Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The kind of girl I used to be

So in the interest of trying to figure out what I want to do with my life I thought I'd pontificate a bit on how the Mormon religion has affected me. Because really, it was everything to me and without it in my life I feel adrift.

I grew up believing it all and truly thinking that the only course my life could take was to get married in the temple and have babies and support my husband and hold callings in the church and that by doing these things my eternal salvation would be secured. And I did all those things, but with each step I took in the church and each milestone I reached, I had more questions and felt more and more lonely.

I put all this pressure on myself to get married. I was engaged when I was in high school to this guy, who I thought was great, but who turned out to be not great. He was angry and he didn't treat me very well, but I rationalized it all away because he was Mormon and he'd been on a mission and hell, my mom thought he was awesome. But he wanted to have sex, a lot of it. And I did too, and it troubled me deeply that I really liked sex and my body was geared that way, but it was evil to have it before I got married. So I kept going in to bishop after bishop and confessing and finally when I did that three weeks before I was to get married (just months out of high school) my bishop essentially told me that it was OK that I'd had sex and I could still go through the temple, but I just had to stop doing it for three weeks, so that I wasn't doing it right up until I got married in the temple. What? So I was confused, was it good or bad....or did they just want to overlook it. I think the later. So instead, I called off the wedding. I decided I didn't want to get married and I didn't want to be with this man I was engaged to and I wanted to go to college instead. What I ended up with was a very angry ex-fiancé who stalked me and eventually forced himself on me. And when I told a bishop about that, I got kicked out of a private Mormon college and nothing happened to him. Again...what?

But I continued to go to church and feel guilty and strive to find another nice man to marry. And I did. Get married that is, the jury is still out on the nice man part. I think we really loved each other, we just got married for the wrong reasons. He married me because I was Mormon and I married him because I wanted him and our future kids to be my life, I didn't really care if he was Mormon.

I was pregnant within five months of getting married and had three kids in just under four years. Crazy. And with each child I felt worse and my health was bad and I pushed myself to feel like I believed in Mormon church, when it was increasingly obvious that I didn't. I felt like a terrible mother because I was raising my kids in a church I didn't truly believe in. I read scriptures for at least two hours a day while the babies cried and fussed because I thought if I studied enough, I would eventually come to believe it. I went to leader after leader with my questions and all they told me was to pray and honor my husband and all would be well. I prayed for all I was worth and never felt anything. Which only made me wonder more whether or not I believed in Mormon church.

When I left the church six years ago, I always thought I'd figure it all out and go back. But I procrastinated figuring it out. I didn't really want to because I think, deep down, I didn't believe it.

And now here I am six years later, my husband went back to Mormon church and I finally figured it out for myself. I don't believe it, I probably never did, and since I don't believe in that church, I'll never go back.

But now where does that leave me. I got married and had babies and did things and lived a life based on a philosophy that I no longer believe. So where do I go? For a girl who always did what I thought others wanted me to do, I'm 35 and have no idea what I want to do. I lived for others, not for myself.

My husband now says that he married a Mormon girl and now that I'm not Mormon he doesn't know where I fit into his life. To me that means either a) he's hurt that I won't go back and he really wants me to (even though he says he doesn't mind that I won't) or b) he wants out of our marriage but won't tell me (even though he says that he doesn't want a divorce).

So which thing do I try and build my life on....or do I build on neither and just finally do my thing. Whatever that is. I probably just need to do my thing and let whatever happens with him happen. I mean that's what living my life and figuring out what I want out of it means right? If we stay together then OK, if we don't, at least I have a life I'm happy with.

And so now the really scary part begins for me. Figuring out what I want to do. Finding a path of my own and still being a mom and a wife. But doing what I would like to do, without wondering what I think others think I should do. It's a path without the Mormon church right there guiding my every step, it's a path where my decisions, good or bad, can have profound consequences. If I screw up, I did that, it wasn't something the church told me to do. If I succeed, well how wonderful would that be! It's also a path without any sort of concrete idea of God or who He is or what He wants of me or how I live my belief in Him.

OK, so with all this out...now I wish I knew where to begin.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I've been hiding under a rock

For the first time in at least seven years, I spent well over 12 days offline. I couldn't face life, I just couldn't turn on my computer and deal with anybody.

I thought about this blog and I felt bad, but I didn't have anything to say that didn't sound completely messed up. I'm dealing with so much shit, and not just about GB or my trip to Sac, I came home and everything around me, the husband, my friends, everything I thought I knew and I trusted in, my foundation ..... everything .... went pear shaped. And I couldn't deal, I didn't want anyone to know, so I stayed home and read a lot of books and didn't call anyone and didn't go online.

I don't even know if I can write a condensed version of anything that happened. I came home from Sac and I spent this weekend away and I'd done a lot of thinking and I wanted to talk to my husband about it. I tried, I really did and maybe it was just awful timing, but we ended up in a huge fight minutes after I got in the car. He screamed, I screamed and then he got out and let me drive home by myself. He got out of the car miles from downtown. I don't know why he did and I don't know anything, except that stupid me, I became worried about him and so I drove around for an hour in downtown and tried to find him. He didn't answer his phone and I got worried.

But I couldn't go home. I don't know why, I just couldn't face my kids and my life and my f*ck ups and so I drove around, put gas in my car, drank a wine cooler and smoked way more cigs than is normal for me. I finally went home three hours later. The husband came home a few hours after that.

The next day I hung in bed, I felt sick, heart sick and I had a headache. The next day I got up and took the kids back to school shopping and went grocery shopping and had a normal day. I took my day to unwind and I was OK. I thought all was well, but the husband wasn't done. He proceeded to tell me that he, my friends and others he talked to think I'm depressed. Maybe I am. I called my doctor and he thinks that given the stress in my marriage tears and anger are normal and he doesn't think it's any more than that. But why would my friends, if they are indeed that, talk to my husband behind my back? And more importantly, if they are my friends why would they take my words and twist them around and then tell my husband things I told them in confidence? This is the completely pear-shaped portion of my life. Who are my friends? Who do I turn to? Who do I trust?

What I realized through all of this is that unbeknownst to us, my husband and I have created this supercharged, tense, "ready to blow" environment and neither one of us are coping well. We are so up and down, we fight and then we make up, I'm crying one minute and laughing the next. He and I have fought so much about religion and love and marriage and goals and we've resolved nothing, but more importantly it feels like we've destroyed everything. And now we have nothing left.

But we do, we have these kids and this house and 15 years of memories and maybe somewhere, buried in the rubble, we still so love each other. I don't know.

I don't know anything and I have no direction and oh, my I'm feeling like a wreck.

My husband told me last night that he thinks it must be so hard for me to go through life without God or some higher power guiding me. He's right. It is so hard to make a life, to make decisions and not feel scared to death, because it's just me. I don't have a religion guiding me. I don't have God's love. This is all me. The mess I've made of my life, the happiness, the pain, the mistakes, the kids, the never-ending fear....it's all me. How scary is that?

It's terrifying. But I can't go back to Mormon church. I don't believe it. I don't believe that there is this "one true church" that only allows a small percentage of its members to have the keys to the kingdom of heaven. If there is a God and if he loves each and every one of us, then he'll let us all into heaven if we try our hardest. And that's what I'm doing. I'm trying my hardest, I'm struggling, I striving and I hope every day that if God does really love me, then His grace will save me in the end, because my works just aren't good enough right now.

So I'm back from hibernation. No better or more enlightened than before. But I'm back.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'm leaving on a jet plane

I'm headed to the airport in an hour to go to Sacramento. I was supposed to see GB this weekend, in fact, was staying an extra few days so that we could hang out together. I've been shaky all day, knowing that this is going to be a hard weekend for me to get through, because I know I won't be seeing him. But at least I don't have to deal with the empty extra days, as I changed my ticket and am coming back in just two days.

My best friend, AF, lives there and I always have fun when we hang out and play and shop and just sit and drink and talk. I hope I don't let her down with all this, but I just need to cry. And I'll probably fall apart when I get there and it hits me that I won't be seeing GB. Everytime I've been to Sac for the last year, he's come up from the Bay to be with me.

I know I need to let him go....I know he wasn't good for me....I know I wasn't good for him. But I miss him so much. And it doesn't help matters that he didn't respond to my email. A huge part of me knew he wouldn't. That he would take the fact that I could no longer be his friend and he would just delete the email and move on, but deep inside me somewhere, I wanted him to call. I want him to show up this weekend and just want me.

God, I'm such a idiot. I was so stupid to fall in love with him, so stupid to even say hi to him at that bar in Burbank last year and so stupid to think that such a man could actually care about me. I really need to get my shit together...and I will, but after I plod through this weekend in Sac. The emotions are going to get me and I need to feel them, I need to feel.

Now that I've opened myself to all this emotional upheaval I don't want it to go away. I need it to work forward in my life and to figure out who I am and what I want. I'm no longer going to be the girl that everyone thinks I should be....I'm going to be me. And to hell with all of them if they don't like it.

Now I'm getting bitchy...which I guess, is better than the tears. At least for right now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I had to say goodbye to him....

This is a little Anais Nin in style, but I thought I'd post the email I just sent to GB. It's says what I'm feeling and it's a good indicator or where I'm at emotionally. It's breaking my heart. To fall in love with a friend and then lose him when it ends.

Hi GB,

This email has been through so many incarnations. The first few were accommodating, the next ones to come along were just plain caustic, and if anything this last version is honest. I'll try to keep it short, as short as I can, so bear with me. I saw my therapist today and though she in no way endorses this email, I think it's what I need to do.

You need to know something, I've been lying to you since the day I met you, only really, I didn't figure that out until a few days ago. I've been lying to everyone for going on 20 years. I think with all the pressure on me as a kid, I just got very good at pretending to be somebody, instead of just being myself. Then I got married and did the same thing, pretended to be the happy wife and to love my life.

I was on an emotional roller coaster for much of my life and then six years ago in therapy found a new way to think about things. The trouble is I went from emotionally crazed to no emotion at all. I shut it off six years ago and convinced myself that I didn't need to feel anything to be happy.

And that's where I was when I met you. And so now to the scary honesty.

I sent out all the wrong signals to you, the "here I am, I don't want anything, I'm into being casual, I'm looking for a distraction and I don't care who it is" kind of signals. In the last few months, I've really had to deal with a lot of emotional upheaval and I tried, really tried, to ignore it, but a lot has happened to me in the last few weeks, some of which has a great deal to do with you. And I'm realizing quite a number of things.

Most importantly, I cannot easily separate my emotional and physical relationships. And that is the biggest lie I told you. I led you do believe that I was fine with whatever came along, that I wanted nothing and that I felt very little.

I liked you from the moment I met you, you scared the crap out of me, but I realize now that the reason you did is because I hadn't felt that way in so many years, and so rather than deal, I faked it and then stifled all that I was feeling. And somewhere along the line I think I fell in love with you and the only reason I've come to that conclusion is because I'm so very sad that I won't be seeing you or talking to you anymore. I lied to you and we played this game that I wasn't at all equipped to play.

And here comes the real sadness for me. Though loving you is one thing, I did really enjoy our friendship, but I can't be your friend. Because of how I feel it would be like torture for me. There's part of me that wishes I'd never realized all this about myself and I could just go back a few days and continue to lie to you and be accommodating. I can't. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to you.

And I have to tell you beyond that, it hurts terribly that just a few days after we spent that weekend together, I finally realize how I feel about you and you recommit to your girlfriend, R. I tried to ignore how I was feeling when you told me that, then I was sad, it got me pissed off and it's finally gotten me to where I am right now. But then again, it's like a plague in my life, CP chose God and you need to work things out with R. It sucks to be the odd girl out on so many levels.

I am so sorry, really, you have no idea how sorry. I didn't mean to get so wrapped up emotionally. I didn't mean for this to happen. But it did and now I can only look at it as something I need to learn from, and use it to finally figure out myself, be honest with myself and others and find some balance between emotional upheaval and no emotion at all.

The overall point of this is to let you know why I can't be your friend, to finally be honest with you and mainly it's about me taking those first steps that I need to take. I will miss you very much. Take care of yourself and I sincerely hope that you get all you want out of your life.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The things that make me, well, me....

So here I sit, doing this for the first time, at least the first time online. There are people who I want to read this, in a way, but I know they won't and I suppose that's freeing me to do this. I can write what I'm feeling knowing there are no repercussions. And I could write pages, but then I cry buckets, and so I won't do that.

I'm 35, I'm married, I have three kids, I was raised Mormon, I used to fall in love easily, I like sex, whenever someone asks me how I am - I always say OK, even if I'm great, I graduated from college five years ago and I've been unemployed for the last two years. And while those facts could speak for themselves and I could leave it at that.....I really can't, not if I want to be honest and get it all out there.

I am 35 years old, but I feel like I haven't even begun to live my life. I feel ancient and like a child at the same time. I have no idea what I want to do with my life, no path, no plan, nothing in my heart that guides me.

I am married and have been for 15 years and while it's been a rough road (what marriage isn't) I've wanted out of it for years. Only I didn't know that until recently, not consciously (sp?) anyway. He's a great guy, usually, but when he's an asshole, he's really an asshole. And I'm a bitch when I want to be. We don't agree on much, we don't share our feelings, we don't share money, we don't even agree on how to parent our children. What we do well is fight and have sex, but that in and of itself, is not keeping my marriage together. And I further complicated my own situation and feelings by having an affair with a great guy (well, he seemed great at the time) who turned out to be just as much an asshole as my husband, and just a typical guy. It's breaking my heart.

I do have three kids and they are the constant in my life, the beacons that keep me going. They are all growing up though and I only have a handful of years left until they are all grown and graduated from high school. So, if you do the math, you'll realize I got married very young.

I was raised Mormon. My parents joined when I was 5 and I left the church when I was 28. But I didn't really leave, I just stopped going to church and I told everyone who asked that I would figure out how I felt about the church and eventually go back. The problem is, my husband and I left together, and 8 months ago he went back to that church. He told me at the time that he picked God over me. Yea, well, who wouldn't. It's been the most difficult eight months of my life and when you add spending glorious time with another man on top of it, it's been a battle to endure some days. So I've finally taken the time to figure out where I stand with regard to the Mormon church, mainly because my husband decided the way to get me to go back was to shove it down my throat, and I decided after doing a lot of reading and talking to others that I don't believe in that church anymore. I've become part of the ex-Mormon online community, much to the chagrin of my spouse, but I can't worry about that, it's been part of my healing process. Because I feel like 23 years of my life was stolen from me, I'm angry at the brainwashing I endured in that church. I'm dealing with it. And will probably write lots more on that subject.

I used to fall in love easily. That's not entirely true. I still do, but I don't want to and I figure if I tell myself enough that I'm a tough bitch and that I won't fall in love anymore....that I really won't. I almost fell in love with this man I had an affair with, but he didn't feel the same way. It was monumentally stupid of me, but I couldn't stop it once it started. I'm terribly angry at him and I'm still halfway in love with him. I'm sure I'll write more about him later too. I fell in love with my husband quickly, and in true Mormon tradition we married within four months of meeting each other. But as our marriage has had its ups and downs, I've found myself attracted to, and acting on that attraction, to other men. I'd never slept with any of them (up until recently) but I put my heart out there and it got stomped on every time. I don't want to fall in love ever again.

OK, so I like sex. I don't know what else to say on that subject....I think the statement speaks for itself.

I'm always just OK. No matter if it's been the best or worst day of my life, if someone asks me how I am, I always say "OK." Maybe I don't want to jinx the good days and don't want to admit to the bad days. I'm just OK. My whole life has been OK. How sad is that?

I did graduate from college five years ago. I went to BYU, like a good Mormon girl. I was a full-time mom to my three kids, I worked and I took at least 18 credits a term. My degree in Anthropology, however, is useless. I loved the subject, but since I didn't pursue graduate school, it hasn't helped me much in the recent job market.

Which brings me to the last item. I've been unemployed for the last two years. My degree helped me get a web development job, but then the economy went down and I lost that job, only to get an interim job, which I thought would tide me over to the next web job, but it didn't and that job went away and now here I am. Unemployed and feeling like pursuing my ideal degree was a waste of time and money. Why didn't I get a degree in Business or Math or even Education? Maybe if I had, I'd have a job right now.

Too many things....too many thoughts. I've enjoyed writing this and will take some time soon to add in some of my written journal entries from this summer, but right now - I've got to go.