No delete Thursday

Things have been so anxiety-angsty lately and it has got to stop. Thus, no-delete-Thursday.

I realized something when I was thinking about the ol' blog. Gerd. I hate that I just called it the ol' blog. What is the matter with me? That is horrible. And yet, my dedication to my craft remains unwavering.

Anyway, I was thinking "maybe I can just post a bunch of happy pictures on here for a while." And then I was like, "no, you make fun of people who do that, because it is super narcissistic, (especially when it is ten photos of the same outfit or the same meal,)" but then I realized there is nothing more narcissistic than assuming people want to read your unfreakingedited thoughts. Why did I italicize unfreakingedited? I don't know. That's another thing I make fun of people for:

We got with our friends and we went to the Zoo! And it was super super fun.

And somewhere, TAMN rolls around in her grave in her coffin from Nordstrom. Rest in peace (or is it piece?) TAMN.

Anyway. Assuming you want to read thoughts that I don't even bother organizing is terribly narcissistic, so I might as well throw in a photo and just go balls to the walls with things. 

That's a picture of Clara. Tell me she is not the most beautiful baby you've ever seen on my blog. (That was my nice way of saying I'm sure your baby is beautiful too.) Clara was seven months there, I think. 

She's almost 10 months now. Here she is on some cold hard tile, because I am an awesome and attentive parent. She looks happy though, right? And she's playing with a book and not a pile of crack cocaine, so parenting for the win.

I'm kind of running out of steam for my no-delete-Thursday. I'll be honest, I'm burnt all out of fun rage. I've still got some angst rage hanging around, but Lord know none of you want more of that. Soooooooooooooo, I think you might just to be happy with cute baby pictures until I figure this ish out.

the end.


Religiosity and Relationships

Good Morning internet!

My friend Ryan is looking for help on his dissertation project studying the relationship between religiosity and attitudes about relationships and  gender roles. (So something that does not interest me even at all, right? Kidding. This fascinates me.)He is looking for LDS or formerly LDS people to complete a short survey. 

Since Mormons are the most helpful and organized people I know, (I'm saying that without even a degree of snark,) I thought I would post some information about his survey and project here, and include a link to the survey.

Let's help Ryan get that dissertation done, and then convince him and his wonderful wife Lisset to stay in Utah forever and ever amen.

Click HERE to go take his survey!

Here is Ryan's description of his project taken from his Facebook page:


My name is Ryan Stevenson and I am inviting you to assist me in my dissertation research project. If you are over the age of 18 and have ever been a member of the LDS church, you fit the requirements. Please click "About" to find link and more info.
I am a fourth year doctoral student in the University of Utah Counseling Psychology doctoral program.

This project has been approved by the U of U IRB. My study is aimed at understanding the impact of religious activity and attitudes and how one views relationships between men and women and aspects of gender roles.

As a participant, you will be asked to answer a number of questions about yourdemographics, and some questions from pre-established measures about your attitudes and beliefs regarding religion and relationships between men and women, and gender roles. No identifying information will be gathered, and all of the information obtained in this study will be confidential and anonymous.

If you are interested in helping me by completing this survey, please click on the link below. This will require about 10-15 minutes of your time. To encourage your participation and involvement in this study you are able to enter into a random drawing to receive a $10 gift card to a retail store of your choice (i.e., REI, GAP, Amazon, iTunes, etc.) to compensate for your time.

Please share this page on facebook or email the survey link and information to anyone who also meets the research study requirements (18 and has been LDS at some time) in any state or country. Thank you very much for your time and assistance with this project. 

You can also click HERE to learn more about his project on the book of faces....

Also, I should probably say somewhere that I was not compensated in any way for talking about Ryan's project. :)



As a young(er) adult, a series of events convinced me that I was not very good. I don't really feel the need to explain why or how this happened, but the end result was a constant feeling that I needed to work harder at being good.

Looking back, I want to shake that incarnation of myself, because guys, I was so good. I earned good grades, I worked hard and dutifully at my part-time job. I tried to be nice and kind to my loved ones. I visited my elderly great-grandpa of my own volition and I spent Spring Breaks on service trips to inner cities. Beyond that, my heart was good. I was earnest and trusting and passionate. I was flawed, certainly, but I was good. 

But my heart didn't believe it, so year after year, I worked harder and harder to achieve goodness.

But when an already good person wants to be good, sometimes the next step is to forget good and aim for perfect.

I subconsciously set up a rubric for goodness and perfection. Perfect people were busy. Perfect teachers came to class every day with amazing lesson plans, and quick response times for entering grades. They were never tired and let their students watch a YouTube documentary when they were too exhausted to teach. Perfect people were good Mormons with clean houses, callings for serving the church, and perma-happy families. Perfect people were good.

Most importantly, however, perfect people were liked. They didn't get in disagreements with people. They didn't cause problems, and if conflict arose, a perfect person knew how to conduct herself so that in the end, everyone was happy because good people make other people happy.

 Everyone would be happy as long as I was good.

Fortunately, at some point, I met someone kind and genuinely good (although not perfect,) who taught me to let go of my very rigid standards of perfection. Who already knew I was good even when I didn't. I made a very good decision when I married him.

I felt my soul starting to relax into something happy. Not perfect, but happy. I embraced my inner type B personality instead of punishing myself for not being Type A. I remembered lines from my favorite Mary Oliver poem (I wrote about this poem in 2009 HERE,) and told myself daily that "You do not have to be good."

Recently, however, I've found myself in unfamiliar situations, and my uncertainty led me back to old habits. I once again felt like I wasn't good. 

I had a baby and didn't know my own body anymore. So I watched the scale, hoping someday that the numbers would tell me I was good.

Discouraged by my attempts to balance work and life, I relied on teaching evaluations to tell me I was good.Bar graphs and measurements of "effective teaching" don't lie, right? Likewise, check marks at doctor's appointments for healthy babies don't lie. Good people have healthy babies. 

I surrounded myself with good people, and told myself good people hang out with other good people, so I must be good. I must be good.  

But good people don't get messages from people wanting to shoot them in the face for expressing their beliefs.

Good people don't get hate mail, period.

Good people don't make mistakes in expressing their beliefs. Because if their beliefs really were good, they would know how to handle everything and everyone....wait for it...perfectly. 

The more I tried to be perfect, the more anxiety I felt. I made mistakes and used them as evidence to prove that I didn't deserve to be involved in things I cared about because I could not do it perfectly. Some people were upset at how I handled situations, therefore I must have done something horribly wrong. I must be a bad person. 

A while ago, I let myself take a pretty horrific verbal beating from someone online. I felt discouraged and upset, and convinced that I deserved it because good people don't have people get angry at them.

I read each line and in my head I imagined a t-ball stand. I don't know why I imagined anything having to do with sports because lord knows I am not a gifted athlete (perfect people are probably good at sports.) 

But I imagined a t-ball stand and every time this person said something new on how badly I screwed up, I imagined them swinging the bat and hitting the ball into space. And every time I would bring them a new ball, and let them hit it again. Somehow that ball was me (here's where my metaphor gets confusing, but stay with me,) that ball was me and I was getting the shit knocked out of me. But good people know exactly how to defend themselves, so I kept putting the ball back on the t-ball stand.

Until I realized something: Good people don't do that to other people.

Afterward, I let myself remember what it felt like to be happy. I remembered Mary Oliver, and that I don't have to be good, I just "have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

I remembered my favorite line from John Steinbeck's East of Eden, "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."

More importantly, now that I don't have to be perfect, I can be happy.

A few weeks ago, my students wrote a district evaluation essay  in which they analyzed "My Symphony," a poem by William Ellery Channing. I've had that poem in my head ever since, encouraging me  "To study hard, think quietly, talk gently/act frankly, to listen to the stars, birds, babes,/ and sages with an open heart, to bear all cheerfully,/do all bravely..."

Channing never tells me I need to be good, or that I need to be perfect.

But learning to listen with an open heart, bearing all cheerfully and doing bravely? That sounds so much better. That reminds me of a person I was, and a person I can be again.

And that sounds really, really, good.