Saturday, October 30, 2010
First, Halloween is on a Sunday. So obvs we need to stay home and read scriptures and wear ourselves thin going to meetings, yeah?
And if we can fit in some family time, all the better.
But really. A friend of mine says she's staying home Sunday and having the missionaries over for dinner. They'll help hand out the candy.
First of all: CREEPY and omg, missionary moment.
I shall dress as Jesus for Halloween and trick-or-treat her house. Or just do my Polygamous Joseph Smith costume idea. I still kill me!
Second, it reminds me of how, in the beginning, I learned that having a person break the Sabbath for you was just as bad as doing it yourself. You know. My family never got it, but they meant well.
"I need aspirin," I'd innocently (really) think aloud, "but it's Sunday. Sigh. I'll just get it tomorrow."
"You can't get it today?"
"It's teh Sabbath."
"Oh. Well, crap, I'll just get it for you. I'll be at the store anyways."
What would Jesus do?!
I was taught not to enable the heathens, so I learned quickly to just never state that I needed anything--including an oil change on my car because The Lord's Day was the only day my stepdad could manage that.
So anyway, back to my original thought: Is giving out candy on Halloween Sunday along the same lines?
Or is it made better with the missionaries there to hand out Book of Mormons instead of candy?
"Trick or Testimony" perhaps?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
don't tell me if this idea has been thought of before. i don't want to know.
Okay. So he'd be Joe Smith or Brigham Young then me and, like, thirty other women and girls could dress up all pioneer-like and BE HIS WIVES.
Tell me that wouldn't be amazing. I dare you.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
You know how you're not?
It's not anything really incredible or anything, just general bitching, but dammit I need to vent sometimes. He doesn't. He can take anything and just be. Me--and I'm not necessarily proud of it--I need to vent or I'll explode.
But we're supposed to have the perfect eternal temple weirdo marriage, right? Perrrrfect. Smiles and everything. Never fight. Never ever think about the D word (i'm not considering it, but seriously: in the beginning we were like "no, not in our vocab because if we ever put it there it'll happen"). We're not just good, we're great! ALL THE TIME!
Why is this still in my brain?! Is it because if something did happen it'd be like we failed not the church, but...friends, fellow apostates, fellow semi-to-non-believers?
Actions do not happen without having first a thought. So saith one of the 12 assholes. Er, apostles.
Don't ever think bad things because then the law says bad things will happen! Right?
So I'm scared, even though my issues are, in comparison, nothing. They're a step above "he never puts his towel in the hamper."
(Which, btw, he does. He just never replaces his. He prefers to steal mine and yucky it all up. It's annoying.)
But even if I wasn't scared (or even if I am) I don't have anyone to vent to. One friend would let me but I don't want her thinking anything bad about Eric (this is not a result of church brainwashing, but rather my stepmom who has beat it into my head that THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS because grown people cannot possibly understand that everyone has faults and we can't possibly just bitch and then forget. That maybe I need her ear sometimes).
Also, I'm not that kind of girl. The one who disrespects her guy. I'm just not, and I can't help but think that venting in this way is disrespectful. Is it?
This is how I grew up: My family shoots off rather horrible passive-aggressive insults toward one another ALL THE TIME. They try to hide the venom with chuckles, but it's too potent. This is not only evident on one side of my family, but both. It pisses me off. They're disrespectful. And horrifyingly irritating. Then they wonder why my brother or my sister can be just the same way. One of these days I might tell them why.
Regarding the in-laws, the LDS side? "Oh isn't it wonderful? She never speaks badly about her husband. Or anyone for that matter. What a great example!"
I've always hated it when people said that, but it became a goal for me. I don't know why. Many people who "never speak ill of anyone" are so transparent as to be funny. They compliment through gritted teeth. You can hear the growl.
That, or you can see the sadness and loneliness in their eyes. Something that belies their words.
But some people truly only seem to see the good. And isn't that good?
So I have that worry.
The other one is that I'm not looking to vilify my husband, just to vent. Some people, non-member friends, might take it too far. I'm not looking to bash all men. I'm not looking to make it personal, so much, either. I don't hate men. I don't think he's an idiot. And the way I live my life and perceive life is vastly different from so many people, and I do credit the church for that but not necessarily in a bad way. I like how I view things and how I raise my kids and how I try to treat my husband--I know how it might have been without the church.
But I need to vent, goddammit. I just don't want to get to the point where I'm defending him--which I will--over irrelevant things. I don't want anyone to think I don't love this man. Apparently that means I should only say good things?
Isn't that what I'd want?
I have friends I'm close with but not in that way, if that makes sense. I don't know how to explain one or two of my relationships. We're close, like sisters even, but we're not intimate. I can't imagine picking up the phone and saying "Gawd, guess what?" It's weird.
Other friends aren't married and I don't want to bother them. It shouldn't make it an issue, but I can't help but think it is. I have this horrid habit of putting myself into other people's shoes to a fault. I project. People have said to me "don't worry, it's a non-issue" but I know it would be for me, so I don't go there.
Which is stupid. Probably.
I just don't have people to vent to. About husbands, men, kids, life. Someone who won't judge me or anyone else. I could use a motherfucking hug. From a friend. The ones I have don't hug, think I don't like hugging, or are too far away to hug. Yay!
I don't even want to vent here. I figure nobody wants to hear about it. Truth, I am blessed. I feel dumb enough when I bitch about things that feel huge to me but are things I later learn are microscopic compared to others' experiences. Humbling, for sure.
I don't know what to do. I'm sad, angry, and I need a weekend off like I haven't needed in probably a year or two. I thought that shit was over.
Anyone else have or ever had this issue? I could use a little validation.
Hi, ex-roomie. Are you here, too? I love you.
I don't want to offend her. I'm surprised I haven't yet. She's been so unbelievably good to me.
So here's the Q:
I have a super-sekrit temple name. For a few reasons I think it'd be good and fun to give it a shout out and perhaps have other readers do the same. I don't like feeling as if I'm under the church's authority, and keeping that secret sort of makes me feel that way. After all, it's not as if I'm handing out other peoples' super-sekrit names (like I'd know them--although, if we received our endowments on the same day at the same temple, I'd have a 1 in 3 chance at guessing). I just want to give my own. At my own "god will not be mocked" peril. Which I'm willing to chance.
I mean, Eric told me his. That was awesome, obvs. He can know mine but I can't know his? LAME. And insulting.
So where's the respectability line? Sometimes I give out little clues as to what goes on there, we talk about it, we allude to it. In the end, this is somebody else's faith that is kept very close to the heart. The temple stuff isn't just mine, it's every faithful "worthy" member's sacred shit, so I'm still hesitant. I'm also afraid because of how ridiculous I see it as now and don't want anyone to think "the fuck? really? you believed and did that?" which, I think, might be the big reason why it's a secret. Nobody wants to be mocked. There are a few people I'd be willing to tell, but not many.
But the super-sekrit name is mine.
I pee my pants giggling every time I see someone's online name as "My Temple Name is Deborah." KILLS ME. To be fair, however, it doesn't take much giggling after having three kids, amirite?
Let's be honest. It's not even that exciting. Temple names = biblical/BoM names. I wonder if there's a Moron or a Shiz anywhere. Or if anyone has ever said "Naw, what're the other options here? I can't be Abraham, Jesus, John, Paul? C'mon, really? Alma? That's a girl's name in some countries."
What the hell.
My super-sekrit name is Sarah.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried and said that they also beat him.
After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.
After two recesses to check legal references and confer with the child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the BYU Cougars Football Team, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.
*Disclaimer: I wish I'd written this, but I didn't. Stole from Eric's aunt who also probably did not write it herself. :)
Still, it's good yeah?
Friday, October 22, 2010
But this is school related, sooo...
We've watched "The 11th Hour" over the last two class days, a movie about the health of our planet and how we're severely fucking it up. The first hour pissed me off, it was nothing but a scare-fest. "We're all gonna die! Turn into Venus! Ahhhhh!!" I realize it was a matter of convincing otherwise skeptical viewers that we really are headed up shit creek without a paddle fast, but still.
The second hour, of which we watched today, was more about what we can do.
People, the more I learn the more helpless I feel. Ever heard of liberal guilt? I hadn't until just a few weeks ago. Y'all, I got it. Bad.
Urban Koda talked a little about this the other day, how he wants to do what is best for our world and the animals and the people in it but just can't fucking afford it. You want to spend the extra cash on sustainable, grass fed beef. You want to buy the free range eggs (even though it's not necessarily better because it's not necessarily "free range"), you want to buy organic. You want to buy recycled. But in the end, you just can't afford it. Food is not all we need. We have kids, we have houses that need to be fixed up. We have places to go. So what do we do? Head over to Walmart, that's right. Cheap cheap cheap.
We do what little we can. I use cotton bags now. I buy products with the least amount of packaging, the most recyclable packaging. We've replaced all of our lightbulbs. We have the most energy-efficient windows on the market. When we can, I buy organic/natural. We've cut down on the number of times we eat out. If we had a decent farmer's market (we don't) that lasted longer than 6 weeks (we don't), I'd be there in a hot second.
But like I said, we don't.
I'd like to buy fruits and veggies in season, but I don't know what they are, what to do with them, and--worst of all--I just don't have the palate for many fruits and veggies. I'm a 12 year old. When summer hits, fruits and veggies are one of the few things I'm happy about: Strawberries, pineapple, peaches/nectarines, decent tomatoes (I swear to god I'm growing my own goddamn tomatoes next summer, whether or not our backyard is done), grapes, zuchinni and squash, peppers, melon, etc. When winter hits, I'm all about the oranges--but not much else. Even then, supermarket produce kind of bites. Also, Eric is allergic to many fresh fruits and vegetables. Canned it is for him. Or cooked. I do like sweet potatoes. As long as they're sweet.
We're also incorporating more and more whole grains into our diet. But again, I cannot stand oatmeal. God help me, I've tried. Rolled and steel cut, spiced and with fruit, doesn't matter. I hate the texture. Unless it's in a cookie. I sense a common thread here...
Trying to vote with the dollar isn't always easy. I live in an agricultural area and yet there are no small farms around here--wait, scratch that. Next summer I swear I'm going to take advantage of the little fruit stands. They're everywhere.
Alas, I've yet to watch Food Inc., mostly because I know it'll scare me and convince me even further that the food I eat is terrible and ruining everything--but what can I do? Not a hell of a lot.
At least I'm pretty sure I want chickens. Which is funny, because that was one of my mom's ideas about me going Mormon. I'd move to Utah, be one of many wives, and we'd have chickens.
Then, then there's Gasland, an indie documentary about the crisis of natural gas and how the big companies are royally fucking up our soil and our water--not so much my soil and water, but those of certain locales. It's so bad in some areas, where wells are drilled mere meters away from a house, that they can literally light their kitchen sink water aflame.
I decided after seeing that documentary that I don't really need my gas stove. That said, I realize electricity is derived from fossil fuels, so you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. But I don't need my gas stove. And, once we can afford it (which shouldn't be too much longer), we are so getting solar panels installed.
So, I mean, there's not a hell of a lot I can do. I'm feeling guilty enough about having to drive 50 miles three times a week for school--it's not like I can take a bus or ride a bike or walk. Carpool, maybe, but there are trust issues involved. And timing as well. It is a very green school, though. Green town. So, so, so many bikes.
Anyway. Here's the crux of the issue today, all of this aside:
My professor asked a very unresponsive and seemingly disinterested room why nobody in a position of power is listening to all of the evidence regarding climate change and sustainability and what we can do to be more eco-friendly. I wanted to raise my hand because I had an answer, but it would likely piss people off. He went on to say it had a lot to do with money. Corporations are now legally considered individual entities, with the rights and powers of a single voter. They give millions to politicians, propositions, etc. for their own financial gain and the politicians accept it because they want to win. Money money money. Capitalism at it's fucking finest.
My answer, however, was that the majority of these politicians who take this money are not only seeking out their own gain so they can do what they feel will better the economy--which is important--but because their constituents, if not the politicians themselves, are Christian.
Now, hold on. This is not a dog on Christianity. Entirely. But conservative Christians, at least the ones I've ran into and know, feel climate change and eco-responsibility are myths. God gave us this world and whatever is in it is to be used for our good. Why would god allow our land to reject us? Then you have assholes like Limbaugh saying shit like the oil spill is no biggie because oil is natural and water is natural. Never mind the scope of the problem. Or that they feel marijuana may be "natural" but that doesn't mean "good." You know?
Nobody remembers the bit in the Bible about our being stewards of the Earth. Everyone thinks and has thought for years that our resources are unlimited, that God would never ever let us ruin the land we live on. That god, therefore, gives more a shit about our bottom line than the fact that your tap water is flammable. Undrinkable. Can't even take a shower in it. That things like this seep into the soil, make its way into your food when the cattle eat off it. They don't see the balance because as many of them see it, we are the ultimate. Nothing can happen to us. We are eternal.
There's a balance between our economy and our home. I'm not vilifying the economy entirely, just that whole "love of money" thing. I mean, look. My family needs more money if we're going to consume better. Which is wrong, but it's reality.
So maybe I'm just looking for it, but I'm angry at religion today, at least mainstream Christianity--and yes, you could include Mormonism in there too. They speak about taking care of the earth with their lips but that's about it, and then only when it looks good. Otherwise, it's elitist to be concerned. It's faithless to be concerned. It's "stupid" even to do what you can. Eric got so much shit for using a push mower. People don't get it. They don't want to listen. They think all of this is a hoax, indoctrination, godless. It's beyond me.
We're such an incredibly smart (forgive me) species. We've taken ourselves to the moon, put satellites in space, created microchips so small I don't understand how one can see it--we have the ability to change our technology with regard to energy and yet we don't because we need the money. We need the job. We pander. We are willfully ignorant. We don't care.
And we don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I'd love to change the world, but I feel paralyzed and helpless. Tired. Pulled in fifty different directions--where do I start and when do I stop?
I think we need to start with a younger generation. My sister is getting the clue despite her upbringing. They're the ones willing to listen. They're the ones with the energy. They're the ones not caught up in a life that took them for a ride. But we can do it too, little by little. Still, spreading this information is rough stuff. You mention one thing like climate change and half the room tells you to fuck off, god is at the helm. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow Christ will come and the Earth will be renewed to its paradisaical glory.
We're still waiting.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I was accepted to university after much "oooh we dunno, it depends on the budget" crap. I found out about the green light three weeks ago.
A bit of history:
I can't say my mom encouraged my brother and I to go to college. It was expected. It was beaten into our heads. We would go because she didn't and look at what happens? Nothing, right.
I didn't think much about where I'd go specifically until prooobably my junior or senior year of high school. I was a good student, I tried, but not to my potential. Also, I was a fairly talented manipulator. A quiet, well-mannered girl wants an extra day or two to turn this in? Okay! I still dunno how I got away with not doing the frog unit in biology and still getting the credits. It wasn't a matter of ethics or anything, I just...I don't know. I didn't want to do it and the teacher was a bit of a dope, so I wiggled my way out of it somehow.
My GPA wasn't bad at all (3.5+) but I had this inflated idea of what it really was in my head what with my English honors and AP courses, my French 3 Honors class, etc. Someone who should've known better actually allowed me to think I had a chance at Salutatorian. I didn't, of course. I didn't give honors or AP classes any thought until my sophomore year English teacher told me I was talented and really smart, worth so much more--and then recommended me for the junior English honors course (which I LOVED). I can't remember anyone ever really telling me those things or thinking those things about me before. I'd always loved English, writing, but never really considered it as something to pursue. Not that I had considered much--except for maybe working for Walt Disney one day drawing for his movies. Hahahaha. Oh, technology. But seriously, I liked to draw as a kid. Pretty good, too.
So I had a bit of a late start as far as giving enough of a shit. I was smart, my family said. Maybe not as smart as my brother, of course, who had completed Algebra I by the eighth grade, but smart. Mostly street smart. Got As, but yanno. Didn't get the computer, didn't know how to work a VCR by age 6, that sort of thing. He was smart, I was a smart-ass.
But I knew college was on the horizon. And I knew I lovedloved Santa Cruz. So I took a tour of UCSC and omg fell in love. It's a beautiful, gorgeous, outstanding campus--some buildings literally bestow upon its students a view of the ocean. Other classes are smack dab in the middle of towering Redwoods. It's an extremely liberal campus as well (i was a bit of a liberal teen) with its own dormitories for GBLTQ students and the like.
I could forgive that its mascot was a fricken banana slug. It had a fantastic English/creative writing program! Oh!
But, you know. It's a University of California. They kinda wanted good grades. Fantastic SAT scores. ACT. Extra-curriculars. You get the idea. I swept all reality aside and grabbed the appropriate papers and brochures and had wet dreams at night over going to this university.
3.5 GPA is good, but I don't remember if it was good enough. Again, I didn't give a shit until it was too late. I didn't know that my efforts weren't enough, and like many teens just wasn't motivated until it was too late.
Then I took the SAT and BOMBED the motherfucker. Seriously. I'm ashamed even now to disclose my score of which I've pretty much erased from memory. I do know I scored above a 1000 but not a hell of a lot higher. It was that bad, y'all. I should pat myself on the back for at least getting my name correct.
I think I did acceptably well on the ACT, but don't ask me what my score was. 24? 26? 27? I dunno. Maybe my memory of "acceptable" is just me comforting myself after an abysmal performance on the SAT.
I still don't understand these scores. I don't believe I'm dumb or that I ever was, so really? REALLY? Why didn't I retake the tests? I DON'T KNOW. I think by the time I got my score I had pretty much decided I wasn't going anywhere but the community college. I wasn't even sure the university I'm attending now would take me with that score. I didn't even bother looking into it. I just gave up.
My only consolation was that I'd attend the CC that my peers wouldn't attend. I wanted nothing to do with them after having grown up with them. Small town + nerdy rep + 12 years = suckfest.
So I signed up at the CC under the guise of "transferring to UCSC in two years." After the initial placement test, I was lauded as totally smart (this is not far away from said pre-columbine "everyone reads!" high school). I qualified for the equivalent of Algebra I and they were seriously impressed. I shrugged. My first semester at college was basically my senior year of high school replayed. I still got a C in science.
Then I met Squeaky, joined the church, couldn't figure out what the fuck I was going to do for school because English was unacceptable and I tired of my parents and their shit with my financial aid and their taxes. Eventually I burnt out and dropped out.
After that, I'd pretty much given up on ever transferring to a university. I dreamed about it, tried taking a few classes, but good moms stay home. I'd wait and maybe go when I was fifty.
So this is pretty awesome, and I am fairly terrified and nervous for a number of reasons. I'm doing my best to push those aside because it's pretty cool when you leave the church and find you can do stuff like this, something really good for me and for my family. That is my hope and my faith, at least.
You'll probably hear a lot about it. I might just schedule a once-a-week thing later. I dunno. My major is English Education. If I don't completely freak out and my emotions don't get the better of me and the planets align as I need them to, I'll be credentialed by 2015. Thirty-four years old. Has its pros, for sure.
But really, I hope to god I can be to some kid what Mrs. Parker was for me. I'll never forget her. She turned "go to college or else" to "you are smart and especially talented here. Go after this. You can and you should."
Can't tell you what that still does for me, nearly 15 years later. Amazing.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
She took it personally. Even said so.
I know, shock.
So I look her up today because, while we struggle to get along, I don't have all bad feelings for her. She amuses me more these days than not. And, you know, I run into her sometimes. I can't be all mad and whatnot--not worth it.
Anyway, she's a "very conservative" LDS Glenn Beck tea partier. Got that?
Her status the other day:
"Why do schools teach collective obedience rather than individual responsibility?"
I dunno, H. Why does your church teach the same?
"For a long time now school has been a system of indoctrination, not education."
They go on to bitch about government. No surprise. While I agree with my limited knowledge that government is fucking up our education system, it's likely not for the same reason this girl thinks.
I just found the irony amusing.
Especially when you consider that "big government" has a striking, striking similarity to how the LDS church is structured.
End LDS rant.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
So this is more evidence of my evolving moral views. I know this is kind of the argument made by conservative religions: "Leave the church/denounce god and you will make immoral choices."
Well, I suppose it's down to definitions again. My definition of "immoral" has changed, theirs hasn't. Thus, I run the risk of committing immorality. Truth can be peskily subjective this way. Just don't tell them that.
Anyway, so we're watching Dr. Oz (don't judge! he's fantastic entertainment) and they begin talking about the HPV vaccination. For the first time I think "Yeah, we should probably get Abbie vaccinated once she's old enough."
In many religious environments, this vaccination, given to girls I believe as young as eleven (nine?), is perceived as permission to go out and fuck someone ASAP. If I'm not mistaken, many feminist groups saw the opposition to this recommendation as misogynistic, but let's be real here. The same religious groups feel the exact same way about handing condoms out to boys. I think they'd freak out just as much if a doctor or school handed them out at the age of nine to eleven.
It's a huge quandary for those riding the line. My mom certainly felt it. I remember being privy for some strange reason to a conversation between her and my aunt regarding my brother and whether or not my mom should provide him with condoms. She was really concerned, having decided that he was going to fuck at first chance--which, you know, he might have. But he and I received a cacophony of views on whether or not this was okay. I received two talks: "Wait until marriage" and "Come talk to me when you think you're ready."
She didn't know what she believed as far as this goes. She probably wavered from "premarital sex is wrong" and "dudes, it's reality. face it." Understandable. For this I don't blame her for giving us conflicting views. Even semi-religious folks are caught fighting with what is "right" and what to do about it. They don't know, either. Religion has a huge hold on even passive believers.
Mom also flipped the fuck out every time she thought someone liked me or my brother. Like, even if we were in kindergarten. "WHO KISSED MY BOY?!" I have half a page ripped out of my sixth grade yearbook because an eighth grader proclaimed his crush on me and my mom did *not* like it. To make her feel better, I ripped it out. I wish I wouldn't have now.
So as kids we had no clue what was considered okay and what was not. As far as I know, my brother and I both erred on the side of "wait." I wasn't ready anyways to go quite that far until after high school. And I REALLY didn't want to discuss it with the woman who freaked out over an innocent and entirely flattering yearbook message from a boy I wasn't even attracted to and never, ever saw again.
But I digress. Surprise.
So the dilemma of "do I give him the condoms so he'll be safe or will he view the condoms as permission to screw?" is the same as "do I give her the vaccine so she'll be safer or is doing so permission to have sex?"
Y'all, that's a false dichotomy. Kids of age generally don't do because you give them permission to.
"Gee Mom said I could have sex! Let's go!"
It's a lot different in the religious world, as most if not all of us know, however. It's the whole "abstinence only" schtick that doesn't work. See: Bristol Palin. Also the girls I know who became pregnant at the age of 16 despite religious upbringing. I'm not alone in knowing these girls.
Also, the argument that "abstinence is the safest form of sex" is bullshit. It was even on "The Office" this past week. Andy, attempting to get insight on his ex's sex life, asked "What's the safest form of sex?...No, no! It's abstinence. Who here practices abstinence?"
Darryl responded "Dude. That's like saying the only safe way to ski is to not ski."
Yeah. It doesn't fly. Abstinence isn't sex. Not skiing isn't skiing.
Again, I digress.
As a person who now strongly believes in sex education and understands that my kids may understandably decide to hit home base before they're married, I want them to have all the tools with them to make sure it's not something that'll end up hurting them more than it has to. Obviously we can't ensure 100% they'll be "safe" but we can talk with them and provide them with information that'll empower them. It'll also be a better method than "just don't. it's wrong. it's no better than murdering someone. just...just don't."
So, yeah. My kid will get the vaccination. My boys will get condoms at some point. We'll talk to them about being ready for it and peer pressure, provide them with a stable, supportive and open atmosphere and all that shit, but there's a point where we just have to let go and allow them to make their own, albeit limited by virtue of maturity, informed decisions.
Still can't believe I hadn't thought of the vaccination thing until now.
Monday, October 18, 2010
It's not as if I'm a huge fan, but they do bring some comfort, I think, in certain situations. For example, it's nice to know why I can be depressed one week and totally level and productive the next, willing to do anything because I can take on the fucking world. Why I can be all over the map, forgetful of absolutely everything, never sleep or sleep all the time. Or how I can be happy one minute and your enemy the next. I've been picking fights this weekend, for example, as well as considering dropping this blog entirely--but today I'm better. It's not PMS, however much I kind of wish it were. Knowing I'm bipolar gives me power. I don't advertise this because I fear the stigma, but it helps me. It helps my husband. It helps my kids. That's all that matters.
I consider myself post-Mormon. Liberal. And, as of today, agnostic (I never said I was taking on "atheist" for sure, y'all. just exploring. still am.) It's the best I've got and will basically get the point across. However, it's not for anyone else's benefit but my own.
I know labels can restrict self-perception and others' perceptions of you as well, but they can bring comfort. It's good to know what's going on instead of worrying about a certain behavior or situation. It's good for parents to know their kids are autistic so they can create a battle plan, find support groups, understand that it's not them.
They help to define us but they don't completely define us. Other people will see it otherwise, simply, maybe, because it's easier. Is that my problem or yours? Your problem or mine? You see?
Or am I off your radar with that? Is there a difference to you between conditions and beliefs? I find it easier to either say "I dunno" or "I don't believe" rather than to go into an entire conversation about it without even being asked first. A lot of people struggle when they're in transition from the church to define their spiritual station in life--are they New Order Mormon, Jack Mormon, Cultural Mormon, inactive Mormon, Post or Ex-Mormon, etc. all because they don't feel Mormon. It all depends on who you talk to. That seems to be the rub.
You can say you're agnostic to avoid the lecture while knowing inside you don't believe at all. Plenty will present themselves as totally active and believing Christians or Mormons because they don't want to deal with the assholes. Some will be upfront because they feel a need to discredit stereotypes. A sometimes impossible task.
Something I learned from writing and reading the comments from the last few posts is that labels only work insofar as other people understand exactly what it means...to you. They seem to be extremely subjective. Something I hadn't considered before.
Are you Christian in the way others would consider you saved or a heretic? What brand of agnostic are you? How do you define your Mormon/Christian/Catholic/Jewish, etc. past? Do you even want to, and why or why not?
There are artists, hipsters, jocks, lesbians, gays, shy people, outgoing people, intellectuals, redneck, cholas/cholos, Jewish folks, Islamic folks, emos, gothics (do they exist anymore? they seem to be todays emos), etc. Are some of these mere descriptions or can they be considered labels as well?
We are more than our religious beliefs. We are more than our jobs. We are more than our race, ethnicity. We are more than a mother or a wife, a father or a husband. A child or a parent. So much more. I think that's a lot of the problem here as well. It's easier for both us and others to pick one and obsess over it. They can help to define us, but they don't define us. We are more than the sum of our parts.
How many of us worry about stereotyping and why? I'll tell you, I'm not exactly thrilled about the idea of less or more-religious people looking down at me and thinking I'm closed-minded because I might be giving a bit more credence to science than faith in something I cannot see, attributing some but not necessarily every experience to coincidence or otherwise. I hardly discredit faith entirely. It's not cut and dry like that. At all. I don't like that I have to be careful for others' comfort or for my own. I shouldn't have to be, but maybe that's just reality.
(the last paragraph is not directed toward anyone in particular, just fyi)
I also understand--a lot--how discouraging and disheartening it can be when you are treated as if you are one thing. A mom. Someone's wife. The convert. Someone's roommate. Shy. A woman. A teacher. Tomboy. It's a hard fight to teach others that you're more. That everyone is more.
I've felt the sting of the limiting label and the empowerment and comfort of another.
What say you?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
But first, I get it. Especially from all my ex-/post-Mormon readers. Nobody wants to say "I know" ever, ever, EVER again. That's what y'all love about saying you're agnostic. Because you don't know and you don't fucking care to know. It feels good to say “maybe!” I get it. You know this.
Here's my thing, though: I never said I knew anything. Many atheists I know don't claim to know anything. Some do, but I'd consider them militant atheists. You know the kind. "I know God doesn't exist." That's militant atheism. That is not me.
It's a matter of definitions, which there are few. Here are mine, and I don't hold them exclusively:
1) I don't know, but I think there's a possibility.
2) I don’t know, you don’t know, you cannot know. (Militant)
3) I don't know, but I want to hold on to the hope.
4) I just don’t know.
I fell into definition #3. After a lifetime of Christianity and a decent chunk of my life spent in Mormonism, even considering that there was no god was NOT okay. There had to be a god! It's what I had been taught all my life. To consider otherwise was just too fucking scary. So it was a hope, but I never felt a peace about it. I know that's a very Mormon-y thing to say, but I do believe in trusting your intuition, I believe in having a peace about whatever you do. I haven't had a peace about "not knowing." And it's not because I didn't know, but because I was afraid. To be honest, I still haven't had a peace. Which is why I have to consider...
1) There isn't a god. Period. (Militant)
2) I don't know, but what I do know indicates there isn't a god, so I'm just going to roll with that until I'm convinced otherwise.
3) Religion has done shit for me or society. I want nothing to do with God.
People really tend to believe atheists are closed-minded assholes. It's funny, because I don't consider myself closed-minded. At least I try my best not to be. I'm actually really willing to leave the door open for most anything. Ask Eric. I think it's become a fault of mine.
Here's the thing. It's weird for me to say this because, historically, I haven't been interested in science at all. But like I said, there are a few things about science and scientists that I especially respect:
1) If a hypothesis (educated guess) is proven false, the hypothesis is discarded or the person considers an alternative hypothesis for the same idea. "Maybe it's the light bulb and not the battery in this flashlight."
2) If a hypothesis is extensively tested and tried and proved, it's considered a theory. It is not considered fact for a loooooong time because there is a likely chance that they haven't considered something or that future technology and discoveries will prove the theory wrong. And for most scientists, this is totally okay. They are looking to learn about the world. Record what you see, not what you want to see.
This is what I consider atheism to be. A theory. What a person sees, not what they want or expect to see.
Listen, to my knowledge there is no way to experiment or test the supernatural. Ask my husband and he will say "oh, that happened because..." It drives me nuts, but he will. He's got an answer for just about everything.
It's no fun.
Anyway, we can say that the supernatural is something impossible. We can say science doesn't deal with the supernatural. That it's untestable, etc. But much of present day knowledge was considered impossible years ago.
Also, God is a faith thing. I get that the answer is that you need a spiritual ear to listen to spiritual things. And I don't doubt that unexplainable things happen--but, you know, what of other explanations?
So, yeah. According to this there is whatever minute possibility that the LDS church is "true" and faeries do exist and there is a band of unicorns over the mountains where I can't see and Santa does, in fact, know when we’re sleeping and knows when we’re awake so he can travel the world one night a year and give us presents (where the fuck IS he, though? I want my laptop) etc. etc. etc.
Whatever. There's a chance. I guess. The Santa thing is pretty convincing. Say it with me: Santa doesn't exist.
It’s okay to know some things.
Like many of you have done just by virtue of leaving the church, a point arrived where you took what you knew and had experienced and you put it together and made a reasonable conclusion. It is a BIG step. A lot of people have severe doubts about the church but stay, if only for a while longer, because the basic doctrine might be true and that's enough to make them suffer a while longer because the basic doctrine is the most important and even damning doctrine.
At some point, though, you have to decide. Now if you're an agnostic because "I dunno, you dunno, nobody knows"--fine. But I'd hardly consider that any more open-minded than "From what I know, the possibility is slim so I'm going to live my life as a good, decent person who helps others and does her best. If I'm given any reason to believe there is a god or whatever, I'll reconsider. Right now, however, I'm kidding myself if I say I believe."
I've left open the door for possibility. Please, please remember that. I am not the only one. Atheists are good people. They can be jerks, but religious people can be jerks too. So can agnostics. We’re people like that. And if you don’t appreciate atheists who go on and on on their blog about why religion is a farce and god doesn’t exist and is only a force for evil in the world, consider your own blog or those that you read and support that go on and on about why Mormonism is a manipulative, corporate farce that steals your money to buy billion dollar malls and tell women they are only to be barefoot and pregnant and subject to their husbands and, oh yeah, Moroni never existed. Also, while we’re at it, Nephi was a self-righteous dick.
Not saying you haven’t the right or a very good reason for doing so, because god knows I’ve done and will do the same thing and giggle like a hyena when others point out the obviously stupid stuff, but y’know. The door can swing both ways.
More later. I think I'll stop there.
Friday, October 15, 2010
It's been a hard week. Month. I'm getting over it.
As a weird aside, they keep upping the temperature for this Sunday. First it was a TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE 69 degrees and now it's up to 73. They'd better stop right there. If this heat doesn't stop I'm gonna. I dunno why I live here. Summer lasts from April/May-November. I know it's worse in other areas, but let's be honest: not much. We're the kinda people who never ever ever use our heater. Ever. I'm ready for that shit to start.
Anyway, yes. Atheism (dun dun duuuuuun). Coming this weekend.
I had no idea I pushed a button.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Here's what I'm picking up on lately and what it's doing to my poor, tortured agnostic self (really, ugh)*
Basic introduction: First, The Theory of Common Descent. That is, not that humans evolved from apes, but that every organism on earth arose from a single cell billions of years ago and eventually evolved into everything you see and know of today.
It's like a big family tree. Kind of. To avoid a lengthier explanation, a relatively recent common ancestor of humans is the ape, chimpanzee, etc. It is not saying that we're just apes. Just that it's our most recent ancestor than, say, cats are. Like you're more similar to your grandmother than your second cousin once removed. We've evolved from apes via the process of natural selection. Also, evolution is not about being better, it is not about an ideal. It is the ever changing result of natural selection which states that an environment selects for certain genes in existing species.
It's akin to a flood--if we had a flood and there was a gene for swimming, the swimmers would survive because they could likely get to land. Those without the swimming gene would, well, drown. Not to say that swimmers are better PERIOD, just better suited in the flooded environment. Those without the swimming gene may be selected for in another environment better suited to them. Which is one reason why not all apes are humans.
Also, this shit doesn't happen overnight. Millions upon millions of years.
It's pretty much fact from what I can tell, but here are the three alternative hypotheses my text offers (and later refutes):
Okay, I had all three hypotheses identified/described, but there's no reason for them. They're debunked. They take up a lot of space. Here's what it comes down to:
Scientists have proven that complex molecules can arise from simple, non-living material. Poof! But even if everyone accepted the Theory of Common Descent, here's where my stubbornness comes in. I asked my husband about it:
"So where'd the simple, non-living material come from?"
"Probably something more basic, like elements," he replied. Calmly. Ugh.
"Where'd the elements come from?!" I add.
And on and on, ad nauseum.
But I'd have to be intellectually honest if I'm going down this road: Where'd God come from? The thing is, I've always been content with the idea that God just always existed. Even the LDS teaching that God was once a man who was then exalted to become a god and create his own people who then are exalted to become gods, etc. always unnerved me.
And so I'm sitting here, taking this class, learning about the world and how scientists figure everything out. I get that they don't have all the answers, but they have a lot of them. And they're totally okay with finding new evidence that proves their theories wrong. And I really love what they do: record what you see, not what you expect to see. Consider possible alternative hypotheses: are there any other reasons for this conclusion?
I know science doesn't deal with god, but god sure as hell tries to deal with science. See aforementioned hypotheses and the apologetics that arise from revealed science. It ain't just for those Mormons.
I've my own inner apologist. She's gotten past the whole Maybe God is just testing us and sending us detour evidence. We need to have faith! That's my dad's church talking. Think "dinosaurs." They're also partly responsible for God can inspire those writers to know exactly who Jesus was, what he did, and the thoughts and actions of those who followed him. Also, I get it. Historically, stories have been passed down orally as well, but have you ever played the telephone game?
While my own inner apologist grows quieter by the day, she's still there. Driving me batshit. I don't dig apologetics anymore. I worry myself about the what-ifs enough all on my own.
I don't know. Lately I'm wondering if I might be atheist. Atheism isn't about claiming to know for sure that God doesn't exist, just a belief that all evidence points to "probably not" so you live your life. It's not as if I'm afraid of losing my salvation, because I'm not. I do believe that if there's a god I want anything to do with, I'll be fine.
There's a part of me that wants to believe in God, but there's no really good reason why. Except maybe because I grew up Christian and god was always a part of my life. "Jesus loves you!' and all that shit. I always had someone to talk to, someone who had my back, someone who did only the best for me whether I knew it or not. Someone to help me find my keys. Now it's a matter of having faith in myself, and I'll tell you: I've never really had that. But I really like the idea. I like what it's doing for me.
What's my belief in god, however small, doing for me? What's the point of it?
In the end, I buy neither the biblical account, nor the Book of Mormon account, and I don't really want to come up with my own account. I know some people just figure there's a god and we're his fishbowl, but that's not something I want to expend any energy on.
I do like the idea of eternity, though.
So am I atheist? I don't know. Saying so would in part be very, very relieving but only because I'll have made a decision. I feel as if I'm forever wavering, unable to make a decision. But a decision of what? To what degree I think it's possible god exists? You know? Because I'm not looking back. There's nothing there for me.
As an agnostic, I often feel like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. But it's not as if atheists claim to "know" God doesn't exist. And it might be due to my own recently skyrocketing insecurities WITHOUT reading quotes like the following (for my blog)
"Isn't an agnostic just an atheist without balls?" - Stephen Colbert (yeah i know, satirist. still)
"There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?" - Richard Dawkins
"You happen to be talking to an agnostic. You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist." - Studs Terkel (i know, who?)
In a way, this feels like the very beginning of my disaffection from the LDS church. I couldn't say outright "I don't believe." The thought of saying that petrified me. Atheism doesn't mean I've closed the door completely, just that chances are slim. I'm not entirely sure about that.
See, I still believe in supernatural things. You know, ghosts. Mostly because it's fun, because I've heard some pretty convincing stories from people close to me--not to mention that it drives Eric up the wall. He's got an answer for everything, so I like to bug him.
Me: "Babe! 'Ghost Hunters' is on!"
But you know, I don't believe in god but I do believe in ghosts? Logic fail?
I just figure it's no fun to know everything. But one can make reasonable conclusions.
Besides, I'd like, have to change the title of my blog.
I don't know.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
If you love reading and/or have experienced how one book--the right book for you--could change your life, how you learned that reading can offer a world of amazing things: knowledge, understanding, being understood, power, hope, etc, consider donating. Not all kids are given this opportunity to find the one book that'll change their lives, especially in disadvantaged areas such as the one she teaches in.
Check out her page at DonorsChoose.org to read more about her students and her reading projects and donate whatever you can.
Monday, October 11, 2010
A few days ago I signed up to have my status hijacked by the Human Right's Campaign. Three times they did their whole "NCOD is coming up, here's a little bit of depressing and enraging trivia about society's treatment of GBLTQ people."
I decided that, today, I'd just put my little announcement up as a comment to that. Which means I couldn't privatize the status.
I freaked out, totally regretted it at first. Because, you know, I don't think I want my stepmom to see that. She might ask about it in her own little "hahahaha, lisa, are you kidding? want a girlfriend lisa? hahaha" and will never fucking leave me alone. Which means I'll have to say something rather cutting because sometimes that's the only language she understands.
And then other people, like my dad, will find out and who the fuck knows who else. I don't necessarily care if my sister finds out, but shit. My dad can be an ass about this stuff.
Thought about deleting it. I'm over that now.
Honestly I was thinking about not doing it after all.
I'm just not that brave, y'all. It seems I am a bonafide wimp. And it's not like I'm saying "Hey, I dig chicks and not dudes"
Nonono. Just "Hey, I dig dudes for the very most part, but every now and again I have crushed on a girl."
WHY IS THIS A BIG DEAL?!
Seriously, I checked out the Mormon Missionary calendar the other day because I've never really looked at it. Some of those guys--not bad, not bad at all. A few of them /fans self.
The women? None. Meh. None are my type.
That said, check out Kiley's post over at We Were Going to be Queens (loooove the title). I guess there's something about how your index finger compares to the length of your fourth finger. If yr index is shorter than yr fourth, all signs point to some degree of gay. Mine is just a little shorter.
I'll give you a minute to check your own fingers.
Either way what I did was initially terrifying. I'm getting over it.
Also, I'm not sure if I'm a 1 or a 2. It's hard to say. I put 2 though. Then one. Ugh. I don't know if I wanted to say that because it's less terrifying or because it's actually true. Hard to say. I can only think of 3 girls IRL I've been really attracted to in my entire life, enough to be considered a bonafide crush (and I still feel like I need to say this: IT IS NOT YOU) and a few celebrities and whatnot. It didn't start until high school and then I spent a good part of my life in the crutch where I just rarely thought about it because it's badbadbad. So it's hard to say.
I think I'm a two. I think 1 is more "eh, maybe once."
It's a bit more than that for me.
This was supposed to be a step in the direction of a greater acknowledgment of self. Publicly. You know, be proud. Stand with my friends. Who the fuck cares. Lookit all the preaching I've done.
I feel a bit pathetic, but at least I'm working on it.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I wanted to be way more snarky, but whatever. I don't imagine the final product will differ much from this one. I took the suggested template off exmormon.org and messed with it a bit, taking passive sentences and making them a bit more...assertive. It feels better. I didn't really dig the "we're no longer subject to yr shit" line they suggested because, well, do I really need to say that? Some people would say yes. Apparently as recently as 2004 someone was called to a Court after resigning. I'd be all "whatever."
Anyhow, I am thinking a "later, bitches!" would be a better sign off than "sincerely." Really, I think I need a better way to end this than "sincerely." Suggestions? Eric wouldn't be comfortable with "bitches." He's pretty sure his old cub scout leader will process this eventually. But maybe that just means I need to write my own goddamn letter.
(Side note: It is 3:15 am. My daughter had a bad dream, so I'm awake now, thinking about how I'm about to make this public, like it's some kind of contract with you, even though I know you of all people get this. Am I effectively divorcing my family?! Do I really want to do this?! Ugh! The church, it sucks.)
8:30am: Pretty much over that. Pretty much. We'll see.
Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Rm 1372
SLC UT 84150-5310
This letter is to inform you of our resignation from the church. We expect our names to be permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church. The names and records of our children are also to be removed. They are: Abbie, Jason, and Joseph. [full names and birth dates redacted for blog]
We have considered this for a significant amount of time due to doctrinal issues, but the recent events concerning Prop 8 and the words of certain senior leaders have compelled us to resign formally. We will not condone these actions and behaviors by virtue of our membership and thus refuse official association with the church.
We understand you consider this “serious” and what you believe the “consequences” of resignation are. We take this seriously as well and quite frankly believe the cost is worth the benefit.
We are aware that the CHI says our resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings." We also understand that readmittance is possible “by baptism only after a thorough interview." These are not concerns of ours, though, so have at.
We expect our resignations to be processed immediately, without any “waiting periods.” Postponing this process by any attempts to dissuade us will not be met with any measure of patience. Our decision has been made. We expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.
After today the only contact we want from the church is a single letter of confirmation of our resignations, records and name removal. If a reason must be documented, “doctrinal issues” would be accurate.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Have you read, heard or seen some of the responses to the editing fiasco? I'd list some but then I'd have to kill myself.
I'm done! People, there is no hope. In this sense I do think I need to leave the fucking church alone. I can talk about, work through, cry and scream about my experiences, but this bitching activism thing about their doctrine and policies and ignorant beliefs is like bashing my head against a brick wall. I can only lose so much blood.
I realize that wavering members might see this blog and that leaving is a difficult thing but ultimately a very good thing, but it's like a reverse version of Russian roulette. Most of the time I'm just hurting myself. Once in a while someone will stop by and be all "hmmm, she might have something" but is it worth it? I'm not sure, and I'm leaning toward "NO." Unless a person comes to me, I'm done. I at least need a break.
I started this blog to just talk about religion. Y'all, I had severed all ties with the church for months except for the ones I couldn't escape: family, a few friends. Every time the Ensign showed up at our house, BAM! into the trash. It still does, but y'know. Example. I didn't look up this shit. I left the NOM board alone. It was wonderful.
But like I mentioned, you just can't escape this completely. You can't. And I go through cycles, sometimes severe, of obsession. I began not too long ago to obsess over religion and god and what I believed and didn't believe. I wanted a bit of support. I needed it. People told me I needed to blog again, and I figured the church would only be a part of it. It would have to be. Aside from being born Christian (which is huge), the church is the single biggest influence in my life. My membership spanned what I consider to be my most formative years. I can't ignore it completely, and I knew I wouldn't be able to.
That said, I was under the naive and hopeful assumption when I began this blog that the church had to at least give it a fucking break for a little while, but jesus. They can't. Always something.
And their sheep just follow. I don't even know why they have eyes.
Mmph. I mean that and I don't. I visited with my MIL last night and I don't think I have to say it again but I will: I love my MIL. She's a sweet woman who has been nothing but the same to us since we (er, the kids) told her we don't go to church anymore. And it made me think of all the shit I've been saying, the posts on facebook where she is a friend, the thoughts, whatever.
I don't want to shove this shit in her face. Not without her asking about it. She's happy, she's a good woman, she's not hurting anyone. She's even really kind to her out nephew. She's a good, good woman. We disagree on many things, but she's always been really good to me. And it's good to love others despite fundamental differences, because we are more than just our sexuality. We are more than just our beliefs. Though those two things make up a huge part of who we are, nobody is two-dimensional. We are complex, wonderful beings and we need diversity in this world if we are to really survive and be happy.
My ex-roomie has been nothing but good to me. MLDSFDTS.
I can't figure out how I can rail against the church and not against them. It's not possible. They take it so personally. And why not? We all know how it gets into your blood.
Railing against the church for us is like an exorcism. We take it personally, and why the hell not? We have every reason to. But sometimes, I just really wish I could quietly go. My anger more than anything makes me feel the church still has power over me.
It all makes me think back to when I was first disaffected. You know, very very angry and very loud. The regrets afterward. Nobody responds well to childish ranting. I need to respect their decisions and their views if I want them to respect mine. Shoving it in their faces doesn't do jack shit because, in the end, they will believe despite until something hits them just right. Just like Prop 8 did for me. Polygamy.
In short, I need to STFU. I will speak up when necessary, but it needn't take up the majority of what I do say. If I want them to see me as more than just an ex-member, if I want them to see my happiness, then I need to curtail the bitching which doesn't do much good anyway. I will stand up, but I also need to know when to back down. If I want respect then I need to give it. I remember what it's like to be a TBM just like I remember what it's like to have your first real doubts.
I get my recent anger, you know. Events like Packer's talk and Prop 8 was what really gave me the green light to consider leaving. It was offensive. I didn't appreciate what my experience taught me about the church: that they think I'm stupid, blind, and willing to ask "how high?" when they demand that I jump. I've never been that kind of girl--except as a member. And the more my political views changed over the last five years, the more I realized the grey in the black and white, the more these doctrines snapped me out of it. That really was the beginning of the end, polygamy. Thinking I should have another child when I knew I shouldn't, couldn't. Being told how to vote. The hatred toward people who don't hurt others any more than anyone else. So when I see these issues arise again, it triggers and I get obsessively angry all over again. And I kind of hate myself for remaining. I can't condone this shit, even passively.
Which is why I drafted my first resignation letter last night. I'll get into that in another post probably.
But once you've been gone for a while you begin to romanticize it. You want to be kind and not like the devilish "antis" you were warned about and vilified for so long. You want to be that good example, to prove to other members that see? i may be an apostate but i'm still a good person who doesn't obsess and bitch and turn into a monster. And, in that vein, because we're good people, before we know it we're only thinking of the good things about the church. For me, it's (some of) the hymns, the smell of the church building, the traditions. I miss seeing my husband dressed up. I miss seeing my boys dressed up. I enjoyed teaching the women in Relief Society for the two times I could handle it before I had to cry uncle--not because I hated teaching (I loved it) but because I didn't believe in it.
Yet if I were to attend a church, the LDS church would be the only one I would feel at home in despite everything. I liked the quiet. I liked the lack of crazy shouts of "hallelujah!" and the lack of fear that someone would break into tongues. It's a more inclusive doctrine. It wasn't weird to me--with the exception of F&T Sunday, but that was more entertainment than anything else. So you begin to forget about the hurtful things, the things that made you miserable. You want to forgive and forget. So we need the reminders occasionally that it wasn't all that great. Ask Kiley. Sometimes we need an Elder Packer to remind us why we left.
It's not a bad thing to remember the good. Because they are, in large part, good people. We didn't join to be assholes. We joined because we wanted to be better. We stayed because we wanted to be good. We left because we wanted to better our lives, to be truer to what we know now is reality. To grow and enjoy life. We got out of the fucking cave and omg, it's pretty awesome. We want to spread that gospel. But we need to give remaining members the benefit, to allow them their own time to get to whatever conclusion they will get to. We may be sad for them because we feel they are missing out on so much, but in the end it is their decision. If it makes them happier and they're kind to others, then we need to leave them alone and not waste our breath fighting with people who have dug their feet in, who only want to be right. And we can understand that. At least I can.
I'll talk with MLDSFDTS if she wants to, I'll just be myself and deal with his family thinking I'm super weird instead of just a little, but I need to GET OVER IT. Life is too short for this.
Besides, MIL aside, there's no arguing with super TBM members. There's just not. Not that I've really tried, but listening to their reactions was enough. I get so angry as to lose all rationality. I just want to scream, and that does nothing for the cause.
I'm done. White flag. Surrender. All that. There's no point. I know there's a point with people who are wavering, but goddammit, that's not my place. Not to the extent I've taken it. I'm yelling at people in vain and at the expense of others who don't deserve to hear it all the fucking time. What good is it doing?
I'm tired of being so angry...again. I always end up hating myself in the end. I'd like to enjoy myself. Laugh a little. Move forward instead of going back. This isn't that. There's a whole world out there, and all I can do is be spiteful. This isn't getting my power back. This is giving it back to the people who I allowed to take it away in the first place. They don't deserve it.
I recognize, however, that it might take me a little bit to fully get over this. I'd be dishonest if I told you and myself that I won't ever bitch like this again. I will. It's part of the process. But for now, I want so much to be done. Also, I'm dealing with a bit of depression this last month or so (I'm bipolar. There. I said it.) and it makes it difficult to make firm decisions. To not obsess and feel attacked. To not feel so goddamn insecure and defensive. Anger is easier and more cathartic than being depressed and feeling like nobody likes me, guess I'll go eat worms. Being angry makes me feel in control, powerful. But I'm not.
Friday, October 8, 2010
I'm just tired and overwhelmed and disappointed with some of the more faithful's responses to what he said. Now they've changed important aspects of his talk, the most significant I believe is the change regarding the Proclamation on the Family from being "revelation" to "a guide."
That's huge. Proclamations have never been regarded as mere "guides."
Not to mention the one line that took MLDSFDTS aback: "Why would Heavenly Father do that to his children?"
All gone. Like he never even said it.
All in all, this is lame. Some say it's correlation doing it's job and yay for clarifying what Packer obviously meant, but it feels like a cover up. The church isn't good at that, but they will try because their members won't look this shit up. Not supposed to. Also, their faithful members are awesome at rationalizing and can't fathom this man being wrong. Because he's got an in with god, or whatever. The most frightening part is that he's the next in line to be THE prophet. I still remember when I first began investigating, taking part in an online forum where someone believed Packer would follow Hinckley and shuddered in fear. Couldn't figure out why, I mean, if god calls him god calls him. Inspiration.
Here's a link to Mormons For Marriage where you can see all of the changes. Personally, I'm not surprised.
I will just sigh for now and move on.
If I had more time, I'd be working on my resignation letter. I wouldn't send it yet, which is starting to bother me. I want Eric to be ready, but I don't want to push him. He's not ready to tell his family about this very big step and doesn't want them to find out another way, like when they're looking at their family records or whatever. I get his hesitation, but goddammit, I'm having a really hard time staying while the leaders perform all this hurtful mindfuckery. The faithful say we're going through a time of separating the wheat from the chaff. That used to bother me. It still does a little bit, but I have to recognize that it's all a farce and they can thus go fuck themselves. I'll be a chaff if it means I don't have to associate and be associated with the wheat.
So I want to at least write the letter, but...well, I guess my reasons for procrastination are lame. I have enough time to blog but not enough to re-research out the proper way to resign without issue. I want to put my own spin on the letter, not quite like Kristen did but similar. It might be really cathartic to tell the church to fuck off, even if its only to the dude that processes the letter. Besides, he's a grown up.
You can probably expect a draft letter or two from me soon, once I get the time to get my bearings.
I hope my friend notices those changes. She could really use that tithing money. But you know, everyone can. There's really no sense in funding church buildings and temples with members' hard earned and much needed cash when the church can afford to spend billions (that's right, with a b) on malls of all things.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Where do you like it?
And by "it" I do mean sex.
I dig the shower, but let's be realistic here, when your shower barely makes enough room for one person, let alone two, it's a bit difficult. Gonna fix that one day.
There's the couch, lazyboy. No experience with tables yet. It does seem a bit icky, but there are ways around that. Not really into the floor scene.
I've always kind of liked the idea of doing it outside. In a rainstorm.
Okay, your turn. Even if its only been fantasy, let's get inappropriate.
Or maybe my idea is just good enough for now. I think it's a good step, really.
I know the "post your bra color in your status (but don't say it's yr bra color!) to spread awareness for breast cancer!" didn't exactly work. Not in the way people wanted it to. Really, it was just a way for women to be ever so slightly naughty. It was fun, I'll admit, but it hardly made me think of breast cancer. Also, a lot of people thought it was lame.
BUT, you know, I thought of this after remembering something Harvey Milk once said:
Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.And National Coming Out Day is arriving on October 11. Next Monday.
--"That's What America Is," speech given on Gay Freedom Day (1978-06-25) in San Francisco
This idea isn't just for GBLT people everywhere, but for everyone. It's based on the Kinsey Scale I discussed a few days ago. A scale, I understand, is not entirely accurate but I think works for this particular idea.
We could do this on October 11. We could post our Kinsey Scale number. It doesn't have to be "I'm a Kinsey 2." It could just be "2." Whatever. A friend of mine worried that his friends would think he was rating himself on a scale of 1-10 by way of hotness and said everyone knew he was far too vain to rate himself a 6, so I suggested we could do 6/6.
But you know, whatever. Everyone knows he's gay and ex-mormon, so him posting this on his status would be ridiculous. I just wanted his opinion.
Here's the biggest problem with this: Anyone considered not completely homosexual (anything below a 6) could get the comment "Hey, if there's any chance you can be attracted to someone of your opposite sex, then you should wait."
And that was my worry and the worry of a few others, as well. What bothers me about this idea is that it suggests those who married or partnered up heterosexually somehow settled. While some have because of the teachings of their churches (it's not just LDS), I didn't settle. I know others who haven't. Either way, it's not the response I want. It's one I have to prepare for if we're going to do this.
The same friend (the "vain" one) also expressed concern over confusing others and having to go through a protracted conversation over what the hell we are talking about. My only suggestion for solving this problem is to send around a "note" discussing what the Kinsey Scale is.
But, really, I think the first concern is the greatest one. The fact that there are others who may recognize tendencies to whatever degree don't feel as if they *should* pursue a gay partnership. This could be due in large part because they've been told all their lives how wrong and unnatural it is.
So the issue is not whether or not it is a choice, but whether or not it is wrong. But we have so many events and attitudes in our history once believed wrong and unnatural that we no longer believe are wrong. Interracial couplings and marriage, for example.
So will this message fly over heads? Or is it sufficient that the message is just as much "hey, it's not just one or the other. It's a spectrum. Look inside yourselves."
Because the more something is normalized, the less wrong it seems. That was Mr. Milk's sentiment. Make them realize that their daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, friends, neighbors, etc.--people they've known and loved are "this" way. Break down the myths and the stereotypes. It's much harder to vote against them.
I know that's the argument of zealous right-wingers in opposition of this, but still. I think this may be a step in the right direction.
What do you all think?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I'm an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive. But I am diagnosed with something else that includes obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behavior. It's a nightmare. I find a topic and I obsess over it. I have a thought and I obsess over it until I can't stand it anymore and act on it. This process generally takes a second, but sometimes takes over the span of a few days. Weeks, months. A year. It depends on my cycling. Sometimes I don't think and just do despite knowing I need to stop and think. I'm rarely happy with myself afterward. I'm learning control, but it's hardly easy. It's a continual struggle that often results in damaged relationships. One that depends on the forgiveness of others and the gift of second, third, even fourth chances.
I want to do what is right, but the definition of "right" has changed a bit. I feel a lot of responsibility being surrounded by people who can't see past their leaders' noses, spread the ignorance, and in the process hurt others. But, you know, they feel just as right as I do.
I don't often proclaim something is definitely right or wrong anymore because I know there are exceptions, that there are more than two sides to each story. I can give a general, reasonable judgment on certain things--murder is wrong, rape is horrific, love is good, the church isn't "true." I can reasonably proclaim that racism and sexism are bad, that while homophobia is not in itself bad (I see it more as a misunderstanding, lack of education, experience, time), the actions that stem from it can be.
I should be more concerned with inspiring people to think for themselves rather than make judgments. People who feel wrongly judged don't want to listen. They want to fight back. I think there are those who have felt ostracized by a religion or church or its members because of individual beliefs understands this. It's the same on their end, too. When you feel attacked, you want to fight back--however is your style.
I'm on the fence about this Boyd Packer thing. I want to talk about it, and I have. I want to scream and yell, which I've tried my best to not do. I'm actually proud of myself for my reactions here. Not so much elsewhere on the 'net, though. I've come to ask myself at what point do I stop--at what point does focusing on it and feeding it become antithetical to me, personally? Because let's be honest, I'm standing up for myself, too, because this very thing is what drove me out of the church. The accusation that I wasn't faithful enough despite everything I was doing to be just that.
But what of those I'm standing up for as well? At what point does it harm more than help? At what point do I end up chasing away those who might otherwise listen to me at a lower volume?
I can't figure out when silence is good and when it's hurtful. My husband says he's disgusted by everything that has happened, but he doesn't show it unless I press him and even then he's pretty even-keeled. And it's then that I wish I could be more like him, more like those who exhibit control. I feel out of control.
The quote I have on this blog propels me to action. I don't want to be silent anymore, especially as others around me state that which is wrong and spread those diseases. I don't want to be silent anymore, in part because I am still attempting to atone for a sin I committed ten years ago when I dismissed my hurting friend. I want to stand with him, with them. I want to be brave and do this in not-so-safe places. I want to acknowledge things within myself that will help their cause--but I'm not entirely sure it would. Because in the end, to too many people, I chose a man. I chose "the right."
Not only do the words like that hurt other people, but they hurt those who don't know any better than to just accept the sentiments and conclusions of their chosen leaders. Later some of them will find out. Later they will hate themselves. Later, they may even realize they've been hating a part of themselves all along.
Not that I want that, but perhaps that's just how it has to go.
So what a better time, yeah?
For those not totally in the know:
The Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, sometimes referred to as the “Kinsey Scale,” was developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues Wardell Pomeroy and Clyde Martin in 1948, in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit into neat and exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories.
The scale is as follows:
0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6- Exclusively homosexual
I'm not totally sure where to stick myself. I have had 2 girl crushes I can clearly recall of people I've known "IRL" and it began in high school. I remember as a younger kid (4th grade or so) going completely tomboy and the way others reacted to it. My grandmother asked me if I wanted to be a boy. Oprah had a show talking about how tomboys inevitably turn into lesbians. And the older I became, the more I heard about how homosexual people or actions are icky.
I was a late bloomer. Not physically, but in the sense of having crushes. I didn't have my first real crush until I was in the 5th grade. His name was Ryan. I don't know if he felt the same way because I had a bit of a nerdy rep at that school and his friends gave him all sorts of shit about it, so nothing happened. I still remember being in the bus with my best friend Beth and telling her that I thought I liked someone. Once I wrote his name on a paper towel on our kitchen counter...with a sharpie. Oh god, I freaked out. I think I got it all out. Mom never noticed, at least.
There were other boys. Friends of my stepbrother, neighbor boys, etc. I was always oblivious to them. One in particular I really, really liked and didn't realize he dug me, too, until we had lost contact (why are kids so goddamn stupid?). His name was Phillip. He was an idiot, but I think he could've been good for me. In a bad sort of way.
I didn't have my first girl crush until, I think, my senior year of high school. I could be wrong, but she's the first I remember. Her name was Rose. I had a dream about her and that was the beginning of that. Caught me off guard but only in the sense that I didn't know her well or really think of her much. We rarely talked in class, but she was always super nice to me. I thought about her a lot after that. Not that she was the only one to be nice, but whatever. Something clicked. And, I liked how it made me feel. Not that it's any different, necessarily. A crush is a crush, but this was a she. You know? In that way it was different, and though I knew it probably wouldn't and couldn't happen, I liked thinking about it.
After high school I had my first real girl crush. Like, I wrote about her in my diary and wanted to kiss her and all of that stuff. I don't know what it was about her. She was beautiful and fun and I wanted to believe it could happen. I learned soon after that it couldn't, there was no way. I got over her pretty quickly after I learned that. There was always the residual stuff, but I kept everything respectful. If that couldn't happen, I could at least be her friend. And that worked out. Eventually the feelings were all gone. Besides, they had to be once I joined the church.
Mostly, though, I just like the idea. I write about it sometimes, think about it. Wish I could've explored it more. Like I mentioned earlier, my senior year high school boyfriend totally caught on. But I'm not all that hard to read, either. I dismissed him because I didn't want to admit to it, but I don't believe I was all that convincing. He left it alone either way.
I went back to boys after that though. One boy in particular sooooo caught my eye once I began college. We had the same English class, and my crush on him was a little odd. At least how I responded to his behavior toward me. He was gorgeous, though. He had these long legs I wanted wrapped around me. God, those legs. And then he referred to two years he spent in Texas. Opportunity! I spoke with him after class once where he confirmed he was Mormon and we began meeting at a pizza place semi-regularly where he acted as my unofficial missionary, answering my questions and whatnot. I know he had a crush on me, too, but for some reason I chose to ignore it. My friend tried to encourage me, but I was just ridiculously resistant. If I asked him to do something he didn't want to do, he'd do it for me. He also came to my workplace and invited me to do things all the time but I always said no. I think I was afraid of joining the church because of a boy. Also, I knew he always had the missionaries over and that it was probably a ruse as much as it was anything else. Maybe to get me to join so he could date me? Who knows. After I joined, he was always at my townhouse hanging out. Then I was stupid and began dating his roommate (who I had absolutely no feelings for) and he began dating a friend of mine and eventually moved to Utah to get into pre-med stuff.
The whole thing was weird.
And even though I had gone back to boys entirely after joining the church, I did tell a friend of mine that I had "struggled" with "same sex attraction" in a horrendous reply email to him where he came out to me. That was a big step. The first time I had put it into words. Of course, it wasn't something I was dealing with at the time. Ignore it and it'll go away, as Packer so nicely put it. But it doesn't. It comes back, even if not in the form of a crush. You notice someone, celebrity or whatever, and you think dammit. But it doesn't need to be that way.
Over the last few years I've begun to really acknowledge it to myself. It's been a bit of a weird road as far as that goes. I've told a few people, online, but nobody here. Even when I did online, it was always vague. Telling Eric will be a big step for me, putting it into verbal words like that.
Something I feel the need to say about some of the myths is this: it wasn't a choice, but it wasn't easy to admit it to myself, so I didn't act on it. Not to be righteous, necessarily, but because I was afraid. I didn't fully acknowledge it to myself, really, for quite some time. I also didn't admit to myself that I liked it until very recently. It is only a struggle because other people tell you it is. I didn't grow up in a time where people were coming out of the wood work to declare themselves as homosexual or bisexual of any degree.
Also, this doesn't mean I've been crushing on all or any of my girlfriends since. I have had many friends I've loved and admired dearly (perhaps too much) and have thought were gorgeous and fun and amazing but without having romantic feelings for them.
I know! IT IS POSSIBLE. People with homosexual tendencies of any degree are not out to fuck everyone of their own gender, no matter how pretty or handsome you are. Gasp!
So I'm not sure where I fall on the Kinsey Scale. My best guess is probably a 1-2, maybe 2.5. It's hard to say because I don't know what would've happened had I grown up in a more accepting household, environment, or society. I know it's not great now, but it's getting better despite Packer's and Mormon bullshit. Who knows what it would've been had my life turned out a bit differently--if I had gone to the university I had wanted so much to go to throughout high school (UC Santa Cruz)--or, really, any university. If I hadn't joined the church.
It's interesting to think about. And I have so much respect and admiration for those who choose to come out of the closet and respect themselves and have enough self-worth to follow their hearts and emotions to seek out things that aren't harmful.
That said, I don't totally regret joining the church. Like Chandelle said recently in her blog, and among other things, it brought me Eric. He's unbelievably good for me and he swears I'm just as good for him. We had crazy chemistry--I don't know how we waited for marriage. We almost didn't. I knew he was "the one" before I even met him. I saw his picture and something like lightning hit me. I want to tell him about all of this kinsey-crap, but can't help but wonder if he needs to know. Which is the fear talking. I don't know what I think he's gonna do or say, but if I think about who he is as a person it'll be okay. Like I've said before, he knows me better than anyone. This won't shock him.