Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's get this Straight

Every day each of us comes in contact with hundreds of people (unless you're a WoW which case, please get help). Each of us hears story after story from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, peers. Some stories are interesting, some really not so much. Some are old news, others surprise us. 

I was told a story, and it turned out to be a lie. I told you a story recently, and that one was 100% true. So how do we decide which stories to take seriously, and which stories to treat as just stories? Here's a story about a story. 

Last night, I was working on some documents while talking to a friend. This friend asked me why I'm no longer friends with some of the people I was friends with when he and I knew each other. I explained that a lot happened and everything just spun out of control. I told him my side of the events, 100% true. I told him how Danny and Mike were...jerks. And how everyone seemed to ignore the fact that I got hurt. All of the girls wanted to believe Danny because they were/are attracted to him. I've known that, and it's hurt. But this friend of mine told me that a lot of people had told him that I had sex with Danny. He also told me that a lot of people thought I was a...brat. I got really angry really fast. I've never understood what propelled these people to hate me. But it all made sense. 

Young Teen girls are really emotional, especially during puberty. I happened to hit it late, so I didn't really understand this. Teen girls get incredibly jealous over silly things. I probably would have been angry if someone had told me that Danny had sex with his girlfriend (assuming that girlfriend wasn't me). I would have flipped too! I don't deny that. But I wouldn't have treated someone like crap over it. I would have ignored them for a while, but I wouldn't treat them so terribly. 

As my friend told me this story, I didn't want to believe that these friends would turn on me like that. I didn't want to believe that these people who I cared so much about would hurt me so badly. It's like I didn't matter to them at all. Despite the fact that I didn't want to believe it at all, I couldn't help but feel like there was some truth in it. Probably more than some truth. 

My friends heard a story (or made one up) and they chose to believe it. They chose to believe that I would sleep around. Instead of asking for confirmation, they simply acted. It hurt. It will always hurt. 

I heard this story, and I believe it. I know that stories get jumbled and screwed up over the years, so I'm not taking it too seriously, but I am going to remember it. I'm not going to hate these people, I just want them to understand something about me.

I didn't come from a perfect family, but I was never unloved. My mom and dad weren't around, but my grandma gave me more love than any child can even imagine. I am still loved. My sisters made mistakes, but, in case you haven't noticed, I am not them. Yes, I will always be hurt by the fact that my parents walked out on me. I will always remember the day my mom told me she didn't want me anymore. I will always remember how much I wanted to help my sisters, but couldn't. I will live with these things everyday. They will affect each decision I make throughout my life. But in case you haven't noticed, I wasn't affected negatively. I dedicated myself to working hard and getting someplace. I graduated with my associates. I am three years younger than any other junior in college in my degree. I took 18 credits this semester. I bought my very first car, it wasn't a gift. I got a job and had to pay, I still have to pay. 

Does that honestly sound like someone who would go sleep with her boyfriend before she even hit puberty all the way? Do you really think I would sleep around? Yes, I have a lot of guy friends, because guys aren't quite as petty as girls. But having a lot of guy friends does not make me a slut. 

If you have a problem with me, tell me. Don't tell someone else and wait for me to hear it three years later. That only makes you a coward. It tells me that you're lying. If you aren't telling me how you feel, I feel like you have no way of justifying those feelings. 

I know that you all liked Danny. We all had crushes on him. I'm not sorry that he picked me over you, because later, he would choose all of you over me. I don't care. I'm glad he did what he did to me, and not to you. I don't mind taking one for the team. It helped him have a change of heart and now he's on his mission. That's what you all wanted, right? Well you got it. I'm not sorry that I got angry at you guys. I'm not sorry I didn't let Mike take advantage of me. I'm not sorry one bit. It's not my problem that he's a sicko. I am not sorry for pointing all of this out publicly. I know you don't listen anyway, so maybe this will help someone else in some way. 

I did grow up in a "rough" situation. You guys all had two parents, happily married and you got whatever you wanted. Good for you. Where did it get you? Nowhere. You haven't grown up at all. You're all still relying on your parents. You're all still treating me like crap over something that didn't even happen three years ago! I took all of it and learned from it. I learned forgiveness. I learned that everyone makes mistakes, but actions don't define a person. I learned that working for what you deserve makes it that much more enjoyable. What did you learn? Nothing as far as I can tell. You're all still just as immature as you were when we were eight! When you lose something important to you, and you feel it was taken unjustly, remember that it's just Karma. You all left me and destroyed all of the things I believed in. For years, you treated me like trash, so I honestly thought I was trash. I still feel like that sometimes, but guess what! I know I'm not. I know that you just had to side with the guy because you wanted to be his next kiss. I have a family who loves me, I have a best friend who loves me unconditionally, I have his family who I love as much as my own, I have new friends who see me as competition, but in a good way. No one is trash talking each other. What do you have? Don't tell me, remind yourself. Remind yourself to actually take care of your relationships, because I'm no longer here for you. I was for years after what you did, but I'm not anymore. 

And I'm not sorry.

I don't know whether that story I heard last night is true or not. I don't really plan on getting to the bottom of it. I know that people say things out of anger, and I know you were all just jealous. But I want you to understand something. I did not have sex with Danny. I did nothing to Michael. I had confidence enough to say no. I know that you all liked Danny and hated that I was with him, but guess what, GET OVER IT! I would have picked me over you, too. I wouldn't want to be with a girl who has to spread rumors to feel confident. I am not an object. I'm not going around having sex willy nilly! I still believe that sex is supposed to be saved for the one person you plan on spending eternity with. I have not given up my values and standards. I do forgive you for everything, but only a fool forgets. I will never forget how you've made me feel. I will never forget how many times I cried to myself because I felt inadequate in your presence. One day, probably this Sunday, I'll run into you. Ya know what will happen then? Nothing, because I can act as an adult. What will you do? How will you feel? I have nothing to hide or feel guilty about. Do you? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Beauty

I am American. And I am beautiful. If you have a problem with that, please see the big guy upstairs who put me here looking this good (or ceiling cat, if you please).

But beauty without brains makes you "ugly" and "ordinary." So, I used that little ball of goop up there under my luscious hair and I found a screenplay of American Beauty. (I'm not into watching rated R films, no matter how many awards they've gotten, or how many times someone tells me to. It's a choice.) I cruised through the screenplay a few times and then took time to read it through. It was interesting. Once I started reading, lightbulb after lightbulb went on in my head. I had enough lights going off to give an HMI a run for it's money. I probably had 2K watts worth of lighting going on. I'm glad I was basically alone so no one would be able to see my tonsils as I read in awe.

It wasn't that the writing was unbelievably amazing, because it was just writing. (In most epic writing it's the subtext that is amazing, and the subtext comes with watching the film...) The reason I was so in shock is because I had heard all of that dialogue before! Guess who from? Yes, Robert. As I read and read and read, I had to know what these characters looked like. Out came google and IMDb. That's when another 4K worth of lights went on in my head. I'm not sure I can fully describe to you the feeling I got seeing the pictures and reading the script.

All this time, I've been feeling a bit down because Robert kept telling me that I'm insecure and scared. Then, when I told him that he was being rude, he would tell me not to worry because I'm not "ordinary." I always thought that was a bit of an odd way to tell me I'm special, but I passed it off as Robert's way of talking. I also thought it was odd how Robert only wears slacks. It became a little more odd when he told me that he's moved a ton and that he's been to the mental institution. I'm not typically one to pass judgement really quickly (or at all. I'm too nice for my own good.). I figured that what he does is his business and as long as he doesn't harm me or the people I love, then good on him for living his life.

After reading American Beauty (his favorite movie of  all time), I understand him now. Before I thought he was just a prick who needed to realize that girls are not disposable toys. Now I see that he's so much more than that!

Let's try a list, shall we? Lists are so organized and easy to read.

1. The main young man, Ricky, in the film shows up and always wears slacks (or nothing at all). Robert always wears slacks. That's cool, if you're a businessman, but even businessmen get sick of slacks.
2. At the end of the movie, near the climax, Ricky tells a girl that she is ugly and ordinary. The theme of the girls' plot in the movie is the fear of being ordinary. Once I figured that out, I realized that when someone isn't ordinary, it means they aren't like everybody else.  (*facepalm* yes, I already knew the meaning of "ordinary" but I figured out how it fit into society.) When Robert told me I wasn't "ordinary" it meant that I am not like everybody else. Which is actually a compliment. While coming to this discovery, I also realized that Robert's biggest fear is probably being ordinary. I bet he feels like he needs to stand out to mean anything in this world. Sadly, that's exactly what ordinary people do. They feel this huge desire to change who they are because they feel that they, themselves, are ordinary. (Being ordinary is not a bad thing, being who you are is what you need to do, no matter how much you blend in or stand out. Be you.)
3. Ricky is sort of a creeper, he tapes Janey (his next-door neighbor and eventual girlfriend). He tapes her without her knowing it because he is "interested" and thinks she's beautiful. Robert used those words once upon a the same sentence. Which makes me wonder how many girls he creeps on without them knowing.
4. Ricky was locked up for beating the crap out of someone...I just discovered that Robert went to jail in September 2010 for assault. Yes, I did grow concerned.
5. Robert has not moved a million times, even though that's what he told me when we first met. In fact, that's what I assume Ricky has done (his dad is a military man).
6. Robert explains that women are beautiful and that he's obsessed with them. He also says something about how beautiful life is and everything of that such. I bet ya $20 he got that from Ricky.
7. Janey is a brunette and is about 5'4". Oddly, I don't think I've seen Robert with any girl that doesn't fit that description. I know he has pictures of a red-head and of a blond, but I only ever see him with short brunettes.

If I'm totally wrong about all of this, then this is the 2nd most bizarre coincidence I have ever witnessed (the first being a dream event where Nathan and I dreamed the same dream at the same time...). I don't think I'm wrong though. I honest to goodness think that Robert is a pathological liar who feels the needs to live the life of a fake character in order to feel special. I only say this, because there have been moments when Robert hasn't seemed all that scary and fake.

When we took pictures at the lake. That seemed different than any other time he and I ever interacted. He was relaxed. There was this thinness in the air during that time. It was like this new person came out and was connected to the camera. It was almost magical and mysterious. I understood his feeling of standing at the lake with a camera in his hands. I get that. I feel it too. It's natural and it's beautiful. It's real.

When he's at school, when he's watching dancers, when he's telling someone about some theory (that he probably ripped off of the writer of American Beauty), he's tense. There is this gross, thick, rancid feeling in the air. It's off. It's heavy. It's not natural.

When he showed me pictures of his younger sister, the same natural feeling from the lake returned. It was so simple, so elegant. It was like he wasn't the same person at all.

The fact is: Robert is more insecure than me! Everybody has their insecurities. We all worry about being ridiculed, forgotten, hurt, or hated. We all worry about something. That's life. Living in fear daily, not such a great idea. Being constantly afraid of being "ordinary" to the point that we live in a false reality, that is insecure. Being worried about how much your professors care about you, not such a big deal. Living the life of a made up movie character, that is a big deal.

I knew this already, but he truly doesn't have any right at all to call me insecure and scared. I'm not. He is. He's the one hiding behind something that doesn't exist. I live my life, and my life alone. So do you, and you, and yes, even you. That puts us heads and tails (or is it shoulders?) above people like Robert. If he can't be honest and let the world see who he truly is, then he is nothing more than a slinky: Fun to look at sometimes, but only cool when you push him down the stairs.

They -- Robert, and all of those people hiding behind lies -- are the ones who never go anywhere in life. We -- you, me, and everyone living their own life -- are the true American Beauties.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Best Friend

There's a quote that says something about how people come and go in our lives, but some leave footprints and we are never the same again. (Google it, I'm far too lazy to do it for you.)

It's very true that people come and go. Groups of friends change faster than the weather in Utah. Someone may be your best friend, then in a single moment, they are gone. Some friends you grew up with, others may have come into your life later. Sometimes it seems like you're floating on the wind, only passing through lives, never being able to stay long enough for something to happen. It sucks.

It sucks to suddenly be on the outside looking in on what used to be your group of friends. It sucks to become friends with someone, only to have them suddenly stop talking to you. The only thing that makes it easy for me is Nathan.

This was at a benefit concert in 2010
He came into my life later than my other friends, but we've been through more together than any of my childhood friends have. It means the world to me that he considers me his best friend. (Why wouldn't he, though? Duh, of course I'm his best friend.)

Nathan and I met right before all my other friends walked out (by "walk out" I mean "tore through my life and ripped it all apart"). He was there when Danny pulled his stupid stunt. Nathan was there when I got really sick. He was there to hold me when I was scared and alone. Nathan was there when everyone else left. Without Nathan, chances are I wouldn't be here.
2009 I think. Our first trip to Lagoon together

Then I got to be there for Nathan. I got the chance to hold him when he was angry and upset. He called me when it seemed like his life was falling apart around him. I got to hold his hand through his senior year. I got to watch him graduate. I got to listen to him play in the Jazz band everyday. I got to stay up until all hours of the night to help him finish his English assignments. I loved every second of it all.

My other friends probably felt like I was replacing them, but I wasn't. They walked out when I needed them. Nathan walked in before I needed him. He was there for it all. He's the best friend I've ever had.

Braxton took this picture, that's why it's out of focus.
I love when he plays with my siblings. I love when he scares the heck out of me while I'm driving (I don't love it at the time, but afterward it's pretty funny.) I love when he talks about computers (even if I don't understand what he's saying...). I love when he cooks (because I can't cook at all). I love it when he sends me texts in the morning so that the first thing I see is his name. I love when he gives me a huge hug after a super long day of school. I love how he lets me pick movies apart. I love when he holds my hand as we walk around the city. I love when he brushes my hair and tells me it looks nice even though I know I'd be mistaken for a bush. I love it when he goes shopping with me. I love how he remembers small details such as my favorite place to buy bags is Target. I love it when we go out to take pictures and he ends up taking pictures of me taking pictures. I love when he smiles at me for no reason. I love knowing that he'll be there no matter what happens. I love that, instead of getting angry at someone, he just holds me when that someone hurts me. I love waking up, knowing I'll get to see him soon. I love Nathan.

At one of Zac's concerts.
Yes, my old friends leave me out, and yes, it hurts. But in the end, I have the better deal. I have Nathan. I have a best friend who won't ever turn his back on me. I have someone who listens even if he's busy. In a few years, their friendship will change as some of them get married (and sadly, probably divorced too...). Ours isn't going to change, not like that. Everyday we spend together only makes our friendship stronger. I don't need to worry about looking good or impressing anyone. I can relax. I know that there will always be someone by my side, whether I decide to base jump off of the church office building, or whether I decide to dye my hair purple. I know that he'll support me no matter what.

Halloween 2009.
There will never be anyone else like Nathan in my life. I don't want there to be. I love Nathan, and I always will. =)

Our first dance together. Homecoming 2009  

 I wouldn't take any of it back and I wouldn't change any moment of it. Everything from meeting him on the bus to our first kiss was perfect. Going to his brother's concerts or hiding Easter eggs at my house, it all makes me smile. No matter how retarded we are, I love us. =)

Friday, April 22, 2011

No greater satisfaction

There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that he will have a really hard time working with anyone now. Yes, I did spread the word to have him black listed. No, I don't feel bad. If he's going to creep on people, then he's going to pay the price. Soon, if he plans on working in this industry, he will need to leave UVU. Girls don't work with sketchy creepers. Guys don't like to work with people who would even consider being a sketchy creeper. Unfortunately for him, he is a sketchy creeper. A drunk, psychopathic, sketchy creeper.

Does he not look like a drunk sketchy creeper?! Get to know this face, learn it, memorize it. Then, when you see him, RUN. Really quickly in the other direction. He doesn't listen to instructions. He feels too good to be a PA and he has that really annoying "entitled" attitude. He will prey on your daughters and wives. (So hide your kids, and hide your wife, hide your husbands too...) Seriously, he isn't worth your time and money. =) Find someone else to work on your projects with. If you need a photoshoot, hire someone else (and bring a buddy).

Really, he isn't someone you want to have anything to do with.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This does not equate

Raise your hand if you like math! (Not meth, math.) Alright, put your hands down before people give you wedgies at lunch.

This math lesson is incredibly important. I need you all to take out a pencil, and a paper. Also, you may want an eraser, because mistakes will be made. Are you ready?

This is a punching bag:
Please draw this on your page. Note the size, color, shape, weight, and the fact that it hangs from ceiling, unable to walk off. I'll give you a few minutes to draw that up. Don't be afraid to use your eraser, I know we are not all artists here.

 Here is your equation:

       = ____x____ 

Your task is to figure out what x could be. Think about it a while. 
could = x

                                    x could = 

x could equal any number of things. There are some things x does not equal. 

Yes, this is an image of Stephen Hawking and his sister as children
 is not equal to x. never ever. 

punching bags and children are not equivalent. Write it down, don't forget it. 

The punching bag I showed you was a literal punching bag. One where you physically smack it around. A punching bag feels no pain and can handle all the physical beatings someone can dish out. That is fine. That is the point of them, right? Right!  

Humans, however, are a lot more sensitive. You can physically beat them and it will hurt. You can verbally bash them, and it will hurt. You emotionally push them around, and it hurts. Humans are not punching bags. There is more to a human than skin and padding. 

Look at that punching bag again. Look at it closely. Now look at this image:

Copyright Nathan Bryant 2011
 Does that look the same? Does it remotely resemble a punching bag? If you said yes, please feel free to look up a local optometrist. I will wait while you do that. 

People are not punching bags. Not for your crap. Feel free to take up boxing and learn to express yourself through physical movement. Don't hesitate to take an opera class to belt out all that frustration. Gyms are great places to wear your anger out. Just do not come to me and push me around. 

I am here to listen when you need to talk, but I don't need you to tell me I'm worthless when really, you're the one with the problems. I'm more than willing to give you a hand when you need one, but I am not your little toy to push around. We can hang out, that's totally fine. But you will compromise. If you choose to do something that I do not want to participate in, I reserve the right to say no. I do not need to do what you do to prove who I am. That doesn't even make logical sense!  

 On the outside, I am covered in skin. Just like that punching bag. On the inside, however, I am not made of fluffy padding. I am made of muscles, nerves and blood. I am full of feelings and hopes and dreams. You will not push me around. You will not beat me down in any way. I will not hang around and let you take advantage of me. 

The same goes for any person. You do not have any right to push anyone around. There is nothing on this planet that makes you better than others. Everyone is on the same level. No societal class puts you ahead of someone else. No amount of money gives you power over someone else. You may be older than someone, but you are not better. Age doesn't always bring wisdom, so learn to shut your mouth and listen for once. You are not the center of the universe. Someone may rely on you, do not let them down. Do not break the fragile hearts of men just because you are messed up. Freedom is not selective, and everyone deserves to make their own choices, whether you agree or not. No one is required to hang around just to be beaten up. 

If you cannot handle that, then please, grow up. Each person makes a series of decisions everyday. There is no way in the world that you will agree with every decision. Do not force your own opinions onto anyone else. Someone may not believe the same things as you. Get over it. 

      is not equal to

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Two Cents

Hey, You! Yea, you with the camera. Can we chat for a second? Thanks. Please, take a seat. Let me gather some more people really quick, hang tight.

Okay, welcome. Let's introduce ourselves so everyone knows who is here. I am Morgan. I'm a student at UVU. I haven't been taking photography for too long, but I do know a thing or two about it.

This is Tricia. She is a soccer mom. Her forte is high speed auto usage.  Her son is on the varsity team at his local high school. She hasn't missed a game, and thanks to her record keeping, her husband hasn't missed a single game either!

Next, this is JJ. She's only 17, but last year she fell in love with photography. Ever since her mom bought her a Nikon Coolpix she has done photo shoots for all of her BFFs and she plans on moving on to bigger things soon!

Lastly, this is Thomas. Thomas owns a 5D. But his favorite part of the work flow is the photoshop part. It's the easiest for him. He feels it is extremely artistic. It's especially fun to use on his mac!

Now, all of us have something in common. We love to take pictures. Each of us, however, have a lot to work on. I'll start with myself.

Right now, I really need to find a niche, and stick to it. I don't enjoy shooting people, but I don't know how to make fine art interesting. I think that everything I've taken has been taken before by someone else. I actually enjoy shooting fine art and landscapes. Mostly fine art. I just need to work on making it all better, which comes with time. Here is a classic morgan mikel photograph:

copyright morgan mikel

Somehow, I need to make the photos pop.

Let's start with Thomas. Thomas, here, is a master photoshopper. His philosophy is "I'll fix it in post." That works to a point, bud. Unfortunately, not everything can be made better in post. Here is a classic photo that finds its way out of Thomas's mind:

copyright kristy broberg
The first impression of this image tends to be one of awe. Then, after looking at it for a while you realize that this isn't that fantastic of an image. The composition is off and the colors make my teeth hurt. A lot of professional photographers actually feel that the style is extremely tacky. Either go fully black and white or go colored. Don't go in between. We don't need that... at all...

Janice, let's talk about your work. Taking photos of your son is amazing! Good for you, girl! keep it up! But maybe you should give me your SLR and we could do a straight up swap? I mean, really. My SLR can do that easily. You don't need a two thousand dollar body with thousand dollar lenses to shoot a running boy. It's true that SLRs do make the pictures nicer, but you can't exactly call yourself a photographer if all you do is use the auto function to shoot a teenage boy.

This is a really neat picture, and I think that by the time your fourth son goes through the team you will be amazing! Just, please, you are not a sports photographer.

JJ... I saved you for last on purpose. We definitely need to talk. Listen, dear, I know that you love photography, and I know your friends appreciate your efforts, but honestly? You need some more formal training. Please just hear me out. You do portraits, which is awesome, but have you heard about exposure? And lighting? I'm not sure you have...
copyright olya black

Photographs are only 2D. We use lights to mold a 3D image. This image to our right is a bit...flat. It needs a lot of lights. Personally, I wouldn't pay you for this work. It is not flattering and it's really blah. It looks extremely photoshopped in all the wrong ways, as well. That's neat that you want to take pictures of your friends. Keep it up. But don't try to pass them off as professional.

Aside from portraits, JJ, you do landscapes. Is that correct? Awesome. Do you mind if we pull one of those up? Thanks, dear.

copyright olya black
Last time I checked, the lake was actually flat on the ground. I don't think lakes can logically sit diagonally on the earth. I understand the desire to want to be creative and different. But anyone with a sense of balance is not going to buy into this type of landscape photography. It is extremely nauseating. And I really hate it. Sorry to be blunt, but it's true. I feel like you need to talk to your doctor about an apparent inner-ear problem. It could really mess you looks like it already has.

Honestly, the shadows are too dark. The lights are too light. The ground is now a wall. It's gross. Here, go to Home Depot. Ask for a level. Tell them Morgan sent you. Next time you go shooting, place this level on top of your camera, where the hot shoe is, and make sure you aren't tipping over. That will spare everyone major headaches. Thank you.

As a photographer, your work is never perfect. There is always something to learn. Always someplace new to explore. Always another new person to meet and figure out. We always have things we could work on. I need to read up more on composition and fibonacci. Janice needs to learn that her camera has more than one function. JJ needs to see a doctor as well as read up on lighting. Thomas could use help in production as opposed to post. A good first shot really makes photoshop a lot more fun. You have a lot more options.

Thank you for joining this session of "Photographers Need Help." Please join us next week while I bash on plumbers! =)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Straighten Up Those Facts, Sir!

I'll post about NAB in a bit. (There are a lot of pictures to sift through.) First, I want to just explain something to you.

I'm 19, and I'm small, but I am not stupid. I am quiet when with a lot of people, because I like to listen. I don't get along with everybody, and I don't try to. There will be at least one person that I disagree with in every group I'm with. I am allowed to voice those disagreements, even if you agree with that person. If you physically hurt me, I have every right to tell someone. If you emotionally hurt me, I have every right to cut myself off from you. Nathan is my best friend and no amount of gossip is going to change that.

Over the years, I have become more quiet when with people. It's because now I want to listen. Yes, before, I did talk a lot. Yes, now, I hardly say a word. I hear a lot more though, now, and that's what I'm aiming for. It would have been way nice if you had asked me how I was doing instead of assuming my silence meant I was unhappy. Hey, you did that for Rachel, so I'm positive you could have asked me, too! You probably would have been surprised to find that I was actually extremely happy with hanging out! It was alright that you didn't ask me and just assumed, but it wasn't alright when you completely lied to my face about it. That was far from okay.

When I voice my opinion, it's because I actually have an opinion. It is not because I dislike the other person. If I don't like someone, I'm not going to waste my time arguing with them. I'll simply walk away. I don't feel the need to stand there and pointlessly put someone down. I do feel the need to speak up when I disagree. Sometimes, I am wrong. I understand that. But that is why I say something. Maybe then people can point out the info I am missing to make me understand why I am wrong. My opinions are just that: my opinions. They are not yours, so don't try to apologize for them. Your opinions are yours, mine are mine, that is how life is. Nobody agrees with everybody all of the time.

No, Derek is not my son. He's my little brother. Yes, he happened to come into our lives the same time that Nathan came into mine. That doesn't make Derek my son. Sorry, it just doesn't.

When you pushed me into the lockers and hurt me, yes, I did run and tell. Why? Because you're nothing but a bully and I was not about to be the next victim. I'm sorry that you couldn't talk to me like a rational person, I tried to understand what you were thinking. I know you pushed me because you were angry at me, and I am not going to apologize for that. I am a Mormon, and that is what I choose to be. I don't care if you aren't. I'm not going to treat you any differently for your beliefs. I expect the same. I choose to be a Mormon, and I could quit at any time if I wanted, but I don't want to. Push me around all you want for it, it won't change that fact. However, pushing me around will get you into trouble. I suggest, like I did then, that you learn to accept me for who I am because I did the same for you for years. I am sorry that it felt like your life was falling apart, but maybe, if you had made better choices, you wouldn't have felt that way. (The "choices" I am referring to are the ones you made that physically hurt me.)

If you were to stop for a second and actually listen to what I have to say, you'll find that I do have things to say. I can't just interrupt you though. I was raised to not do that. You talk, I listen. I talk, you listen. That's how it is supposed to be. I am shy, but not insecure. So if you want to assume that I am insecure, that's alright. But when you assume I'm always negative because I am quiet, that hurts. Especially when you yell at me for it. I am not a negative person. I disagree with you and I'm quiet. That doesn't mean I am negative. In fact, I'm positive. I am positive that you need to mature a bit more before you do anything. I don't drink, or smoke, or party. I love being home with my family, and I love snuggling up and watching a movie with Nathan. That doesn't mean I am negative. It means I realize that I have a lot to do and being drunk won't really help me do those things. If you drink, that's your deal. I don't drink, so don't beat me up for it. I'm not going to start hating you for your choice of beverage at dinner. I won't think less of you for going out on a Friday night and hooking up with some random person. That is all your life, not mine. You made your choices, I make mine. That doesn't make me scared or insecure. Actually I feel like it makes me the opposite. I have the courage and self confidence to have an opinion on the matter. If I were insecure, I would freely float into your world and get wasted to prove myself. I don't have to. I am who I am, I choose to be this way. The politicians didn't decide how I would live my life. I chose how I would live my life.

I am Morgan Mikel. And I honestly don't think you realize who I am. I am not misunderstood, I just think people choose to see what they want. They see a quiet, little Mormon and assume I'm a judgmental scaredy-cat.  I'd like to tell you that I am not. If you hurt me, I'll let you know. If I disagree with your opinion, I'll explain why. If I'm quiet, I'm listening. If I had been pregnant, I wouldn't still weigh 100 lbs. If you feel like I hurt your feelings, it would be awesome for you to tell me so that I can see what I did wrong. 90% of the time, if you assume something about me, you're probably wrong. It's easier just to ask, I will answer any questions you have. I am not hiding anything and I don't see why I would ever need to. I don't live a life I am ashamed of.

(Every paragraph in here was directed at individuals or a group of individuals. You know who you are. If you feel like something was unfairly directed at you, then just speak up. My hearing isn't good enough to hear your thoughts. I was not trying to bash on you, I was simply telling you my feelings. Thank you)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Morgan Mikel's Bin List

For the past while, I've been seeing all of these ads telling that if I click on their link they will tell me 365 things to do before I die in SLC. Honestly, I know there are millions of things that would be awesome to do before I die. I should go sky diving, I should drive on the autobahn, I should eat pasta in Italy. I get it. I already have a bucket list... I don't need someone else to write me one.

What I decided I needed was a bin list. That's a list of things that belong in the trash bin of life. Unfortunately, some of these things are unavoidable, and some I don't realize belong on a bin list until after I've already done them.

Here is my bin list so far:

1. Do NOT watch a film with a film major. -- I can't even begin to tell you how annoying they can be. If it's the first time they're watching it, then you're sorta safe, otherwise, you may want headphones. Film majors have this way of analyzing every pixel, every second, and every syllable. We are bred to do that. If you don't want to hear about how the HMI cranked up in the back gives the actor a nice glow which accentuates the line he is about to say, then I suggest watching films alone or with a mime rather than with a film major.

2. Do NOT walk into Utah Valley and utter one critical word about Jimmer. -- It is common knowledge that Jimmer Fredette is an awesome basketball player. He's won a lot of awards, and he's worked for them. That is great, and he deserves some praise. Utah Valley, however, seems to believe he deserves a lot more than that. They may build a shrine to him soon...and I don't want to be around when that happens. I made the mistake of walking into an apartment on BYU campus and mentioning how ridiculous "Jimmer Fever" is. (Do they even call it that?) I think my friend met outside of his apartment the next time for my safety...his roommates probably don't like me now. I dirtied their idol.

3. Do NOT mention the auto function on your DSLR. -- DSLR is a fancy camera that has interchangeable lens and all sorts of amazing features. Yes, they even have an automatic function. Often times, especially when the weather starts calming down, you will see people out shooting with their DSLRs. Sometimes those people will be attractive men. Naturally, owning a camera too, you'll have this desire to go over and strike up a conversation. That's awesome! Go for it! But before you open your mouth, realize that beauty without brains is really just a nice scarecrow. If you ask him about the auto function on his $3,000 baby, he's going to look at you and put you on his bin list. If you know nothing about DSLRs, just smile and nod as he shows off.

4. Do NOT go to a 3D film and expect greatness. -- 3D is the latest but not necessarily the greatest new fad. James Cameron made a beautiful looking 3D film, but the story isn't too great. Alice in Wonderland had an awesome story to it, but a lot of people saw it in 3D. They disliked it. I saw it in 2D, and I loved it! Our brains cannot register 3D on top of an in depth story. We live in 3D, but our minds have been programmed to watch screens that are 2D. If you are really young now, and watch 3D a lot, you'll be okay, but anyone older than me will always have a hard time with the 3D gimmicks. It's a proven fact. If you want to be dazzled, watch a 3D flick, but if you want entertainment that you enjoy, stick to classic 2D.

5. Do NOT keep a beer bottle in your car, especially an empty one. -- This is a given, but it's a good idea to remember when you're on prop duty and the main prop is a beer bottle. It's definitely good to remember when on BYU campus. Don't assume the cop that pulls you over for speeding is going to accept the excuse "I'm using it for a student film...I promise."

Those are the only ones I have come up with yet. There will be more to come with time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I was laying on the couch, attempting to go to sleep for a short three hour nap when my phone buzzes. My first thought was "Yes! Nathan!" My second thought was "Ow, headache!" Then I read my phone and thought "Ugh, Who is this?" Which is what I sent to the person who texted me. Turns out it was Robert. He needed help with a photo assignment.

I gave him the information he needed then when I asked who it was, he was surprised that I didn't have his number in my phone. He asked if I just arbitrarily delete numbers. The answer is No. I don't. The only numbers I have in my phone are family (including Nathan's family), important places (the kids pediatrician, the elementary school, etc.), neighbors, and friends that I talk to often. I don't want my phone full of extraneous numbers. You have to make the cut.

To make the cut you can't be rude. I'm sure I've gotten myself kicked out of other people's address books, and that's just fine. People who treat me like crap are not in my phone for any reason. Another way to make the cut is to be a friend. If you've helped me in anyway (for school, work, or personal matters) then you are in my phone. If all you do is "un-help" me (that's what Braxton said) then you are not in my phone.

Robert asked why I deleted him. I flat out told him because he treats me like crap and I don't want to have anything to do with him. Somehow that didn't exactly come out with the desired effect. He still thinks I want to be his friend. It's like he believes my world revolves around him. Nothing I do seems to get the idea through his head that I don't like him. The more I push him away the more he takes interest in me.

That happens a lot. Many times I have flat out told people that I don't like them and they still think I want to be their best friend. (Let me take a second and define something. Living here in Mormonville, everyone will still try to be nice to you even if you aren't nice to them. It's their way of life out here. That is not what I'm talking about. That doesn't bother me because I've grown up with it and have come to expect and accept it.) It happened a lot in high school. I would meet someone who didn't with me. (Some of them were creepy, most made me uncomfortable.) I would tell them that I didn't really have an interest in being their friend. (I don't see the point in beating around the bush with things like that.) For a week they would leave me alone, but sure enough they would come back and try all over again to be my friend.

I don't know what could be more rude than saying "Hey, I don't want to be friends with you." Yet, that doesn't seem to click with people. On the flip side, I'll be nice to people and help them when they need it. Those people tend to not like me. When I'm nice to people, they start excluding me.

I grew up with a bunch of gals, and I've never picked on them. I've stood up for them and lost friends over it. I helped them when they need it. I don't ask for favors in return. I cheer when they accomplish something. I cry when they are upset. And yet...they still don't like me! I don't get this!

It all seems so backwards. I love it when people are nice to me. It makes me want to be their friend. When Sean helps me in cinematography and takes the time to ask about how I'm doing, that is awesome! It makes me want to work with him more and be his friend. When people *cough*robert*cough* tell me things like "you're immature and scared" I tend to not want to be with them anymore. That seems logical. It's what I was taught growing up!

It makes me wonder if I'm doing things completely wrong. Like am I actually not being nice at all? Maybe it's like in Fight Club where the guy thinks that he's a good guy and his friend is a bad guy when in reality he has completely lost his mind. Maybe I think I'm being nice and then there are times when I am totally out of it and I'm sabotaging everybody!

I think that's possible, except Nathan still loves me...and his family doesn't hate I have no idea.

Everything is just so sdrawkcab...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Two Roads Diverged

I haven't been in this major for too long, but I have been in long enough to notice things. The first thing I noticed is that we're all taking the same classes. I know, bizarre, right? First we all go to analyses, then the next semester we're all in 2110 or a directing class. So silly how that works out.

The second thing I noticed, immediately after noticing the first thing, is that despite the fact that we're all on the same path, taking the same classes, and having the same teachers, we are all learning totally different things.

In our analyses class, all we did was watch movies and talk about them. It was highly productive. From that class, I learned how to troubleshoot a screenplay to make it a lot better. Austin took the same class, he learned how to direct people a bit better and how to make things fit together nicer. Robert took the same class and now believes that watching movie after movie after movie will make him a good filmmaker.

We all sat through the same lessons. We all suffered through Paul's endless ramblings of military life and being Mormon. We all looked forward to Alex's classes, where we learned important things such as how love stories don't require two people. Each of us listened to the exact same things. The difference is what we actually heard.

Austin, Robert and I all want to direct, produce and/or write. Austin listens for things that will help him move towards directing. I tend to hear things that help me understand the whole process better so that I can do my part better. Robert tends to hear the pointless things, such as "there will generally be water on the road so that light can be bounced off of it." Now, that isn't entirely pointless if you're planning on being a cinematographer. Robert claims that he definitely does not want to do that.

The way each of us learns highly determines which way we'll go and that will, in turn, determine how far we will each go. That's true for everything, not just film making. If I want to be a good mom, then I'm going to watch mom's that I admire and learn what makes them so great. If I want to be a taco maker, I'll probably visit my favorite taco stand and watch them make the tacos. A man is not going to watch mothers and try to mimic their actions. Instead they might learn to appreciate the efforts put in, or they might decide that they do not want to marry someone like that. A tasteless person might not care to make tasty tacos, so when they visit the taco stand, they aren't going to pay attention to the creation of their food.

Everyone has opportunities and experiences. Everyone has the chance to learn the same things. How we handle those experiences and what we choose to learn determines our entire path.

If I wanted to be a DP (director of photography/cinematographer) then when I sit through my 2110 class I'd pay attention to how I should light things so that editing is effortless. If I wanted to be a camera operator, then I'll pay close attention to framing and composition as well as the technical aspects. As it is, I want to be a writer/producer. Therefore, when I sit through a class I wade through all the mucky editing and lighting lessons, and fill my notebook with lessons on how to write an effective screenplay.

In life I want to make films, have a family, and visit Italy. I take classes that I'm required to, but I learn what I want about film making. I watch families interact and pick qualities that I like and want to have in my own family (most of these come from mine and Nathan's families). Visiting Italy is a bit harder, but I always watch for ways and chances to travel.

Everything I will do is determined by what I choose to learn now.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dodge Ball

Do you remember the days of dodge ball in school? Teachers tried to divide the class evenly: each team consisting of athletic people and nerds, equally. Balls would be thrown out onto the court and you would have to run up to them. Then the game always ended the same way. One team would cream the opponents. Team A would still have ten people, while Team B would have one, small, terrified student.

Team A would then plan to throw all the balls at one time. It's flawless. The remaining student is usually a small target and pretty good at running for their life, so by throwing all the balls, someone is bound to hit him or he'll run right into a ball while dodging. Logically, as a kid, it's an epic plan!

The last student, at this point, is terrified of letting his team down, of getting nailed in the face, and of actually saving his team because the other team may pick on him later. It's a tough place to be. Trust me. I always ended up being that last student. I was just a super small target! And I was good and dodging! When the entire team is there, it's super easy to dodge and be confident. But all at once, you're alone...and there is no one to hide behind...

Life is pretty much like one giant dodge ball game...and right now...It's me against all those huge scary people!

For all of my life I've been able to just coast by, letting all those events pass by me with minimal damage. Now, I caught one of the balls. I've become noticed. The other side is gathering all of their ammo. They're throwing all of the balls at me at one time.

First, my hard drive and computer crash. That was no big deal. It turned into an opportunity. I caught that ball and threw it back. Then Robert tried to mess me up. I had do dodge that one... After, I find out that my "friends" aren't anything better than any other human out there. They exclude me because, instead of asking how I feel, they leave me out to make their lives easier. That one flew at me repeatedly, and this time I caught it. And I'm carefully picking where to throw it next. So far, that's three balls... the team has at least five.

That means there are two more balls coming at me. I can't wait for them, just so I can throw them back and nail someone else in the head.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Get. Over. It.

So I just checked my watch. It's approximately TIME TO GROW UP!


I am not the kind of girl who enjoys being pushed around. You can't easily manipulate me. You can bribe me, but you cannot emotionally abuse me. Sure, putting me down for a week or so works, but after that I do catch on. I'm small, but not stupid.

I'm also not a cookie-cut girl. I am pretty average (which is fantastic!), but I'm not like every other girl you meet. I am not going to fall into your arms swooning. I'm also not going to laugh at everything you say. I'm not going to change my clothes because you think I look better in red. Yes, I wear my hair up. No, I don't usually wear it curly. I dress modestly on purpose and it is not because I am self conscious. Heck, I'd wear short shorts and tank tops in the summer, those are so much more comfortable to wear in the super hot sun. But I choose not to. I am not an object. I am a person. I have feelings and emotions and stories and ideas. Dressing myself in a way that draws attention to my appearance and not my ideas is definitely a bad idea in this business. Again, I am not stupid.

I don't watch movies that are rated R because I have been taught not to. I'm sure there are some good movies out there that are rated R, but I'm not going to sit and watch a ton of them to figure out which ones are good. I'm also not going to sit and watch film after film after film just so I can see how other filmmakers create. I will watch movies, but not every day. That's over kill.

I did grow up non-traditionally. My parents weren't a huge part of my life. Yes, that does hurt me all the time. My sisters were great examples of what not to do. I've sat through many court cases and each of them made me sick to my stomach. I've lost a ton of friends, and when I think about that, my heart breaks all over again. Yes, I do worry that any new friends I make will just leave, and that though thought terrifies me.

I'm not a serious person. Yes, there were times when I was growing up that I did hurt myself or think about dying, but I'm all grown up now. I don't think about those things anymore. I love life! I love my family! I love my school! I love my major! I love my decisions about life! 

Parts of me a kind of mean. I do enjoy it when someone who breaks the rules gets punished. I love it even more when people with problems find help. I love to watch people light up. I love to bask in those persons' happiness. I love when people hug me. I love to hug people. I am a people person most of the time.

I try my hardest to do my best. I make mistakes, but who doesn't? I've made a lot of mistakes before, but there is always a chance to make them better, and I'm getting better at remembering that. I'm also getting better and thinking before I act. It's hard, but I'm getting there.

All of these things make up who I am. If you think you can waltz in here, flash a charming smile and manipulate me, then you're wrong. Logically, you are not the kind of person I am attracted to, sorry. I'm not judging you. I am not better than you. You have made a lot of mistakes in life, and you say you're trying to fix them. That's good! I hope you do fix what you need to! But I am not going to let you tear me down so that you feel better. Sure, I'm insecure at times, but so is everyone. I don't need to prove that I have courage by running around mostly naked or by letting you hurt me. Yes, I can be immature, but for the first time in my life, I can act my age 100%! and I plan to utilize this opportunity to its fullest.

I'd apologize, but I am not sorry for not sleeping with you. I am not sorry I don't let you photograph me in the nude. I am most definitely not sorry that you're manipulation techniques don't work on me. Just remember, connections are everything in this business... Someday, I will be a lost connection.

I am who I am, world! I choose to be this way! If I wanted, I could go out and blow my life and money on things I don't need. If I wanted I could flip my entire life upside down and go for a very scary ride. But I don't want to. I want to live like I am. I want to get married in the SL Temple. I want to marry my best friend, Nathan. I want to be a mom someday. I want to watch the sunset after a long week at work while eating a BLT in Nathan's arms. I want to work for Disney, then the LDS studios. I want to share with the world my thoughts and feelings about the gospel. I am Morgan. I made myself this way.

Get. Over. It.