Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dating Tips From My Dentist

Oh, hello there.

My name is Camilla, and I am single.


C'mon guys. I at least expected an audible gasp or something.

But it's really no secret. Not to my family, not to my friends, and not to my dentist.

Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. My dentist.

My dentist and I have a very intimate relationship. Well . . . okay, it's intimate for a dentist/patient type of relationship. I estimate I have seen this dentist every six months since I was twelve. So, I've seen him now for around ten years, minus the year-and-a-half for when I was serving a mission. And it seems like as soon as I hit the rightful age of dating, he has asked me the same question every six months: Are you still single?

Now he doesn't word it this way. The man is very kind and has social skills. No, instead he phrases it in a variety of ways.

"Any cute boys around?"
"Anyone you're interested in?"
"Dating anyone?"
"How's the dating scene?"
"How're the boys around you looking?"
"You got your eye on anyone?"
"Anyone got your eye on you?"
"Do you have a special someone?"
"Gone on any dates lately?"
"How's the pool of guys in your congregation looking?"
"So . . . anyone neeeeew in your life?"

And every six months for about the past ten years, I have always responded to this question by
saying . . .


To get the full effect of just how this sounds, please place your fingers in your mouth, just as he was doing in the moment, and say audibly, "No."

This is always followed by the exact same dating advice, somewhere along the lines of:

Telling me the story about his beautiful and single 24-year-old daughter who isn't married yet and has no hope in the guys around her. (She really is drop-dead gorgeous. She went to my high school and sometimes I would just stare at her in awe.)
Saying he's sorry that I'm single, followed by an apology that I have to marry and deal with men.
Telling me to make marriage a priority
Telling me not to marry too fast
Telling me not to settle.
Telling me which kinds of guys I shouldn't date.
Telling me which kinds of guys I SHOULD date.
Then apologizing cause all those guys are taken, and I'll be left with the guys I shouldn't date.
Analyzing the possible reasons for me being single. Generally it's the guys fault. He'll say something along the lines of: "They just don't realize how great you are." Or, "Some guys are intimidated by smart girls." Or, "Guys never notice the girls that are worth it."

This is generally responded by (again, put your fingers in your mouth and repeat what I write to get the full effect), "Mmm." "Aaaah." "Yeah." "Mmmhmmm."

As mentioned before, this has occurred EVERY dentist appointment to memory. So, when it came for my six month check up once again, I expected this to be the case.

Yet for some reason, this time really seemed to push me over the edge.

It could be because of the current situation I'm in: 22. Single. Getting on Facebook and seeing at the very LEAST 3 weddings, 5 engagements, and 1-2 relationship announcements, followed by around 1-4 gushy "I'm so grateful for my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend on our something-month anniversary!" that is INCREDIBLY long.

It gets overwhelming, especially when you feel an intense amount of shame around the fact that you're still single, and you feel like nobody will ever romantically love you because you're not good enough and worth anyone's time, so you'll end up an old, ugly, lonely, hag.

. . . it's complicated, guys. I'm working on it.

But I had prepped myself mentally that this would happen, so I felt ready as I headed into the dentists office.

First, it was the hygienist. Or, as my family has nick-named her: Flake-O. It sounds meaner than it is. Guys, she's a 100 percent flake.

She opened the door and said, "Camille?"

I automatically stood up, knowing that Camille (Kuh-MEE-ell) was equivalent to Camilla (Kuh-MILL-uh. . . encase you need a pronunciation guide).

"I'm sorry, did I pronounce it right?" she asked.

"It's Camilla, but I respond to a number of variations, so you're totally good."

"Oh, I know how that goes! People pronounce my name Laura (Law-Rah) when it's really pronounced Lora (Low-Rah). If I wanted to go by Laura, my mom would've named me that! My mom gets so mad when my husband calls me Laura instead of Lora!"

I literally had no response to that comment, so I followed her in silence to my chair as she laughed uncomfortably to herself about her funny comment.

After a couple x-rays, I sat down in the chair that she lowered to an abnormally low height so that I thought all the blood would rush to my head and I'd pass out.

As she began cleaning my teeth with that terrible-tasting, high-scale toothpaste or whatever they use to clean teeth, she asked, "So, anyone special in your life?"


The hygienist NEVER does this to me. I didn't expect this! I'm not  prepared for this! So this can ONLY mean that both her AND my dentist will catch up on my romance life . . . or lack there of. 

I thought of a couple possible sarcastic responses.

"Why yes, my roommates are quite special to me and I'm happy to have lived with them this past semester." 
"Oh, yes. My sisters are quite precious and special to me, as well as all my family!" 
"As in the good kind of special, or the bad kind of special? Cause I have examples of both."
I also considered listing off every friend I've ever made ever.

But her fingers were in my mouth, and I didn't want to be like that annoying kid in your class who always gives the smart-aleck responses thinking he's soooo funny and clever, and really you just want to punch him in the throat by the end of the semester (Oh man, guys. I've been that kid), so instead I said:


"Aaaw I'm sorry."

Apology for me being single? Check.

"Eh." I said, which in my mind interpreted to: "It's really fine, but your fingers are in my mouth so I can't give you a longer response. Can we please change the subject now?'

Amazingly enough, Laura/Lora couldn't read minds, so she asked, "Any friends setting you up with guys?"

The full response would've been: "Ummm a couple of times, yeah. It happened mostly over the summer. And a lot didn't follow through, but yeah. I've been set up on some dates, just not recently."

But again, I felt uncomfortable with her fingers all up in my mouth so I said, "Yes."

"Any worth a second date?" she asked, filling my mouth with water.

As the blind dates I went on flashed through my mind, I was able to give her a full and true response after I spat out my water.


"Well you never know who will walk into your life! Are you flirting?"

. . . Is she being for real right now? 

Thankfully her fingers were back in my mouth, so I resulted to giving her a variation of the "eh" response in hopes of her going off on a tangent about her own marriage or something.

But no.

Instead, she said, "Well, you just gotta bat your eyes and flash them your pretty smile! Boys will come flocking to you!"

Yeah, because every guy likes a girl who smiles constantly while blinking her eyes at an unnatural speed that makes it difficult for even yourself to see. 

Time to spit again. This time I took the opportunity to change the subject. Before I laid back down to have her fingers go into my mouth, I said, "Well I'm going on a study abroad to New Zealand for 3 months, so I haven't really been looking to date anyone if I'm just gonna leave them."

I hate pulling the New Zealand card cause I feel like I'm bragging, but I was desperate.

Her fingers went back into my mouth as she said, "Oh, honey-

Please never call me honey ever again.

"That's the best time to get a boyfriend! Don't you want someone to write letters and emails to while you gone? Don't you want someone to look forward to calling while you're gone?"

. . . Is she being for real right now? 

What I wanted to say:
"Um. I have that. They're called friends and family. Dear goodness.:

But again, I just said something along the likes of, "Mmmhmmmhmmm?"

Last time to rinse and spit, and then she was off to get the dentist. As she walked out the door she said, "Well just work on those flirting skills! I'll go get the X-Rays ready for the dentist to look at."

I watched her leave, then promptly laid back down in the too-low chair and pretended to be asleep. She came in a couple times (to do what? I don't know), and I didn't dare open my eyes.

. . .  I'm pretty sure it was her anyway.

Finally I heard footsteps and someone say, "Hellooooo, Camilla (Kam-EEL-luh). Or is it Camilla (Camel-uh)?"

The dentist! I opened my eyes and sat up.

"It's Camilla."

"Shoot! I'm sorry. We have another Camel-uh who comes here, and the Spanish way to say your name is Cam-eel-uh. I should've reviewed."

"It's really fine. I get it a lot and respond to all." I said.

He began doing his dentist thing, and asking me the usual update questions. School, work, family. I reminded him of my age, and told him a bit about my major. It was a good chat. I really do like this guy.


There was a slight silence as he scraped at my teeth, and then came the question I had been long anticipating.

"So . . . is there anyone . . . significaaaaaaaant?"

You're asking me if I'm still single. Why don't you just flat out ask me, "Are you still single?" It's just expected at this point, and you HAVE to be running out of creative ways to ask this question.

I wasn't gonna mess with this guy. I respected him too much.

"No." I said.

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

"Erh uh."

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

"Anyone you got your eye on?"

Mirror in mouth.

The truthful answer?
Yeah. A couple. Buuuut they're not interested in me.

What I said?


"Ugh. Boys these days. Have you noticed the shift in dating? Well of course you wouldn't. You're so young you haven't seen what it used to be like! Men used to ask women out all the time, but now it's resulted in hanging out and only noticing a few girls. There used to be more dances and free activities, but now it's just all hanging out and nothing formal. Not to mention TWENTY year old guys are getting married! Could you imagine getting married to a TWENTY year old? They're so immature at that age! But if we're being serious, they never really stop being immature. Take me and my brother for example."

I did something that imitated a laugh. I think it sounded like, "Hur-hur-hur."

"I'm not saying there's anything wrong at all to get married young! I had a daughter get married right out of high school! But it's hard for those who aren't married yet! The dating scene is rough out there, I'll tell yah."

Oooooh here we go. Buckle up, everyone.

"My daughter is having the hardest time dating. The only guys she's around are losers! Which results in her dating losers! It seems like by the time women are 22, all the good guys are taken."

. . . He DOES realize I JUST told him I'm 22, right?!

"So they'll either have to marry that 28-year-old who lives in his mothers house, or the immature 20-year-old."

. . . I will pray every single day that there are other options besides that. 

What I wanted to say was, "Oh, I'm sure there's other options too." But again. His hands were all up in my space.


"A lot of guys are just SO intimidated by smart girls, you know? I mean, you're smart and-"

You don't know my life.

"-my daughter is in dental school, and one of her friends told her that he wouldn't date her because she is so smart and it intimidated him. Now she wishes she had just done something else instead and acted like an airhead."

This time, I said exactly what was on my mind.




"I know! Not to mention I dated some of the airhead type, and there's nothing in there! You're out of things to talk about on the second date!"


Talking about his beautiful daughter's awful dating situation? Check.

He turned to look at my X-Rays.

"You gotta get married, Camilla," he said, and had reverted back to calling me the Spanish version: Kuh-MEEL-ah . . . or whatever I defined it as before. "But be sure you don't settle. You can't marry someone with no ambitions living in the basement of his mothers house, but be sure not to marry someone who is a child, okay?"

Telling me to make marriage a priority? Check.
Telling me not to settle? Check.

I scratched the back of my neck uncomfortably, wishing his hands were still in my mouth, because I didn't know what to say. It's amazing how I've gotten this lecture so many times, and yet it still leaves me speechless."

"Okay," I said.

Just then, my dear friend Laura/Lora returned with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss.

"You need to floss more," said my dentist. "You're on the verge of getting a flossing cavity."

I groaned and said, "Dang it. I HATE flossing!"

"Well nobody does!" he said.

"My roommate does. But she's studying to be a dent-."

"Well yeah there's always those people. But I'm just saying the general population doesn't like flossing."

. . . Yeah, bro, I know what you meant.  

"Well, you'll get married, Camilla! Keep your chin up! See you in six months!"

Reassuring I'll get married? That's a new one. But . . . check.

Lora/Laura showed me to the reception desk to set up my appointment.

"Well, have so much fun in New Zealand!" she said.

"Thank you."

"Take lots of pictures for me! I love living through other peoples lives by looking at their pictures! Hahaha!"

Woman, when would the opportunity even arise for me to show you my pictures?

"Haha. . . I'm sure I'll take a lot!"

"And have fun with the meeeen!" she said in a playful and unusually high voice.

I was speechless, and I'm pretty sure I was failing at attempting to NOT look annoyed.

"Maybe you'll meet someone in New Zealand!"

Filter = off.

"The main purpose for me going on a study abroad is NOT to get married." I said, trying really hard to sound polite, but I just made my voice sound flat.

"You never knoooooow! But either way, this'll be the PERFECT opportunity for you to practice flirting. Just think of the MEN!"

Facial filter = off. I stared at her with a look that I'm pretty sure translated to pure annoyance and disbelief. But if it did, she had no clue.

"I mean, no commitment! You can just flirt it up with aaaaaaaall the attractive local guys, and you'll get so good and confident in it that you'll come home and you'll have no filter with guys, and you'll just flirt with everyone!"

My filter IS already off, woman. 

"Yeah. I'll have fun."

She said more stuff that I completely brushed off, and bounced away. I turned to the receptionist, who had a huge smile on her face and said, "I went to New Zealand a few months ago. It is beeeeautiful. You'll love it."

Pure relief filled me as she talked about the scenery, the activities, what she did to stay entertained on the flight, and how grateful she was that she went.

And not one mention of dating.

My heart was warm as I thanked her, left the office, and thought about New Zealand, and the reasons I chose to go.

It occurred to me after that I'm going to the dentist right after I get home from the study abroad, and I will probably be having the exact same conversation once again. And it'll be interesting to see how his daughter's dating life is doing six months from now, because I'm SURE he'll fill me in.

I'll keep you posted on that, guys.

Have an awkward day and an awkward date, everyone.

May I please take a moment to list everything wrong and inaccurate about this picture? 
Nobody looks that good when they go to the dentist. 
Someone with that white of teeth should have graduated from going to the dentist.
Nobody looks that happy when they're at the dentist. 
I don't usually look my dentist lovingly in the eyes as he's checking out my teeth.
The end. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


As soon as you enter the bathroom, the chances of you encountering something awkward raises approximately 20%. After that, your chances grow about 10% - 15% depending on the location of the bathroom every minute you are in the bathroom.

*these stats come from Dr. Carmin. They are totally reliable. 

Recently, one of my friends (Jabarious, actually. See? We're still on speaking terms!) texted me saying while he was in the bathroom, another guy there was blasting Michael Buble loud enough for my friend to hear. I nodded, and as soon as I went to respond, a repressed memory as latent as my TB flooded into my head. 

And it was then that I knew this memory would be my next blog post. 

It nearing the end of summer, and school was just around the corner. It was one of the last weeks where I was  just working full time. This particular day at work, I went to the bathroom . . . as most people do.  

It was while I was washing my hands when this moment occurred. My phone went off signalling that I had a call. Quickly, I wiped my hands on my skirt (cause ain't nobody got time to rip off a paper towel when a phone call is coming) and saw an unknown number calling. 

Now normally I don't answer numbers I don't know, so I'm not totally sure what possessed me to answer such a call. But I did!

"Hey Carmin! This is Brian!" said the voice.

". . .Brian?" I said, thinking of every Brian in my ward that I knew and wondered why one of them would be calling me.

"Brian . . . Kate's friend? She introduced us to each other a couple weeks ago?"

"OH! BRIAN! HOW'S IT GOING?!" I said, sounding FAR too enthusiastic in order to compensate forgetting who he was.

"I'm good!"

Now I know he said more than this, but those words were just wasted in cyberspace because at that exact moment a friend of mine walked into the bathroom.

This friend had gotten married probably about a month ago, and as per usual with my married friends, I hadn't seen her since.

"Oh my gosh, Carmin! What are you doing here?!" she exclaimed with a smile on her face.

I covered the mouth piece with my hand and whispered to her, "I work here! What are you doing here?!"

"I work here, too! Just upstairs! What department?"

"I work in the deans office. Where do you work?"

I vaguely registered where she worked, but was more taken aback by the silence on the phone. SHOOT! What had he just said to me?

"Oh! Um, yeah!!" I said.

"Great! So I'm going home for this upcoming week, but maybe the week after that we can go out?"

"Hey, I gotta poop," my friend said to me, dodging towards a stall.

"That's fine, I'll talk to you after." I said.

"What?" said Brian.

"Nothing. What were you saying?"

"Who are you talking to?" asked my friend.

"I was thinking we could go out next week on a date." replied Brian.

"It's a random guy asking me on a date!" I said, this time being SURE I covered the mouth piece as I whisper-yelled to my friend in the stall.

Then, the poop sounds started. And so did my friend's giggling at this whole situation.

"Yeah. . . next week . . . is . . . great. . ." I said, trying to stifle my own laughter.

"Awesome! I don't have a good idea of what we'll do yet, but let's plan on next weekend, okay?!"

By now, my friend is full on laughing, I am hunched over in fetal positing, clutching my stomach so as to not laugh while this kid is explaining everything to me.

Finally, the conversation ends, and I gave an incredibly brief goodbye just as the sound of a flushing toilet rang in the background.

I quickly hung up, and couldn't stop laughing as my friend got out. We both laughed as my friend washed my hands, and I washed my hands a second time because I wasn't sure if I put soap on my hands or not the first time.

My friend and I managed to catch up and return to work. Here's the real kicker of the story, however: this guy stood me up!

I mean, I guess that's predictable with how the whole asking-out situation went. It was obviously a bad omen.

And now for some awkward bathroom photos  . . .

 Hoping your dating life is going better than mine, and wishing you a very happy awkward day.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Weddings are hard

I'm not gonna lie; I love weddings, I love receptions, I love love! I go to nearly every reception I'm invited and able to go to, because I always have so much fun at them.

But the desire I have to have a reception, dinner, lunch, ect. is ALWAYS gone after I actually SEE someone planning a wedding. I remember how stressful it is, how time consuming it is, and how expensive it can be. Whenever this happens, I always say to myself, "Nope. Not doing this. I'll just have a temple ceremony with family and friends. No reception. Sounds good!"

But again, I never remember this until I see the planning being done.

Recently, I got invited to one of my good friend's wedding in St. George. I love my friend, I adore her fiance, and I love weddings, so I eagerly agreed!

 She arranged for me to stay at her families house that weekend. And so, I headed down to St. George the day before the wedding so I could attend the wedding dinner.

The drive down was fun, even by myself, and I was excited. But then a thought crossed my mind.

"I am literally going to know nobody by the bride and groom."

Slight panicking.

"It's fine. It's fine! Just become friends with three people you can stick with the whole weekend."

Four hours later, I rolled up to the family's house in my sweatshirt and jeans, and instantly felt how inappropriate that was for the weather. I could feel sweat formulating quickly, and my face began to flush slightly.

The front door to the house was open, and various people ran in-and-out of it while holding decorations that could only be for the reception tomorrow.

I approached the front door just as my friend's younger brother walked out of the door. I had never met him, but he looked enough like my friend and the pictures I had seen of him.

"Hey - is your sister here?" I asked.

"I have no idea. I just got here myself." he said.

"So . . . can I just like . . . walk in?"


I trotted into the house and began the search for my friend. No sooner after I had stepped into the house did I stumble slightly. I looked down to see . . . an oxygen tube.

"Shoot," I muttered under my breath, and followed the tube to see my friend's grandfather standing in the kitchen.

I did what I do best: I ran away from confrontation. Meaning, I ran to the basement and checked every room there.

I didn't find my friend, but I DID manage to find the entrance to the back yard. Slowly, I walked outside and observed my surroundings.

People were running around and organizing objects under a large tent. I stood there for a second, not really sure what to do. I didn't want to interrupt what they were doing just to simply introduce myself, but what else could I do? Stand there awkwardly until someone acknowledged me?

Yeah. Yeah, that's probably what I'll do.

Then, from behind me I heard a soft voice say, "Hello."

I turned around to see a sweet grandmother sitting properly on a bench by the side of the house. AHA. I found one of the three friends I would be hanging out with this weekend. I trotted over and sat by her, and introduced myself. We began talking, and I knew we would be kindred spirits whether she liked it or not.

. . . . mostly because she was the only one talking to me at the moment and I love old people.

I asked if she knew where my friend was.

"She'll be home any minute now. They're driving down from Provo today," the grandmother explained.

What I didn't know was as I was talking to the grandmother, the rest of the relatives were glancing at me while they organized things.

"Who is she?"

"I don't know. Maybe she came with the son."

"Is it a girlfriend? Why didn't he tell me he had a girlfriend?"

"Maybe he was keeping it a secret."

"A secret girlfriend?"

Just then, the brother who I had talked to earlier, and who they thought I was dating, joined the group.

"Hey - who's the redheaded chick?" he asked.

"We thought she was with you!"

"Nah, I just let her into the house!"

I continued talking to the grandmother completely unaware as to what was going on. Then, an adorable dog came over to me. Aha! Friend number two! Well, actually, a back up friend. I love dogs even more than I love old people, so I eagerly began to pet it, when I heard someone say, "Oh no. He'll get hair all over you."

I looked up to see who I could guess was an aunt or the mother of my friend.

"I don't mind. I miss my own dog so . . ."

She introduced herself to me and said, "So you know my daughter?"

"Yeah - we're friends. I met her after we both came home from our missions."

"Okay. She should be here any minute."

"Can I help with anything?" I said, though I said it too softly and the mom walked away.

"Oh. . . awkward. . . "

"It's okay, dear. There wasn't much I could do so you can just sit here with me."

"Great. I'm real good at sitting on benches and . . . stuff. . ."

Though no sooner after I said that did the grandmother rush over to the group to direct them, and the dog trotted away to another group.

And so . . . I was left alone . . . on the bench.

The next fifteen minutes consisted of me weirdly hovering by people, petting the dog, and exploring the house. Finally, my friend arrived with her fiance.

She wrapped her arms around me and said, "Thank you so much for coming! Sorry we didn't get here earlier!"

"It's fine! I'm--"

"Oh, mom! Wait a second!"

She ran off and dutifully helped set up the rest of the decorations. I stood there, not really sure what to do with myself. It was getting to that awkward point where I was being more of a hinderance than a help.

Within time, however, I was helping decorate the tables and chairs and getting everything set up for the reception the next day.

Sweat was still formulating on my forehead, and I realized how thirsty I was. I asked my friend where I could get a drink of water. She smiled and showed me to the kitchen (where I once again tripped over the grandpa's oxygen tube), grabbed me a cup, and hurried off to the garage to grab something for the back yard.

I glanced over to see the grandma and grandpa in the kitchen. They smiled at me, and I turned to the water filter. I pushed the water button and-


The water dispenser was way more forward than I thought, and it resulted in water being spilled down my leg, foot, and ALL over the floor.

My first instinct was to do what I do best: Run away from conflict and problems. But grandma was there, and I wanted to be friends with her and impress her! So I knew I had to clean it up.

Panicking, I set the cup down on the counter and glanced around the whole kitchen like a mad woman. I couldn't find the paper towels or extra towels. I was too embarrassed and shy at this point to ask the grandma and grandpa where they could be, and so I resulted in pulling off the beautiful, white, clean hand towel hanging on the oven to wipe off the floor.

A) It didn't soak up the water well enough, so I was more just sloshing the water around the floor
B) I turned the beautiful, white, clean hand towel black.

Even more embarrassed, I put the now filthy towel back where I got it, and ran off. I honestly don't remember if I actually got a drink or not.

The rest of the day mostly consisted of me helping out here and there, following my friend around like a puppy, and getting ready for the wedding dinner.

Ah, the wedding dinner.

As usual, there were assigned seats at the wedding dinner. I sat down, and within a few minutes, the table began to fill with people I was somewhat acquainted with. . . .

Including . . .

A kid I had gone on a blind date with way back in March.

Just a little snippet as to what exactly happened on this date:
He asked me to pay and I just stared at him until he paid.
I went in for a hug when he went in for a handshake.
I still squirm inside when I think about that last moment.

I was dying. DYING. I tried to hide behind my hair, look busy drinking my glass of water, or trying to talk to the girl next to me who was already engulfed in a conversation with the person next to her.

"Wait. Maybe he doesn't remember me. I mean, it's been like, 8 months."

So, I set down my cup, and didn't look directly at him, but tried to look open.

"How have you been?" he asked.


"I've been good! How have you been?"

We had a cordial conversation, but if we're being straight up here, I just felt like we were both trying REEEEAL hard to show that we DON'T hate each other despite that we went on a date and didn't talk for 8 months.

And if I continue to be straight up here, I kind of had forgotten about this kid until this very moment.

The rest of the dinner was fine, I continued to talk to grandma, and then I was off to the house once again.

Everyone was in panic mode getting everything ready for tomorrow; the cake, the bouquets, the flower crowns, the speakers, ect. I stood on the side lines until things had settled down so I could know what needed help - but had to move once I realized I was standing right on grandpa's oxygen tube.

I was put on assignment to help grandma (score!) and the sister complete the flower crowns. After twisting a few wires together, I soon realized that I was FAR more of a hindrance than a help in this situation, and I excused myself to bed.

My foot caught on grandpa's oxygen tube once more, and as I stumbled and shook it off my foot I mumbled to myself, "I am going to accidentally kill this poor man."

I was assigned to sleep in the younger sister's room, due to the fact that all the other guest rooms were taken. Of course I felt bad about this, but not bad enough to stop me from sleeping.

And helloooooo nightmares!

I dreamed of my car exploding and not being able to make it to the wedding, my teeth rotting out so I looked terrible in the pictures, and family members dying so I couldn't go to the wedding.

Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by the time 6:30 rolled around, and I was woken up by a family member saying they were going to the temple pretty soon.

Dazed and confused, I sat up and said, "I'll . . . drive . . . separately."

And flopped back in bed.

My slumber didn't last long . . . and didn't really start, for that matter, because this scenario repeated three more times.

I gave up, got ready in close to twenty minutes, drove to Einstein Bagels, and got to the temple for the ceremony.

Honestly it was one of THEE best ceremonies I have been to. It was so spiritual and my heart was so warm as I saw my two friends get sealed together for time and all eternity. The only disaster that took place was grandpa ALMOST fell, but he didn't! So we're good!

The rest of the group waited outside for the bride and groom to come out of the temple. Meanwhile, the bridesmaids began to don their flower crowns on their heads.

Now, I hate how flower crowns look on me. Some girls can pull them off real well. Me? Not in the slightest. However, I was a bridesmaid, and I was NOT gonna throw a hissy fit about this. Besides, we're our own worst critics, right? I'm SURE they didn't look as bad on me as I thought.

I placed one on my head and it instantly fell down to the tip of my nose.

"Oh come on." I muttered to myself, and messed with it once more.

Again, the tip of my nose caught the flower crown just in time so that it didn't slide around my neck.

I squeezed, rotated, and replaced the crown over and over again until it finally sat on my head properly. All I had to do was not move my neck too quickly.

"I brought bobby pins!" said one of the cousins to the bridesmaids.

"I should be okay," I said.

Of course, right after I said that, I moved my neck too fast and the crown fell to my nose again.

I grabbed two bobby pins. As I attached them to the crown, I heard a voice say behind me, "Well. You look miserable."


I turned to see the brother-in-law of the groom, who I had met last night at the wedding dinner.

"Honestly I'm just exhausted. And I hate flower crowns."

He glanced at his wife who was donning a flower crown on her own head and said, "There are many times when I'm grateful I'm not a woman."

"Yeah," I scoffed, "Like you don't have to worry about labor."

"I was just thinking along the lines of doing my hair, but you just jumped to the worst case scenario."

"I'm really good at doing that." I said.

The wife soon joined us. I patted my hair once and said, "How's it look?"

"You've got a weird hair bump going on, but don't worry. I'll fix it."

She fixed my hair and I chatted with them until the bride and groom came out of the temple. I coupled them together and dubbed them my second friend.

Dozens of pictures and hours later, it was reception time! I was pumped for this. The reception set up was beautiful, and that had so many fun things planned. And so, after a dozen more pictures, I grabbed some pie, soup, and bread, and sat down at the table.

No sooner after I had done this did the brother-in-law and sister join me.

"So tell me," said the brother-in-law to me, "Before this reception, were the only people you knew the bride and groom?"

"Yes," I said.

"That's gotta be absolutely terrible," he said, "Those are usually the type of weddings I avoid."

"It hasn't been THAT bad. First of all, I LOVE the bride and groom, and I LOVE weddings. And besides, I've gotten to know great people like you! And grandma!"

"Still. I run away from those weddings." he said, and I couldn't help but laugh.

I danced with the two of them on the dance floor, and then later I saw grandma sitting by the fire place and joined her. We talked for about twenty minutes, and my friend (who knew that I wanted to become friends with her grandma) saw me, burst out laughing, and gave me the thumbs up.

My time with grandma was cut short as she had to go upstairs to help organize food. I continued sitting by the fire when another couple joined me. I had sat by them at the wedding dinner, and talked with them at the wedding/earlier in the reception, so I had dubbed them friend number 3. No soon after they had joined me, did blind date kid come and sit by me.

Cool. Okay.

Blind date kid is a good guy. He really is. But I'll be straight up with you; I was NOT in the flirting mood at all. Nope. I mean, I can't even flirt, and besides, this was just weird. I doubted he would hit on me if we HADN'T gone on that blind date months ago. Did he feel bad he had never called me? Cause he really didn't need to. We were SOOOO awkward with each other. Just so not comfortable being in each others presence. Trust me, buddy, I had moved on.

But hold up. Maybe he was just being nice. I might just be jumping to conclusions here. I had to test this. So, I excused myself to eat some s'mores.

And he accompanied me.

Yeah okay this was not a coincidence. Where was grandma when I needed her? AH! The younger sister! I dodged over to her.

I made some sort of mindless comment to her, when suddenly, blind date kid popped up again.

"Ooooh did you find a friend?" she said flirtatiously to me.

"Yes." I said plainly.

And then . . . I ran to the dance floor.

And he did NOT accompany me, because earlier he told me how much he hated dancing.

After dancing, I finally decided to stop dodging him. That was just mean. And so, I went back to the fire place where he accompanied me, and we made really uncomfortable small talk the rest of the night.

As we saw the bride and groom leave, I quickly said to the blind date, "Oh my. Look at the time. I've got to be off!"

Here's what took place the rest of the night:

I hastily packed up my stuff, and realized I lost my cell phone charger.

I left a thank you note, said goodbye to grandma because she was the closest one to me, tripped over and rolled my suitcase over grandpas oxygen cord on my way out, and had a brief goodbye with blind date kid who was waiting near my car.

I drove to best buy to buy a new cord, and nearly fell asleep while the guy rang up my stuff.

I got lost.

And I checked into a hotel.

That's right, I checked into a hotel.

And I promptly fell asleep, where I dreamed of bonfires, Alan Rickman being the blind date and kept following me around creepily, and more exploding cars.

Now I don't want you going away with this thinking I had a terrible time. Was it filled with awkwardness and discomfort? Absolutely. But I was also very amused and had to laugh at everything that seemed to happen ALL. AT. ONCE. And besides, in the words of one of my dear friends,
"[Awkwardness] is in your nature. You may want to begin on the path of accepting it."

Have an awkward day, everyone.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dating is Hard

My name is Carmen.
I have taken four public speaking classes.
I desire to be a news anchor.
I am possibly the least-elegant speaker there is in the history of speakers.
ESPECIALLY when it comes to speaking with men.

Like, seriously.

Yesterday I came home and flopped on my bed and moaned to my roommate, "No wonder I'm still single. You know what I just said to that one cute guy? I said, 'I feel like I took advantage of my childhood. I should've done more illegal things that I would get arrested for now.' And he just STARED at me in response!"

I hadn't seen her laugh that hard in weeks.

A couple weeks ago, another friend of mine asked me on a date. I have never felt closer to Liz Lemon in 30 Rock than I did in that moment:

But possibly the cake-topper in my history of speaking with men came a couple weeks ago. Not only did I realize how awkward I am with words, I also realized how difficult it must be to be a man, and ask women on dates.

Recently, my sister was playing in an orchestra down here in Provo. She asked me to attend, and I eagerly agreed. I hadn't been to a live orchestra in a quite a while, and was excited for it.

I also, however, didn't want to attend alone.

Easy! I'll ask one of my friends on a date!

Of the male type, guys.

And then, I was filled . . . . . . . with nervousness. I realized that it had been MONTHS since I had done the initiating on a date! And the last time I asked out a guy, it was fine, but it also didn't exactly go as planned! So naturally, my mind starts spiraling and coming up with every possible worst case scenario that could happen if I asked my friend out.

Eventually, it led to me (once again) flopped on my bed and saying to my roommate:


"You're fiiiiine. You guys are friends! It'll be fun. Just ask him."

Hello, Ms. Irrational Carmin.You have come to visit again.

Now, as if I'm not awkward enough in person, I'm TWICE as awkward over the phone. I really hate talking on the phone. I can't read the person's non-verbal cues, I stumble over my words, I mishear them ALL the time . . . I just don't like it. I mean, I'll DO it, but I don't prefer it.

So, I said a little prayer and asked God to help me run into my friend that day.

I think part of me was like, "Sweet. If I don't run into him, I can TOTALLY be like, 'Well I tried. I prayed. There goes THAT! I didn't have to do a hard thing!'"

Guess what, guys.

I ran into him.

In all reality, I was very grateful for this. I could go on this date that I REALLY DID want to go on, and I DIDN'T have to ask over the phone. But still, I felt this nervousness in my gut knowing that God was in Heaven all like, "Well, Carmen. There you go. I helped you out by having you two run into each other, and I'll help you out with confidence, but you need to open your mouth and talk."

So, I went up to him. We had a nice conversation, then I said, "Hey, so, my sister is performing in a concert, and I was wondering if you'd want to go with me?"

There. I said it. It was out there. Boom. Ten points to Carmen for doing something hard.

"Yeah, I'll go with you. What day is it?"

"Tuesday evening."

He checked his calendar.

"Yeah, that'll work. That'd be fun!"

"Great! I'll text you the details on when I'll pick you up later."

Then . . . there was just enough silence for my brain to realize: "Wait hold up. I had only prepared for rejection. I didn't come up with ANY sort of plan as to what to do if he actually accepted! CRAP. What do I do now?"

And so, I looked at my friend, and said the only thing that came to mind:
"Can I ask you a weird question?"
"Yeah." he said.
"Can I touch your hair?"
CARMEN. I scolded myself.
". . .No." he said.
Oh gosh. I DEFINITELY didn't plan for THIS kind of rejection.
"Oh it's just . . . sorry . . . you just have really nice hair."
"Thanks!" he said.
And then . . . my hand slowly reached up . . . and touched the side of his hair.
"What-?! Stop!" he said, jerking his head away slightly.
"Sorry." I said.
There was another silence, we both laughed uncomfortably, and then shared our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I went to work, mortified at what had just happened, and flopped in a heap in my chair, burying my head in the crook of my arm as it rested on my desk.
"Oh no. What'd you do now?" asked one of my coworkers.
I began relating the story to her, and as I did, four or five more coworkers jumped in.
"Why did you ask to touch it?" asked one.
"Because he really does have nice hair!" I justified.
"Well yeah, but why did you ask if you were just gonna touch it anyway?"
"I don't know! To be polite?" I responded.
"Wait - why DID you touch it anyway?" one friend asked.
"I don't know!" I responded.
"I'm amazed at the number of embarrassing moments you get yourself into." said one.
"Hey, Carmen, can I touch your hair?" said another coworker as they walked by me.
I turned to my coworker that had just gotten asked out by someone.
"So . . . when he asked you," I said, "Did he ask to touch your hair?"
"No - which is so weird of him. I think it's totally in the norm to ask someone to touch their hair after you ask them on a date."
"Thanks for making me feel better."
And I flopped my head back on the desk.

This story DOES have a happy ending. The date was fun, and later when asked if I could put it on my blog, I believe his words were, "Can my name [on the blog] be Jabarious? Also, for the record, I didn't feel awkward. "

So there you go, Jabarious.

Have a happy, awkward day, everyone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dressed Like A Cow

Oh, hello there.

Recently it has been brought to my attention the different gifts God has given each of his children. We all have different talents and gifts. It'd be boring if we all had the same. Some people have been blessed with the gift to remember names and faces. 

I, however, do not possess that talent. 

It's very unfortunate, really. And pretty obnoxious. I mean, I have other talents and gifts. Trust me, I'm very grateful for these! But man. It is quite annoying when you can't remember someone's name, and it's now to the point where you would offend them if you asked for it one more time. 

Now, this fact about me is just another layer to what makes me so awkward, because it has led to so many sticky situations. One of these instances took place on what I dubbed: Chick-fa-le day. 

What is Chick-fa-le day? Well, Chick-fa-le is a delicious chicken sandwich restaurant which, unfortunately, isn't found in every state yet (such as New York). The mascot to this store is a cow. On this particular day, Chick-fa-le will give you a free entree or meal if you dressed up as a cow. 

Um, free food? I don't care HOW ridiculous I look. I. AM. THERE. 

My work just so happened to have a cow costume that we were sharing to go get said free food. What did it consist of? A few black spots, a Chick-fa-le sign, and some ears. Nothing too ridiculous, but I was still getting quite a few strange looks as I walked from the office to Chick-fa-le. 

I stood in line, and my ears flew off. Quickly I adjusted it and tried to feel if they were placed properly on my head, when the guy in front of me turned around, smiled and said, "Hello, Carmen." 

I looked at him. He, too, was donned in a cow costume similar to mine: spots throughout his shirt and his face, fake ears, and a cow bell. 

. . . But who WAS this kid? He didn't look the slightest bit familiar to me. 

However, I had learned a long time ago to just go along with situations like this. Eventually I would put the pieces together and figure out my connection to this kid. 

"How's it going?!" I said enthusiastically. 

"Good! What are you doing on campus?" 

"I work here." I replied. 

"You do?" he asked. "But I thought you went to UVU!" 

Crap. Not only did this guy knew me, but he knew details ABOUT me! Who was this guy?!

"I did, but I graduated with my associates in April. I transferred here."

"Oh, I see." he said, then we both stepped up to separate registrars to order food. 

I walked up to the cashier and flashed a dashing smile. She looked at me with a questionable look as I said, "How do I look? Good enough for a free meal?"

"Ummm . . . probably enough to get a free entree." 

"But not a meal?


My face fell. I peeled the spot off my cheek, and pointed to the part of my skin that I knew was now red, raw and dry from the tape.

"Are you serious?" I said, "I didn't get this rash for nothing." 

She shrugged and said, "I'm sorry. What would you like for an entree?" 

"Just a chicken sandwich." 

I stepped away, rolling my eyes at nothing in particular. 

I stood waiting for my food, and the kid I had talked to earlier stood in front of me. 

"So where do you work?" he asked. 

"Oh, I'm a news writer for the math and science department. I write articles that promote the department. What about you? What are you doing on campus?" I pried. I HAD to figure out how I knew this kid. 

"I work in the library."

"ALEXANDER!" called one of the workers, holding out his bag. 

He stepped up and grabbed it. Quickly, I racked my brain. Alexander. Who did I know named Alexander? Someone from my mission? Someone from one of my previous church congregations? How on earth did I know this kid?!

"It was good seeing you, Carmen." he said to me. 

"Yeah, you too!" 

"And hey, thanks for praying for me that one time at our game. It was really helpful."

I could feel my face falter a little. I tried not to make my smile too forced or voice sound fake as I said, "Heeey! Anytiiiiime!"

He walked away. 

They called my name, and with my chicken sandwich in tow, I dashed quickly back to the office. 

While pulling up facebook, I related the story to a few of my coworkers. Quickly, I pulled up the search bar on Facebook and typed: 
Name: Alexander 
School: Brigham Young University

I scrolled through all the names, not recognizing a single face. Who was this kid? How did he know so much about me?!

Just then, I got a text from one of my absolute best friends. 

"Hey! Alex said he saw you at Chick-fa-le! So fun!" it said. 



No sooner after I had done this, did it dawn on me. 

"Oh, crap . . . he's your boyfriend, isn't he? I am the worst friend ever. I AM SO SORRY!" I sent back, then rested my head on my desk saying, "I am the worst friend everrrrrr!"

This was the third time I had seen this kid. I had come to his sports activities, and prayed that they'd loose so that my best friend and I could have time to go get ice cream while he continued to play the next game. If they had won, they wouldn't have played another game, and my friend and I wouldn't have had time to get ice cream. 

So I sense some bitterness and sarcasm in that comment he said to me.

Since then, I have hung out with him a couple times, and still struggle recognizing him when he isn't with my best friend! And I keep switching between calling him Alexander, Alex, Adam and Aaron. 

Oh well. Guess you can't be good at everything. 

Have an awkward day, everyone.

(Sometimes my webcam randomly takes pictures of me while I'm walking it to a new location)

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Fountain of Youth

I know I've talked a lot about this, but seriously guys. This is an issue in my life. I look younger than I actually am, and not only does this lead to me being treated differently and less respectfully by my peers and leaders, but it also leads to a whole lot of awkward conversations for everyone involved.

These past couple months, I have had a lot of conversations regarding my age, and I decided to combine them all into one glorious tidbit.

Coworker: So, is this your first year at BYU?
Me: Technically, yes. But I just transferred here after receiving my associates degree.
Coworker: Oh, cool! How long did that take? A year? A year-and-a-half?
Me: Oh, ummmm I don't know. Like three years? This is my fourth year of college.
Coworker: . . . Wait. Did you start when you were like, 14? How old are you?
Me: 22.
Coworker: Oh! Okay that makes so much more sense! You didn't look old enough to have that many years of college behind you, but that makes sense! Sorry.
Me: No, no. It happens frequently.

Airline stewardess: Miss are you old enough to sit in an exit row?
Me: Yes.
Stewardess: How old are you?
Me: . . . 22.
Stewardess: (A light of understanding came to her eyes) Ah! Good genes. Very good genes.

Boy hitting on me: So, how old are you?
Me: 22.
Boy: OH. I'm 18.
Conversation suddenly ends.
This has happened to me many times.

Waiter: Whose birthday is it?
Waiter: How old are you turning?
Me: Guess!
Waiter: 18!
Me: 22.
Waiter: Oops.

I played a flute solo. Afterwards, the judges docked me points because everyone under 18 was supposed to have their piece memorized. Since I was 22, I didn't memorize it.
My flute teacher went in and talked to them.
Their response?
"Wait, her? She's 22? WOW. We thought she was barely 16! Are you sure? No, she can't be 22! She looks so young!"
"She just came home from her mission. She's 22." clarified my teacher.
"No! Oh, we would've never guessed."

I sat down in class and started a conversation with a girl sitting next to me.
Girl: So is this your first year of college?
Me: Oh. Um. No. Fourth.
Girl: Oh . . .
Me: Yeah. It happens.

Me: How old did you think I was when you first met me?
Friend: Well, you looked 17, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt and guessed you were barely 19.
Me: Huh. That's pretty close.
I was 20 at the time. Not my worst.

Me: HEY! COME HERE! How old do you think I am in this picture?
Friend: Hmm. You look about 14.
Me: SERIOUSLY?! I'm 19 in this picture!

Me: HAHAHAHAHA! HEY COME CHECK OUT THIS PICTURE! Look at this couple! Look how young this person looks that they're dating!
My friend walked over to see the picture I was talking about.
Subconscious: But . . . Carmen . . . YOU look super young.
Me: I mean . . . not that I can judge . . . I'm just saying . . . they look . . . twelve . . . and I look . . . never mind. Forget it. It's fine. It's fine!

News Anchor: They had me go by my full name, Nadine, instead of my nickname, Deanie, because it made me sound older. I looked really young for my age. I also had to wear a lot more make-up to make myself look older.
Me: Yeah . . . yeah, that'll be me.
She just nodded in response.

I went to the temple to attend a wedding. Before I got to the front area, a worker stepped in front of me and said kindly, "Those younger than 18 come through this hallway."
"Oh. I'm here for a wedding. I'm 22."
Didn't even phase me until two hours AFTER the wedding ceremony what had just occurred.

This isn't just a personal issue. It's a family problem. Members of my family just don't look the age they actually are.

I was 14, my sister was 20.
Man: Which one's older?
Sister: Me.
Man: Oh wow!
He pointed to me.
Man: I thought you were older!
Me: No. I'm just taller.

Woman: So is that your grandpa?
Me: No, that's my dad.

Man talking behind me to his wife: Where do you think she got her red hair from?
Wife: Could've been her mom.
Man: Or her dad . . . do you think that's her grandpa or her father?
Wife: I was assuming grandpa, but it could be her dad. I can't tell. Do you think he used to have red hair? It's gray now.
*Long pause*
Man: . . . I just REALLY can't tell if it's her dad or her grandpa!

Woman: Are you two sisters?
Me: . . . She's my mother.

Woman to my dad: Are these two of your daughters?
Dad: That's my wife. And my daughter.

And, possibly my favorite moment:

I stood holding my baby nephew, talking to my dad and my sister. I don't remember why, but a woman approached us and began talking to us.
The woman turned to me and said, "Is this your grandpa?"
Confused, I looked from her, to my dad, back to her.
"No . . . that's my dad."
"Oh . . . So is she. . .your mother?" she looked at my sister.
"We're sisters," my sister clarified, "And this is our dad."
"AND THIS IS MY NEPHEW." I said, holding the baby out straight in front of me as if it was about to catch on fire.

I know, guys. I know. I will be grateful for this one day.
When I'm 40 and my children are getting mistaken as my siblings.

Enjoy your awkward day, everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Swimming For Non Swimmers

Hello, good friends. My name is Carmen, and I do not know how to swim.

Not yet, anyway.

Here's the issue: I LOVE the water a lot! So whenever I go to the beach or the pool, the level I'm able to have fun at is very limited.

The beach? I allow myself to go until it like, reaches my thighs then I'm like, "I'M GONNA GET SUCKED UP BY A WHIRLPOOL! SEE YA BYE!"

Fed up by my lack of ability to swim, I signed up for a swimming for non swimmers class at BYU.

And I knew, I KNEW, I was walking right into an awkward moment.

It hasn't been as bad as I thought, but it certainly hasn't been the most comfortable of experiences, either. Then again, when has stepping out of your comfort zone ever been comfortable?

Week 1.

I sprinted from my Book of Mormon class to my swimming class. Although we wouldn't be swimming the first day of class, I still only had ten minutes to run to a building at the farthest end of campus, and not get lost.

And of course, I got lost.

By the time I stumbled to the pool, class had been going for ten minutes. All the students were circled around my professor as he gave basic instructions as to what to expect from the class. I plopped down, and noticed just how darn sweaty I was.

Between my heavy breathing from trying to catch my breath, the echoey gym, and the different swimming class that was meeting right next to us, I could barely hear my teacher.

Then, kids began to gather up their stuff, and walk away.

"Woah, wait. What?" I said to the student next to me.

"He said we can go early."

I hadn't even cooled down or caught my breath from the trek to the building yet. Grumbling to myself, I swung my backpack over my shoulder, and made the hike back to the center of campus to where I worked sweaty, hot, and grumpy.

Two days later, it was my first class. I dressed in my swimsuit, and went to the pool.

"Alright, everyone against the wall," the coach instructed.

I stood against the wall in between a girl and a boy. . . and realized there was an uncomfortably large gap in between me and the guy. Rolling my eyes at myself, I took two large steps so we were a more normal distance next to each other.

"Stand with your arms high above your head," he instructed once more. "Hold your hands together like this."

Everyone obeyed his words.

"This is the position you will be in when you enter the water. If you're having a hard time standing like that, it's because you're not flexible, and may have a harder time swimming."

"Crap." I mumbled to myself.

"Alright everyone buddy up!" he said. "Doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl, just grab someone."

I looked at the kid next to me.

"Buddies?" he said.

"Buddy." I repeated.

"Now what you're gonna do," my teacher said, "is one of you will lay down on the ground, and kick. The other person will hold their ankles and provide resistance. This will give you an idea of the resistance that occurs when swimming."

I looked around.

Everyone else had partnered up with someone of the same sex, except for me and this kid.

Um. Okay guys. Let me just paint a picture of what exactly happened after that: In my swimsuit, I laid on my stomach, while this man held my ankles and I kicked.

My only thought was, "This is awful. This is so awkward. I have been watching way too much Law and Order." 

We then had to switch positions, and I did the same to him.

He and I literally have not spoken to each other since then.

Week 2. 

This week, we began using flippers on our feet, and paddles on our hands to practice the backstroke.

It was a struggle, guys.

But thankfully, it was struggle for everyone, and not just me! We all flopped around the water trying hard to achieve a backstroke.

I was swimming my way from one end of the pool to the other. I was doing decently well and beginning to get the hang of things when-


The girl's hand going the opposite direction in my lane hit my face, dunking me underwater, ripping off my goggles, and scratching my nose.

I jumped up above water, coughing and spitting up water, holding my nose that screamed with pain, and replaced my goggles back on my head.

"I'M SO SORRY!" she said.

"It's fine. It happens."


"It's fine. It happens."


"It. Is. Fine. It. Happens." I said, and grumpily began swimming again.

I was doing okay, but when I reached the end of the lane, my coach pointed to me.

"What's up?" I asked, swimming to the edge of the pool.

"You're raising your chest up too much," he said, puffing up his chest. "I need your butt out more. Like this."

He proceeded to point to his butt, and do a weird butt thrust forward a couple times. Not really sure what facial expression I was supposed to be making (because I felt exceedingly uncomfortable watching him do this), I just said, "Okay . . . got it . . . you can um . . . you can stop now."

Week 3.

Backstroke week.

I. Was. Failing. Time and time again I would attempt to swim, and end up underwater, pressed against the wall, or choking on water.

"You're moving your arms out like this," my coach said to me after unsuccessfully achieving the backstroke.

He moved his arms in a bizarre way that looked similar to a fish out of water.

"Is that why I'm hitting the wall?" I asked.

He shrugged, and walked away.

Once again, I attempted to do the backstroke, only successful about half the time.

I reached the other end of the pool, where the coach stood once again.

My face beat read, and panting heavily, I listened as my coach instructed me, "You're tipping your head too far back, and causing water to go up your nose. You need to find the balance between having your head too far back, and too far forward."

All I could do was nod, and lay my head on the concrete edge. Sweat began to drip along with water down my forehead. I couldn't breath. I was so tired. So exhausted.

"Do three more laps. Move your arms three times, kick for six, arms three times, kick for six."

I did the only thing my tired little brain could think of to do at this point. I pointed a finger at him and said, "I . . . hate . . . you."

He shrugged, and walked away.

Once again, I did a half-successful backstroke. After one of the three strokes, I reached the end of the pool, and continued to breath heavily and hate my life and my coach.

The other two girls in my lane were already done with their three laps, and I had already done one. I stood in the water, catching my breath.

"Are you okay?" one of the girls said to me in a concerned tone. "Your face is really red."

"Yeah . . . I'm . . . just . . . like . . . I'm just . . . blaaaaaaaaaaah."

"Are you gonna do your next two laps?" said the other girl, also seeming very concerned.

"HA HA! No!"

I looked at my coach, felt immediate guilt . . .

And did my next two stokes.

As I finished them, my coach instructed everyone to just practice laps until time was up, seeing as we had three minutes left of class.

I began to swim my way back to the front of the pool, when my right leg decided to cramp up and give up on me.

"Ow. Ow. OW!" I yelled to myself, and hopped my way back to the front of the pool.

My coach was staring at me.

"My leg is totally cramping!" I said to him.

He nodded.

"Is that normal?" I asked.

"Oh yes. You aren't used to working your legs -"

"I know! It's awful!"

"-the way you do when you swim," he finished.

"Oh. Yes. Yeah that too."

I spent the rest of the time attempting to stretch out my leg. When the bell rang, I did exactly what I do at the end of every class:

I pulled my stomach up onto the concrete, and rolled my way out of the pool.

It is the most ungraceful, awkward looking thing you will EVERY see in your life.

No exaggeration. It's awful.

My right leg still hating me, I hobbled my way back to the locker room, changed, and then made my way up the 60 steps back to campus, cursing myself and my teacher for the pain I was currently feeling.

I don't entirely know what the future holds with me and swimming but I can tell you, my friends, that it will hold many more awkward adventures. But I am DETERMINED to master swimming to the point where if I can one day fearlessly jump off of a high dive and make my way to shore safely.

Have an awkward day, everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Real Time with Carmen: Remembering 9/11

Last week was my very first day in my Political Science class. To begin, my teacher turned on the projector and showed a list of questions he wanted each of us to answer.

The first read: What is the earliest memory you have regarding politics?

That was easy. Quickly, I scribbled four words:

Bush declaring war.

Two days later, he projected the results. 55% of the class said that 9/11 was their earliest memory regarding politics.

"This is the highest amount I have ever seen for that event," he said. "I wont be surprised if that number starts going down."

He then began to pace the room and said, "You kids grew up in terrorism. It has just been a part of your life. But your parents? Your grandparents? It crept into there's. It was a completely new concept to them. Just think; what concepts will be new to you, but natural to your children?"

He then asked for students to share their experiences with 9/11. Naturally, the majority of the class raised their hand, myself included. But he didn't call on me.

Rewind to my freshman year of college. I was in my joke of a psychology class, where my teacher talked more about her terrible ex husband and awful divorce and life in Puerto Rico than actual psychology.

I learned two things in that class: the science behind introverts and extroverts, and this fun fact:

She stood there at the front of the class, her plump hands resting on her round waist as she said, "How many of you remember what you were wearing, and what you were doing on 9/11?"

The majority of my class raised their hands, myself included.

She nodded slowly and said somberly, "When it comes to certain events that are particularly traumatic (such as 9/11), it is not uncommon for victims to remember strange details, such as what they were wearing, and what they were doing at that exact moments. Although some of you may not have been in New York City, or had family members there, the event was so horrific, it is natural for the human brain to be traumatized and remember facts such as this."

She asked for a few students to share their experience with 9/11.
I raised my hand, but did not get called on.

Rewind to my junior and senior year of high school.

My senior year, I aided for my junior year history teacher. Thus, both years I saw the powerful slides about the Holocaust, riots in Egypt and Lybia, and especially 9/11.

We watched footage of the planes crashing into the building, and residents screaming in terror.
This was the first time I had seen that footage.
Tears sprung to my eyes, sorrow filled my heart, and rage surged in my stomach.

I began to mumble my story to the classmate next to me, but got drowned out by everyone else sharing their stories.

Events like this happened year after year after year, but I never was able to share my story.

Rewind to a few months after 9/11. I stood in the kitchen, leaning on the banister and watching the news. I remember very clearly Bush declaring war.

I trotted upstairs to the bathroom, where my mom stood hanging clothes on an indoor drying rack.

"Mom, should we go to war?" I asked her.

My mom continued hanging clothes as she said, "Some people think we should, others don't. It's really up to you to decide for yourself what to think, but either way, we'll be going to war."

Rewind to a few days after 9/11.
My sister held out a newspaper for me to see. Two colomns stretched across the top of the page, the stoic faces of various men filling little squares.

"Are they--?" I began.

"These are the jerks that flew into the twin towers," she said.

I took the news paper and began to flip through and look at the pictures of the men, and smoke billowing from the towers.

Let's rewind to September 11th, 2001.

I sat cross-legged on the floor of my living room, my mom doing my hair. I was wearing a navy blue polo shirt with white buttons on the top, and white bordering the collar of my shirt. I had on tan shorts, and my mom was putting my hair into pig tails with elastics that had little white balls on them so that they matched the buttons at the front of my shirt.

It was no TV week at my school. Teachers, students and parents were asked to go this entire week without watching the television. My parents had agreed to this, and so we sat in silence as my mom did my hair.

I don't remember the phone ringing, but I remember my dad calling and saying, "Turn on the radio."

I don't remember what else my mom said to him, but I remember her walking over to the cabinet below our television set, and turning on the radio. After fumbling with it for a second, it rested on the news.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

"Daddy needs us to listen to the radio. Something happened."

I listened. I didn't understand what was happening.

"Mom, what's happening?" I asked, because I was sincerely confused.

Then came the words I will never forget, "A second plane! Dear God, a second plane hit."

I didn't feel terror.
I felt pure confusion.
What was happening?

I walked to school completely calm, which was unusual for a child who had severe anxiety.

I don't remember the rest of the day. But we didn't watch TV. Not at school, and not when I got home. I heard the events described to us by people. Over the radio, by word of mouth from peers and adults alike.

Perhaps this is the first example of obedience I remember. We could've watched TV. We were perfectly justified to watch it. Maybe if we had done that, I would've understood the extent to what was happening.

But my parents, and everyone else's parents, had signed a slip of paper saying they wouldn't watch TV that week.

I don't know what my peer's parents did, but I know my parents continued not to watch it.

I remember our school holding a moment of silence.

I remember coming home, and finding out that my dad's airplane didn't leave that day, and he'd be returning home instead of going on his business trip.

Perhaps it was when my sister showed me the newspaper that it hit me that this was an attack directly towards America.

And then when war was declared, I remember feeling anger. Angry at the terrorists who did this, and angry that more lives would have to be lost.

Youtube wasn't around, and by the time it did come around, I didn't think of looking up footage of 9/11. So when I saw it in my history class, I was surprised by how calm I was. I finally understood what was going on this time. Why wasn't I panicked? Because it was in the past? Because it wasn't close to home? Yes, I was sorrowful and angry, but calm.

I had a friend who majored in psychology explain this to me best, "There are some people who do the opposite reaction in high-stress situations such as war, or anything like that. When you're supposed to panic, your emotion feeds off of the energy, and you remain calm and can think level headed. It's a gift, really."

I have had enough car accidents and situations in my life to know that this most likely applies to myself.

Fast forward to April 15, 2013.

This is when I got my first taste of what the victims of 9/11 experienced.

I was wearing a white shirt with blue flowers on it, with a blue bow in the back. My hair was pulled back in a half pony tail. I was wearing my least-favorite pair of jeans.

This is what I wore as I lay, curled up in fetal position, clutching my stomach as I felt like I was going to throw up, absolutely bawling as CNN showed the same clips of the Boston Bombings, where my dad had just been running a few hours earlier. 

I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't stop the anger from forming.

He's safe. He's safe. He's safe. He's safe. I kept chanting to myself.

But I didn't know that. I wasn't there. Nobody was answering their cell phones.

I didn't feel calm then. Not in the slightest.

My roommate burst into the room and yelled, "ARE YOU STUPID? TURN THAT OFF!"

She held me as I continued to cry, and told me about how her dad was working in the pentagon during 9/11. He too, was safe. But she also panicked as I panicked.

And finally, I understood.

Fast forward to today.

I did not choose to join the police force or the military. Oddly enough, this is a desire of mine. I did, however, choose to minor in the study of terrorism. Why?

Because I want to support my troops as best as I can.

Because I want the evil to stop.

And because, as I interview victims of these traumatic events, I will know how they feel.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The First Day of School

Fourth year of college. Fourth school down.

Yes, my friends, I am now attending BYU to get my bachelors degree, and this marks the fourth school I have attended since my high school graduation.

The past schools I have gone to (Weber, SLCC, and then I finally received my associates at UVU) have all been very similar to each other: Commuter, a good number of non-LDS students, small class sizes, big college campus. The work load was never overwhelming, but was just enough to keep me busy, stretch my mind and help me learn, and still leave me just enough time to watch one or two netflix episodes afterward.

And then, there were my roommates.

Starting at UVU, I began living in BYU off-campus housing, where all my roommates attended BYU. I saw that their workload was much greater than mine, the policies at the school much different than any other school I had been to, and their overall stress level was just higher.

So, why did I come to BYU? A lot of reasons, really. But the main three are:
- I felt like I needed to
- PHENOMENAL journalism program
- Good environment

Despite these positive contributing factors, this did not calm my nerves for the much anticipated first day of school.

And it was terrible.

Hilariously so, on the bright side.

It all started the Sunday night before classes started. I had spent most the weekend at my parent's home to gear up on sleep and some relaxation before I jumped into this semester. And because I was dreading the start of this school year, I procrastinated driving back to my apartment in Provo. And so, I got a late start to the ride home.

Anyone who knows the I-15 in Utah knows the ridiculous amount of construction that is currently taking place between Provo and Sandy. It just gets more ridiculous after nine p.m, when there are nightly lane closures.

Of course I had all intentions to head back to Provo before nine, but low and behold . . . that didn't happen.

Hello, slow moving traffic.

It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the most relaxing of drives home either.

And then came the time when I arrived in Provo.

Now, anyone who knows Provo knows how AWFUL parking is. Trying to park in Provo is similar to trying to fit into a sardine can.


And because I had waited so long to get home, every single parking space was taken at my apartment complex.

I circled around and around for about a half an hour until I finally parked illegally, dumped my laundry inside my apartment, and headed back to my car to find a place to park.

Ten more minutes circling the block and no luck. I was becoming more and more frustrated and convinced that I would have to park my car at least a twenty minute walk away from my apartment when . . .

Wait seriously? Is that a spot right by my apartment? 

It seemed too good to be true, but I parked there anyway.

I stepped out and stared at the crumbling sidewalk.

Okay, so there's no red paint on the side . . . This is good . . . There's no sign saying no parking . . . I'm not like the guy in front of me and right in front of the fire hydrant . . . Seems okay . . .

Again. It seemed far too good to be true, but I was desperate, so I left my car and walked back to my room, declaring to my roommates that I wasn't sure if I parked legally or not.

I was pooped, but still had to shower, write in my journal, and socialize before I got to bed.

Before I knew it, and opposed to my liking, I finally crawled in bed around midnight. My normal bedtime is 11:30 at the very latest, but I like to be in bed by around10:30.

So you can imagine my overall frustrations with life at this moment.

Despite my exhaustion, I just couldn't sleep. My mind was racing and my nerves were wracking in anticipation for tomorrow. I felt like every cell in my body was on edge and I could only lay there stiff as a brick, trying to relax while my eyes lay wide open.

I woke up throughout the night, anxiously checking my phone to make sure I hadn't slept in. I woke up to every creak, cough, or sound that came from my apartment and roommates.

And before I knew it, it was eight o' clock in the morning: generally a half hour later than I get up.

As my alarm chipped happily, I did the only thing I could think of to do at that moment: pull the sheets over my head and say to my roommate, "I don't want to go to schooooooooooool."

I lay in bed for twenty-five minutes, going back and forth between deciding if I should drop my first class just because I was tired, and it was an elective anyway.

I pulled up my computer to drop the class . . . and then . . .

"This is ridiculous," I said to my roommate, but mostly to myself. "I have to at least give it a try."

I glanced at my clock.

I had fifteen minutes to get ready for class.


Frantically, I changed clothes, ran a brush through my hair, and threw on make-up.

Now with my current schedule, I am on campus on average from 9-5 everyday, so I had to pack a lunch. I threw open my cupboard and . . .

An overwhelming stench of death overtook me, and I covered my nose.

My potatoes. My poor, delicious bag of potatoes were now rotten and disgusting.
Nose and eyes stinging, I set the bag of potatoes by the door to remember to throw them away on my way out.
Guess I would just have to make a sandwich.
I pulled down my bread and peanut butter and threw a measly sandwich together. I tossed it in my backpack along with two granola bars and a handful of potato chips. As I closed my bread, I did a double take.
Was that mold I see on the large amount of bread I had left?
Well. Shoot.
Chucking it in the garbage, I went to the fridge and grabbed my last cup of dairy-free yogurt and a spoon.
Cautiously, I balanced my yogurt cup, spoon, planner and notebook, and the bag of rotting potatoes in my hand and hastily left my apartment, now with little to no time to get to my class.

I dashed across the parking lot to the dumpster, heaved the potatoes inside, and then . . .

No way! Is that a shortcut?! Sweet!

I raced down the grass-grown pavement that ran behind my apartment building and a neighboring fence. Judging by the direction it was headed, I suspected it would lead me to the sidewalk on the opposite side and closer to the school!
Dead end.

Letting out a low growl, I turned on my heel with my notebook, planner, spoon, and yogurt in hand, and sprinted back around my building and towards an actual pathway.

Now, anyone who knows BYU knows how many ridiculous stairs there are to get onto campus. And so I faced what I dubbed: Satan's stairs.

I took them two at a time, now gripping my maxi-skirt in hand so as to insure that I wouldn't trip over it.

I don't know why I thought I would be able to eat my yogurt on the way to class. I was sprinting and holding a ridiculous amount of items because I thought it would save me time to hold them instead of pausing to place them in my backpack!


There was no sense in carrying these things anymore. I could place my stuff down on the bench and place it in my backpack. Hiking up my skirt more, I began to sprint towards the bench and . . .

Running = sweat = sweaty hands = not being able to hold onto anything.

My planner, notebook, yogurt, and spoon fell to the ground, and I stumbled as my skirt caught around the tip of my toes.

I knelt down and shoved everything inside my bag, and took off once again.

There were still a good amount of students on campus, so I knew I still had a bit of time to get to class.

I was breathing heavily at this point. I knew without having to look in a mirror that my entire body was as red as my hair. I began to wonder why I had even showered or put on make-up if I was just going to sweat it all off.

I found the building I needed to be in, and passed a kid holding a bloody tissue to his nose.

Well it could be worse. I could be like that kid.

I sped walked through the second most confusing building on campus, and breathed a sigh of relief as I found my classroom. As I walked in, the bell rang, and I jumped and let out a slight gasp.

A bell? Seriously? This school has a bell? I haven't had a bell since high school!

I took the nearest seat, and the teacher began class. I, unfortunately, was still panting and could feel sweat dripping disgustingly down my forehead.

I had cooled down and had rebuilt my energy by the end of class, and then headed to my second class which, thankfully, wasn't too far away. To add to this, my professor had even let us out of class a couple minutes early! There was no way I would be late to my next class!

I got lost trying to get out of the building, jumped when the bell to leave screeched through the hallways, and managed to find the exit on the side that was farthest away from my next class, simply because it was the exit with the lowest crowd. I figured out why as soon as I saw my surroundings and figured I had just added an extra minute to my walk to class.

I sped walked to my next class. As I entered the door, I saw that the entry and hallways were congested with students attempting to do just what I was doing: get it.

"You have got to be kidding me," I muttered under my breath.

When I managed to squeeze my way through, I saw that one of the stairwells was under construction, and that students were having to slowly snake their way through the crowd to the stairwell on the other side of the building.

"Oh, heck no." I said, and I took off downstairs as opposed to the direction I actually needed to head to: the second floor.

I raced down the stairs, sprinted across the building to another set of stairs, ran up that one, and it gave me perfect access to the staircase leading to the second floor.

"Brilliant!" I said once again to myself.

I maneuvered easily to the next staircase, and saw a kid on crutches squeezing his way through the crowd.

Well it could be worse. I could be that kid. 

I ran upstairs, and quickly found my classroom, as well as my friends who were in that class.

I plopped down in a seat next to them, and placed my water bottle, pen, notebook and planner on my tiny, pull-out lap desk.

I reached down to put my backpack on the ground and -

BOOM water bottle down
BOOM pen down
BOOM notebook down
BOOM planner down.

My friend let out a laugh and said to me, "Next blog post?"

"Yuuuuup." I said, gathering everything up.

Next was work. I love my job, and was excited to be able to sit, relax, and do something I actually knew I was good at for a couple hours.

Absolutely fatigued, I hobbled into my work, with my water bottle in hand. I unscrewed the top to adjust the straw that allowed me to drink out of it when -

BOOM. Water bottle down.

Water splashed my skirt, shirt, and shoes.

I was too exhausted to react at this point.

I refilled my water bottle, and sat my little soaked self down at my desk. It was now around 11 o' clock, and I had yet to eat anything. My body was NOT happy with me. I ate my now warm yogurt incredibly slow, munched on my granola bars, and then pulled out my sandwich.

I unwrapped the plastic bag protecting it, then looked at the bread.

Little speckles of white dusted the edges of the sandwich. My stomach growled.

. . . was it worth it?

. . . maybe I was just imagining this.

I turned to my coworker and interrupted the conversation she was in.

"Does this look like mold to you?" I asked.

"Yeah." she said, then turned back to her conversation.

"Dang it." I said, and chucked it in the garbage.

I ate the handful of potato chips I had packed, and found another bag of potato chips shoved in my cubby. I thanked my past self for putting those there, and then ate three milkways laying around the office.

A feast made for royalty.

I had begun to wonder why I had come to BYU. Why on earth had I done this to myself? Was it a mistake?

I logged onto Facebook and saw that BYU had posted pictures from the first day of school. And thus lead this conversation:

I was grateful to know that BYU had my back. Perhaps I COULD do this.

Five o' clock came with no more mishaps beside me just being tired.

In my first class, I was informed that I needed a textbook I had neglected to buy. So, I made my way to the bookstore on campus . . .

To see a line that was about as long as the rides at Disneyland. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed my one little textbook, and waited in line.

The boy in front of me turned around and flashed me a dashing smile. But I was noticing his sweatshirt:
Year of 2013.

Okay, so he's two years younger. That's my limit when it comes to younger guys. But the way he was acting . . . he had to be younger than 20 . . .

He began to talk to me, and I could tell he was hitting on me. Knowing how old (or young) I look, I knew I had to set boundaries quick. And thankfully, he walked right into it.

"So, this your first day at BYU?" he asked.

"Technically, yes," I said. "But it's my fourth year of college. I just transferred here after I served my mission at age twenty. What about you?"

"Oh yes. Yes, it's my first day. I just graduated high school a couple months ago. I'm 18. How old are you?"


Glad we established that quick. The conversation turned to him asking me for college, mission, and life advice.

He will do great things . . . without me in his life.

We were winding through the isle, when a friend standing across from me stopped me.

Let me rephrase - we're acquaintances. He remembers me and my name and how we know each other, and I just take his word for it cause he only looks vaguely familiar to me.

"Hey! Carmen!" he said to me while giving me a high five. "You're engaged to Eric Lane, right? Or just got married? Congrats!"

I stood there dumbfounded for a split second, then came to my senses and said, "What? No, no, no, no, no. That's the OTHER red headed flute player that was in band with us who married him. Not me. Still single."

"Oooooh! Ha Ha Ha!" he cackled, "I mixed you two up ALL the time."

"Ha. . . yeah I mean it happens . . . " I said awkwardly.

I bought my textbook, then met up with a friend. As predicted, we were late to an appointment we both had to made.

As we sped walked back to my car where I would drive us, I began relating my day to her.

"I mean, the only thing that could possibly make this day worse, is if I got a parking ticket." I said, and we turned the corner and continued to half walk, half jog to my car.

I walked to the drivers side of the car . . .

And saw a little, yellow paper sticking out from under my windshield.

I laughed. I legitimately laughed at this point. There was nothing else I could do.

I pulled it out from my dash, and glanced over what it was for:

Blocking the entrance to a sidewalk.

Despite the awful start, there were still so many incredible blessings poured on my day. I saw many friends I love and who I hadn't seen in a while. I was generally happy throughout the day, and I had a good story to tell later. I also had air conditioning, which I could NOT complain about, especially after running up 114 stairs in the morning.

Yes, I counted.

The days following were less eventful, and less awful. I knew it could only go up from there. But I also have no doubt there are many awkward doors ahead for me.

Have an awkward day, everyone!