Colds and Shakespeare.

I have just been having one adventure after the other lately!
I’m growing up all over the place, it seems. I mean, first I move out, then I start college, and now I’m doing perhaps the most grown-up thing yet:

Dealing with a cold all by myself.

I don’t think I ever fully appreciated being sick at home with my family. That sounds so weird, but hear me out: usually at the first sign of illness, I would beeline to the box of essential oils that resides in my parents’ bathroom and down some spicy oils that helped me feel better almost instantly. After that, I usually took some Vitamin C, Airborn, and Lysine. All things that were almost always stocked up in our cabinets.

This time around, however, I had to go to WalMart and get the stuff myself (did YOU know Vitamin C cost as much as it did? Ouch). I’m feeling better now, but gosh I hate being sick. I can’t taste hardly anything, I’ve lost my singing voice, and everything is nauseating to me. Oh- and since I’ve been drinking so much water, I have to pee all the time. TMI? Sorry. Reality bites.

I cannot WAIT to be healthy again.

Let’s talk about Shakespeare now.

I’m taking a folk dance class each Tuesday night, and we’re learning dances from the Renaissance period, which is actually REALLY cool. I love dancing, and I enjoy this kind of dancing more than I thought. It’s really easy, because the steps are generally simple, and in the Renaissance, dances were very clear and repetitive. Plus I get to pretend I’m a dancer from that time, so I stand straighter and glide more than I would in, say, a hip hop class.

Last night was my first time in the class, and I was met by a surprise. I assumed the class would be full of young women in leotards, ready to dance and make me feel like a clumsy elephant, but that is not the case! It’s a class of only 8, and they’re all completely average people. Including Shakespeare.

Okay, fine. His name is Bob, and he might not be Shakespeare… But I’m pretty much positive he actually IS. He’s taking a Renaissance dance class, so obviously he’s trying to reconnect with his roots. He’s got the right hair for it, and he looks about 400+ years old, so the only logical conclusion is that he is, in fact, Shakespeare.

Shakespeare…
And Bob. Or should I say SHAKESPEARE?

Obviously, he has aged somewhat, but that’s to be expected when you’ve been alive since the 1500s.

Peeps, this is so perfect. He is taking a Renaissance dance class. Ol’ Shakespeare is still developing his skills. I am honored to have him in my class.

Despite his remarkable survival skills, “Bob” still makes me a little nervous. Being centuries old tends to make people fragile, and he is no exception. I kept my eye on him the whole class to make sure he didn’t keel over or crumble into dust. Good news- he survived.
I know we’ve only just met, but I’ve read so many of his works and loved them all, and I’ve even performed one of his plays, so we’re pretty much BFFs by now. I love him. It’s impossible not to- he’s so sweet and slightly clueless about what’s going on in the class; constantly turning the wrong way and doing the wrong step. He’s adorable! But then again, I’ve always loved elderly folks. They are so fun and you can learn so much from them. I hope Bob and I become friends, because he’s awesome.

And how many people can say they’re chummy with the Bard himself??

~Haeley

I’m sorry.

I am a young woman.

That is a very obvious fact, and it shouldn’t even need to be stated, but the thing is, young women are often faced with one of the most self-destructive behaviors known to mankind:

Bodily insecurities. 

I am a young woman with insecurities.

Now, I’m not one of those people who hates on herself all the time. In general, I like how I look, I like what I wear, I like who I am. But sometimes, sometimes, a little monster crawls up my back and takes control of my vision, and suddenly all I can see are flaws. And for some reason, as if my self-destructive behavior and thoughts weren’t already terrible enough, I begin to think of my sweet future husband, and I feel so sorry that he is going to have to settle for someone like me. My mind begins to list apologies to him:

“I’m sorry I’m so short. I’m basically dooming our future children to a life of midgetry, and you don’t deserve that. They don’t deserve that. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I’m not super skinny. I know washboard abs are way sexier than my tummy, and I know my arms are fatter than normal. You deserve a supermodel. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I have a big nose.

I’m sorry I laugh so loudly.

I’m sorry I don’t have long, beautiful waves of hair.

I’m sorry I have such a flat chest.

I’m sorry I hate shaving my legs.

I’m sorry I have bedhead and morning breath.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.”

The list goes on. Do you see how ridiculous it is? Most, if not all of those are things I can’t control without spending tons of money on surgeries and treatments, and that’s just not worth it. I realize it’s stupid, but in all honesty, when it’s the heat of the moment, it only seems rational to apologize to the wonderful man I’m going to marry, because he deserves better. I don’t think that makes any sense, personally. Obviously, if he’s going to marry me for time and all eternity, it means he knows everything about me, and accepts and loves me just the way I am. He will love me despite (and maybe even because of) my flaws. That wonderful man is not going to expect to marry a perfect supermodel. He’s smart enough to know they don’t exist off the pages of a magazine. He knows his future wife will have flaws, and he will love her for it.

Likewise, I know I’m not marrying a sculpted, unblemished god of a man with luscious hair and out-of-this-world white teeth. He is not going to be perfect. And you know what? I already love him. (before you get any ideas, I do NOT actually know him yet.) But I am expecting him to have flaws, and I know that in the long run it won’t matter.

We will both have scars. We will both have things about ourselves we would like to fix and can’t. We will both need and rely on the Atonement continually, because we are both humans, and that means having challenges and being imperfect. But that’s why we’re here! We’re not here to be perfect from day one, we’re here to learn in order to someday reach that ultimate goal of being exalted.

 And my husband and I will be in it together. Two imperfect people learning and stumbling and messing up and loving each other through it all.

So why should I feel like I need to apologize for being a human? I’m not going to grow my hair out to please anyone, because I love how it is, and I can’t change my height, or my laugh, or my bodily proportions- and given the opportunity to do so, I would most likely decline. God gave me this body, and it’s my responsibility to love and take care of it.

So this will be the first and hopefully only time I ever apologize to my future husband about my imperfections. We accept the love we think we deserve, and if I don’t learn to love myself, I can never be with him the way I so often dream about. I need to love myself, so I can in turn let my husband love me as well. I need to do the same for him.

Sweetheart, I am excited to meet you. I am excited to learn all about you, even your imperfections. And I look forward to the perfectly imperfect life we have ahead of us.

~Haeley

La primera semana.

Hey, you guys! I did it! I survived one whole week of college!

 I also made it through the week looking at least a little bit attractive, so I’m rewarding myself for my efforts by writing this while I wear boxers and a tank top. L’chaim.

This week has been the week of adjustments. Not to say that last week wasn’t, because I was still getting used to living on my own, but this was all new. Coming fresh from high school, I’m not sure what I was expecting. Back in the good ol’ days of polos and khakis (just kidding. Those were terrible), at least I had a set schedule, you know? You’d go directly from one class to another with a brief lunch break. Same old, same old, all day every day.

Not so in college!! Sometimes I have four classes a day, some times I have two. And they’re all really spaced out, so I have a few hours in between classes (which is fiiiiiine by me). It’s just been an interesting adjustment.

The class lengths are also really weird to me. Most of them are only 50 minutes long, and even though that seems ridiculously short coming from Heritage-home of the 90 minute class period- we actually get stuff DONE. I remember all throughout high school thinking public schools were absolutely nuts for having such short classes. How could you possibly get everyone settled? How was work done?

Well, you can do it. Trust me. I’ve been doing this for like a week, so I’m basically a pro now.
My teachers are all just grand, as well, so that’s been nice. Especially my Geology 101 teacher- I will be the first to admit that I absolutely did NOT want to take that class. I mean, rocks? Really? But it hasn’t been that bad! My teacher is the happiest, sweetest person, and at one point this week he actually stopped class for a few minutes so we could enjoy the beautiful, stormy weather. He earned MAJOR respect points by doing that. He’s definitely my kind of person!

Guys, life is so wonderful right now. I know I’ve only been here for two weeks, but I have just been so HAPPY all the time! I’ve been walking around with a goofy smile plastered all over my face almost 24/7. I don’t know what it is that makes me so joyful, but I’m perfectly okay with that feeling continuing.

I guess I’ve just been grateful for the little things. I have a bike that is super comfortable and I LOVE riding it. I don’t really mind that I don’t have a car. I’m actually grateful for that! I need to stay in shape somehow, right? Biking and walking are where it’s at!
The weather has also been to DIE for. It’s gorgeous all the time here. Plus it’s been cloudy and rainy, so that helps too.

All in all, life is grand. I don’t have many friends yet, but I’m okay with that. I’m just enjoying everything out here right now. :^)
Sorry if this post is a little boring. I just felt the need to document.

~Haeley

Change.

When I was a little girl, I had a favorite book. Perhaps you know it: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl. It’s a charming story about a caterpillar’s journey from one food to the next, constantly hungry and searching for the next thing to satisfy his seemingly insatiable hunger until at last, he is ready for the next stage: building a cocoon in order to someday become a butterfly.
Sounds all well and good, doesn’t it? Not to me. Whenever my parents would read me this book, I would make absolutely sure they did NOT get to the part where the caterpillar turned into a butterfly. I HATED that part and would protest so loudly they couldn’t finish even if they wanted to. I simply could not bear the thought of the caterpillar changing from the character I loved so much into a completely unrecognizable creature, no longer obsessed with eating as much food as possible. It just wasn’t right.

Looking back now, I can see that that was a silly thing to do. Of course the caterpillar has to become a butterfly! It wouldn’t be a worthwhile life if it stayed the same the whole time, unable to reach its full potential.
Well, for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t bear the thought of the caterpillar’s metamorphosis, but now I think I’ve got a pretty good idea.
I was afraid of change.
I was afraid that nothing would ever be the same again. I was afraid that the butterfly would completely abandon all it had in favor of its new life. I was afraid because the caterpillar wasn’t even the same THING anymore, but something completely different.
 I was afraid of the wings.
Now I’ve done some growing up, I am finally okay with reading that part of the story, and I know it was selfish to try to keep the caterpillar as a caterpillar, just because I didn’t like the end result. Change has to happen, and in this case, the caterpillar NEEDS to become a butterfly, or risk being soft and vulnerable for the rest of its life.
I wish I could say I’ve outgrown this, but the truth is, I haven’t. I’m still afraid of change- ask anyone who knows me really well, and they will tell you. Oh, sure, thinking about the future is fun, but when it comes down to it, I would rather stay where I’m comfortable instead of rocking the boat. I hate change so much that when we moved from our house where we’d lived for 9 years into a new one in a completely different part of town, I refused to even look at the house. Stupid? Yes. But I didn’t like the thought of moving somewhere new. I would have to start all over again, in a new house, a new neighborhood, and a new ward. No gracias.
As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, that move has done nothing but good for me. So many wonderful things have come out of that move that I never would have experienced had I stayed where I was. Change can be so, so good once you let it be.
Even through all these realizations, change is still hard for me.
The most recent change in my life though has also been the most difficult, in my opinion.
Yes, friends, it has finally happened. I, Haeley Whetten, have finally moved out of the house. After living within two zipcodes my entire life, I am now in a new city, a new zipcode, and a new county.
And you know what? It’s been just wonderful.
Before the move, I was in denial. If there is one thing I’m good at, ladies and gentlemen, it is denial. For the past month, I’ve even had a countdown to moving day, but I didn’t believe it would ever actually be here.
Until five days before the move and I started panicking.
Even through packing up my stuff it didn’t seem real. I would just put it all back at the end of the day, right? But into boxes and bags my things went; not to be unpacked until I reached my new destination.
Finally, the Sunday before I left, things started to sink in. I realized I was changing the dynamic of our family for the rest of the foreseeable future, and that came at a cost. I wasn’t going to see my best friends every day anymore. It’s one thing when your best friends aren’t your family, but it’s another when your best friends happen to be your sisters. So that Sunday evening, we gathered in my sister Geneal’s room and cried and cried and cried. While it was a painful, bittersweet evening, it was also comforting to know that my siblings seemed to care about me as much as I cared about them.
The rest of the week flew by, as I numbly tried to process what was happening.
At last, Saturday rolled around and I said my goodbyes to my family. The whole way there, I worried. What if I wasn’t supposed to be here? What if my roommates hated me? What if I hated them? How was I supposed to live with another person in my room, when I’d gotten so used to having it all to myself? All these questions and more swirled in my head up until we pulled into the parking lot of my new home.
This was it. The moment I had been waiting for (and trying to avoid). We met my landlord, got the keys, unlocked the door, and…
I was home.
The apartment was absolutely LOVELY! It wasn’t as small as I envisioned, and it wasn’t dingy or falling apart in the slightest. It was perfect.
That was a few days ago, and since then, I can honestly say I have fallen in love with the little town of Thatcher. As good as I am at denial, I’m just as good at adapting. This has been such a natural change, living on my own. Feeding myself has been easier than I thought- I can do more with less than I thought! I’m not going to starve. I don’t hate my roommates. My roommates don’t hate me. I’m not scared of it anymore. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life! I know I wouldn’t be happy if I stayed home in Mesa. I belong HERE, in my little apartment, with my wonderful roommates. Yes, I’m still getting used to sharing a room, but it’s been a nice change. These girls are so great! We’ve all adjusted well, I think. I am so excited for this new chapter of my life.
Being a butterfly ain’t half bad.

~Haeley