Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Girl. You Better Work.

I had multiple fights/arguments/tiffs with each of my teachers last semester.  They all taught a section on classical conditioning which included a lesson teaching that, "Pretty people get what they want."  The teachers (and literature) explained that people who were pretty had more success in life, they got higher raises more often, they landed the job interviews, they got special treatment at restaurants and doctor's offices.  Pretty people are assumed to be trustworthy, friendly, and helpful.  Pretty people are likable.  This subject is driven home by research studies, psychological journals, statistics, and hours of lecture.

And it just gets under my skin.
I refuse to believe that pretty people get what they want based solely on their looks.

Then this happened:

My mom has a picture of my sisters and I on her desk.  A colleague stopped in, saw the picture, and asked about us.  My mom listed our recent accomplishments:

This one just won a Photoshop Guru Award.

This one ran a marathon this year and is editor of TABLE magazine.

This one has practically started a DIY enterprise with her blog

This one is single-handedly raising her 3 kids and really focuses on meditation and inner peace.

This one is at The University of Utah and just made the Dean's List and she's my favorite.
(That last part was about me and I elaborated on it a little.  Wert.)

She ended with something like, "They are all very successful women."
To which the other teacher responded:
"Well.  That's because they're pretty."


"They're pretty?"  Really?  "They're pretty."  And THAT'S why they're successful?

Pretty's got nothing to do with it.

You want a job?
You kick ASS on your resume.
You prep for your interview.
And you dress the part.

You want a raise?
You put in the hours.
You work harder.
You don't mess up.  Ever.
You be polite.
You don't procrastinate.
You earn it.

You want the big house?  The picket fence?  The pool?
You save your money.

You want a date with someone?
You ask them.

You want people to like you?
Be yourself.
Help out.
Tell the truth.

The way I've built my life was on purpose. 
I chose the man I married.
I asked him out.
I'm at the school I want to attend.
Getting the degree I want.
Getting the grades I want.
I ask questions.
I pick up new hobbies.
I sweat it out.
I push and I push and I push.
But I push.

I have dug in my heels over and over again.
I.  Don't.  Give. Up.

I work for it.

If that's a GPA, a job, or belting out some Cher on karaoke night.
I know I have what it takes.

You have what it takes too.
So, quit selling yourself short.

Quit saying, "They get their way because they're pretty."
That's insulting.
To me.

Because I have substance.

If you put this much more work into it.
If you tried.
You'd be amazed.

There's nothing more annoying than hearing, "I could never do that" and "I don't have the time."
Because 1.  Yes you can.  If someone can, you can.  If no one ever has... you still can.
And 2.  Everyone has the same amount of time. 24 hours.  You have the time.  Quit being lazy.

So the next time you call me pretty... and I say "Thanks"... know it's because I assume you also know that I am wickedly smart.  I am talented.  I've got a lot more to offer than just my billion dollar smile.


On a test last semester the following question was posted:

You are in charge of planning the debate for your political party's campaign this Saturday afternoon.  The topics are heavy and not very interesting.  Based on what you've learned about Classical Conditioning who would you pick to be your speaker?

A.  A non-attractive person who is funny but does not know the material very well.
B.  An non-attractive person who does not know the material very well.
C.  An attractive person who may or may not know the material.
D.  A person who knows the material very very well.

The correct answer was "C."  I put "D."  And wrote under it, "You'd be stupid not to."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Baby Hummingbird.

A few weeks ago I found a baby hummingbird in our yard.
He was the size of a quarter.
But couldn't have been as heavy.
Small.  Fuzzy.
I thought he was a big bug at first.
But when me and Kole went out to see what was hopping around and making all that fuss...
It was a baby hummingbird.
I didn't touch him.
I watched him try to fly.
He was stuck under a blade of grass.
I wanted his Mom to be able to find him.
So I moved the grass.

Me and Kole went back inside and watched him flitter from the window.

I worried about that little hummingbird.
How did he end up in our lawn?
Did he fall and get hurt?
How will he eat anything?
Should I feed him something?
Like what?
Can he fly?
Is he old enough to take care of himself?
Does his Mom know where he is?
Does he know where his home is?
Is he scared?
Is he making a noise his Mom can hear that I can't?

His Mom flew down and hovered over him.
And I quit worrying as much.

I watched the Mom fly down and hover around him.
She'd wait until he looked up at her, and saw her.
She'd feed him.
She'd hover.
She'd feed him.
She'd hover.
She stopped flying.
And she rested next to him.
With her head on his body it was like she was saying Don't worry, little guy.  I'm gonna get you home.

She'd fly away.

In 10 minutes or so she'd be back.
Feeding, hovering, feeding, hovering, and resting.
She reassured her little hummingbird that he would be okay.

After the visits the baby would beat his wings.
Trying tremendously to follow her.
But he couldn't get lifted off the ground.
He'd beat himself into a tired tizzy.
And the Mom would come back and rest by him.

When Ken got home I showed him our little baby hummingbird.
I told him how the Mom had been coming to take care of him all day.
I told him I worried that it was getting dark.
Our yard has a lot of animals.  Something is going to get him.
Ken showed me the baby hummingbird had a bent wing.
Ken built a nest out of a blueberry box and nailed it to the tree.
We placed the baby hummingbird into his new safe home.
I smiled.
He was safe.

After dinner, I was watching out the window.
that Mom came back.
She fluttered right down to the spot in the grass where she left her little baby.
He wasn't there anymore.
We put him in a nest.
I told her.
He's safe!
Fly higher.
You'll find him.
Fly higher.
He's safe.

But that Mom just kept flying down to the same spot.
Right where she had last cared for him.
At first she flew down.
And flew off.
Within 10 minutes she was back.
But she landed on the ground.
Then, she flew off.
Her visits became more frequent.
She'd fly in and float.
Then fly off.

On one visit, she flew in and
She just hovered in one spot.
The spot where she left him.
She couldn't see him.
5 feet away.
She couldn't see him.
Where is he?
He needs food.
It's getting dark.
It'll get cold.
He's hurt.
Where is he?
This is where he has been all afternoon.
Maybe he is flying.
Maybe he is ok.
Where is he?
He needs food.
It's getting dark.
It'll get cold.
He's hurt.
Where is he?
Up until dark (when I couldn't see anymore), every time I looked out the window, that Mom was drifting in the spot where she left her baby bird.

That little baby hummingbird in the dumb new safe nest I made for him.
Was probably terrified.

Where am I?
Where is my Mom?
Why isn't she here anymore?
I'm getting hungry.
And tired.
Everything hurts.
Where is my Mom?
She was coming to take me home...
Where did she go?
She'll come back.
I need her.
She'll come back.
I'm hungry.
I'm tired.
I hurt.
Where is she?

She was 5 feet away and he couldn't see her.
He didn't know how hard she was trying to find him.
How she wasn't giving up.
How she flew and hovered with urgency.
And soon, with desperation.
He didn't know that she quit flying away.
And that she just stayed there.
Hoping to see him again. 
And take care of him.
He just...
...didn't know.

It's been nearly a month.
I haven't seen any hummingbirds in my yard since that day.