Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Mormon's Guide: How to Treat Your Disaffected Family Members

Family.  Isn't it about time?

Actually no, not if you're gay, cohabitating, drinking tea, coffee, alcohol, smoking, or just plain don't believe - no, it's most definitely NOT time.

So yeah, I'm done.  Typing up my resignation letter today and sending it out sometime this week once I can get it printed, notarized, and priority mailed.

I'm tired of respecting their right to belief and having my thoughts and feelings trampled on.  I've done my best to not be offensive to you - and now I'm done.  I've had enough.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I almost published this on my public blog.  Most of my Mormon friends have been pretty understanding of my new way of thinking, but I thought this might be a little much.  Maybe one day…

One of the most interesting things that I've come across with my new way of life is a huge switch in the way that I view a lot of things. There were a lot of things taught to me or implied to me while I was growing up that held deep seeded beliefs for me that I've now realized aren't so cut and dry. I'm not saying that these things weren't taught to me for good reasons. I know that they were. What I AM saying though, is that the world isn't so black and white as you might think.
Today, a friend on facebook posted a rather distubing link about a woman who, while drunk, let something awful happen to her child.  My friend also posted that she wondered when people would realize that drinking was selfish, irresponsible, and stupid.  A little less than 2 years ago, I would have completely agreed with her.  However, now - I'd have to respond that what is selfish, irresponsible, and stupid is the person- not the drinking.
The reason I decided to write about this is because a couple of months ago, I had a pretty painful confrontation with my dad who misunderstood something I posted on my fb about getting some Sangria for Cinco De Mayo.  The Sangria I was referring to is a Mexican Soda that you can find at places like Bajio, some grocery stores, and Mexican markets.  I love it.  I've been drinking this soda for years.  My dad, however, thought I was referring to the wine also called Sangria.
I understand that we were brought up being taught that alcohol is bad for you - and it can be bad for you in large amounts.  Wine has actually been proven to be good for you in moderation (as well as coffee).  Even the best possible thing for you can be bad for you in large amounts.  The key is moderation in all things.
The key is also being smart and responsible.
My dad has also had some very painful things happen to him and his family because of alcohol so I can understand why for him and for other people the word alcohol is immediately associated with making bad choices. 
Growing up, I was terrified of drunk people.  I think I had only seen 2 in my whole life, and they were seriously drunk and there was probably a reason I should have feared them, but one drink or two drinks for some people do not equal out of control.  My ex started drinking when we were separated and I was appalled.  This was the worst possible thing in my mind that could have happened.
We've all heard the stories, I'm sure - but in the world that I now live in alcohol is associated with a lot of different things...
For example:
Cooking.  I've always wanted to cook with alcohol and now I can.  The actual alcohol cooks out and what you're left with is a deeper flavor that you can't get anyway else.
Parties.  I'm not talking keggers or anything out of control, but friends, music, talking, a little silliness.  Even a little bit of alcohol allows you to let loose a little and have some fun.
Drinks with friends.  Haven't seen someone in a while, call them for a drink.
Being social.  Growing up, I was always sure that bars were scary places - and I'm sure some of them can be, but every experience I've had so far has been very pleasant.

So yes, there are some very bad things about alcohol and it's definitely not meant for everyone, but there are a lot of things in life that can be bad for you if not met responsibly.

So the question for you guys is... when my friends say stuff like that should I politely correct them, or just continue letting it go?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

I'm sure this is a concept familiar to everyone and it goes perfectly with societies way of ignoring something so that it can't be true.

What I want to know is what are people so afraid of?

A lot of times I wonder how it is possible that all of my religious friends haven't figured out what I have.  I'm definitely not the smartest of us - one of the less scholarly as far as school goes, so what keeps them in their comfortable bubble?

It took me a LONG time to turn to so called "anti-Mormon" literature.  I think that the cases of people leaving the church or god in general from "non-faith promoting" literature is probably few and far between.  I think usually it starts with something within yourself.  A lingering doubt that refuses to be silenced (and how I TRIED to silence it).  I stopped believing in Mormonism when I was 14.  I had access to the internet, the library, friends who were not Mormon that knew more about its history than I did.  It wasn't until I was 23 years old - and so incredibly desperate to find something to support the things that didn't make sense, that lingering doubt- that I finally pulled up and even still it took MONTHS after that for me to read about the rituals that go on in the temple.

Even now that I am out and most people know it, I find it VERY hard to speak against the church in a setting of believers.  Something inside me tells that it is morally wrong.

I think this censorship of information is wrong and unhealthy.  I think there is nothing wrong with hearing, seeing, speaking "evil" as long as you can take it for what it is.  I think most times the things that we keep hidden from ourselves are the things that we most need to know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Letting Go

Last summer I went to Flaming Gorge Reservoir with my brother and some of his friends to go cliff jumping.  I was so excited to go.  I hadn't been camping in quite a few years and that with the combination of cliff jumping (something I'd never done) the anticipation had really been built up.
I remember standing at the edge of one of the smaller cliffs (although not the smallest... :-D) and staring into the water, feeling a slight breeze ripple across my body.  It was at that moment that I felt like all the pain, anxiety, fear, anger, and sorrow of the past 4 years of my life hit me.  My chest constricted and I couldn't breathe.  I felt like I was being consumed by my fear - my fear of the life I had led and also of the life awaiting me.  I think I stood there for about 20 minutes as everyone around me was jumping in or heading to even higher cliffs.  People were calling to me from the water to jump.  For those 20 minutes, I just couldn't let go.
I remember taking a deep breath and stepping back.  When I found my way to the surface, I sucked in the fresh air and I knew that in that moment between standing on the cliff and being suspended in the air, the safety of the cliff gone - I had finally let go.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Generation of Brokenness

I've been through a lot in the past couple of years and through my work I realize that I show a lot of signs of someone who has been through a trauma.  It is hard to feel normal when you are mistrusting of every person you meet (and continue to be so), experience night terrors at the ripe age of 24, deal with at least weekly panic attacks if not more, flashbacks, etc.  I find myself asking myself when did this all begin, what things have I dealt with that have caused me to be so "traumatized."
I'd like to blame it on Lane, my first real boyfriend.  I was a senior, he was a sophomore.  It didn't make a lot of sense for the girl that had spent her whole high school career tearing through this boy and that to fall for a sophomore and to not only fall, but to become so completely dependent on the relationship.  I couldn't stand to be without Lane.  If I was without him I wasn't complete.  I mistrusted him - didn't expect that I could ever be possibly good enough for him.  I suffocated him and he broke up with me.  I'd like to tell you that it was my "high standards" at the time.  He wanted to have sex, I was too scared and ashamed - was the reason that he broke up me with, but the truth of the matter was is it was my own special brand of crazy that drove him away.  I'd like to say its because he told me he was going snowboarding and went to a party instead that started my inherent need to mistrust, but that's not where it began.
I'd like to blame it on my ex-husband and to an extent I can.  He repeatedly abused my trust and because I was already in such a codependent state upon meeting him - I didn't think I deserved any better.  He took advantage of me, was emotionally and somewhat sexually abusive.  I was never good enough, never could meet up.  Instead of creating these insecurities - they relied on something that was already there.
In the last couple of weeks I've really started to take a good look at myself and stop trying to find answers in these failures of mine.  I've honestly decided to look beyond the most obvious answers of me being the way I am and figure out how this all started.
When did I decided that I wasn't worth it, that I couldn't trust myself, that I was somehow less and would always be so?
I'd like to blame my mom.  Growing up my mom wasn't and still isn't the most loving person, although in a lot of ways she has come a long way.  I mean, she is in her own way.  You know how some kid's parents will defend them to the death, their kids couldn't possibly be wrong, bad, anything less than perfect?  That wasn't my mom - my mom was always one of the first to point out, suggest that I did something wrong.  She didn't tell me she loved me, didn't hug me.  I possessed this desire to please her so I go straight A's, hugged her, constantly told her I loved her, how cute she is, I suffocated her and it terrified her.  She was dealing with her own imperfections.  My mom and I aren't that different.  The only difference really is where my mom admits defeat before the battle is over... I refuse to draw back even after it being painfully aware that I've lost and it's pointless to continue.
I'd like to blame my grandma, my mom's mom.
... and I realize that I belong to a generation of brokenness brought on by the inability to be perfect.  The inability to cut ourselves some slack, relax, calm down and just enjoy life for what it is.
Where did this start?  Well, I have an idea.
I've been taught since I can remember that I was, in fact, NOT good enough.  I was so bad that my (heavenly) brother had to die for me and if only I could have been a little less sinful, a little more perfect - he wouldn't have had to suffer so much.  I remember hearing a story growing up about what the afterlife would be like.  At some point we'd be sitting in a movie theater next to Jesus watching the movie of our life and for every time that it came across something bad that you did (anything from a lie to sexual indiscretion) that scene of our life would be gone, erased... it never happened.  They go on to say that if you chanced to catch a glimpse of your movie partner at that moment - you'd see him in extraordinary pain remembering the suffering you had caused him because of that moment.
What constitutes a bad decision?  Speaking up to your mom because she was disrespectful to you?  Being angry at your husband because he's never home on time?  or even standing up for yourself at all because it made the other person feel bad?
Sounds like the perfect recipe to make someone question everything they did or are about to do - become obsessed with doing everything just right.  They learn not to trust themselves, compiled on with a constant reminder of your own unworthiness and it is no wonder we turn out the way we do.

I have no idea when I'm going to stop blaming myself that I've disappointed my mother my whole life, that she just couldn't love me; stop blaming myself that my 1st boyfriend felt the need to lie to me because it was the only way he could get away from my suffocation and jealously; stop blaming myself that my ex-husband abused and cheated on me; and stop blaming myself that I to this day feel the after effects of all of my imperfections.

I can't wait for the day that I can look in the mirror, accept the past, and say I am worth it, I am good enough, and I am trustworthy - and I'll never be perfect.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Standard

A little over a year ago I took a vacation to see my friend in the Pacific Northwest. While there, I took two small sips of wine, trying alcohol for the 1st time. One was cooking wine – and one was some expensive wine that my friend had been given as a gift. Both (to my inexperienced taste buds) were equally terrible, but that's not the point. After drinking those little sips I felt physically ill. I was sure that at any moment God was going to strike me down for the sinner that I was; however, nothing happened. – I was still afraid of alcohol though.

After returning from my vacation, I found this little coffee shop near the hospital I was working at and one day I decided to bring hot chocolate for all of the girls I worked with. While sitting there waiting for my order I glanced at the menu. I avoided looking at the coffee at all because having had hated the smell of coffee my whole life, but the Chai tea on the other hand… that might be something I could handle. I had had herbal tea before, but not black - and I resolved that the next time I picked up hot chocolate for the girls, I was going to get myself some Chai tea. Once I got to work, I very quickly did a Google search about "Why Mormons don't drink coffee," not only did I find out that Mormons drank coffee for quite a while after the WofW was introduced, but up until the mid 1900s there were many Mormon breweries in Utah. That's it, I was justified – and I soon became hooked on my Chai tea.

At this point in my religious journey, I had decided that I wasn't a Mormon and was leaning towards becoming an Evangelical so drinking Chai tea was now acceptable to me. About 2 months after my vacation, I had a short stint where I moved back in with my (now ex) husband and at one point he suggested we buy some beer for the fun of it and to just sit around watching TV, drinking some beer. I was immediately opposed to the idea because he had begun drinking once we separated to escape from the guilt, pain, or whatever it was from what he had done to our marriage. In 3 short weeks it was apparent that things were not going to work out – and in a last ditch effort to try and find some common ground, I bought a 6 pack of Bud Light with Lime, which I ended up drinking 2 bottles of by myself. When I moved out, I threw the beer away despite his insistence that I just leave it there for him if I wasn't going to drink it.

It wasn't until that summer when I went back to the Pacific Northwest that I drank alcohol again – and by this time I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. I went to an Irish Pub, had an Appletini (courtesy of JD from Scrubs…) and a Lemon Drop. I also had a sip of Hefferveisen, tried a rum and coke, and went wine tasting in the Applegate Valley. There was no going back now – and no lightening strikes either.

I don't drink a lot, probably about once a month or so – maybe a glass here or there when going out to dinner. I've probably been "drunk" 3 or 4 times, but only once to the point of throwing up… which is an experience I'll never repeat again. I have only ever had 1 hangover and recently haven't even been letting myself get to the point where I am drunk because I don't like feeling slightly nauseated all day the next day.

I have smoked pot once – and I smoke a cigarette from time to time with my boyfriend (less than a pack every… 4 months?). Neither one of us are "addicted."

So my point… I've noticed that when people leave Mormonism (and maybe other religions too) there are usually 3 assumptions that are made about us. The 1st one is that we've done something horrible and are no longer worthy to be members. The 2nd one would be that we have been deeply offended and must remember that "the people aren't perfect, but the church is." The last assumption is that we can no longer live up to the high standards of the LDS church, wanting to live a life of a drunkard, drug addict, porn addict, and be sexually promiscuous. The most popular and the one I get nailed with most because of my "alternative lifestyle" is the latter.

None of these are true about me. I left the church because it simply is not true.

I realize that I have nothing to prove to anybody but myself, but were someone to challenge this I'm sure that I could stop drinking alcohol and never smoke another cigarette. If I were to find myself out of my relationship with my boyfriend I could go back to not having premarital sex and I've never been promiscuous. I would have no problem living up to their so called standards.

You know my problem? My problem is that the LDS church doesn't meet my standard… and what standard could an awful apostate like me possibly have?

I refuse to keep pushing their lies to the back of my brain and ignoring them there. I refuse to treat people like they are less than me because of what they believe, whether that be another religion or simply another sexual orientation. I refuse to pretend to be something I'm not and to believe something that I could never possibly believe.

My standard is integrity.

… and I'd love for someone to prove that because of my (again with the quotes) "alternative lifestyle" I am now a bad person that lacks integrity.