Charming Girls and Twisting Words

Ok so yesterday I worked through what I thought was some of the most dangerous thinking presented at this dating seminar I went to earlier in the week. Today I want to be less depressing and focus on some of the more silly things said. Let’s have some fun shall we? Also I think I mentioned this yesterday, but I don’t mean to rag on anyone in particular here, any issues I have are more with the general dating culture here than with any partiuclar individual, so relax. 

I’ll start today off with another quote,

“Women want a prince (or a high-quality man) to charm them until they simply can’t resist him any longer”

Yup, you nailed it, buddy. I mean what women doesn’t want someone who relentlessly pursues them until they simply submit themselves and go out with you. Sounds like true love to me. Maybe I’m not being fair to them right now and twisting their words, but come on! You really don’t have twist things very far to get to where I’m at! Like who uses word like “can’t resist” when they’re talking about dating and doesn’t expect people to give them this look.

If you’re dating life has enough opposition that the word “resist” is the first thing popping into your head than chances are your strategy needs a little refinement.

Now I can already hear my father typing up a comment for this, “Your mother ran away from me the first time I talked to her, I would call that resistance and it all worked out didn’t it?” Yeah, dad, it did, and I’m really grateful for that because otherwise I wouldn’t be here to make fun of you, but I think we can both agree that your situation is more of an exception to the rule than an example that proves it. Generally speaking, if a girl physically runs away from you that’s a sign to pack it in and take the L, make sure you hold on tight to it because you need to learn from this particular L. (Hats off to you dad for being oblivious enough to ignore that though so that I could exist! WHOOOO)

By the way I’m totally comfortable telling that story because I’ve heard my dad tell me it I don’t know… 7 billion times and somehow each time he tells it he owns it even harder than the last time. He’s actually totally unashamed about the whole thing. Honestly it’s one of the things I really like about him.

Back to the seminar though…

Let’s move onto specific terminology used. Hey, if I use the term “Social Proof” what springs into your head? Is it like a piece of paper you have that proves you know how to socialize with people in a non-serial killer way? Or maybe like a mathematical proof that demonstrates why nice guys finish last? Or perhaps its a reference to a term used in a sociological study looking into dating practices? Nope all wrong. Social proof is basically when you have cool friends so girls know you’re a cool person. I’m not a woman so I might be wrong about this, but I’m not currently aware of anyone who entered into a relationship with someone because they had cool friends. Sure I know people who set their friends up with people, but they don’t go on that date and have the girl say, “you’re friends with Billy so I know I should be attracted to you.” Like just… yeesh.

“Princes are able to elevate a princess to the station of a queen.”

Another lovely quote ain’t it? I’m sorry if I caught you off guard with the poetic beauty of it. It’s just such a well-crafted sentence it really des… I can’t keep playing this thing straight. Good lord this thing sounds like they took comments from r/niceguys and just plastered them on their PowerPoint (of course there was a PowerPoint! They’re professionals.) Like the sentiment is actually fine, if you’re a good person then you should be able to make your partners life better, but do we have to phrase it like that? Ladies just imagine for a moment a guy that you’ve been on a couple of dates with, they’ve gone ok but you’re not sure how you feel about him yet, then he drops this line, ” You are a princess, but I want to make you a queen.” If you got any sense it’s just like

There’s more to go through here, but I’m lazy and I’m kinda hoping to stretch this thing out until Christmas break so we’ll go over more of it another time. Later!

Pika Pika

Something I’ve come to realize over the past couple of weeks is that not only do I see significantly more movies than the average person, but I also follow movie news much more closely, especially when it comes to trailers. I’ll be totally honest with you, I thought most people watched most trailers that came out for movies. There only a couple minutes long and they’re these little snippets of films to come. I love em! A good trailer can really take a person from somewhat uninterested to genuinely hyped for a film. This is the case for me with Detective Pikachu.

Yeah no, you can still read. There is a Detective Pikachu movie coming out next year. When I first heard about it I immediately thought, “This is going to be amazing with how weird it is or an absolute train wreck right from the get-go.”  Just think about the premise of it.

1. A live-action pokémon movie, already pretty nuts.

2. Pikachu is a detective in it. What?

3. Pikachu is played by Ryan Reynolds. Actually, this one makes a lot of sense.

With all these things considered if really feels like the movie should be just a total mess. Then the trailer for it dropped today. Here it is.

I don’t know about you, but I’m leaning on it’s going to be amazing with how weird it is line of thought. First off, the pokémon largely look really good. There’s a little bit of questionable/uncanny feeling for some of them, but for the most part were in a good spot, especially with Pikachu him… her… do pokémon have genders? I don’t know, but the point is that Pikachu looks friggen adorable. Also, this movie looks genuinely entertaining, and I can say that with some level of authority because for whatever strange reason my parents didn’t let me or my siblings play pokémon growing up so I don’t really have those rose-tinted glasses who just wants to see pokémon in real life. This trailer has actually got me excited to see this movie, although I (and also everyone else) shouldn’t be putting this much stock into a trailer, we’ve all seen great trailers that turned into dumpster fires of movies. I’m looking right at you Suicide Squad, now go back to your dark corner and think about what you did. Later.

Split

I swear this is the last one of these things, we’re going back to random stuff like movies real soon.

Going through the message my uncle sent me several weeks ago and taking the time to think through some of the ideas presented in it has got me thinking about identity. How do we see ourselves? For a lot of people, it’s a really tough question, not because we don’t know how we see ourselves, but rather that we can’t be totally sure that the way we see ourselves is accurate.  Do we overexaggerate our strengths and underestimate weaknesses in character? Do we do the opposite and consistently underestimate our own abilities whilst downplaying personal failings.

Are we at times delusional about who we are at our cores?  Do we think we’re really funny when that’s just not the case? Do we think ourselves bland and basic when in reality we’re fascinating and unique individuals? Who knows?

Here’s what I know about my identity. For most of my life, I’ve felt very clearly split into two separate identities.  Not in like a mental disorder kind of way where my whole personality shifts. It’s more like I can pretty clearly see that based on what decisions I make I can go down two radically different paths in life.

Let me elaborate.

On one hand, is JonnyT the entertainer. He thinks only at the moment and never about what path his life might take. He’s creative, he’s funny, and he loses his mind every day sitting through lectures for classes he has no care for at a university he doesn’t really want to be at. Every day he dreams about dropping out, moving to LA and making a go of it in entertainment. He knows full well the odds of that working in his favour are well below 1%, but he still really really wants to do it. He’s decided that it’s ok to work random jobs for the rest of his life so long as he gets to keep expressing himself in a creative way. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in God, it’s just that he doesn’t think about it ever. It just doesn’t matter to him.

On the other hand is Jonathan Tollestrup, member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He’s a deeply religious person who can relate just about everything that happens to him to the gospel. He goes to BYU because he wants to get a degree that will allow him to get a 9-5 job so that one day he can provide for a family. He does this because he knows that’s what he’s supposed to do and its definitely what his parents want him to do. He knows that he’s about to turn 26, and if he’s not careful he might end up being that weird uncle that lives on his own forever. He looks constantly to the future, and he worries about if he’ll measure up to his potential. Religion is the absolute center of his life and even though sometimes the culture of the church frustrates him he loves being a part of it.

Together there is Jonny Tollestrup. He still identifies as a member of the Church, though he’d have to admit he doesn’t think about it as much as he ought to. He’s pretty sure he could make a gospel comparison for just about every situation but opts to make jokes instead usually. He does attend BYU but holy does he not like it. He knows what he wants to do with his life and he knows that there isn’t much room for him to work on it at school. It’s not like there’s a major in stand-up with minors in blogging. He’s there because he’s too afraid to take the plunge and really shoot his shot at his dreams. He doesn’t really want to drop everything and move to LA either though. He just wants to have more time to actually try out all the whacky ideas in his head, but he worries people won’t see it as an authentic expression but rather a desperate plea for attention.

He’s all too aware of his age. 26 isn’t old for most people, but for an unwed fellow in Utah is concerning to him.  also knows that being able to provide for a family is important to him because at some point he does want that. Not in the immediate future, but definitely at some point and if he’s going to do that he’s probably going to need a degree of some sort. He also realizes that he might be downloading his own insecurities onto a blog post at this very moment and that he should probably not be mentioning this stuff out loud. Too late. Later.

 

Catching Up

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

It’s something we all gotta do pretty much every day. Some of us need more than it than others. For myself, I only really need 4-5 hours of sleep each night to keep my functioning at 100%. For the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve only been averaging maybe 2 1/2 hours a night. This has resulted in a slow decay of my ability to function like an ordinary human being that has only been staved off by pumping my body full of caffeine each and every day. Not exactly a healthy or sustainable way of life.

Let’s be clear about something though. I am the only person to blame for this predicament. No one ever forced me to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning, I opted into working a job that begins at 4:30 AM, I am the one at the register buying the Red Bull, and I’m the one that cracks the can open and puts that chemical concoction into my body. These were my decisions and I’ll own them. I’ve been 100% happy to sacrifice my sleep to maintain my current schedule.

It’s just that I’ve hit the brick wall so to say today.

Normally the way my Thursday schedule goes is that I get off work at 8 AM (I work 5 3 1/2 hour shifts each week.) go home and nap for a few hours waking up around 10:30 to 11. I don’t have classes until 3 PM so there’s plenty of time to take a nap, shower and get ready before heading to campus for the school day. I like to get to campus around noon and study in the library for a few hours before class, then once my class (there’s just the one on Thursday’s) is over I’ll grab some food on campus and decide to either go back to the library if there’s a pressing need or head on home for the evening to write a blog or maybe hang out with some people, I can be social you know!

This is not how today went. I have an alarm set to 4 am that either didn’t go off or I was so sleep deprived that my body just straight up ignored it. Cut then to me waking up at 4:28, exactly two minutes before my shift started. It’s physically impossible for me to get there in that time so I ended up being around 10 minutes late. That’s not a big deal, in all honesty, my boss is pretty cool about people being occasionally late, she manages some 15 of us student employees who come in at 4:30 she gets that time management isn’t any of our forte’s. Once I’m there work proceeds as normal, I stay 15 minutes late to make up for being late and to get a couple extra tasks done and then I’m heading home.

Once I get home I make a bee-line straight for my room to get my precious nap in. I’m so looking forward to this thing, so much so that I don’t even bother to switch to the shorts I normally sleep in, the joggers I wore to work will be just fine to sleep in.  My head hits the pillow and just like that the lights are out. When I regain consciousness I grab my phone and to my horror, it isn’t 11 AM like it normally is, it’s nearly 5pm. I’ve completely missed my class, (again this isn’t the biggest deal, lots of extra credit opportunity to make up for missing a lecture here and there) at this moment I come to the powerful realization I started this blog with.

I’ve hit a brick wall, whatever I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks can’t continue in the same manner. I’ve got to start getting to bed at a more reasonable hour, I’ve got to stop relying on caffeine to get me through the day, because if I continue down this path it’s gonna be more than the being a little tardy to work and missing a lecture every once and a while. If I allow myself to continue in this way this it the beginning of a great unravelling for my life. I’ve been down that road before and I refuse to walk it again.

So I’ve written this blog to mark this decision. I Jonathan James Tollestrup vow to get some damn sleep.  I also vow to stop ingesting the chemical concoctions known as energy drinks. I’ll hold on to my caffeinated pops for now, but they also ought to know that they’re in my crosshairs. If you see me awake at some ungodly hour during the weekdays or with a Red Bull in my hand. Reprimand me, harshly. That’s all, thanks for reading as always. Later.

Formulaic

As an adult, I’ve come to loathe math. Some share this opinion, others don’t. I don’t care for math for a few reasons, mostly revolving around my brain’s inability to comprehend the more advanced aspects of mathematics, and by advanced mathematics, I pretty much mean anything from introductory calculus and on. So like 99% of math really. That’s one reason I don’t like math, another reason is that I tend to not really like the concrete nature of it. Lots of people like that mathematics because it gives them concrete answers that are absolutely correct. I think that ish is just so lame. I like to explore different ways of thinking about subjects and you can really only do that if you are at least willing to consider the other way of thinking was some value. If the math says person x is wrong, then why even examine why person x thought they way they did in the first place? There isn’t any wiggle room. I like to wiggle.

Why am I bringing this up though?, Every once and a while I let up on my distaste for mathematics and I invent mathematical reasons for my own behaviour. Today I’ve got a new formula, one that seeks to understand when one should make their intentions known in the grand game of dating.

BUCKLE UP BOYS AND GIRLS WERE DOING A DATING POST I BAITED YOU WITH THAT MATH CRAP! HAHAHAHAHAHA

(L/D) x P = G

L is a rating between 1 and 10 that describes the level of emotional turmoil caused by existing in a state of Limbo between being friends and being an in a relationship. This is a subjective measurement so just be honest with yourself. Some might also say that the L could stand in for a rating of how “in love” you are with a person, but that word is utterly terrifying so I’m opting to not use it. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

D is also a rating between one and ten that estimates the difficulty of replacing that friendship should things go way south on you. It is also subjective, even when you use math it’s really hard to nail anything down for certain in dating. Is this also kind of mean to think of friendships as replaceable and assign quantitative values to interpersonal relationships? Yes, but math is unfeeling and unconcerned with your feelings. It’s merely here to determine the rational course of action. Harsh, cruel, but fair is the mistress known as arithmetic.

The P is the probability of a positive outcome. (I started with it as P but shortened to P for simplicity’s sake.) The likelihood that when you turn to that person and say, “I have to tell you something…” and that conversation doesn’t end with “I hope we can still be friends.” This is measured in a percentage and then converted into a decimal number that between 0 and 1 that corresponds. For example, if you think you’ve got like a 64% shot (don’t ask me how you got to this specific percentage it’s just hypothetical) of “that talk” going well for you, you would then put your P as .64. Simple right?

This part of the formula is easily the most difficult to determine as it requires you to have some sense of how the other person feels about you and if you know that then you probably don’t need this formula. There are a few factors that you can know without reading someone’s mind that can help you determine the P though. For instance, if they’re in a relationship already, your P is going to be pretty low unless your the main character in a Rom-com in which case how are you even reading this? This formula also puts the entirety of a person’s emotional insecurity, issues with trust/intimacy/self-confidence, and any other mass of thoughts that get in a person’s way of believing in their own romantic story onto this probability, and we all know how rational we act with regards to these things. So it’s a noted weakness within the formula.

My final component of this formula is the G score, or Go For It. Based on almost 10 whole minutes of thought I’ve determined that if your G score is anywhere above 1.2 then you have no excuse for why you haven’t made your intentions clear. If it’s between 1.2 and 1.0 then you should probably be having “that” conversation but it’s ok if you’re still waiting for that right moment. Below 1.0? Sleep on it bud, don’t make hasty decisions.

Now, this sounds all well and nice (or ludicrous if you didn’t get on board with it)  but I’ve yet to demonstrate if this formula can actually be useful in any context. So examples time it is!

Problem 1) L = 7 (I like really like her dude) D = 2 ( I only met her a couple weeks ago and our only mutual friend is an old mission companion) P = 50% or .5.

(7/2) = 3.5 x .5 = 1.75, ya gotta go for it.

Problem 2) L = 10 ( I don’t think I could live without her!) D = 9 (We’ve been best friends forever) P = 20% or .2 (She may or may not be engaged)

(10/9) = 1.11 x .2 = .22, Dawg you gotta get over yourself and move the fetch on. Tinder maybe?

Problem 3) L = 4 (She’s cool, but like we just started hanging out) D = 1 (We’re both adults who can get over this so there really isn’t a risk of a lost friendship here. Also no history helps) P 50% or .5 (Can’t get a read on her man)

(4/1) = 4 x .5  = 2, Shoot your shot my guy.

Problem 4) L = 8 (Ahh Jeez, I like really care about her don’t I?) D = 5  I don’t think my social life would implode, but it’d be a challenge) P = 65% or .65 (I think she likes me, but I can’t fathom why she does)

(8/5) = 1.6 x .65 = 1.04, Hmmm you should probably be gearing yourself up for this talk, but you alright to wait a bit for either more information or just a night where you’re really feeling yourself.

First Man: First Impressions

Ok, I literally just got out of seeing First Man, if you haven’t heard about it yet get out from under the freaking rock and check out this trailer!

I’m going to be doing a full review of this thing over the weekend probably, but I NEED to let people know right away.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE

Holy mother of all that’s good in this world is this movie an absolute masterpiece. Damien Chazelle is an absolute master of film and I am permanently a lifelong fan of him. This thing blows every other movie I’ve seen this year way way-way-way out of the water. It’s gorgeous to look at, the acting is impeccable, it’s intense, its riveting, it’s deeply emotional. Even though I identify much more closely with being Canadian, it made so outstandingly proud to be able to call myself American. Seriously I can’t recommend this thing enough, go see First Man as soon as you can. Later.

Realizations

I’ve come to a realization in the last week or so. My taste in music is like really weird. I definitely I had some preferences that were a little out there, but I honestly hadn’t realized just how far out there I’ve strayed. It took a full weekend of people asking me, “what is this?” rather than “Wow! WHO is this?!” while listening to music to make me fully realize that things might have gotten out of hand.

How many people do you know that still listen to Linkin Park? Probably a decent number, that ish is dope. How many people do you know also enjoy the musing of one Michael Buble? Definitely less, but I’m sure there’s some overlap right? Now let’s add K-pop into the mix as well. We’re almost certainly down to single digits of people you know with all of these combined tastes. Just to top it all off add a dash of love for hardcore rap just to top off this remarkably weird musical ice cream sundae. Perhaps you’re still unconvinced? Let’s get the sprinkles on there too, just the other day a co-worker of mine suggested I check out some Armenian Reggae, and I was just like, yeah sounds dope!

That’s not what normal people do, normal people hear Armenian Reggae and think, “there’s no way on earth that combo works out, hard pass” Not this guy though.  This guy went head first into it and guess what? That ish is sick af! Ok not actually sick af, but worth a try for sure.

I’ve actually known that my music taste was this weird for a long time, but what my real realization was that my music taste has gotten so weird, that I have completely lost the right to criticize anyone else’s taste in music. How am I supposed to look people in the eyes and say that crap like (insert generic pop artist here) is bad when I’m still unironically listening to Avenged Sevenfold? It’s just not right, is it? So I don’t judge people for their music anymore.

Now that I’m writing this all down I’m realizing that I should probably be extending this out to pretty much all forms of media. Can I really make fun of someone for watching soap operas when I’ve seen every episode of Glee ever made? Not really. Who am I to really say that The Greatest Showman is a snoozefest when I honest to goodness still enjoy the Transformers movies for some sick masochistic reasoning? (I’m telling you, there is something wonderfully horrible about watching Sir Anthony Hopkins flip the camera off like an edgy 14-year-old!) Perhaps I should just let people like the stuff they like and just enjoy the things I like for what they are…

Nah, way more fun to needlessly attack things and be a nitpicky tool about everyone else taste while continuing to hold my own up as the pinnacle of media. /s

I’ll be cooler about it all, Later!

The Narrative

The next thing my uncle asked about in his message to me was about writing against the popular narratives in my life. Within the context of Fiji to Provo that’s about talking about losing my faith in a church I was raised in and how this loss of faith unravelled me and forced me to reconsider who I even was.  This process was even further complicated by the fact that my loss of faith was not permanent. I’m now a fully active member of the church again, even though I must admit that doubts still linger. Honestly though if you don’t have any doubts about your faith I would call that a little suspect. I’m not saying that every religious person needs to seriously reconsider their faith for the sake of reconsidering it. Even if it’s just really small things people should at least some level be willing to question what they know. You certainly don’t have to abandon what you know as you go about with questions, but I believe that being willing to question is an invaluable trait to possess.

There are other major narratives in my life that I feel I run contrary to. Actually contrary is a poor word to use there. It would be more accurate to say that I just never feel like I run parallel to these narratives. Let’s take the big kahuna for example. Marriage. At this moment in time, and throughout the majority of my adult life, I have had pretty much no desire to be married. There were brief flashes where settling down sounded really appealing, but they were puddles compared to the ocean of time I’ve spent thinking marriage is a ludicrous concept.  It is the most insane gamble any single person will ever take in their life, you make a bet that this person whom you’ve fallen madly in love with will remain a person you love for the rest of your life AND that you’ll remain a person they’ll be in love with. Do you know how long people are living these days? Holy crap it’s a long time. The most committed relationship in my life has been to World of Warcraft and even then I’ve taken a number of year+ breaks from it, you don’t really get that option in a marriage do ya?

 

Jeff Confused.gif
Every time I hear about a new couple getting married. Every. Time.

 

I know that within my culture as a mid-twenties male who is active in the church and living in Utah county I’m supposed to be seeking out a wife and aiming to settle down and start a family.  I’m just not there. Honest to goodness what I’m banking on is that one day I’ll meet a nice (not too nice, she’s gotta push back on my sarcasm) women, fall head over heels and then things will just “click” and I’ll like understand why people get married. if that doesn’t happen, then I’ll just settle for being a good uncle or something. Only time will tell how this story will play out.

The next narrative I want to tackle is a more odd one. Alcohol. I don’t have a narrative in my life around alcohol, but I’d be lying if it didn’t dwell on my mind more than I care to admit. I’ve definitely joked a bunch in my life about how I’m curious to see what kind of drunk I would be. Would I be an angry fellow? Super energetic? Would I suddenly become really really social? I don’t know, but my best guess is that I’d be that guy in the corner of the bar bearing my soul to whoever/whatever I thought was listening to me. Also, there’d probably be a lot of crying involved. That’s just my best guess though. I’m unlikely to ever get a firm answer.

There is another bit about alcohol that I don’t talk to people about. It is that I’ve for a very long time had a sort of romantic view of the stereotypical “tortured writer”. Some version of me that has to reach for the bottle every day just to make it through and is forced to take all of my pain and make it into some profound writing. This partially extends back to my time in Fiji, in those lowest of low moments on that island I turned my pain into just so much writing. I’ve never written as much as I wrote in Fiji, though thankfully I’ve improved a fair bit since then. I’m perpetually jealous of how much I could write then though, it’s one of the few silver linings about my mission honestly.

Now I know that objectively being a tortured soul like that would be just an awful existence, but I cannot deny that there a part of me that wonders that if I was so miserable and tortured could I be a truly great writer? Am I gated in some way by my sobriety? It’s a terribly dark part of my mind that I am working on quieting each and every day, I’m working on believing that a truly happy version of myself can write just as well as the miserable version, but being totally true to the goals of this blog I must say that part of me still exists.

If you’ve never heard City and Colour “Death of Me” the song pretty well sums up this weird romantic view on tortured souls and alcoholism.

Also since we’re on a somewhat related note I want to say that psychedelics really interest me and if it wasn’t for my faith in the church I would 100% have tried them out., but I’m not going to, so please don’t offer.

I think that about sums up the major narratives I feel I mostly run against. This was good, I’m glad I got to talk about some of these things out loud, feels good. Catch Y’all later! Make good choices, unless you don’t to, it’s your choice really.

 

Falling Into Films

Hey! Remember when I talked about movies? Yeah me neither, regardless fall is already upon us and that means a whole new slew of films that are going to be coming out. It also means that awards season is nearly upon us so for the next couple of months we’ll be moving away from big blockbuster movies to all those artsy, pretentious ones no one ever sees and then are mocked when they win all the awards. Fun right!?

I’m actually pretty excited, but that’s because I love those pretentious films and I even see them too! I’ve managed to put together a list of 19 films I’m excited to see before the end of the year, assuming I find the time to see them. Honestly, I’m gonna consider myself lucky if I find the time for like 10 of these. Tangent aside the 19 remaining films of 2018 I’m pumped for are:

1. A Star is Born 2. Bad Times at the El Royale 3. Beautiful Boy 4. First Man 5. Creed II

6. If Beale Street Could Talk 7. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse 8. Bohemian Rhapsody

9. Ralph Breaks the Internet 10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (I spelt that without using google, let’s go!)

11. The Old Man & and The Gun 12. Welcome to Marwen 13. Erased Boy 14. Vice

15. The Sisters Brothers 16. Green Book 17. Johnny English Strikes Again

18. The Hate You Give 19. Mary Poppins Returns

I could try and go into detail about why I’m excited about each one of these but good lord we don’t have all day do we? I don’t, thats for sure. Later everyone.

Why Even Write?

A few weeks back (way longer than I wanted to take for this, sorry about that) I got a message from some family responding to another blog post: Fiji to Provo. (Gah I still hate that title)

I don’t think they’d have any problem with me using their name in here but I didn’t check with them so I’ll just play it safe. Their response started a lot like several other responses I got, they thanked me for sharing my story, let me know that they cared and supported me, all that stuff.

After that, they asked some questions. Big questions that are tough to answer. I like these questions though, I tend to be a pretty heady person so having big questions I can mull over in my mind for long periods of time is actually a lot of fun.  Today I’d like to start responding to some of those questions. The first of them is probably the easiest, “Do you know why you started blogging? Or reviewing movies?”

I do know why I started blogging when I first started doing it in late high school and just after graduating it was honestly out of arrogance. I really believed that for some absurd reason that what I had to say was just so important that I needed a platform to do so. I also had a compulsive need to write/create and blogging was the easiest outlet for that. As time went on and my life experiences humbled me (to say the least) the reasons for writing changed. It stopped being about thinking my opinions were better than others and therefore deserved a platform and an audience, but more about being an outlet for my struggles, and a way to achieve some sort of satisfaction in my life because good lord was I not finding that in any other area of life.

This naturally led to me talking more and more about movies because as life continued to pound me into the ground I retreated more and more into the stories of film. I couldn’t find love to save my life, but I could watch a romantic-comedy and feel some semblance of the happiness those characters were feeling. So I just watched more and more movies and just like anything in life as you do it more and more your perception starts to shift. I started building a tolerance like someone learning to hold their liquor. The same basic movies that had previously kept me perfectly entertained were no longer able to do so, little problems with a performance that most folks would totally overlook became glaring errors because I had seen lots of other people get it right. Then I would talk to people about these movies and become frustrated about how they just weren’t seeing what I had been seeing, so much so that I thought I needed to start using blogging as a way to fully explain my position on movies. What I quickly learned when I first started reviewing movies is that I had neither the expertise or vocabulary to even begin giving useful criticism of the film. I have some of it now, but I always feel a little vulnerable that someone with real knowledge might come along and explain in detail just how wrong I am though. Although I think I’d enjoy that just for the wealth of knowledge it would expose me to.

Beyond talking about movies though I really felt my writing kind of “stall out” so to say. It always felt like I was just going in circles talking about the same things over and over and never really having anything new to say.  That was until I discovered what is the current goal of blogging for me. To achieve transparency in my life. The goal now is not to arrogantly flaunt my opinion, but rather to simply explore the question of “what does it mean to be Jonny Tollestrup?” (GAH that sounds so cliche and pretentious doesn’t it? oh well like I care.) Fiji to Provo was the first in what I hope to be a series of steps that actually achieves that goal. I also hope that I can find a way to use movie reviews to answer that question as well. How a person reacts to the stories we’re told says an awful lot about who we are and so when I talk about movies I want to now try to totally avoid trying to be objective about the film. It’s a silly thing to pursue anyway, we can never fully divide ourselves from our subjective interpretation so why not lean into it?

Okay, that actually kind of went ok, I guess that means I can keep going through these questions and trying to answer them as best I can. Also, I just wanna throw this idea out there for the like 2 people that actually read to the end of my blogs, it’s been a while since I talked about dating and gave some of my more out there theories on the subject. Perhaps it’s time to go into that again? I actually think I have new stuff to say now beyond, “holy crap I suck at this.” so that might be neat. Later