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Goodbye Never Really Stops

A year ago today I last heard from my best friend of 9 years. And by last heard I mean I received a final cutting-loose email and a Facebook block to end our months-long argument.

To be fair, I had been an awful friend for the better part of that year. I had been distant and deceptive, depressive and self-destructive. I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge that I was hurting her in the process of hurting myself. I had ignored her good advice, or lied to pretend that I was following it.

In short, I was an asshole. I needed a slap to my face. I had expected an actual slap. I hadn’t expected the 2 by 4 of abruptly losing the most important person in my life.

I did my best to back-track, to analyze, to fix it. But, unlike the rest of my life which has been retrofitted and reborn a dozen times, human relationships are harder to revive. My attempts at CPR only cemented our bad-faith and hurt.

Illogically, I still hope for reconciliation, though there have been times that I wasn’t sure how such a thing could even happen with still aching wounds on both sides. I have reworked and rethought the words that I would say, I’ve tried desperately to imagine what hers might be.

Most days still, a year of silence and absence later, I imagine what her response to my life would be. I’m no longer on the fast-track to sorrow, letting my life spiral out of control in hopes of fixing it by accident. I try to be a little more socially conscious. I do lie now and then, but never about the things that matter, not even to people who don’t.

In exchange for her warm friendship, her example and company and love, I’ve managed to get a few things that I desperately needed. I’m actually in a relationship with a man who loves me, I’m solidly on the path of a real career and I’m closer to realizing my dream than ever before.

Yet, I miss her now more than ever. Now when I wouldn’t be torn by envy and self-hatred, when I wouldn’t feel obligated to hide my life from her. But, as with many things, I am powerless to reach her. I’ve traded her presence in my life, for the life I was killing myself to have, and I can’t shake the haunting feeling that if I had done it differently, maybe I could have had both.

Though I could still write books about the things I’d like to tell her, that’s not what anyone needs to hear. Least of all her, when I really just want to hear what she has to say. Instead, I’m trying to battle for my current relationships, the ones that don’t need to be rebuilt from the bottom up yet. I have to fight, because in my heart I am certain that I am going to ruin all the good things in my life. And I need to not ruin friendships and marriages and relationships ahead.

So Ariel, here’s to you. You were one of the finest friends I have ever had the privilege of having around. No matter how flawed or broken you thought you were, you were an inspiration. Your love and compassion helped me to piece together something workable in times when I was flailing for meaning and purpose. There have been other, vitally important people in my life, but you helped bring me into adulthood, and I’m only sorry that I wounded you in my attempts to figure out what that meant for me.

The knowledge that most of the important people in my life have never, will never meet you hurts me to my core. They’ve been deprived of your wit and wisdom because of my stupidity. They may never understand who I am, because they cannot without knowing you and the shaping force you have on my life today.

If the strength of a person’s influence is determined solely by the duration of influence after they are gone, then I may never be able to measure your impact on my life, and that of those around me.

Nonetheless, it is time to say goodbye. I have to accept that I do not have the power to repair what I have broken. Godspeed Ariel, may you fare well until the day I may see you again.

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#YesAllMormonWomen

Neither the Ordain Women movement or that surrounding the #yesALLwomen hashtag had particularly struck home in my life over the last few months. Ordainwomen’s request that priesthood leaders ask if women should be included in the priesthood seemed superfluous in a community where the inequality was so much more integral. I didn’t want priesthood, I wanted the right to be a whole person of my own right, to be able to speak up in sunday school or to be passionate about a career and family. On the same note, I didn’t grow up fearing for my physical well-being as many of the #yesALLwomen did – I lived in a safe community, and learned self-defense techniques early on. I was already numbed to the fact that my pretty face is a bargaining chip at job interviews and that to let a guy down with the least conflict meant that you always tell them you have a boyfriend.

These are facts of life, but they don’t have to be. I just always assumed that they would be. But there are women who have been fighting for my rights, without me even knowing. Because Ordainwomen and #yesALLwomen are fighting for the same issues. They want a world where women also feel that all possibility is open to them. Where daughters can grow up knowing that they don’t have to be idolized or placed on a pedestal or silenced. They are fighting against a system that supports gender inequality under the guise of equality. They are willing to say – No. Things still aren’t okay over here. I am no scholarly or doctrinal expert, but I can smell out a “separate but equal” setup when it strikes. It’s time that I stop watching the sidelines. It’s time that we admit that #yesallMORMONwomen is a thing too.

The stories below aren’t all mine, but they are all true.

Yes All Mormon Women Too,

Because my underage sister had to share the details of her sexual indiscretions with her male bishop.

Because I’ve never had a female sunday school teacher who wasn’t part of a couples teaching team.

Because I lost my recommend for a year because of sexual misconduct, and my fiance only lost his for a month.

Because I’ve been taught not to desire so long that I don’t.

Because bikinis are forbidden because they reveal what the garment will someday cover, but shirtless boys are no big deal.

Because I always have to preface comments in sunday school with “on my mission” so they won’t be dismissed.

Because I got dumped, again, because I want to have a career.

Because I was told, ‘Girls don’t ask boys out.’

Because BYU has a ‘rape hill,’ and no one cares to stop it.

Because my bishop counseled me to stay with my abusive husband. Even after he hospitalized me. My bishop said it was my fault.

Because I’ve been given Mother’s Day flowers since I was 12.

Because I was given a rape whistle, and my home teachers thought it was a joke.

Because my brother chose not to pursue his dream because he would need to provide for a family someday.

Because I am ashamed to admit that I am single at ward events.

Because my brothers learned how to budget and make a resume, and I learned how to bake brownies.

Because I have to lie about why we aren’t having children.

Because no one ever asks what my job is.

Because I was terrified on my wedding night, but didn’t know I could say no.

Because all I learned in the temple was that my husband will talk to God for me.

Because everyone asks what catastrophic event led me to becoming a stay-at-home dad.

Avoiding the Fall

I have held out on love for a very long time.  As I am only 27, that may come as a surprise for many, especially those who did not grow up in an LDS community.

But I’m not talking about holding out on sex, or marriage.

I’m talking about avoiding falling in love.

It’s not that I don’t want to fall in love.  I would like nothing more than to dedicate myself to another person’s well-being, to enjoy the rush of having someone care about me in the same way.  Like every other American girl, I’ve grown up imbibing chick flicks and romance stories.  I’ve wanted to meet someone to build a life with for as long as I can remember.

And yet, I never let myself fall in love.

.

It’s not about not wanting or not caring about people.  It’s straight up fear of making the wrong choice.  I grew up in a culture where the only person it matters if you date, is your true love.  The one you’ll spend the rest of your life with.  I enter every relationship assuming that it’s going to last forever – unless I stop it.

Dating is about choices, right?  You choose to love someone, to tie your life to theirs.  But how do you know which choice is right?  Should I marry the guy with the silly sense of humor and excessive smarts, or the handsome guy who really knows how to make me feel special?  Do I want to marry someone with a career track like mine or one doing something completely different?  The one who understands my moral qualms with my own church, or the one who will hold me fast to standards that I am scared to follow alone?

What qualities are right?  How do I decide who will make me happiest out of all the options?  I can tell the ones who are wrong; that’s easy.  But for every wrong guy, there is one who could be right.

So I’ve never fallen, because I know once I fall, it’s permanent.  I don’t date guys who I don’t see a future with.  I just don’t know which future is the right one.

.

I haven’t had many serious relationships.  Depending on how you look at it, I haven’t had any.  I don’t know how I can sniff out guys who are going to dump me 3 dates or 3 months along, I just do it.  They’re the only ones I’ve ever tried to date; because I am afraid to date someone without an end in sight.  I’m mormon, no matter how much I fight it, I want to date for marriage.  I just don’t want to commit to that.  So I look for the fail in the relationship, before it even gets started.

Recently, the guy that I would like to try conquering that fear with, told me that I should give a different friend a chance and seriously date him instead.  I just don’t know how.  I don’t know how to stop investing in an already doomed relationship (he is being deployed in March, and neither of us wants to start dating just as he leaves), and invest in one without an obvious exit strategy.

And I don’t know if I’m making that choice for the right reasons, and how can I choose wisely if I’m not even doing it for the right reasons?  I don’t want to date him just so I won’t be lonely, or as a trial run for something real later.  I don’t want to feel like I am settling, because my friend deserves better than to be settled for.

I don’t want to be scared anymore.  I’ve spent a decade pushing every potential relationship away, while feeling terribly, horribly lonely. I guess I just always thought that when the right guy came along, I would know and just magically be able to commit.

I always overestimate the amount of direct influence God is going to take in my life.  Oh well.  Here’s to muddling through the most complicated Valentine’s Day of my life. Cheers.

To He Who Last Fumbled My Heart

To He Who Last Fumbled My Heart,

 

It’s not your fault that you met me after a dozen guys had trampled my heart, meaning that I was already hurting when we met.  You gave me a chance to forget all of that hurt and give hope another try.  Thank you for that.

It’s not your fault that I overanalyzed everything that we did or said, waiting for the bottom to fall out.  I’ve been emotionally vulnerable for too long, and hurt too many times to really trust that good things will last.  You were sincere and honest but I didn’t believe you in that.

It’s not your fault that you didn’t know that in the 27 years of my life I have never really had a romantic relationship with a man where both he and I were interested in any form of commitment.  I didn’t tell you, so you couldn’t have known that I was going to turn your asking to be official into a bigger deal than it really was.  I should have explained before you did that.

It’s not your fault that we met at a time when you had no time to start a relationship.  To be fair, you did meet me on a dating site and it was you who messaged me.  But we all make mistakes, especially when we are lonely.  I can forgive you for that.

It’s not your fault that you realized that this wouldn’t work only after we had sex.  You weren’t one of the assholes that made me believe that once I slept with someone they would lose interest and stop talking to me.  It’s only an unfortunate truth that you will add to that subconscious fear and that I will resent you for that.

It is your fault that with you I was able to try to open up in ways I never had before; that I felt, if only briefly, that I wasn’t cursed and that relationships could happen in my life too.  You were kind and considerate and left me always feeling that I was a worthwhile person.  You were the sort of guy that I wanted to introduce to my friends, showing off how awesome you were.  No matter what happens, I will always remember you for that.

Sincerely,

Wounded

Ahhh, Internet

You thought that you had managed to get rid of me.  Not so.  The internet will always keep me coming, even if I’m too lazy to write about my ridiculous adventures at the ren faire.

I wrote a little bit of text for this company.  It cracks me up to see my work actually online: The Fucking Weather

Lists like this have been floating the internet for awhile.  What baffles me is how many of my married friends liked this.  Seriously, I thought this was all common knowledge by now.

If I had a smart phone, I would totally buy this app.  Mostly because I think it’s the only thing that would make me like running again.  Just as long as they don’t mind if I walk most of the missions…

Speaking of sports, I WANT to join this club.  If only I already owned a tommy gun 😦

More photo communities to distract me from my life.  Also, pretty webpage layout.  Just pretty.

And, because this collection wouldn’t be complete without something weird as fuck – I give you the flashed face distortion.  Stare at it.  Feel disturbed.  Feel very disturbed.

Maybe We’ll Keep Loving the Internet

So, I’m on haitus/possibly done forever, but that doesn’t mean that the internet is 😉

Yes, these images are kind of weird, but they are also really really cool.  Someone has some mad skills.

Sfeer theory doesn’t post very regularly or often, and there is a lot of weird slash going on in the background fan stuff, but it is still a beautiful comic with a very interesting premise.

I try to avoid Tumblr for the same reason I try to avoid Reddit and Pinterest – too much insanity lurks within.  Insanity like the Tumbleweaves blog.

This weeks video that I can’t believe exists: Prancercize.  Why world, why?

And a new game for you to play while avoiding getting real work done: Geoguesser – which will let you know that Southern Australia looks almost identical to South Africa.

 

Inter NET

So, i might be running out of running internet titles, but I really really don’t want to wind up numbering these too.  We’ve seen how (disastrously crappy) that went with everything else…

Anyway, more distractions/silliness to start off your week:

Collections of Stupid things people say – what more could you want from one website?

More art that makes me wish I’d gotten into grad school.  What?  I’m not bitter.  Not at all.

Happy art, that just makes me long for those days when I was obsessed with Harry Potter like everyone else.  Also, makes me wish this kid would illustrate my graphic novels for me.

While we are on Harry Potter themed sites, what about Snape Does Things.  Because THIS should have been the next thing after Planking.

There are so many reasons that I love this site, none of which have to do with kitties.

thats all folks!