Becoming Incredible

Posted on

I was on the surface of sleep, that part of slumber where dreams are so close that you find yourself sleep-talking because you can’t tell whether or not your amid the realm of imaginings or the land of the awake. I was on the surface of sleep, so it was at first difficult to tell whether or not my sub-conscious was inventing the ever-so-sweet but slightly mournful call for “Elastigirl?”
It soon became apparent that it was not some asleep apparition that was calling out, but in fact, my three-year-old precious nephew, Thomas, calling longingly into the ubiquitous dark of the Robinson house. I opened my door, and called back to him.
“Dash?” Thomas has recently personified the character from his favorite movie, The Incredibles. I think it’s incredible that his imagination is already so vivid. It’s the kind of imagination I can only have when I am on the surface of sleep.
“Violet?” He calls back before I have a chance to flip on a light. I am flattered that he remembers my voice and deems me worthy of a super hero nickname. I go down to the bottom of the stairs to greet him as he lethargically rubs the sleep out of his drooping eyes. I ask him if I can pick him up and he reaches out to me, conceding and cuddling close to me while he tells me of his desire to see Elastigirl again. I lethargically rub the sleep out of my eyes, more than happy to take my little lovey nephew and pass him off to his parents, my brother and sister, who by all means are Mr. and Mrs. Incredible. I just feel lucky that I get to be part of the process, where I get to see good parenting and a loving family at work. I am excited that I am not yet a mother, but I get to observe examples of how to be one.
I am at an exciting phase of my life where I am about to become something of surrogate parents for three little boys in France. While no blood ties can be established between me and these little boys, it is my hope that if not their big sister, if not their mom, at least I can become their Violet, and maybe I can come back just a little bit more Incredible.

Love you too Chloe

Posted on

I like to think of myself as a charitable person. I’m not saying I’m Mother Theresa, but if someone drops their books, I usually hope to be the first one to hit the ground to put the person’s day back together. Or you know, if my roommate was carrying heavy loads of stuff down to her car, I envision that I would turn off Gilmore Girls to assist them to their car, etc. My roommate Chloe Noelle Skidmore is more of the dog-eat-dog, Darwin is my best pal variety. I’d suspected this about her before, but finally this morning my postulations were confirmed.
As I was getting ready for school, I popped a wonderfully delicious coffee cake muffin into my mouth (made special for me by my non dog-eat-dog, but rather dog-eat-muffin home teachers), and continued with my grooming ritual. All of the sudden, unnervingly, I felt my coffee cake muffin slide from my esophagus into my trachea. It was the worst sort of feeling, the feeling of slow death by suffocation. I’m sure you have all been there. And I gave an impressive cough. A cough that lasted twenty minutes. A cough that was so loud that surely all of Provo could hear it. And did Chloe stir?
I would like to say that she just sleeps like a zombie and was completely imperturbable. I’d like to say that she had no idea that I was dying, because it would have held up much better than her argument that she just didn’t really feel like saving my life. But no, Chloe was roused, shot me a look that would have killed me if the muffin wasn’t already, that plainly said, “How dare you interrupt my slumber with your life-preservation!” I struggled over to her bed, begging for relief, pleading through my coughs for a heimlich, or maybe just a reassuring pat on the back, but did it come? No it did not. She pushed me off of her bed, where I fell to the ground in agony, forced to Heimlich myself back to life, which I did with record speed.
Still, I was determined to teach Chloe a lesson, so I feigned my death, and waited for Chloe to wake up naturally, and suffer the consequences for her inattention to my needs. When she did wake, she merely toed my shoulder to make sure that I was really dead, and then used me as a floor mat, kneeling upon me to say her morning prayers.
Later, once the jig was up and I had revealed myself to be truly alive, she wasn’t even happy or excited or relieved. She merely said,
“You weren’t dying! Besides, I could hear you coughing while my eyes were closed, but I was having the best sleep of my life.”

If anyone needs a new roommate, may I recommend Chloe Noelle Skidmore? She is so selfless.

Never Ever Ever Lie

Posted on

I am not, by definition, a liar. I don’t lie often, so please don’t characterize me as such. But sometimes, when in a sticky situation, I vow to repent later, and tell a little white one. A tiny little lie. Can’t hurt, right? Wrong.

I have two experiences where I have recently had to learn “the hard way.” Anyone seen Seinfield? Remember the Low Talker episode, where Jerry unwittingly agrees to wear a pirate shirt on the Today show because his girlfriend talks to quietly that he couldn’t hear what she was saying and automatically agreed to it? My French speaking partner is, by definition, a low talker. So much so that I am always asking her to repeat saying “What? WHAT?” She of course thinks that I am stupid and can’t understand what she is saying, which is infuriating. I postulated a solution to this problem. I begged, I pleaded with her to speak louder, until finally in the depths of frustration, I did it. I lied. A little one, I promise.

“Hey, would you mind speaking up? I’m deaf in one ear. I tried to tell you at the beginning of the semester, but you must not’ve understood my French.”

Problem solved, right? Wrong. The next day, I was bombarded with questions (in a perfectly audible volume, thank you very much) from the low-talker.
“Sierra, why are you wearing both headphones in your ear? What’s the point?”
“Sierra, why don’t you turn that ear towards Monsieur Poppitz? It will help you hear better.”
“Wasn’t it the other ear?”

It all got very confusing. And yet, did I learn my lesson? No, I did not. I continued with my bad lying habits, to much greater a cost.

Today, I innocently pulled up to a gas station with zero intention of lying whatsoever. I planned to keep my peace and get my gas in silence. Until a massive, good-natured 200 lb 35-year-old black man wearing a South Pole Jersey and eating a drumstick came out. He laughed and indicated my license plate. The conversation went as follows:

“You from Colorado?”
“Yeah! Are you?”
“Nope California.”
“Oh, well you should check out Colorado, it’s a great state!”
“Well it must be, they make such pretty girls there.”
I blushed at his compliment and busied myself with the gas pump.
Life has taught me several lessons, one of which is when anyone more than five years older than you or 200 pounds more than you asks if you have a boyfriend, the answer is always yes. Even if it’s a lie, right? Wrong.
“So is your boyfriend as big as me?”
“Haha, yeah, actually he is.” Lie Number 1.
“But I bet he isn’t brown, right?”

My friends, I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was my deep-seated desire to prove that I am not a racist! But the words spilled out before I could stop them.
“Actually, he’s Tongan.” Lie number 2.
“Oh really? What’s his name?”
No way. I thought. Not a chance. Oh geez. My mind scrambled for the only Tongan I knew. It raced back to the blind date I went on two months ago with a three hundred pound football player.
“Moses” Lie number 3. It’s always lie number three that gets sticky.
“Foketi? NO WAY! I love Mo! I take him out to dinner every week!”
Oh Sweet Goodness.
He continued. “Mo didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend! Look, I got his number right here! Let’s call him!”
Oh please no. After showing me that he did in fact have “Mo’s” number in his phone, he hit the green send button, and handed the phone to me. Please please please don’t pick up.
I considered my options. I could yank the still filling gas pump (which was seriously THE SLOWEST gas pump in America) out of my car and tear out of the gas station. I could discretely push the end call button and pretend to converse with “my boyfriend.” Or I could accept the consequences I so deserved. I pressed the phone to my ear.

By rare happenstance, a miracle from the almighty, Moses did not pick up. I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my entire life.

“You tell Mo to text me back!” said the cheery man as my face turned a violent shade of Kelly green, trying not to puke while simultaneously keeping my thudding heart in my rib cage. “And what did you say your name was?”
“Amy.” Lie number 4. I tore out of the gas station. I even forgot my receipt.

And so my friends, never lie. Never Ever Ever lie. You will end up with a hearing problem, a 300 pound Tongan boyfriend, and a new name. It’s not worth it, and I’m not lying this time.

Inhibitions

Posted on

It was the smell that hit me first. Anyone that ever set foot in Chatfield’s theater can remember the smell of collected dust, sweat, and excitement that lingered on the rafters, that permeated the curtains, and that resonated in the crimson red theater seats. And yet you may say, Sierra, that was high school, move on, I’m trying to explain that while that smell was the smell of potential, the smell of happiness and the smell of welcome comfort, it was also the smell of inhibition. The moment I met that smell on the threshold of my high school career was the moment that I, for the first time in my entire life, realized that I was inadequate. There were people that belonged to that smell, that owned it, that created it, and goodness knows, those people weren’t me.

But I became that smell. I made it my own. And while I was never the best actress to grace Chatfield’s stage, I was passably good. I was affordably decent. I allowed the inhibition to succumb me and then I defeated it. Chatfield was my playground, my diploma a shiny trophy.

And yet here at college, at BYU, I am having difficulty finding my niche. I haven’t found the place that I belong, or a smell that embodies my potential. I haven’t earned any trophies. I am sure that I tire everyone around me with my persistent search for a major. I haven’t found complacency because I am not complacent. I am not complacent with mediocrity and mediocre is how I feel all the time.

I feel like, in college, I am a lot of nice ideas.
But a lot of failed endeavors.

Inhibition is the death to all creativity, of this I am convinced. Possibly this is why I have remained in this emotionally stunted state since my freshmen year of college. I am so terrified to do what I love because I can’t overcome this innate tendency to compare myself to others. If I were living in a world without anyone else, would I consider myself something special? Yes. Then why am I not special in real life? I can’t help but be plagued by the thoughts: What will you think of me? Did I fulfill my potential? That’s how Sierra Robinson turned out?

I feel like my inhibition is allowing me, no, cursing me into becoming an eternally faceless girl, keeping me from exploring who I truly want to become.

So who is it? Who is it that I truly want to become, minus the inhibitions, minus the scarring, minus the judgment and blemishes of others opinions?
I want to be a writer.
I want to be an appreciator of theater.
I want to change the world.
I want to speak French.
I want to forget what I got on the ACT.
I want to rid myself of these comparisons.
I want to not need to know how you did to know that I’ve done well.
I want to succeed by a new definition of success: my own.

Norman: Our Newest Addition

Posted on

When screams and squeals formerly elicited sheer panic and would cause me to hurl myself down whatever flight of stairs stood in between me and the p.i.d. (Person in Distress), since I moved into an apartment of six girls, such things now fail to excite. One could say that screams and squeals have become, in fact, commonplace. I have even started to distinguish the tone and volume of the scream/squeal. There’s the low-pitch grumble that builds to a roar which usually means that “someone ate my baked goods!” Or the bursts of squeals, that sounds over an over las if someone pressed the repeat button, which indicates that the squealer has gotten a good grade and/or a text message from the crush of the week. And then of course there’s the high-pitched jubilant screech, a yelp that could wake the dead and summon a dog which can only suggest one thing and one thing only–letter from a missionary! This is perhaps the reason that I did not stir when I heard the latter screech issue from our living room today. It took my roommate tearing up the stairs to inform me between gasps that: “There’s a lizard in our apartment,” to rouse my interest. Had I misinterpreted the wails from downstairs from missionary letter to reptile run amok?

I went downstairs to find that there was indeed a package from a missionary. My roommate Jessica stood over the box in disbelief. The box should have said, “Warning, large reptilian beast inside. Do not shake.” But instead, in a kind letter from a missionary friend, he kindly informed us that we had a new friend named Norman. Surely, a joke, we postulated. Surely he would not send a real lizard, and surely if he did, it would be dead by now. And while we convinced ourselves that quite certainly no one was stupid enough to send live animalia halfway across the United States, we still decided to best open the peanut butter jar outside, just in case. And sure enough, when we poured the contents of the peanut butter jar (with five holes poked carefully in the top of its cobalt blue lid), onto the picnic table, Little Norman scampered out, very much alive. We let out the “there’s a non-fluffy somewhat grotesque but oddly endearing animal in our midst scream” and took a step back. But it only took a moment to embrace Norman as part of little family at Love Potion # 9. We funneled him into our homemade pop bottle terrarium and put him on our mantle. We welcome and embrace our new pet.

For all you Australian missionaries out there, I’ll have you know I’m expecting my kangaroo by mail in the next month.

The Blank Notebook

Posted on

I grew up in a family where each of its members could be defined by a specific quote or amusing statement that he or she made that encompassed the core of his or hers personality. Where my mother “was always right,” and “nothing was ever my [sister’s] fault,” my quote would become the definition of Sierra. Although I have several ridiculous quotes that haunt me at family reunions and parent teacher conferences, a particular quote that has come to characterize me was first uttered in the August before my first grade year on my school supply shopping excursion at the Office Max: “Ah,” I said, as I inhaled the papery aroma, “I love the smell of supplies.” Notebooks, to be specific.

Happy fourth!

Posted on

The Fourth of July is not like Valentine’s Day. The Fourth of July is a good holiday. The Fourth of July is, I daresay, the best holiday (besides my birthday, of course). For those who have read my sentiments about Valentines Day, I wish to inform you that I feel completely the opposite about this holiday! This is a day about hot dogs! About parades (which I was a participant in until about the age 18)! About warm summer breeze, and getting dark late! It’s about sparklers! Popsicles! It’s about fireworks! And you know, it’s kinda about America, I guess.

Most unlike Valentines Day, I have had a string of GREAT Fourth of July’s. To me, it’s the most romantic wonderful holiday there could possibly be. Not romantic in a lovey dovey, commercialized “I will send you a card with pink on it because I’m morally obligated to by Hallmark and St. Cupid,” but rather the 4th of July is romantic in an “I literally see fireworks when I kiss you,” sort of way. Not that this is the only reason that it’s romantic. Let’s not forget the hot dogs.

There was the countless Fourth of July’s in Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City. There were the numerous parades with my cousins, where we sported the blatantly false t-shirts reading “Everyone loves an American girl,” and formulated was the code names of “Baseball” and “Ice Cream,” for all the hot guys we saw. There were church breakfasts at Water’s Edge, and there was Transformers and a brilliant rainstorm after the best firework show of my life just last year. I feel like the Fourth of July is the holiday where I consistently spend with the most important people in my life. Let this year be no exception.

I am excited to announce, thanks to the lovely scheduling ladies at work, that I have this beautiful day off, and so I am going to do it up right, Utah style. Any suggestions for how I could possibly make this amazing holiday any better than it already is?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

Posted on

For years I have been trying to pinpoint my most embarrassing moment. I never had tales of humiliation to submit to the teeny bopper magazines which I read frequently (or at least not truthful tales), and I could never really answer the question when it was posed to me. I mean, of course there was the time that I left my unmentionable drawer open on accident as my friends were visiting my dorm room. And there was the time that I barfed up Nyquil in front of all my friends. And I did trip on the stage in my very first play in high school. But the nice thing about being a relatively self-confident person is that I have learned that laughing at yourself makes most situations infinitely less embarrassing than if you allow it to overcome you with shame.

I am not laughing now. Because I did it. I did the absolutely most humiliating thing in the whole entire world.

I feel the need to defend myself before I even start my story. My old wonderful cell phone, christened Fig Leaf, got sick. He got sick, and since he was new and covered by the warranty, T-Mobile ever so kindly sent me a new phone. The man at the T-Mobile store (who, it has to be noted was wearing: A navy blue pinstripe shirt, plaid pants, a black tie, and brown shoes) transferred my numbers to my SIM card so that they could fit nicely into my new phone without too much hassle. As soon as Carlos V (my new phone) arrived in the mail, I was good to go.
Let me also explain that my boyfriend lives in Virginia. And we try our darndest to only talk on the cell phones at night when it is free for both of us. Unfortunately that means he has to wait until 11:00 for it to be 9:00 my time, which occasionally means some late nights for said boyfriend.
My SIM card does not distinguish a difference between house and cell phone. I am a conscientious person, but my SIM card is not a conscientious SIM card. So one night, when I realized I had something very important that I simply had to tell him at three in the morning his time, I picked up the phone and scrolled to Tyson Earl in my phonebook. Unbeknownst to me, I had dialed his house phone. In terror, I apologized to his mother profusely, hoping that she would buy my excuse that I had simply dialed the wrong number.
But then. But then my friends, it happened again. And this time there was no hiding that it was in fact, I, Sierra Robinson, the most humiliated girl in the entire world that had now successfully dialed, and awoken my boyfriend’s mother, whom I have never actually met. Woe is me.
This may not seem to be the most embarrassing thing in the world to you. But I urge you to give it a try, not one but two nights in a row, and then tell me how you feel. If you can commiserate, please feel free to do so now, in hopes that it will help my cheeks return from their bright red state to a rather peachy hue.

Gag Reflexes (Warning: Extreme Content)

Posted on

I have been trying to explain to my boyfriend that Robinson’s have impressive gag reflexes. I explained the story of a family road trip where my baby spit up caused a chain reaction of throw up for my entire family except my dad. I’d tried to demonstrate the especially loud sound that occurs when a doctor jammed a popsicle stick down my throat. Perhaps he started to believe me when, in attempts to make me feel better in a night of sickness, he administered Nyquil to me, and I barfed in Technicolor. But if he didn’t believe me and my insistence that my stomach is typically in a volatile state, then he must believe me now.