Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Origin Story

The grades are in. I’m done. My last class at BYU is finished. The only thing left is for my diploma to come in the mail. The end of my seven years at BYU has made me reflect on how I got to this point. I’ve been noticing just how different I am from the kid who graduated from high school in Southern Alberta. As a result, I knew I wanted to write this post.

I tossed it around in my head back and forth whether I wanted to write this for my blog or for Mormon Geeks, but I felt that it fit best here. Maybe it’s cheesy to call this my origin story, but it kind of makes sense in a way. While I still lack super powers (keep my fingers crossed though, right?) I have grown much more than I thought I would.

Back in high school and middle school, I was into Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon, Pokemon, Harry Potter, LOST, and probably some other stuff too. But no one could know. At least not about the weirder stuff like the anime. I don’t remember if I was every explicitly teased for those things when I was in high school, but it was always a worry.

Fast forward seven years to today. I’ve done things I never thought I would:

  • I’ve been a missionary, maybe not as long as I thought or in ways that I expected, but I’ve been able to serve the Lord.
  • I have best friends. In middle school, the idea of having a best friend was only a dream. Now I have many close friends. I wish I got to see many of them more, but I know they’re there.
  • I went to a football game (both American football and real football) and I enjoyed it. Granted it had more to do with the company I was with, but go figure that I had fun.
  • I’ve opened up about the parts of my life that I once thought were the deepest and darkest. Now they’re my greatest teachers.
  • I’ve learned two languages and forgotten one. Technically I can’t say I ever learned ASL, but I learned some. However, I did learn Spanish. I became more proficient in Spanish than I ever was in French, which I have more or less lost at this point.
  • I learned that I like hiking. In Scouts, I hated it, but maybe that had more to do with not having friends in Scouts. Now I love exploring (I should really do a hike sometime in the near future…)

  • I’ve been to Disneyland. TWICE! And I’m going back this fall. Be jealous.
  • I learned to travel alone. Since my mission(s), I have flown on my own to California, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Spain. I used to think flying was so complicated, but I’m doing a pretty good job at it now.
  • I learned that I like working out! I had a curiosity about it before, but now I crave that hour so two at the gym each day. It gives me a high that I thoroughly enjoy, even when I feel super sore.
  • I’ve embraced my geekiness. Whereas in high school I hid it, now I flaunt it. I dress up as video game, movie, and TV show characters for Comic Conventions and any other opportunity just because it’s fun. Heck! I write for a blog entitled “Mormon Geeks”. How much geekier could it be? Seven years ago I would have NEVER done that! I even played Quidditch that one time for Garrett’s birthday.
  • I learned that I like to drive. In high school, I was scared of driving. I didn’t want to get my license because the idea of getting in a wreck was so scary. Now I drive nearly every day and I depend on it way more than I wish I had to.
  • I’ve visited Central America! Granted it was only for 6 hours per day for three days, but I got to visit Belize, Roatan, and Mexico briefly during our family cruise. Despite traveling from Canada to the US throughout my life, I’d never got further south.

  • I got to be a best man in a wedding. Well, kinda. Garrett didn’t have groomsmen at his wedding, but I did take charge of the bachelor party and I may have (or may not have) decorated his car at the reception. Never mind the fact that I was blown away to have real friends, I never expected to have that close of a friend.
  • I’ve attended several concerts! Granted, where I grew up was not conducive to attending concerts, but I wasn’t enough into music to care. Now I’ve been to four concerts in the past four years (possibly another one this year too).
  • I willingly participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant again and alone. Both times previous, I had been in the cast with my family, but in 2014 I made the step and joined the cast by myself. It was scary not knowing anyone, but it must have been okay since I’m going again (flying out this Friday).

  • I went to Europe! I spent two months in Spain on a study abroad. Especially since I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with the language, this was a big step. Also, it was scary because I didn’t know any of my classmates before I left. One of the best decisions I made at BYU to learn Spanish and go to Spain.
  • I started running and I like it! What is it with all of these athletic things that I enjoy now? I hated running in gym class, but now I’m running to get a high to deal with stress. What’s going on with me? One of the highlights of my day is putting Netflix on and watching an episode of whatever on the treadmill. Also my two Dirty Dashes. I never thought a mud run would be appealing, but I love it!!!
  • I’ve met celebrities! Granted all of the celebrities I’ve met so far have been Doctor Who actors, but who cares? They’re my celebrities. I even got to interview a couple of them this past Comic Con FanX.
  • I got a full time job before I’d even graduated! I’ve been working at Chrysalis for a year now, but I became a house manager in January, six months before I was done school.

I honestly can’t say which of these things surprises me the most. As lost as I feel at times, in some ways that’s what’s best. If I knew what was going on in my life, I wouldn’t have applied for this job when I did, I wouldn’t have taken the risks that I have, and I wouldn’t have gotten to know myself as well as I have. As much as I don’t think at times that I know who Spencer Ficiur is, maybe I know him better than I think. Maybe he’s more confident than I give him credit for. 

“And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.” (Words of Mormon 1:7)

The most surprising thing… Tonight, I feel at home in the world.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Becoming My Dad

Wow. I haven't written here in nearly six months. That's probably due to writing for Mormon Geeks and finishing school and working full time (being an adult is busy, guys!). But anyways, no complaining about being an adult today (I actually kinda like it).

As today is Father's Day, I feel like it's the obligatory thing to say something about my dad today. So why not?

This is my dad, Rob Ficiur. He's a dork and we (his kids) like to make fun of him. He wears a fanny pack, he tells long stories that I don't always see the point of, and he has this bad habit of collecting audiobooks on CD and cassette tape (much to my mom's annoyance). As a result, I cringe a little when I look to buy audiobooks, realizing that I'm acting like my dad. In fact, when I was visiting my family last month, I mentioned to my sister-in-law that as I drove late at night, I put on an audiobook to help me stay alert, just like my dad. If I remember correctly, she told me that I'm becoming my dad. Part of me wants to cringe. At the same time, is that such a bad thing?

One of the blessings of having studied families in my undergrad is that I learned a lot about my parents. My parents are amazing. Most people know my mom is a convert to the church, but less people know that my dad is a convert. When my grandparents got married, my grandma was less active, so for the first decade of his life, my dad didn't go to church. If I'm remembering details correctly, it was when he was 12 his aunt started taking him to primary (which wasn't as bad as pre-teen Rob thought it would be). Fast forwarding, he started going to church, but his dad didn't let him get baptized until he was 15 (that was decades before my grandpa would eventually get baptized, but that's a story for another time). I say all this to say that I've been very impressed by my dad's testimony and faith. He took himself to early morning seminary since his dad wouldn't drive him. He served as a missionary for 18 months (missions were slightly shorter at that time). He followed the prompting to pursue a marriage with my mom, who he had every reason to NOT date.

Overall, my dad is one of the most Christ-like people I know. He has patience beyond what I can fathom, as he has taught a one-room classroom for decades covering seven or eight grades at one time. He is full of love, as he serves and has served so many people. He is an amazing friend, as I recently saw him interact with such love to a good friend of his. He is an amazing dad and grandpa, showing love to his kids that I want to emulate when I'm a father.

One of my favorite memories of my dad as a kid is when he'd tuck me in at night. For whatever reason, I had a cassette tape with the Goofy Movie soundtrack and we got into this routine of singing the song between Max and Goofy near the end of the movie: "Nobody Else But You". So whenever I think of Goofy and Max, I think of my dad.

In my teenage and adult years, my dad had become one of my closest friends. I have been able to grow close to him, opening up about the things that bother me or that I'm having a hard time with. He listens to my frustrations and he helps buoy me up when I struggle.

I know several people who have problems with Heavenly Father as a result of their experience with their earthly fathers. On the flip side, I'm grateful for a father who has given me an amazing example of what a father is like, which has helped in my relationship with Heavenly Father, bringing me closer to Him.