Being ironic on Valentines Day

On Valentines Day, it’s really easy to slip into being mopey when your relationship status is single.  However, I’ve gone through the routine enough times that I just ignore all the “Single Awareness Day” hate.  Yes, I’m single.  But I’m happily single.  I have no reason to be miserable on Valentines Day.

So, I’ve started playing a game:  How can I celebrate this romantic holiday in the most strange/ironic way possible?

Over the years, I’ve had some great moments.

During my junior year of high school, February 14th landed on a Sunday.  My parents were away for the weekend, so it was just my little brother and I in the house.  We skipped church and I spent the entire day reading the unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.  The best part is I spent the majority of the afternoon plowing through the fifty page tangent where Hugo describes all the details of convent life.  Because there’s nothing more romantic than soaking in all there is to know about nuns!

Then there’s my sophomore year of college.  Valentines was on a Thursday.  After class, I spent my afternoon and evening judging a speech meet for the local high school.  The categories I had to judge were Serious Prose and Serious Drama.  This meant three hours of high schoolers describing suicide, abuse, rape, death, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, etc.  Talk about getting you in the romantic mood!

Last year, Valentines was on a Friday.  Virginia Woolf was my Valentine and I spent the afternoon in the library reading Mrs. Dalloway.  (As you can see by this post, our relationship didn’t really work out in the long run.)

This year, I am determined to live up to its ironic potential.  Once again, I’m spending the day judging speech.  This time, I’ll be at a massive meet in the cities.  Most of my day will be spent on a cold school bus and the rest will be spent sitting rounds filling out critique sheets.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get a handful of depressing categories.

Also, because I don’t have a significant other, I’ve chosen  William Shakespeare as my Valentine.  We’re covering Titus Andronicus at the moment in class, which is absolutely perfect.  Warm fuzzies abound.

So, readers.  Now you know about my weird Valentines Day traditions.  Please remember this is all in good fun.  I’m not actually obsessed with depressing stories.  I also don’t use these as coping mechanisms.  It’s true that I really, really look forward to the day I actually have a significant other to spent the holiday with.  Until then, I’ll remain happily single and will continue to find weird, quirky ways to celebrate February 14.

How are you celebrating Valentines Day?

Versatile/Liebster Awards

It’s always an honor when a fellow blogger nominates you and features your blog.  The thing is… I’m terrible with awards.  On the one hand, I think they’re fabulous and are a wonderful way to connect the WordPress community.  On the other, they feel a bit like chain mail.

Recently, I’ve been nominated for a number of awards.  So, instead of putting them off, I thought I’d respond to them in one big post.  The thing is, though, I’m not going to pass the awards on.  I know that it defeats the purpose, but the part of me that resists anything that feels like chain mail is simply too strong.  (I mean, I even avoided doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last spring, despite numerous nominations.)

Versatile:

A few months ago, Britta of It’s a Britta Bottle! nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Part of the award involves sharing seven facts about yourself.  Here goes:

1. I believe in the Loch Ness Monster.

2. During my junior year of high school, I held a lead role in a production of Disney’s High School Musical.  (In case you were wondering, I played Taylor McKessie.  Second to the left.)

3. I have read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban over fifteen times.  (Yes, I kept track and have since lost count.)

4. This past summer, I was in charge of the children’s programming for an international Ethiopian Church Conference in Minneapolis.

Me withs some of the girls

5. I have seen The Phantom of the Opera on the Broadway and West End stages, as well as a traveling production.

6. In high school, I wrote a novel length Harry Potter fan fic.

7. I spent my 21st birthday in Oxford and had my first drink at the Eagle in Child pub, where my literary heroes J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and friends (also known as the Inklings) used to have their weekly writing group.

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Liebster:

Yesterday, Akanksha of The World Past Me nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Part of this award includes answering a number of given questions.  Here are my answers toAkanksha’s fantastic questions:

1. What do you want from life?

I want a simple life doing something meaningful.  I want to work in full-time ministry serving and building the Kingdom of God.  I want to travel the world.  Someday, I want to settle down with a husband that I love and raise a family.

2. What’s your secret fantasy?

To eat all the Nutella in the world and not gain weight.

3. What is your favorite color and why?

Green.  Because it’s pretty.

4. If you could change  into an animal anytime, what would it be and why?

I would become a beluga whale because every time I see one in real life, I become so full of joy that I nearly start hyperventilating.  (Yes, I’m a weirdo.)  I want my presence to bring joy to the lives of others.  Also, beluga whales are adorable.


5. Do you believe in love at first sight? Why/why not?

There are lots of kinds of love out there, each very complex and distinct.  In a romantic sense, however, I do not believe in love at first sight.  I think you can see someone and be incredibly attracted to them.  But the kind of love that lifelong marriages are built upon takes time and commitment to foster.  It can’t be captured in an instant.

6. What do you believe is humans’ greatest strength?

I think that one of our biggest strengths is our ability to create.  There’s something about art, literature, and music that transcends words.  Crafting beauty that moves and inspires is something that only we human beings are able to do.  It’s absolutely incredible.

7. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind every morning when you wake up?

Usually, I think about Jesus.  He’s my best friend.  (I also do my daily devotions first thing, so He is naturally the first thing on my mind.)

8. A trip with your best friend or a brunch with good friends?

This is a tough one.  I’m going to go with brunch with good friends.  Why?  As much as I love travel and as much as I love my best friend, we’d kill each other if we were in each other’s company for too long.

9. What’s your favorite book?

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.  The first time I read it unabridged, I didn’t know what to do with myself for a week.  I felt like I had lost a very dear friend.  Hugo has crafted a novel that captures the essence of the human existence.  It never fails to move me.

10. If you could date one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Andrew Garfield.  Because LOOK AT THIS MAN.  (Although, in real life, I don’t think I’d ever want to date a celebrity.  Too much publicity.)

So… that concludes my awards acceptance post!  Thanks so much Britta and Akanksha for the nominations!

P.S. I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award in the past, so do check out my previous answers!

February 14

This morning as I entered the Student Center after class to check my mailbox, a guy opened the door for me.  He didn’t do the whole enter first, then prop-it-so-I-can-catch-it-thing.  No.  He pulled the door open, looked at me, and gestured for me to enter.  It was probably the most romantic thing to happen to me… well… in a very long while.  Maybe ever, actually.

It’s Valentines Day, which means love is in the air.  Campus is decked out in cutout hearts, friends are giving each other cards, and I’ve overheard multiple conversations between male classmates trying to one-up each other on their efforts to impress their vegan girlfriends.  (One guy acted all macho because he was going to make a salad with raspberry vinaigrette instead of ranch dressing… oh so classy.)

The funny thing about today is that for people without lovers, it inspires all sorts of angst.  “Single Awareness Day” they call it.  All the talk of romance brings out all sorts of insecurities.

As for myself, I find myself single for the 21st Valentines Day in a row.  Am I bitter?  Am I depressed?  Am I drowning myself in chocolate and romantic comedies?

Nope.

I mean… I’d like a romantic relationship any more than the next girl, but for the most part, I’m happy being single.  I always have been.  Why?  Well, when you plan on getting married someday (which I do), that means you only get to be single for a certain amount of time.  Going solo can be lonely at times, yes, but it also enables you to do all sorts of awesome things… like move to Europe!  Which I totally did!  Dating or Europe?  Dating or Europe?  Sorry, but Europe wins hands-down.  (Although if I happened to be dating someone and we happened to go to Europe together… I’d be cool with that.)

Anyways…

I’ve had some pretty odd Valentines Days.

When I was sixteen, I spent the day with my nose entrenched in Les Misérables (unabridged).  Now, this scenario has lots of potential.  I could have been at the part that describes Fantine’s lover who abandoned her.  Or, I could be experiencing Marius and Cosette’s beautifully written first encounter.  But… can you guess what part I was stuck on?  If you guessed the fifty page deviation Hugo takes where he describes all the details of convent life, you’d be right on the spot.  Let me tell you, nuns aren’t very romantic–especially when there’s fifty pages about them.

Then there’s last year, where I judged a high school speech meet on February 14th.  The categories I weighed in on were Prose and Drama.  Do you know what those speeches contain?  Death.  Rape.  Suicide.  Parental abuse.  Drug abuse.  Alcohol abuse.  More death.  More rape.  More abuse.  Talk about getting in the romantic mood, right?

As for this year…

I’ve got a date with Mrs. Dalloway, plans to watch a zombie movie with a friend, and (as you already know) a random guy opened a door for me.  So until I someday have a special someone to share this holiday with, I think this year sounds about perfect.

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Liebster

A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow blogger, Holly, awarded me the Liebster Award.  It’s an award bloggers give to each other to highlight new and incoming blogs.  The award comes with a series of questions posed by the giver.  Here are the questions I’ve received and my answers to them!  (Also, Holly is an absolutely fantastic blogger and you should all check out her work.)

1. Which book/movie character do you identify with the most?

Ouch.  This one is tough.  I honestly don’t know how much I actually relate to these characters, but I definitely see pieces of myself in them.  Or, I like to think I see pieces of myself in them.  (I realize the question asks for only one character, but I’m going to give three.)

One that comes directly to mind is Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.  I was in high school the first time I read these novels and immediately felt connected with Anne’s big imagination.  She takes simple things like paths and ponds and gives them grand names, seeing all the beauty and all the potential they possess.  In her mind, all the fantastical things she dreams about–the far off places, adventures, passions–they’re all real.  Although we are very different in many ways I like to think Anne and I are, to use her phrase, kindred spirits.

Another character I identify with is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  No, I’ve never been locked up in a castle and I have never fallen in love with a hideous beast.  But, like Belle, there have definitely been times in my life where I’ve felt out-of-place, misunderstood, and unwanted.  Like Belle, there were times growing up where I would sit and dream of far away places and adventures.  Recently, I had the chance to go to those places and live out all the adventures I had spent my whole life dreaming up.  It was wonderful.  Finally, Belle and I are both massive bookworms.  Without shame, I admit to daydreaming about the Beauty and the Beast library.  It’s every English major’s dream.

A third character I see myself in is Jo March from Little Women.  Why?  Although I definitely lack Jo’s fiery temper, she too is a reader and a writer.  She moves to a big city all on her own to pursue a literary career.  I moved to a big city to pursue my literary studies.  Grown up Jo almost has the “I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” attitude, which I love and definitely, to an extent, relate to.

2.  Describe the best day of your life thus far.

Summer 2011.  I was eighteen.  My morning began pulling drip lines in the strawberry patch.  Half an hour into the miserable job, a thunderstorm struck and work was called off for the day.  So I spent the morning baking cookies.  In the afternoon, my coworkers and I went to the cities (St. Paul/Minneapolis) to see the very last Harry Potter movie ever.  It became the third movie to ever make me cry.  Afterwards, we went to a frozen yogurt place in Dinkytown.  My friend and coworker, David, had sugar for the first time in months (his family is anti-sugar, pro home-grown foods) and went absolutely off-the-walls hyper.  To say he was entertaining is a vast understatement.  I don’t know if I have ever laughed as hard as I did during the drive home.

3.  Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert?

I’m definitely an introvert.  I love people and can be very outgoing when the need arises, but being out in public too much is exhausting.  I need solitude to recharge.

4.  What were you like when you were a kid?

Oh gosh, I was annoying.  I was one of those dumb kids who had something to say about absolutely everything.  In our old home videos, I’m always in the corner narrating everything that was going on.

On the positive side, though, I always had a big imagination.  Even as a small kid I loved stories.  I would dream of far away castles and dragons that needed fighting.  I’d go out into the woods and play out these stories, often dragging my brothers or best friend, Erin, to play supporting roles.  Naturally, once I learned my letters, I became an avid reader.  You know those days where you just can’t put a book down and you read the whole thing in a day?  That was me at the tender age of eight.  My imagination and love of stories only grew as I got older, morphing me into the nerdy English major I am today.

5.  What’s one book you think everyone should read?

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.  Unabridged.

6.  What are you afraid of?

Centipedes.  They weird me out.

7.  What makes you laugh?

I love intelligent parodies that don’t take themselves seriously.  For examples, I find the movies  The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail absolutely hilarious.  My not-so-inner lit nerd adores The Reduced Shakespeare Company.  YouTube videos like “Beauty and the Beat” and “Jane Austen is my Homegirl” almost never fail to make me laugh.

8.  What’s your (realistic or unrealistic) dream job?

One of the in-character wizards at Harry Potter world.

Travel writer.  The kind that people pay to see the world and write about it.

Disney animator.

9.  Where would you like to travel?

Europe always and forever will have my heart.

If I had been asked this question six months ago, I would have told you England or France.  Now that I have been to these places, my answer would have to be Italy, Sweden, and Norway.  I am always up for another trip to Austria.  It’s not European, but I would also like to visit Israel before I die.

10.  Why did you decide to start a blog?

Six years ago, I was a young nerdy teenage girl up to my elbows in the Harry Potter fandom.  I met a girl named Cathy on a fan forum.  We became friends and she told me about blogging.  Having a corner of the internet to call my own was incredibly appealing.  So, at the age of fifteen, I began my first blog.

I’ve been writing ever since.

11.  Post the funniest meme you’ve ever seen.  (Okay, that was more of a command than a question.  Sorry.  But still post the meme, please?)

I’m weirdly fascinated with the concept of gangster Lord of the Rings.  I have no idea why.