Breaking Up (with religion) is Hard to Do

I recently posted on Facebook about my experiences with Tinder and of course it got more likes than an photo where I actually put on makeup or my amazingly perfect tiny homemade pie. I have become known for my dating stories--the bad, the awkward, the uncomfortable, but sadly never the good. Though I like to keep things lighthearted and focused on the ridiculous, one thing keeps happening to me that sucks and I don't know how to handle it. Just last week I stood on a windy corner in my neighborhood as I was told that Mormonism was black and white; the guy I was dating was standing on the white side and I was on the black. "Yeah, that sucks, but its only one boy," you say, but no, this is the third boy with basically the same exit.

(also, let's pause here. Did you catch the part about religion being black and white? Can we agree that it is NOT true and a pretty damaging assumption?  He said that you either do what you are told or you don't, thinking about things is inappropriate...We are all supposed to find out things for ourselves, wade through the gray and find the light. If someone thinks differently or isn't blindly following, they are not automatically on the "black" side.)

Now, getting dumped this time was not a total shock to me. The breakup was the world's longest, hovering at about two weeks--and religion--well I have known for a long time that I am much darker than most. But even though I knew this boy was going to break up with me because I, a very round peg, do not fit in the perfect Mormon square hole, it has not been easy. Being told that you are not righteous and doing things wrong--things that you know in your heart you cannot feel differently about, makes you feel pretty terrible and hopeless. Terrible that somehow this should make sense and it is unfair that it doesn't, and hopeless that you will ever find someone who wants to be with you. 

Here's the thing, in Mormonism there is a right way to do things, a very specified order of how and when. You are baptized at 8, if you are a boy you start on the priesthood track at 12, you don't date until you are 16, boys are expected to go on missions after high school, and then you get married in the temple. We believe heavily in personal agency, but sometimes I feel like we are so focused on how things are supposed to happen and the time frame that we forget that some people use their agency to do things differently or slower. I, am one of those people.

I am wrestling with major issues (like the church's recent policy that bans children with gay parents from being baptized and says homosexuality is one of the worst sins and can result in excommunication--among other issues). I want to be part of a church that embodies love and isn't so much about policies and orientations and laid out plans for when things should be done in your life. I want honest and sincere, nonjudgmental agency. And if you think that disagreeing with a SINGLE policy isn't a big deal, it is literally the sole reason I was dumped. Apparently it is not acceptable to disagree (meaning you feel like it is a crumby thing) with a policy even if you literally cannot obey or disobey it because you will never be a bishop and have the power to say if a person can get baptized...

photos by me, sometime in 2009

photos by me, sometime in 2009

I spoke with my bishop about my dating situation during my two week break up. I asked him if it was wrong of me to date members of the church since I am not what the men are taught to want to marry (questioning things, feminist, not endowed, the list goes on...). He said that he loved having me there and that of course I was welcome and wanted, but he also told me that he would never counsel someone to get married outside of the temple (because I have doubts and don't think it is apprioprate to go with how I currently feel) and that IF I find someone who is similar to me that could work. IF is one of the saddest words to hear in dating. If I find anyone I am lucky, if I find anyone in Mormonism that is okay with my (lack of) beliefs it is freaking miracle. I understand that the temple is important, I really do. But, it is frustrating to feel like all my good qualities are null and void in relationships since I take the temple so seriously that I don't want to go before I am ready. It feels like we preach that church is for the sinners and people struggling, unless you want to get married and then you had better get all your crap together by your early twenties so you can take part in the MOST important part of the religion and get married in the temple. We believe in a God that is full of grace, that promotes agency, that wants us to find the answers, and that will always give you another chance. Why are we so hard on our members to be on a certain timeline?! And why is it so inappropriate to date someone who is totally active (and completely supportive of the partner in all aspects of the religion, even them attending the temple) but struggling? Is telling me I am wrong and a bad member supposed to help me become a better one?

I know I am not the only one in the church that feels like this, but I feel alone all the time. I feel like I don't fit in anywhere. Mormonism is all I know, its how I met 89% of all the people in my life, it is a culture and religion, it is my background and my foundation, and it is becoming my demise. It is becoming a lonely hateful place where good people are told they cannot be members, a place where boys won't date you longer than 3 months (let alone get near marriage) because they don't want to understand that people see things differently. Its a place where I cannot attend a wedding ceremony. It is a place where I cry in my bishop's office for wanting to date the good people I meet but knowing that they are taught to want more than me. It is a place of social stress and anxiety. It is also a place of God and music and laughter and friendship. It is a place that should be totally about personal decisions without the fear of being judged and ostracized. 

photo by me, sometime in 2010

photo by me, sometime in 2010

I was once told that I care too much about people, that I want things to be fair so badly that it hurts. I think this is true. I want people to feel love and acceptance everywhere that at times it gives me anxiety. I'm that person that hates farmer's markets because I want to buy EVERYTHING to show the people that they are doing a great job and not being financially able breaks my heart. I buy homeless people dinner and talk with them about their lives because I want them to know that they are not alone and that I too had to call the cops on my last boyfriend (true story, that lady and I BONDED!) I even left a card for the boy that dumped me because I didn't want him to remember us from our last, horrible and misunderstood, conversation (also, in my defense, I was on steroids for my knee and roid-rage is real people!). I want everyone to feel loved because sometimes I feel so little. So little from the boys that have told me that I have the wrong relationship with God, that cheated on me or used me. So little from the bullies in public school, from multiple teachers that told me my work was horrible and I shouldn't even try. From roommates that made my life a living hell. These are things that are sad and hard, religion should not be one of them. We should support each other ESPECIALLY when things are hard and people don't understand. We should encourage people to find answers for themselves and not follow blindly. We should not only preach that you can think differently and still be accepted, but act on it. And we should help people and not toss them aside. 

Dating has been pretty terrible and adding religion has made is basically unbearable. It's a place where I never feel good enough, literally the only place in my life where I feel dumb. The only answer I have gotten through all of this--from having the most decent and all around good guy not want to date me because of religion--is that I need to break up with dating that is centered around religion. I want to date people because they are kind and funny and happy and hardworking, not because of their religion. I want to find value in others' beliefs and for them to respect my super confusing convictions. I want to love a person and not a laundry list of what they should hold near, dear and true. 

And yes, I completely understand that is not fair for me to date a guy who may feel like he might have to compromise some of his convictions (like possibly a temple marriage). I just wish their was a place for me and that guys could see the good qualities, the qualities worth fighting for, and work through the hard stuff with me. I am not saying that I will never understand more or want to go to the temple, I am saying that at this moment, I need a lot of help to get there and every guy has tossed me to the curb instead of ever asking me how they can help, let alone even talk about the subject with me. I wish that is was okay to be a confused soul and still find a good, decent, Mormon guy. But it feels like we push marriage so heavily that things are checked off a list early on and people are disregarded because they might not be "marriage material" in one aspect, on paper, at that one moment in time... Do we realize that it takes time to get to know people and what they are really like?!

I have been so beat down by dating that sometimes I forget that I am better than this. I am smart, strong, independent, witty, successful, artistic, musical, generous and even keeled. I am a decent cook, master baker of miniature sweets, a conversationalist and debater, organized to a fault and a great gift giver. Yes, religion is important, but so is being a decent human being that can see the value in all people. 

I will not change for anyone, but I would like the chance to grow with someone. 

It's not about hemlines

I was so disgusted when I saw this shared over and over years ago. Everything about this is what is wrong with our culture.

I was so disgusted when I saw this shared over and over years ago. Everything about this is what is wrong with our culture.

Today I read a somewhat popular/viral blog post about Modesty and Mormonism. I agreed with a lot of the points that the female writer had (we should never blame women for men's thoughts etc) but by the time I had finished glazing over the comments I realized we are missing the biggest point on the subject.

You can never be completely modest, and it encompasses so much more than clothing.

The concept of modesty has been warped to mean cap sleeve shirts and horrid knee length shorts. If you search the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet, modesty is only mentioned once and it ONLY deals with clothing:

"Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance."

Can we also notice that it doesn't give specifics for lengths? Why have we decided so black and white that it is the knees?! And, why are there no details for men? Why not mention low riding pants or wearing sleeveless shirts (and if you are guilty of those 'awesome' muscle shirts, just stop, they are not your friend).

The issue is, modesty is part of every aspect of your life. 

Since this post is about Mormonism and modesty, the Church's definition is:

Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).

If we taught this definition of modesty we would not focus just on how women dress. We would talk about having a modest home (which let's be honest, maybe we don't because this is Utah where people love big hair almost as much as their big house), a modest attitude--modesty as a tool to glorify God. We would talk about a hundred things BESIDES clothes. And, if you think about it this way, modesty is something that you are always striving for. When you dwell on it being only clothing you stop thinking about it once your closet is full of "modest" options beacuse you are now a "modest" person.

Modesty has become a discussion on clothing that has also somehow morphed into sexual discussions which are quite possibly the most damaging thing that I listened to as a teen. I had lesson after lesson about how girls not only have to dress modest to stop boys from having impure thoughts but that they have to stop all unwanted/improper advances. This was a constant lesson, a lesson that said, "guys always want your body and are constantly thinking of sex, you are the gender that has no sexual desires. Your job is to keep the men in line until it is time to get married and then make babies."

Because of lessons like this I had a very twisted and horrible dating life. I always felt that I was not supposed to make advances and should wait for boys to be interested in me rather than it being an open discussion from both interested parties. Even when I was dating someone I never felt like I could initiate anything--even if we had kissed before and were clearly "an item" it was always the boy that should make the move. This broke me. I was in terrible after terrible relationship where boys treated me like I assumed I should be treated. I didn't actually acknowledge this was a huge problem until I was 25! I had been 'dating' for almost a decade!

In my opinion--that of a woman who went through 6 years of Young Women's and 10 years of Relief Society--we need to stop worrying about hemlines and simultaneously sexualizing and desexualizing our women. We need to teach independence, empowerment, and self respect. We need to teach that sex is not something to be feared but something we WILL all want. How can you expect people to have a healthy sex life when you teach them for years that it is the worst sin, that is until you have that marriage license in hand. Here's a noble thought, maybe we would encourage sex ed/health to be taught at home and not so heavily in church! We need to teach the basic, very basic, aspects of Christianity. We need to accept everyone and stop asking about their sexual history or orientation. We need to stop staring at the women in shorter skirts and be grateful they showed up. And most importantly we need to teach our men to respect women, regardless of how they look or their past, and not perpetuate rape culture. 

Why? Because we Mormons are too honest to illegally download porn. Obviously we have an issue of lusting after all types of women, the girls in your ward are the least of your worries...

Why? Because we Mormons are too honest to illegally download porn. Obviously we have an issue of lusting after all types of women, the girls in your ward are the least of your worries...

Think of all the things we could teach if we spent those hours teaching about God or Christ or being a good Samaritan instead of drilling girls about which swimsuits are allowed at girl's camp and how to avoid the "door step scene" (I seriously had this lesson, because we were also apparently not supposed to kiss...) or the varying degrees of kisses (there is this super weird fruit analogy that is forever burned into my brain about the degree of french kissing) or talking about necking which NO ONE knows the definition of as a teen (or ever).

We need to strive to be modest.

We need to strive to be kind.

We need to teach the things that actually really matter.

And we need to stop giving a damn what other people are doing, wearing, or saying as long as it does not directly affect us. (and for that one guy that is going to comment: "but a woman dressing immodestly DOES affect me" i would say, unless her boobs pop out of her scantily clad shirt and physically accost you, if you avert your eyes you will be just fine, she did not actually hurt you.)

twenty-eight

Lately, I am a day late and dollar short but I finally managed to do my yearly review. Over all I would say this year was a success. I traveled more, my business grew, I found a few amazing friends, and I only injured myself a few times. Oh and I hit my 10 year mark since the last time I threw up.

During my 27th year:

I found a solid and hilarious group of girls. We celebrated Galentine's Day together in Moab. I traveled to Arizona with one and to NYC with another. I took another's engagement photos, and we celebrated two of their weddings. Whether they like it or not, they are now stuck with me FOREVER. 

I went on 5 dates with the same person. This is a new record, but then in true Bethany form it ended especially weird...

 
 

I went on a 90 mile rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. I was of course the only person that managed to get a kayak perpendicular to the water, high centered on a rock, and have to abandon ship. 

I called the cops to come to my house TWICE--almost exactly a year to the day apart, like shitty bookends to my year. The first was to remove an ex boyfriend that was trying to "win me back" in all the wrong ways. On the plus side, the last thing he said--as the cops put them in their car to give him a ride home--was, "Hey! They are giving me a ride because I'm AWESOME!" which are really the perfect last words. The second was for a burglary. Someone broke into my garage on my birthday and stole some things I had for work, unfortunately I didn't notice for a couple weeks so there wasn't anything the cops could do. 

I started making tiny cakes because 1. they are adorable 2. i randomly had the right pans in my kitchen 3. everyone likes tiny personal desserts

I bought a fancy dress just because it was under $20. Then found a party to wear said dress to.

I managed to catch TWO fish at the same time (two hooks, one line) and then had a fish fly out of my nephew's hands and land square in my bag snuggled up next to my wallet...

I went six weeks without having any sugar at all and promptly lost 15 pounds. Then of course I ate all the sugar again (but have not gained back all the weight). Now I am trying to not eat all the sugar once again and get rid of the last 15 lbs. 

I started helping one of my oldest and best friends produce a documentary about him trying to find a wife. Mostly I am doing it so I can add it to my IMDB page, or because I like him and the film. 

I tore the last half of my ACL at yet another church activity. And for the record, I totally nailed a backflip off the trapeze before the lame single jump that tore said ACL. The next week I tripped over a bench on the Highline in NYC which caused me to throw everything in my hands and land on my newly torn ACL with my butt in the air. My shin is still nicely deformed three months later...

I freelanced as a photo retoucher/digital tech over 65 times. Obviously, as the pictures show, I was busy working the entire time and never tried on the ridiculously large hats Sundance occasionally sells or had fun with my co-workers...

I was cast as a high school cheerleader in a feature film that comes out this summer (Tim Timmermans Hope For America). My name was Chastity, I was the awkward friend of the 'it' cheerleader, and I had to do a choreographed dance and a herkie jump. This will definitely get its own blog post because it was hilarious on so many levels. Oh and it is my highest paying job to date and I am eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild.

I bought a new set of dishes from Sundance that serves 20 which is approximately 13 more than I needed for the current number of friends I have in Utah.

I was the best damn assistant at the LDS General Conference (and it is totally appropriate to swear there because a senior missionary definitely said many swears to me about us photographing the priesthood session...)

I hiked Mount Timpangoes, which is way harder and longer than EVERYONE mentioned.

I traveled to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, and California.

I met my new nephew Hank, held him for a week straight, and took many photos.

I found out that I make a pretty mean gingerbread house. We did a movie theme competition, mine is obviously A Christmas Story. Please notice the turkey hanging out the backdoor, the smoke in the chimney, and the leg lamp in the window. 

And I decided that I am moving to SLC and made some killer Valentine's.

 

The End.

 

Here's to a Bun-less Year

ringing in the new year right!

ringing in the new year right!

Like most every other person on the planet, today is the beginning of something different! Don't laugh, I swear that it is going to work this time! I mean, I have only been awake for 10 hours and I have already completed NUMEROUS of my daily 'New Years Resolutions,' starting with this blog overhaul.

I was looking back at my blog while I was trying to figure out how to import it to its new home and realized that I didn't blog a single solitary time in 2014. I point this out to show how its not a lie that this year is shaping up to be the best. In 2014 I dated quite possibly the worst option for me, gained 30 lbs, and even took a job at the mall to try and tide my finances over until my business picked up. With all of this lovely baggage I moved into 2015. My year started off (like seriously less than two weeks in) with me calling the cops on my ex who in an attempt to win me be back decided it was a great idea to get wasted, threaten my roommate and me, and then circle my house banging on all the doors and windows. Now you see why I have I haven't blogged much? I turned into kinda a hot mess. 

The year did shape up some. I lost some weight, I actually asked a guy out (that is a story for another time) which I hadn't done in 10 years, had consistent work, was asked on 7 dates, and started being a bit more happy. Now that I have the basic framework to get the best of my old self back--and hopefully some new good traits--I feel like this next year truly can be the best. 

I didn't get the set up done for my Photo A Day, so this will have to do. I was not made to stay up until 3am... I almost thought 2016 wouldn't even be a thing, I felt so terrible this morning. 

I didn't get the set up done for my Photo A Day, so this will have to do. I was not made to stay up until 3am... I almost thought 2016 wouldn't even be a thing, I felt so terrible this morning. 

So, to make the resolutions stick here they are in all their glory:

Health:

  1. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day
  2. Limit sugar
  3. Limit soda (eventually get to no soda)
  4. Cook 1 new meal a week

Beauty:

  1. Get dressed everyday (preferably real pants)
  2. Put on makeup everyday
  3. Fix my hair everyday (no more buns)
  4. Floss more than once a year
my sediments this morning

my sediments this morning

 

Self Improvement:

  1. Limit screen time (keep iPad out of my room at night)
  2. Read at least 1 book a month
  3. Write at least 1 blog post a month
  4. Work on personal projects for 30 minutes a day
  5. Send more cards/snail mail

Love:

  1. Activity try to date (try actually leaving the house)
  2. Stand up for myself early, don't let them string me along
  3. Only date people who put in as much as me
  4. Be kind to myself

To make these things work, I also have one more resolution. I will try to photograph myself everyday for the next year. This way I can see the improvements (that I put on real pants!) and hopefully that my happiness level has increased too. I want to get back to my old weight--but I don't want this year to be about that, I want it to be more about being happy with myself and seeing that I am a person worthy of photos, dates, and everything good I want. 

So here's to 2016, a bun-less year for my hair and hopefully a smaller bun on my backside!

 

 

death shall not destory my comfort

I am no stranger to death. I remember vividly going to more than one funeral with my mom, as a child, because she made it a point to expose us early so we wouldn't be overwhelmed when someone close to us died. I remember staring in awe at a tiny baby that was stillborn and looked to my five-year-old self like the most precious porcelain doll. I remember sitting in a pew while church members talked about their aged family member that passed on. I remember thinking these things were normal because I had been to so many.

The first time I remember losing someone close to me was when I was the tender age of four. My mother's mom passed away and I remember sitting on the stairs of my childhood home, scrunching up tissues and tossing them aside because others around me were crying and I thought I should be too, but nothing would come out. My grandma was amazing, but sadly I only have two memories of her; I remember he making the world's best hot chocolate and forgetting to put in her teeth once when she handed me my cup. I vaguely remember her funeral, but life didn't seem much different since I was so young so her death didn't impact me much.

Since then, I have been to dozens of funerals. I have sat next to friends as they buried a parent. I have sobbed with others dear friends as they have lost more than one child. I have sang at the funeral of a friend that died of cancer. I have been to funerals for suicides. I have been to a funeral where parents buried their adult child far before their time. I have watched from a pew as a friend became a widower. And I have sat next to my own siblings as we buried my father when I was still a teenager.

Since I was a child I have thought deeply and often about death. I have heard about this phenomena from other youngest children, I think that is the first natural thought when you learn about death and you are the youngest. All the sudden you realize that you will most likely have to see all of your family die before you and it freaks you out. Luckily for me, I have a much different take on this concept now than when I was a kid.

This past week a dear dear friend of mine passed away and I realized how much I love the concept of being a person that is left behind that has the opportunity to pay respects. LaVerne was a one in a million lady, she moved into my neighborhood when I was 7 and quickly became part of my family. I was constantly at her house all through my childhood, chatting with her in her gorgeous living room, gardening, or rummaging through her things to find the hidden treasures like the Mud Book: how to make pies and cakes. She loved to ask me about my love life so I even had my senior Prom date pick me up at her house. For years she would ask me about my date--who she referred to only as Scumptious--and was so disappointed when she found out he married someone else (even though I alway assured her we were only friends). I think I am most sad that I will never be able to introduce her to my husband. I know she had such high hopes that I would find someone worthy of her and my family and I am sad that I never got the chance to hear what she had to say about them.

Being able to post photos of LaVerne and kind words makes me realize the good parts of death. The parts where people who have lived long enough or have suffered long enough get to go home to the ones they loved that left years ago. It ends their pain while still allowing me to keep my favorite memories. I have realized this same reaction with my Dad. I knew my whole life that it was a miracle I ever had him in my life since he really should have died in the plane accident that paralyzed him in 1989 and so it was bittersweet when he finally did pass away. I knew that he had suffered 18 years longer than he should have and now it my place to tell the world all the reasons why he was amazing. Though I am obviously not looking forward to all the funerals that I have in my future, I do love the part where only kind things are said and the praise is endless. So, if you are one of my siblings and are reading this, I hereby promise to make your funeral witty, touching, and show everyone all the reasons why I'm glad you were around to raise me (because, let's be honest, you did raise me).

And now of course I feel like I should say something about my funeral. For the record, there are things that I want when I die and since I am in no way afraid of death or find it odd to talk about, here are my demands:

First of all, I do not want a church funeral. I want a party. I want a celebration that has food and laughing and music and lots of photos. I want people to tell the embarrassing stories and the sweet ones. I want people to be happy and love each other. I also want an accounting of the people who have received packages, letters or cards from me because well, I just want to know that number because it has to be impressively large.

I want my hair to be cut off and donated--let's be honest--it is one of my best assets and there is no reason it should go to the grave with me. I also want to be buried in my most boring dress because the rest of my clothes will be divvied out to my sisters first, my nieces second, and then my friends. Same goes for shoes, actually--just send me to the grave without any. But do make sure I have a nice manicure and pedicure, preferable some bright color. I also do not want to embalmed so I guess have my party without me present or keep in a freezer until its go time. And lastly, buy the cheapest casket there is or have my brothers make a pine box, I am sure they have enough carpentry skills between the three of them to accomplish that.

As for my possessions, I will hopefully write up a will and leave it with my stash of one dollar bills. If you find a blank piece of paper in there, know now that it is my will written in lemon juice and you have to hold it over a flame to have it appear. As for my money, all cash and investments will go into a family account to fund Camp Aaron reunions. Anything that isn't specified is free game for all of you to fight over.

I have seen a lot of death the last few years and I wish I could have a break. Have a break from feeling sad for my friends or the pain when I lose someone. But I am also okay with death, I am okay with knowing that everything has to end. I think being okay with it makes me want to keep sending those cards and packages so that people know I cared about them the whole time.

Death shall not destroy my comfort,

Christ shall guide me thro' the gloom;

Down he'll send some heav'nly convoy,

To escort my spirit home.

(Refrain):

Oh, hallelujah! How I Love my Savior,

Oh, hallelujah! That I Do.

Oh, Hallelujah! How I love my Savior!

Mourners, you may love him too.

Jordan's stream shall not o'erflow me,

While my Savior's by my side;

Canaan, Canaan lies before me!

Soon I'll cross the swelling tide.

(Refrain)

See the happy spirits waiting,

On the banks beyond the stream!

Sweet responses still repeating,

"Jesus! Jesus!" is their theme.

(the arrangement of this song my Mack Wilberg has always been one of my favorites, it is incredibly powerful and you should all listen to it)

every pot has a lid

i bought the card, now i just need the guy to send it to.
Over the past few months I have thought a lot about blogging. Remember when I used to blog somewhat regular? Remember when I had funny NEW stories I hadn't already worn out? Yeah, me too, those were the good old days...

So I started thinking, "self, why are you so lame and can't think of anything to write?!" realized: 1. I don't leave my house super often and 2. I was in a horrible relationship that never seemed to end and therefore wasn't hitting my yearly quota of two perfectly awkward, blog worthy, dates. And with that, I realized I am only as funny as the people I hangout with and I obviously need to get out of my house more.

Technically I have been single for six months but it only feels like a few weeks and honestly has only been a few days of complete freedom. I think because of this super drawn out breakup (I made it clear we were done, but he didn't quite get the memo...) I had a hard time trying to relate to anyone let alone members of the opposite sex. Now I am free and feel fantastic (a friend commented just yesterday that i look the happiest she has seen me in months) i feel like it is time to jump back into that thing we like to call the dating pool, even if I only catch my semi-annual awkward date (which in all honesty, I am very over due for so halfway expect at least 5 in my near future). And this is where I come to my main point: how the hell does anyone find anyone to date let alone marry???

We all are bombarded with social media and see all our friends dating and getting married and getting remarried and having babies. For the most part, I get it. Then I see those people who are of the difficult type and i think, "how is it that you found your one in a million so fast?! I swear that I have at least a handful of options that could work--a lid to my wonky pot--but your pot only has 3 sides and doesn't hold water yet you found that ONE magical lid that fits? HOW DID YOU DO IT?! What pond are you swimming in?!" And yes, I realize I am not a unicorn in the dating world--a girl that is super hotttttt and not crazy. I do have some crazy and I do come with my own bag of issues but at least I have most of my life together and can hold coherent conversations.

i can bake, so maybe i should try it as a wooing tactic.
right now i am just under the impression it tells a guys i am trying too hard.
is it because i do weird things like make personal size cakes?!
So where is this magical pool where you find your match? Because I want to find it! I have grown up my whole life with people telling me it is church but I am beginning to seriously doubt these people. I mean, there are some great guys at church that I would LOVE to go out with, but I haven't figured out how to make that happen (to be completely honest, the last time I was actually 'asked out' was in 2012 by a guy on the New York subway. He turned out to be super creepy, surprise!) My sister Mallory would tell me that I just need to whip up a dessert, take it over and say, "um, I like you... here's a peach cobbler..." I will admit, she did have great success with this but I just can't grasp it. I also run into this horrible predicament of: I REALLY need friends (reference paragraph 2, I never get out and have been involved in crazy lately) so I am terrified of being an adult and saying, "hey I might like you, lets try going out" for fear they will freak out--because they aren't interested--and there sails our friend-ship. So how do I get these guys to man up and take me out? And when I say I am interested it simply means I am interested in seeing if we have anything in common, not I want to marry them tomorrow. I mean come on, I am the queen of the first date--not second date--they really have nothing to fear... I think that we are so afraid of commitment these days that we feel like we have to have our thoughts all put together on a person just to ask them out once.

maybe i should use this photo on tinder, see the wind wiping through my hair?!
and my teeth look so straight!
Then there is the other social media idea that everyone and their dog has been throwing my way as a legit dating service: Tinder. And let me just get this out, "TINDER TERRIFIES ME!" For one, I get super stressed at the idea that I cannot move on to a new profile until I decide yes or no on someone. What if they really are a nice guy but they decided to put a lame tagline like "I promise to make you laugh?" Sir, I make myself laugh, you don't have to provide the service like it's rarity. And then there is my profile, you only get like 500 characters to describe yourself. I have been running this blog for years and it isn't done describing me! Once you get past the profile editing and the swiping you get to the match and chat option. I have only ever replied to two types of messages on any web dating platform: the messages that are so off or weird that I have to set a person straight (then promptly delete them) and the one time I found a long lost friend on Tinder, we reconnected and it was great. All those other messages that start with "run away with me," or "hey beautiful" make me want to vomit in my mouth and change all my photos to dogs with mustaches or unicorns pooping glitter so they will never think of me as a match.

And so here I sit, desperately wanting to meet guys that are normal and boringly stable--that think I am funny and hopefully a little bit attractive-- but not having a clue how to do it. There are slues of guys who are in their late twenties/early thirties in my area but I just can't seem to crack them. Perhaps it is because I am that girl that when nervous becomes annoyingly chatty in large groups when a guy I am crushing on is present or because I don't understand texting and how it relates to dating. I end latching on to texting as a legit form of communication (which it isn't) in a last ditch effort to win them with my wit and end up overwhelming the poor lads. And, no one knows exactly how to read interest levels in texting. I don't know how much you normally text! I don't know if that supposed to be funny or serious! I don't know the appropriate amount of time to wait before replying so you won't think I'm clingy and/or desperate! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK OR HOW TO READ IT!

The moral of my story: let's go on a date! Or, if you are one of those people that is flooding my feed with photos of you and your perfect fitting lid, set me up with your friends! Even if the only reason is "hey, he is single and YOU are single so naturally this should work" because at least I will get some much needed blogging ammo out of it. And dinner, tell them they HAVE to buy me dinner. Or they can take me to the nicklecade because sometimes that is much better than the food I have been fed on dates.

27 going on 17

For years i liked to do a year review on my birthday--which is oh so convenient since my birthday is in January--but this year i decided to change things up. I have noticed lately that people don't seem to know things about be that i thought i tell everyone. So... this year we are doing the top 27 things about me.

1. Lately, i have been desperately trying to figure out how to look like an full-fledged adult in their late twenties. I have tried wearing lipstick, for real hairstyles, stilettos, non-costume jewelry, and even the daily dose of makeup. It hasn't helped in the slightest. Just last month i was asked how old i was when my sister was buying movie tickets for her kids, THE KID AGE IS 12! This trumps when i was asked if i was old enough to sit in the exit row of an airplane when i was 23 (you have to be 15) or when TSA asked if i was a minor when i was 25. Needless to say it also has totally thwarted my dating life because all the guys i would be interested in are around 30 and are not interested in the barely legal.

2. I sleepwalk. It doesn't happen every night but it does happen. I do it the most when other people are awake and i slightly interact with them in a very creepy non verbal way with lots of hand motions.

3. When i was 19 i ran a bed and breakfast in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was not the ideal establishment and
very poorly run, but it did fulfill a life long dream of being involved in a B&B.

4. Speaking of B&Bs, my new life goal is to save enough money to open my own by the time I am 30. It combines all my odd talents (cooking, organization, business, design, being ocd with details, cleaning) with my insane collection of kitchenware. I have wanted to do this for a decade and i finally decided, why not now?!

5. My sister's refer to my closet as the Bernstein Bears Closet because it creepily mimics their book on organization. I hate closet doors and if my bedroom has them i remove them, it is always the space in my house that is the most esthetically pleasing.

6. I have never been especially good at learning languages except for counting. For years i would count my steps in French, mostly when walking in parking lots.

7. I spoke at my college (BYU) convocation ceremony. I talked about why i am an artist and of course included a smattering of childhood artwork including a piece i entitled, "Girl Dinosaur in a Purple Bra." The administration wanted me to remove it from my PowerPoint because it made them
'feel uncomfortable,' but i of course didn't.

8. I only wear glasses because i have one lazy eye. I can't control its wandering and since most people find it unsettling when you are only looking at them with one eye, i wear glasses. Contacts aren't an option since they won't correct it.

9. I have never been able to picture myself as being married or having kids. This doesn't mean that i am not interested in it, just that i have never planned my life around it or gone into that completely normal phase of life where i am depressed that my eggs might dry up before i finally find a non-crazy counterpart. Even as a kid i knew i wasn't the marrying young type since i once wrote in my journal, "when i'm married, or thirty..."

10. One of my life goals is to be involved in an episode of the radio program This American Life.
Surely they have to find the story about my dad stealing a B-17 bomber as a teenager radio worthy. And if they prefer something about dating, like how a boy broke both arms while trying to flirt with me, i got that covered too.

11. I have a lime addiction. I most likely consumed over 200 limes last year alone.

12. I worked at BYU Recycling in college and drove a forklift daily. I once had a palette of around 20 bricks of crushed pop cans dropped on me by an incompetent coworker which sliced my arm in three places causing blood to run down my arm and off my hand.

13. I have been to: Mexico, Canada, France, Belgium, Holland, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

14. In the four months i lived in NYC i: lost all my money to the IRS, stayed in six different places, had nine visitors, saw six broadway shows, and survived Hurricane Sandy by fleeing to Philly an hour before the all trains stopped running.

15. I have had surgery on my: eyes, tonsils, wisdom teeth, hip, knees, and ankle. I have also: dislocated an elbow, dislocated a hip (which i walked on for a week at age 10), broken my wrist, knocked out two teeth and had two head wounds.

16. When i was ten i was in a flash flood with five of my siblings while hiking in Northern Idaho. We walked for five miles through--at times--waist deep ice water. We all admitted to peeing our pants because it kept us warm for .475 seconds. I was one of the few that didn't hallucinate but i do think i had mild hypothermia and frost bite.

17. I think i am hilarious.

18. I board-fold (the method retail stores use to uniformly fold clothing) all of my sweaters. I however don't own a board so i use my MacBook Air which is about the same size. So i guess you
can call it computer-fold...

19. I don't spend one dollar bills. It started in high school as a way to prevent myself from blowing what little cash i had in vending machines etc. and so i would have some money to put towards high ticket items like an iPod. I started it up again a few years ago and now call it my Wedding Dress Fund. When i lent it to my sister last year i naturally weighed it first, it came in at just over 4lbs. I think the clerk at the bank thought i moonlighted as a stripper...

20. I was in an opera choir in elementary school. I remember being a street urchin in Carmen and in the children's chorus in The Nutcracker.

21. My more memorable dates have involved: walking three miles barefoot on a river trail, a boy telling me he "usually likes to meet people by the Taco Bell in the Student Union Building," a boy that made up his own name, a boy that never told me his real name, a boy accosting me at every chance asking if he could smell me (he once said, 'you smell so good, you smell just like my grandmother's house' WHAT?!), eating spaghetti covered in cheddar cheese with a set of twins at their house (standing, not sitting at the table) before one of them took me on the rest of our date; I still can't tell them apart, and much, much more.

22. I love coffee table books and request that everyone who comes in my house reads All My Friends Are Dead.

23. I talk to at least one of my siblings every single day. I think we are hilarious and one of the best families to hangout with. We rarely fight, always make fun of each other, are constantly lending money, eat lots of food and quite often make inappropriate jokes. 

24. I am a note writer. I send cards for no reason, love to make heinous valentines, send obnoxiously long emails to boys who i want to date (not all boys, just the select few and i swear its not as creepy as it sounds), wrote 20 missionaries while in my early 20's, send random packages, and seal every single written correspondence with wax.

25. Secretly, my plan is to find a nice normal guy that only has a couple siblings so that when we get married i have a legit chance at winning Best In-Law. If there are only a few children it also ups the chance of maybe getting to go on parent-funded family vacations.

26. When left to my own devices, when others won't judge my choices, i watch terrible reality tv like The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Extreme Cheapskates, Teen Mom etc. All of them make me feel super good about my life. I have so much more going for me that most of these people, try it, its a real self-esteem boost. 

27. I have a decently large record collection. I started collecting them not because it is the cool hipster thing to do or because the sound is superior (i know its not), but because i love music and if i put a record on i listen to the whole thing and can't be ADD and change it after each song. It is one thing that makes me slow down and disconnect from technology which is slowing taking over my life. I blame my iPad, or Netflix Machine, as my brother calls it.
My birthday present to myself this year was The Forrest Gump Soundtrack on vinyl.



And your bonus for making it to the end?

My first ever photo where i look like benjamin button with lobster claws. 
You are so very welcome.

my mojo, its back.

like this awkward encounter. that boy threw me in a pool
fully clothed once too AND then took me on a
hilariously terrible date. 
Lately i realized something horrible--my dating life has been off more than normal. I used to think that it couldn't get much worse but then i realized that no matter how unfruitful my dates were, they were at least HILARIOUS. This fact has gotten me through the last decade of dating, i always know that if i can't count on the guys i am attracted to asking me out i can sure count on a good story from the other ones!

Then this last year my dates started to not be hilarious but instead down right depressing. I actually 'dated' more guys than ever before but i also had: two boys that didn't really acknowledge that i moved across the country while we're dating (not at the same time, one when i went to nyc and one when i came back), one boy that kissed me and then conveniently 'forgot' that he knew me when we were in the same room, one boy that kissed his ex (two days in a row) while we were dating, and a boy i have been enamored with every since we met confess his undying love (i'm going to word it like that because it sounds more dramatic and makes me seem way more awesome) for me while i had a boyfriend and then when i was single again we went on one super awkward date and he 'remembered why he didn't ever date me in the past.' WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? After that final blow i felt pretty awesome, but in the sarcastic not fun way...

I was out of my groove, my encounters with boys were no longer funny and very much sad.

Then i went to family home evening a few weeks ago in my singles ward (a monday night activity with the people that go to my church).

We were playing a game of basketball and me with my stellar skills did the only thing i know to do: run in circles around the court to tire out the poor sucker that is assigned to guard me and to keep one less person near the basket and therefore more accessible for my teammates.

After i successfully tired out my opponent he began chatting with me about how fast i am. I may not run marathons like my siblings but i can still sprint across a gymnasium like my limber elementary self.

"Man, you are so fast, but i bet i could beat you. We should have a race sometime!"

"Okay, how about now?"

With that we lined up against the back wall, just two people ready for a friendly contest. As a fellow girl yelled "Go!" we took off. The race lasted a mere few seconds as both of us flew across the room. I could see him gaining speed so instead of slowing down when i was a few feet from the wall i maintained speed and busted through the right side of the double doors (and yes in hindsight i know this was a very bad idea, if anyone was in the hall i could have killed them. But no one was there so i'll claim it was a good idea from here on out). I assumed he would aim for the left door...


but no.
this is why i have that other blog

He ran full speed into an exposed brick wall.

He did not slow down.

He did not jump into the wall with one foot.

He ran straight in to it,

and broke both arms.



With this, i feel like i am back in the swing of things. I am back to being the girl that boys do ridiculous things around that end up on a blog. Well played sir, well played.


oh and in case you were wondering, i won the race.


guilty pleasures

my nephew, in the tv zone...
You know the scene. You are sitting alone on the couch with remote in hand, finger on the 'previous channel' button. The show blaring on the screen is one that you shouldn't be watching but you can't break the spell it has on you. You sit with bated breath, ready to hit the button that instantly takes you back to the previous, 'safe,' channel as soon as you hear someone within 10 feet of the room.

This is how i spent my childhood. I wasn't watching racy shows (unless you consider Barney racy...), just ones that i knew would lead to endless shaming by my older siblings.

The Wonder Years
Season 2, Episode 8--Hiroshima, Mon Frere


Recently i was talking to my dear sister jenny, and she brought up the fact that us Davises have one major flaw: We love to ruthlessly make fun of each other. This might not seem that unusual or detrimental, and you might be thinking, 'Every family makes fun of each other. That is what makes the love-hate relationship between siblings fun!' You might think that is why siblings are fun, but it turns out they are fun because you do bad things together that you never told your parents. Indeed, they are your partners in crime. They are not fun when they are in “Hamster Patrol” mode (if you don't get that reference you NEED more of “The Wonder Years“ in your life). My siblings never sucked up my hamster with a vacuum — most likely only due to the fact that when you don't have a hamster it’s pretty hard to suck one up, and my other furry pet, a cat, was too big for the vacuum — but they did like to taunt me and each other about everything from pets to music to clothing to television viewing habits. And if taunting didn't stop you from engaging in the subpar activity they would take it upon themselves to physically stop you, like when my siblings hid my Joy School (pre-preschool) tapes in my underwear drawer so they could have days of peace from the rhyming rhythms (i didn't like to change my clothes or shower apparently as a toddler).
who could hide such a cute girl's tapes?!
Joy School graduation

The funny thing is that i feel like i spent most of my childhood foolishly hiding things i shouldn't have and flamboyantly showing things that truly were in bad taste or odd and were very much worthy of all the flack i got from all of my siblings.


For example, i didn't feel the need to hide:

• Knitting in movie theaters: Not only do my siblings know that dirty little secret but so do a whole lot of other innocent moviegoers.

• Singing show tunes at the top of my lungs in the shower: I'm sure half of the neighborhood could sing all the words to “Honey Bun” because of my frequent exploits.

• My love of infomercials: no explanation needed.

• Thinking a bowl cut was a good idea.




• Having my favorite television event be Nick at Nite instead of TGIF: By the time i was 10 i'm pretty sure i not only had seen every “I Love Lucy” and “Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” but i even had a giant coffee table book that i would frequent to brush up on the back stories of the episodes.

• Using all my babysitting money to rent classics from Hastings: What other kid was arguing with the
rental store that a not-rated film produced before 1960 wasn't going to have things inappropriate for a 9-year-old to watch?

• The fact that i not only was a mascot but campaigned for our school to get one.

My extensive homemade doll collection: It was creepy and mostly held together with Pintrest-worthy amounts of hot glue and the occasional staple.

• That i liked gold, so naturally i thought gold braces were a brilliant idea. Why was i so surprised when my siblings started singing “Ghetto Superstar” to me all the time?

• Lifetime movies: They are all about cheating husbands that get murdered by their wives and yet whenever the entire house sneaks off for the usual sunday nap i gravitate toward the terrible acting of Lifetime. Angels in heaven probably weep for my soul every sunday this happens. (did i say sunday, because they definitely have an iPad app so now it can happen anytime, anywhere!)


Yet i did hide such normal things as:
i hid who i liked cleverly under things like taped
down valentine's in my journal

• The fact that i was a girl and heaven forbid actually liked girly things.

• That boys are cute and sometimes i had/have crushes on them.

• Dancing. I might be a horrible dancer but being inept seems pretty universal.

• Writing. Did you know that it took me until college to willingly let people peer review my school papers and i was terrified to start a blog?

• Singing (not show tunes, just the regular type). At my dad's funeral in 2009 i had the first solo in a song that all the girls in the family sang. One of my sisters mentioned afterward that she didn't know that i could sing like that. Even weirder was the fact that most of my sisters are musical but i still never sang solos, especially around my family.
hard to believe she was the ultimate tomboy

• My love for crappy teenage music: Everyone goes through a phase liking something that is popular, but i felt like i had to keep it all secret. And with that i will admit that most of the time i spent on a bus on my way to ski team i was listening to Savage Garden on my Discman.


When i was talking to my sisters about what they hid as children, they mentioned things like riding their bike around the neighborhood with a Walkman so they could listen to Men Without Hats in peace and being total tomboys because 'girl things were stupid.' (For the record, the most tomboy girl out of our family — the one that made me feel ashamed to like girly things — didn't have anyone above her that said girly things were stupid but singlehandedly created this intense anxiety in both of us for no apparent reason. Oh and now both of us work in the cosmetics industry.) Especially when it came to music they got it — some music would be considered subpar and therefore warrant days of torture.

They understood what to hide and why. Apparently i did get that i shouldn't let my siblings know all of my silly habits, but i didn't get the memo of which ones.

i'm bethany and i'm a mormon-that-supports-gay-marriage


because it seems to be the cool kid thing to do right now, i am going to try and explain to the masses how i could possibly support gay marriage as a devot mormon.

*****PLEASE NOTE*****
since this is my blog i get to make the rules, if you HATE what i think and want to leave a most nasty comment you may, BUT you then have to read another post of mine (which are usually funny and not so political) and leave an oh so happy comment. Got it? Good.
************************

let me first say what i really think the US needs to do: the United States needs to not reconigze marriage, they need to migrate to civil unions. This way all concenting adults that want to devote their lives to one another can have the same benefits as all other couples. Then you can go to your institution of choice and get married. I have been on this bandwagon for years. But, since the US is not discussing this but instead marriage, i have no other option but to support gay marriage because i feel so strongly that couples need to have rights.

Now lets talk 'traditional marriage'--that lovely term that 95% of my facebook friends like to talk about all.the.time. In case some of you haven't noticed, marriage has encompased a lot of different scenerios over the centuries. Remember all those stories in the Bible with men having lots of wives and concubines? Or what about in Mormonism how we believe in polygamy and it was practiced less than two hundred years ago? Or what about interracial marriage being illegal until 1967? Marriage has not always been just between one man and one woman, not even in the bible. We are arguing over the definition of a word that has never been one finite thing.

Now lets talk about the article so many of you posted, Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction. It was written in 2010--that is over two years ago. In those two years the church actually started using the word gay more openly and even created a new website, http://www.mormonsandgays.org/, where they say "Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters." They clearly say here that people do not choose to be gay. The previous article (HRC) also says that we support equal civil rights--in the US this means marriage because many rights are only afforded to married couples. 

Then there was the other thing many posted, The Family, A Proclamation to the World. I have read this article many times, have a copy of it in my home and even took a class on it in college. I love all the great things this thing says. But, this talks about the ideal family and what a family can be with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My family did not meet this, i grew up in a single family home. Though i did not have a father present in my life, is my family broken? Also, many people will never accept the Gospel so are they to be punished for not agreeing with our beliefs? We hold ourselves to a higher law because we believe it and understand it, we cannot condem others and withhold rights on something they do not understand.

Over and over we hear that Satan is attacking the family. This is more than true. But is gay marriage really at the forefront? What about teenagers that play russian roulette with the gift of creation and keep making babies that they don't want and can't care for? What about women that pay more attention to updating their (fictitious) perfect life on facebook and blogger than their own children? What about men that beat their wives and children? What about corruption and scandal in big business and government? What about people taking advantage of the system and always taking from government aid and never contributing to society? What about destroying our bodies with drugs? What about people killing each other because they are too stupid to not drive home when they are wasted? What about the huge porn industry that our children are exposed to?

The family is under attack because people are only getting more selfish, entitled and downright evil.

The family is not under attack because people want to love more.

and i think this has sealed my fate of being single forever. I once was dumped because a guy thought i wasn't spiritual enough and no non-mormon wants to date me because to them i am too religious. Oh the woes of being a liberal mormon woman.


tales from the tithing child

i couldn't keep simple things, like how many siblings i had, straight when i was a kid,
why do i assume i can remember things accurately?
there are 16 heads in this photo, my family only had 12 if you count my parents...
The other day i was with my mom and brother and commented about something i remembered as a child. Without even taking 7.3 seconds to comprehend what i said, Levi goes, "there is no way you remember that..." I stopped to think about it and realized, damn, he might be right.

Turns out that i am a bit hazy about the details of my life prior to 1998 or so. 

am i looking at the camera or the guy to
to your right? YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!
mawhaha
As i thought about my childhood i realized that a lot of my 'memories' are in third person--i see things happening to me as if i am a bystander. I'm no psychologist but i think that might indicate that i am making them up. Example--i have a distint memory of being pinned down by nurses and having eye drops forced into my eyes. I know this possible because i have been going to the eye doctor since i was a wee babe (its not hard to tell that your kid needs to go to the eye doctor when they are only really paying attention to you with one eye...) and getting my eyes dilated. But i didn't know until i was at least in high school that i had eye surgery when i was two and that is why i have gray streaks in the whites of my eyes, turns out they are scars. So did i make up the memory? Since when i think of 'that time' the room is pitch black with a spot light shinning on the poor cross-eyed girl that is being pinned down in the giant brown leather chair, i would say yes. My eye doctor's office was only 80% that creepy in real life with his crazy animatronic dog in the corner--AND he didn't have nurses.

mallory and i fight? never.
Then there was that time that Mallory and i got in squabble over where we sat at the dinner table. Everyone agreed with Mallory--my chair was across from the one i was claiming. But i didn't let that stop me! I was positive that i was right (and still am to this day, more so i am just so confused i don't know what to think)! Our fight was so dramatic that my mom left the table and her dinner and told us we could eat on the floor for all she cared.

Or how about the fact that i am 90% sure i once got all of my fingers--minus my thumbs--shut in the car hood, yet my brother who i swear was working on the car can't remember? I would think that if you accidentally shut your 5 year old sister in the car you would remember. BUT i remember that in first person, so did it really happen?!

my life is a mess. or so i think it is?

But here are a few things I KNOW happened when i was a kid.

he looks so innocent and loving. just like wayne before
he became the infamous Hamster Patrol...
Levi once locked me in the car after church because he is an older brother and that is the type of thing they do according to all television shows namely the Wonder Years. I was a 'dumb kid' (according to levi of course) and couldn't figure out the super high tech pull this thing the size of a screw up and it will release the door lock thing. Needless to say, i had to pee super bad and wet my pants all over the backseat--and i highly doubt i sat in one place like a sane person would, more like let's spread pee all over the seat in a panic! Once one of my nicer siblings, most likely a sister, let me out of the car and assessed the wet mess, Levi was summoned to clean it up. Karma, she's a--... you know the rest.

I really liked to run away as a kid. Most of the time i was kind enough to leave a map--though it was rarely accurate in topography or where i actually was--usually it was to my preschool. I would grab my favorite doll, Baby Beth (which ironically is not mine but a doll i swiped from my sister Sarah), a small hot pink plastic suitcase, a set of Baby Beth's cloths and a can of green beans. I would then haul all of this and a small wooden chair out my front door, down the yard, and into the ditch bank. I would sit under our driveway which was a bridge and contemplate the finer things in life--the color pink, dolls and green beans. 

The first time my mom left my alone I was probably no older than 5, she ran to a neighbors or something and wasn't gone more than five minutes (so that none of you assume she was a terrible parent). I watched her leave and as soon as she was in her car I sprinted to the basement where i helped myself onto the play table where i proceeded to dance. Apparently, out of all the forbidden things in the Davis household that i instantly had access to, dancing on the table tops was my top priority. You would think that i would have grown up to be a seductive party girl instead of the loner introvert. 

One of our favorite pass times in the summer was playing on our amazing wooden playground. We only had it until i was 7 so i am a bit hazy on its actual size because well, to me it was HUGE! I do know that the slide was long enough to merit levi hauling his bmx up it to ride down so huge is probably fairly accurate. Anyway, seeing as our father should have been in the circus and we were all able to walk on our hands as children, it is no surprise that we would grab the thick braided rope from the farside of the playground and throw it up to the person perched on the slide. We would then leap off the side of the slide and swing back and forth. I however remember doing this but missing the open space i was aiming for and slamming straight into the support beam where it proceeded to break my glasses and bounce me backwards into a pile of the dreaded sticker weeds. Luckily Jenny was kind enough to get tweezers and de-sticker my palms.
like this only cooler
I also remember the amazing three horse carrousel that my family had. It was on our back patio, was white with primary colors and had a light switch on the box instead of a coin slot so we could ride to our little hearts content. I also remember embracing the Davis, or daredevil--they are sometime interchangeable--in me and climbing onto the horses back, up the mane, grabbing onto the inside lip of the roof while i balanced my feet on the handles coming out of the horses head, and then climbing onto the roof. Then i remember falling off. Or do i? Is this where my problems began? Trauma to the head?                                                   

maybe i did remember being born, i look like
i was pretty traumatized from the experience...
I called Mallory to ask her if she had input on this. Without thinking, just like Levi, she said, "when you were little you used to tell us you remembered being born, that you remembered the doctor slapping your butt or something..."

and i guess that proves it, i have the best-worst memory around.

But i will always stick to the story that i remember laying on the shag carpet in the family room of our house with my pants off and diaper open. I then remember at least two of my older siblings, i think Mike and Katie, coming in, seeing the poopy diaper and turning away because they didn't want to change it. If you know mike and katie or any teenagers you should be able to see the truth in this one...

unsubscribed.

i made myself a 30 day 'chip.'
why should people in AA have all the fun?
hello, my name is Bethany and i am a shopaholic.

okay, not completely true but slightly (you can tell this is the denial part of my problem). I have never gone into debt for anything--even school, but that doesn't mean that i might not shop a little too much.

But i have changed my ways. i have unsubscribed from those handy emails that tell me when things are 40% off already reduced prices. i have made new budgets. i have given away my shopping arsenal to save money. i have even liquidated shoes, bags and a ridiculous amount of lotion on eBay.

Maybe i am giving myself too much credit for not shopping for the past 40 days, i mean if you already own enough dresses that you could wear a different one each week to church without repeating you probably should have stopped shopping about 40 dresses ago...Same with dishes, i mean i have three sets and can serve 24 people--i can't even fit 10 people in my apartment! The fact that i own EVERYTHING i could possibly need during my twenties combined with the Mad Men collection from Banana Republic this year not be tempting in the slightest, i shouldn't be shopping anyway...


the feeling is mutual W&S... the feeling is mutual...
Ever since i was young i have been obsessed with money--making it, counting it, writing budgets for it, organizing it, planning the future with it--everything. With ten kids in the family and my dad being out of work my entire life due to a dibilitating accident everyone noticed money and probably our lack thereof. I was never without anything important, i always had clean clothes, a nice house, birthday/christmas presents etc. and didn't ever notice that we didn't have a lot of spare change, I just knew that if there was something i wanted i needed to figure out a way to earn the money to purchase it. This seemed, and still seems, very logical to me.

When i was younger i would take every babysitting job that was offered, even the ones from that family that the normal sane 13 yr old didn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. When i would get home i would write the date, job, and amount i was paid on a piece of paper and drop it in a tin box. At the end of the year i would tally up how much i made at each job and which ones were more profitable. I would also write down every dollar that i spent in the same fashion and tally that up too. For years i could tell you exactly how much i made and spent in the smallest of categories.

i do get to shop if i have a gift card.
thanks nyc boss for giving me things i could return to
Nordstroms so buy these shoes instead. 
Then i was a teenager and basically on my own financially. I moved out when i was 16 to be a live in nanny for my sister while her husband served in Iraq. I was living on such little amounts of money that i had a strict budget for buying things like shampoo. It was also during this stint of my life that i started really wanting my own home. By the time i graduated and left my hometown i had lived in 6 different homes with 4 of those being during high school and two during my senior year alone. When i would get stressed out or have an argument with my sister i would de-stress by going to the mall. I couldn't buy anything but i began to love being in stores--no one cares if you are wandering around slowly and everything is nice, new and clean. Soon however, shopping became a talent of mine and not just a coping mechanism.

Turns out that i am really, i mean REALLY good at shopping. I can find everything that i have been wanting at the best prices always.

As i got older and had better paying jobs i started buying things that normal teenagers didn't buy. I went to college with William & Sonoma oven mits, a Kitchen Aid and cleaning supplies i had already more than broken in. My favorite stores weren't Forever 21 or Gap, they were William & Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Costco.
i am REALLY good at shopping and getting killer deals

Then i discovered Banana Republic. And then my life got very full of stuff.

But, i am changing my ways.

i am especially not allowed to buy nail polish,
you could say i have enough...
In January i decided that for the rest of the year i would not buy anything other than the most basic necessities--groceries and gas. I allow myself a small budget to go out with friends--so that i can still have friends--but i am trying to only eat out etc when someone invites me. And other than that, i am done shopping. I will not buy anything for my house--not even a tupperware, not anything for the bathroom (i have a stockpile of lotion/tooth paste/shampoo etc so the rule is that it has to be GONE before i can buy anything new), no nail polish, no new clothes, nothing.

The ironic thing is, up until i stopped buying things i was attached to most my possessions but now i am really good at getting rid of things.

here's to 10 more months of not being a consumer and hopefully building up a savings account again. The last six months have been more than rough money wise, but i have high hopes that i can fix it. I am so serious about this venture that i unsubscribed from most emails AND gave my last Banana Republic reward ($30 none-the-less) along with my 10% off tote to my sister so that i wouldn't be temped.

damn you uncle sam and your taxes.
my last purchases, a green pencil skirt and patterned top from Banana Republic.
turns out it is really hard to take a decent picture of yourself with a self timer...

oh and i decided i am not even buying a car when i have to give my nephew's back in june. i mean, i already own a bicycle... because as you can see i am very good at riding bicycles.



i always deliver

a smattering of notes i found in my room from jr. high all the way through college.

my tornado of a room
This thursday being Valentine's, i thought i would write about love and sometimes the lack there of. Where is there a lack of love you ask? Jr. High, the hell hole of all hell holes.  A few many months ago i was cleaning out my apartment in provo getting ready for my move to the big apple. As i poured over everything that i owned trying to decide what needed to never be seen by my eyes again, i found a box containing basically all paper proof of my public education. It was full of photos, school assignments, notes, letters, and trinkets (i might have a slight problem of keeping almost everything along those lines...)

Among the many treasures i found this note that i wrote to myself. 



My freshmen english teacher made each of us write a letter to ourselves that we would get back when we graduated high school. The first sentence pretty much summed up how i felt about jr. high (and high school later)--"Where can you start about junior high? It pretty much is the worst of all worlds." (I then go on about how irritated i was with my best friend stephen because he had a crush on this girl and stopped giving me the attention i deserved. i was so dramatic. I probably should have just told him i had a crush on him instead of annoying him to death with my whining about this other girl...)

When i found this note i started to think, what made jr. high so bad? Then i found the following note:


Apparently for me, junior high was full of me picking fights over little things like "the accidental pencil stabbing incident."

I can't remember what i did to make this girl think that i deserved a pencil to the head, but i do remember one incident with her. 

This girl always thought that she was the best at everything. She played sports, was smart, and wasn't an awkward looking pubescent so really she did have a lot going for her. However, she liked to tell everyone how right she was about everything in this nasally nerd voice that made even the nicest (which is hard to come by in junior high) kid want to punch kittens. During one of these rants, probably at lunch or in some classroom when i was confined to the same God forsaken corner as her, she punched me in the arm.
Now this punch wasn't the most forceful--i mean she played basketball and made sure that everyone knew, she had to have had some upper body strength--and i am sure that it didn't leave me with bodily harm but it made my blood boil. First this girl was going to get in my face and now she had the gaul to touch me?!
Calmly i turned to her and said, "you know i will get you back, right?"

She of course shrugged it off and went on to talk about me and how much i sucked and what not and how i would never do anything to her.

i spent most of jr high apparently looking nervous
Now we fast forward to lunch a few days later if not a week. I was standing in a small group of people; this unfortunate creature was across from me and two boys were on each side of us. As calmly as i had delivered the threat of getting her back but with the quick reflexes of a cat (if you have ever been of of the fools that tried to tickle me you know what reflexes i speak of...) i delivered one sound punch directly to her left arm. This was not a weak sauce encounter like the one she gave me, but a decent--if it was a math test i would have hung it on the home fridge in pride--punch. For the first, and quite possibly only, time in my life i felt slightly bad-ass.

As she grabbed her arm with her other hand and stared at me dumbfounded, trying to come up with some snide come back, i calmly said, "i told you i would get you back."

Needless to say the boys were more than a little confused and probably think to this day that i have anger issues.

at least in high school i pretended to be cool by being in the
Homecoming court and stuff
The girl and i had to interact at least a little for the next 5 or so years of school as we both went through the accelerated, AP, church seminary and choir classes. Did we ever make up? Never. In fact she drove me up the wall. the. entire. time. And for the record, i was not the only one bothered by her, just ask anyone from my sophomore chemistry class. She ruined our prefectly sound plan of only reminding the teacher to check our homework on the days that we all actually did it "Mr. Jacobsmeyer, you forgot to check our homework!"--but remember to say it like a girl Steve Urkle and imagine her waving her perfectly done homework in front of her face...

I saw her once in college. I was walking out of my apartment complex back in 2008 when her mom stopped me to ask me how i liked living there. I am pretty sure that she noticed who i was, but just like how i didn't admit to knowing her or her mom, i quickly answered her question and went on my way.

Ironically i have had two friends mention that they ran into her lately and both mentioned that i came up in conversation. One told me that she admitted to feeling horrible for how she treated me all those years ago.

And all these years i thought i was the only one that remembered.

And why would i post this for Valentine's Day you ask? Because not hating someone is almost like loving them and it turns out that after hearing--even if it was not from her--that she is sorry i don't hate her anymore. It is also good to know that no one is the same person as they were in public school.


This proves to me that there really is a God. He might have a twisted sense of humor for letting public school exist, but at least he fixes us in time for our ten year reunion. 


all my Valentine's also get sealed with wax
(like most of my letters...)





But on to real Valentine's Day, i love it. I don't care that i have never been on a hot and steamy date or had a boyfriend during the holiday--it is a holiday where i get to be all crafty and gushy and no one can think it is weird! I crafted it up this year and repurposed my three favorite books, All My Friends Are Dead, I Like You, and The History of Love that met their demise in my recent flood into one-of-a-kind valentine's. The only thing you have to watch out for is when you are making a valentine for your mother and the page that you ripped from The History of Love happens to have a not so good word very prominently placed on the page--we almost had a very inappropriate Valentine fail.

you're only 24 once

I've always really enjoyed having my birthday at the beginning of the year; it makes it super easy to remember how old i was when something happened and keeps everything tidy with my age changing almost in sync with everything else. Because of this, i use my age to judge everything.

like if it is Feb. and i am single--say last year--i know that i will not get married until i am at least 25 (being this year).

or when i say that i want to accomplish something in 2013 i know that i will accomplish it while i am 25.

see? everything is simple.

And since today is my birthday eve, i figured i should reminisce what i learned/did during my year of being 24.

I:

finally have documented proof of how terrifying it is to go bowling with me (and equally dangerous).





caught my third bouquet at a wedding (third times a charm, right? RIGHT?!)


after 8 months of preparation i had over 300 images on display in my BFA final show, 
Tithing Child: A Photographic Memoir



after what felt like a million drafts of my speech were approved--i spoke at my college's convocation ceremony and showed the campus (for the 3rd time) images of my sister giving birth...


learned that i have a problem am the champion of holding grudges against past boyfriends that were asses 
(still working on that, but lets be honest, we will never be friends. ever)


survived the great disneyland flash flood of 2012 (okay, it was just horrendous rain...) while being trapped on small world--now lovingly know as 'the slow-moving torture device from hell.'


started a blog about awkward dates--probably because of that date with that kid that made up his own name, wanted to take me 'fast food shopping' for dinner, and told me about himself using his kindle since he 'forgot his book of photos that he normally uses'.


moved to manhattan--and then kept moving around manhattan--again and again and again...



figured out that peanut butter balls don't have to be boring balls, they can be dinosaurs!
(and filled with chunks of reese's holiday treats...)



went through a hurricane unscathed.


went out on a date with a Turkish American that met me on the subway and thought i was russian.

(of course there are no photos of that...)

figured out what type of guy thinks i am their type: non-white and non-mormon men

(and if i had photos of the guys who hit on me in Harlem or on Canal Street, well, that would just be weird... creepier than the comments they made to me...)


slept on 5 different couches and in 14 different beds in 5 different states in 5 months.


met dan lauria who plays the dad on my most favorite show of all time, The Wonder Years.


gave uncle sam all my money after a tax blunder



went to six broadway shows


graduated from college and got this cool piece of paper as a 'well done, kid'


ate an entire pack of Hebrew National hot dogs in one week in all sorts of interesting culinary masterpieces.


lost the ten pounds i gained when i was dating tucker


succumbed to Pintrest. i say i did it for work purposes but let's be honest, i secretly want to make little crafts and take photos of my fingernails (which two people at the mall today were convinced were fake, they look that perfect and pink right now...)

and i still don't have any followers, so you should help me out so i don't feel like a failure at something so very simple...


'ran' my first ever race


joined a very sketchy dating site that i am pretty sure is only good for hooking up and not falling love.


had the most drawn out graduation ever. 
walk in april
walk/speak in august
actually graduate in december
finally have my name in the program in april of 2013


wore pants to church for the first time (but not the last if it stays so bitterly cold in utah...)


oh and one thing i didn't do was buy a tripod...still...

i have a bfa in photography, that doesn't mean i NEED to have a tripod, right? RIGHT?!





and here's to 2013. 
It has had a rocky start but it can only go up from here. 
I unpacked my kitchen and most my room, that is a HUGE improvement in my life already.


(did i ever mention that i didn't know i had my own birthday until i was probably 6 or so? I always thought that mallory and i had the same birthday because mallory and my dad shared a birthday, my mom's was 4 days later and then mine was 11 days after that so we celebrated once for all of us. This probably is the reason why i always wished mallory was my twin growing up...)

up up down down left right B A start

Sometimes i feel like my life is a video game--things seem to be at the mercy of snotty nosed teenager that is too busy trying to get my avatar to jump over magical rainbows to snatch lofty gold coins that might add up to a free life than actually get me to the next level of the game--one step forward and two steps back. (Maybe I shouldn't have said a snotty-nosed teenager--i doubt God would like being compared to such a creature...)
"hot dogs can last up to 20 years in landfills"
(and obviously i meant 'expiration'...)

I have been working on a number of blog posts over the past few weeks with amazing titles like: 50lbs, 10 miles & 20 flights of stairs (what it was like moving every 1-6 weeks in Manhattan), Dress Pants or was it Dress & Pants? (my response to 'wear pants to church day' and correct misunderstandings of my post about the subject), 6 ways to eat 6 hotdogs in 6 days (cleaning out my fridge in new york made me eat worse than when i was in college), Pin This! (how Pintrest got me a job offer, even though my personal account only has zero followers),  and last but not least--Diplomas, Old People Jobs & Shoebox Living (how 2013 is going to be my year with a move to NYC to live in my own studio and go to a big person job with benefits and everything).

But alas none of those have graced the blogsphere.

Three weeks ago i was sure this was going to be my year. My NYC boss sat me down the day before i left and offered me a full time job because she liked how i handled the business's Pintrest account and she found me very resilient from all my bouncing around the city. Needless to say she was impressed with me. The next week i was back in Utah and successfully cleaning out my closet and getting ready to move. The New Year came and i made one resolution: to spend the 12 months of the year getting back into prime shape so that i can be 125 while i'm 25. Things were looking good, i was going to look good and my career/living were looking good.

Then three weeks went by without the boss calling me to give me the official offer,
       weeks thinking i was moving next month so most of my things stayed in boxes,
              with my boxes staying the photo lab that is detached from my brother's house where i am squatting...
reunited after 4 months.

Now fast-forward to this past Wednesday.

Milo loves that i live with levi because, well, Milo and i love the same thing: sleep (i have always been that weird kid that gets 8-10 hours of sleep every single night). We went to bed around 10 but then at midnight, after a series of attempts by Milo to wake me up, i took him out to pee. In my delirious state i let him out, talked to levi for a minute, and then went back to bed. Levi then yells up at me "You need to come outside right now." To someone who loves sleep as much as me this was one of the worst sentences.

Turns out the next sentence was going to be even more awful...

"The photo lab is full of water, you need to come out now!"

This, is of course, the same photo lab where i have been storing a majority of my belongings in anticipation of moving 3,000 miles. I put on some shoes and a sweatshirt and ran out of the house to fish out my boxes of belonging. The night was abnormally warm, turns out the teens feel like 40 when it has been in the negatives, and all i saw was water cascading from the lab over the driveway--I failed to notice sheets of ice that lined the driveway under the newly formed puddles. As i deliriously ran towards the open door of the lab i hit a sheet of ice and instantly was on the ground wallowing in inches of ice cold water. Spinning like a turtle i turned my body towards the door and kept going.

Within a matter of minutes levi and i were wet from mid calf down and were tossing boxes to each other from my side of the lab. Soon the garage was filled with every towel from the house sprawled out along the floor with the contents of my boxes strewn on them. For the most part all the boxes that were sitting in 5 inches of water contained books which swelled so much that it was impossible to pull the books from the box and instead we had to rip and cut the boxes apart. When levi had first gone into the lab he had fumbled to turn on the lights (they were behind my boxes with a space for your arm to fit which wasn't so hard to do when water wasn't pouring out the door...) and knocked a few things down in the process but at least he was able to grab the top box which was full of the only full set of magazines that my dad was in.

all my friends are dead
For the next few hours we ripped boxes apart, moved stacks of boxes from the lab to the garage, found all spare towels in the house, changed our icy socks and shoes, washed a load of clothes from a suitcase that filled with water, and levi put the wet/dry vac to work. By 4am both of us were thoroughly exhausted.                                    
my dad built this airplane which landed him on
the cover of numerous magazines.
The next morning i was able to asess the damage and start the claim with insurance.

50+ kids books
30+ novels
20 cookbooks
20+ cooking magazines
1 Kate Spade purse
1 vintage suitcase
a few textbooks
a couple antique books
and a dozen irreplaceable books (mostly stuff from my dad) met their demise in a cold watery grave.

Now i sit in levi's family room surrounded by books that are still damp at the core and it turns out that while books possess one of my favorite smells--100 books drying in your family room posses a very terrible smell. This was not the worst thing to happen. Losing 100 books is better than losing a dozen magazines of my dads. Loosing 100 books is better than loosing my camera. Losing 100 books is better than loosing everything from all my boxes in storage. and the list goes on and on.

The thing that does suck is that i was only storing things in the lab because i thought i was moving cross country. Two days after staying up all night rescuing my belongings i finally received an email (not even a phone call) from my nyc boss saying that they have to pull their job offer because it turns out they can't afford to hire me.

i am pretty sure you should check such information before you offer a job.

Now i am almost 25 (this friday!), don't know where i am living (and might have to move in with my mom), am STILL living out of boxes/suitcases for the 6th month in a row, don't know how much of a job i have in utah, and am driving my nephew's car because i can't afford my own. i.am.awesome.

but on the plus side, i finally have the most expensive piece of paper of my life thus far, worth a whopping $32,971.58 (plus books and project cost of course) AND i haven't eaten any hot dogs in three weeks.

point of this story: if i told you i was moving to nyc next month and you could visit anytime because i was getting my own apartment, you might want to rethink your next vacation to visit.

second point of this story: i have been too preoccupied with life to think of something fun to do to celebrate my birthday. At this rate i will probably rent a car since that seems to be the only cool thing that comes with 25. BUT i am still accepting ideas for better options.

is there a skort option?

Bethany Davis Photography 2010
I generally like to keep things light hearted (and apparently self deprecating) on the blog but every once and awhile something comes up that i feel deserves some of my time.

If you are in the west and in a heavily populated Mormon area you may have heard of 'Wear Pants to Church Day' which is coming up this sunday (if you want to read up on the subject--Joanna Brooks wrote an article of the Huffington Post which i find very well written). I am torn with this event. I am a feminist in some regards but i wouldn't say that i am in all regards. I also am not sure how i feel about a protest (even if it is a silent/non-confrontational protest) taking place in church on sunday, but then again, when and where else could it take place to get the effect that it desires?

This past year or so has been really hard in regards to religion. I had a boyfriend who broke up with me for 'not being religious enough,' i was in a ward that at times seemed stifling and judgmental and i realized that i had a lot of issues to get over from weird lessons i had in young women's when i was a teenager. What i realized the last while is that--in many heavily populated mormon areas i feel that many people are living the culture and not the religion. Things that are trivial and not doctrine are pushed to the front and participation and conformity to said cultural ideals are judged heavily, and unfortunately things like loving jesus are harder to find. There is also a severe lack of acknowledgement that things CAN change and it is not a bad thing to question things or push for things you believe in (of course done in appropriate and respectful ways).


If you don't understand what i am talking about think about these situations:



  • This was a popular meme on a facebook group called 'Mormons' and almost 6,000 people thought it was a good idea. I have also heard it to the effect that if girls dress immodestly they might as well be porn. Excuse me? Also, we all know that the 'immodest' part of this statement is regarding anything that is not to the knees or covering the shoulders--they are not just talking about dresses that barely cover the butt and low cut shirts that plunge all the way to the belly button... (Did you also know that the church edited a famous Carl Bloch painting in the Dec. 2011 Ensign to make it fit Mormon ideals of modesty and wingless angels? As an artist i find that incredibly inappropriate especially since the entire article was about someone's religious experience while viewing the original--immodest--painting...)
    Carl Bloch 'The Resurrection' 1873
  • BYU has a honor code that stipulates what the 'appropriate' amount of hair on a males head is. BYU once stated in their paper that 'the majority of all students agree with the code and don't find any problems with it' which of course is a total lie. I have also heard students say that we shouldn't question it because the Board made the Honor Code school policy and demanding a change would be going against church leaders who make up the board. This was put into place in the 70's, times have changed and so should only letting mustaches on campus. They were socially acceptable then but more inappropriate and creepy now. 
  • How many times do you go to church on Fast Sunday, where we can get up and talk about what we believe, and hear people over and over say that they 'love Thomas S. Monson and the latter day apostles' but not one person gets up and says 'i love jesus!'?
  • If you are a girl, how many lessons have you had about how you are a buffer for men because all they want and think about is sex? Has anyone ever said that 'hey, one day you might actually want to have sex and you will enjoy it, it isn't just a guy thing'? What? Never? Yeah, me neither.
    Bethany Davis Photography 2009
  • How many times have you been through hours of church where no one reads from the bible or mentions Jesus but instead only recites parts of talks from the latest issue of the Ensign and talks about things like chastity, modesty, or something you have no idea about and they don't either?
  • If we are a peculiar people and like to be different, why do we celebrate Christmas on the commercial Dec. 25th and not the 6th of April which we believe to be the actual birthday of Christ? (obviously i am not pushing to change that, just an observation. But i am totally open to celebrating both, Christmas twice a year sounds like a good thing...)
  • What about people being so against gay marriage, something that wouldn't even affect a straight Mormon couple? You would think that a people that once settled the west because of religious persecution--much of it surrounding the act of plural marriage that Mormons practiced and believed--would find it in their hearts to let people marry how they want. Or what about supporting civil unions for all consenting adults and leaving marriage up to religious institutions? But more importantly, where do gay people fit in to Mormonism? It is good and all to preach to love and support our family and friends that are gay, but place--if any--do they actually currently have in the church?
Bethany Davis Photography 2009
  • Most bishops will not talk to single girls about going through the temple for the first time until they are at least 25, but if i got engaged tomorrow there would be no contest to me going through in 3 months when i get married. I think the bar is very high while you are single and then drops dramatically when you are not.
  • Have you ever thought about the feminist movement and their issues? The main reasons behind the Wear Pants movement are things like: that women don't have complete say over any organization of the church even the ones 'run' by women like Young Womens or Relief Society, women do not hold any callings in regards to finances, and men are required to be present at all functions that women run or hold like Girls Camp. It is not a ploy to try and get the priesthood, it is about small and simple things that have no reason to not be equal. 
  • Or what about all those crazy facebook groups that popped up about getting coke on BYU's campus because the church finally issued an official statement about how (all types) soda is not against the word of wisdom? Did you ever stop to think, 'wow, if the word of wisdom was written now, soda would most likely be against it because it has no redeeming qualities and people definitely do get addicted' not to mention that there are studies about how coffee can be beneficial. The word of wisdom is great--and i follow it-- but it was written over a hundred years ago, food and drugs are nowhere near what they were then.

Obviously i have a lot of issues to get over and if you are a strong member of the Mormon faith do not think that this post is a public denunciation of the religion, i still am very much a part of it and will be my whole life. I just want to share that I think that it is important to address issues. Just because we as Mormons believe that our leaders have divine revelations from God, they are still men and not everything is divine that happens in the church. I will also stay a part of it because i feel that it is my duty to make others not feel alone if they do not conform culturally  We do not need to judge because someone else sees something differently, especially if it is culturally and not doctrinally. I also feel the need to stay to help encourage much needed change.

Bethany Davis Photography 2011
As we go to church this sunday lets try to remember why we are there. If you are a girl wearing a dress, don't think less of the women wearing pants--it does not mean that their faith is wavering. If you are a girl wearing pants, don't detract from the sacrament and from the real reason of church--renewing your covenants with God and uplifting spirits. Also, do not think the women wearing dresses are weak or ignorant. If you are a man, respect all women regardless of how they are dressed and use the priesthood appropriately to help bless the lives of all people.

Christ loved everyone, especially women and treated them respectfully and trusted them. He did not care if they had been prostitutes--he did not care how they dressed. He did not care if they were mothers or childless. He did not care if they supported their families or stayed at home.

He loved all.

Christ is love.

"damn girl, you be lookin' fine!"


welcome to the blog post that i should entitle: picture texts from dressing rooms/bathrooms that i send to my sisters to get approval/applause. 
(but really it is about the random boys in manhattan that think i am the cat's pajamas and say so with less correct grammer and more enthusiasm)


this one time i went to a franternity ball
My time in the big apple might be pretty rough at times, but i will give it one thing, new york convinced me that i got something going on in the strutting-my-stuff department.

We all know that my dating life leaves something everything to be desired. That is why the Me tab of my blog reads like it does (which you should read and give feedback) and why i have that other blog about dating. It wasn't until i moved to nyc that i realized what my problem has been:

white mormon boys are not into me.

You would think this might get me down--i mean it does in the sense that i still feel little hope for my dating life once i get back to utah since it is both very mormon and very not ethnic--but right now, in this instance, it makes me feel awesome.

I was recently at a mormon party in the upper west side of manhattan where a boy i had never met was chatting with me. He asked which church building i went to and when i replied that i go the Harlem one he looked at me like i'm crazy and don't know the city well.

"why would you go to that one? The lincoln center building and ward are sooo much better!"

"but no one on the lower west side tells me, 'damn girl, you are lookin fine today!' when i am walking to the lincoln building in a dress and heels."

I don't think we are on the same page.

But seriously, when i need a self esteem boost i head to Canal Street or Harlem in some heels, it has yet to disappoint. Also, it is different than the cat calls from construction workers in the west, these guys don't try to get your number (okay i take that back, the guy at Home Depot tried to get me to take him to lunch and offered to come measure my shower for a remodel...) they just want to let you know that they think you are smokin and then they, and you, move on with your day.

I know that i am not a terrible looking human being, but i also realize that you have to work at things more than a little bit to help what the good Lord gave you. We can all remember my post that contained dozens of blackmail-style photographs chronicling my life. I think we can all agree that when i realized that makeup can be a kind friend, that hair is something that should not be cut to mimic a bowl, and there is clothing out there for every body type, i started looking a whole lot better. Though i like to think that i make most of these things work to my advantage, i have still never been one of those girls that boys flock to or tell how pretty they are. But new york, bless it's soul, has done that.

okay, sometimes it is true, sometime
i don't dress cute.
luckily i usually leave it in the dressing room...
I will admit that a lot of it is in the outfit. One day when i wore a hot pink dress with teal high heels i had at least 10 guys on one stretch of Canal Street tell me that i was beautiful and even offer me discounts at their stores. But then again, yesterday a guy said 'hey beautiful' right as i passed and i was covered head to toe in bulky clothing because it was 30 degrees (okay i take that back, i was wearing a coat but it was the leopard print MadMen jacket from Banana Republic...).

The best though, was an encounter that happened right before the hurricane.

The feeling of severeness of the hurricane went from 0-10 in the matter of a couple hours. I had a friend visiting from Utah for the weekend and when we woke up we decided to go running in central park (which of course meant that he ran in the park and i ran to William Greenberg's to buy the best black and white cookies in the city...). There were quite a few people out and it seemed like a normal day. Then i got numerous texts about how the city was shutting down the subway at 7pm in anticipation of the storm. Then my friend got a message from Delta that they canceled his flight for the next day...

Suddenly we were in panic mode.

We hurried back to the apartment, showered, packed up our stuff, jumped on the train and headed to the airport to get him on any flight that would take him out of the city. After we succeeded at getting him on a flight to Atlanta--no where near SLC where he wanted to go--i started trying to figure out what i was going with myself during the storm. I had only a few hours until the subway was shutting down and could either stick out the storm at my friend's house or head out to PA to stay with my sister. I opted to stay in new york but the girl i was staying with said they wouldn't let me in the door unless i had sufficient supplies so i headed to Trader Joe's so grab some water and a little food to add to my current stash.

i bought this coat specifically for nyc
I walked in and the store was relatively dead so naturally i took the chance to use their restroom--which are hard to come by in the city. I stepped out of the bathroom only to find that 100 people had flooded the store in those 3 minutes. Being completely overwhelmed by the craziness i quickly decided that PA was my option.

Now i was left with less time and I had to go back uptown to the apartment i was staying at, collect my things, grab some dinner, and make it to Penn Station downton while trains were still running out of the city. Needless to say i was running around like a man woman, my hair in a loose wet braid, no makeup, and i wearing a stylish outfit of jeans and a raincoat. As i flew down the stairs in one of the subways a boy stopped me. I assumed he needed directions since people everywhere looked confused about the subway shutting down.

"are you Russian?"
the raincoat.
now imagine wet hair and no makeup.

Apparently he didn't need directions. When I said no he quickly asked if i was Polish. I looked rather puzzled and told him that i grew up in the west. Chuckling he said, "ah yeah, i can tell now from your accent, you are definitely American."

Then he continued, "well anyway, you have this great natural beauty (i think that was the polite way to say that i wasn't wearing makeup or fitted clothes) and well, the hurricane has made me realize that life is short. Do you want to grab coffee after the storm passes?"
and sometimes i just wear outfits/accessories that are just
plain cool. right? RIGHT?

That's right ladies and gentlemen, the only date i have been asked out in nyc happened on the subway because someone felt their impending doom because of a looming natural diaster.

Moral of this long tale: he is neither Caucasian or mormon. And in case you are wondering if he followed through on his plan, he did text me during the hurricane and then called me last night to see when we can go out.

Someone find an ethnic boy in utah stat. You have six weeks until i return.

Hurricanation

there's a storm a brewin'
(Before the storm hit i managed to get out of NYC on one of the last subways/trains. I thought it would be a better option to wait out the storm with my sister's family. This turned out to be the best idea since many of the subways did not run for a full week and the apartment I was couch surfing in took in 4 other people that lost power.)

I have never been through a hurricane before. I have been through one natural disaster in my life--a flash flood--which i was in the thick of, completely unprepared. But the difference with that terrible storm, even though all of us that were involved thought at one point or another that this might be the last day the Davis family had ten living children, is that only a small portion of people were involved. The storm passed, phone lines weren't down, no houses washed away, no one was looting, and within a few hours we were warm and dry and doing okay.
you also spend a lot of time doing this.
which takes a very long time i might add.
For us Sandy passed relatively quickly and little damage was done. Two trees fell, one knocking out part of the back fence and one doing a little cosmetic damage to the car, and the power went out for a day--but that was it. When it is over and you are unscathed, you think all is well. We couldn't watch tv and our phones couldn't make calls or use data so we had no idea what was going on outside of the community we were in. It wasn't until i would get calls from my family in the west that i heard of cars floating in parking garages of the Financial District (where that apartment i coveted and almost recently moved into is located). It wasn't until i was texted by my boss that i found out that lower Manhattan had no power and she watched water pour down her street, sure it was going to come flooding into her apartment at anytime. And it wasn't until i got back to work a week later that i heard of apartments getting looted, even the baby's clothes were gone. But when you are in an area that wasn't hit very hard, it is easy to have a good time because you have no idea that somewhere else houses are washing away and over a hundred are on fire, until of course you are back in touch with the world and hear of the people that came out so much worse than you.

you spend a lot of time doing this during power outages
what we like to call 'Hurricane-opoly'

The thing that does amaze me though, are the attitudes that i have witnessed in upper Manhattan. These people never lost power and could see the news. They knew that the subway wasn't running because of flooding, they knew that lower Manhattan was out of power. They heard stories of looters. They saw footage of houses burning in Queens. They knew that houses were washing away in the Rockaways.


I heard these people complain that they couldn't get anywhere because of the subway, that they were getting fat from eating so much because they were cooped up inside (with a working fridge and means to cook...), that they wished people staying in their house (because they had lost power/heat) would leave. And then i went to church were someone said that they knew they would be okay even though they didn't prepare at all for the hurricane because God wouldn't let anything bad happen to them.

these are our 'we are sad that the power is out' face. BUT we could still shop at target--as long as you didn't buy any perishables--and play monopoly so all was right with the world. 


Last time i checked the church adamantly preached being prepared.

Not to mention that we are all God's children, are the people that lost everything somehow less so?

I was appalled. 

This week though, that person had a chance to redeem themselves. Instead of having church for the normal 3 hours, we met for 30 minutes in our work clothes and then headed out to the Rockaways to help rip out carpet, tare out drywall, move mounds of soaked belongings, and give hope to people that lost everything. For me, i think it was really good to go. There is a difference between knowing of the destruction and seeing it first hand. 

this is Gloria's house, the one I worked in.

in my family we call these toys Dudes.
this broke my heart a little,
but seeing family photos litter the street broke my heart a lot

Mormon Helping Hands goes into areas after first responders check the stability of structures and after insurance companies calculate damages. It blew my mind that two weeks after a hurricane hit things like fallen trees and soaked carpet hadn't been removed yet, but i guess that just goes to show how bad things are. We found a women who was trying to figure out how to take care of her 90 year old mother's house. She lived down the street and moved her mom to her house during the storm, which turned out to be the best decision. Her house was not damaged in the living area but her mother's main floor and basement flooded. The main floor was a good 5 stairs up from the street and still water poured in and soaked everything. One step on the carpet and your feet were wet clear though, all this after two weeks.


All of these people are still without power and heat. Many of them also lost their cars, some just up and floated away... If you are in the New York/New Jersey area i would highly recommend finding some time to go out and help. There is no feeling like having a complete stranger let you into their home and then give you the biggest hug--like they have know you for years--when you leave a few short hours later. It makes you realize how lucky you are and how much more grateful you should be for your health and basic necessities.


2,480 shake shack burgers


By 9:44 last tuesday night i was wasted. All of my belongings were packed, or gingerly shoved into reusable shopping bags, and i was trying to lighten my moving load by eating the biggest bowl of Golden Grahams with an exorbitant amount of milk. My feet were filthy, my head was throbbing, i was unable to process anymore emotions, and soon i had to lug all my belongings 0.6 miles to the couch i would be inhabiting, on and off, for the next two weeks. Utterly exhausted and eating cereal on the nasty floor should make it clear how i feel about my current situation--it blows.

i took this on the bus a week ago, now just image the rain
as tears on my face and you get the picture.
Last monday i was doing what i seem to do most mondays, ride the bus back from philadelphia to new york (i love new york but i also love that for the first time ever i live within a few hours of my sister and her family). Have you even been that person on a bus crying hysterically to the point where there is no need to hide it because everyone knows that it is you? yeah, me neither, well until monday. 

Part way through my torturious journey, my brother called to talk to me about our taxes. We own a small business together and our last accountant wasn't the best or brightest so levi recently kicked him to the curb and hired a competent one. The only problem with this scenario is that because of things that the old accountant did and advised us to do, we needed to revise our taxes for the last three years. I knew about this and had set aside some money for our favorite holiday, October 15th--the tax extension deadline. Little did we know that my savings would be about $12,000 (just savings, i had some other cash squirreled away in clocks and the like) shy of what just i owed. After one conversation with my brother i went from having enough money to live in nyc for the next few months and buy a decent car to take home, to being completely and utterly broke. All my liquid cash is gone. My grant for my internship is gone. My savings are gone. Now, for the first time ever, i am in debt. 

Do you know what $16,000 can buy?

lets try some different categories of my favorite things:



camera equipment:
-Canon 5D Mark III  $3,199
-Canon 50mm 1.2 L Series lens $1439
-Canon 85mm 1.2 L Series lens $1999
-Canon Speedlight 600EX-RT flash $557
-Profoto Studio Lighting Kit $3280
-Manfrotto Tripod $599
-MacBook Pro with Retina Display $2799
Total: $13,872



Kate Spade:
-purse $498
-dresses $398, $478, $448, $398
-coat $698
-colored jeans (in all six colors obviously) 6x$198
And that was only $4,106, that means there is almost $12000 left for 10 more purses, 12 pairs of shoes, and one more coat. So basically a total kick ass new wardrobe (you know, if i switched out a few purses for things like pants and shirts...)


Cars:

which is a lot newer than the Ford Escape i was planning on buying
or 2,000 bottles of Essie nail polish.
or 1,067 Costco chocolate cakes
or 941 Statue of Liberty cruises
or 2,480 Shake Shack burgers
or probably almost a whole baby on the black market.

or it can pay uncle sam so that he doesn't want you anymore.

After my crying subsided on the bus i transfered to the subway to head to my apartment where my check books lay dorment. Over the next few hours i went to two FedEx locations, printed $107 worth of tax forms--you know, $0.50 seems really reasonable for a b&w print, FedEx, along with your $0.30 a minute computer fee...--ran (literally) 8 blocks to the post office, ran to the drug store for tape, skipped every other stair as I lunged back to the post office, stuffed ten envelopes, wrote six checks, sealed everything nice and tight and said good bye to (most) of my assets. You'd think my night would end there, i mean the clock was abut to toll midnight, but no, since i got kicked out of my apartment i couldn't just go home, i had to then go to my friend's house to get her spare key so that i could move onto her couch the following day. 

saying good-bye to the studio
By the time my golden graham-eating-on-the-floor evening had transpired the following day, i was exhausted, still homeless, and very angry at stupid connie who kicked me out of my sublet. Needless to say i was a bit (am still slightly) a hott mess. But hott mess or not, i still needed to get it together and move all my crap--which has seemed to grow exponentially since i thought i would be in a studio for 4 months. I now hate hangers, food bought at costco, full size sheets, you know, all the finer things in life i like when i don't have to move them around the city in the larger-than-life blue Ikea bags. 
And this is how all my belongings migrated back .6 miles to where they came from only 36 days ago. Back along the same street, past the same cathedral  next to the same homeless man--who when he heard me talking to my sister on the phone about wearing dresses to work said, "God bless you!" (he must think i have nice legs, which obviously is true)--and finally pass the gaggle of rats that inhabit 109th street. When i first did this trip moving to the subleased studio (i walked this part of manhattan 7 times going to and from with my stuff) i walked because i had nothing better to do and i didn't want to draw attention from the co-op with a taxi, this time i was just feeling too poor to hail a cab. But when you have a friend that is willing to drag two bags and you can fit: your camera bag, shoulder bag, larger-than-life ikea bag, and hat on your frame and STILL managed to drag a suitcase that is 4 feet tall with all your food strapped to the back, why not just walk?

and that brings me to the present.

i still have a reeses problem...
but i did mangage to fit all this in that green bag and strap it to my suitcase.
win.
i am currently sleeping on a very comfortable couch in my friends room because she is very kind. But because i have vistors coming to the city i also spend time in sketchy hotels in Brooklyn and a friend's studio in Harlem. But those, those times are for a different post. But i will tell you that they involve christmas hams, trains so loud you can hear them in the shower, fish heads, duvet covers finagled into window sills, oh and Ricky Martin.

**and if this post worries you, don't be. I am not homeless in the sense of being on the street, i just don't have a place to call my own, and i have a thing called a credit card (and a loan from my business) so i am fine. I might not have any spare change for the next year, or a bed to call my own or the next two months, but i think i can survive that.**






carry on carry on carry on

I had a friend that used to always say:

"life sucks and then you die"

I never really thought that was true, but i'm finding more truth in it the longer i live in manhattan...


My last blogpost was written from my office--after i had finally found my way back to my trusted SoHo in a cab--and successfully dried my sweat drenched body. At that point i thought i had braved the worst part of my day, little did I know that i would lug that stupid suitcase to a photo shoot, then haul it in the back of a cab, drag it up and down 34th street--as the MegaBus directed me to line after line, pull it along in downtown Philly and finally load it on a train. All of that was grand but exiting the train caused some fuss and loss of bodily fluid.

When i was at the train i called Jenny, 'um, something is wrong with my foot, i am pretty sure my heal is bleeding into my shoe and i have a growth on my toe...'

sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.
I was kind to my dear old foot on the train, that is until i almost missed my stop. I frantically jumped up, grabbed my suitcase and with one awkward gesture made it land directly on my toe growth. By the time Jenny picked me up i was hobbling along with my shoe was full of puss.

I went to Philly for a number of reasons:
      get out of NYC for some TLC
      unload extra crap from my apartment since stupid connie isn't letting me stay
      do laundry
      chew on the babies (or snuggle my nieces and nephew)
      babysit nora so jenny could run the Ragnar
      cheer on sarah and jenny on said Ragnar

      oh and photograph jenny and sarah....

yeah, if you couldn't tell, i forgot that one.

I not only lugged a 50lb suitcase to Philly (with only 1/2 of one wheel...) but I also had my camera bag that weighs about a bajillion pounds.

Oh the way to the Ragnar, after getting all three kids, a weeks worth of food, and my camera bag in the car, Mike asked, 'did you grab your camera off the piano?' Well crap, i have a bag full of extra batteries, lens, film, cards and no camera. FAIL.

i took this. i pushed the shutter and THIS came out.
FAIL.
Turns out i am really bad at using a point and shoot camera. All the photos that i took on a borrowed camera were terrible. Like real bad. So this is why everyone has ditched small cameras for the iPhone...

Rough Rough Rough.

Monday i came back to the city, but the weekend had more in store for me. Somewhere amid my countless hours on public transportation, train to bus to subway, i caught the flu. Did i mention that i have a friend who has been staying with me and sharing my bed? Yeah, not so great when you have the flu and sleep for 14 hours straight...

luggage losing wheels, people losing housing, shoes full of puss, only 3.583 friends in the city, and an unpaid internship--new york apparently never got the memo that i love it and it should treat me kindly.


this is what a race looks like when i remember my camera...
On the plus side, i am finally going to see Sleep Walk With Me this weekend and hopefully find that Awesome Brownie that i found my first saturday here. Oh and i found out i get $30 a week from my internship. That makes me like thiiiiiiiis happy, that's like 5 Shake Shack burgers a week! (or a week metro card--which is what i think i am supposed to use it for...)

On days like this, you just got to throw on Fun. and listen to Carry On:

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Carry on, carry on


Breaking Amish
(this is totally the theme song for that new TLC show about a group of Amish teens that leave the faith and move to Manhattan, if they can do it, I can too, right? Right?! I mean, television never lies or anything, right? RIGHT?!)


oh did i mention that i am still haven't found a place to live for the next two weeks? The only two weeks that i have people flying out to visit me...

I might love nyc this weekend, but right now--at this very moment--i kinda loathe it.

if you would like to send me a package, i would not deny it. Especially if it was this camera to keep in my purse at all times so i never have another epic photography fail. This is a point and shoot i can trust!