That’s right, I said it!

I’m sorry if I’m getting too bold by saying all this… but I’m not really that sorry. It’s just, I’m so sick of people treating others badly for such dumb reasons. Whenever I hear all these narrow-minded and hurtful comments, I feel… I just… I just want to…

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Sigh

We shouldn’t be concerned about whether a person is asexual, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, trisexual (oh, wait…) Sexual preference does not make the person.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect when it comes to accepting everyone. I tend to be narrow-minded toward narrow-mindedness. Perhaps I should be more accepting of bigotry and self-righteousness? I don’t know, is that a thing?

I know this post has been mostly about not judging people based on sexual attraction, but it can also apply to a number of other characteristics as well. The important thing is to remember that people should not be categorized by who they like or the mistakes they make, but instead by the life they are trying to lead as well as the way they treat others.

The thing that really sucks about this is that I know writing these things won’t make much of a difference. But I’m tired of the most wonderful people feeling bad about themselves because of sexual attraction, past mistakes, shortcomings, etc. At least now I can say I’m doing my part to battle the idiotic bigotry that goes on in this world.

Can you?!

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Quiet Desperation

People often ask me why I am so quiet. There are many answers to that question.

I have nothing to say. I’d rather sing, but people tend to look at me funny when I do that.

I wasn’t even paying attention to what was being said. Which is true about eighty percent of the time, FYI… what’s going on inside my mind is often much more interesting than what’s going on outside of it. ‘Tis the curse of having an interesting mind in a boring world.

More often than not, however, the best answer to that question is this:

What’s it to you? 

And here’s a random picture of a penguin to prove my point:

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The fact is this: I am quiet. It is a part of who I am. Would I like to be the life of the party? Sometimes. No inhibitions, comfortable around everybody that I meet… If only! But I’m not. And that’s just how it is.

It took me awhile to accept this about myself. People would say it was my fault that I’m quiet. Well, maybe that’s true to an extent. Some people have overcome being quiet. Good for them. Excuse me for a moment while I celebrate your victory over life.

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Sometimes things are harder for some people than they are for others. That’s just a fact of life.

And, by the way, whenever someone points out that I’m quiet, especially when it’s in front of other people, this is how I want to react:

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Loud people everywhere: Pointing out other people’s quietness is a big no-no. It shouldn’t be a thing! Your intentions might be good. Perhaps you are trying to get the quiet people involved in the conversation. But singling them out for being quiet is not a good way of doing that. It just makes the quiet person feel even more awkward and uncomfortable, which is probably why that person is being so quiet in the first place!

If you want to get quiet people involved in a conversation, by all means, still do it. Ask them about themselves. Make them feel like they belong. That’s all we really want. Quiet people are just like other people, only quieter. And in a lot of cases, they are a lot cooler. Let’s be honest.

Leave Katy Alone!

Before I start today, I should preface by saying that I have gotten inspiration for this post from a number of other sources–first from my sister, a fellow blogger who recently defended Keira Knightly; and second from a psychotic androgynous person who couldn’t stand all the hate Britney Spears was receiving a few years ago.

Does everybody remember this guy?

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I was seriously shocked, frightened, and concerned after seeing this the first time because it reminded me just how much raw anger there is in this world. But that is neither here nor there.

Today I will be defending the likes of Katy Perry. If anyone doesn’t know who that is, I would be very shocked because the very fact that you have internet and can read this blog suggests to me that you should know who Katy Perry is. Anyone who doesn’t know who she is has probably been living under a rock and/or has not had internet access in the past three years.

And perhaps that is one of the reasons why she gets so much flack. I have heard a lot of mean things about my dear friend Katy.

She’s a slut!
Her songs are
annoying!
She’s overrated!

Indeed, the best way to put it is that Katy Perry gets a lot of crap.

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How dare you, sirs. Don’t you know that the whole slut issue is just a matter of perspective?

So what, she lied on a cotton candy cloud naked? We have all thought about doing that at one point or another. 

OK, maybe not…

But the truth is that we’ve all done ridiculous things. Committing a single murder might make you a murderer, but for the most part, I don’t think things we’ve done in the past should define us. So you say naked cotton candy frolicking makes Katy Perry a slut? OK. Well, I jumped out of a moving golf cart once and broke my foot… which means I did a stupid thing. And I’ve done many other stupid things in addition to that. Does that make me a stupid person?

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Wait… Don’t answer that.

Are some of her songs a tad on the risque side? Sure. But whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all have risque thoughts. Katy’s just singing what’s on her mind! And not all of her songs are about tasting a girl’s cherry chapstick or having a ménage à trois on a Friday night.

Sometimes Katy has a softer, even inspirational side. Do you remember Firework? Do you remember Wide Awake? And what about the recently released Roar? All inspirational songs, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

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You shouldn’t dismiss a singer based on a few of their songs. You are not expected to like every song, just like you are not expected to like every food, book, or movie. And if all of Katy Perry’s songs have just grated on you, perhaps you should open your heart and mind to the possibility that ONE DAY she will release a song that you enjoy. Closing yourself to an artist could prevent you from a song that you can relate to, be inspired by, or even just sing along with.

Plus, let’s not forget something of utmost importance. Katy Perry is hot! Looks aren’t everything, sure, but come on… just look at her!

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Think what you want about her music, but I will say one thing: I wouldn’t kick her out of bed! I mean… um… I’m just saying, if she needed a bed to sleep in–that wasn’t mine–I wouldn’t kick her out of it. That’s all I meant by that.

Also, if she came to my door and asked me to marry her, this would be my response:

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But, barring the possibility that Katy Perry will just randomly show up at my door to propose, I’ll just have to support her from afar.

As for her being overrated, what does that even mean? Everyone is overrated because everyone is the worst. Have any of you gotten five number one singles from a single CD? Unless you are Michael Jackson reading this from the beyond, then I am confident in saying that no, you have not done this. But Katy has!

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Some people also use the argument that Katy isn’t even a good singer because her live performances leave something to be desired. My defense to this? Try singing and dancing at the same time and still sound perfect! Try singing in front of thousands of thousands of people without missing a note or two. And if you do enough internet snooping, you will find that Katy has had good performances in addition to the bad ones. Oh no, she’s human! How dare she have bad performances?!!! Also, her most recent performances have shown massive improvements, which goes to show that she’s doing what we’d expect from any person: improving! Let the past stay in the past. There’s no need to judge someone based on where they were. It is better to judge them based on where they’re going.

And besides… Katy Perry just released a new CD, so she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. My guess is that her songs will continue to dominate the radio stations whether you like it or not! So you’d best start being nice to Katy Perry, lest you suffer her wrath!

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I kid, of course. We are all free to choose who we like and don’t like, especially when it comes to the music industry. I just thought it would be fun to post about my love for Katy Perry, and it was!

But in a last-ditch effort to convince you to give Katy a chance, I invite you to listen to this new song of hers, in which she sings about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts:

Looks like Katy Perry has a deep, vulnerable, meaningful side. Hmmm…

Not to mention these lyrics from other songs:

You know who I, who I think will win? Are the ones that let love in…

Acceptance is the key to be, to be truly free. Will you do the same for me?

I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be…

These are real feelings of someone just trying to get by in life, just like the rest of us. So I ask you, please, please leave poor Katy Perry alone! Am I the only straight man who openly supports Katy Perry and admits to liking her music? Perhaps. Even so, I think there is something to be said about cutting someone a little bit of slack.

So the next time you want to judge Katy Perry, do something more productive instead. Run a mile or two. Eat a vegetable. Read a good book. Stop wasting your time on hating someone for being risque, annoying, or too popular when there are much worse things happening in the world. For crying out loud, people are dying. Children are starving. The economy is collapsing. Right this moment, someone somewhere in the world is having to wake up before the sun even rises to go do hard labor for a meager salary that barely supports their family. A couple is cuddling and expressing love to one another–this, above all things, is definitely something much more disgusting and deserving of criticism than anything Katy Perry has ever said or done.

Skeletons in My Closet

I am currently enrolled in a positive living class. It’s basically a class about how to be positive in a negative world. So far it has been quite enlightening, especially for this cynical, pessimistic blogger.

Each week in this class, we focus on a different quality that will enable us to see ourselves and the world around us in a more positive light. This week we are focusing on character strengths. For our assignment, we are supposed to pick one of our top five character strengths (which were determined by one of those annoying online surveys where you decide if different statements describe you a lot, a medium amount, or not at all) and focus on that strength for a week in an effort to improve it. The “character strength” I chose was authenticity.

To be completely honest, I was a bit surprised to find that authenticity was one of my strengths. I have been told that I am a very “real” person, but what does that even mean? Isn’t everybody a real person? Or are some of you people out there a figment of my imagination??!

I guess, in all reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

I try to be real, but the truth is that the person people see is not quite the person I actually am. I hide behind a facade of boredom and apathy toward life, but in reality I am quite strange and quirky, and I actually care a lot about people if they give me the chance to do so. BUT I have been hurt enough that I feel the need to hide a lot of my personality. It’s kind of sad, but for now, that is the way things are.

There is also that irrational but all-too-convincing fear that, if people actually got to know me, they wouldn’t be able to look past the skeletons in my closet–you know, flaws, shortcomings, past mistakes… the whole kit and/or caboodle! So yes, I hide.

Mayhaps it would be best for me to keep everything inside for now and just pull a Liz Lemon, allowing my inner demons to come pouring out of me while facing imminent death.

Or… maybe I should just start being more “real” now.

In my efforts to be more authentic, I might not be able to break down 10+ years of defenses I have built around myself, but I can take small steps to uncover those aspects of my life that I have kept hidden for so long. Therefore, I have decided to make a list of some confessions and post them here for the general public to see. In doing so, I hope to authenticate myself even just a little bit.

This, my friend, is a list of my deepest, darkest secrets.

……

……

……….

Sorry, I’m really nervous. But I have to get these things off my chest. Oh, forget it. Here we go.

I watched a whole season of Desperate Housewives on Netflix!!!!

I once went to a Twilight midnight showing. It was disturbing.

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I think clothes are the worst! If it were my choice I would never wear them!!!!!!

I’ve seen the Katy Perry documentary! Twice!!!!

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I have over 45 Nelly Furtado songs on my iTunes!!!!

I have a man crush on Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers!!!!!

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A beer commercial once made me cry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used to write Harry Potter fan fiction!!!!

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In middle school I wrote a song about having a crush on Elizabeth Smart!!!!!

I listened to the new Miley Cyrus CD and didn’t completely hate it!!!!!

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OK, so those weren’t really my deepest, darkest secrets. Did you really expect them to be? Do you honestly think I’m going to reveal all my secrets through a blog post? That would be a bit too much.

It would probably be better if I just took small steps in order to be more “real.” The real me isn’t as strong or positive as I have made myself out to be in this blog. I have weaknesses. Sometimes I have days where I feel downright hopeless. I even have a bit of an…edgy side. Of course, that last part shouldn’t come as a surprise. Everybody has a dark side, as Kelly Clarkson once sang.

So I want this blog to be less fake and more… me. No more disgustingly cheesy posts about the more serious sides of life. Those posts served a purpose during a difficult time, but I feel much stronger now and more confident about who I really am! The real me is sarcastic, cynical, and yes, even a little imperfect.

You might have even noticed that I made a slight change to the title of my blog… again. No longer is it called Musings of a Silent Guy. I don’t want to restrict myself to being silent all the time. What if one day I wake up and decide to be the life of the party? Granted, I hate large crowds of people with a fiery intensity hotter than a thousand blazing suns, so the likelihood of me becoming the life of the party is slim to none, but that’s for me to decide!!!! Instead, it’s going to be called Musings of a Sarcastic Guy. I’d rather be known as sarcastic than silent.

So here’s to the start of a more honest, authentic blog: a glimpse into the real me. That means opinions both popular and unpopular. And if I ever talk about a serious issue, you’d better believe that blog’s going to be chalk-full of sarcasm. Because I’m a sarcastic guy. Deal with it.

And if this works out well, maybe I can even start being more authentic in person, rather than just through the internet. But this will do for now.

Watch out, world. The craziness inside is about to be unleashed!!!! You have been warned.

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Why Toy Story 3 and Life are Basically the Same Thing

There are some movie/book/TV series that I would love to see become a reality. If I got the letter accepting me to Hogwarts, I would go there in a heartbeat. I would take any job offer to the office from Parks and Recreation so I could hang around those crazy government workers. There is even a sadistic side of me that would participate in The Hunger Games… though maybe instead of killing each other we could turn it into an elaborate game of tag?

One series that I would never want to see come true? Toy Story.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Toy Story! But can you imagine if the whole series ended up being a documentary? How frightening would that be? Imagine how you would feel if you were sitting in your room, doing homework or something like that, and all of a sudden your toys started singing and dancing! Wouldn’t your first reaction be to destroy them all?

So, before I continue, let me just say that I honestly hope the Toy Story movies never become a reality. For anyone. Ever. In fact, if any of you have experienced toys coming to life, I urge you to seek counseling and/or a priest to perform exorcism in your house!!!

But ignoring the somewhat jarring and even traumatizing idea behind Toy Story, many life lessons can be learned from the series–especially the third movie, which is what I will be focusing on today.

(SPOILER ALERT!!! But honestly, if you haven’t watched Toy Story 3 yet, it’s your own fault. I have no sympathy for you. For crying out loud, people, it came out three years ago! I was literally on the other side of the world when it was released and I still managed to watch it, even if it wasn’t until a year later!)

Woody or Buzz?

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In one scene, Andy decides which of his toys he wants to take with him to college: Woody or Buzz.

Decisions, decisions. Every day is full of decisions, some bigger than others. Woody or Buzz? Chocolate or vanilla? Responsibility or fun? College or the circus? These are all decisions that I, like many others, have had to face in the past. Luckily, I can say with confidence that I always made the correct decision in four out of five of those cases. Buzz is clearly cooler than Woody because Buzz is from space. Also, cowboys are the worst. Chocolate is of course better than vanilla, except for when it comes to pudding. Fun always beats responsibility, which is why I’m writing this ridiculous blog post instead of thinking about my future and stuff.

Unfortunately, sometimes we make the wrong decisions. I will always regret going to college instead of joining the circus… but I made my decision, and now I must face the consequences–the consequences in this case being a college education and an actual career. Bummer!

Andy tried to throw us away!

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Remember how Andy’s mom accidentally puts Andy’s toys out to be taken by the garbage truck, causing the toys to think their owner tried to throw them away? Then it takes the toys a good part of the movie to figure out that it was all a misunderstanding!

Sometimes we feel that people just throw us away like toys. They use us, abuse us, rip our arms off (metaphorically speaking, I hope), and then get rid of us when we’ve served our purpose in their lives. People suck sometimes, but I highly doubt that most of us intend to “throw other people away.” There is something called “moving on,” which in some cases can leave people feeling abandoned. However, I feel like true “moving on” involves bringing in new aspects to your life while still staying connected to your past. Unless your past is horrible and you really want to forget about it, in which case throw that crap in the trash!

So people, stop throwing your loved ones away. It’s not nice!

The Incinerator

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Did anyone else find this scene incredibly unsettling? I know most people I talked to thought, for a split second, that Disney was going to end the beloved children’s series by burning all the toys to ashes! That would have been a really finalizing but extreme way to end the series.

I, for one, am glad they decided not to incinerate all the toys! Can you imagine? A huge pile of ashes… sad music playing as all that can be found is a single arm that once belonged to Jesse, clinging onto the severed hand of Buzz. How disturbing! Disney would have paid for a lot of tears and therapy if they had chosen to go down that route!

Luckily, the toys were spared. Sometimes in life we face our own personal “incinerators,” times of tribulation (i.e. facing the “fire” in our lives) that we think will destroy us. But everything always works out, and those moments of fear, uncertainty, and pain will always pass.

Saying Goodbye

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Who doesn’t get a little choked up at the part when Andy leaves his toys behind and heads off to college? Even I, the guy people have deemed “The Heartless One” (OK, nobody has ever called me that… but I kind of like it, so I’m going with it), had to hold back a tear or two. My dad, who was semi-watching this movie with me, said this part of this movie is so sad because we can all relate to it.

My first reaction to my dad’s claim was that he was probably going a bit senile in his ever-increasing old age. How can I relate to being sad about leaving behind toys when I hardly even remember most of my toys? I do remember having some beanie babies, but I usually just used them to create my own version of Survivor or the summer/winter/spring/fall Olympics (yes, I know there are no spring/fall Olympics, but I was that stupid). I also remember having a stuffed Barney (you know, that highly perverted purple dinosaur?) when I was really little, but my older brother brutally murdered it in a crime of ill-repressed rage against me. I don’t even remember what I did to make him so mad, but I do remember there being lots of… stuffing. Everywhere. It was quite gruesome.

When I told my dad that I didn’t even remember half of my toys, let alone feel any sense of sadness about getting rid of them, he simply shook his head and said, “You are really stupid. The toys represent family! Idiot.” OK, so maybe he didn’t really call me stupid or an idiot, but it was implied! Anyway, he had a point. We all can relate to saying goodbye to friends, family, and other loved ones… leaving them behind to start a new chapter of our lives. Which is always hard, but change is just a part of life.

So there you have it. Those are just a few of the reasons why Toy Story 3 and life are basically the same thing. Let’s just hope all our toys never come to life.

Meanwhile, Back in Reality…

Every once in a while, there comes a point where we have to wake up and smell the rancid manure that is real life.

Recently I have found myself in an awkward position. I am less than eight months from graduating college, and I have no idea what I want to do once I graduate.

Should I go to graduate school or just start looking for a job right away? Should I stay in Provo, move back to Arizona, or find somewhere else completely different to live?

Maybe I should just find a random woman on the street and demand that we get married at once! After all, everyone around me is literally getting married and having babies. The other day, I was talking to a girl who was sitting behind me in class. I turned back to the front of the classroom to listen to the lecture, and the next time I looked back, the girl all of a sudden had a baby in her arms! Where did that baby come from? Did she give birth in class while I was turned the other way??? Why are people so obsessed with getting married and having babies????! Admittedly, I guess it’s all a part of religious culture. Even I have been known to make a joke or two or six thousand about being pregnant. As a result, people often claim that I’m baby hungry. But I in fact have absolutely no desire to eat any babies!!!

I think the best thing to do in such a time of uncertainty is to make a plan and then go for it. I for one like to seek God’s approval after making a plan. Other people might not take that route: that’s completely up to them! But religious or not, it is best to work toward something, even if it ends up falling through. And who knows? Maybe in the process you will be taken down another, better path.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you plan, many aspects of your life are simply out of your control. I have learned that the hard way throughout the years. Sometimes there is a distinct and even painful difference between what we expect life to be and what it actually turns out to be.

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That’s pretty much the tune I was singing last year. (No, I did not literally go around singing like Fantine. Even though I can relate to Fantine–remember that one time I went into prostitution to support my child???–I do not feel the need to walk around singing about how difficult life can be. That would be a tad melodramatic.) There were a bunch of crappy things going on that were completely out of my control, and my life pretty much fell apart at the seams. It was awesome!

But you know what? Things change. And I’m doing much much better now. I still have a long way to go, but at least I’m in a better place now. That’s not to say I have died and am blogging from heaven–I mean a better place emotionally. In fact, if I were to pick a song to describe my transition from last school year to now, it would be this:

Is it embarrassing that I feel empowered by a Katy Perry song? Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter because it definitely captures my change in attitude over the past year. So even though life didn’t go exactly as expected, I can’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Another example of unexpected outcomes was from my study abroad trip. (I know I said I’m done blogging about that, but I promise it’s relevant). I went on the study abroad just expecting to see new places and, I admit, to possibly… find love. Don’t mock me!!! There were eleven girls and two boys, OK?! The odds were definitely in my favor (like the Hunger Games)!

Instead, I left Europe with some unexpected outcomes, most of which had to do with connections. The first type of connections have to do with possible future jobs. In an economy where who you know is so important, it’s exciting to have a couple ins with employment opportunities. Even if those connections don’t amount to anything, I feel like the application process will provide me with valuable experience. And if these connections do amount to something, even better!

Of course, the main type of connection I was referring to earlier was that of interpersonal connections. I certainly have experienced that as a result of my study abroad. Even though the closest thing I got to finding love was a CONTROVERSIAL fake engagement, I established many close friendships–especially with my beloved study abroad roommate Jacob. I went to Europe looking for romance, but I ended up finding a BROMANCE! We are quite hilarious… like two peas in a pod! He is the Marcie to my Peppermint Patty… you know, minus the thick glasses and strong lesbian vibe. *

In fact, here’s a picture of us!

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Can you tell we’re best friends? Anyway, part of why I’ve been doing so great lately is because I have someone who I can talk to and just be my complete, unfiltered self around. That is really refreshing. So although I didn’t go on the study abroad expecting to find a brother, a brother I got, and I am very grateful!

That just goes to show you that our preconceived notions of life can be quite different from what ends up actually happening. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What does the future hold?

So what lies in my future? Well, if I were to choose, it would go something like this:

I will be a psychologist specializing in the study of child stars… but not in a creepy way. Instead, I will have won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering what it is that causes child stars to eventually ride wrecking balls naked and set their dogs on fire. I will of course have come up with the solution. That combined with the prize money will enable my wife Emma Watson Gilliland and I to live in a beautiful mansion in Wales. My close friends and family will of course be living in our guest homes.

"Matthew Gilliland is the love of my life. I want to marry him IMMEDIATELY!"--Emma Watson, My Dreams, 1 October 2013

“Matthew Gilliland is the love of my life. I want to marry him IMMEDIATELY!”–Emma Watson, My Dreams, 1 October 2013

Assuming all that doesn’t happen, however, I’m willing to accept whatever the future has in store for me… come what may!

*This is a quote from an episode of Scrubs, as much as I’d like to claim it!

Europe–The Final Chapter: Last Day in the U.K.

Well, the day has finally come for me to write about my Europe study abroad for the last time.

Today I want to talk (or, to be more literal, write) about my last full day in the United Kingdom, because I feel like it was such a staple in my trip, and it was definitely one of my favorite days in the UK… if not one of my favorite days in life!

It was Sunday, August 4th, 2013. Why that even matters, I do not know. We were in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the perfect day… not too hot and not too cold. All you needed was a light jacket! There was just the hint of a breeze, and it was cloudy but not rainy, which was pretty much a miracle seeing as we were in Scotland. To sum up, it was perfect kite-flying weather. Not that people fly kites anymore. Do they? Maybe I should say it was perfect hiking weather, because that’s what we ended up doing that day.  It was our last full day in the United Kingdom and we had to make the best of it. For us on that day, “making the best of it” involved hiking an extinct volcano. As one does while in Europe.

Since pictures speak a thousand words, I am going to post some of my favorite pictures from the hike of Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano that gave us glorious views of Edinburgh:

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After the hike, we went down to a small man-made loch at the base of Arthur’s Seat. We had missed out on going to the Loch Ness (which I won’t get into because that is a whole different tragic, violent story… OK so it wasn’t really violent, but I’d rather just forget about it), so this was the next best thing. Here, a skilled photographer (who had also taken some now-infamous fake engagement pictures for me) captured a photo that I feel embodies just how fun this trip ended up being:

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Doesn’t this look like the most fun study abroad group in the history of the world??!!!

By the time we were done hiking and loching (it’s a new word, look it up… but not really because I just made it up), the night was approaching, so it was nearly time for us to retire to the hostel. But first, a few of my classmates and I had to eat at a pub for the last time. Because the last day in Europe would not be complete without some good, cheap food.

That night, we said goodbye in a bit of an eccentric way. I gathered my good friends Jacob, Nicole, Katie, Kyra, Stephanie, and Becca to do a group huddle and sing/sway to The Graduation Song. For those of you who don’t know the song, here is the chorus:

For some reason, some of our party thought I was ridiculous for suggesting such a thing. Eyes were rolled, complaints were muttered, and people were called weird. But I laughed so hard that I cried. And in the end, don’t the best moments end in tears? Wait a minute… I might have to rethink that idea.

To top off the night, my beloved study abroad roommate (and the only other guy in the group) Jacob and I talked late into the night. There is just something about the bond between study abroad roommates that cannot quite be matched by anything else. We enjoyed our late-night talks in Europe, and this last one was no different. It was the perfect way to conclude my final day in the UK!

I will never forget that last day on the British Isles. It’s crazy to believe that it has already been a month and a half since I got back from Europe. My life has been changed for the better because I decided to go on that study abroad. I made some of my closest friends and also created some of my favorite memories. But most of all, I freaking got to go to Europe!

And on that dignified note, I will conclude my musings about my study abroad once and for all. Thanks for reading!