12/14/13

I felt like writing something



I worry that this entry will sort of be like a pop star announcing their umpteenth farewell tour only to keep coming back, so forgive me, and forgive Cher.

I still don't know what to do with this space, but Spouseman is out with Clara, and I have a cold, and the weight of tomorrow seems very heavy. Tomorrow is the second annual Wear Pants to Church Day, and while I'm not in charge of anything, the magnitude of it all seems very big and heavy.

There are days where I feel very proud of what I did. I look at the way a very dumb and hastily orchestrated event I dreamed up at Target one night changed the landscape of Mormon Feminism, and I'm proud to be a small part of the past, present, and future of that heartbreaking terrain.

There are days where I am incredibly angry.  A few weeks ago Spouseman was watching a talk by Elder Holland. Elder Holland talked about how disappointed he was in LDS people for "leaving their religion at the door" when a former BYU basketball player switched teams. A basketball player had some mean comments and Elder Holland writes a talk. I received hate mail and threats, and got Elaine Dalton telling me not to lobby for rights. I cried and made Dan turn off the talk.

I am angry too, at members of the Mormon Feminist community who made Pants a big part of their community, who listened to my endless questions on the phone, who I genuinely considered friends who were very quick to betray and abandon me when they realized I was not the Mormon Feminist they wanted me to be. I am working to forgive, but Lord, that hurt more than the dozens of nasty emails and comments online.

I'm mad at myself. For countless errors and missteps and hubris.

There are days where I know my anger simply masks sadness, so I let myself feel sad. I've moved to a new house since pants, and while every single member I've meet in this new neighborhood has been astonishingly kind to me, I left a "neighborhood" (read: ward) function a few months ago shaking and almost in tears because it is only a matter of time before they discover who I am, and in my experience so far, that leads to all sorts of rejection and pain that I'm not sure I'll survive.

But weirdly of all, the thing that got me through this last is a scripture from the Book of Mormon. Isn't that strange, and funny? The universe is weird. But whenever I've felt overwhelmed with sadness and anger I remind myself of King Benjamin. I remember that he was a kind king, and that he wanted his people to be happy. I've always liked King Benjamin, and I'm okay with carrying his story with me as I move on from orthodox Mormonism. In Mosiah 4:19 King Benjamin reminds us, "For behold, are we not all beggars?" And in Mosiah 4:30 he pleads "Remember, and perish not."

It has been one year, and I have not perished, because each time I felt worn down and defeated I remembered that we are all beggars. Our actions, even our unkindest ones, are driven from our status as beggars in a confusing world. The people who wrote me mean letters, and the women who felt threatened by sudden entrance into Mormon Feminism, and most especially myself, we are all begging for something to make us whole. It's hard to think of other people when begging for survival.

The world seems less scary,and pain easier to forgive, when I remember we are all beggars. Because in the heyday of my literal belief I also loved the "As Sisters in Zion" hymn. I loved remembering that "the errand of angels is given to women." I've learned now that the errand of angels is given to people. To find the things our neighbors beg for, and to forgive them when their begging hurts us. I remember this, and I perish not.

Lastly, in the midst of a year of sadness I've also experienced remarkable joy. There were long days where I was given reprieve from begging and been blessed with happiness. I'm grateful for the people who heard me begging and gave me what I needed. From my Spouse, who is out buying a purple shirt for Sunday tomorrow, because he still believes yet loves me anyway.  To my sweet toddler who does this entirely disgusting thing where she licks my face because she loves my exaggerated response: don't gross your Mama! To my friends who know that spending the evening watching Kayne West's Bound 2 video over and over is true joy, and that mindless crafting is immensely therapeutic. To all these people with the errand of angels, I remember you, and I perish not.