Saturday, September 4, 2010

We've Moved

We here at The Road to Self have moved onto greener pastures.

You might be looking for this:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Irish Poetry!

Today in my Modern British Authors class, we discussed this poem by Eavan Boland - an Irish, female poet. I haven't enjoyed MANY of the works we've read for this class. But we recently forayed into the great world of post-modernism and contemporary literature. I was so struck by this poem that I had to share:
"Anorexic" by Eavan Boland
Flesh is heretic.
My body is a witch.
I am burning it.

Yes I am torching
ber curves and paps and wiles.
They scorch in my self denials.

How she meshed my head
in the half-truths
of her fevers

till I renounced
milk and honey
and the taste of lunch.

I vomited
her hungers.
Now the bitch is burning.

I am starved and curveless.
I am skin and bone.
She has learned her lesson.

Thin as a rib
I turn in sleep.
My dreams probe

a claustrophobia
a sensuous enclosure.
How warm it was and wide

once by a warm drum,
once by the song of his breath
and in his sleeping side.

Only a little more,
only a few more days
sinless, foodless,

I will slip
back into him again
as if I had never been away.

Caged so
I will grow
angular and holy

past pain,
keeping his heart
such company

as will make me forget
in a small space
the fall

into forked dark,
into python needs
heaving to hips and breasts
and lips and heat
and sweat and fat and greed
For those of you who might be lost and don't have the benefit of the foot notes that I had access to, the speaker of the poem is Eve, and she wishes she could go back into Adam as his rib rather than stay her own entity. What I love about this poem is how the problematic aspects of religion are being compared to, in essence, a disease: woman feels so much pressure to be perfect, the only logical thing to do is to return to man to be redeemed from the "sin" of Eve. I think what struck home to me about this work is the comparison to becoming thin and beautiful, more near to the "perfect idealized" woman in order to become more righteous. The woman who is curvy and luscious, well, that woman is sinful. I see this in many ways in my own religious culture - the idea that if one can be a close to an ideal size or figure as possible, the more god-like and worthy she is. Additionally, another critique I love is that, in the speaker's mind, for her to be perfect, she needs to be absorbed in patriarchy to become whole. It's poems like these that make me realize that how great God truly is, and how great my curvy, luscious, and sometimes sinful womanhood is. Without these types of glaring, blasphemous critiques, I think I would feel alone. Anyways, food for thought - any other takers? And I should mention, I normally don't dig on poetry.
Also, and not entirely randomly since I just broke out in my semi-annual cold sores induced by stress, I wanted to let you all know, according to, you CAN spread oral herpes to genitals. I was more curious than anything since I've heard many different sides to the story, so thank you google for educating me!  

Summer Time... and the Reading's Easy

I hope you all enjoyed my Sublime reference/pun. So, my geeky intellectual friends and I have risen to the challenge of a former professor/kick-ass mentor and made summer reading lists. Here are mine: I hope you feel inspired... especially to read banned books!

1. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell
2. "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston
3. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith
4. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
5. "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury
6. "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
7. "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby
8. "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabakov
9. "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi
10. "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
11. "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie
12. "The Country Girls" by Edna O'Brien
13. "The Green Hills of Africa" by Ernest Hemingway
14. "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" by Angela Carter
15. "Selected Poems" by Eavan Boland
16. "The Foreskin's Lament" by Shalom Auslander

I feel a little like a cheater by making a summer reading list, because, right now, my summer looks to be indefinite - no more school, at least for a few years, and no job offers. But, in the grand tradition of Cedar City summers, I'll pick a 16 week summer to work with so that I can get some quality reading in. Thanks Todd, Rae, Joe, and Grburbank for the great idea! I think we should, at some point, compare and see if we are making our goals.

Side note - there are a lot of staples on here that I haven't had the time to read. I own many of the books on this list so rather than buy new ones, I shall peruse my own selection. Please don't judge me :)

There are some big names on here that I haven't read - which makes me kind of sad since I'm finishing my Master of Arts .... in LITERATURE. But, there's no time like the present to catch up!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I don't like them. At all.

I'm not going to be all "holier-than-thou" and say I never apply them, because I totally do. I'm working on it though.

One label I am constantly dodging, and admittedly omit until asked, is the fact that I'm Mormon. I don't like other Mormons to know I'm Mormon because frankly, they're disappointed when I don't meet their expectations of Mormon-ness. This is fine. Our church is about a personal relationship with God and I know that He loves me and my Mormon-ness.

I omit that I'm Mormon to those who are not because most of them have horror stories or super-creepy-all-too-personal questions that, frankly, are inappropriate and uncomfortable or loaded in nature. I'd rather people get to know me as the good person I'm trying to be and accept me for my values and how I practice those values as opposed to labeling me with a scarlet "M" that they are unwilling to see past. (And let me note, this is not everyone. My practice of omitting until asked began because of a choice few who were ass-hats.)

However, I have found peace in this practice, YEA, even joy :D No, really. I figure if someone really wants to know, they'll ask. And, it's usually the right kind of person, who already knows me, that asks and my Mormon-ness does not seem weird at that point. Allowing myself to live beyond a label - Mormon - has allowed me develop my life and path in a broader spectrum. I'm not confined to a certain attitude or word. I'm entitled to find useful purposes for doctrine and to think beyond the fact that "I'm Mormon so I can't." Doing this has also allowed me to question on a deeper and more meaningful level because in so many ways, Mormons can't or aren't allowed to question, but someone striving to live the doctrine of the L.D.S. church, or someone striving to live life to the fullest in any other context, can question and not be judged or condemned for doing so.

I felt the same relief from label-stress when I gave up on deciding to be Republican or Democrat.

That's one label I've been ditching.

However, in my particular case, I don't think labels would be completely useless. In light of a series of unfortunate incidents in the past six months, I think I SHOULD come with this label:

"Attention MOST men who are married or in serious/committed relationships and find themselves unhappy - you WlLL BE attracted to me. Don't worry, this is standard operating procedure. Just keep your thoughts and hands and phone numbers to yourselves. Single men who are looking for love - you WILL NOT be attracted to me. If you wish to be, get married or get serious and then wait to see if you find yourselves unhappy."

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Family Wins

No. Really. They do.

Let me explain why they win. I've been applying to jobs all over the country and my back-up plan has been returning to where I grew up in Southern California before we moved to Utah. My grandparents, some aunts and uncles and cousins, and very good friends still live in the same vicinity. While I've been hoping to get a good paying job and decided that I would move where I needed to move, I wasn't exactly excited about the prospect of having to start all over again - new friends, new church, new stores (it's so effing difficult to find items in new stores), new roads, etc., but no family. All the places I've been applying to will be far away and I'd most likely only get to see my family members once or twice a year. For some families, that's totally fine and perhaps even the preferred/necessary M.O. But, that's not my family: that's not me.

The more I thought about my back-up plan, the more I wanted it to be my real plan, even though there are very few positions open for faculty in SoCal right now. For my academically minded head, choosing to go there is irresponsible. What a waste, right? I've spent two years, thousands of dollars, and countless tears to put myself in the position to be a faculty member, not adjunct, not part-time, but full-time. This is what academia expects of me and this, without my realizing it, is the philosophy I've adopted for myself.

After two big conversations, Rae and Cynthia - thank you, I realized I needed to prioritize MY needs and after figuring them out, no one is going to convince me differently... except for that day I know will come in the future when my needs will actually change.

Many people will say I should use this time to pay off my student loans and get myself into a good school so I can get into a good Ph.D. program so I can be a good professor one day. Others will say I should be more independent or adventurous or less scared. And that's okay. They can say those things.

But I'll say, "This is what I'm choosing and it's making me happy." One day I will get into a good Ph.D. program and become a kick-ass professor. One day, my student loans will be paid off. Right now, my adventure is for once, listening to my heart and not my head. My adventure is returning to a place I said I'd never live again and finding peace in that decision. My adventure is trading probably monetary security for the likelihood of less money and being okay with that decision.

And this is why my family is awesome:

I called my mom last night and instead of talking me out of it, because she's one of the very rational voices in my head when I'm emotional, she said she knew I was making the right decision for myself.

I called my dad this morning. He said, "Follow your heart. You'll be successful wherever you go. If this is what your heart is telling you, it's right."

I told a couple of my cousins my plan and I immediately had two offerings for housing and genuine excitement at my return. They said they'd look for jobs and pray for me.

And this is why my family wins. We're a family that no matter what the circumstances are always there for each other. A laugh, some food, a good cry, or emotional support in the face of a life changing decision. I know not everyone is as lucky as me.

My decision to go to SoCal didn't even take 24 hours to be affirmed as a right decision because my family is kick-ass. I'm so thankful that my heart told me quality of life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Size of My Pants

I guess I can't play the "I never date" card or the "Opportunities never present themselves" card. I do have a fair amount of opportunities, but I really haven't had anyone I'd consider my boyfriend in over three years. There was one dude last April, but he turned out not to be so nice and even after a month of seeing each other almost everyday, I still did not give him the title of boyfriend - a very wise and empowering decision in retrospect since he turned out to be such a douchebag.

Last semester, there was one foray into dating and ended as badly as any could. It's taken me months to internalize and process one comment he said to me in October, so two nights ago, I think I was dealing with all the crap I haven't cried for.

This boy was actually a dear friend and one of my closest here in Flagstaff. We had awesome conversations about life and the Church, films, comic books, and Dexter. I could be myself with him. I trusted him. I thought he saw through the same social constructs I did, especially when it came to social Mormon ideologies. I thought, If this is not the man I'm meant to be with, I'm glad I know one can exist in the Church. So, most of all, he gave me an exponential amount of hope that if one day I do get married, I will not have to give up my creativity or my educational pursuits, that balancing motherhood, wifehood, and self would be a real possibility.

When I returned to Flag in August, we spent a lot of time together. I soon realized that the friend I had no feelings for and had always wanted to like.... well, I was beginning to deeply like him. After two months of trying to read between the lines, I was straight-up and honest - something he said he completely respected me for. He said he needed time to think.

After about a week, he came back and we had a lengthy conversation. There were many complications that I do not wish to discuss, but when it came to me, he said he had very much been entertaining the thought of being with me because he recognized the value or our type of friendship being the basis for a relationship. However, and I'm going to directly quote as far as my memory is reliable, he looked me in the eye and said, "You know, whenever I think about dating someone, she's a supermodel. And well, you're not a Size 2."

He said he ultimately didn't think he could date me for a few other reasons, but, I have dated someone who was emotionally abusive, and I think this may be one of the most hurtful things anybody has ever said to me. Ever.

Right then and there, I knew I had no more feelings for him, and upon further reflection, I no longer want to be friends with him. Because you know what buddy? Damn straight I'm not a size 2 (paradoxically, neither is he... surprising, I know). I will NEVER be a size 2 and how dare you place the value of my love and abilities to be an amazing partner in a relationship on the size of my pants.

That process took milliseconds to work out in my head - thankfully. But what I have struggled to regain is my faith. This person that I thought more highly of than many others, trusted, confided in, and appreciated for a year in one sentence undid everything I did have faith in. (This probably explains my recent foray into dating/being interested in only non-members.)

I lost my faith because, while yes, perhaps I should have not been so trusting or put all of my faith eggs in one big, unworthy basket, in my ways, I feel like I've lost the opportunity to find someone who will do for me the things I know I am deserving of. If it takes a whole year to find out the true heart of a person, specifically a person I'm interested in, then how can I have faith?

And that... that is something I am still working on reconciling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lucy Belle La Rue

"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's."
- Mark Twain

Last night, on our way out the door, we noticed one of our family dogs was struggling for life. Lucy, my dad's hunting dog, has been in congestive heart failure for a couple of weeks, and we were hoping she would last a few more, but she took a sudden turn for the worse. Really sudden. Yesterday afternoon, she still had a little bounce in her step and was wagging her tail. By six o'clock last night, she could not move and her respiratory rate was through the roof. As we heard her lungs fill with fluid and watched her suffer for a hour and a half, we decided to do the only thing we could for her.

It's been a tough few months in the La Rue house, so I think what broke my heart the most was seeing how vulnerable my dad was. He didn't lose my mom a few months ago, but he lost another companion. Lucy was his first dog ever. He trained her and cared for her. While she was a family dog, she was really his dog. I've only seen my dad cry twice before last night.

Losing Lucy, though, puts into stark contrast how important family is, because in our family, a dog is a fur-person, a valued member of our little clan. My brother and I were able to be home by coincidence, and as we stood in a group hug, I thanked God that we were. I thanked God that we have a strong family whose members are always there for each other, even if they can only lick our faces when we feel bad.

I'm much more than a dog-person; now that I have my own little Sassafrass, I feel, in some small way, like a parent. I literally have anxiety when I'm gone from her sometimes, worrying about if she'll get into something that will harm her or if she is outside, if the other dog will hurt her. I hope she's happy with me as her person.

And I think that this is why losing Lucy is so hard. She wasn't my dog, but she was important to me. We've had her since we moved to Utah. She grew up with my brother and me. My dad had very specific rules for her and that my brother and I liked to break. I always snuck her into my bedroom to sleep on the bed, even though my dad hated that. When we went places in my car, she got to sit on the front seat and not the floorboards. I'll miss her little carefree expressions. She was always excited about something and seemed to say, "Hey! Why isn't everyone as happy as me?!" She was very loyal and snuggly and good.

We'll miss you, Lucy Belle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Need a Laugh?

I stole this from a friend's blog linked from another friend's blog. After a long day, I needed some laughs. Also, I might identify with all of these.

Random thoughts from people our age...

-I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can
think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell
my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves

-Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you
realize you're wrong.

-Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're
going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to
be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like
check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to
yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're
crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

-That's enough, Nickelback.

-I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

-Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know"
feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose
not to be friends with?

-Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't
work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically
fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all
know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards
or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

-There is a great need for sarcasm font.

-Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and
suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first
saw it.

-I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually
becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting
90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's
laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little
bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the
only one who really, really gets it.

-How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

-I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than
take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear
your computer history if you die.

-The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to
finish a text.

- Was learning cursive really necessary?

- Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

- I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

- Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron
test is absolutely petrifying.

- My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads.
Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired
about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us."
Classy, bro.

- Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart",
all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod
and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up
to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in'
examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete
idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and
said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

-What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

- While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and
instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

- MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I
know how to get out of my neighborhood.

- Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the
person died.

-Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,
and you can wear them forever.

-I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

- Bad decisions make good stories

-Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their
profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got
the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if
I do!

- Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

-If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring
would probably just be completely invisible.

-Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go
around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly
nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be
a problem....

-You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work
when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything
productive for the rest of the day.

-Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't
want to have to restart my collection.

-There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are
going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

-I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me
if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I
swear I did not make any changes to.

- "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

-I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people
watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will
they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't
watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and
leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

-I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?
Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and
goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone
and run away?

- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not
seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

-When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she
hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light
internet stalking.

-I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle,
then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

-Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising
speed for pedophiles...

- As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers,
but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

-Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still
not know what time it is.

-It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

-I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to
answer when they call.

-Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

-Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car
keys in a pocket and Pinning the Tail on the
Donkey - but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze
button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time
every time...

-My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would
happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

-It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and
the link takes me to a video instead of text.

-I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they
drive behind obeys the speed limit.

-I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

-I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or
Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

-The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw
they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words,
someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think
about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people
eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by
myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard
before dinner

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Freshman Thought for the Day

I thought I'd share a thought from one of my ENG 105 students. Today was the second day of class. As it ended, I collected a questionnaire that had been handed out yesterday.

Student giving the paper to me, "I almost didn't do this because I was like, 'There's no way I could have homework on the first day.'"

Me, "........"

Silly freshman, no homework on the first day is for kids.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dirty Laundry

Okay. I try not to air out too much dirty laundry in the way of my romantic relationships in the public arena. While there are many reasons for this, I feel that my reasoning for this is two-fold. One. If things are going well, I'm afraid I'll eventually have to eat my gloaty-shorts when things go the way of the proverbial creek. Two. If things are non-euphoric, I don't want to be passive aggressive or tacky by complaining about every little thing. (Out of many personality traits, the passive aggressive trait has the ability to annoy me like Billy Mays - RIP -, large crowds of loud, trashy people and unattended, whaling children at the Wal-Mart, and the emission of strange odors.) Anyways, since life has been pretty slow as of late and I'm seriously at a loss about what the mature and grown-up thing is to do, I'm airing out some unmentionables tonight.

About a month ago I ended a relationship because we wanted very different things from a relationship and from life. It was headed down the tube either way, but I tapped out first. (Admittedly, it was empowering to do so ;).) The end wasn't messy; very simple in fact - only a few awkward and WTF? parts.

Most of the ties have been cut. I'm no longer friends with his sisters on Facebook and he unfriended me on Netflix (Dear Techonology, Thanks for making breaking up more complicated. Love, Slarue). There's just this matter of a book (my favorite kid's book) and an iPod adapter that I lent him and whose possession my possessions are still in. About a week ago, he e-mailed me and asked me how I would like the items returned to me. I asked him to mail them to my house in Utah. He said, well... I think I'd rather give them to any of your friends in Flag.

I didn't immediately return a response. A. I was in Cali (thanks, Rae. I had such an awesome time!). B. I got a new puppy who's wearing the ever-living out of me. C. My extended family is up for the 4th and we've been doing nothing but running around and playing. D. I didn't want to have to re-hash the feelings and thoughts that brought me to the decision to end the relationship in the first place since this is a perfect example of our dynamic. I.E. He thinks I'm needy because I need him to mail the books to me and I think he's selfish for not going to the post office and sending a package media mail. (This would make much more sense if I'd done more blogging in the past.)

Anyways, yes, I should have responded, but alas, I took the easy way out and ignored the problem and simultaneously huffed that the Post Office isn't that far out of the way.

Then another e-mail today (direct quote): "Hope you were not to attached to the things you lent to me =) LOL."

And here is where my problem is. I neither gave permission for my things to be kept, for them to be thrown away, nor did I say they could be given back to me via any other route. Really, I'm not TOO attached because they are just things and I can get them again, but, they are mine. It doesn't really matter if they're given to a friend in Flag other than they become somebody else's responsibility when those things are his responsibility. But, he asked how I wanted them returned to me and I gave a very reasonable option about how I would like and want them returned. It's not like I'm asking for a mailed copy of Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom or for a courier service to deliver a briefcase. It's media mail. Seriously. Two dollars.

And here is where I would like your input, dear reader. What would your response be? Is asking for mail unreasonable when I have friends the book could be given to? Perhaps I should stop letting someone else determine my moods and move onto more productive thoughts like how to train Sassafrass or losing that extra fluff or finding a job after I graduate. Hmmmmm...

This may be the most mundane post ever, but really, it's the culmination of frustration that I'm trying to get past... and really, have done so. It's just reminding me that it was there in the first place. Bleh.