Why I'm Coming Out of the Provo Closet

Ah. Where do I start?
Provo. Let’s start there.

8 years it’s been. 8 long years since my family upped from our previous residence in Schertz, Texas (yes, it’s really called “Schertz”) and settled in Provo, Utah, or “Mormonland” as my elementary friends so lovingly referred to it when I told them across the lunch table where I was moving to at the end of the school year. When I moved to Provo, I struggled to make friends. Seventh and eighth grade didn’t really treat me well and people weren’t as welcoming as I thought they should be. You see, life prior to Utah was a constant transition. Each town my family had relocated to was used to the fact that you would have different best friends each year. Families moved after 3 years and that was life. Being the “new kid” in school didn’t last very long as you weren’t the only one. Plus, the next year there would be a whole new herd of "new kids" to welcome in anyways. Change was normal. Change was good.

But not in Provo, Utah. People have lived here for who knows how many years in the same house their parents lived and graduated from the same high school their parents did. It’s nice and lovely and sweet and all and it gives you the home town feel without being the small town where a Walmart does not exist. And trust me- that’s a thing; Walmart caused a revolution in Schertz. Living in this bubble for the first few years consequently proved difficult. It took me a lot longer than I expected to get a good, solid and welcoming group of friends. But even they had their ignorant moments. It frustrated me how I could not get them to kindly remember that “No, I was not in Mrs. So and So’s class in elementary school and I do not want to go visit her because believe it or not, even though I live in Provo, I didn't go to elementary school here and wasn't best friends with you since kindergarten.” *gasps for breath*
And that ticked me off as well. I couldn't say I was friends with someone since kindergarten because all my kindergarten friends were long gone and I hadn't talked to them since, well, kindergarten. Looking back now I guess that meant I just fit in so well to their group and I should have been flattered. But such is life. I grew up and got over myself, I graduated from high school, and now I go to college here. I’m happy, I'm healthy, and I love where I live.

All this I’ve mentioned so far culminated into the love-hate relationship I’ve had with Provo from the beginning. Reference this past blog post here and you can experience and understand my initial frustration beginning college in the heart of Provo. Oh and did I mention it was the same place I’d already been living for 6 years previous? The point I'm trying to make here is that after those 8 long years, the “love” portion of that relationship is finally beginning to overcome the “hate”. I’ve finally accepted it all and seen the beauty Provo not only has, but is. I know it still has its frustrating moments where, with this many members of the LDS faith concentrated so closely, you’re bound to have judgmental and negative experiences, but I choose to look at the positive experiences I’ve had. And I’ve had a lot.

So yes, I have finally begun to say and admit that I am from Provo. I guess you could say that I’m coming out of the Provo closet. I knew I was when my brother started adamantly insisting that he hated Provo and wanted to get out as soon as possible because it sucked. After he said this, I actually got offended and realized that it hurt me when he talked bad about Provo. So to all you haters out there- fine! Hate away! I can't stop you. Complain about the culture, the construction (I'll join you there), the crazy college students, the drivers, but personally I believe you, my friend, are the one making it worse. 

Sometimes I get a little stir crazy and want out. Like right now for example. Out of Provo is alllllllll I want to be at the moment. I can’t wait to travel the country and have new experiences like my family once did in the Air Force. In a sense, I feel a lot like Rapunzel. Which is good because usually I hate her and do not relate to her in the slightest, but in this moment I'm finding some common ground.

I know that one day when I will inevitably leave, excited and anxious to finally depart,

 I will look back and wonder why I ever wanted to leave in the first place.

Because Provo is home. And I don’t think that will ever change.


Why I'm a Sociology Major

A couple facts about Sociology:

1) It’s probably the shortest major to complete offered at BYU, coming in at a simple 48 credit hours.

2) It’s an open major, meaning I don’t have to slave away for those unnecessary A’s that I am definitely not receiving and I don’t have to put together an application and pray the Gods feel favorable to me that day and let me into their secret club.

3)  It’s considered easy and let’s get real- a lot of the student athletes heavily involved in the winning sports teams major in it because it has that reputation *cough* KYLE COLLINSWORTH IS IN MY SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS CLASS *cough*

But disregarding all those awesome facts up thurr ^, let’s talk about how it’s actually been really hard for me…

 I came into college and I thought I wanted to be a math teacher. If everyone has a thing in high school, my “thang” (besides band…..duh) was math. Excluding calculus from this equation (ha. Get it?), I was GOOD at math. I excelled at it and I enjoyed doing my math homework at night. Why, you ask? It had set formulas and it had set processes. When doing these processes, you had no reason to fear that the correct answer was not going to appear. If it did, you were simply just doing the equation wrong and you could try again.

Cue college and the entrance of sociology and the tumultuous applause for Nicole who finally chose a major.

People have always intrigued me. I love asking questions such as “Why did that person do that?” or “Why did society vote for that presidential candidate?” or even “Why did that annoying bystander try to talk to me on campus?”. Yeah, things like that. Sociology allows me to do that. Yes, it may be considered a science and have set processes (occasionally. Only occasionally), but most of the time we have to turn into those free thinkers writing essays about interpreting Karl Marx’s theory of society and Durkheim’s study of suicide and random theories that go over my head 99% of the time. It’s made me view life in a different respect and pushed me to intellectual limits I thought reserved for smart people (a.k.a. DEFS NOT ME). 

I’ve realized lately that no matter how much I claim to (and actually do) hate people, people are so incredibly imperative in this life. Not just one person, but people as a whole- people as a society. I may be an introvert and avoid small talk like Ebola, but I cannot deny the extent that human interaction and understanding human relationships in society is imperative to our success and to our salvation. Yes, salvation #iwentthere

If Heavenly Father didn't want to us to use each other- our brothers and sisters- to travel this journey called life together, then why did he put us on this earth together? If it was as simple as living on a small cottage sized planet alone that was reserved for each of His children then you could tell me that your relationships don’t matter. But here I am typing this while I hear the conversations of my roommates in the kitchen, so the answer is no.

I am the first to admit that people anger me; I put too much trust into human beings and then they spit in my face and call it rain. I've been betrayed, insulted, abandoned, and belittled by too many people I once gave the title “best friend”. Looking back though, would I change those relationships? Would I avoid them knowing what was to come? Stupid and weak Nicole says heck yessssss. But 20 year Nicole who has a couple years under her belt that she never wears says BRING IT SNITCHES CUZ I’LL DO IT AGAIN.

So back to the original question- Why am I a Sociology major? Because very, very deep down, I love people. I am grateful for the lessons they teach me, the challenges they present me, the shoulders they give me to cry on, and the hands they give me to hold. The truth is, I couldn't go through this life without each and every single person on this planet, whether they call me friend or foe. Whether they realize and/or like it or not, they can’t get through this life without me. And if I can make it just a little easier for people to get through life, then majoring in Sociology and studying social theory until 3 am has been all worth it.

But for right now..... this picture I created accurately depicts how I feel about my Sociology classes this semester:

However, if you are not familiar with this picture, then take a gander at this video clip of one of my all time movies of childhood and enjoy.

I may not have a great job or future lined up for me once graduation hits, but I sure do love the people I get to experience it all with!


Anywhere, I would have followed you

"I really do care about you and I just want you to be happy."

You cared, so you moved all your stuff out without telling me so I’d come home to an empty apartment? Mmmmhmmmm. You care.

You wanna know what I did though after I realized what had happened?
I laughed.
I laughed.

Were you expecting that reaction? Because I definitely wasn’t. Based on past experiences, I was pleasantly surprised my emotions had become immune to your crap.
After I laughed, I called my best friends who cared (and still “care” might I add) about what was going on in my life to tell them the exciting news.

You literally erased me from your life. I know you did. And you know you did. And I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve that. But as mentioned above, you never communicated anything to me. At any time. It’s just a good thing that at this point in my life I don’t care and I don’t have depression and problems with self-worth like I did before. Because YOU of all people knew how your decisions and actions would have impacted me if I did. But don’t worry- in case you actually were wondering- I’m fine.

You promised me countless times you wouldn’t become like the red-headed devil who haunted my memories and started the process of the vulnerable and self-deprecating person I was to become. Now I’ve discovered you were exactly like her all along. I never was good enough and the promise made was just words put into the air. And apparently, according to your judgment because you “care” about me, I’m better off without you.

Don’t worry though. I have someone else to take fun and artsy pictures with and do arts and crafts with and live with and be my bridesmaid. I just sincerely and honestly hope you can find someone else too.

On a lighter note, here's a funny because I'm in a mood having slightly to do with unicorns.


Word Vomit

I used to care.

I used to care so much that it killed me inside- literally tearing away at my soul and eating away at my spirit

I used to care so much that I became depressed and struggled to eat, to sleep, to smile, to function, to live.

I used to care so much that-


I used to care.

But now,

I couldn't care any less.


Disappear when anybody's close

Let me tell you about my day real quick-

I ate a poptart.
I was productive at work.
I had a rendezvous with Cami.
I drank a lemonberry slushie from Sonic.
I drove up a canyon.
I played in a river.
I danced in the empty, winding, canyon road.
I escaped some bees while braiding flowers in Cami's hair.
I bought Coldplay's new album.
I listened to Coldplay's new album.
I realized how little I care about you.
I smiled.
I was happy.

And I haven't been this happy in quite some time.
Here's to the people that help keep it that way.


God can be so hilarious

How ya doin'?

This semester is finally over and I'm still here. I came out alive, and things have changed.....oh, how they have mightily changed.
Life is moving along and everyone is making something of themselves, and I'm just here watching it all happen. I know people who have gotten married, who have gotten engaged, who have gotten straight A's, who have graduated, who have started dating, who have gone on missions, internships, foreign countries.....and I'm just here....living 'n stuff. 

Regardless of all that.... I am happy. I really am happy. This year....I honestly had no idea what this year would hold for me. Nothing significant really appeared on the radar. Maybe nothing ginormous like a ring, or say, a baby happened (ha. wouldn't THAT be funny?), but a couple notable things have changed me and allowed me to become more like the person I want to be. I went through an extremely dark period of my life that I'm sure only a handful of people knew about. And it's not something I was proud of. But it made me stop and realize that I and only I have control over my life and my resulting happiness. I have now made it my personal goal to wake up every morning, making the choice to be happy and help change the lives of others around me.

And as a wrap up of this golden semester, here are some behind the scene photos that never made it to the FB.

I donated blood for the very first time. And oh, what an accomplishment for me that was.
O + in the houuuuuse

Kevinsky. He beat us all to the punch. Congrats, bro.

Cami, Cami, Cami. How glad I am to have met you and gotten to know you this semester.
Thanks for being my big b. 

This makes up for that one time you pushed me into the dirt.

This little missy got her back handspring!
And did I mention she's only 7?

Looking at this multiple times a day is what got me through finals week, my friends.
Love these kiddos.

No comment, really. Except for I love these guys.

Realizing that my college experience is already halfway over. 

I joined a band that lasted all of one rehearsal.

Mom: "I don't know where to put my hands.."

Dad: "Okay now let's take a serious one."

Whoever thought it was a good idea to make me a manager of these people was on crack. 

Many late night Stats study sessions were had. 

I bought a car, y'all. Adulthood is real. And so are car payments. 

And if I could only explain this to you, I would. 
But I can't.
So let's just say I pick Cats Knot.


Hey y'all

And you thought we wouldn't be having one of these?

(ha that's funny because I'm a Soc major, not a Psych major.)
Oh goodness, it's late.

I'm back


Honestly. Who did you think I was, not drinking a can of Coca-Cola?

This time, Tweety is comforting me.
But not comforting my head that needs rest.

Pippy Longstocking has always been a hero of sorts for me. 

Writin dem papers at 4 in the morning and life couldn't be better

Except when you tempt me with Coke again...

I literally can't resist.
Or take my eyes off it.

Told ya.

Oh, and the purpose of these glasses is NOT to look like a hipster.

But to help me with my paper.

happy finals

P.S. this is my favorite tradition of life now. So appreciate it. And get ready for SUMMER 2014


Grow Till Tall

[Cue emotional throwup]

It’s amazing how I’ve perceived things have changed in a short year, yet so little truly has.

A year ago I was wondering what kind of people I would meet, who I would spend most of my days with (if I would spend time with anyone at all), who I would live with, and, to be blatantly honest, I was definitely not looking forward to the lonely summer that was presented to me with a smug grin from the universe. I was moving back home. I was working my tail off. And I was going through the motions of happiness because the future seemed dim and lonely.

Heavenly Father - through a series of events - changed that mindset and attitude and blessed me beyond belief. But, as the scriptures so blatantly say, what he giveth, he can taketh away. And taketh away he has. Ripped from my stiff and unwilling fingers, I was left in a pool of emotions and depression.
In my journal a yearish ago, I wrote “Lately I have just been trying to live Heavenly Father’s plan for me and accept His will. I mean, I made the decision to not go on a mission with his help, but after deciding that, it’s just up to him I guess. I don’t really know where my life is taking me, but I trust His plan and take it in small steps and small decisions.”

And I guess I’m back to the exact same place I was a year ago when that entry was penned. Except now, I’m extremely mad at myself for allowing Nicole 2014 to get back to the same place that Nicole 2013 was. I look back at this past year and wonder, is there anything I could have done different? Done better? Shouldn't I have grown, progressed and have something more than a broken spirit to show for a whole 365 days? After giving everything I was into multiple relationships and investing time and emotion into many people, my answer is still “I don’t know.” I probably could have done so much more, but I would have been left with the same results- being left out to dry by the people I love and the people who said loved me because that's just a thing that always happens to people- especially people named Nicole Hopkinson.  That’s not a bad thing- I mean, people live their lives and nothing is permanent because that’s like, the Plan of Salvation, I just am more sensitive to it than I'd like to admit. However, I cannot express how grateful I am that I learned early on in life that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just for sin and repentance, but also for pain and shattered hearts. It is the only thing that can save me from myself and my own harsh judgments. And if there is one thing I learned from General Conference this weekend, it’s that I must access the Atonement and live my life with a disposition of gratitude so that I can combat those feelings that bring sorrow. President Uchtdorf’s talk was for me. And I’ve never experienced anything like that before where I knew a specific talk was inspired revelation I was meant to hear because everything applied to me. It was everything I needed to hear and more. It taught me that the good things we have in this life can “end”, but in reality, they will continue on into the eternities. And oh what a reassuring statement that was for me.

I get on Facebook every day and I encounter more posts than not of relationship statuses (stati?). And sometimes it plain ticks me off.  Engaged. Dating. Friends. More friends. IT NEVER ENDS. Why does everyone else get to experience that or other happiness that results from it? Why not me? Haven’t I done enough to deserve happiness? I have given everything I am to serve others and be a reliable person when others are in need, and what have I gotten from it? Only a finger or two of people I can count that have stuck by me in my darkest times. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been grateful for those few brave souls and my happiness and joy should not - and WILL NOT - be based on or controlled by others. The only thing that I should gauge that after is my relationship with the Savior and realizing how proud I [hope that I] make my Heavenly Father.

Everyone else may change and break promises and leave me in the dust, but through all that I can truly say that I know who I am, and I will never veer from that and disappoint others. No one may want me, but Heavenly Father always does. I chose to come to the life and I will finish it strong. My head will be held high and I will be proud and happy with myself. Always.



Cue the shudders and screams.

This picture accurately depicts how most people feel about this topic of discussion. And, as humorous as this is to me, I am warning you now, I will not be using the word "hipster" at all after this sentence. You have been warned.
Okay, moving on...

We can’t avoid labels. We really can’t. And that’s the unfortunate truth of human nature and life. And being a sociology major, I’ve come to understand some of the reasons why we children of God do that “horrible” thing to our brothers and sisters. It’s ultimately because it makes life easier. I’m no expert in psychology and whatnot, but from being in a few sociology/psychology classes this semester, I’ve learned that entering social interactions, us lowly humans like to group people and instantly classify them so as to know how to interact with said people for our own sake and so as not to embarrass ourselves. We’re so selfish, it’s great. Say your boyfriend/girlfriend invites you to a party at their friend’s apartment. If you’re like myself, parties stress you out and when you’re put into a situation where there are more people you don’t know versus people you do know, your whole goal is to get out of that situation as soon as possible. Such is the life of an introvert #stimulationoverload. Anyways, my point is that upon entering the apartment and seeing faces of people you’ve never met before, the first thing you subconsciously do is classify each person as male or female. And if their gender display is androgynous, you will probably not rest until you figure out what their biological, predetermined sex is. Okay maybe you won’t lose sleep over it, but you’ll definitely be curious enough to kill a cat. I know I would. Because this tells you how to interact with them and what things are appropriate to do around/with them. So yeah. Males and females. Races and ethnicities. Age. LABELS. We do them without realizing. I’m not necessarily saying it’s good, I’m just saying it’s human nature and our brains do it for us to give us appropriate scripts within these social contexts.

My brothers and I have this game and it’s my absolute favorite. I’ll tell you about it and maybe you just might play it too. It’s fun. When walking around Disneyland during our typical summer vacations, we see how many people with BYU gear we can spot. We get a point for every person we see with a BYU anything on who responds when we yell out “Go Cougs!” or “Go BYU!”. They respond, we get a point. If they don’t respond or if they hear us and just flat out ignore us…well…then they don’t really love BYU and cue the hardcore judgments. And if we’re there multiple days, we make sure at least one of US is sporting BYU apparel because if anyone calls out to US, we also get a point.
This nice little story relates to labeling because, well, my brothers and I and all the other random citizens wearing BYU apparel chose to label ourselves as BYU fans. That’s what clothes do. And because we’re kinda required to wear clothes in public, these fabric contraptions express our feelings, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, passions, hates, and so much more. I mean, I guess you could go walk around naked and not be labeled and tied down by the machine, but that’s another label I don’t think you want. So you could look at it as a con of clothing and labels, but honestly, I like the labels that clothes give us. People portray and express themselves to the world WITH clothing. And I’m actually thankful for that. I’ve made some of my best friends because of that.
"Oh you’re wearing a marching band uniform? I did marching band too. Thanks for putting on that “label” so I knew we had common interests and now we’re best friend forever and living together. Yay labels!"
The con? You’re limiting yourself and others. Basing everything on outward appearances limits other interactions with awesome people that you may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. SO DON’T DO THAT (that’s bad).

Today, for example, I’m wearing a striped rainbow shirt that is a size large and I found for $3 at DI. Breaking down my previous description, you could probably put LOTS of labels on me. If you knew nothing about me but knew I was wearing a size large rainbow striped t-shirt you might think I’m:

A. an actual size large

B. a strong advocate of gay rights or gay myself

C. thrifty

D. just really weird and crazy and shouldn’t be allowed in public

E. All of the above

But the thing is that only 1 of those 4 (or 5?) things is correct.

A. I’m actually a size small. BUT because of my love of rainbows and all the colors mixed together in happiness, the oversized shirt that doesn’t quite fit me can’t stop my need for rainbows to be all up on dis bidness. It’s just a fact of my life. And I understand that people might perceive me differently. But by putting on that shirt, I accept whatever perceived labels might come with rainbows and rainbow striped shirts. I might not like it, but it’s something we humans have to deal with because not everyone is perfect, and, well, that whole classification of groups in our brains.

B. I’m NOT a strong advocate of gay rights (sorry…) nor am I gay myself. But, again, I just really like rainbows.

C. It’s pretty safe to say I’m thrifty….most of the time at least…. DI is my heaven. If you chose this, you win the internet.

D. I’ll let you decide if this is true. Or, if you don’t like labels, just ignore this and pretend I never wrote it. Cool. Do that.

In conclusion: labels. They can be good and bad. I choose to label (and outwardly express) myself as a Mormon, a daughter of God, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a musician, a dancer, an introvert, an Imagine Dragons fan, a girlfriend (…still getting used to that one…), a follower of Christ, a strawberry blonde, a sarcastic person, an American, a hashtagger, a not-so-good cook, a listener, a future mother and wife, and so many more that I can’t even begin to name. I choose these things and these “labels” because I like them and I want people to know these things about me so they can interact with me pleasurably; these labels are important and define who I am. However, I understand that being citizens of planet Earth, we are subject to other people’s judgments and labels whether we like it or not. There are consequences to all our actions –good AND bad – and the reality of it all is we can’t control most of consequences. As long as we are not the ones casually throwing out these labels, making rash and harsh judgments based on our preconceived notions, and then limiting the people we meet and interact with because of these labels. Just because I like certain music or dress a certain way NOW doesn't mean I can’t decide to change that. If I’m being completely honest here, I know I have been guilty of doing this many times in the past, but I would hope that we can stop this. Limiting people and telling them they can’t do something because of a label that either they or other human beings have put on them is when things are out of hand. Labels can bring people down- oh boy can they do that; they can stunt progression and allow people to think less of themselves. But the key word here brothers and sisters is “can”. Don’t let the man bring you down and stop you from reaching YOUR full potential. Labels can’t do that though- only you can do that to yourself.