One of my new friends here on the program was recently asking me why I chose to study Arabic, and mentioned that she'd thought I'd been in some "artsy" major before switching over.


It was the first time someone had ever even implied  that I was artsy, which is why I think this comment stuck with me so much. Because in order for her to say that, I must have been living artfully. Be it in my speech, dress, hair, makeup, actions, whatever. Somebody who barely knew me looked at me and thought "That girl must be artsy."

I took it as a compliment because"artsy" is just another way of saying "unique" or "creative." (Also: "Weird.") Artsy folk tend to notice beauty that others pass by. Like the texture of a sweater or the swirls in marbled wood. And gradually, all this noticing--all the times your parents cocked an eyebrow at each other thinking "Should we take her in to see if she has ADD?", all the incessant double-takes over your shoulder to look at  leaves on the sidewalk and empty Big Gulp cups--makes your life fuller. 

I remember driving in Utah before we left for Amman. Coming out of the mouth of Provo Canyon, I abruptly pulled over and parked the car. A few minutes later, I remember getting back in the driver's seat and thinking Did I really just pull over to take pictures of a sunset? Am I one of THOSE PEOPLE???

I had. I was. And I couldn't help but feel a twinge of pride about it, like I had just joined some elitist club of people who order Chinese takeout on the weekends while they "create" and who actually like "Howl."

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how artsy I actually was to being with. I'm not going to give up my day job (oh wait, don't have one!) to pursue a particular medium, but my passions are a Pollock of writing,  photography, fashion, makeup, hair, architecture, food, literature, painting, dancing, singing, film, music, and design. This is basically just a convoluted way of saying I REALLY LIKE PRETTY THINGS. Nothing quite makes my heart swoon like subway tile in a kitchen, succulents in bridal bouquets, the blue undertones in wine-colored lipstick, or a sentence by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I'm not artistic because of what I have created (which, in reality, is just a bunch of carbon dioxide and one of those paper Thanksgiving turkeys made from a cut-out of my hand in the second-grade for my mom) . I am artistic because I notice little masterpieces all around me.

I think that may be a trap that a lot of people fall into--the thought process of "I'm not crazy artistic, so I'm not artsy." First off, who even wants to be crazy artistic? That's usually just a euphemism for "substance abuser" anyway. But I think a lot of people are so quick to cast themselves into their own personal stereotype, and it's important to take a step back every now and then to look for all the beauty in yourself that you may not know is there. I am not just a student of politics. I am not just an Arabic language learner. I am not just a Mormon or runner or wife or blogger or bitch or lover or child or mother (NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT, JUST A 90s POP CULTURE REFERENCE). If I were to typecast myself into just one of these things, how boring would that be? How boring would I be?

Embrace your inner kaleidoscope with vigor! 

Anyway, the fact alone that my neurons have spewn forth this much content from a comment that a person made to me over a week ago is probably testament enough to the fact that I am, indeed, artsy. Or that I'm a Type A, over-analytical, self-obsessed person who fishes for compliments and validation when there is none to be had (aka A BLOGGER).

But I had a dream last night where an elephant walked on water to bring me my shoes (which were in a helmet), right before a porthole in a fjord spat me out in the Comorosian jungle where my friend from Chicago who I haven't seen since 2009 almost ate a poisonous frog.

 So . . . I'm gonna go with artsy.


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