This is my 100th post. When TV shows hit 100 episodes, there is usually a party. At the very least, the episode contains a lot of inside jokes or nods to the show's history. So in that spirit, I'm going to reflect on the many ways I've changed over the history of my blog.
My first post was about who I am, as a comparison to the "Molly Mormon" ideal. I was struggling to fit in to a culture that has a very narrow view of what a woman should be. (Housewife, meek, and positive-in case you were curious.) I re-read that post, and felt so sorry for the woman who wrote that. My struggles to accept myself for who I was are heartbreaking now. It's strange to think that just 6 months ago, I was trying so hard to squeeze myself into a mold that I would-and have never-fit.
If I could go back in time, would I change this somehow? Would I have left the church in college? Would I have experimented more before marriage? Could I have saved myself years of therapy by doing something different? Honestly, I'm not sure. So much of who I am is because of the church. Yes, I felt pigeonholed and isolated. But those feelings made me strong and independent. I met my wonderful husband because of the church. Growing up Mormon has taught me many things about myself and the world-probably just not what the church hoped to teach...but that's a post for another day.
This was the post where I described how liberating it was to take off my Mormon Temple Garments. Garments are basically loose shorts that come to the knee, and a top that covers the shoulders and a significant amount of the chest. They are to be worn under clothes at all times (except during sports, sex, and swimming). Wearing garments made me ashamed of my body. I felt there was something ugly or sinful about my flesh that had to be covered.
Taking off my garments was amazing! Not only did I eliminate an awkward layer of clothing, but I started to feel beautiful and sexy. It's been a few months since then, and while the sexiness factor has faded, I am viewing myself with less loathing. I can wear what I want when I want. It sounds so simple, but it is such a wonderful feeling! It is such a relief to believe that it is not my responsibility to keep others from having lustful thoughts.
Coupled with taking off the garments was disposing of the Mormon lifestyle and theology. It's still such an amazing thing to feel free to make my own choices, without having to worry about the disapproval of anyone except my family.
This was the post where I first started dealing with the death of my sister. To be honest, I still struggle with this. I'm glad that she's not suffering anymore, but I'm sad because our relationship was healing. I feel like I'm the only one that remembers our childhood, and that I have to carry all of the memories now. I wish I had done things differently by her.
There are still so many things that I regret, in my relationship with my sister. Some days I can function, and put thoughts of her in the back of my mind. And some days I can barely get out of bed or keep from crying, because I'm still in a lot of pain.
Here are my reasons for leaving the church. I re-read this post today, and I feel so proud. It took 10+ years to get to the point of leaving the Mormon faith, and I can articulate why I left.
I thought about editing the post, but I really feel like it perfectly sums up who I am and why I left. I'm seriously thinking about sending the link to my mom, so she can understand, too.
Having figured out why I left the church, I finally cemented what I now believe. A summary of those beliefs would be: life is a journey with shades of grey. Nothing is as clear-cut as I was taught growing up. Not even people. Every Hollywood villain has a redeeming quality or tragic back story. Every hero has a flaw or blind spot.
To sum up these past 6 months, my life has changed a lot! I left the church I was raised in, got foster kids, lost a sister, and am starting to figure out who, exactly, I am. Thank you everyone for your support, advice, and comments. :)