Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Readolution

I recently watched an old family video of myself in purple leggings and a soccer-ball t-shirt struggling over the childhood classic, Hop on Pop that my mom held up for me to read. I watched as my three-year-old self furrowed her little eyebrows and combined all the literary powers in her brain to move from P to U then back to P again, trying to squish the sounds together to sound like a word. I laughed and bounced a little on the couch when I understood the sounds to be the word "pup", and then moved along in the story to discover what word the next letters could turn out to be.

By the time my years had doubled I was reading about Harry's adventures in Hogwarts, so if it hadn't been for this video evidence, I would find it hard to imagine myself not being able to read.

But then there I was a college freshman, with my three ring creative writing binder, mechanical pencil at the ready, listening to my English teacher recite a little piece of advice. "Listen to your ear, listen to your ear. But only if you are a reader." (I think it was supposed to rhyme. Cute.) I scribbled the phrase into my notebook, nodding in agreement. Oh yeah. I'm a reader, I thought. I can trust my literary ear. Definitely. I love reading.

And then something really scared me. I couldn't remember the last book I had even read.

I guess that wasn't necessarily true. The last book I'd read was Hamlet the last month of my High school career. Before that was Poisonwood Bible, then Great Expectations, Heart of Darkness, and The Road. Then there was Twelfth Night, Huckleberry Finn, Frederick Douglass, and wait a minute these are all school assignments.

So I really had to think. What was the last book I had read for pleasure? At first I really scared myself and thought it was the Children of the Promise series back in eighth grade, but then I remembered reading Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins the summer between tenth and eleventh grade. (A real work of art by the way. I highly recommend it.) And I think that's the one. The last book that I had, of my own free will, been through from start to finish.

So I got myself a library card and went to the library.

And it was beautiful.

The rough and dusty smell of book pages, the rows of alphabetized shelves, and the ominous air of quiet wisdom. Even the Library Catalog that can find every audio book in the place before even considering you might possibly be searching for the actual book.

So here's my New Years resolution: READ, READ, READ. I can't believe I ever stopped. There are so many words out there! So many works and authors and subjects, and I've already gotten three years behind! Hello Emilyn, wake up and smell the pages! And get back to work. Stretch your literary muscles a little, and start calling yourself a reader again. Good grief.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Ear Buddies

The only thing worse than coming home from a long day of classes and homeworking at the library is coming home from a long day of classes and homeworking at the library and still not being done with homework. And the only thing worse than that is coming home from a long day of classes and homeworking at the library, still not being done with homework, and finding that your left headphone ear-bud isn't producing sound.

Well actually, the headphones I own don't have a right or left ear bud; there's just this ear bud and that ear bud. Regardless, the one I had randomly selected to service my right ear at that particular moment was perfectly functional, and the other was not.

I was devastated.

In horror I popped the ear buds out and tried everything I could think of to restore the buds to their former functionality. I untwisted the cord, massaged the buds, cleaned off the earwax (we've all got it people, calm down), pushed them in and out of both ears over and over, nothing.

I finally gave up, slipped both buds back into my ears to give the illusion of normality, and continued again with my homeworking, trying to ignore my misfortune.

Halfway through my Leadership assignment, I'm pretty sure I started hearing the music out of both ears, but I was too scared to test it out because if I was wrong and my earphones were still broken then I'd just be depressed all over again. I listened for a good thirty seconds trying to figure out if I'm actually hearing what I think I'm hearing, and finally decided to just ignore it. I mean if you think about it, since I couldn't tell whether or not they were working correctly, they might as well have been working for all I cared.

But that made me think. I wanted more than anything to know whether I was right or not; whether I was really hearing music or not. Why? Why are people so stubborn that they just have to prove themselves right? Why can't we just be content with being okay?

In the end, both headphones turned out to be working just fine. In fact, Elton John's "Rocket Man" is currently protruding from both buds in pristine condition. But it definitely made for an interesting personal psychoanalysis. Who would have thought? In honor of this occasion, I will write a poem.

Ear Buddies

You are limp and always slightly twisted,
and smile-like, you reach from ear to ear
embracing my face with your long skinny arms.

You fill my head with your whispers
using all of your many voices,
and even keep your words company
with harmonies and instruments.

No matter the noises, we've always been friends.
Even when you sometimes yell at me
every time I leave the volume up too high;
I guess part of the blame is mine.

Through the Beatles and Eagles,
Elton John, Regina Spektor, and Billy Joel,
Death Cab for Cutie and Imagine Dragons,
you have always been my buddies.

My dearest headphones,
may you always fill the holes in my heart.
Or my ears, as the case may be.

Whew. I think that may have just brought a tear. Hoo. I think I need a moment. Do you mind? Here, uh, please enjoy this picture while I...compose myself.  

Aren't they beautiful? Sigh. Truly. Now don't you ever scare me like that again, you two. Ya hear? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Free T-shirt: Long Story Made Long

I work as a Ticket Agent for the SUU Ticketing Offices. Yes that's right, I am an Agent. Agent E. Or Agent Em; I can't decide which sounds better. I guess Em would get confused with M, but that's sort of the cleverness I'm going for. Then again, in the heat of the battle, I guess Agent E is the more logical option.

Anyway, as most employees in the minimum-wage work-force, (Actually I get paid $8 an hour, so take that you peons!) I deal with many different kinds of people. There are the kind and considerate people, the angry and opinionated people, and (my personal favorite) the absolutely clueless people. And then I guess there are the ambient just-people people who cause no problems and leave no impressions. ...And now I think about it, you can't forget the weird, what-just-happened people, and then there are always those trying-to-be-funny people. Mostly teenagers. 

So, put them all together, and what do you get? A people pie! ...chart. 

So this blog post wasn't really going in the direction I wanted it to. I haven't even foreshadowed the title yet.

Do not despair my friends. That time will come. Follow me through a few more paragraphs of build-up; we shall eventually reach the climax. 


During my times working in the ticket office here at SUU, I have encountered all pieces of The People Pie. Some of my favorites were:

The lady who had just been sent from the ticket office on the other side of the stadium and was "looking for a man by the name of Will Call"
The man who paid for a ticket requesting "one for the groom's side" 
The guy who asked, "Do you have change for a ten?"
The child who, after hearing his dad tell us "He's three" said, "And my dad's thirty five."
And my new favorite, the T-shirt man. 

(DUN du-NUH!)

A couple work days ago at an unimportant time, my two colleagues and I were helping out regular customer with an irregular problem and a disproportionate bad mood. One of those angry and opinionated kind. I don't know what exactly he wanted to do, or what tickets he had claimed he bought for whom at what time with what account, but Mckay was doing all he could to help the gentleman, and the gentleman was giving him nothing but rude remarks. After trying to get what he wanted from both mine and Alyssa's window, to no avail since Mckay was the only one who could help solve his problem, he and his equally angry friend finally marched off. Mckay continued searching the ticketing system to try and solve the problem, and by the time our manager Shon showed up, he had successfully found the man his tickets, and gotten him into the basketball game. We all sighed in relief and shook our heads, putting on our best smiles for the remaining customers. 

Days later, today comes, and I go once again into work. I apologize for being late (stupid hour and a half math test) and Shon hands me a card. Like, a letter card. It was an apology letter from that guy for being rude and impatient. Along with the card, this man had provided a T-shirt for each of the Agents who had been working that night. 

The T-shirt reads, "Have a great experience at SUU". 

This is the part of the story where I would analyse this experience and share my thoughts about this event. But I'm pretty worn out from all the back story and build-up (which was actually just unnecessary introduction down the tangent path away from en media res) so I'm just going to leave it at this. 

So long friends! And remember, don't do drugs! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

O Newsie! My Newsie!

So first off, I lied.

I told you that my history teacher looked and acted exactly like John Goodman when I totally meant to say John CANDY, the coach from Cool Runnings, which just happens to be one of the best movies of all time.

Now that that's cleared up, here is a paint depiction of what happened in history class this morning when discussing labor unions.

 It was like Newsies and Dead Poets Society all in one. The Dead Newsies Society.

Hmm. Maybe that's not the message I want to send.

Anyway the moral of the story is that Emilyn rediscovered paint, and SUU Professors really know how to get students to come to morning classes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fully *Cough Cough* Colleged

I thought I was done with all my "college firsts".

I had had my fill of thrilling grocery store trips, study time in the library, a non-existent curfew, and using my very own, personal dishes at mealtime. Not to mention my first college tests, quizzes, papers, homework, and the procrastination of all of the above. I had even experienced the feeling of walking back into my apartment with my duffel bag and pillow after visiting the family back at home.

What I hadn't experienced, was the college sick.

At home, the mother rushes in with tissues and Advil in one hand and a cup of orange juice in the other while cooing soothing words like "Aww baby" and "Shh, lay down".

At college your roommates offer you vitamins and mentally rate you on a level from one to contagious, while standing at the corresponding distance. (see chart, and click for better view)

I have to say though, the first part of my day was as productive as any other. Yep, those first sixty seconds of awake time before sliding back under the quilt, I was like, gonna go to class, put in some library study hours, work on my personal essay, I was all up in that.

What can I say? Eight o'clock just wasn't doing it for me.

Who am I kidding. Eight never does it for me. 

Anyway, I failed to get up for History, which slept me halfway through math, and by the time I'd made it out of bed and into the bathroom, I found myself barely carrying out a raspy doe-re-mi, so there was no way in Cedar I was first soprano-ing it up in Choir. 

Sooooo sick day. Made myself some nice, white chicken chili (without the milk because one, I am quite knowledged in the fact that dairy is quite counter-productive those suffering from a cold, and two, I'm out) and cuddled up with my leopard print blanket to watch iCarly and Top Gear. 

As sick days go, it wasn't so bad. If nothing else, I've got a whole Tupperware of left-over soup to show for it, and my roommates all actually went to class today. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Children, Poetry, and a Cup of Tea

I'm not sure why they're here, but I see little elementary kids walking around on campus almost every day.

Last week I saw a whole line of them pass by in the hallway as I waited for my ten o' clock math class. They quietly followed the teacher three times their size and six times their age, some with their eyes glued to the feet in front of them, lining themselves perfectly in step, others with folded arms and big, wondering eyes. One little boy with a blue t-shirt stopped in the line and protested to the children in front of him, "It's not that way!" When he saw them all filing through a door held open by their teacher, he realized his mistake and hurried back to his place in line, slightly embarrassed. The boy behind him followed un-fazed, chewing on his shirt collar.

Ah. Youth.

Actually, I've been thinking a lot about childhood lately. Mostly in light of the personal essay I've been working on for my English class, but also because...actually...I think that's probably it. Hm. Well that explains it then. Creative projects always seem to find their way into one's daily activities.

Speaking of English class, wanna hear some feedback from my English teacher on my final poetry project? (Rhetorical.) Of my piece Sue Elle's Aunt Margaret he said, "Remarkably good final stanza. I read that one and I thought, here is some fine poetry, so I read it out loud to wife. That good stuff because it is vivid and it plays with the contrast that you set up. (sic)" A comment on my least favorite poem Tangled Up; "I do, given the class, appreciate the fact that you immediately set up and engaging situation and draw me as a reader. (sic)". And of the project as a whole he said, "It was nice to read some poems that worked very hard to create vivid images and to allow those images to stand on their own. I hope you continue to write poetry. Your talent shows through in these poems."

Just to change the subject one more time, I have a random story for you.

A few days ago I switched my Google language to English (UK) and I just freaked out for like ten minutes because my spell check just told me I spelled "favorite" and "math" wrong. I also found the red squiggly line under "english" ironic, but after capitalizing the 'E' all was well again.

Moral of the story: trust the slobber-shirt kid, Emilyn's poetry is wife-reading worthy, and any Britain's favourite English word is "Mathematics".

p.s. I can't remember how to change the language back. Blast.

Oh, and feel free to feed the fish on the sidebar. So much entertainment. Cheerio! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Remember Remember the Fifth of October

Anxious (anxiousness, anxiety)
1) feeling or showing uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty <Emilyn is feeling awfully anxious right now> 
2) marked by or causing agitation or uncomfortable feelings <the worst feeling in the whole world is most definitely the feeling of anxiousness
3) an uneasy state of mind usually over the possibility of an anticipated misfortune or trouble <anxiety happens to be the most recurring feeling inside of Emilyn>  

Events, texts, sleep, classes, lunch, the next episode of Korra. Waiting for any one of these things gives me a very high level of anxiousness. I know that life comes with things to wait for, and I can accept that. It's just unfortunate that here in the 21st century, all of our heres and nows make the just-as-necessary theres and laters seem much farther away.  

Currently I'm feeling a little anxious about October 5th on which quite a long list of things will be happening. Firstly, General Conference will be in session. This happens to be an event I quite enjoy, as well as an event I have missed the past four years due to either the Shakespeare Festival Competition itself, or the rehearsal for the competition the Saturday before. Secondly, speaking of the Festival, the Maeser Shakespeare team will be in Cedar City on October 5th performing their monologues and duo scenes. Thirdly, I will be working long hours at the ticket office so I will get neither the experience of watching October's General Conference, nor the scenes performed by the beloved Maeser team. Needless to say, I will not able to go home that weekend to attend my brother's fiancee's bridal shower.

You can tell I'm distressed because I just used the phrase "needless to say". I really do hate that phrase. If it's needless, why did you say it? I guess that's just the world's way of saying yes, I know everyone knows it's not needed out loud, but by gosh darn someone's gotta say it because if we don't state the obvious we might start verbalizing things that actually matter, or worse, lapse into the unknown silence and once we're there, who knows where our thoughts could take us? 

Whew. Take a breather Em. Just drag yourself slowly out of your peanut butter of anxiety and get back to your homework. You've got an entire free weekend ahead of you (if you ignore those emails about the Creative Writing Conference for a little while). It's only Monday. Just get through your long Tuesday, and by the time Wednesday comes around you can start a fresh to-do list with your favorite black-ink pen and then start thinking about the upcoming weeks. 

Oh to be anxiety free. My mini poem of the day. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in Cedar City

Well I don't know where the snoring old man is, but he needs to get up one of these mornings because it's been raining and pouring for a week. Even a bright, lovely girl in my choir class expressed to me today her deepest hatred toward the weather. I mean, I've always loved droplets tumbling down the windows and thunder shuddering miles away, but after being wet for a week, I wouldn't be all that opposed to a little more sun down here in Cedar City. With a capital C, that rhymes with D and that stands for D. Vitamin D. Which comes from the sun.

Honestly though, it's frightening what a few dripping hours can do to campus. Rain is such an introverted weather. Everyone hide under your hoods, umbrellas, and ponchos because we sure can't let a dreary thing like rain get into our systems. Just lets trudge along in our sopping shoes and keep our gaze toward the puddles because it's just grey and more grey for miles above; it's no use putting our chins up to see something so dull.

I've definitely noticed a difference in my own attitude. On my way to my eight o' clock History class, I only looked outside the bubble of my umbrella once, and it because I heard a sort of a slosh noise. Or maybe it was more of a shplish. Anyway when I looked up I saw this guy a couple yards away on the sidewalk just below a muddy slope of grass. I was surprised to find that only a couple thoughts slowly yawned into my mind. "Yikes, he just slipped right off the grass there," "Maybe I should help him up or at least ask if he's okay," and, "Poor guy. That would really suck." And then I walked into the building.

I've just felt so slow these last couple days. I feel like my body is literally filling up with every raining minute and soon I'll be as bloated as Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka's Factory and have to be juiced before the winter turns me into an icicle.

Maybe I should start the process now. I think I'll begin Rain-water Juicing by making some peppermint tea and popcorn, burrito myself in a blanket, maybe listen to some upbeat music, and read some Billy Collins poems. Then I definitely need to buy rain boots one of these days because my soppy toes could definitely use 'em.

Hmm. I like the yellow... But I've loved the polka-dot ones I've seen around campus...
Sigh. College decisions.

Friday, September 6, 2013

In Response to My Tribute

I found Mrs. Martinez's question so intriguing I decided to dedicate a page on my blog to it. Hope you don't mind! If you have come by way of Mrs. Martinez's site, welcome to my blog! If you haven't, please take a moment to follow this link and avoid confusion.

Wow. I feel like a celebrity on the Ellen DeGeneres Show! *studio laughter*

Anyway, the question.

Will you honor us and explain what characteristics you possessed to admit your lack of understanding?

First off, Consider yourselves honored. 

Secondly, I want to be completely honest and say that it was eighth period, I was tired, and possibly slightly irritated having just come out of a room full of rowdy drama kids. Hearing my AP classmates ooh and ah over a concept that hadn't connected so miraculously in my brain could just as easily have brought out more of an eye-rolling "I don't get it" rather than a yearning "explain that again." 

But there is a very real intimidation about admitting your lack of knowledge, and there are lots of reasons, or should I say excuses, which I'm sure we have all heard within the confines of our own minds. 
"It's not that important."
"I don't want to take up class-time."
"What if I'm the only one who doesn't understand?"
"Everyone will think I'm stupid."

Each of these excuses are just as hard to combat as the others. So how do we combat them? Actually, the answer I found most helpful was written on the first page in my AP Lit binder my entire senior year.  

"Come to class not as know-it-alls, but as wanting to know it all." 
~Mrs. Martinez

Surprise! This phrase came to mind often during my Senior year in many of my classes. I learned that year that school is not a place to show off your academic greatness, but a resource available to students to better their education and understanding on their academic journey. So why not use the opportunities given to you in school? You're sitting in a class full of brilliant students and teachers who understand and can explain a concept that may not come as easily to you! Why step into that room just to come out with a cloud of unasked questions? 

There's another big reason for the times I had the courage to raise my hand in confusion, and that reason is Katie Cropper. Katie usually sat on the left side of the room, and I a little to the right, so I remember sharing many confused looks with her across the room when Mrs. Martinez or another student hinted at something neither of us understood. Just knowing that I wasn't the only one at a loss gave me enough reason to push any other excuses aside and seek an answer to the question. As we've all heard before, if you have a question, chances are someone else in the room is confused as well. 

And yet, sometimes you will be the only confused one in the classroom, it happens. Not to mention the loads of questions I've asked that I've found to be simple and obvious, and probably resulted in my stupidity in the eyes of my peers. But if I hadn't asked those questions, I still would have been the worse off. It is the wise man who plant their questions and allow them to grow into something beautiful. The fools leave their questions to gather dust and be used only as bookends to the volumes of questions answered by the wise. 

So get that hand in the air!

Educational Entree

"Liking or disliking has nothing to do with learning."

This phrase casually meandered out of my English Professor's tangent last Tuesday. I thought it was genius, so I copied it in the margin of my English packet and outlined it with one of those spiky, inside-out cloud circles.

I have to apologize. I just spent a couple hours finishing the final draft of a 13-line imagistic poem after the manner of Brewster Ghiselen's "Rattlesnake", so I think I'm still in poetry mode. I'm spending way too much time thinking about words; I've used a thesaurus like 5 times already for this post and I'm only in the seventh line. I just need a little free-write here for a minute. Please excuse me.

Purple children dancing in the hail and harvesting hay for the horses who eat only grass like the cows who are burgers for birthday children to chomp before cake and ice-cream from the freezer where things gather ice like flowers in Rapunzel's hair.

Okay. I think I've thrown out most of the extra scraps of poetry in my system. That feels a little nicer.

So anyway, liking or disliking. As I've let this roll around in my mind these past few days, I've determined that a student's liking or disliking could apply to the material, the assignments, or the teacher, all of which are often placed at the top of the line between drooling and learning. This statement encourages students to bring focus away from dislike toward some aspect of education and back toward the learning itself. No matter what a student may not like on their educational journey, something still can and should be learned from it. So many opportunities could be lost, not to mention dollars and time, if you let a five-page paper or a lecturing teacher get in the way of your education.

Now back to the poetic metaphors which are, despite my efforts, still orbiting the circumference of my skull. College/Highschool/Education-in-general isn't a steaming, three-course meal laid out on the table with three forks, a knife, two spoons, and a forest green, cloth napkin, but a recipe book full of millions of foods and desserts from which you have the freedom to cook.

And as Ratatouille's Gusteau says, "Anyone can cook."

Bon appetite!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Professors, Prespiration, and Precipitation

Dear rain,
If you could save the whole precipitation thing for the days when I don't spend more than five minutes on my hair, that would be great.
Umbrella-less College Kid

So all my "doings up" for the first day of college classes slid off a little with the weather. Whatever. I'm over it. The good news is that my history teacher has a healthy sense of humor, a passion for the story of history and not necessarily the dates, a low stress, full-class participation final, and contains a very strong likeness to John Goodman. I would have posted a picture of him and Goodman for you to compare, but couldn't locate one anywhere. Very sneaky Professor Paul, very sneaky.

My College Algebra professor, however, was not so internet protected, of which I am glad because ever since I saw him I've been wanting to show you the preciseness to which he is a mix of both Professor Lupin and Arthur Weasley. Observe.

 Brilliant. Simply Brilliant.

His mannerisms are much more to the likeness of Lupin than Weasley, which makes me a little weary. If you recall...

But so far so good. I mean as far as 4x - 7 = 13 goes. It's nice to know that Math 1050, if not the rest of college, isn't beastly first off. That's definitely a comfort, however short lived. 

So I'll get back to my Sullivan 9th edition, $126.50 College Algebra textbook, and leave you to your internetting. 


Saturday, August 17, 2013

She Who Must Not Be College

I’m not a terrible hoarder. I mean, I’m much more likely to keep a piece of paper, strip of ribbon, or ripped pair of jeans than I am to throw it away, but my stashes have shrunk incredibly from the heights they reached when I was seven.

I remember having to designate a room-cleaning day because not only would it take the full twenty-four hours to complete, but it almost became a family event with all the help it required. I remember Katie army crawling under the bed and unearthing its treasures into the middle of the room for me and Jessica to go through while Mom and a couple of my younger sisters organized the closet.

Each object from the depths of the closet, bed, drawers, and any other crevice of the room was allowed one of two places; a select box of keepsakes, or the trash can. I hated this part of the room-cleaning because not only did my imaginative mind hear the pleas from each marker drawing, speckled chicken feather, and beaded necklace to keep it out of the trash one more week, but I couldn’t bear to think of the day when I just knew I would wish I had it back.

Over and over I would fret over the objects just boarder lining between treasure and trash, and Katie would roll her eyes and ask, “Are you going to take it to college?” For most objects this would bring a giggle at imagining myself old and in college with a piece of twisted wire on the shelf, or wearing a torn Pocahontas nightgown. But in the last week between summer after Senior year and first-semester college freshman, this question became much more real.  

Fortunately, I had a third option this time. In addition to my college-bound cardboard boxes and the dump, I also had the green plastic bin which will sit and remain in storage at my home in Happy Valley Utah. The only trace of me still left at home. Well, that and my toothbrush. I had to forget something, right?

So now while sitting on my newly spread blanket in a room a few degrees colder than I’d like (I’ll figure out the thermostat later) I ponder on these objects. I’m beginning to feel a faint connection between myself, the bin, and the toothbrush. Like we’re long distance penpals. Or like they’re a wifi connection that’s just close enough to give you a couple bars. Like I’m Voldemort and they’re my horcruxes, and as long as the bin and brush remain, I’ll be able to come back. This “moving away” thing isn’t permanent. I think I understand Voldy now.

So just to sum it all up here, always carry a spare toothbrush because if you forget yours somewhere and accidentally turn into Voldemort, at least you won’t have bad breath. The end.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome To Emilyn

Introductions are a very large part of everyone's lives. There will always be new people to meet and new names to match to faces. But ever since I was a little girl, introductions have caused me a certain pain that kids with normal names will never understand. It goes like this:

"Hi! What's your name?"



"No, EmilyN."

"Oh, Emilyn? Emilyn. That's a pretty name." (Yeah that's what everyone says. Like that makes me forget their inability to hear the last consonant of my title and give them the liberty to stomp on my identity).

After kindergarten and all the introductions which came that year, I kind of got used to this opening conversation, and began to try different tactics to avoid it. I tried by emphasizing the n very clearly from the get-go, like this:

"What's your name?"



So that didn't work. (Emilynd? Really?)

Further along in my childhood I attached the phrase "It's like Emily, but with with an n" to my introductions, kind of like Anne of Green Gables' "Anne with an e". I never really liked that either because I had sort of developed a grudge against all Emilys. See, if the Emily community didn't exist, people wouldn't just jump to the conclusion that I was one of them. No offence to any Emilys out there, but you all made my childhood miserable.

Just recently I had an interesting encounter while taking surveys at the call center I work at. (Yeah, yeah I work at a call center. Get over it.) Most survey introductions at this place begin something like, "Hello, my name is Emilyn Cannon on behalf of so-and-so-company, and we're taking a brief survey about such-and-such. Is this a good time for you?" At which time the respondent on the line has the opportunity to sigh and subject themselves to the "brief" fifteen survey minutes ahead of them, swear in my ear and go off about how much of an idiot I am to call at dinnertime, (Wait, let's think about this. Who's the one who answered the phone in the middle of dinner?) or politely explain their disinterest in taking the survey. This particular time I encountered a lady who preferred the last option. Although I insisted the survey would only take a short time and expressed our extensive value in her opinions and input, she further honestly stated she wished to not be called again. I told her I understood and thanked her for her time.

"Thanks Emily. Bu-bye." And she hung up.

Any other time I would have ended the call and entered the correct disposition for the circumstance, but there was something in the way this woman spoke that made me pause. She spoke so kindly, and seemed to relate so perfectly to how I was feeling. I think it was the familiarity in the way she had addressed me that was simply astounding. I honestly stopped my absent-minded swiveling in my chair to sit a moment with my mouth ajar and reflect on this moment. I had been calling people all day who maybe even took the survey, but never once thought about who I was, what I was doing, much less what my name was. This woman shot understanding straight into my heart just by acknowledging that I had a name. I felt like she knew me! I felt loved and accepted, like I had somehow been welcomed into her world as a human being, a person, and maybe even a friend.

Except she had called me Emily, and this fact almost brought me to tears.

Why couldn't I have a name that people recognize? One that can be easily picked out through mumbling lips? One people can relate to even when they know nothing about your life save your voice over the telephone lines? N; oh thou cursed letter! Be thou heretofore called shame!

On the bike-ride home, I pondered my name for neither the first, nor the last time. Emilyn. It really is quite pretty. And I can't ignore the fact that because of my name's uniqueness, I've hardly had to deal with the issue of attaching my last initial to my name to prevent confusion. So just when I had about pedaled to the top of Center Street and begun rolling along Canal Drive towards home, I reached a conclusion. I had already come to grips years ago with the fact that there was nothing I could do to escape my name and the slightly awkward introductions it's sure to bring, so that was nothing new. But I realized, in addition, that this Emily part is only the beginning. I am the N at the end of my name, and that is something I am willing to fight for. I can't escape the Emily that I will always be seen as at first. But as I do and say and be, and people realize who I am, they will have to face that little N because I'm gonna give it all it's worth. Finally, after 18 years of anguish and awkwardidity, I can greet this finishing letter with an open hand, and together we can gallop into the sunrise of who I can become.

Anyway, I originally thought about naming my blog Emily with an n, but then the URL would be emilywithann.blogspot.com which looks like Emily with Ann, and though that does have a little allusion to the Anne of Green Gables, it is missing the e, and it's mostly just confusing. It's like, who's Ann? So, no. But I have taken a big step towards this new identity of mine by singling out both the Emily and the N in my title. Clever? I know.

Let me also take a moment to say hooray! I've finally finished my first post! Welcome to my blog one and all, (yes, even you Emilys) and I hope you enjoy the minutes you may spend here.