Saturday, July 13, 2013
My [own] Mormon girl thoughts.
My thoughts this week have been quite the whirlwind. Recently, I have been completely consumed by stress and worry of what I plan to do for my imminent future. I recently graduated from college and moved back home with my parents after living in one of the best cities in the country, Washington, DC. Everyone has asked me why I left DC and my answer is always, "It just felt right." And it did, still does and I don't doubt my decision ever. Whether or not people validate that as a good enough answer, I don't really care. However, the weeks following my move home have been so emotional you would have thought I was going through menopause---sorry mom.
Everyone tells you to go to college. What no one tells you is what you are supposed to do AFTER you graduate. I have found that the time after graduating college has been some of the strangest, empty and confusing moments of my life so far. Being a single Mormon girl in her 20's is hard enough. However, being a single, Mormon, college graduate girl with a career oriented mind is like being thrown into a G-force simulator where your face flops around uncontrollably and you want to vomit, all at the same time.
I didn't choose the traditional, run of the mill Mormon path when it came to college. I went to BYU for two years but after feeling awkward, out of place and realizing that I really wasn't into the whole Disney and 80's night obsession, I made the decision to transfer to school in California. Hands down the best decision I have made in my adult life, but also one of the scariest. Why, you ask? BYU is the breeding ground for young Mormons. There is a joke within the culture (that I hope is fading away) that girls go to BYU to graduate with their Mrs. degree. I remember hearing that when I first enrolled in my classes at BYU and I wanted to curl up and die. Mrs. degree? Is that a thing!? I am only 18! I was still getting over the fact that boys have cooties let alone thinking about one becoming my husband, ick. (DISCLAIMER, totally over that now. Bring on the cooties).
Now let me clear the air, most of my friends are married and some have even started their eternal families. *Side note--My friends make the cutest babies and I am a self proclaimed aunt to all of them. No apologies.* In no way do I resent my friends or their husbands. I have been to countless of my friends weddings and I feel so much joy and love for them and their commitment to one another. Plus, who doesn't love a good Mormon wedding reception with endless amounts of sugar, dancing and cutesy non-alcoholic beverages served in Mason jars?
The most awful part about being my age and single is the uncomfortable hesitation that adults treat you with. It is like you are Mr. Humpty Dumpty himself, one crack away from going AWOL. They ask, "Are you dating anyone?" When you answer "No, I am not," they cringe ever so awkwardly and try to casually but not so casually change the subject. At that point you know that they are just trying to keep conversation with you because they feel bad for the poor single girl who has no one to go home to except her cats and her closet full of muumuus.
My early twenties have been anything but easy. I would compare it to being thrown into the Sahara desert with a pool floaty, diet coke and tanning oil. All items I LOVE but completely useless for being stranded in the Sahara. That is precisely what being 23, childless, and husbandless has felt like. Full of all these awesome things like freedom, late night escapades and unlimited amounts of fast food. While all of these things are incredibly satisfying, you still don't know what exactly to do with them because you feel like they aren't really helping you get anywhere (other than up on the bathroom scale, oops).
Yeah, I have aspirations. Yeah, I want to go to graduate school. Yeah, I want to leave a kick-ass legacy when I die. Do I want to have a family and a husband? TOTALLY! Bring on the babies. Am I ready for that right now? Probably not. But I definitely know that my future entails cute, little, round, bald, rosy-cheeked babies.
Right about now you are probably thinking to yourself,"Who is this pants wearing feminist? She sounds completely bitter with her life."
Let me stop you right there.
Am I a feminist? Nope.
Do I hate men? Not even close. (Just don't ask some of my ex-boyfriends, they might offer up a difference of opinion.)
Some of my most trusted mentors and idols in my life just happen to be men --George W. Bush, Ron Price, Luis Gonzalez (clutch hit to win the WS is pretty rad if you ask me) and Mitt Romney (bless the Mittens).
I just haven't completely written off my dreams and aspirations. I recognize that at one point in my life that I will full heartedly commit myself to my kids and my husband. But that doesn't mean that I need to stop everything I am doing right now and wait for that to happen. Nope. The way I see it, is that I need to keep moving forward and making myself a better person for my future Mr. Right (You can thank me later dude). I think that this is a tragic epidemic that I see happen to often amongst young LDS girls. Time to put away the Singers, Vikings and the Cricut vinyl cutters, ladies. We aren't 70, yet! Don't get stuck in the cultural mud, keep moving forward, keep being YOU.
People my age who aren't married are often treated like we are still 16. It is as if because I am not married I am not validated as a "real adult". I technically still get sent to nursery, this thing called a YSA ward, that is semi-disguised as a regular adult ward. Where Monday night family home evening, is basically a continuation of Wednesday night mutual. No, 21 year old return missionary, you are not my "FHE Dad", you don't even know how to talk to girls let alone pretend to be the patriarch of my pretend family.
Life at my age is supposed to be so simple, right? By law you are technically an adult, but lets be serious, we are all still mooching off of our parents to some degree--shout out to Ron & Judi! Within our culture there are some unwritten rules or expectations that are floating around the LDS atmosphere. From what I gather, this is pretty much what they are (in no particular order): graduate from college, find a real life job, start preparing for graduate school and find a husband.
[[Insert face to palm motion.]]
What was that last part? Find a husband? Say what?! I swear these people who created the rules act like there is a giant husband tree that you can just go picking from.
"Hey Amber, whatcha up to today? Oh probably run a few errands and then go harvest my husband from the husband tree. I think it is about time, right?"
Seriously, where is this damn tree?
Moral of the story. Moving back home has been a blessing yet it has made me face a few cultural challenges that I thought I had long outgrew. I hope that as I continue to write on this blog that I will encourage girls who find themselves in a similar situations as me, to find strength and pursue their hopes and dreams. Stay true to yourself, your dreams, your ambitions and your righteous desires. I know that the pressures of the LDS culture can be overwhelming and downright crazy, but just know that there is a whole slew of 20 something's that are feeling the heat just as much as you are.