Quick note: This post is a modified version of an article I wrote for the opinion section of an independent news site at Liberty in November 2013. The site has since deleted all of my articles, so I am taking the liberty to repost some of my work on my personal blog. Enjoy!
A few days ago, I sat alone in a corner booth at a diner writing a paper. As my brain slowly melted from analyzing literature, I couldn’t help but watch the people around me, and I was stunned at what I observed. As I looked around, I saw that every person at every table was looking at a glowing screen. Granted, I had my own laptop screen in front of me, so I’m not guiltless, but there were couples, groups of friends, and one-on-one conversations – all fixated on their phones instead of the living, breathing human beings in front of them. Two girls were Snapchatting their entire meal with a third party. Several people were reading aloud from the occasional Facebook post from one of those ever-popular college crushes pages. Very few were invested in meaningful conversations with each other.
Continue reading Disconnecting to Connect
All right, Carissa. Here’s the deal: You know you have spent countless thoughts and minutes and moments on wondering when that boy was going to text you back, or checking to see if he opened your Snapchat, or watching for that “[he] is typing…” message on Facebook. You have been distracted beyond measure hoping for an ounce of attention from someone who probably didn’t know you were hanging onto his every word and surely didn’t care. You could measure your life in boys whose attention you were addicted to at the time, and it’s time for that to end.
Continue reading Note to Self
“Just say no to anything they offer you, and don’t answer any of their questions.” -LDS mom to her children
“Stop listening to what he’s saying.” -An LDS dad as he pulls his intrigued son by the arm away from a Christian preacher
“My mom said I’m not allowed to talk to you. [“Why do you think that is? I just want to share with you from the Scriptures.” I said.] I don’t know, but I’m not supposed to. I have to go.” -LDS teenage girl
“Girls, we need you to go somewhere else right now.” -LDS youth group leader, interrupting a conversation between two LDS teens and some Christian girls and forcibly pushing the girls away from the conversation
“Ummm… I’m not sure… hey Dad?” -LDS teen when I asked her to explain the LDS Gospel to me in her own words
“Even if you think they might be Mormon, just don’t talk to any of those people out there.” -LDS boy to his friends
“I don’t understand it, but I make sure not to question it.” -elderly LDS missionary
“You need to stop asking us so many questions. You just don’t understand. Just pray and read the Book of Mormon.” -Young LDS woman in dialogue with a Christian woman
“My faith doesn’t need to make sense to me. It doesn’t have to be rational or logical; I just believe in my heart.” -Brazilian LDS teen
Continue reading On the religion your parents taught you.
The day I discovered that a purity ring doesn’t help young people live purely was a shocking blow. And it changed how I view Christian purity.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, so I know the ropes well. Campaigns that were intensely popular when I was a pre-teen, such as True Love Waits, promised that if I bought a ring and signed the included commitment card, Jesus would be happy with me, and I would be well on my way to a good Christian life.
So, with sincere intentions and my neatest handwriting, I wrote my name in the blank that said “I, _________, promise to do this and that” and signed my name in cursive. I slipped on the ring bearing a “True Love Waits” engraving and quickly became accustomed to its presence on my finger. And there I wore it, assuming its constant presence as my only guard through high school. When I lost the original in the dirt at a softball game, I bought another one, which I wore so much that it cracked. I proceeded on with my life, resting securely in the notion that I was pure and holy because I hadn’t broken the promises on the commitment card yet… nor had I ever been given the opportunity to do so.
Continue reading My purity ring didn’t keep me pure
I was recently asked if I am a feminist, and the question made me pause and carefully consider my answer. Am I a “feminist”? I surely hesitate to apply a label to my ideas on such a fluid subject; one of the first points I learned about feminism is that the ideology is not the same as it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. So I don’t know that I am a “feminist” in the same way that you, reader, would define it. But I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to lay out what I believe on the subject of women’s place in the world as it becomes an increasingly discussed subject in our culture today, from the #yesallwomen hashtag to accusations of a rape culture.
You see, I think any woman would tend toward ideas that empower women if she had ever been treated by men in her life as if she were an object that they deserved, or if she had been desired for purely carnal reasons.
Continue reading Am I a feminist?
College is busy. Really busy. And if I allow it to be, college can also be chaotic. Assignments, meetings, shifts, and exams attack rapid-fire for the entire duration of each semester, and it’s so easy to be swept up in the rush and scarcely take time to breathe. Some days, I’ll look around and realize, “It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t even had the time to sit down one time today.” But amidst the whirlwind pace of a college senior’s life, I can look back and see moments when time seems to slow down, and each second feels sweet and bright. When I break out of the monotony and catch a truly beautiful moment, the rest of the rush doesn’t feel quite as important.
Continue reading On sweet little moments.
“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” -Coco Chanel
I’m 20 years old. I have a fresh haircut, a fresh single status, and a fresh year to take control of my life. I have no ring on my finger and nobody telling me what I should do. This opportunity may never come around again, so I’m going for it.
In 2014, I’m going to graduate college. (Assuming it doesn’t kill me.) Then I’m going to go conquer the world. Because who’s stopping me?
I’m going to start with the little things – exercise, daily quiet time, eating only one bowl of ice cream a day – and do it all with my eyes more focused on Jesus and less focused on myself every day. He will fill me to overflowing so that I can love others like He loves me. I’m going to be successful and productive not to my own credit, but for His kingdom. I’m going to let Him use me in His timing and for His glory. This is gonna be good. Buckle your seatbelts.