My First Love

For those of you just joining this Love-Burst-o-phere, you should know that I love music. I’ve spent my whole life running from private lessons to dance recitals to choir rehearsals and orchestra concerts. I spend my free time practicing the organ and, more often than not, can be found rocking out to Strauss’s Die Flaedermaus rather than whatever cool, new music that was just released. People who know me fairly well often compliment my voice or my piano and organ skills, but tonight I had the opportunity to show off my first love–the violin.

My earliest memory find a four-year-old Rylee watching prodigy Vanessa-Mae on Disney Channel as she performed her unconventional electric violin program. From that moment, sitting on my parents’ bed as they persuaded me to put on my yellow-ducky pajamas, I realized I had to play the violin. My young mind tried to explain thatImage my desire didn’t come from a passing fancy, but from a divine calling, that I, at four, had found my niche and was ready to become the next violin virtuoso. After relentless pestering and a realization that I was as serious as a young child could be, my dreams were granted. A tiny 1/8 size violin was purchased and so began my musical journey.

Through the years I’ve added to my instrument collection. I adore the piano and play any chance I get. I joined choir and realized that I can’t live without singing. As a junior in high school, I was called to be the ward organist and taught myself to play one of the coolest instruments ever. Heck, I even picked up the ukulele after high school and enjoy jamming out with others from time to time. But I keep coming back to the violin.

My ward has been having a mini talent display every Sunday evening to give members of the ward the chance to show off their skills. When I was asked to perform tonight, they told me I could do whatever I wanted–I could play the piano, I could sing, I could touch my tongue to my nose (a severely underrated talent). But it made me sad to realize they didn’t list playing the violin because no one knew I played.

How could they not know? How could these people who I’ve come to know so well not know this intregal part of my life? How could they not know that in my heart of hearts is a crazy-haired girl rocking out on her violin with everything she has? So I brought that wild-haired girl out tonight and played my little heart out. 

Sometimes I’m sad that I don’t have the opportunity to play the violin much anymore. I don’t regret my decision to pursue Women’s Chorus, but I miss the feeling of being one instrument in an ensemble. But I know that no matter what happens, even if (Heaven Forbid) I never touch music again, the violin will always be my first love.Image

 

Confessions of an Ambivert

At work, all of my coworkers started taking the Meyer Briggs personality test and comparing answers. You may have heard of this test. They split you into 16 personality types based on sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking and how you see the world according to these factors.
Today everyone was talking about how they were dogs or dolphins or other crazy things like that, so I decided I, too, wanted to be a part of this crazy personality circus. So I went online to take a free mini-test to figure out what personality type I am.
I ended up with an extrovert, sensing, feeling, and judging personality, which means I am:
An Elephant!
This apparently means I am loyal to people I love, I stick to my beliefs, and if I have some sort of internal conflict or am uncertain about something, I feel like doing this:
Most questions were fairly easy to answer, but I always got stuck about the introvert/extrovert questions. I’ve always considered myself an extrovert since I love being around people, but the fact I blew off all other obligations to stay at home and read one night last week will show you that I really appreciate my alone time. But the tonight when I was at home by myself for 4 hours without seeing a single living soul, I almost went crazy and attacked my roommate with hugs and questions about her day.
So what does this mean for me? I thought. Am I just some anomaly doomed to walk through the purgatory between extrovert and introvert for all of my days? 
 
Some tried to console me by classifying me as an ambivert–someone with characteristics of both extroverts and introverts, someone who needs their alone time but also feeds off the energy of others. Thinking about this for a while made a lot of sense, but as I kept thinking about it, I realized something.
Why am I trying to classify myself anyway?
The last year, I’ve loved delving into different aspects of my personality to learn more about myself. I did the Color Personality Test (Blue!) and I learned all about my Love Languages (quality time and words of affirmation). But after thinking about this one, I started wondering why I felt this need to stick myself in one of sixteen boxes. Sure, it helped me become more conscious of why I do certain things and what I can do to keep myself happy, but maybe it’s ok to not define myself as just one thing. Maybe I’m more complicated than a simple color or personality type. And maybe it’s ok that I’m perfectly content staying at home sometimes and ready to go out and socialize the heck out of my ward other nights. It’s all a part of the great experience of being Rylee Carling.
But if it’s ok with you, I’m probably going to keep the elephant thing.

Channeling your Inner Transcendentalist

Transcendentalism.

 
Mm. Gives you shivers, doesn’t it? Transcendentalism is a really long and complicated-sounding word to describe an American literary period in which writers strove to become one with nature and really find themselves and all that hippy nonsense. I know this because for my new job as a course designer for BYU’s Independent Study high school program, I am reading all about it. 
 
Also, I am an English major.
 
In one of today’s readings, I read a poem by Walt Whitman (THE transcendentalist)  I had never read before called  “There was a Child went Forth.” And I loved it. It’s about a boy who goes around seeing all these marvelous things and meeting all these wonderful people and being in all these amazing places and becoming better for them. So I decided to write my own poem called:
 
There was a Rylee went Forth

And then I remembered.
 
I can’t write poetry.
I would much rather create long lines of well-crafted sentences than spend years trying to find that one word. Why not use all the words? Why not find music in the long and winding sentences of prose than attempt a sentimental structure of poetry that may or may not end up working anyway?

Don’t get me wrong–I adore poetry. Wordsworth and Whitman speak to my soul as if they were my own voice trying to express the beauty of nature.

But their voices are not mine. Nor is mine theirs.

My voice is casual–it’s conversational–it’s borderline irreverent. Wordsworth is a well of profound eloquence–mine is a bucket-full of sass:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I spy a crowd
of delicious, cheesy Ritz Bitz.

Sure, my soul is moved when I walk down a tree-lit path and I’m so overcome with the beauty of the deep green against the clear blue sky and the deliciously fresh spring air that something wells up in my chest and all of a sudden it’s hard to breathe through all this gratitude. But I am not moved beyond words.

Apparently I’m just moved beyond poetry.

I try–I do. After reading Whitman today and walking home through that same tree-lined path and being overcome with all that same emotion, I decided to channel my inner transcendentalist and write poetry on a nice, sensationally lush patch of grass. After all–I was so inspired. It couldn’t be that hard to express myself through poetry with that much love-bursting flowing through my veins, could it?

Yes. Yes it could.

I tried. I took Whitman’s poem and began to simply model my own poem after his–I even began with the same lines and used same subjects and tried to make his words my own. Maybe I’m just impatient, but I just couldn’t get my words to have the same meaning or to convey what I was really feeling.

So I started this. A rant about my apparent inability to write poetry and express my immense satisfaction with this transcendentalist’s dream-come-true type of day. And you know what–it gets the job done.

Part of me wishes you could see what I saw envisioned in that poem of mine. It was beautiful–a tribute to the things and people and places that contribute to who I am, even if it is something that only stays with me for a week, like my obsession with X-Files, or something that serves as a constant reminder of who I am–a picture of the temple or love for my family.

So even if I can’t show you the poem that I want to write, I can tell you about it. I can tell you about how in love I am with this incredibly beautiful day. I can tell you about how happy my flowy pink and white striped skirt is making me as I lay here on my front lawn. I can tell you about how much I love poetry and how perfectly content I am to simply be alive and sitting in the sunshine.

Even if I can’t write poetry.