Friday, November 12, 2010

Natalie's Manifesto for a New World Order

I had an EXCELLENT day today, I would just like to start out by saying. I felt alive while I was getting ready for classes, I was ON TIME for class, a girl I don't know stopped me and said she loved my coat, my historo-comparative linguistics professor coined the term The Schultheis Theory of Samoan Internal Reconstruction when the class spent 20 minutes unsuccessfully trying to disprove it, I saw a fantastic movie that received a standing ovation at Sundance (Under the Same Moon) followed by a Q and A with the film's writer and executive producer, I went to an international dance FOR WORK, and I decorated a Christmas tree. So, if my entry seems to be a bit gone with the wind, it's only because happiness is radiating out of me, which is probably why I was so motivated to write this in the first place.

Ok, so, after the Q and A, I took a break and sat in the Cougar Eat with my notebook and decided to do some much needed doodling. The doodling turned into listing, and the listing turned into a pros and cons list. Should I do the Peace Corps or Teach For America when I graduate? While I am interested in these programs because I do believe they are worthwhile ways to serve a community and because I believe I would enjoy them, I found myself writing in both columns, "law school prep." I stopped. Wait, do I wanna go to law school? "WHAT AM I DOING?"
Realizing my pros and cons list had been tainted, I started a fresh piece of paper and wrote what it is that I want to do. I self-indulgently entitled it My Manifesto:

My Manifesto
I want to help the world hurt a little less! Is that ok? I used to think this was ideal. Then I buried myself in literature last year that told me I would be naïve to make any statement remotely resembling Mother Teresa-y aspirations. So:
1. What's so wrong with being subject to such naivete to believe I can make the world a better place?
2. I'm not trying to be Mother Teresa.
3. So what if I was? Don't we need a few more people like her?
K, side-tracked, but the point, I believe, is to have lofty goals with a simple way of achieving them. So, I would like to propose a new world order to help the world hurt a little less by way of something I gained over the course of the last year and a half: empowerment. I was thinking about it a month or 2 ago, and I was trying to decide at what point I became resolute to come to BYU. Surely it would have been easier to just stay put (albeit, about 10x more expensive). That being said, I did not choose to switch to my 3rd school for a 3rd semester in a row to save money. I had always assumed I would graduate from college with an insane amount of debt, as most of my friends and family will, so it never occurred to me to seek a way to save more money, as embarrassing as this confession is. I didn't do it because BYU is a better school (although it most definitely is for someone with my academic interests). I just wanted to graduate and get on with life while I was at my second school, so why would I want to transfer AGAIN? Perhaps the most controversial reason that some may assume I came to BYU was for religious reasons. While these were undoubtedly tied, they are not what compelled me to make such great changes. I already had a great relationship with Jesus, so I did not look to coming to BYU as a way to be more religious, per se. So, now that I've said all the reasons why I didN'T come out to BYU, I think it's time to say why it is that I made the choice to change everything:

I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

Perhaps a bit vague, but let me explain. I was being helped through college, but the money I was receiving was a kind of tied aid. I could not worship where I wanted. I could not talk to certain friends if I wanted the money to keep coming in. Essentially, my source of payment for college was dependent upon my obedience to something that I morally objected to. I was not happy. I was not capable of making my own decisions. I was completely and totally dependent and mute should I continue subjecting to these terms. The opportunity to come to BYU was one in which I rejected the tied aid and became resolute to make my own future on my own terms. And I am doing that now. And I am happy now. The answer to why I did not continue to comply with my source's requirements is simply this: The lives we choose are better than the lives we settle for.

I propose that it is by independence and empowerment that the world will hurt a little less, just as I have been able to grow and become independent when I cut my own leash. I want to teach people that they don't have to accept a life that they do not wish for themselves simply because "that's the way things are." I want to see people doing what they want and what they know is right. I believe that only in a world where people do what they want can we hope to see a world that there people can find what they need on their own.