A bit of a ramble today, if you will.
So I've been feeling like an ass lately. Been reading these really great posts from other bloggers. One in particular--don't remember who it was--mentioned how dumb it was for Mormons to not give their girls a middle name because it would later become their maiden name when they got married.
It's a tradition in my husband's family, so we just did the same for our daughter. I regret this now. Not because it's stupid so much, but because I never got to name any of my kids after my great-grandma. She's still around at 95, but she's slowing down. A lot. And I lovelovelove her name.
I haven't spoken with Eric about wanting to officially make that my daughter's middle name, but I'm certain he won't care. I just don't know how to go about it. I'm sure we could go to the county and find out, but I haven't a lot of time these days.
Besides, it's weird trying to explain to Abbie why she doesn't have a middle name yet. She doesn't really get it. And the obvious question now is "what if she doesn't get married?" You know?
Why do we expect people to get married? I suppose because many people do, but still. It's imposing upon her an expectation, and I don't want to "expect" my daughter to get married.
Besides being stupid in and of itself, there are more important things to expect, to teach her. Like being her own person. Staying true to herself. Think critically. Be the best she can possibly be. To be happy and strong, confident.
I cringe reading other posts that criticize these nuances of Mormon culture--in part because I think it's harmful if not abusive in some cases, but because I did that too. And I didn't even know it. I wasn't BIC, but ask anyone and they'd tell you (because they told me) that I sure as hell acted like it. When I joined, I embraced it all. Whatever doubts I had I dismissed as unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I often wondered, in the beginning, where the church had been all my life.
However, I am proud to say I never, ever, ever wanted to go to BYU. My best friend suggested we go to UVSC for a while, live in her grandparents' basement, and a part of me wanted to but I'm a wuss about moving more than an hour away and I don't know how serious she was about it either.
So many forks in the road in my life I wonder about. What if I would've sucked it up and gone to Texas to attend University with my best online friend back in the day. What if I would've gone to UVSC.
I want to think "What if I went to UC Santa Cruz like I wanted to throughout high school" but joining the church before I even could crushed all those dreams and the ones that came after. The English thing got set aside. Next I remember telling my institute director that I really felt that I should be a paralegal, and the look on his face told me quite clearly it was not acceptable. So I settled for the community college's glorified secretary program--I was very good at it, but it didn't make me happy. It just seemed more appropriate.
That said, I can't blame it all on the church. I think. I don't like anything hard or scary, so the excuses were welcome. Joining the church was neither hard nor scary. It was my way of finally rebelling against my family--sad, right?
I just wish I would've been more independently-minded. Something about the church took that all away from me.
There are a lot of things about the church I am grateful for. A few close friends, my new family, my kids. A home for a few years. But there are a lot more things that piss me off. Eric's the same way. And we both realize that had we gone a separate way out of high school (he regrets his mission), we probably would have never met--and I cannot begin to tell you the chemistry we had, the connection. But still, we wonder. And we're a little angry about it.
And I'm a little angry at myself for wanting so much to fit in, to embrace all the little traditions. I wanted so much to have a real, traditional LDS family. (Eric never did, btw)
At least I never learned to sew so I could make my own clothes. At least I finally--after a few years--realized the last thing I wanted to do was scrapbook. At least I finally realized saying "no" was okay. At least I finally came to terms with the fact that I could not physically or mentally handle the big family I wanted so much in the beginning. It's bad enough I have three. Maybe I'll tell that story later. It's a scary story to tell because, you know, I do love my youngest.
Anyway, I never felt right in Relief Society. I'm just not a girly-girl. I don't like doing "homemaking" things. Besides, everyone my age had callings elsewhere.
My friends and I called it "Menopause Society."
And at least I realized right away that, while largely no problem with the actual endowment ceremony, the initiatories CREEPED ME OUT and there was no fucking way I was going to wear my bra over my garment top. It was too, too weird.
And I know there's no use crying over spilt milk, but it still stings. In a lot of ways I wish I could've been slightly more rebellious and less Molly, but that's out of my system now. More and more I feel I'm getting my power back, and it feels good.
Still, I continue to learn that some of the things I did and said weren't just isolated, "me" incidents, but very much Mormon. And it's weird. And it does make me angry.