Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sweet/Sad day. I will always remember...

The time is 12:13 am on Saturday the 22nd of December 2012! Wooh! I survived the rapture. And what a rapture it was. Flying meteors, swarms of locusts, boxes of pizza dozens of feet high. It was madness, I tell you, utter madness!

Anyway, I felt like blogging for the first time since last year when I accomplished and conquered that Triathlon. It still gives me a look of shame and averts its gaze every time we see each other passing in the street. I conquered you, dear triathlon, there's no shame in that. Well, maybe a little.... for you.

Anyway, the reason for this blog is to reminisce and remember a wonderful and magical production I was involved in over the past three months. That blessed and God-sent miracle is called Liken's "The First Christmas". A Christmas musical that came to the stage for the first time ever! At the Scera Theater in Orem. I have fond memories of the Scera Shell from olden days gone. Laying blankets on the grassy hill to watch happy-go-lucky plays such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Annie Get Your Gun". Those are the only two I really remember... Oh wait, I also remember seeing "The Secret Garden".

This experience however was different and wonderful and sad and uplifting and so much more that I can't even express all the emotions I'm feeling. Last night (Friday the 21st) was the penultimate show and afterwards we party-ed it up real good and got crazy after a great showing to a practically sold out audience. I was having a hard time keeping things happy and trying to savor each moment knowing that it was only going to happen once more.

The party really helped me loosen up around the cast and crew that I've been working with the past three-ish months. I finally got more talk/laughing time with some of the greats and felt more part of the cast than I have all since it started.

We danced, laughed, ate pizza and other delicious goodies, we got Christmas cards from the producers. We let loose like it really was the last day of the world as we know it and that we had to make this moment last. Which I think we did a pretty good job of.

I'm going to miss the people the most. Of course. It's always the people that make a stage production or any production for that matter the most memorable. Even though I (sadly) didn't get to know that many personally, it being a pretty large cast and all and me being shyer than a timid turtle. But I got to know some of them well enough to know that my life has changed for the better for knowing them. And for working hard over the past three months with them. Also, I wouldn't mind getting a random call from some of the actors...wink wink ;) They probably won't ever read this so I'm free to let my emotions show. However, I still won't mention their names just in case...

The video below is just a short and small blip of what we have/had done and what it was all about. And here are a couple of pictures that were taken by a member of the crew. Pictures that will remind me every time I look upon them with a smile on my face and a tear on my cheek.

Above picture is the soulfull rendition of "Glory to God" and the final scene on the bottom of the baby Jesus with the shepards, wisemen, and angels (who are sadly not pictured, but there nevertheless). Closing the show with the main reason we celebrate Christmas. To celebrate the birth of our Savior who died for us. A Lord who I've been distant associates over the past few years or more really. But thanks to this production, has given my testimony of our Lord and Savior a big boost that was more than needed. And came at a time where I was in a low and dark place. Unsure of where the "light" had gone and if He even knew I existed. A glimmer of light came to me and made my heart and soul sing with joy.

Inside Liken's The First Christmas

Friday, September 9, 2011


I did it. I competed in and completed a Triathlon.

I was nervous and a little jittery the night before. Had a hard time going to sleep at 10 pm; not my usual bedtime. Though I finally fell asleep, after a few hours, because the next thing I knew was my alarm going off at 6 am and my groggy and lazy hand slapping down on the OFF button and groaning to myself that it was too early. It took a few seconds but I finally realized why I was waking up so early. The triathlon. The day had finally come. Was I ready?

Yes. Yes, I was. I got out of bed and put on some regular clothes, I didn't want to put on my fancy new threads just yet. I didn't know if I should eat anything or not before the race. I compromised and ate a spoonful of peanut butter and half a glass of almond milk. But I wished I hadn't 'cause I was still feeling pretty full and stuffed from my preparation dinner the night before. I was feeling pretty okay with the thought of racing in a triathlon. I thought for sure I'd be even more nervous than the night before, but I'm guessing my mind and body got all the worries out already and there was nothing more to do than to just do it (to quote Nike).
I thought that my mom and dad were going to take me down and see me off. However, 6:30 came around and they were still in bed. I decided to finally tell them I was about to leave (subtly hinting that I wanted to go and that they should get out of bed and take me). Instead, they wished me well and that they would see me later. Gee, thanks so much. Just kidding. I was planning on riding my bike down anyway. Which I did.
I grab my stuff, put on my helmet, double check my sweet threads are on okay, do a pre-victory round house kick in the air, and ride out of the drive way into the surprisingly cold morning air, and make my way down to Seven Peaks water park.

The scene at the water park was surprisingly calm. I was expecting pandemonium and was a little disappointed that I didn't get that. Though, since it was my first time, I'm grateful it wasn't. I got there early enough that I didn't have much to do but get my bike and stuff situated at the check point so more accessible for a quick change of events. After that I still had about 20 minutes to spare so I spent that time stretching: taking short, quick bursts of running to warm and loosen up my semi-frozen legs, swinging my arms from side to side hoping to release tension that I carry around with me like a school girl carries her doll,  and then any other warm-ups I could think of and from what my fellow contestants were doing.
Finally, the time had come, and thankfully, I was so sick of waiting around I was more then ready to get started.

I follow the crowd out into the parking lot where the volunteers give us another quick run down of where we are going to go for the course. Running is up first and we bunch up all together like a vine of grapes getting a tad squished. I see my mom scanning the crowd looking for me and call out to her. She was so excited and was beaming with pride (I hope it was pride). She gave me a quick hug and ran off to the sidelines to watch the beginning of the race and to witness my journey into triathlete-dom.
The "gun" goes off and we all start running, there are some that race hard to the very front of the pack and lead the way, there are those who are very new to the whole running process who bring up the rear, and then there are the ones like me who are content with being in the middle, connecting the beginning and end together.
The run was easier than I thought it was going to be, but don't get me wrong, it was still plenty hard. I only had to stop and walk once during the run and it was for a very short amount of time, approx. 20 seconds. I had recurring thoughts of dread the day of and days leading up to the race that I was going to be the very last one in line for all 3 events. I tried not to look behind me during the run so as not to freak myself if I saw that I was last or close to last. Though the terrain snaked around so much I still caught glimpses of those behind and thankfully I still had a pretty good lead.
I was surprised how fast the run went. I still got some good sweating down, had to wipe my face off a few times but was considerably mild compared to my other workouts where I seem to sweat more than my body weight.
The run comes to an end and I'm feeling pretty good that I already conquered the first leg of the race. In the check point I quickly put my iPod away, get my helmet securely fastened and head off for the biking: my specialty.

For the biking we had to make two laps around the course to equal 12 miles. It made it's way down to 9th East and then back up into the residential areas. All along the way I was giving myself pep talks and encouragements. The biking was hard and crowded at times, but went off without a hitch. During my training I had spent a large amount of my time on the biking so I was more than prepared for this. I finish the two laps and make my way back to the check point to ready myself for the last event.
As I round the bend to the check point I see my mom searching the other bikers for me. I call out and she lifts a camera to take the first shot of my in action. However, being my mom and not being that savvy with a camera she misses and has to get me as I walk (they made me) my bike over the check point. But she finally gets a shot of me in my slick triathlete outfit, helmet, and pushing my lightning-quick and trusty bike. I run towards my bag and start to peel off anything that doesn't need to accompany me on the swim. Shoes and socks off, my energy supplies of Gu and Gu chomps tucked away, helmet gone. I then get my ear plugs squished inside my ear and my goggles close to my face, ready for action.

It was then that I see Eve and Kaitlyn. Holding hand made cardboard signs, that (I later find out) read "GO, DIANA, GO!" I was so excited to see them there. It meant so much to me that someone cared and came to see and support me in a new adventure in my life. After seeing them I got a huge burst of energy and leaped over the boarding fence of the transition area and was about to give them hugs when I remembered I still had one last leg to finish. I give what I hope is an ecstatic but apologizing look and tell them I'll be right back.
I make my way over to the deep end of the wave pool while putting on my goggles and letting the warm, exciting feeling spread through out my body and mind.

One left to go and I jump in the very crowded pool and start my front crawl towards the end. The swimming I  had been most worried about. I hadn't been swimming in years and during training I was only able to practice once due to various renovations and repairs. But with that, I kicked the swimming out of the water. I raced up and down the switchbacks with mostly an ease I didn't know I had. While I got kicked a few times and had water splashed in my mouth more than I would have liked, I made it to the last lane and used my newly found excitement to race to the end. I make my way out of the pool on jelly legs that seem to be walking through pudding towards the finish line. Eve and Kaitlyn again are cheering me on from the side of the pool. I smile at them with a tired smile but strong heart, give Eve a high-five, and cross the finish line towards my triumphant victory.
My timing chip is removed and I throw myself around Eve and Kaitlyn in my wet and damp glory thanking them profusely for coming. I could't tell them how much it meant to me they were there while they professed their amazement and pride that I accomplished the Aqua Triathlon.
I was elated at the prospect that I had completed a Triathlon and felt an incredible sense of love and gratitude at the people around me in body and spirit who had supported me from the start and who believed in my ability where I had doubted. I love you guys more than you could know.

At the beginning, the triathlon came to me as a big, intimidating lion determined to break me, and in the end, pussyfooted away as a shy and timid little lamb: subdued and conquered.

Triathlon - 0  Diana - 1

Friday, September 2, 2011

D-Day is nigh

It's almost here. After months of training and mixed feelings of dread and trepidation and euphoria and exhilaration and everything else in between, I am about to embark on a journey through the unknown world of a Triathlon. Something I've never done before.... heck, I've never even done a regular race before. Never ran a 5K, 10K or anything, never experienced the pandemonium of hundreds of contestants fighting and flaying for the chance to come in first. I've heard stories and seen pictures of family members who have competed many times in such races. And I've seen the elated look on their faces when they finally pass over that finish line and come out with victory on their faces.

I want that.

A few months ago I started to notice signs along my biking route. There was a sign posted over by Subway on 9th E. There was a sign over by the mouth of the canyon which I would pass by everyday on my daily journey's up the canyon to Nunn's Park or Bridal Veil Falls (and more recently, Vivian Park). And then around the Provo/Orem area would I see still more of these banners.
After each glance in their direction, I would get this feeling more and more that I should do it. I don't really get those feelings a lot, so this was a big deal and I felt that I shouldn't take it lightly. I didn't sign up for the Tri on a whim. I want you all to know that. I thought about it for about a week before hand, telling myself, talking it over, and mulling over the notion of competing in a Triathlon, making a mental point system in my head about why I should compete in the Triathlon:

  1. I can already do the biking like a pro. I only have to bike 12 miles for the race and I already bike more than double that everyday. I own this.
  2. Even though I haven't been running in a couple months, I have been for the past semester at school. And I've been good/awesome at it. I own this too.
  3. Swimming is a little iffy. I haven't swam in years due to my lack of self-esteem and my body issues. But I can swim. I just have to teach my body and mind that I can. Learn it all over if I have to. And to make sure to give myself self-affirmations. And you know what? I can own this one too.
After that little pep talk and the lingering shock of how pumped up I was about myself, I logged in online. I found the website, looked it over, had moments of hesitation and doubt, used more self-affirming and encouraging words on myself that "I can do this", and finally, with a butterfly in my stomach and a hug around my heart, I clicked confirm and received my confirmation number that I had successfully signed up for the Aqua Triathlon.

Now here I am, at 5:30 in the morning on Friday the 2nd of September (the day before the race), experiencing once again those feelings of nervousness and excitement. I shouldn't be nervous, I'm prepared and as prepared as I'm gonna be, I've been getting a lot of helpful advice and tips from my amazing sister, Kristin, who just a few months ago succeeded at a Triathlon of her own. So with her advice and love under my arm, the various support and encouragement from my friends and family, and most importantly of all, the love and determination in myself that I can and will do this. The development of some self-esteem and respect for myself has come after years and years of hatred and disrespect in myself. So even if I don't win any big rewards or trophy's at the race, or don't perform the entire race in a record-breaking short amount of time...

...I will still rise up at the end with victory.

At the beginning I said that the D-day is nigh. And I still stand by that. But what I mean by D-Day, I mean it's D's Day. It's my day. And I'm going to take it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

do you really?

Today, well, actually it was yesterday, but seeing as I haven't slept yet, it's still "today" to me. But today, the 29th of June, I received a hug. A real, true, loving hug. And from one of the last people I would have expected it to be from, kind-of.

Last November (the 20th to be exact), my brother Spencer married Heather Steele in the Provo Temple. It was so awesome to be a part of it, I was sad though that I couldn't be a part of the sealing but as I'm not endowed, I couldn't be there. But I was really happy that two of my sisters and my parents were able to witness that most treasured moment (and long waited moment on my moms part).

Anyway, that was a longer intro than I had planned but it needed to be said to lead up to tonight.

Spencer and Heather live in Pennsylvania. Basically a whole country away. But right now, they are visiting with us and I'm really happy and excited that they're here. I really wish that I could spend more time with all my siblings and really get to know them. And now that the family has acquired 2 new sisters, I want to know them even more.

Well, tonight, I had another bad night. Crying, sobbing uncontrollably, for no one reason, just everything coming up that sucks in my life. (Lack of) Friends, family, future plans, self-loathing and body image, just to name a few. I was trying to be quiet with my sobbing. I was in the shower when it started and I thought that the added noise of the running water as well as the fan would drown out my laments, since it couldn't drown me.

But with our paper thin walls everyone can hear what's going on everywhere and anywhere in the house.

Thankfully, I was able to calm down a bit after. Usually it takes hours to calm down and that's only after taking half a pharmacy worth of pills. Not that the pills really help, just the thought of them helps.

Anyway, I was in the kitchen afterwards, and Heather comes in looking for her chapstick so I help look for her as well. She finally says "It'll turn up somewhere, it's not a big deal." So I thought okay, that's cool, it probably is around here somewhere.

So I'm still standing in the kitchen behind one of the chairs (closest to the microwave) and Heather is sitting in the chair across from me.

She finally asks me how I'm doing. And I can tell by the look in her eyes that she knows whats really going on. Truth be told, it kind of freaked me out a little. In the past, when people have found out how crazy and completely psycho I can be, they run the other direction as fast as their caffeinated bodies can carry them. Heather's look was this intense, caring, and empathetic look. A look I've never seen on anyone else. A look that made me speechless, knowing the love and care that were behind that look.

Heather, knowingly states the obviouse "You've been having some hard times huh?"

Which took me completely off guard. No one (in my experience) has ever really come out and said that or brought up the subject. Growing up, my family did not talk about feelings.

I told her the cliff notes version a bit, saying, yeah, I was having a hard time, feelings of depression and anxiety of not knowing where I'm going (or even who I really am), feelings of utter loneliness (in spite of the "large" family).

Heather goes on to say that she's sorry that I have to go through all this crap and that she wishes she had a magic wand or something to make it go away. She asked if there was anything she could do to help (to which I replied, "I wish there was"). And she even admitted that what she was saying seemed trite and cliche but that she did mean it and told me that her and Spencer think about and pray for me a lot.

I didn't know what to say or do about that. It seemed so out of the ordinary that I was dumbstruck; speechless. Heather knew all the exact words to say, and she said them with what I knew to be a sincere heart which meant the world to me.

In my silence, Heather walks around the table towards me and gives me a real hug. Not a perfunctory hug where you're-just-hugging-them-because-you-have-to kind of way, nor was it the awkward-hug-that-was-either-one-armed-hug or the-side-hug-with-hip-bump.

Heather gave me a hug that wrapped around my fragile and broken body and spirit, encompassing my being with love. She held me saying that she prays and thinks about me a lot and really hopes that someday it will get better, even though it's been said a lot. Heather really believes it.

She then told me she loved me, a real "I love you" and not just a quick, insincere "loveya" where you can't be sure what the individual actually said or if they even meant it.

It made me feel good. A small ray of sunshine that peeked through the overcast, dark, and cloudy days that fill my heart, soul, and mind. The first hug that I've had in a long time that actually meant something. I mean, I've had hugs from family or acquaintances in the ward, but those just felt empty to me or just a formality that a ward member was supposed to give another ward member no matter how you knew or liked them.

....I so wish, with all the energy I have left, that all that was able to bring me out of my funk and give me a new thread of hope to hold on to, something that I would be able to take in my hand and follow it to something better, something hopeful...But it wasn't a complete bust. In a complete dark time there was a slight glimmer of light that gave me a strip of hope that helped at least in the next few hours. And when things get bad again and I feel depressed and down again, like there's nothing left to live for, that I'm all alone in the world. I hope I can remember this moment and have the strength to hold on for a little bit longer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

call it "good"

Well, hello there. This is quite a feat, my first post since almost a year ago. Let me just update you a bit on what's happened since last summer:
*I went to both fall and winter semesters at UVU. It was fun, exciting, frustrating, infuriating, exhausting, titillating, and so many more emotions and feelings that could fill up a book, if I was able to remember it all and if I was proactive enough to write a book. Instead, I'll write a post on my blog about the past year and call it good.

Fall Semester 2010:

I had voice lessons, psychology, english, kickboxing, and Fundamentals of Acting I. My english class was the hardest one for me. It was still good and I passed the course with a B+ or even an A- (have to double check on that). But I felt that my professor didn't like me so much. She never made any ostentatious gestures that made me know she didn't like me, I just had a feeling about it. But the class was fun anyway.
3. However, English paled in comparison to my other awesome classes, such as:
a. Kickboxing! Which was AWESOME! and, yes, all the caps and exclamations are a need. I had so much fun in this class. Coach Pease is an awesome Coach. He was funny and made the atmosphere in class a welcoming and awesome environment. Plus the fact that I was required to kick, punch, elbow, knee, and all sorts of maneuvering was the best perk ever.
b. Voice lessons have been my saving grace many times over. I love taking lessons with Connie, she is so personable and knows what you need or don't need. Connie is GREAT! I really want to keep practicing with her but things are not at all in a good spot (which I'll tell you about later in future blog). I keep saying I'll start at the end of june for the 2nd term of classes, but it's June next week. And I still don't have a plan.... Anyway, this semester was lots of fun, at least what I can remember of it.
c. Fundamentals of Acting 1 was a lot of fun. I was a little weary about it on the first day and almost dropped out of it. But I persevered and stayed with it. And so glad I did because it was really a lot of fun. I think that our whole class really bonded and we were all friends instead of classmates.

Winter Semester 2011:

1. Great classes again, and I finally got up to 12 credits (i.e. Full time student!) So it was a busy year, but looking back on it, I loved that it was busy, it gave me structure, it pushed me in ways I wouldn't have by myself, challenged me in ways that I couldn't have done. I loved all my classes, English was probably on the lower spectrum but that doesn't mean I hated it, it's just that with my other classes, english wasn't up to their par. But Professor Kerby in ENGH 2010 was great, he was easy to talk to and made things personable which is really crucial (in my opinion) so students can feel more comfortable about asking the teacher for help or something. 2. Acting II and Voice and Diction were both great classes. They both really worked my self-esteem to the ground, but gave me tools on how to work it back up. These classes taught me that to be a performer you need to like your self (i.e. have confidence) and what you do, otherwise the audience will be able to detect the bad juju and not have a life-changing experience. But John Graham, the best Voice and Diction professor in the world! really helped build me up, even if it didn't last long. He preached to the class about how each and every one of us (me) deserves to be heard and have a voice. You might mess up but who cares? Learn from it and move on.

"You deserve to be on stage- You deserve to have a voice- You deserve to be heard." - John Graham

When John was saying all this in his leaving speech I wanted to cry. Because for the first time someone (outside the fam) really cared and believed that I could be greater than this. I just have to let it out.... Thank you, John Graham, I am surely going to miss you and I know many others will too.
3. I took voice and piano lessons both this past semester. It was awesome! It really opened up my eyes about how much I love the piano and how much I really want to be able to play it amazingly well; to rock people's world with my awesome-ness! Chad Schumacher was a fun and helpful teacher, but I felt he didn't push me hard enough. I'll have to fix that when I go back. And Connie Jensen is just so amazing with her voice and for all she does for the many numbers of students she has. She is so fun and makes me feel comfortable in our lessons together, she pushes me to get better and to perform so I will get better at that. Love you, Connie!
4. Kickboxing again this sememster, WHY? Because it's awesome! And I am so proud of myself because this semester I finally got a perfect score on the final test! WooHoo! So now I am completely certified and qualified to kick someone's ass. And believe me I want to. I secretly hope that I'll get jumped or mugged so I can kickbox these muggers world while I lay them flat on the ground before they realize that they just got their butts handed to them by a little girl! Haha! Oh what sweet justice that would be. Not to mention great writing material, even if it is just for a blog. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

English final: Done! Followed by a celebratory sleepover

Well, my first final experience at a bona fide University has now passed, allowing me to finally breath and to play Fishdom to all hours of the wee night without any feelings of guilt that I should be doing homework or other useful, productive activities. Before when I played Fishdom until 2 in the AM there were sporadic thoughts of "I should be working on my research paper" but then those thoughts were quickly put out of my mind as I passed yet another level (Current level: 521 baby!). Anyway, fishdom is a whole separate blog in itself. Right now, let me regale you with my adventure at this particular "sleepover". Don't be fooled by the word, sleepover. This was definitely not your average sleepover. I haven't been to many sleepovers that started out with a urine sample. Haha, let me back up a bit. So I volunteered to participate in a sleep study. I've had insomnia and such for as long as I can remember and my Doctor, who is aware of this, sent me an info pamphlet about this sleep study. It sounded like fun so I signed up. Boy was I ever in for a surprise. Last night was my first "sleepover" for the study. I knew there would be some wires or whatnot that I would be connected to but didn't realize that there would be a grand total of 24 wires. First off, they had to "prep" my skin by scrubbing it vigorously with alcohol, at which point I got a major high just off the fumes. After that, they pretty much sandpapered down the areas of my skin. All that was followed by an hour of being glued down with various wires over my face, neck, ears, legs, and head. Along with 2 straps over my chest and stomach and the omnipresent heart rate monitor finger cuff. The most common thoughts going through my mind during all this was "Now I know how lab rats feel like." Closely followed by "Well I guess going to the bathroom is out of the question." After the poking and prodding and violations of my body and personal space I was allowed to lay down and "sleep". On the plus side it was a very comfy bed. A full if not a queen size complete with a fluffy duvet. Not the best nights sleep I've ever had, but also not the worst. Waking up multiple times during the night with a nurse checking the wires and reattaching the ones that came loose. And then waking up completely in the morning as the nurse was pulling all the wires off me and saying in a chipper voice "Good Morning", with no thought or qualm as to the ripping and hair pulling that the detachments were causing. Well, good morning to you too! Quite an interesting adventure that I get to do all over again next week. No rest for the lab rats of the world.