Moving On

My baby blessing outfit. If I have a daughter I still want to do something like a blessing so she can wear this. 

My baby blessing outfit. If I have a daughter I still want to do something like a blessing so she can wear this. 

I have debated writing about my relationship with religion because it is confusing and most of the people I know feel strongly about Mormonism and get sad when someone doesn't want to be apart of it. But, Mormonism is how I was raised, my culture, a constant topic in my family, where I met most of my friends, intertwined with my education at BYU, and will always be a huge part of who I am--so it seems like a topic I have to address. I also have felt very adamant that I talk about my views on how people on opposite sides of Mormonism can better respect each other.

Almost exactly a year ago I walked into church, like every other week of my entire life, but left in a much different manner. Up until this point I had literally never skipped church without a justifiable reason (traveling, sick etc). I had always been on the more liberal side of how I viewed and followed church policy/guidelines/cultural norms but I had always stuck it out and because I am freakishly dependable and was almost always in charge of something in my ward. I also had this view that I could help others that didn't fit the mold, that I could be the breath of fresh air. I think deep down I knew I didn't want this to be my life forever but I am not the type to quit something and I literally did not know how that transition happens. So it took a major wakeup call to force me to walk away. I walked into church like every other Sunday but ran out hyperventilating; I was having my first and only panic/anxiety attack.

Since I had never experienced something like this before I of course googled it. It mentioned how things will flash thru your mind from the past and all compound on top of each other, it leaves you gasping for air, ugly crying, and contemplating your sanity (at least that is what I experienced). So what triggered me? A very nice woman giving a talk about how much she had been blessed and everything in her life had worked out because God answered all her prayers. Sounds like a great talk, right? And it was, except for when things from my past started flying through my mind. Things from my childhood, guys I have dated, unanswered prayers and the most recent issue of my last boyfriend telling me that God had told him to break up with me while all I had ever prayed for was for a decent guy, like him, to be with me.

BYU.jpg

I know all the things active members are thinking at this point. You shouldn't let trials destroy your faith and things are not always rosy so grow up. Here's the thing, I also realized around the same point that I don't have faith in this plan. I realized that one of the reasons I didn't really want to get married all these years is because I knew in Mormonism that meant praying with my spouse and I HATE praying with other people and of course the temple--the temple freaks me out. I realized I had a fear of having children because I didn't want to teach them about church. I realized that there are some policies that will never work with my views on a loving God. I realized that I had been pushing things I should want away because I didn't want to do them in Mormonism. And I realized the most important thing; I know absolutely nothing to be true.

Church was always something my family did but didn't really talk about. We weren't the best at Family Home Evening, I can't think of ever doing a family temple trip, we sometimes did family prayer, and we rarely discussed church topics in a frank way. It was expected but not really explained. But somehow this worked, it at least worked in the sense that for the most part we all went as kids without complaining much, we ALL went to BYU (though some of us should not have, ask BYU housing which they wished hadn't attended hahahaha) and the majority of my family married in the temple, are super active and are doing fantastic jobs teaching their kids in open ways about Mormonism. Though you can look at my life and see COMPLETE activity in every way, I never understood everything. If you listened to my talks and lessons in church they were always on being kind and never really focused on gospel principles...

1923290_519795992679_9543_n.jpg

It took me until my late twenties to realize that I am not a spiritual person. I don't feel things in church or when I pray or when other people are. The only time I feel something is when music is involved and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the pioneer hymns of Mormonism. When you are not a spiritual person and frankly most religious things make you incredibly uncomfortable, it is virtually impossible to try and gain faith in things you feel nothing for and are super confused by. I deal primarily in logic and not feelings; religion is not logical. When I told my bishop that I was not a spiritual person he tried to assure me that isn't true and of course I am; I do not see this as a fault but just how I was made. 

I don't want to turn this post into things I don't agree with in the church. Everyone has heard them over and over and it is not my intention to try and sway people to "my side." I will say, though my main reason for not attending church is because I don't feel anything when I am there (other than stress) and don't have faith in it, there are major policy, culture, and history fallacies that I cannot support. But that being said, every active member has things they don't agree with or understand and the difference is that they see value in the whole.

1927678_520140382519_3323_n.jpg

Here is what I do know about Mormonism, it has produced some pretty amazing people. I look at my family and friends and see smart people, I don't think they are "dooped" or or being forced. I see them standing up for their beliefs even when its hard and unpopular. I see their kindness and happy dispositions. I think Mormonism gets somethings right and if I was going to be raised in some "crazy"--non mainstream--religion, I think I would still pick this one. (and if anyone knows how I can have a one on one chat with Elder Utchdorf, let me know! He will always be my favorite apostle; I have appreciated so many of conference talks--he always makes me feel like I am not crazy)

I spent most of my collage years sending missionaries off, writing them letters and welcoming them home.

I spent most of my collage years sending missionaries off, writing them letters and welcoming them home.

And here is what I know about being on both sides of the fence: we need to talk more, judge less and love unconditionally on BOTH sides. Active members tend to not mention when people leave, I think because they don't want to make the individual feel like they are prying and they don't want to make things awkward. But we WANT to be asked! We want to be acknowledged and have frank discussions. And on the flip side, people who leave need to be able to speak about it calmly and without calling it a sham and the believers mindless cult members (think of it as a different religion, if you wouldn't say it about Judaism to a Jew then don't say it about Mormonism to a Mormon. Sometimes people feel like they get to say whatever they want because they were on the inside and "know." Don't do that, it makes you look like a heartless ass who can't let things go and move on). We both need to stay a part of each others lives. Active members need to invite exs to things. Are you giving a talk? Are you blessing a baby? Having a baptism? Putting on the Christmas program? Great! Let us know! And exs need to go to these things! Treat them like a family get together and not a religious event. Go because it is your family (or friends) and you love them and want to support them. Go because you should. And both parties need to treat these encounters like the family events they are not as a missionary opportunity. Don't invite them to try and bring them back, let the exs feel at ease. And lastly, don't judge each other. See the people for who they really are and not what you assume. If they go to church don't assume they aren't thinking for themselves or that they are always looking at you sideways. And if they don't go don't assume it is because they have a drinking problem or want to have sex (and if it is, who cares!) Strip away the labels and see the people for who they are and have always been. 

380488_3610935148636_983693340_n.jpg

And if you go to church, please don't tell me how sad you are for me. If you TRULY believe in agency then you have to let people go. You can't invite someone to read the Book of Mormon and to "pray about it to see if it is true" and reject their truth if it is no. If the church really is true, I am sure this will all be worked out in the after life. The plan I was always taught doesn't make much sense if everyone would feel the same about everything and join the church. Sure we want people to join but we have always known that there are two answers people can get when they ask. Also, I was always been taught that the lowest kingdom is more amazing than earth, so if that is true don't be sad for me, also you can come visit all you want! See? God is kind and thought about those like me!

I worked for the church multiple General Conferences. I wish that the church could see the value in photographing what is REALLY present at conference. They want the typical, BYU dress/grooming standard, people but the real beauty is in the tattooed/bearded/scantily clad people that look truly happy to be there.

I worked for the church multiple General Conferences. I wish that the church could see the value in photographing what is REALLY present at conference. They want the typical, BYU dress/grooming standard, people but the real beauty is in the tattooed/bearded/scantily clad people that look truly happy to be there.

And where does this leave me? 

That is the age old question. I have no idea. I just hit the year mark of living in Salt Lake City and have made half of one friend (we are only friends at work so once I convince him to hangout off the property then he can be promoted to one whole friend). I have been thinking about my lack of a social life a lot lately and I think it is because I don't know where Mormonism left me. I used to make friends at church and school and without either I am hopeless. I am not like everyone else outside of Mormonism (or so I perceive) so I am having a hard time even figuring out how to begin to make friends "on the outside." I have never tried alcohol. I am a virgin with zero dating game. A risqué outfit to me is a sleeveless knee length dress. And I have no idea what my beliefs are in God let alone everything in the universe. I don't feel like I fit in anywhere and it is confusing and hard, but a year without any social responsibility (or church callings!) has also been healing. I have lost a significant amount of weight, I enjoy my work, I do things because I want to, and I am overall the happiest I have been in a long time. But now I have the hardest assignment to do: figure out why I do and don't do things. Do I ever want to drink? What are my boundaries in dating? What are the driving forces behind my decisions and character? Where do I donate my money? (and on a side note, I should have already figured this out because tithing is not really a charitable donation...) And there is still this overwhelming fear of letting my friends and family down if I do change some of my behaviors. 

My brother called me a couple months ago and mentioned something about me not attending church. He said something about how he just wanted me to be happy. I replied with, "I am happier this year than I have been in a very long time." And doing what he should, he said he was happy for me and didn't try to push me into coming back.

I like to think there is a God and his gift to me was a panic attack. He knew I was sad and lonely and that I would never be able to walk away from Mormonism without a push.

Also, it turns out that I actually do want to get married and maybe have kids one day. Now I just have to find someone who preferably used to be Mormon, but isn't bitter, and a decent guy and handsome and smart and can hold a conversation and is okay with my huge family and has a job... not a hard task at all...

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.)

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


i may have a lot of talents, but dating isn't one of them

on my rooftop reading.
only took me 4 years to finish that book...
Lately i have been in an unpleasant funk. A couple months ago i got dumped, which of course sucked, and after i spent a couple weeks being a hot weepy mess i had to spend all my time of my BFA show. After my show went down, suddenly everything that i didn't have time to deal with came back.

I made a rule for myself sometime ago that i would never be allowed to dwell on an old boyfriend for longer than we dated. This means that this week is the last week i get to spend feeling sorry for myself over my last failed relationship. Over the last few months i have had my run ins with my ex. The run ins wouldn't be so bad if i didn't have this awful talent of saying things that i shouldn't that make conversations awkward or sending way too long of emails that probably make me look like a crazy person. But then again awkward conversation is bound to transpire when you are at a party checking a text when you suddenly get bombarded with the most intensely happy hug from your ex. So did not see that one coming last night... you can imagine how sellar my conversation was after that...

I also have this other issue, a lot of times i feel pretty friendless. I partly doomed my social life be choosing to live alone, but still, my apartment has never been so lifeless as it is right now. I think this partly has to do with the fact that i hate the ward i am in for church. I can go to church for three hours and only talk to 5 people and have someone sit by me for only one of the three meetings. lame. However, i do realize that this is partly my fault. I am not very good at meeting new people.

Anyway, there is a point to this rant. It is at times like this, when God gives me little reminders that i am kinda cool and all is not lost. Kind of like how he made it sunny last week because I am pretty sure i was experiencing the winter blues more than being lonely.

Life is gold because i was reminded that:


~Reading on your dilapidated rooftop is very nice, even if you have to crawl out a window-over your handmade Longaberger pillows-to get there.
~It is impossible to not dance when listening to Arcade Fire's 'Haiti' on vinyl (i just have to watch for the sweet spots in my floor that make the record skip...)
~It is possible to make Peanut Butter Balls in other shapes besides spheres, like dinosaurs for instance.
~It is impossible to make a recipe from Martha Stewart that does not taste awesome.
~Even pies that look like animals drowning in a tar pit are delicious.
~Losing five pounds means that all of your pants fit so now you have 10 pairs instead of 1.
~Spring cleaning can be rewarding when you de-clutter, exchanging crap for your computer for a creative vase of photo props.
~When dating seems impossible you can reread your BFA sign in book where someone wrote 'I want to open mouth kiss you'-there is always someone out there...
~When you have a black and white checkered floor you only have to Magic Erase the white squares.
~You can fix an old Polaroid with a hypodermic needle and some watered down glue (i secretly love sticking things with needles).



this makes me look like i know how to bake pies
unlike the ariel view above...
and this was my first pie.
ever.
and last but not least:

~Though i might think that i am doomed when it comes to dating, I am not completely inept.

On my last date i was not the one wearing a 'Chuck Noris is a Cougar Fan' shirt tucked into my jeans. Or the one that said that i forgot my book of questions to ask someone when you first meet them, oh or the picture book that would explain who i am. Or the one that mashed my first and middle name together so that it would be unique (or sound like you were raised in Utah). Or the one that thought that going Fast Food Shopping is a good idea for dinner.

yup, i now feel a little better.

and for my final rant about my last relationship: he is a photographer that never photographed us/me. He is a musician who never asked me sing with him. He is a connoisseur of fancy foods who never made a fancy dinner for/with me. He is a blogger/writer who never said/wrote a word for or about me or read my blog. He is an outdoorsy man who never went camping or any kind of road trip with me. And last but not least, there is absolutely nothing in my apartment from him-no cards, no flowers, no objects of any sort-nothing.


oh wait, i take that back, there is some cheese in my fridge that he gave me as a peace offering when he dumped me. weird.

yet somehow, the most baffling thing about all this is that somehow i can call him and ass and in the same breath say that i still love him-someone explain that one to me. Or get him to explain to me what the real reasons were for our breakup (i would ask him but like i said, i make things awkward and have already maxed out the allotted email characters for an ex that doesn't want to be an ex...). I bet it has to do with me being older 20 and having this bad habit of falling asleep early while he would do homework at my house, I don't think i was spontaneous enough for him.

and with that, the year of super crappy relationships is over. This year i will not fall for the antics of boys that don't really want to date but just want my food or car (and seriously, why did some of them want me to drive, Tryone is on his last leg...). Even if i only get more unusual dates full of Chuck Norris shirts and crappy hamburgers, at least they won't leave me crying and feeling insecure.

or better yet, i'll forget boys and just focus on the GMAT...


(and here are some more photos of my book, just because it makes me happy)



dating daterton




Dating.

I feel like I am always surrounded by that word. Dating. It is mentioned in church weekly, my professors try to set up their students, random people want to know why I’m single, it is everywhere.

The problem with dating, I don’t understand it in the slightest.

One of my professors said that dating is the definition of insanity; you keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome.

Insanity. He nailed it.

I think that a lot of discussion on dating has been spurred do to a talk given by President Thomas S. Monson (President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) a few months ago. The talk was directed at young men in the church, and this was the main gist of it:

A post on mormon dating should probably
contain some more dating signage.
yeah baby.
“Now, I have thought a lot lately about you young men who are of an age to marry but who have not yet felt to do so. I see lovely young ladies who desire to be married and to raise families, and yet their opportunities are limited because so many young men are postponing marriage.

Perhaps you are having a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with your friends. I’ve encountered groups of you running around together, and I admit that I’ve wondered why you aren’t out with the young ladies.”

I wonder also, why aren’t you (the boys) out with the amazing young ladies like myself?

I feel like most girls blame the boys for our dating woes, but lets be honest, if dates aren’t happening some of it has to be the girls fault. I mean if we were doing everything right the boys wouldn’t be able to contain themselves and would actually ask girls out. And in return, if boys were doing everything right, girls wouldn’t be complaining about the dumb thing the last guy that took them out did or how they aren’t getting asked out at all.

In this lies the secret to the dating dilemma, once we know what each sex is sucking at, hopefully we can find a solution.

The problem: what exactly are girls and guys doing wrong?

Let’s start with the ladies.

My dear friend Richard recently wrote a column for the Utah Statesman entitled: To The Single Ladies of Logan, in which he outlined what he viewed as our faults and follies (needless to say he has gotten more hate mail than all the other regular writers combined). His main points included prioritizing, honesty, communication, maintenance, and perfection. Basically, his encounters with the opposite sex have taught him that women don’t know how to show a guy they are truly interested (or disinterested), that honesty is lacking, they expect the guy to be able to read minds, and they take too much time applying gaudy makeup or the exact opposite and are sloppy. Though his column was harsh and the word witch was used incessantly, I found myself laughing and picturing different girls that I know for each unfortunate description. 

And with that here is my own list of problems that girls have, myself included:

Honesty: telling a guy why you don’t want to date him is a courtesy not a backhanded thing to do
Communication: guys will never understand girls, make your communication more direct and easily decipherable. I hear that guys realize you like them if you touch them while you talk to them (don’t take my word for it, I haven’t dated anyone in a year)
Appearance: don’t pretend that guys are being shallow by asking the good looking girls out, don’t dress sloppy and put a few minutes thought into your dress/hair/makeup
Openness: don’t always be so busy that guys can’t ever get to know you or take you out. Even if you are busy don’t let them know that. Staying up all night to finish a project that a boy didn’t know about so you could go out with him aint so bad every once and a while.
Humor: everyone does stupid things, be able to laugh at yourself and awkward situations on dates, chance is the date realizes it is just as awkward as you do
Bitterness: no guy wants to ask out a bitter girl. No girls want to be your friend either for that matter.

Now onto the male species:

Communication: you are champions at leading girls on. If you like a girl, spend time with her, if you don’t, don’t ask her to do things with or for you. (that includes meals, those of you freeloading)
Judging: I would say that most guys are quick to judge girls based solely on their appearance. Give a girl more than a once over before you ask her out, it could save you from a terribly boring night where you end up just making out because she can’t hold a conversation and it gives girls a chance that aren’t the drop dead gorgeous stereotype. 95% of men are dating 5% of the women or something like that…
Acceptance: If a girl is hinting that they like you, accept it and act appropriately. If a girl is saying no, accept it and move on.
Finance: don’t plan expensive dates, it makes you not want to date and breaks the bank.
Commitment: only hardcore pursue a girl if you are genuinely interested. Cut the noncommittal crap.

The other hard to handle and awkward new phenomenon now invading dating is social media. Let’s be honest, first dates are no longer ‘get to know you’ dates. We all know that once we have the remotest romantic interest in a person we facebook, blog and anything else on the internet stalk them. We also almost always start texting the interested party before a date ever transpires. Now not only do I have to look good for a date in real life, I am supposed to be witty at a moments notice when they get the hankering to send me a text. 

I am screwed.

And after writing all this I realize that it didn’t solve anything.

Dating is still a mystery and we all, unfortunately, are it's slave until we have that marriage license tacked up on our living room wall.

Best of luck to all the single ladies and gents.