The Maiden Voyage

Last week the stake president met with my parents and myself.  Knowing how badly I desired to be a proselytizing missionary, he has been working without rest to help me reach that dream while still avoiding doing anything that would give me pain with the EDS.

It’s been a miracle.  I thought I would have to stay at home and occasionally go with the missionaries to teach, but this is an almost complete fulfilment of the dream I’ve held for as long as I can remember.  We’ll be going transfer by transfer (which are six weeks), testing how well I do.  I’ll have a wheelchair, but mostly I’ll be doing what my companions do.  I get to teach, proselytize, and work with the sisters to bring others to Christ.  If it becomes too much, I get to go home for a transfer then go right back out again.  We’re shooting for six months, but I’ll try to go the full eighteen.

There have been so many angels in this process.  Angel #1 is President Williams, who hasn’t stopped fighting for me.  President Sweeney, Bishop Kai, my parents … it’s been amazing beyond words.  And as I went to be set apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I saw a couple I’ve known for a while sitting in the foyer.  They have been my “adopted parents” when my own weren’t able to come to Gospel Doctrine class, sandwiching me between them and smiling, laughing and learning with me.  Their appointment was before mine, then as the bishop came to fetch us, he gave my mom a big hug and whispered something in her ear, seeming very moved.  The couple were in the room and the bishop and the husband set me apart.  They were so excited and the lady kept hugging me.  My mom later told me that they offered to pay for the entirety of my mission.  I’m telling you: angels.  Those God has sent into my path to help me fulfil this dream and bring others unto Him.

Unfortunately my father wasn’t able to be there (we’re trying to sell the house so we can move down to the city and join him) so we Skyped with him — he was dubbed the “electronic father” and “digital dad.”  (My older sisters weren’t there, either — they don’t even live in my state and it’s really hard).  When President Williams presented the idea that would allow me to go like this, my father started crying, he was so touched and happy.  The Gospel means most to us.  The Lord is everything.  And everyone knows how much I want to go and serve Him.  Even my best friend, who isn’t a member of the Church and so hasn’t grown up with the understanding of LDS missions, is such a support.  It’s really hurting her, but she loves the Lord as much as I do and understands why I need to go.  For us, He comes first.

I need to talk a little more about President Williams.  Last Sunday when he called us in and told us what we could do and I immediately agreed, he then resolved to do everything he could to contact the mission president and have him come for another interview after church.  Together they’re sending me off, working so hard to help me do this.  I feel like Heavenly Father has just opened the floodgates to the blessings.  I know it’s all pretty sudden, but I was given the option of going during this transfer or waiting until the next.  I don’t wait, so it wasn’t even an option for me to hesitate.

I have the most amazing group of friends anyone could ever ask for.  I’m going to miss them like crazy, but they love the Lord as much as I do and their love and support means so much to me.  I’m excited to see how they grow as writers and as people while I’m gone, and I really hope Mirriam takes care of my baby Odd-Eyes.  And Ice.  If anything happens to him, Mirri, I might have to kill you.  And Apollo had better wait for me — I’ll be his missionary then I will come back and love him forever and make pretty half-Korean quarter-Bolivian babies that he can chase after.

My family is the greatest blessing in my life after God.  Despite our rather teasing, emotionless way of showing affection, I know they’re going to miss me and they’re the ones that, at night, I’ll be yearning for.  Every day is an adventure with them, and I can’t wait to come home and continue that.  And my baby sister is waiting for her call — so we’ll have two missionaries out!  Kerri, if you go to Africa, I will laugh so hard I’ll need to be hospitalized.

My ward family swarmed around me today, showering me with hope and love.  Guys, I’ll miss you and look forward to seeing you again.  Brother Stepp asked me to sing (okay, he told me a couple weeks ago exactly what I was singing so I didn’t have a choice) and the bishop allowed me to sing I Know That My Redeemer Lives today, even if nothing had been planned in advance.  Brother Vest, who is a WWII veteran and in his 90s told my mother that he had never heard the song so heartfelt before.  I have a very difficult time singing in church because I get so wrapped up in the physical — is my diaphragm in place, is my throat open, oh, no, I missed that note — and the attention that it’s been known to become a performance rather than a song of worship.  But my dear friend Shelby gave me a tip: pray that the congregation and yourself will feel the Spirit as God wants them to.  It worked.  I felt every word and I hope was able to bring something good to the meeting.  Something I felt inspired to do was change many of the ‘I’s and ‘me’s to ‘ours’ and ‘we’s.  I pray I helped someone through the music and my voice.  (Thank you, Mama, for the vocal genes).

There’s so much more I could go into — but I’ll leave it at that.  I may be home at intervals, but let’s hope I’m not back for a year and a half.  I want to serve for as long as I can and with my full capacity, even if that capacity is less than others with healthy bodies.  I have God on my side and whatever gets thrown at me, that’s why I’m out there.  I’m out there for Him and to bring joy to those around me.

Love you guys!

Cheers,

Sister Ana Pinto-Haynes

Why Supporting Characters are the Best

Protagonists make up and drive the story, antagonists are often the source of that drive.  They are the ones the audience is to care about, for it is their tale that’s being told.  But what about the unsung heroes of the same story?

Think of one story without supporting characters.  Yeah; there aren’t any.  There’s even an entire category dedicated to them at awards ceremonies celebrating films.  I’ve found that often those that I love most out of the things I watch or read are not members of the principal cast, but those that support the main players.

Examples:

Eum-Ja in Faith.

sung hoon como chun eum ja-EL PELO, EL PELO :3

Eum-Ja actually works for the antagonist of the drama.  He does his thing, does as he’s told, and is very multi-layered behind his soft-spoken beauty.  I seriously spent the entire drama waiting for him to switch sides and still think he should’ve.

Sir Leon in Merlin

Sir Leon, my favorite knight! (Link to other character photos as well, to remain somewhat fair).

Yes, Leon gets a big picture because I like this one.  He’s one of the Knights of the Round Table in the TV series following Merlin and King Arthur, and while in the beginning he’s rather a bystander, a bit part to give some good moments to our heroes, his nobility and honor do not fail to shine through.  And I agree with the fandom in that he must be immortal.  No other way to explain it.

Anton in Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time ABC | Once Upon a Time' recap: Tiny with Jorge Garcia | Season 2 Episode 13 ...

Anton the Giant is a sweetheart.  While initially wary of humans, he is very loving as well as curious of the cultures and practices of others.  It’s because of him that the magic bean once again grows, and it’s very satisfying and happy to see him settle in among the residents of Storybrooke, really making a home there.

Honorable mentions: Dromio and Dromio from Shakespeare’s a Comedy of Errors.  Read the play for them.


Now there are many different supporting characters.  Everyone around you could be considered a supporting character in the story of your life.  There are a lot, huh?  It could be that person who smiled at you when you were fifteen.  It could be your grouchy neighbor with the constantly-barking dog.  They touch and change your life in some way, enriching the experience and giving you the opportunity to see the world in a new light.

Stories are very much the same way.  Every supporting character should touch and change your principal cast or the story itself in some way.  Let me give you some examples from my Robin Hood/King Arthur WIP:

The Lady Eliza

The Lady Eliza ... but she would never handle a sword.

Eliza is a very unlikeable character.  She’s sixteen and married to a noble, viewing herself above everyone she comes in contact with, which drives Marian insane.  She’s a complete priss and unlike the picture, would never handle a weapon, perferring to laze about and complain.  She irritates Marian (and Morgan and even Magar) to no end, and Marian spends her days trying to avoid her while still pretending to help her under Magar’s orders.  She is a good source of information if Marian pushes and manipulates hard enough, seeing as her husband doesn’t think her intelligent enough to keep his secrets from her delicate ears.  So when some of the nobles band together to bring down the king for their own gain, Eliza is in on it and Marian uses that to her advantage.

Guinson Little

Guinson.

Much more trusting and friendly than his father and friends, Guinson is crucial in the moment when Marian had been captured by his comrades.  It’s thanks to him that she’s allowed to go free, and when he’s taken prisoner, she acts to save him, turning her whole life around as well as earning the trust of the rugged outlaws.

Sir Kay

OH MY WORD IT'S KAY.

Arthur is extremely close to his foster-brother Kay, despite the huge differences in their personalities.  While Kay is a huge brat and prone to temper tantrums, he would die for his little brother and king.  He is, in many ways, Arthur’s support.  If Kay thinks what he’s doing is good, then Arthur is assured that it is.  If Kay disagrees, Arthur might just do it anyway, but his brother’s opinion is always carefully considered at the very least.


Again, there are as many different kinds of supporting characters as there are people.  They should also get their time in the spotlight of your mind, because even if your principal cast is well-built, fleshed out and genuine, your story will fall flat unless the supporting characters are as real as their protagonist counterparts.  They support the characters.  They support the story.  And oftentimes, they win our hearts.

Cheers!

Ana

Happy Independence Day!

God Bless America..we all need to help protect our Constitution.  It is up to you to get informed and not let TV add form your opinion. I don’t know if it’s being homeschooled, LDS, or just my family, but we are strong supporters of this country.  Everything the United States of America was built upon was correct not only in the sight of God, but for the benefit and happiness of all men.

America wanted to be able to speak for herself.  She wanted no part of being governed by a people who knew not her needs and were unfamiliar with her standards.  She fought for her freedom to the most basic rights — and she won.  Against all the odds, she won.  She became free.

The birth of this country was not an easy one.  Men, most enlightened, all driven by a desire to make a better country (with the possible exception of Mr. Alexander Hamilton), labored for many, many years over how to govern the United States.  In the words of John Adams, who was acting as ambassador in England at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, “Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations issued in the present happy Constitution of Government.”

This country is the work of God.  We are blessed — yea, encouraged — to think for ourselves and stand for what we believe in.  This country is founded on the principles of freedom.  I can live my religion with minimal persecution.  I can vote, lending a hand in the development of the country.  I have the right to find a job and go to college.  I am free.

Again, allow me to quote John Adams: “What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?”

And I do love this country.  Despite how it is on the verge of trampling my beliefs under its feet, I can make a difference.  The United States of America was founded on the principles of God and freedom.  I believe in what this country stands for.

I love my God.

I love my family.

I love my fellow men.

I love my country.

God bless America.

-Ana

American flag and fireworks

Liebster Award Tag

I love that name.  I have no idea what it means, but the German-ness of it is just so fun.

Anyway, I considered myself tagged by my dear friend Tracey.  She’s an awesome person, amazing writer, and hilarious friend.  Read her list: http://traceydyck.blogspot.com/2015/05/liebster-award.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TraceyDyck+%28Tracey+Dyck%29

(I have no idea how to make the fancy ‘click here’ signs, so please bear with me.  I looked it up and was even more confused than before).

Anyway, on to the questions!

1. What’s one of your favorite summer reads?

Oh, dear me.  I don’t really reread books, so this is a hard one.  There are very few things I actually revisit cover to cover, and it’s only when I feel a strong need to enter back into those worlds.  Those picks are a) the Squire’s Tales, b) an unfinished book by my friend, c) Harry Potter, and probably d) the Phantom of the Opera.  And right now I’m reading Najee: A Glimmer of Hope by Sarah Y. Westmoreland, and Shakespeare is good for any season.

The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady (The Squire's Tales) by Gerald Morris. $6.99

(Based on the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight).

2. What’s your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?

My sisters and I developed a game we would play in our rather suburban neighborhood: fill a huge bucket with water, arm everyone with a plastic cup, and chase each other with the full glasses.  Hit your victim with the water, they’re frozen until someone else frees them.  You get soaked, but it’s so much fun.  And apparently wet long hair is not a good alternative to the water glass — I’m told it hurts.

3. What’s a combination of three authors’ “special somethings” that you’d like to emulate in your own writing?

Ooh, rough one, Tracey.  Great question, though!  Hmm.  First of all, Gerald Morris’ (the Squire’s Tales) humor.  His books are laugh-out-loud hilarious and the man’s wit is rapier-sharp.  I love Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s perfect balance between showing and telling, making you feel as if you are in the book.  And probably my favorite detail included in the books I love most is the realism of the characters.  If they’re flesh-and-blood, I have to love them.  They become my friends.  One of the best at this is Mirriam Neal, but Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Gaston Leroux are also some of my favorites in this area.

4. What music are you currently listening to?

Right now?  Or just in this general time frame?  Right now I’m listening to my sisters putting together a puzzle, and they’re not music.  They’re strange creatures.  Generally, right now I listen to the GazettE, but I do that a lot.  I’m also doing a project involving musical theatre, so I’m listening to more Chess and Aida (Elton John’s, not Verdi’s, obviously).

5. Which superhero (from either Marvel or DC) are you most like?

Tracey, are you trying to kill me?  No idea.  I want to be Spider-Man (not Spider-Girl, I will be Spider-Man), but as to whom I’m already the most like?  (And I really hope that was the proper use of ‘whom’ — Mom’s helping with the puzzle, and I’m too lazy to utilize her English-teacher skills).  I’d like to say I’m most like Captain America, since he’s one of my top favorite people ever, but probably Bruce Banner/the Hulk with maybe a bit of Natasha Romanoff/the Black Widow thrown in.  I try to be calm and kind, but my temper is something I struggle daily with.  And like Nat, I haven’t always been a perfect princess, but I still try to do my best.

6. What’s your favorite fantasy creature you’ve ever read about?

Chimera, hands-down.  Have you ever read the Treekeepers?  I’d always liked chimeras, but Ally completely solidified that.  I also love griffins, and dragons are cool, too.  Although my love of chimeras kind of got me into trouble — there was a girl when we just moved here that I was trying to be nice to whose name, while spelled differently, was Chimera.  I said, “Oh, that’s awesome!  They’re my favorite animal!”  My sisters told me later that my ‘compliment’ may not’ve been that welcome, seeing as we live in a deprived community where a chimera is a type of car.  I love where I live, but I can’t imagine a world without chimeras — it would seem so lonely, bleak, and sad.

Adorable baby chimera yawns its way into your heart

(It’s a baby chimera!)

7. Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate.

my thoughts exactly.

8. What’s something you admire about yourself?

I don’t give up.  I come from conquering stock (William the Conqueror and Charlemagne on Mom’s side, Theodore Turley and the pioneers on Dad’s, just to name a few), and I shall make my ancestors proud.  There are times, of course, when I want to give up, but how could I live with myself if I did?  My life would come to a grinding halt, and I refuse to give in to those things that would like to stop me.

9. Which do you prefer: writing by hand or typing?

Because of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I struggle with writing by hand.  Besides, I swear it was a form of torture my mother devised for us as children.  Because of my loose joints, my handwriting is really bad, and if I write for too long my wrists tries to attack me.  Which is why I can’t study math right now….

10. If failing was impossible, what would you do?

Everything!  I would be a heart surgeon, a pharmacist, live in college and speak fifty languages, I would take a walk every single day, I would fly, I’d become a mermaid, I’d become Spider-Man, I would be good enough to sing at the ROH (Royal Opera House), and most importantly, I would rid myself of all the mistakes I make once and for all.  I’ve mentioned that I have a real fear of failure, and something that kills me is my past.  I feel like I make so many mistakes and have so many flaws and can never make my Heavenly Father proud, but if failure was eliminated, those thoughts wouldn’t trouble me.  But honestly, failure is part of the eternal plan.  If there was no fear of failure, there would be no triumph when we succeeded.

The Amazing Spider-Man | 24 Unofficial Movie Posters That Are Better Than The Real Posters

11. What’s something God has taught you recently, new or rediscovered?

Best question yet, Tracey.  He’s teaching me about the Atonement again.  That no matter how many mistakes I make, I can be forgiven.  And He’s teaching me that He’s always there.  I can always rely on Him, even if it’s a small matter.  He wants to help me.  My biological father always told me how disappointed God was with me, so it means so much that I’m learning from God Himself that it’s not true.  I can become better, and I do have worth in His eyes.

Tagging time!

All right, I still am very limited in who I know in the blogosphere, so please, consider yourself tagged and give me the link in the comments!

But I do have to tag those I actually know: Shelby, Lody, and my new EDS friend Mandiix.  And Rana, I’m not sure what the rules are concerning tags, so you’re included.

And the questions:

1. Which Disney character do you identify most with?

2. What’s your ethnic background?

3. If you had your pick of the best cosplay materials in the world but could only choose one character to play, who would it be?

4. What do you think the greatest blessing in your life is?

5. What is your favorite physical attribute in yourself, and what is your favorite spiritual attribute in yourself?

6. If you forgot everyone in your life and your relation to them except for one person, who would that person be?

7. What’s your dream? (It doesn’t have to be something achievable.  Just something you dream of doing, every impossibility thrown out the window).

8. What are your favorite qualities in a friend?

9. What do you like to study? (It could be anything from Impressionist painting to the cultural impact of fleas).

10. What is your favorite word?

11. List all the reasons you’re amazing.

Cheers!

Ana

Such a Pity

My mother had the love and wisdom to introduce Jim Henson’s film ‘Labyrinth’ to us as children.  It’s pure magic.  For those of you who don’t know the story/need a refresher, here’s the synopsis:

Fed up with her stepmother’s insistence that she watch her baby half-brother, fifteen-year-old Sarah wishes the infant into the care of the goblins and their malevolent king.  Desperate, Sarah fights her way through the Goblin King’s dangerous labyrinth with the help of some unlikely new friends to reclaim her infant brother and defeat the evil king.

Labyrinth haha! Love this!

(I just couldn’t resist, guys, and I’m not sorry).

We loved this film so much as kids that my sister painted the most adorable picture of His Royal Jerkface, complete with awesome hair, that was up on the door forever.  Dang, I wonder where it went….

(Complete sidenote, but this is exciting — my mother agreed to let my daddy buy me white bread hamburger buns!)

It’s been over a decade since I first saw the film, but my love for it has just grown throughout the years.  I love the goblins, I love the music, I love Sarah’s hair, I love Jareth’s smile, I love the blinking glitter—  What’s not to love?  It’s a story of overcoming obstacles for the love of your family.  Sure, it was released in ’86 and there are some aspects that really need help, but it’s still a sweeping tale rife with beauty, magic and mystery.

Jennifer Connelly was only fourteen when she was cast as Sarah.  I think it was her first real role, and to tell the truth, she was a terrible actress back then.  (If you haven’t seen a Beautiful Mind, do yourself a favor and turn it on.  While not perfect, she does a fantastic job and the story is too amazing for words).  But she did the best she could and I think her nose is adorable.  I love her nose.  As for the character, Sarah begins as a frustrated teen, and while I totally understand her point of view — y’know, father remarrying someone quite unlikable, being expected to be the perfect child, perfect babysitter, and losing the attention of her father, just to name a few things — she does go about dealing with it all in the wrong way.  She’s embittered toward the little baby and resents that she’s constantly pulled from the world of fantasy she has created around herself as a buffer from the unhappiness of her life.  She thrives on story, and her favorite book is a small, worn thing that she’s constantly quoting.  It’s called ‘the Labyrinth.’  When she wishes away her brother and the story actually begins happening, she quickly realizes that the adventure is not as great as it was in the book.

Sarah: For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — You have no power over me. Labyrinth, 1986

(I think this is the most beautiful picture).

As Sarah goes along her story, winding through the labyrinth, she meets three folk who will become her dear friends: Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus.  At first Hoggle gets on her nerves and she treats him rather rudely, but she ultimately has a good heart and learns to trust him.  Ludo, a big, furry yeti, wins her over immediately due to his sweet nature and adorable childlikeness.  Sir Didymus is a fox-looking knight, and I think she’s amused by and appreciative of his gallantry towards her.

Despite Jenny’s sadly lacking acting ability, Sarah’s personality and abilities do shine through.  She loves stories and fantasy, and she’s brave and determined.  Though Jareth, the Goblin King, takes every opportunity to throw things in her path (literally and figuratively), she doesn’t let it deter her.  She’s nearly turned to mincemeat, dumped in a bog, mindwashed, sliced in half, shot, but she continues steadfastly in her mission to save her little brother.  As she realizes how far she’s willing to go to get him back, her dormant love for him blossoms and when her adventure ends, the audience senses that forevermore, Sarah will love and protect Toby no matter what.  She learns the true meaning of love and how it can change her life for the better.

Sarah begins as a lonely child, a girl longing for attention and love.  But as she learns what it means to trust others as well as herself and becomes aware of how much she is capable of, she transforms into a woman.  Her journey through the labyrinth wasn’t just to save her brother — it was to learn about herself.  She is brave, loyal, compassionate, and strong.  She has a heart that is capable of loving and forgiving despite betrayal and hurt.  At the end of the film, we see her putting away the relics of her childhood as she realizes that if she wants to move forward, she can’t be held back by her pain and loneliness.  As wonderful as these childhood books and toys were, no matter how much they helped her, she understands it’s time to move on to different tools, ones that will carry her into womanhood.  Still, one can’t outgrow love and friendship, and she invites all her friends back and they celebrate together.  She still needs them, and perhaps she always will.  They remind her of who she truly is, and they encourage her to be her best.  They have become her family, and it’s beautiful.

Sarah from Labyrinth. I'm putting this on my

(Sarah and Hoggle).

Hoggle — whose name always seems to be mutilated most embarrassingly — begins as a grudging ally of Jareth.  Originally entrusted with taking Sarah back to the beginning of the labyrinth, Sarah bribes him with her plastic bracelet.  Hoggle says of himself, “See, you’ve got to understand my position.  I’m a coward, and Jareth scares me.”  It’s true, Hoggle is a coward, and while he’s extremely touched when Sarah calls him her friend, the instant he hears a terrifying roaring (which happens to be Ludo) he takes off, despite Sarah having taken his little bag of jewels in an attempt to make him stay and lead her to the palace.

Hoggle was my favorite character when I was a kid.  He’s funny and curmudgeonly, unaware of how utterly adorable he is.  He pretends to be hard, but he’s really just an old softie.  He begins as a ‘fend-for-myself-’cause-it’s-safest’ guy, but as Sarah worms her way into his heart he realizes there’s more to life than regretfully doing the Goblin King’s bidding.  Jareth bullies him into giving Sarah an enchanted peach, and Hoggle can’t forgive himself.  He sits alone, huddled by a fire, and says softly, “She’ll never forgive me.  What have I done?  I’ve lost my only friend.  That’s what I’ve done.”  He himself claims not to have any pride, and subsequently his self-esteem is all but non-existent, which Jareth takes full advantage of.  Sarah helps him to realize his true importance and that he can be loved for himself.  When Sarah and the others approach the gates to the Goblin City, Hoggle braves runs across the wall and stops the electronic goblin machine that was trying to kill the little crew.  When Sarah rushes to see if he’s all right, he confesses that Jareth made him give her the peach, tells her that he doesn’t care what she thinks of him and he ain’t interested in being friends.  Softly, she replies, “I forgive you, Hoggle.”  He’s shocked, and is further moved when Sir Didymus adds, “And I commend you.  Rarely have I seen such courage.  You are a valiant man, Sir Hoggle.”  And Ludo gently taps him and says simply, “Hoggle and Ludo friends.”  Sarah thanks him and gives him back his pouch of jewels, and buoyed up by the love surrounding him, he stands and heroically declares, “Well, what are we waiting for?  Let’s go get that rat who calls himself Jareth.”

A movie I've adored for many years. I love the smile on her face in this picture.

(Sarah and Ludo).

Isn’t Ludo adorable?  When Sarah finds him, he’s hanging upside-down from a tree, being tortured by a small group of armed goblins.  Sarah saves him, and he asks if she’s his friend.  When she replies in the affirmative, he’s overjoyed.  He’s basically a big puppy-child, his sweet nature and unconditional love something Sarah desperately needs.  He’s playful and kind, almost incapable of understanding evil, such is his innocence.  He’s easily frightened and sticks very close to Sarah while in the glittering, ominous forest.  He is able to control rocks, calling them his friends, and this ability is what saves the small band during the Battle of the Goblin City — the poor goblins didn’t know what hit them.

Ludo is extremely loyal, and while he knows to protect himself, his nature is one that is primarily kind and gentle.  His heart is large enough to hold the world, and he, more than anyone, is the one who teaches Sarah how to let her own goodness free from the restraints she had built up.

Sir Didymus, Hoggle and Ludo (Labyrinth)

(Didymus, Hoggle, and Ludo).

Sir Didymus is kind of a loony.  He believes himself to be the bravest and most noble of knights and is gallant to the point that there are times you might want to headdesk.  When Ludo all but defeats him in a ‘ferocious battle,’ Didymus yields and adopts Ludo as his brother.  He’s willing to fight to the death for any cause that comes his way, even if his sheepdog steed isn’t so keen on his courtly ideals.

Didymus lacks a few brains cells despite his bravery.  Anything that moves ought to be fought, he lifts a weapon and he’s immediately won, and is constantly convinced he’s unbeatable.  For instance, when he finally convinces his mount to stop running and they are encircled by some of the goblin cavaliers, he says, “Don’t worry, […] I think we’ve got them surrounded.”  He’s humorous but doesn’t get it, chivalrous but makes mistakes, and rushes headlong into any situation that bears a promise of a noble fight.  And he looks cute and cuddly until you see him move — he’s almost like a squirrel.  Oh, so adorable, right? — then its teeth are sunk deep into your finger.  But he’s still cute.  Although he would be deeply affronted to ever hear that.  Warriors are not ‘cute.’

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Turn back, Sarah. Turn back before it's too late!

Jareth.

King of the goblins, expert in the art of magic, and a royal jerk.

How can you not love him?

But there are times when anyone in their right mind wants to whack him about the ears.

But there’s just something about him that draws you in, just as it did Sarah.  Jareth is immature and manipulative, but there are times when you see past that.  The one-and-only David Bowie portrays him and even got to compose all the songs for the film (the score was done by Trevor Jones).  He’s dangerous and has obviously spent way more time than he would’ve liked among his rather idiotic subjects.  He goes around whisking away babies and the magic of the labyrinth turns them into goblins within a day.  He does everything in his (considerable) power to intimidate and stop Sarah, often in ways that would harm her greatly to say the least.  For him, I don’t think it’s so much about keeping the baby — it’s about conquering this headstrong young girl who’s doing way too well in overcoming his labyrinth.

Jareth fascinates me.  There are so many layers to his character that you just long to peel back to see the real man inside.  Like all the characters, there’s definitely an arc during the course of the movie for Jareth.  He’s proud and dangerous, and when he offers Sarah the chance to find her brother, I really don’t think he actually expects her to do it.  What he’s counting on even less is the help his own subjects — most especially Hoggle — toward the girl.  He’s insufferably domineering over everyone, cruel and mischievous, and likes to think he’s on top of the world.  He wants the baby.  He wants control.

Yet there’s something beneath his glittery cruelty that compels and sparks the mind.  Something I love that Bowie did with the music was tell Jareth’s story.  The first song, Underground, alludes to Jareth understanding Sarah’s pain at being rejected and ignored.  The second, Magic Dance, is a hilarious, catchy romp that almost has to do with little baby Toby.  Jareth dances among the goblins — the puppeteering is amazing, says the puppeteer’s granddaughter — as they sing the playful number.  Jareth is very childish and insists the goblins laugh when he laughs, shut up when he wants them to, and otherwise do his immature bidding.

(Jareth and Toby).

His relationship with — at? — Sarah is quite interesting.  At first you get the feeling that she’s just another specimen to watch and do his bidding, a sort of test rat to run through his maze.  But he seems to be genuinely intrigued by her.  As she nears his fortress, he pulls string to make her fall into a sort of trance.  In her dream, she’s in a ballroom, looking for Jareth, and the song that plays — and that he later sings — hints that he’d like her to stay.  He seems honestly concerned and sad when she breaks free, though it could’ve been worry for her mind slipping back to rescuing her brother, but when she regains her memory and finds him and Toby in the palace’ Escher room, his attitude is strangely raw.  The entire scene is basically Sarah running around trying to get to a gravity-defying Toby as Jareth sings Within You.  The song begins as he’s berating her for turning his world upside-down, but finishes in a rather sad way.  He says he believes in her and softly asks her to “Live without [her] sunlight.  Love without [her] heartbeat.”  He seems almost overcome with emotion.

(The dress, guys.  The dress.  The hair.)

Okay, one of the main reasons I’m writing this blog post is because of a problem I have with fangirls.

Guys, Jareth is pretty, mysterious, and we all love him, but he’s not some whimpering puppy you can take home to mama.  It frustrates me how blind girls can be to the ‘sexy’ guys faults.  He’s not nice.  Yeah, he has pain, but that doesn’t mean he’s some poor, innocent baby you can cuddle and allow to dawdle after you forever.  He won’t.  Maybe someday he can change, but until then, stop acting as if he’s some misunderstood darling who only wants love.  Yeah, he does want love, but the way he goes about it is twisted and cruel.  And he would be the first to admit it.  Excuse my harshness, but use your heads.  (The same principle goes for the majority of guys in today’s popular stories).  And as much as I love him, I try to see him as the manipulative jerk he actually is.  That doesn’t mean he isn’t redeemable, but I’d need to love him from afar.

Okay, after that rant, let me finish my little yeah-I-love-Jareth monologue. Anyway, the last scene between Sarah and the Goblin King is so dynamic.  He tells her to beware, for “[he had] been generous up until now, but [he] can be cruel.”  When she doubts this, he tells her he has done everything she wanted.  He took her brother, reordered time, turned the world upside down … and all for her.  He claims that he’s exhausted from living up to her expectations of him. She then begins the most powerful speech of the whole movie, one that is incredibly moving and inspiring.

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen.  For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great.”

He interrupts.  He’s afraid.  He offers her her dreams, and as she steps forward, steadfastly continuing the speech, and in near desperation, he says, “I ask for so little.  Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want.”  There’s a certain line that Sarah can never remember, and she visibly struggles as he leaps on his moment.  “Just fear me,” he says, “love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.”

Sarah looks up, and his fear heightens.

“You have no power over me.”

Those were the words that destroyed him.  When Sarah spoke them, he twisted through the air, collapsing, until he turned into his owl form and Sarah reappeared in her home just as the clock struck midnight.

I genuinely believe that Jareth cared for Sarah.  She’s different, someone who believes in him and has the strength to overpower even him.  David Bowie said, “He’s completely smitten,” and adds, basically, that her purity and goodness was another thing that drew him to her.  But Jareth doesn’t know what it is to love.  His heart is so hardened by what he has done that he can’t understand what it is to truly care about someone.  And I pity him for that.

I love the ending of the film.  Sarah has grown, she recognizes that there’s more to her than the lonely child she was before.  As she invites her dear friends back into her life, I get the feeling that these unconventional companions are going to be her example of unconditional love.  They are her family now, and we finally get to see her truly happy.  Outside her window, a white owl perches on a branch, but as the celebrations continue, Jareth flies away toward the moon.

Ludo: [in the mirror] Goodbye, Sarah.  Didymus: And remember, fair maiden, should you need us... Hoggle: Yes, should you need us, for any reason at all... Sarah: I need you, Hoggle.  Hoggle: You do?   Sarah: [nods] I don't know why, but every now and again in my life - for no reason at all - I need you. All of you.   Hoggle: You do? Well WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO? *Epic Goblin party ensues*

The story of Labyrinth is love.  For family, for friends, and for yourself.  Sarah’s friends help her find herself, and she does the same for them.  She understands how much her brother means to her, and I like to think that those dear friends from the labyrinth will be the companions of Toby’s life as well.

Love really can conquer all.

Cheers!

Ana

P.S. It’s further than you think.  Time is short.

Who Says Humanity is Fading?

This could be the piece of information a loved one is desperately looking for. Spread the word. Support the fight. #RiotAgainstI have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  It’s a collagen-deficiency disorder that causes great pain — trust me on this.  It’s so rare that even out of the percentage of people with it, only a few of us lucky ones are bothered this much by it.  What I know can only be divine intervention, my best friend, Sarah Y. Westmoreland, has the same condition.  It’s because of her that I know as much about it as I do.  Normally the pain sets in in the late teens/early twenties, but Sarah was in a wheelchair by the time she was eight.  I don’t know whether or not you believe in miracles, but being a degenerative disease, it does not get better.  But through a kind, wonderful physical therapist, Sarah has been on her feet for nearly a decade.  This is a miracle.  True, we often were glued to the couch in exhaustion and pain with our little teacups as April went around and asked us what was wrong and we responded, basically, that we felt old.

EXACTLY!

(Part of EDS is that it’s very hard to get up in the morning).

It hurts, guys.  I’m in a flare right now and can barely type.  My back feels like I have knives shoved into it, my elbows feel like someone’s trying to rip them from their sockets.  I got stuck in the middle of the kitchen because my ankle was in so much throbbing pain I couldn’t put weight on it, but my mom can’t even help me into a seat because when she touches me, it hurts somewhere else.  Mind you, this is a flare and it will go away after a time.  It could be a week.  It could be a year.

EDS

I work at Subway and I love it.  But a few weeks before I left on vacation, so circa early December, the pain began to set in.  I had felt it coming on almost ever since I started work, but I’m the kind of person that when I’m on duty, good luck getting me to slow down.

.

(Most accurate thing I have ever read).

Right before I left on my vacation, I asked to talk to the general manager.  I explained about the pain, EDS, and that I really didn’t want to quit but felt that I might have to.  Liz, Kayleen, and Marlena told me to go rest up for my two weeks, then when I came back we would figure something out.

So I go to work two/three days after I return.  I have my cute little Subway outfit on, my tiara behind my visor, and my Mrs. Handel sweatshirt over my arm.  Marlena runs up to the edge of the counter and welcomes me back, then proceeds to inform me that Liz and Phil (the owner) had made a new job entirely for me.  I’m basically to be the face of Subway, greeting people that come in, chatting, and cleaning the lobby as best I can while making our customers feel happy and welcome.

Who does stuff like that?  Who creates an entirely new position for one worker, especially when that worker has a disease that is almost completely invisible and that even the doctors don’t know about?  I work three days a week tops, and at most for an hour and a half.  I usually make it around an hour, but I’m hoping that as I take it easy I’ll be up to full capacity eventually.

They let me come to work covered in braces, and I’ve been all but forcibly kicked from the premises when I start showing signs of pain.


Okay, so that was a while ago.  I have come back from my hiatus.  See, the pain was so bad I had to go in spurts, and now it’s better, thank goodness.  Not gone, it still hurts, but I can actually type now.  And then I forgot.  So, back to business:


The kindness shown not only by my bosses and coworkers has amazed me, especially as I’ve been working for quite a bit now and am very valuable to the store.  It has to be hard on them to lose a good worker, as I’ve seen happen way too many times.  They actually just had to let me go, seeing as they aren’t getting a whole lot of business right now and I’m kind of useless.  But they were amazing about it.  Marlena, my store boss, had me help fill out the quit-paper, we had a nice chat, then when I got up to get a sandwich and leave, she gave me a hug and told me to keep coming back.  Marlena is kind of a hard-edged person, so when she gives you a hug, it means a lot.  Everyone I’ve worked with is the same way.  Even if I had to be let go at a time when all their most valuable hands are either leaving or getting kicked out, they still have had it in their hearts to make sure I felt loved and appreciated, when really, there wasn’t anything I could do that was capable of earning appreciation.  I’m definitely popping back in and getting a six-inch chicken teriyaki.  And begging a handful of jalepenos from Mikey.

Show Low Subway Earns Statewide “Store of the Month” Honor

(I’m second to the right — don’t ask what I was doing.  I look scared.  Left to right: Ralph, Phil and Kayleen, Amber, Chris, Liz, Mikey, yours truly, and Rhiannon.  This was ages ago, so not all of us are there anymore.  Oh, yeah, and Liz again.  We won the statewide Subway of the Month Award!)

Then there are perfect strangers.  We were in the city — a three-hour trip away, ugh — and lining up to get tickets for Imitation Game.  I could literally barely walk.  I had to take baby steps, lean against the pillars on the way to the ticket window, and was trying very hard not to be crabby.  Walking like you’re 100 years old when you’re still a young woman is embarrassing on many levels.  Especially when in a big city where you’re supposed to be having fun.  This older woman sitting on a bench — she was probably in her seventies — was watching me struggle, then called, “Honey, are you all right?”  I smiled and responded that I was, but that simple act of kindness, accompanied by the knowledge that my condition wasn’t troubling anyone (I feel bad when poor drivers have to wait for me to cross the street), lightened my heart considerably.  When I’m at church, where I’ve been in Nursery so long not many people know me, so many people ask if I’m all right.  I have to explain constantly, but I don’t mind.  I am honored that I am a recipient of their kindness.  It’s made easier to explain by the fact that a friend of mine that’s also in the ward also has EDS.  Tessa is amazing — she has three kids and when her printer broke, she wrote her entire talk out by hand.  If you don’t have EDS, you can’t know how much that must have hurt.  I never would have done that, at hers is even worse than mine.  She and Sarah are constant inspirations to me.

Blog about disability - comment below it that made me cry: "Daddy, are you going to work with those people who have different possibilities?"

(This is absolutely awesome!  I need this, guys!  Mall, here I come!)

That so many people care gives me so much hope for the world.  Perfect strangers, good friends, my family — as long as people like them exist, the world is a beautiful place.  They’ve really shown me what love and caring is all about.

Cheers!

Ana

A happy zebra. Must have been watching "Stripes."

(P.S. The zebra is the mascot for EDS.  Isn’t this’un so cute?)

 

Insanity at Home

So there’s this hymn we have in the LDS Church titled ‘Love at Home’.  I think it’s stupid.  The melody is trivial, the undercurrents of emotion near-nonexistent, and the lyrics are downright idiotic.  It goes on and on about how time softly, sweetly glides by and flowers bloom beneath your feet when love is in the home.

No.

When love is in the home, laughter rings so loudly you can’t hear yourself think.  When love is in the home, you know that when you walk through the door of your house your opinion matters and you’re treated like you’re wanted.  Love is even in the sarcastic comments and blunt statements about your personal problems that could be taken offensively when meant well.  If life with love were as unutterably dull as that song portrays, I would revolt.

But I know what it’s like to have love at home.  It’s beautiful in the way that an electrifying passage or a legato strand are.  It’s overcoming your mistakes together, growing together like grafted branches onto a mother tree.

My family is unorthodox.  We’re weird.  Only those closest to us know the full extent of that weirdness, but it’s something that’s kept us together, laughing, and happy.  It’s what gets us through the times that feel like our hearts are going to break.  I would be dead without my family — I’m sure of it.  I have confidence because my family taught me of my worth.  They are my strength.  I’m basically a little cherry on the tip of the tree that is my family.  They hold me up, nourish me, and prepare me to lift into the world in the most glorious of ways.

I want to do a post on how families are dissintegrating in today’s society — but not today.  Today’s post is on the importance and beauty of family.  True family.  Not that guy over there that is biologically related to you but has hardly ever spoken to you.  Not the woman that beat you until you wanted to kill yourself.  That’s not family.  Family is your security, the ones who make you feel safe and loved in a world that would strip you of everything good.  It is a gift from God.

Cheers!

Ana