Sunday, September 02, 2007

Those Who Have Had Influence on Me

Why am I the way I am?

A lot of "me" has to do with the experiences I've had, though I feel as though "me" is too natural of a thing, almost as if I've been this person for all of existence, yet as I think about my life and who has played a part in it thus far, I am amazed to see how I really have been influenced by so many people.

Why is it that I love to write, and why is it that others even find talent in my writing? Why do I have such a passion for music and for dance? Why was I writing plays and putting on my own yard sales in the third grade? Why do I have such a tremendous love for people all around the world and for languages?

Writing . . .

As a kindergartener, and even a pre-schooler, I had a real love for reading and writing. I'm sure my parents influenced me in this regard by giving me books to read and Shakespearean poems to memorize at age three, but I always felt a sense of joy when I would read or write. I think much of my joy came from the fact that I would always learn something new and improve my own abilities. I vividly remember sitting on my bed as either a three or four year old and reading Dr. Suess, being so excited that I could read the words. In school, I would write silly stories, usually about things that made me happy: princesses, butterflies, beautiful things in the world, my family, my friends. I had a real love for learning. I remember looking at the board, sitting in Mrs. Ord’s first grade class and loving the fact that we were learning new words. I challenged myself, I always wanted harder words.

While my family and I were in Europe, we spent time in the Baltics with my grandparents, who were serving a mission there. It was there that my grandma gave me my first journal, which started a whole journey of journal writing. I owe a lot of thanks to my grandma, because without that first journal, I don’t know if I would even own one today. But because of her gift, I have kept and finished approximately thirteen journals, and am now ready to start another one.

The following is my first poem (recorded anyway) written in Europe, at the age of 7. I wrote these a few places in my first journal and called them "Mystery Time." I'm not going to correct the places where I mis-spelt words, because it makes it that much better to have the errors:

Mystery Time (June, 1997)

Today is the time,
Oh please do a crimb.
Never ending stories on the moon,
Telling that it says its noon.
Telling my heart with joy,
Singing with that one (came up with 5 words & crossed them all out)
Never going to bed,
I should have been led.
The mystery is still going,
Shatering on the ground,
Never in heart burst with lafter,
Fillin it up today.
I am the crimb,
You can tell the time,
When we hear softly,
With truth never ending,
So high to do nothing is here so much.

Wow, such a talented poet.. (ha ha ha!)

My parents have continuously helped me to improve as a writer by critiquing my writing with honesty and letting me know where my trouble areas are, which has helped me get in the habit of knowing what mistakes I often make and how to correct them. Their critiquing became more detailed when I entered middle school, which came from them knowing my teachers might be more strict, but also came from my asking them to be as harsh and detailed as possible, so that I could become as good of a writer as I could. They have taught me most of what I know, and I feel blessed to have them, because no middle school or high school teacher of mine has ever covered nearly enough in any subject, but especially writing. My passion for wanting to express what I feel in writing has given me the drive to make multiple revisions of papers, yet no matter how many revisions I felt like making, they would always be willing to look at my work and discuss things with me as well as mark up the pages. They have helped me more than any teacher has, and continue to do so.

Music . . .

I was always embarrassed by my mom’s loud singing when we were in public (such as sacrament meeting) but I have become grateful for it, because I was raised with the knowledge that music is important and beautiful. My mind was enlightened as I learned about great composers as well as great rock artists.

I was given opportunities to learn how to play instruments, and though I quit almost every time, it helped me to discover my abilities, as well as what I wanted to pursue.

My mom’s example of being productive (having projects, such as writing books and giving speeches) had an influence on me, although I’ve only recently come to realize it. I started writing lyrics at the age of seven, and at the same time had a “pop” band with my friends. (I was also caught up in designing my room, writing plays, planning my life, creating art out of vegetables that I’d sell with my friends at school, doing hair and makeup, going on adventurous bike rides, etc..)

My mom had me take voice lessons from Dot Todman, because she had finally heard me bust out my pipes (something I had been too shy to do before, I didn’t know she was home when I was singing either. The song was “A Child’s Prayer” which I turned into a pop-radio style song for fun.) Taking voice helped me in many ways, even though it was for a short period of time. I had to loosen up and learn to be myself on stage/not be so shy, I learned that I had more musical capability than I thought, and I learned that I really did have a huge passion for music, for singing in particular.

Dance . . .

Before Lindsey Clark's show had its impact on me, I had the experiences of dancing hula in Hawaii, dancing/singing with Sunshine Generation, and taking clogging (even though I quit after someone made a rude comment to me)

Lindsey Clark had huge influence on me when I saw her show at PHS of her students that were on dance company. I was amazed by it all and went home that night with dreams of being a dancer just like that. I never lost that ambition or drive for dance and still remember how I felt that night. I have always been someone who has a lot inside of me that I wish to share with the world, and dance is something so expressive, which is why I love it so much. I’m an expressive person and have so much to express. Lindsey was a role model for me, though I didn’t know her for very long, nor did I get close with her (I was very young) but she had a huge impact on me and my dancing.

Languages and a love for people all over the world . . .

I feel so blessed that I have been lucky enough to see so much of the world. Traveling has been a natural thing for me all my life, since my family has been traveling since my birth. Naturally, I have learned to respect people from all nationalities and religious beliefs.

In London, I remember this girl who was Catholic--she was one of the maid's daughters. I really liked her, and I wondered how I could like someone so much who wasn't Mormon, like me. I thought she would maybe be rude to me since I wasn't Catholic, but I thought she was beautiful and nice. I didn't care that we had differences. (I was seven when I met her.)

My Grandpa Blair was/is a linguist. Just by watching him speak in other tongues, I have learned to love languages, people, and diversity, because I have seen in him a love so brightly lit when I hear him speak.

My mom has always had association with all different people. While she taught Spanish institute, students of hers would often come to our house, and she would speak to them in Spanish about problems they were facing or questions they had. I always thought to myself how beautiful my mom was for reaching out to people like that, and I always wished I could speak in other languages so I could talk to more people the way she could. I always had such admiration for my mom as I would listen to the beautiful language that I couldn't understand from another room. My mom has also had a lot of association with Genesis members, which include many ethnicities, with the majority being black (African American, but include people from the Carribean, as well as many other places.) Not only this, but she was good friends with Susie Thomas and the Thomas family. She taught me love and service by her example. I've never heard a racist comment in my home, and have instead learned the stories and struggles of faith that so many people have faced, which has taught me how to have faith in my own life.

My dad's Christ-like efforts have had a huge impact on me my whole life. I always felt so guilty that I wasn't as Christ-like as he was. For instance, in elementary school, I would be really mad at him for something and would be so frustrated that I would dig my fingernails into his skin out of anger, and he wouldn't say anything at all. He would sit there calmly, demonstrating Christ-like qualities, and teaching me that I would have to decide for myself if what I was doing was right or wrong. All throughout my life he has demonstrated these qualities to me, and has helped me to sit back and realize that I knew the right answers. There's an inner stability within me that has been strengthened by his example.


Dell said...

Not sure how to use this. Loved reading Julie's beautiful writing and seeing such delightful photos and feeling grateful for wonderful people and parents like Meg and Bruce. See if this will go. Returned this morning from Denver. Such a great experience to be with the Sabeys. Brian is still a remarkable missionary and truly glows with goodness. Love always, Grandma Blair

Kako said...

I think it's hilarious that Grandma comments on your blog about the Sabeys? Do you think she shows favoritism? I think she grew up with it and felt that she was not her parents favorite. What a hard thing. Anyway, didn't mean to comment on the comment, but I loved reading your writings. I know I said this before, but it really sounds very Blair like, or maybe it sounds like me. I also loved your comment about your dad. He is very patient and slow to anger. What a great quality.