Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 4

Well, ready steady go.

The last two days I have taken my writing in form of letter. I liked that. It kept things more personal and I realized that while I capture the outline of a few things in my last post, it was very much lacking any personal feeling to it.  Everything that would make you interested in what someone was telling you because you were invested in them and what they were saying or going through was missing from that last post.  So, here's what you're going to get. I am going to write this blog like I am writing to my best friend. I am going to assume that she is the only one readying it and that I am writing it just for her, and in a way I really am writing for her.

So there was this one Sunday at a Snow College.  The lesson in relief society was on the importance of a woman's role in her family and in her life.  I remember going home from this lesson, I was SO pissed off at the end. I talked with my roommates about their thoughts on it and it became very clear to me that I was in the minority.  I did not think that my duties should be dependent on my gender.  I really didn't like the idea of having to teach that to my children either.  I was totally stunned to know that I was arguing with my friends about it as well.  I just assumed that we would ALL be bothered by this,and yet somehow I was the only one that did not agree. Later that same year I watched the movie, "What Women Want" with boyfriend 'x' of the time and at the end of it I just started bawling.  All  of the thoughts that the men were having were exactly what I was thinking and all the thoughts that the women were having seemed totally foreign to me. I felt totally isolated from my "Gender".  I know that I can be pretty "girly" but it was always so hard for me to really feel connected to other women. I having always been very insecure about who I am and other girls were scary. Growing up with a brother on either side of me and playing the Tuba, it was just easy to surround myself with guys.  Guys are inherently easy to understand.  Girls-umm... not so much.

Now I am living this life and really struggling to understand these boundaries.  When I meet Seth I was astounded at how Gabe was all boy.  I was in the kitchen one day and I turned around to see him pounding his cars into the ground and making crashing noises.  It didn't take long for him to start smashing them into each other and laughing.  And this from a kid who really didn't have too much expression at an early age.  Just instinctively knew to bash them around.  When I found out I was pregnant, I knew she was a "she" and I can't even count the number of counseling session I had just crying with Seth and our counselor about how I didn't know how to raise a girl.  I was terrified at the amount of damage I was going to do to her just by being her mother when I really had no concept of "woman".  What chance does she really have if I am where she is gong to have to turn to learn how to do her hair, and makeup, and gain any sense of style from. I hate pink- just hate it.  My favorite color- Orange... you know that color most people hate, or at least actively ignore.  I like to watch sports and follow teams more than Seth does, and I PLAYED THE TUBA ON PURPOSE. This poor kid, I thought, was going to come out with no idea what she was supposed to be like and grow up in this world full of men surrounding her on a daily basis.

And you know what? She is ALL girl. Totally and completely.  And she's pretty bad ass already. A little girly fighter that one. She is just all piss and vinegar if you try to hold her down, and all smiles and laughter if she feels free.  It's as though every bow and flower and pink thing in the world is just naturally finding it's way to her through the universe. Never have I seen a kid more enchanted with their own reflection. She refuses to sleep because she is too busy crawling and sitting up and trying to walk.  I think she's going to be just fine and I'm excited to watch her grow up as the girliest Tom-boy ever!

As for my own struggle with my responsibility to my gender? It's still there and harder than ever to navigate.  I was so certain that I would be strong enough to do this baby thing without needing any help that I told Seth when we first found out I was pregnant that he didn't have to worry about anything changing because I would just take care of it myself.  I could do it all. Have the job, care for the baby, keep up the house, and going out and have fun without any problems. I was going to ROCK it! And then you know what happened? I because a mom.  I absolutely CAN NOT do this by myself.  I have never had to trust someone harder than I didn't when I trusted Seth to help pull me through the birth of our child.  I buckled and hit a wall of doubt and fear and uncertainty that I was certain I would not hit leading up to my labor. I thought I had done all the research that I needed to and that natural childbirth would be, and what it turned into was amazing and beautiful and also the scariest and most trying thing I've ever done.  He brought me through it and was the reason to stuck to having her naturally. Now that she's here it's such a struggle to know who is responsible for what. Do I stay up with her? Should he? Which of us needs to step up daycare? Who is feeding her that night? And staying/getting up with her when she cried? Should I be doing all the laundry? And cleaning the house? Walking the dogs? Who's turn is it?

So quickly I went from doing it all myself and and feeling like I wouldn't need help, to crying at night trying to get any help I can. I guess maybe one day I'll figure it out.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 days of writing: Day 1

So I have decided to write for an hour everyday for the next 30 days. I am going to have to take something with me to Hawaii for writing, be it a computer or a notebook. I thought about waiting until we returned home to start this, but I like the idea of being away from everything and continuing to write.  I’m hoping that by the end of the 30 days that my writing isn’t as painful as I feel that it will be these first few days.  I used to be able to just sit and the words would start flowing in a way that was at least easy to follow and could get a specific point across. I feel now like I am struggling to just get the words to come out of my head and on to the paper or computer.
Maybe I am just being affected by the people around me? Is it possible that my brain has decided that in order to protect itself that it had to shut down to the ignorance around me. Or maybe, and most likely, I am just lazy and out of practice. I am currently listening to three kids next to me trying to discuss speaking Spanish.  The first kid said that he spent a summer in Spain, and therefore speaks the “People’s” Spanish.  He then said, “it’s like college professors and Ebonics. The people in Spain that I was around, they spoke like Ebonic-Spanish and you would have learned in your classes like ‘Professor Spanish’.”  The girl then said, “Well, isn’t it more like Old English versus slang English? I thought Ebonics had been termed a different language?”  I feel just a little bit dumber for having heard this conversation and even dumber for having heard what it through its resolution.  But again, I am pretty positive that I’m more out of habit and lazy than anything. Here’s hoping for better writing horizons. 
I have been having a reoccurring conversation these last few days revolving around religion.  I have stopped myself several times from writing about religion as my very first topic, but I can’t get it out of my head and it seems as well that the world or universe is hell-bent on making me talk about it, so why not write about it?  
I have CHOSEN to be non-religious.  This does not mean that I have decided to live without morals or without a greater purpose.  It also was not a decision that I took lightly or made without consequence.  I have been searching for God and the truth as I can comprehend it for almost as long as I can remember. Seriously, I have. The first conversation that I can remember having about it was when I was six.  The answer to my questions at that time was, “There are certain things that you are just going to have to take on faith and accept that it will be made known to us when we die. If you keep looking to science to give you answers you will fall away from the church and that is a path that leads to hell.” I feel it is important at this time to say that I understand the things that were told to me then and that I am not mocking, discrediting, or speaking badly of religion or theologies, but that I am trying to paint a picture of my own spiritual journey and decisions.  I decided that I would have to accept faith as the answer and not look further into my doubts.  This worked well for me, but I was always on the outside borders of being a good follower. I would accept and be faithful and then start to question more and more until the point of breakdown which usually consisted of a few hours of intense sobbing, music, reading, searching, and praying until I could find peace somewhere in the scriptures to help me “feel” God again in my life.  This would honestly happen consistently about every 6 months, where I would have to reinvest myself into the religion, from the time I was 9 until I was 19.  When I was 20 I went to college and started a nonstop journey to solidify faith and commitment to religion. I started searching and devouring the scriptures and literary works.  I went to religion classes in college, engaged in as many conversations regarding religion as I could.  Some were positive, some were not. I decided, unsuccessfully, to try to serve a mission for my church and when that didn’t happen I just continued to tread this path of spiritual progression. I would falter and fail at times and have to start over.  But I was determined to do good by my God and to follow the ways I had been taught. After failed relationships, marriage, school, and attempts to escape my life, I ended up in the ultimate display of my beliefs. I was married and sealed forever to spouse, I was involved with the young women and scouts in my church, and living life to go to our temple every week.  After all of this my marriage fell apart, I left my positions in my church and I back a ground zero.  I was constantly struggling with anxiety and feelings of extreme guilt. 
This was my breaking point. I didn’t decide to leave the church all together at that time, but I did decide to let go for awhile. It was a hard choice and not one I took lightly, even though it may have appeared otherwise.  Shortly after my 27th birthday and my break from church and the divorce I moved to Nebraska.  I was suddenly 1000 miles away from the closest person that I knew and surrounded by a new culture and environment.  I had no car, no friends, and nowhere to shop that wasn’t online.  I quickly lost myself in this anonymity and found that I liked being able to start over.  I tried it on for fit, and loved the way it looked on me.  Have you ever heard the term too much of a good thing? Well, let’s just say that there were many moments in this new life that I am not proud of and that I had to learn some hard lessons from, but, all in all, I started to realize that without the heavy presence of God or religion that I was much happier all around, I had less stress and more peace in my life.  I still had my ups and downs, and as I just stated I had a lot of learning and growing to do-some of which I excelled at and others I failed at- but I came to love the town I was living in, the people that surrounded me, and felt like for the first time I had a real home and place where I belonged. I had my place.  Finally sleeping without the aid of sleeping pills and no longer struggling with anxiety I made my permanent break. I was still going to church here and now and after several meetings we decided to part ways.  Council was held and I complied and said that this was what I wanted, and I understood the decision that they would make, whatever it may be.
And that was that. It was my 29th birthday when I received the letter informing me of their decision and I decided to move forward with trying to really develop my own belief system.  By the time I was 30 I had come to the conclusion which I now believe, and strangely it feels very much the same as what I believed when I was six.  I do not believe there is a God.  I do not feel vain enough to say that I know there is no God, and I accept that I could be wrong but it is truly what I believe.  I know what this belief means to all of my dear friends and family that do believe and I am sorry for any pain or concern this may cause you.  I have not decided to believe this because of pain or hurt or anger, but because it is what has afforded my life the most comfort and peace.  I will always respect and understand the beliefs that you have and I will not try to make you believe as I do. I know that you are happier with God, but I do want you to know that I am truly happier now in my life choices and ask that you try to accept that with a true knowledge of the teachings that this is the decision that I have made and that I accept as truth. 
I love all of you. And as I enter my 33rd year of life as a new mom and with a family around me that I love and cherish I look forward to what I will learn and share with and through all of you.