Recently, I've been working on preserving my emotional energy for things I really care about. I just don't have the mental "time" anymore to get worked up about stuff the way I used to.

I'm probably getting old. Or less masochistic. Let's pick the one that makes me sound more normal.

 Part of this process has been being more selective about the stuff I read, and the conversations I have, especially online. I realized there is just a bunch of stuff I can't talk/read about anymore. Except for right now, when I'm talking about telling you what I can't talk about.

So without further ado, here's some stuff I just don't read anymore. Disclaimer: All of the things listed here are super important and conversations that need to be had, yada yada yada. By other people. For other people. And maybe even for my future self. Just not my present self. Don't get up in my face because I can't talk about the thing you love anymore, okay? Thanks.

1. Birth stories, articles arguing against epidurals/pro-epidurals, water-births, home births, alien births, FRACKING BIRTH. I just don't even care anymore. Is your baby here? Is he/she/it healthy? Cool. Hurray for you!

I get that empowering women to control their birth experience and their bodies is really important, and on a large scale way, I advocate for that. I'll vote for people who support a woman's right to determine her reproductive health, I'll support any law/petition/whatever that protects my uterus, I just can't read about it all the time anymore. 

I especially can't read anymore of the emotionally charged stuff, the editorials written by doctors condemning midwives as morons, and the sanctimonious writings of home-birthers about how their birth experience is so much more meaningful and special and sacred because they climbed the mountain of birth and you had a c-section. (Does that mean I rode the chair-lift of birth? I don't know. This is why I can't read this bullshit anymore.)

2. Mormon Thought blogs. How much trouble am I going to be for saying this? Oh well. I just can't anymore. Especially post-"pants." I know this sounds hypocritical, because for a long time this was (sort of) a Mormon Thought blog. But I just can't go through the angst of it all anymore. The hyper-patriarchal and institutional temple ceremonies. The inequitable funding between Young Men and Young Women programs. Homophobia.  Shitty shitty stuff everywhere that I just can't talk about anymore.

I realized I could spend the rest of my life being really upset about all this, or I could just remove myself from the situation and build a spiritual life that I found personally fulfilling.

Is this an option for everyone? Probably not. Do I think Mormon Thought blogs are really important and valuable in helping people navigate a faith they love and question? Absolutely. But I need a break.

Naturally, I reserve the right to change my mind, because this is my life and I get to make all the choices. But for now, every time a formerly beloved MTB (Mormon Thought Blog) pops up in my reader, I scroll down to the sewing blog with projects I will probably never do, and recipes I will never make.

I don't think this is what the Mormon God intended when he gave us agency. Oh well.

2b. Mormon Thought Facebook Forums/Private Messages.

Everyday there was an emergency. Lots of drama. Lots of social capital being exchanged and sometimes I had enough, and sometimes I came up short. I never knew where I stood in the conversations, and experience taught me that anything I said would be used against me later.

I also don't have the desire to spend 24/7 online just to be the Gretchen Weiners of Mormon Feminism/Activism. (Meaning people liked me when I said/did what they wanted, but not when I proved myself to be a human person capable of error/did what I wanted.)

Obviously, I have lots of personal ties there, and friends, and meaningful relationships. I go to lunch with those people, or talk to them personally. The rest of them can, (and I say this frankly: suck it.)

3. Ethan Frome. My school teaches this book to the Seniors, so I have to pretend to like it/read it in an attempt to support my coworkers. But no longer! I hate this book and everyone in it. It crosses the line from being sad for the sake of realism into a bizarrely mawkish depressing clusterfluck of "I want to kill myself every time I read this novel."

Look, I get it, books aren't required to have happy-endings. I helped create a Sophomore curriculum in which every book featured the death of a sympathetic character. (Tom Robinson! Caesar! Gatsby! Lenny!) But for me, good literature can be sad and beautiful and meaningful and bad literature can be sad and sad and dumb. I hate you, Ethan Frome, and I am tired of hiding it from the world.

(Incidentally, Ethan Frome is one of the major reasons I refuse to teach 12th grade Language Arts. I prefer to stick with Humanities where, according to one student, we "just look at naked statues all day.")

So, there you have it, stuff I won't read anymore, or talk about. Here is a judging space if you require it:


Are you taking a break from anything? Stuff you just won't read/talk about anymore? Let's hear it in the comments.


Nickel said...

I am taking a break from the fMh Facebook group for a while. So much drama. I can't get worked up about every issue all of the time. Its draining.

smalldog said...

Bravo for hating Ethan Frome - I absolutely loathed that book too!

I've stepped away from mindless social media, and it's shocked me how much free time I've got now. I've also stepped away from lots of church events and activity. I don't *think* it's permanent right now, but the rest I've already gotten from it is amazing.

R* said...

I have no need for the "judging space" you kindly left above. I'm right there with you. I have taken a break from nearly all blood-pressure-breaking social media by unsubscribing from nearly every "lifestyle" blog in my RSS feed (honestly, I'm surprised that I left you on there - probably because you gave yourself a break and eased up in recent weeks), deleting literally every friend on facebook and updating my public profile with a "nothin' to see here, folks" message, and updating my church membership record to include a bogus phone number and junk email address. I have been annoyed by personal, corporate and church-sponsored "digital strategies" for awhile, but reached my personal breaking point the day after elections.

Made for peaceful holidays and an even more peaceful January.

Anyway, I can definitely relate to what you're saying in this post, and what "Nickel" said in that comment. Do your thing :)

Ashley said...

I am with you on 2 and 2b. It's not that those groups have not helped me in the past--they really have! But Facebook, and in particular the fast-paced Mormon groups--were sucking more time than I was really aware. I realized that I know none of those people personally, but what was I doing for 30 minutes at a time? Sitting in a chair, reading about other people's dramas. I decided to turn off the extra noise, compile only the blogs I like the best into Google Reader, and spend MUCH less time on the computer. It's been good for my mental health, my spirit, my family, and the state of my house!

schnitzelbank said...

I've cut my FB friends from 500 to 10. I've circled my wagons emotionally and literally, blocking those that are trying to hurt me. I'm happy to have taken FB's app off my phone, and now I just sorta look in once a week, rather than several times a day. I'm trying to make a more real, meaningful life for myself. No more bullshit!

The Cotton Floozy said...

I am taking a break from 'mustache' humor.

I am unsubscribing from mason jars used for adorable decorations at parties and for drinking root beer at hipster restaurants. Mason jars are only to be used as cups if you are drinking moonshine.

I am taking a break from dusting. Not that I have ever dusted my house. But still.

Lastly, I am done being the bitch of randomly released Disney cartoon movies. Eff you, Disney Vault! EFF YOU.

Andrea Staats said...

I'm taking a break from Mormon everything. No more forums, no more podcasts, no more blogs. It's not my fight anymore.

I'm A. said...

I wish I could take a break from hashtags. But they are up in my face everywhere I go and I can't avoid them. I FREAKING HATE HASHTAGS. Not normal hashtags like #utahsunset but hashtags that people use to try and be funny. Hashtags aren't funny. Not at all. Putting six hasthags after each of your photos in instagram does not make you witty. Holy crap. I need a drink.

Julie said...

Ethan Frome is book club book this month. You are making me doubt my desire to read it. Cliff notes, anyone?

Along with the MTB's, most which I also can't handle... I also can NOT (and I mean, really, truly, 100% can NOT, will-throw-a-tantrum-and-pout-in-the-corner-of-my-mind-usually-reserved-for-breakups-and-deaths if forced to) handle politics right now.

On EITHER side of ANY argument. Conservative OR liberal.

It doesn't matter. I want none of it.

Even talking about how I hate talking about it right now, is starting to irritate me. So I shall stop.

That is all ( :

Xan said...

I'm taking a break from discussing Beyonce's performance at the Super Bowl. I can't stand to read one more thing that calls it "oversexualized" and states that she was "prancing around in clothes designed for the beach." It was beautiful, it was powerful, and it was confident. It puts too much pressure on my tender spot where women aren't allowed to define themselves, but must be defined by society rules or men. Which is also something I'm taking a break from. It hurts too much to talk about.

Also...talking about a lot of my church issues. I can't talk about them without collapsing in on myself. So I'm done.

I like the idea of circling the wagons emotionally and literally. I think it's time to do that myself.

Lena said...

I can't say I've really made the decision yet, but I do want to take a break from wasting time. Be it in front of the tv (or computer, rather, cause all I do is watch Netflix on my laptop), the internet with all its wonderful time wasting options, or worrying about things I can't control or possibly benefit from. I am ready to make more of my life. I want to feel accomplished at the end of the day. Maybe this will be a good starting point for my anti-time-wasting movement. Thanks.

BeccaVT said...

I do require the judging space, because Ethan Frome is beautiful and wonderful. *Sniff.* said...

My favorite line in Grosse Pointe Blank is when the John Cusack character sees his former English teacher and asks if she is still inflicting that "Ethan Frome damage" on her students. I hated Ethan Frome more than any other book I ever read for school purposes. HATED.
I'm taking a break from all the people on facebook that keep talking and talking about these 'essential oils' that miraculously cure anything from kidney stones to harelips. I don't want to buy a bunch of smelly stuff to get healthy, I just want to go to a freaking doctor and get an old fashioned prescription. Is that so wrong?

Holly said...

"Ethan Frome" totally sucks fungusy toenail clippings. Edith, oh Edith, what dark dreams troubled you and made you think it was a good idea to write that shit?

On a happier note, what's your take on Corgi names? EF would have been a much better book if it had been titled "Sir Waffles Bunnybottom," don't you think?

La Yen said...

This is all the thoughts of my brain. I am also taking a break from anything on TV (other than Downton) that is "acclaimed." You know what my brains and emotions can handle now? Days of Our Lives. And New Girl.

Stephanie said...

@ Ya Len

You should probably add The Mindy Project to that list.

Melody said...

Yes. I looked out for my mom when she was in a nursing home. Suffice it to say nursing homes suck. They really do give the wrong meds/doses. They cater to the people who have given lots of money to their establishments - giving those people rides to SLC when their loved one died and made my mom ride her wheel chair to dialysis on a cold January morning. They took away her automatic wheelchair for a week as punishment when, to avoid hitting people, she ran into the fridge. And the list goes on.

So I reported that nursing home to the state..... all that did was got the wording changed in their rule book - it became illegal for them to take a wheelchair away for a week, but it is legal to take the wheelchair away for good. Forever. Never to be given back. Boy I did a lot of good, huh?!

So, I'm exhausted and don't want to fight any more.

LaynahRose said...

I think it's a good idea to not do/read/participate in things that bring you down, but I'm confused by you...are you really Mormon? As in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints orrr Fundamentalist Mormon? Because you cuss a lot and you mentioned "the Mormon God" which is super weird. But I think your blog title is funny, I got married 2 weeks after my 21st birthday.

MJ said...

Here in Colorado we don't have to read such drivel, lol. Just read the Wikipedia blurb and it sounds awful.

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Jen said...

Good for you! I think I see a mormon child bride pinterest quote in the future... Loved this...
"I realized I could spend the rest of my life being really upset about all this, or I could just remove myself from the situation and build a spiritual life that I found personally fulfilling."

Wendy said...

I take breaks all the time. Which basically means I do what I feel like. My list of must-dos is pretty short - eat basically healthy (probably only because I know the consequences of not!), care for the cats, and do my job and calling. Other than that, stuff I should do seems to line up with my wants often enough that I haven't turned into a hoarder yet. It's a lovely, somewhat selfish, but much lower stress life.

(It did take me a while getting comfortable saying "because I don't want to" about church stuff!)

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Rachel said...

Hey, Ethan Frome! Man, do I hate that book. It shouldn't be required reading I feel, but hey, whatever. Oh, and Mormon Thought blogs? With you there, too. I agree with removing yourself from the negativity and finding spirituality as you can. That's what I (try) to do. I don't want to read things that upset or overwhelm me. Is that hiding? Maybe. But for now, it's good.

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TheOneTrueSue said...

I hated Ethan Frome. Every single one of the characters is horrible. Sort of like the characters in Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom, another acclaimed novel. Bleck.

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