Friday, March 23, 2012

Perspective and Poop

That is one sage cow.

I could probably just post this picture and leave it at that, but I really like the sound of keys clicking along at a rhythmic pace, so I am going to expound a bit.

As I might have mentioned a couple of times...*cough*.....I happen to be a single, white, unmarried, Mormon, virgin, with no college degree to speak of (though I am about a year from remedying that), no career (outside of my performing and epic blogging), and no clear direction as to where my life is going. Now if that isn't attractive to good man, I don't know what is.

Because of all of the situations I currently find myself in, it has become very easy for me to become a bit....shall we say, discouraged and perhaps maybe even a titch....oh I don't know....dissatisfied with my life. Very rarely of course...it's not as though the past ten years of my life have been spent in constant and sometimes crippling anxiety due to thoughts of being a total and utter failure in life because I hadn't and wasn't any of the above mentioned things. That would be silly...*sigh*

Ok, I admit it, for better or worse, here is the truth; oh and by the way, I don't think I am entirely alone in this boat, but who knows. The truth is, in many respects, I have put off living/enjoying/experiencing life because I have been waiting for Mr. Right to come along and sweep me off my feet. I blame Disney...and Chick Flicks....and my culture....but mostly....I blame myself for being such a damn coward and/or hopeless romantic.

Everybody wants to find love; except celibate monks, and maybe even them as well. I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to find somebody who you can share your life with. The problem is when you begin to believe (as I did), that in some way, my life can't really begin until you do. Now! here is the kicker. If you had asked me 3,5,10 years ago if this was the case, or rather, if this is what I was in fact doing, I would have said no, and I wouldn't have been lying to you, not on purpose anyway. The only person I was really lying to was myself.

I have always considered myself to be a fairly independent and forward thinking woman. It has never been my life's ambition to marry at 19 and begin popping out kids. But even though I may not have been traditional in my "vision" of married bliss, I am at heart, the same as any other woman out there. I want to fall in love, I want to get married, And I want to grow with somebody while sitting on a porch swing and watching a beautiful sunset. I want the Notebook dang it!!! Or maybe I just want Ryan Gosling (he grew up LDS by the way...there is still hope for us!). As much as it kills me to admit this, it is true nevertheless. And I now realize that it is because of these well meaning and deeply rooted desires, that I have caused myself a not so little amount of unhappiness. Just like Rapunzel would have put it, I just kept wondrin' and wondrin' and wondrin' and wondrin' WHEN will my life begin?

As if I wasn't already living....And yet, in a lot of ways, I wasn't.

This is a hard paradigm to shift, and I can't say that I am entirely free of my old thought patterns entirely. I have noticed something about changing a belief. I believe it is entirely possible, and I believe that it can happen very quickly and abruptly, but more often than not, it is more like trying to strip old wallpaper from the wall, one little shred at a time. However, I have found something that seems to kind of help. If it works for you, great. If not, well......at least you got to see a clever cartoon about some cows.

Nowadays, whenever I find myself wishing, hoping, regretting, fretting, or generally freaking out because my life isn't what it should be, I play this little game with myself. I ask God to show me an example of the evidence that whatever life I am wishing I had, is just as fraught with struggles and and hardships and so forth as the one I am currently living. To apply this to our "grass is greener" analogy, it would be the equivalent of me wanting some other lawn, getting discouraged, and then asking God to show me the little piles of dog crap that are strewn about said coveted lawn. And you know what? I can always find something, and most of the time, I don't even have to look that hard. To apply this to my actual situation, whenever I find myself depressed because I am not married yet, I open up my bedroom window and listen to my downstairs neighbors as they attempt to keep their composure with their 4 screaming children as they streak across the complex yard stark naked, (the children, not the parents). Cheers me right up! Because yeah, I may go to bed lonely every night, but I'm getting 8 solid hours of sleep. I may not as of yet have been able to experience the joy of seeing my child crawl for the first time, but I am also not having to stress out about finding a babysitter so mommy and daddy can have some "alone" time, so that they don't got all O.J. on each other....too soon?

In case I am not being clear, alls I am sayin' is that even though that grass may look greener, there may be and most likely are, just as many reason to be unhappy while you are sitting in that one, as there are to be sitting in the one you are currently sitting in.

That doesn't mean I don't still long for the day when a Sawn Ashmore look-a-like will come and fall madly in love with me and my blogging abilities, and then whisk me away to some foreign land like...Iowa; but it does help me to not waste anymore of time my time waiting to start enjoying my life until he does. I'm sure many of you figured this out years ago. But maybe not. And so at the risk of preaching to the choir, I would like to say that, whatever grass you are waiting on, just realize that the one one which you currently stand has just as much potential for joy and happiness and fulfillment.

To put it simply, love the grass you got while you got it, and if the grass you got ever changes, then love that too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DIVE!! DIVE!!!


I've been working on some new pick up lines that I would like to run past you. I think they truly reflect what I am most interested in when it comes to a potential mate. Here we go...

Hey baby....what's your aquatic persuasion?

Hey baby...how deep do you dive?

Hey baby.....nice snorkel.

Ok, even I'm a little creeped out, and I wrote the stupid things. But there is no way that innocent lines could be taken out of context right? Oh wait, I haven't given the context yet. Let me splain.

As I have mentioned in blogs since past, I loves me a good metaphor and/or analogy. And like I always say, if many of the greatest minds of the earth used them to teach, then there has got to be something to them. Therefor, I would like to present to you a metaphor I use when trying to describe the different kinds of thinkers in the world. Or, put another way, a basic generalization of the different intellectual types. Take it in good humor, and see which category you most identify with.

The Deep Sea Divers

These are individuals who most people would describe as people who "think too much". And this may very well be true, but to a Deep Sea Diver, they can't imagine being any other way. To them, everyone else thinks too little about most things, and they find great fulfillment in probing the deep and untouched recesses of the human mind. These are the kind of people who will take a subject and then study the crap out of it. When they become intrigued by a person or culture, they totally amerce themselves in pursuit of understanding them/it better. These are your poets, your philosophers, your great scientific minds. Knowledge of everything and anything, including knowledge of the self, is the life blood of these explorers. Only problem is, sometimes they are so busy exploring that they forget to resurface for some much needed air. Deep Sea Divers may often find themselves quite lonely down there with nothing more than their thoughts to keep them company. Deep Sea Divers long to find fellow divers who will not only listen to, but also understand and identify with the wonders they have seen. They thrive on those who delve into the same deep waters, and they particularly love when a fellow diver can share a new insight or discovery that they themselves had not as yet experienced. To them, it's go deep or go home, and while they are probably the most misunderstood of the bunch, and probably the most sparse, they are the ones who history remembers and who impact our world in deep and  profound ways. There is no cavern too deep and no line of thought that is off limits. They are seekers of truth above all things, and they try as hard as they can to not let their own personal bias get in the way of their explorations. They are like sea sponges, and they have an entire ocean to sap up.


The Scuba Student

These individuals are those that while they may enjoy a thrilling moment of decent into the murky unknown, they more often than not, return quickly to depths more comfortable and familiar. In many cases, the Scuba Students is a Deep Sea Diver in training, but for one reason or another, does not enjoy prolonged periods of time in deep waters. Some might say that these are the most tempered of the bunch. They can dive deep and commune with the Deep Sea Divers, though they may not ever be able to keep up entirely, but they refuse to dwell in such a state which some might consider to be, a bit excessive. The expression Moderation in All things, might apply specifically to this group. They love a good think or dive, but they also love the warmer and less consuming waters above. These are your well informed, but not necessarily intellectual group. They are not ignorant by any means. They have put in their due diligence in their Scuba instruction. They may not be as experienced as the Deep Sea Divers, but they can hold their own in most waters. They may even be leaders in their communities and or important figure heads. The trouble this group may run into is that they sometimes have a tendency to not be able to see beyond their own mask. Often, they will dive deep enough to recover information that validates their own beliefs and then they are out of there. They are not so much in search of knowledge or truth as much as they are in search of validation. This is not always the case, but it does happen amongst the Scuba Students. But for the most part, they are a well-balanced and agreeable bunch.

The Snorkler

This group is the most humorous to me. These are the folks who are so afraid of what is going to happen if they dive deep that they go only as far as their snorkel will allow. They don't need to probe any deep and dangerous waters and/or trains of thought. They know what they know and they see no reason to question it. They also have a very hard time understanding or relating to Deep Sea Divers. They are those who would say the Deep Sea Divers "think too much" about things. They may come across as gruff or close minded at times, but really, their resistance is coming from a place of fear, or sometimes indifference. Either they truly believe that they know better and therefor see no need for diving, OR, deep down, they are terrified what they may find if they actually look. They don't want a paradigm shift, they don't want truth or even validation; they just want to be left alone and not bothered with such intellectual frivolities. In society, these often are what you might call the average joe. They are good, decent, hardworking individuals who pay their taxes and love their mommas. They treat people fairly, for the most part, and usually won't get involved when a war of the minds goes down. They can't waste their time on such things. They are doers more than thinkers. But they still live within the underwater world that is our imaginary society and as such are not ignorant to the fact that there are Scuba Students and Deep Sea Divers existing beneath them. They know…they just, for the most part don't care. They enjoy the companionship that comes from being with the dozens of other Snorkelers who also booked this fairly priced excursion. And as long as they can stay safely on the almost- surface-of-the-water, then they can enjoy the views that this beautiful underwater world has to offer.

The Water Skier

Oh the Water Skiers. What would we do without them? These are those individuals who, for the most part, have never gone deeper than mid-waist into the world bellow them. And they most certainly have never stuck their heads under there. The term "air head" takes on a whole new meaning and perfectly applies here. Some other words you may associate with this group are: simple, oblivious, blonde, unassuming, and detached. They are literally living in a different world then those below the surface. And you know what? It totally works for them. It's not even a question of whether or not they should or shouldn't be considering a good dive now and again; to them, diving doesn't even exist. And if you try to explain to them that there are actually people down there, far FAR beneath their feet, they are going to look at you with an expression of disbelief or total vacancy. These folks can be a ton of fun, but for a Deep Sea Diver or even Scuba Student, they quickly lose their novelty. In fact, nothing perplexes a Deep Sea Diver more than a Water Skier. He may find himself seriously questioning if they didn't perhaps eat paint chips as a child. Though, in truth, there may also be a twinge of jealousy in there on the part of the Diver. For you see, as I stated earlier, the life of a Deep Sea Diver can be quite lonely at times, and also, when you spend so much time in the deep of things, life and water pressure can start to take on a sort of crushing affect which can be not all together pleasant. In other words, the weightiness can really start to get old after a while, and it is at these times that a Deep Sea Diver may find himself wishing that he could be more like the Water Skier. And why not? Their lives seem so simple, so care free. And in a way, this is exactly true. Water Skiers, for the most part, have an uncanny ability to just "go with the flow". One might even be drawn to conclude that it is precisely because they DON'T think that they are so happy. As if the amount of thinking we do about this world is directly equal to our enjoyment/happiness therein. If ignorance is bliss, then they have it with enough left over for the next night.

I hope you have enjoyed our little metaphor. Maybe you saw a little or a lot of yourself in one or several of these. And, to go along with all of this, I would like to say that I do believe that it is possible for people to change from time to time and from youth to maturity. Nobody is fixed...well...except for maybe those confounded Water Skiers.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

The little I know

As you might have noticed, I have decided to forgo the cute little picture with today's post. The reason for this is due to serious and more humble tone I wish to have while I attempt to discuss something that has been weighing on my mind for some time now.

I would like to begin by stating that the opinions and feelings I am about to share in no way, shape, or form reflect the specific or even general doctrine of the LDS church. By this I mean, I am not speaking for the church, I am speaking as and for myself. Please do not use this post as an excuse to push your own agenda on either side of the issue. If you disagree with what I am saying, then take it up with me, but please, do not use this as fodder to spew more hatred. There has been enough of that already. Now, with that said, allow me to share the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart.

I don't know about you, but I am so far from perfect it isn't even funny, though sometimes I believe that being able to laugh at myself is the only thing keeping me from collapsing into myself entirely. I know many people in the church and in the population in general feel this way. The scriptures tell us to "Be ye therefor perfect". This scripture haunted me for years, I felt like such a failure, because even though I was trying so hard, and even though I felt like my intentions were for the most part pure, I knew that I was...well...am, deeply deeply flawed. But then after doing some research, I discovered that the word perfect doesn't mean the same thing to us as it did when it was written. Perfect, actually means whole. So when we read the scripture, "Be ye therefor whole, even as your Father in heaven is whole", it takes on an entirely different feeling. Does God expect perfection? Of course not, if He did, then we would have no need for the Atonement of Christ. "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" -Romans 3:23- What is this saying to us? What is God trying to tell us through His word?

This is what I believe He is saying, take it for what it's worth. I believe that He is saying, Look, I know you are going to mess up, every last one of you. I don't expect you to get it right 100%, 75%, 33%, or even 5% of the time. I just want you to do the best with what YOU have been given. Oh, and by the way, STOP comparing yourself to others, it can only end badly. Either you will end up feeling superior, which thing is pride and arrogance, or you will feel inadequate which is another form of pride and just as destructive.

I have seen in my life, first hand, the examples of the destructive power of self comparison and self-hatred. Whenever I hear stories about another gay teen or adult who chose to take their own life, rather than live with the shame and the guilt of being "wrong", it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I too have felt this way at times. Though I have never struggled with same sex attraction, I have had my own set of demons that I have had to wrestle with, all of which pushed me to intense feelings of being "broken", or fundamentally flawed in some way. These feelings became so intense, that they actually drove a wedge between myself and God. I could not conceive of a "loving" God who would, in essence send some down here to earth with their proverbial arms tied behind their back and then demand that they play Gaspard de la nuit by Maurice Ravel, and expect us to get it entirely correct.

Let me say now, that though this is who I use to believe God is, it is not who I now believe God to be, though I still see many around me who seem to believe the way I use to. And because they believe this, they feel justified in condemning those around them, in the name of God. This is not an LDS issue. This is a HUMAN issue. Long before the word Mormons was uttered, people have been using religion to push their own personal agendas. They may do it "in the name of God", but what they are really doing is in their own name only, while trying to justify by hiding beneath the untouchable veil of God, or science, or philosophy, or any other dogma they have come to accept as truth indisputable. And this isn't even an organized religion thing. When people are so quick to point out all of the evil that Organized Religion has done, they are completely choosing to blatantly ignore all of the horrors exacted by Godless and Religionless individuals.

This is not an issue of Religion.

People may chose to hide behind a certain creed, they may even adopt new ideologies and concepts from these same sources, but if there is one thing I have come to learn about people is, that for the most part, people will seek out people, books, churches, non-churches, and so on that validate what they ALREADY believe.

The more I learn, the less I know. And I am in no way qualified to preach to anybody. I am a 29 year old, white, Mormon, virgin, who for the most part, has lived her life within the mountain walls of the Utah valley. I have not traveled the world, nor studied every avenue of thought, though I try my best to explore as many as I can. I don't know much, but there are a couple of things I have come to believe.

If there is in fact a God, and He does in fact wish that we would behave in a certain way, then I believe that it is painfully obvious to us all that we are failing to do so, even on a daily basis, "For ALL men have sinned". ALL. I am no better than you, and you are no worse than me. Now, is this meant to imply that I do not believe that true and real evil exists in this world or that absolutely everybody is doing their "best", sin though they might? No. And because of this, we have a responsibility as humans sharing this planet to defend ourselves and those who cannot defend themselves, against those who would intentionally seek to do harm. But that is where it ends. Nobody gets the right to say what or where someone who sins is going after they die. We can't judge because we will never have all of the information necessary to do so. We see one action or one aspect of a person and we condemn their entire being. We throw out the baby with the bath water on an epic scale. If somebody breaks the law, or harms another human being, then deal with them according to to the law, but then leave it alone. Your judgement has ended with the action. If God exists, then HE will sort it out. We can imprison a man's body, or even take his life if he has done the same, but we can NOT say what amount of accountability he will be responsible for after he leaves this life.

Several years back, I lost  a dear friend to a drug overdose. Anyone who knew this man knew him to be one the most Christ-Like individuals that they had known. I could expound on his many selfless and charitable attributes, unfortunately though, these many positive attributes seem to have become tainted by the the nature of his death, casting a dark cloud over the otherwise brilliant blue skies that was his legacy. I remember talking to another acquaintance of mine shortly after my friends passing, and I remember asking him where he thought our friend was now. This was at a time in my life when I was struggling with my faith in an after life and I guess I was just looking for those comforting reassurances that my friend was safe and well, and finally at peace. This however, was not the reply I received. Instead, this well-meaning individual informed me in no uncertain terms that because my friend had overdosed on illegal drugs, that he had therefor forfeited his right to paradise and we could all safely assume that he was in essence burning in hell. The way they worded it was a bit nicer, but this was the message that was being sent. I could not believe what I was hearing. I wanted to shout at them, "So what you are telling me is that this good, decent, selfless, loving, charitable, amazing individual is going to suffer for the rest of eternity because they made one wrong turn in life that ultimately led to their demise?" To say nothing of the hours he spent sitting with the special needs kids during lunch, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. To say nothing of the fact that absolutely everyone who knew him loved him because he loved them first with no regard for any external factors. But no, we know better right? "Sorry, you screwed up, you blew it, you had your chance, one chance. Or maybe even a million chances, and you failed."

It absolutely blows my mind that anyone who claims to be a believer of Christ could ever adopt an attitude that even resembles that of the example I just gave. Christ Atonement is Infinite which literally means, without beginning or end, all encompassing, which means, there is NO sin it can not touch, NO short coming that it does not account for, and  NO imperfection that is not swallowed up in its perfect love. The ONLY thing that the Atonement can not touch is agency.Which is to say, if a personal willing and in full awareness, rejects it. But this would be impossible to do in THIS life, since we all walking by FAITH and not a perfect knowledge. This is what the war in heaven was fought over. God has given us the freedom to choose, and the mercy of His sons sacrifice to compensate for the millions of times we are going to screw up. But because Christ alone suffered for our sins, then it is Christ ALONE who gets to have the final say, when all is said and done. It is not for us to judge, it is not for us to even speculate, and it is certainly not for us to condemn.

I say to you as one deeply flawed individual to another, please, let us lay our weapons down. Let us cease trying to destroy the beliefs of others. If they are not hurting anyone, but they are not your personal beliefs, then let them go. Defend the defenseless, but beyond that, let it go. Let it go knowing that what you are seeing, is only a fraction of that person and their life. Let it go knowing that you yourself are, in all reality, no better or worse than those who stand condemned in yours eyes. Stop blaming this religion or organization, or lack thereof for "whats wrong with the world today". Work out your own salvation, tend to your own garden, and in the mean time, try a little tenderness. Because you don't know how many tears that person has shed on their pillow at night in fear or self-loathing. You can't hear the anguished cries of their hearts as they try to make sense of the hand they have been dealt. And even if there is no God, it doesn't change a thing, because you still will never fully know what it is like to walk a day in their shoes. Everyone is responsible for their own actions and behaviors in this world, but since what causes or spurs those actions and beliefs can be as varied and complex as the sands of the sea, ultimately it is impossible to say how much accountability will ultimately be required for each individual.

The last thing I would like to add is this; it is very easy to hate. It is very easy to point fingers. I have been guilty of this more times than I can count, and I am ashamed every time I catch myself doing it. But even though I am not perfect in this regard, it doesn't stop me from realizing that these behaviors can do no good in the world. The only thing hatred breeds is more hatred. You are never going to touch someones heart by telling them how wrong, or evil, or ignorant, or stupid they are. All you will do is drive the wedge deeper and cause the chasm between "us" and "them" to grow. As cliche' as it sounds, love truly is the answer. Do not confuse love with tolerance. Love is something entirely different. Love is a gift you give freely, but it is very hard to truly love someone while sticking a knife in their back, or tearing down their beliefs. We love, because He loved us first. We love, because we recognize that we are all as equally unworthy and worthy of love. No man any more or less than the other. We all stand on equal ground and it is time we started addressing each other as such.

If there is a God, then He will sort out the life to come; but while we are here, why don't we at least try and cut one another a break. This life is hard enough, and we are hard enough on ourselves to need even just one more "well-meaning" voice telling us everything that is wrong about us. Please; if making a choice to love instead of judge or condemn means we save just one life, then isn't it worth it? No one need ever feel like they are so "broken" that they no longer deserve or wish to remain on this earth. That is the greatest lie of all, and if there is a loving God in heaven, which I believe there is, then I can't see how He would ever be in any way pleased with this belief, or for that matter, anyone who made someone to feel like this was true.

Let it go....why? Because we don't know. We're just stumbling along. But if we have to stumble, let's stumble together, and not over one another.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

People. Be. Crazy.

When I was just a wee lass, I use to love listening to Radio Disney.  In fact, I once won a copy of Toy Story on VHS from a call-in contest. It was the happiest day of my life...all days following have paled in comparison. However, there was a dark side to my beloved station, and that was when they would play Dr. Demento's classic hit, They're Coming to Take Me Away". I'm sorry, but even as an adult that song is creepy as a small child humming softly in a dark room. Every time I heard that song I pictured in my mind a crazed mental patient in a white straight jacket being hauled off to the funny farm whilst they foamed from the mouth.

That in mind, I would like to make a blanket generalization...

PEOPLE BE CRAZY!

Oh yes, people in general are ALL crazy in their own way, but single people.....they are their own brand of crazy. And what I find so interesting about this population of nuts, is that we delight in trying to "figure each other out". Girls are fantastic at doing this when they justify poor treatment or even complete indifference from a man they are interested in, "Oh, I'm sure he only texts me at 11pm, every other weekend, to come over to his place to "hang out" because he has such a busy life". Really ladies? Really?

Naive women aside, I find it absolutely hilarious to watch us try and analyze the crap out of each other and our relationships. Make no mistake, I am just as guilty as anyone else in this matter, but that doesn't stop me from seeing the absolute insanity of it all.

I know it is human nature to be curious about the world and the people around us. How else are we going to learn if we don't study, dissect, flip it over, and dissect it again? People are like puzzles that just need to be solved. But ya know what I am coming to believe? That no matter how many hours of examination and theorizing you engage in, you are NEVER going to "figure" some one out entirely, or even to any level of satisfaction. Inevitably, just when you think you know a person, you come home and find them trying on your underwear. People. Be. Crazy.

Why do you think there are SO many different approaches and theories in psychology? This is an entire science dedicated to "figuring people out", and yet, not even they will claim to have all of the answers. Is is nature? nurture? a lack of chemical A?, a lack of a soul?, the absence of a father? Or maybe....they were just born this way. Or maaaaayyybeeee it is a combination of all of these things, like a big pot of crazy soup that required all the ingredients to achieve that specific kind of crazy flavor.

What I have realized in my own life, is that I tend to analyze people based off of my own bias views points (shocker!). If I struggle with selfishness, then I tend to more apt to chalk up someones negative behavior to the same thing. It's actually quite narcissistic if you think about it. We think everyone approaches the world the same way we do. Even as I am typing this I am making an assumption about the way people make assumptions. Isn't this fun???

You're crazy, I'm crazy, You're broken, I'm broken....yadda yadda yadda. I guess it's nice to know we are all in good company. I think I am going to spend less time trying to "figure people out" and just try to do more living of this crazy life to it's crazy conclusion. Because I have decided that trying to figure them out...is..well....driving me crazy. =)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Cultural Hall: Pod Cast: Articles of News

http://www.theculturalhallpodcast.com/2012/03/articles-of-newsweek-of-march-12th/

For those of you who aren't aware, I have been involved with a Pod Cast with my friend Richy T from X96, a local station here in Utah. The Pod Cast is for Richie's side project, The Cultural Hall. There are tons of great interviews and articles to read, so check it out! And of course, you will get to hear my lovely(?) voice as we discuss current topics. Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I was like Baby Baby Baby AHHHHHHH!!!

The time has come! That's right, enough fluffy philosophies and random rantings.  It's time to get down to the nitty gritty, time to give the people what they came here for. At long last, it is time to discuss the question that is on every ones mind....

Why is the anxious white virgin....well....the anxious white virgin?

Frightening as it is, I am ready to turn the eye of criticism squarely on myself. It's time to get real.

While I believe that there are many reasons why I am not married yet, there are two key "issues" that seem to be like  Dating Arsenic to the Mormon men folk. I will save one of these for another time, and share The Big One with you now....men...prepare yourselves to be totally turned off.

You know how when a girl brings a baby into the room and every girl in that goes absolutely bonkers as they fall all over each other to hold said baby? Well...I have never been one of those girls.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like I dislike children per say, but I have just never felt that certain....je ne sais quoi feeling about being a mother. 

In today's modern society, a woman who has little interest in being a mother is not an all together uncommon occurrence. Some women chose instead to focus on a career or even dedicate their lives to a worthy charitable cause. While there is still some stigma tied to this choice, it seems like in general, the culture at large doesn't condemn a woman who chooses this path in life. In the LDS culture however, saying you don't want children is tantamount to saying you want to center your life around clubbing baby seals. Here are just a couple of my favorite reactions to my confession, in dating situations:

"WHAT? How could you NOT want children?!?"

"That is NOT natural."

"Is it because you are just too selfish?"

"If you aren't going to have kids, then why are you even bothering to get married?"

Let me make one thing clear, I am in no way saying that the men who have chosen to "pass" on me, as it were, due to this fact, are wrong for doing so.  This is a HUGE aspect of life, and I think it's safe to say that most people who get married, are doing so with the intention to start a family some day.  My issue is not with their standard, but rather in their judgement of me. Or rather, the reasons they come up with as to why I have these reservations. Keep in mind, I have never said that I never wanted kids, but rather, I have expressed that I have never really felt that burning desire to do so, which has led to wonder if maybe it is just not in the cards for me.

Like I said earlier, this has nothing to do with a dislike of children or a desire to take down the idea of family from the inside. I truly believe that family might very well be the most important organization in the world. It is where two people can raise children who will, in turn become good people who will go on to benefit the world as a whole. I also believe that many of the major "issues" that we are seeing in today's world, and particularly here in America, can somehow be tied back to the disintegration of the individual family.  More than  ever, we need good and decent people who are willing to raise and nurture these future generations, in the hope that they will do better than what we have left them with.  And just to make sure I am crystal clear, I personally believe that there is no higher or more worthy calling in life then that of being a good parent, and particularly a good mother.

If I have any reservations about being a mother, they come not from selfishness, but rather from fear that I am not made up of the right stuff for the job.  I know many of my friends have tried to make me realize that this is not the case, but I can't seem to shake this nagging feeling that I was just never cut out for this great calling. Call it insecurity, call it a lack of faith in myself, or just call it good old fashioned fear. I know there are women, and men for that matter, out there who identify with what I am saying. I think to some extent, everybody feels fear about being a parent.  That makes sense, it's a tall order to fill, but ultimately their desire for the children outweighs whatever fear they might have, and they move forward.

I would like to end with this last thought.

In the Mormon faith, we believe that husbands and wives are bound to each other not only in this life, but in the eternity to come. We also believe that we are bound to our families, including our children and their children and their children and so on and so forth. You can think of it from a Lion King point of view if it helps, and by this I mean.....Simmmbaaah.....We are ALL connected in the great circle of life.  Because, if you think about it, everybody is somebodies child, ergo, ultimately, we are all kind of going to be bound to one another, in a way. But when all is said and done, your children and their children and their children are all going to grow up and hopefully find their own companions who they will become bound to, SO, ultimately, the relationship that is going to matter the most, is that of you and your companion. Or at least, that is how it appears to me.

However, I have known women who seemed to want to be mothers more than they wanted to be wives.  It was as if  they could have cared less who they married, as long as they could start having kids as soon as possible. I have also watched as the men these women married, have become bitter and disenchanted when after the children arrive, their wives become almost entirely neglectful towards them as they turn their full attention and love towards the child or children. And while I could never say for certain, it appears to me like these women didn't marry these men for their true companionship, but rather as means to an end. Is this "wrong"?....I don't think it is our place to say. But what I can say is that this is not my approach.

What I want, is a best friend and a true companion first and foremost.  I believe that this is critical even if you want a hundred children. Because what is going to happen when you marry someone just to become a parent and then come to find out that due to no intentional fault of your own, you are unable to have children? True, there is always adoption and other methods to explore, but my point is, when all of that is put aside, what are you left with? You are left with two people who have made a commitment to love and cherish each other for time and all eternity. And truly, any children that enter this world should be a pure expression of that love. They are not accessories, or something for you to impose your will upon. They are not meant to "fix" crappy relationships, or use as leverage against someone else. These precious souls are a promise of love made manifest in the flesh. And I can only pray that I am blessed enough to someday know this kind of love.

And who knows, maybe I will be a great mom someday. But let's not put the horse before the cart. For now, maybe I should rephrase the way I explain my feelings on children from, "I'm not sure if I want kids", to, "I can only hope to find a companion that I love enough to want to share such an amazing experience with someday."

 Or something like that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Candles

5...4...3...2...1...Welcome to 29 me....glad you could make it.

You know, it's funny, as strange as it sounds, I never thought I would make it this long.  I have had no legitimate reason or evidence to support this feeling. Other than a bout with meningitis when I was still a baby, I have remained in good health.  I've never broken a bone, never had stitches, or my appendix taken out.  I had food poisoning once though, I was fairly convinced that I was going to die that day, but obviously it was not meant to be.

I know most people, unless they are suicidal, aren't in hurry to exit this world.  But I also think there are those of us who fear the prospect of death much more than the average bear, and I would consider myself to be one of those people. Ironic, isn't it? Coming from a "woman of faith". Surely I must believe that this life is not the end, but only one step on the path of eternity.  And yet....even I wonder sometimes....what if?

The thought that there might be nothing after this world use to frighten me to no end and keep me up at night. I find it hard to even conceive I could cease to be. To say nothing of my physical form, but to try and comprehend the possibility that I would lose this...awareness to whatever extent, was more than my mind could conjure up.

Some might say that this is why man invented religion, invented God. They will say it is because man could not cope with the reality of his finite and fleeting nature. No, certainly not, certainly there must be a deeper purpose, a more eternal purpose. How can it be that a person could come to this earth and live 5, 16, 29, 103 years and then simply vanish?  We lay the bodies of those we loved in the earth and we comfort ourselves with stories of a place where we will all be reunited again someday. Yes, this makes for a much better bed time story. Something to hope for.

And then a man come along.  To hear the people talk, he wasn't much to look at, he held no high ranking placement in life, and ultimately he would be put to death by his own people and government. Remarkably though, before his death, this man had the audacity to claim that he had the power to overcome death itself, and that no grave would be able to hold him for long.  And to those who believe, he stayed trued to his word. And because he did this, we too shall overcome death and live again someday.  A lovely idea, but could it really be true? What if it is? And if you really believed it, how would it change your life and the way you live it?

One thing is for certain, the scriptures had it right when they stated that, "This too shall pass". Eventually, after life or no, this life, your life, my life, will end.

I find it extremely poetic that we use candles to signify the passing of our lives. Truly, we are all like candles in so many ways.  For those who come to this earth and live for only a few years or maybe even a few days, we are like a birthday candle, which seems to  burn for only a moment before it's light is extinguished. And for those who live for many many years, their candles might be likened more to the kind you find in a Gothic cathedral, their years of experience dripping from them like the cascade of wax that pour from the source of the heat. And yet, eventually, all candles will burn to their conclusion, regardless of their depth.

I don't know why exactly, but this thought that use to fill me with such dread, I find has been replaced with an indescribable sense of peace.  I think I have been trying to hold onto this world for so long, I actually started to believe that I myself had the power to stays deaths hand. In a way, it was as if I believed that my fear of death would somehow keep me from its grasp, but now I am beginning to believe that it is only through letting go of this world that a person can truly find any real peace in it. I realize this is easy to say as in I sit in good health in my warm bed, and maybe this new found perspective will be as fleeting as a happy birthday song, but I hope not. Because for the first time in I don't know how long, I feel a peace that I can not describe in words other than to say it feels like I have tuned in to some sacred frequency, and if only for a moment, am able to hear life's song the way it was always intended to be heard.

Heaven or no, we can love this world for what it is, but realize that it was never ours to keep. And with this knowledge, perhaps we can learn to let go of our white knuckle grip on this earth and all the things and people in it. And maybe in this surrender, we will finally find what we thought we would never have in this life; freedom from fear, and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

That Glass Is Full of Something

I'm sure by now, many of you have seen this oh-so-catchy little tumblr craze.  I have seen more "likes" on this thing than valley girl book report. "Like today, I would like to like give a book report on the like most awesome book in like the entire world...like."

If I may, I would like to go even a step further. I may add to this in the future, but I hope you will enjoy these for now.

Dear Optimist, Pessimist, Realist, and Opportunist,

While you guys were arguing about the glass of water.....

I hid the glass where you will never find it.

Sincerely
The Antagonist


I set it on fire.

Sincerely
The Arsonist


I baptized you surreptitiously with it.

Sincerely,
The Baptist


I distributed your ridiculously excessive amount of water to the masses.

Sincerely,
The Communist


I poured my own damn glass of water, thank you very much!

Sincerely,
The Feminist



YEAAAA!!!!! WATER!!!!!!!!!!

Sincerely,
The Enthusiast



I had this glass of water made into a federally protected wildlife preserve. Did you know that 16 specific and rare forms of microbes live in that water?!

Sincerely,
The Environmentalist



I fit my entire body into the glass...Tah Dah!


Sincerely,
The Contortionist



This is perfect just the way it is. Leave it alone.

Sincerely,
The Purist



I poked it and poked it and poked it, and still got nothing.

Sincerely,
The Phlebotomist (Get your minds out of the gutter!)


I believe this whole thing is stupid, and anyone who buys into it is stupid, and if you had any intelligence at all you would see the stupidity of everything you are talking about.

Sincerely,
The Atheist


I......DOH!

Sincerely,
The Homerist


Um....that's not water.....

Sincerely,
The Flautist

AND FINALLY

I'm living in it.

Sincerely,
The Walrust.....Coo Coo Ca Choo