Oh gosh. That concept of our value being connected to some "as yet unidentified man." You hit it right on the head. This message hurt me so much growing up. I've always wanted to be myself, whoever that was, not an appendage of someone else, like the "pretty cipher" Eve to Adam. I just want to be me. Why can't this be enough?
Oh, and the "mother-shaped hole" ... you really get the words just right. I'm definitely listening to this again.
I'm glad it resonated with you, Tara. These things have been the root of a lot of struggle for me, especially this idea that my whole identity and value was tied up in people who essentially did not yet exist for me, whether we are talking about future husband or future children. I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge that the value of a life is more than that life alone, that much of the value and beauty and happiness of living comes through connecting to other people. But I just refuse to believe that the most important of those connections are those that do not even exist yet. I'd rather believe that the most important of those connections are the current ones--the relationships that I have right now, that I can make stronger now, with people I can love right now. With that approach, I would still properly value whoever I someday marry and any children I might have, but it doesn't require that I conceive of my own value in such an abstract sense. Nor does it mean that I misapply the message to mean that my life is without value if those relationships never actually develop.I hope you find that it absolutely is enough to just be you.
Thank you, Amelia. I have struggled so much with feeling like I am enough. That message of my worth being tied to future people and events that may or may not happen hurts. Especially since I'm not very happy with the church. So, it's like even if I did end up married with children, I still wouldn't be doing it "right" to have value. I'd still be lacking in the eyes of my family and friends. But I have so many dreams and passions that I think will make the world a better place--for me and for those I know, for the relationships I have in my life right now. I guess I'm trying to find the courage to assign my own value and worth. Thanks again, for your words. They help.
At one point in my life, I only had Mormon friends and would attend their activities and church. In fact, the missionaries thought I was a Mormon despite some rather un-Mormon womanly behavior (wearing pants to church, questioning assigned gender roles, attending the priesthood session of conference). There was always something that didn't feel right, especially about women's roles, and I'd bring it up, but the responses I'd get from the women were such that made me feel like I was imagining things. I just couldn't get my head around the issue and my heart was not at peace. But I had no words to express it and I had no validation from my female Mormon friends. Strangely, that period of my life influenced me quite a bit despite never joining the LDS Church. I'm so glad to hear this because the mental gymnastics that I experienced were really real despite the weird wonderland of pretending it didn't exist when among my Mormon friends.
Im so glad i found these podcasts. Your resonated with me especially. I havnt been to church in a decade, since i was 16 and am just revisiting the reasons why i stopped going. At the time i was really able to understand or articulate my issues and it was easy for me to play it out as being a rebellious teenager, though i always knew it was this feelings and these ideas. I could never imagine being married. Those roles just didnt sit comfortably with me, and although i have had wonderful loves and partnerships, that very narrow idea of the lds marriage never appealed to me, let alone never ever ever ever wanting to have children. The idea made me nauseus. I always stuck out and could never really conform with the super polite sweet feminine girls and women i would share sunday class with. I never wanted to be relief society president or bake casserols or jello salad and raise children. I guess i just never really had the spirit with me. Never felt it. Sometimes i would cry and my mother would think i was crying because i felt the spirit, but i was crying because i felt creeped out, and alone and displaced and unconnected. You words spoke true to me, thanks for sharing them.
I so hear you Anonymous. I was the exact same way. I didn't leave until I was 24, home from my mission and was completely exhausted. Thank you. I've never fit in and never will. And...I'm free.