I've learned to avoid telling people I ever had anything to do with the church. You get a stigma. A lot of you will get that. I fear a particularly stinky kind for myself. You guys, my husband was born into the church. I chose it.
But because he was born into it, there are situations I can't get out of, attitudes I can't avoid. His family is pretty awesome with regard to our leaving, but there's one member who--try as he might!--can't let go entirely. Every now and again he has a comment. It usually doesn't bother me.
But the attitudinal issues--those bother me. The misogynistic crap is so subtle, but it's there and I've always felt it but I've always dismissed it because it's so subtle and, y'know, maybe I'm just being sensitive. I don't know if anyone outside the culture and at all unfamiliar with it would sense it as it's redressed in names like "values" and "virtue" and "faith" and "humility" and "modesty" so that even women don't see it.
We attended a little get-together at my FIL for my SIL's 8th grade graduation this past weekend. As my FIL and my husband are both teachers, they talk quite a bit about issues and general experiences. Now, I didn't necessarily grow up wanting to be an English teacher, but it has always been on my mind. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have tutored and enjoyed it so much. In high school I wanted to be a writer, but I was aware enough to know that wouldn't work as a day job so I considered being an editor or proofreader, working in the publishing industry.
For a long time post-church I told myself and anyone who would listen that I didn't think I could teach, that I didn't have the ability to handle the emotional and mental issues associated with it. Because I wouldn't let it go (I was waiting for someone to assure me I'd be fine--yay passive-aggression!), others simply shrugged and agreed--which made my insecurity worse. I had just spent the last decade being told ("encouraged") that I couldn't do what I wanted to do. It's been quite the process redefining myself. I'm getting there, but it's slow.
So I finally decided last summer that I was going back to school with purpose. The difference in my motivation is amazing. I finally believed I could do something and I've done all the annoying crap so far in order to do it. I took biology--biology. I've overcome a lot of fears just in the last year to keep going. Now I'm in summer school. I'm happier when I'm studying.
But not everyone is all that supportive. More than I thought are, but there are the cynics. They surrounded me yesterday.
"So you wanna be a teacher, huh?" a family member--also a teacher--said.
(insert loud laughter here)
It could be because the climate is so godawful right now that only an insane masochist would even entertain the thought, but I know this mindset. I know my husband used to have it. Kids, I could tell a few stories and they're all influenced by church doctrine and teachings regarding women--not girls! women--and their place. "I'd rather you wouldn't wear that." "Don't go on a walk by yourself."
I mean, girls.
So the laughter also stank of condescension and it didn't help that the conversation stopped there. They weren't interested. But, he did bring it up again later. "So what do you want to teach? Elementary?"
Because, as many of you know, women are best at teaching elementary if they're going to teach at all (really, if a mormon woman has to work, she can be a secretary or a teacher so I'm already playing into this). And let's not forget that just moments before I overheard a conversation regarding elementary school teachers--they're amazing people and a special brand and omg so glad they're there, but their university program doesn't demand as much of them.
He backed up pretty quickly after I scrunched up my face and...well.
Every time I was asked about school my responses were met with snideness. Even DILF (i'm struggling with this. he's uncomfortable with actual names but i grow tired of "my husband" and i think "DILF" is funny)--ANYWAY, DILF, who usually sets me straight when I'm being irrational--and god knows I can be when I'm angry and hurt--agreed that there were some major you're so cute *pet* now get in the kitchen overtones going on.
Seriously. I need some good returns for these stupid comments next time. When we got home I just wanted to ball up and cry and punch something.
I'm not doing this for them, to prove anything to them. If I was I wouldn't have come even this far. But, you know, it would be nice to have a bit of respect.