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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thoughts on Flip Flops, Losing My Religion, and MP3 Players

Being Japanese and Hawaiian, people would expect me to be completely comfortable with flip flops. In truth, I actually only started wearing them about two and half years ago. Strange right? I would use shoes basically wherever I went, and since I rarely go swimming, I had no need for them when at a pool or beach.

Truthfully, I desperately hate things between my toes. My mom used to tease me when I was little by putting a finger between any of my toes, and I would freak out. So I was desperate to stay away from them and stick to corny sandals - but no socks, thanks.

What changed my outlook on the idea? Well, for the most part, I wanted to be able to actually wear them. My irrational freak outs needed to be tamed. But I couldn't wear just any kind of flip flops. The cheap pairs that are basically foam and rubber wouldn't work. Knowing my luck, I'd probably be allergic to the material, or something disastrous would happen and I'd never be able to wear them. So I went in search of flip flops of a higher quality. To ease my woes, I was willing to spend some extra cash for comfort.

After wandering a few stores and only finding the cheap pairs, or something slightly more expensive than them - but still with a rubber tongue between your toes - I was about ready to give up. But then one store was carrying exactly what I was looking for, which was unexpected. I was looking for cloth or some kind of soft material that would go between your toes, and that's exactly what I found. And they have the added benefit of being made of 100% post consumer material, so they're super eco-friendly. Not to mention, I like the design on the cloth straps. So over all, it was a win-win and I'm not used to wearing flip flops.

Perhaps this entire rapture thing has gotten me mulling over religion again. But its probably several other factors too.

I grew up in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, holidays and whenever I had volunteered for something or participated in a children's camp. But rather than being a bible thumper, I don't try to convert people or tell them they're wrong for not believing. I've always known that there's nothing wrong with being who you are and being proud of it. My mom raised me to be accepting and tolerant of people. But a few summers ago, I stepped out of the religion shoes and hung them up. I'd say it was the change in youth pastors, and just a clash in beliefs. Yes, a clash in beliefs sounds weird, but let me explain.

After nearly eighteen years of basically living quietly in church, I was helping staff the youth group. I'd just graduated, so they needed help in planning events and making sure things ran smoothly. Once we had a new youth pastor, he wanted to make a lot of changes. That's where I started to definitely back away. He'd asked us as staffers to come in early every Wednesday and just pray like crazy for the kids in the group. And that's where I drew the line.

Prayer seems like a pretty simple request. Really, it shouldn't be that hard for anybody. But I don't believe in the power of prayer. I've never seen it work, in my life or in anyone else that I know. And it made me doubt, a lot. What's the point in praying to a higher power that you've never seen results from? I could be praying to some figure that lives on Uranus, shoots lasers out of it's boobs and wears a blue wig; it doesn't mean my prayers will come true anymore than they already have. It's not like I'm praying for physical things like a car, or a bigger house, or anything like that. Generally, I'd pray for guidance, or wisdom; something along those lines.

Years of not seeing anything come of that, it seemed pointless to keep up speaking to someone that I think doesn't listen. Sure, I still believe in a higher power, but I'm not going to pray just because it's what we're supposed to do, or what someone demands of me. Religion shouldn't be forced.

So whenever I hear that R.E.M. song, I always have to smile and laugh.


 I got my first mp3 player sometime in high school. My aunt purchased it for me as babysitter payment. Basically, I watched my cousins for free for four months, or the equivalent to the player I wanted. I've never been a fan of Apple, so it was a very popular third party brand that I had done a lot of research on.

I have a vast collection of music on my laptop to help me write - cause what writer doesn't create playlists for their stories? Just on my laptop alone, I've gathered 17 GB. The rest of my collection is on my mp3 player. And much to my chagrin, those 20 GB are things that are basically impossible to find now. Five or six years ago, I could get those CDs from the library, but now, no such luck.

And with my mp3 player and desktop no longer wanting to talk, I'm frantically searching for some way to get the information off of there. I'll be crushed to lose all that music that took me years to drag and drop into the perfect playlists. Let's hope I'll figure something out and can get everything back. Otherwise, that'll be another company I can add to my "Do Not Trust" list.

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