This is Your Reminder to Just Call Them

There are so many thoughts swirling in my mind.

It’s 11 pm on a Wednesday night and I just ended a call with one of my best friends. A close friend of hers was murdered either yesterday or this morning. The entire family was murdered, actually. It was incredibly shocking to hear that something like this could happen in a small town in Utah, but it did.

As she told me about the mother of the family (the family member she was closest to) I began to cry, too. She sounded amazing; selfless, young, strong… She sounded like the type of woman that you wanted to look up to. I imagine you’d admire her laugh and take note of her fashion sense. You would probably go up to her first at social events and absorb her words like you were hearing the most important words you’d ever hear. I imagine she was a beautiful daughter of God.

Her children died along with her, as well as her mother and her husband. My friend told me how she had just seen this family around Christmas and promised to text her. “It really makes you appreciate those around you before they’re gone”, she said.

10 days. In 10 days, you could never see someone you love again. It’s a frightening thought.

It made me think of other frightening thoughts, like resolving familial conflicts and coming clean about my mistakes. It scared me into living life more fully, because, we really don’t know when we’ll be gone or when our loved ones will be gone. It inspired me to write in this blog, which I’ve been procrastinating because, “I always have tomorrow.”

This conversation was both heartbreaking and sobering. I woke up a little bit inside. I woke up to reality but also to hope. I have hope for her family, whom I believe are in heaven resting from all woes and all care. They’re in a better place, and for this, I’m grateful. But I also woke up to reality. And reality is what I’ve been hiding from for a long time.

Mourning with Those that Mourn.

I tend to avoid connection because it feels heavy. A friend’s breakup feels heavy, trauma feels heavy… even a comforting hand feels heavy. I’ve avoided connection for multiple reasons- some justified, some not- but no reason was worthy of the isolation I put myself and others through.

Do you know what I realized while listening to my friend on the phone? I was getting a migraine because this hurt me, too. Not as much, but it hurt. And I cried, and I get migraines when I cry. A part of me wanted the pain to be over, to feel the relief a good night’s rest will prescribe. But then I realized:

If I am to mourn with those that mourn, I must also share their pain.

If that means sharing a migraine with my friend who’s mourning, I will share that migraine. If that means having one more sleepless night because my friend is having a sleepless night, I will share it. It’s been proven to me time and time again that life simply cannot be survived without connection, compassion, or a shared burden.

This phone call was sobering because I realized what I really should have been doing this whole time. I should have been calling my friends who live in all different parts of the world even if the time zone difference is a pain in the neck. I should have been hosting more movie nights even if no one comes. I should have been inviting old friends to karaoke or Just Dance parties or to dinner in fancy restaurants around the state. I should have been saying what I really wanted to say even if it wasn’t received well. I should have been appreciating those around me and myself before we’re all gone. I should have been mourning with those that mourn, whether it be publically or internally.

So, I decided to document some questions to ask myself that I’ll share with you:

  • How will you live stepping forward?
  • What will you change to see those around you- really see them?
  • And how will you fulfill your God-given purpose on earth and become something that is out-of-this-world fantastic?

Let me know your answers in the comments. And please, send prayers, good vibes, and love to my friend, the family aforementioned, and their community ❤️

Until next time,

-Diyana, 사랑-

Your Center of Gravity

If you want to listen to this post (along with other podcast episodes) click the link below!

Imagine that your soul was like a flower, deeply rooted in a fleshy pot you call ‘body’. Each seed is round, small, and beautiful. They each settle into their beings, knowing that someday they will become something great.

The flower that lives in you may be a daffodil or lavender. I believe mine is a carnation with bright pink highlights.

The flower that lives in you reflects who you are.

As the seed split in your younger years, the fibers reached out and sprouted, creating a cotton-like bulb which grew and grew the more you knew and knew. Like tendrils they grasped to each other forming a solid form- a stem. Then leaves. Then a bulb. And finally a blooming bed of petals.

Now, Imagine that your soul was like this flower, deeply rooted in the fleshy pot you call ‘body’. Deep inside this flower’s makeup is created from who you are as a being. An artist, the funny guy, an activist.

What happens when you don’t nourish the flower within you? When you neglect your spirit?

Well, you droop of course.

Feed Your Soul

If I were put in charge of instructions for flowers at a given flower shoppe, the first instruction glued to the pot would be: “Daily encouragement and sunlight needed.

Everyone loves to see flowers. They’re beautiful, light, and carry an ethereal air with them wherever they are- in a home, an office, a dinner table, or the fields. Flowers make you want to smile and breathe in, to enjoy life for a moment. I believe that’s why God placed them here on Earth all those billions of years ago. To remind us to live.

With a gentle breeze or an abrasive gust, flowers stand up and brave the elements. They seem to always lean back into their designated direction- facing the sky.

Can you truly imagine as if the center of your soul is home to a beautiful flower?
Do you feel like your soul is alive and confident in its beauty or do you feel as if your soul is drooping and discouraged?

I have imagined my spirit like this for quite some time, and I occasionally ask myself, ‘Am I standing up inside or am I drooping?’ When I’m sad, the drooping feeling is quite poignant and I visualize an incorporeal version of me slumped in a box. While on the other hand, when I am feeling much better, I am standing up inside- my form is one with me, it’s walking as I walk and mimics me. Essentially, the bed of petals within me reach for the sun.

Elder Sabin once stated in his talk, “Stand up Inside and Be All In” :

…a father and his young son…went into a toy store where there was an inflatable punching bag in the shape of a man. The boy punched the inflatable man, who tipped over and immediately bounced back after every punch. The father asked his young son why the man kept bouncing back up. The boy thought for a minute and then said, “I don’t know. I guess it’s because he’s standing up on the inside.”

— Elder Gary B. Sabin

Conclusion

I pray this post was an answer to someone’s prayers to keep going and keep fighting. Continue to nourish the flower within you, be strong, and show your courageous beauty to everyone.

❤ Diyana

Happy Women’s Month! Love you all.

The Power of a Uniform

lds missionary

For this travelogue, we’re going wayyy back into February of 2019.

At this time, I had just started my mission and was pretty excited to be in a new state that naturally grew palm trees instead of importing them like Vegas did. Oops, sorry Vegas 😅

I was still getting used to the ‘uniform’ we were required to wear as ministers/missionaries of Jesus Christ- dresses and skirts. Sometimes slacks, but honestly, slacks in that weather was not great. On a usual Sunday back home I enjoyed the breezy, flowy feel of my dresses and felt confident in them. I would often plan out my outfits and choose the right shoes to go with them, deciding on the perfect hairstyle, etc.
But in Florida… in Florida I would grab the nearest dress to me, slip it on, and do the same with my shoes. I would proselyte in the muggy heat of summer daily, getting little rest and often times not enough shade.

The afternoon sky in Kissimmee, Florida, circa Feb 2019

My companion and I (she was actually training me at the time) would walk and walk and walk for several hours a day in Florida. I remember walking through the warm rain and heat waves, wondering, “How on earth am I going to do this?” It felt like I was running a marathon with inappropriate attire.

But I wore those dresses and I wore those skirts. Looking back, I’m still very proud of myself for doing that. I remember being called to a few last-minute service opportunities while in a dress.
It was fun and exciting, don’t get me wrong.

I loved serving and I still do. I ended up getting used to wearing dresses and skirts and it became second nature to me.
And yes, sometimes my dresses would get ruined and that was okay, because I learned something important while I moved out furniture from sewer-flooded homes:

I learned about dedication while in those dresses in Florida. I learned to be strong while dressing my best.
This may sound like a silly travelogue, but it means something to me and I hope it’ll mean something to you, too.

The clothes we wear really tells what type of person we are and I believe we would learn a lot from thinking about the attire we choose to wear. In my case, it was mandatory, but I learned to love it.

What good do you do in your uniform?

Me next to some Sandhill Cranes on a sandy hill, Kissimmee FL, circa Feb 2019

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The Broader Spectrum

This post is a 2.5 min read

Hello everyone!

This week’s post is going to really show my nerdy side since it’ll be all about Pokémon! I played so many Pokémon games on my Gameboy in the early 2000’s (FireRed, LeafGreen, Crystal, Red & Blue, Diamond, etc). Up until the time I was 13, I had only played on my Gameboy, but recently I picked it back up again with Pokémon GO.

In Pokémon GO the hardest thing to do is level up your Pokémon. You have to catch Pokémon after Pokémon to gain “candy” to level them up. Today I was lucky enough to not only level up a handful of Pokémon, but that I was also able to evolve them!

Evolving a Pokémon is the Pokémon’s next stage of growth- it’ll often be stronger, cooler looking, and become more useful to you as a Pokémon trainer.

A Magikarp- a floppy useless Pokémon- can turn into a very powerful Gyarados!

After I evolved my Pidgey, it occurred to me that I wanted to be just like this creature- transforming into something upgraded, something stronger, and something a little more aggressive.

An UPgrade

When I tend to set out to make a change, I think, “I need to get rid of blank.”

Replacement was my method of growth for a long, long time.
Replace this bad characteristic. Replace that habit.
But, how negative! Sometimes, I don’t seem to ever like anything about myself.

However, the incessant gnawing of guilt and discouragement from repeated mistakes was pounding my brain at any second of the day. I could never do anything right! Why is that? Am I really that incompetent? Am I truly destined to be stuck with my unwanted characteristics?

I recently began to question who I am. Who I really am. Some would call this an identity crisis:

A period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.

Oxford Dictionary

I would go deeper into this, but the point is that I want to be- something- better. I want to be a better version of myself. I want to have “better graphics”. And I don’t want to be 720p, oh no. I want to be 1080p.

But how do I get there?

RGB

Did you know that every screen is made up of the three primary colors: red, green, and blue?
The example below shows the colors of a screen that has the three primary colors and three additional colors composed of two of the three primary colors mixed equally: Cyan, purple(ish), and yellow.

Courtesy of Klaus Sgori

Basically, everything comes from RGB.
We are the same. We all come from the inner roots of who we are. For some, this is pensive. For others this is silly or boisterous. Who you are inside is beautiful and it makes up everything about you.

So instead of seeing growth or transformation as a change, it can be more of an evolution to a better you. You don’t have to get rid of so many things in your life to be unrecognizable! Sometimes we do need to get rid of some bad things we hold on to, but we don’t need to change who we are!

So, as much as I love Princess Diaries, that movie had a whack idea of what it means to be beautiful.

Keep who you are, but improve. Keep the primary parts of yourself and evolve.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post! Comment your thoughts on transformation, staying true to who you are, identity crises, or Pokémon!

And for fun, a video of me evolving my Pidgey.

See you next week!