If you’ve ever moved, you’ll know what it feels like – the packing, the saying goodbye, the leaving. My family’s done it thirteen times, seven that I can remember.
The absolute worst part about moving, in my opinion, is the unpacking of the boxes. (Leaving friends is more emotionally taxing, while unpacking boxes is physically and emotionally and even sometimes spiritually taxing. [Just kidding about the spiritually taxing part…. : P]) It’s even worse if you move somewhere far, far away from your friends who’d love to help. Talk about sad! Hour after hour, unpacking belongings that remind you of the life you just left….
(You guys are probably saying right now, “This post is so much different than your others, Eowyn. What’s up, girly?!” It is going to be different. This is a subject that is not to be taken lightly, so please don’t expect this post to be light and funny. Sorry. It’s just not that kind of day for me… after everything else that’s been going on recently. Moving on….)
We “just” moved – a few years ago – and, like in The Incredibles, we’re just finishing unpacking the boxes. (“We are now officially moved in.” “And the last three years don’t count because…?” “Because I just unpacked the last box. Now it’s official! Ha, ha, ha! Why do we have so much junk?” My thoughts exactly….) Anyway, it’s because we moved into a house with an unfinished basement. My uncle is finishing it, and lucky-ducky Arwen (whoops – I mean ‘blessed’) is going to move in down there whenever it’s finished.
The other day, we were down there cleaning out the boxes and moving stuff so my uncle could work and I walked towards the stairs to get a drink. Then I froze and turned around. A coloring book was laying on a box. I walked closer and stared at the cover – a young blonde with sparkles in her hair holding a puppy. The thing that made me freeze and give it more than just a glance was the fact that it had my name on it. Not Eowyn, but my real name. “Cool!” I picked it up, grinning. I flipped through it and Mom came around the corner. “I found that while we were unpacking stuff.” I looked through it some more. ‘Wow!’ I thought. ‘This girl is into everything!’
The cover said that this girl was a Teenage Model At Home – a very evident fact upon perusal. Not only were there a few pictures (uncolored… guess I forgot about it even when I had it…) of her posing under big lights, but there were also pictures of her posing in a car, holding a cat, stretching before a run, playing basketball, eating cotton candy, playing piano, calling someone on the phone, eating sushi (eww… she must take after her dad…), ice skating, posing with two friends in swimsuits, surfing, going to a masquerade, bowling, playing the violin, and eating a hamburger. And I only scratched the surface – this book is 176 pages long! While I was flipping through this coloring book, I was thinking, ‘Wow, she’s kind of like me! Bowling, violin, piano, riding horses, reading a book…. She’s pretty neat.’
Then, I turned the page and saw it. Page twelve. A guy. He wore a sports jacket with a big J on it and was holding a football. ‘Okaaay….’ A few pages later, there was a picture of this girl’s desk. On the desk was a cute jar of pencils and pens, and a book and a heart-shaped clock sat beside it. A mirror was in the back, and on it were two pictures of this Teenage Model At Home and Her Guy. Two hearts were above the pictures and below, a sticky-note on the mirror that said, “Call Justin at 8pm” with a heart above it.
I just laughed and looked through the coloring book some more. Apparently, this girl was infatuated with this guy named Justin. There was one of those pictures that you attempt to copy in the grid of him, one of him in a swimsuit at the beach, then on the very next page, one of him in a tux with his hair flattened down very nicely with stars behind him, one of him giving The Cool Face to the ‘camera’, another of him running his fingers through his hair and the words COOL TEEN above him, one of him and this girl in front of an elephant at the zoo, and one of him smiling innocently at the camera while writing a note to this girl – who else?! (My personal favorites are one of him in a tux with the words Justin Is Dreamy! beneath it and one that says “Justin gave [this girl] a box of candy!” with his smiling face and a heart-shaped box of candy. [To which I say, “I prefer chocolate.”])
While I was looking through this coloring book, numerous things came to my mind, mainly the fact that I don’t personally know any Justins. I would be mortified if I did – and it would not be a pretty sight the next time I see him. (Okay, maybe one Justin, but he’s younger than me and I’ve scarcely said three words together to him that don’t have something to do with Airsoft guns. : P lol, Haley…)
But the thing that struck me while I read is the fact that this girl is simply infatuated with this guy named Justin. I know I just said that, but it’s true! I kept saying it to myself as I looked through the book: “Wow, she’s got issues! Oh, look – another picture of them with a million hearts around it. Girl, you need to find something else to do with your time besides thinking of this guy. But apparently skating and playing instruments and eating sushi isn’t enough.” It was as if this book was encouraging girls to think about guys they like – while they’re still in the coloring stage!
For example, near the end was a picture of Justin smiling innocently into the colorer’s face. Above, the words “What do you know about Justin?” with his name in bold letters on the bottom. Beside his face were questions with blocks under them for you to answer – probably either from a boy you know or making something up. Height, birthday, eye color, hair color, favorite color, favorite food, and favorite book were all on the list. I read this and just shook my head. Then, on one of the last pages was a picture of this girl, sitting on her bed in her pajamas with a dreamy look on her face, resting the side of her face on her palm. She’d been looking at a scrapbook – the picture it was open to was one of her posing in a dress at prom, and I said, “But where’s Justin?!” – but she’d apparently gotten bored of that and was thinking of something else with a yearning look in her eyes and a slight smile. Above it was a huge thought bubble and below it were the words, “What is [this girl] dreaming about? Draw her thoughts in the bubble above.” The first thing that popped into my mind was, “Probably Justin!”
I couldn’t get the coloring book out of my mind for the rest of the day. I kept thinking, “This is not something to encourage! Girls should be thinking about guys less – not more!!” I kept remembering something I’d read in It’s (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin about our thoughts concerning guys. Instead of murdering the passage and trying to summarize what they said, I’ll just tell you exactly what they said.
“If we want to make these feelings [for guys] stop, then we need to trace our emotional footsteps back to where they started. Infatuation begins when we let a thought take root in our imaginations, and then feed and water those fantasies until our minds are overgrown. Love or infatuation is not a force of nature, swirling around us, breaking in from the outside. It’s something that we are actually creating within ourselves, a seed we germinate with our own minds and hearts. We sometimes feel like the feelings are attacking us, but in fact, we are generating them within ourselves – one thought, one fantasy, one feeling at a time.
“We’ll only win this battle if we recognize two things: first, that we are weak; and second, that we are not powerless. We sometimes cry, “He stole my heart!” as if he’s a quarterback intercepting a pass. We like this illusion because it absolves us of personal responsibility and makes us feel like tragic, wronged, romantic heroines. Since when did he have access to our inner control panel? This isn’t voodoo! What are we thinking – that he has a little model of our heart which he’s sticking pins into?
“First, the bad news: your heart was under your own control. Now the good news: you heart is under your own control! Outside forces (e.g. Tom, Dick, Harry) are out of our control, but the controls to our own minds and hearts are built squarely into our own minds and hearts.”
– It’s (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin
(Isn’t that great? I love that book….)
My advice for this Teenage Model Infatuated with A Guy will be in Part Two… including an application for all of my dear readers.
What are your thoughts on this subject? I’d love to know!