Sunday, September 29, 2013

Unexpected Soul

I was finally starting to enter into a healthy non-mormon environment. I had a job offer.  I was making friends, drinking beer, learning about sex, looking for a co-ed apartment so I could move out of my parents basement when SMASH!  I was hit by a man going 45mph.  My car totaled, my guitar destroyed, and my head pounding. (see: Car Crash)  I have a bad concussion and have been on bed rest for over a month now.  My head still hurts.  I can’t really drive, I can’t read, and can barely write.  I normally love sunny days but the sun aggravates my condition so I stay indoors like a vampire.  I can’t believe after all my excitement to leave the Mormon community I have been thrown back into it.  A helpless, sexless, drinkingless, lifeless person.  At least that was what I thought.

For the last month I have had to “hit the brakes” (Pun intended) on my secular education.  tho this time is frustrating I have realized a few very interesting things.  At first I was angry. I wondered if God was punishing me.  A week before the accident I had met a man in a bar and attempted to give him a hand job in my car (a funny story I very much look forward to telling you about!) As I contemplated this theory I remembered the indent with my windshield (see: Waiting for Godot) Basically I learned shit happens, not always for a reason.  

 There were emotional triggers at first.  I can’t drink, can’t make new friends, can’t have sex.  Not that I was even close to having sex but I felt restricted.  Like I was back under the church’s church thumb.  A very few of my Mormon friends came to visit me.  Tho I was sickly and in bed they never failed to send me a text inviting me to church on Sunday.   Also a few of my secular friends came to see me which was extra special as they had to drive very far.

I spent the first two weeks watching stupid movies, cried and ate ice-cream.  I realized this this was temporally my life and I needed to make the most of it.  I started going to the library and instead of renting your run of mill Reese Witherspoon movies.  I checked out documentary, History’s, and travel DVD.  I learned about the McCain campaign and actually felt sorry for Sara Palin.  I marveled at the Taj mahal, and swam through Great Barrier Reef .  I experienced the life a standup comedian. I witnessed the horror facing Afghanistan soldiers.  I climbed Mt Everest.  I learned why Oprah is a Goddess to middle aged woman.  I watched the Hindenburg crash to the ground and I learned why it is a bad idea to keep a Viper as a pet.

Before this accident I felt empty.  I had lost my friends, my community, and my culture.  The brave history of Joesph Smith turned out to be an April fools joke.  The stories of the Nephites and Lamanites turned out to be just that…stories.   But as I educated myself I started to appreciate a new culture, a different community.  This community was much bigger.  Roughly 7 billion people.  This culture Full is of triumphs and tragedies.  These people were not just waiting for missionary’s to save them.  My only concern was the History of Mormonism and why it is wrong. I failed to recognize the splendor of what makes the world so right and wrong.  I look forward to getting better.  I think when I can once again grab a drink with my friends they will see me differently.   Someone whose soul goes deeper than the river Jordan. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Hellooooooo?  Is anyone out there?

You have done it.  You have jumped ship off the Mormon cruise line(see: bon voyage) and now you are floating precariously on a door in the middle of the secular ocean.  So what do you do now?

Making friends was very difficult for me after I left the church.  I’m outgoing but I was used to having my social events planned for me.  Without my pot lucks, FHE’s, institute, CES firesides, and enrichment activities I was lost.  I went to bars alone and promptly left as soon as the drunken men grab my ass.  I went on tons of bad on-line dates.  Most men who wanted to help me find my pussy.  I went dancing… alone.  I went to concerts…alone.  I even tried a few groups with little success. One group advertised as single professionals turned out to be a room of 40+ men giving me the eye and a bunch of 40+ woman giving me the stink eye.  One night I went to a neat bar where you could drink and play table tennis.  I went in…alone.  I’m not sure how familiar you are with table tennis but it requires 2 people to play.  I stopped a waitress.

“excuse me,” I said to a woman whose hair was so white it could only grow on trees, “Do you have like tournament nights or teams you can join?”

She looked at me “No. You just come with your friends and stuff.”

“Oh well I’m new in town sort of, I mean I grew up here but I’m just…I just don’t have a ton of friends…like any. Ha ha.” What the hell?  Why was I telling her this? “You don’t have any like mingle nights?” I stumbled out

“Oh my God that is Sad” her big fake eyelashes fluttered “I have friends and I, like, hang with them and stuff.  Why don’t you have friends? You’re cute.”

“No No. I do have friends they just don’t like to go in bars or do stuff outside of church…it’s a religious thing...for them…not me.”

“Oh my God, were you like Amish er something? I hear they don’t even use I-pods when they work out. Is that true?”

What the hell was this woman talking about?  “Yes Amish.  What’s an I-pod?”  

“Oh my God I’m so sorry for you.” She grabbed my arm tenderly and said, “It’s okay.  Just don’t do crack. It’s so weird.”  Clearly she was speaking from experiance. 

This city was just not panning out for me.  I noticed on that another city a little over an hour away having cool activities all the time.  It has a reputation for being a huge party town.  I decided it was time to try my luck there. 

I noticed a HUGE difference.  People were my age, were fun to talk too.  We related on a ton of issues.  I started going to this city every other night despite the hour drive.  I got in with a group of really cool people who introduced me to some very common 20-something activities.  We went to concerts and comedy shows.  We talked and drank.  They supported me when I played at an open mic night.  They taught me how to play Beer Pong, and Flip cup.  I did my first Kegs stand. I got 45 seconds because the guy was not pumping the Keg so nothing was coming out.  (for those who have never seen a keg you have to pump them to make them go) When they realized I had fooled them all they made me do it again.  This time I got 2 seconds.  How the hell do you drink upside down? Silly.  They all had a good laugh.  I feel very loved by these people.  They know I’m a little odd.  Sometimes they are speaking a foreign language.  They say things like “Rail Drinks” “Riders” “D.D.” “Assed out” “Shmagled” “DTF” “Job”(not the kind where you make money…hopefully) 

It’s not easy making your own social calendar. I miss my pre-planned activities.  It’s also tricky navigating the whole “Mormon” Issue.  I get three different responses when I tell people I am leaving the Mormon faith.  There is the non-chalent “oh yeah. I was Catholic growing up. I get it.”  No offence but few of the Catholics I met were as severely indoctrinated as even the most lay Mormons.  For example:  I had not actually looked at my own vagina until about two months ago.  It just felt wrong.  The other response is a very solemn “Oh my God!  That’s huge.  Your life must be upside down right now.”  I appreciate the sentiment of these people, but it can get over bearing.  They want to know everything you are going through even if you are at Amanda’s birthday party. It’s almost imposable to talk about my life without talking about the church. I really like people who take the time to understand but also don’t dwell on it.   I think I’m many ways I just want to feel normal and not be afraid.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th:A Close Call

12 years ago today I almost lost my older sister.  She was working as TV personality and had planned to take American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to LAX. For many years I took credit for her not boarding that plane.

My sister had been doing a lot of traveling by air for her work.  The joke in our family was that we never knew what state or even country she was in. ha ha ha.  She was traveling the world as a good example of what a Mormon should be. It was late at night and I could not sleep.  I just kept worrying about her.  I couldn’t stop.  Planes are so dangerous and she flys all the time.  What if something bad happens?  What if the wing falls off or the engine blew.  What if her plane crashes or is bombed? I tried to forget it and go back to sleep.  I tried but the paranoia got much worse. I was crying.  Heaving one gigantic breath after another.  Around 3:00am I ran into the bathroom crying.  Begging God not to take her life.  Silently screaming at him making promises I’m sure I have broken by now. It was almost as if I knew something was going to happen.  After at least 30 minutes of pleading with God for her safety I felt a release. I looked in the mirror with day old mascara running down my face. I laughed at myself and how foolish I had been.

About two weeks later the planes hit.  I knew my sister was in danger but I calmed myself. I knew she was in Boston but I knew that she would not be on that plane.  I just knew it. I was right.  She was not…but she was supposed to be.

When word spread about her brush with the 9/11 high jacking people immediately accused her of a publicity stunt. As if she was using this tragedy to forward her career.  That was not true.  Opera and other talk shows invited her to speak about her close call but she turned them down.  This was not something to brag about.  She became a shut in.  The truth was she had gotten in a fight with her boyfriend in LA and at the last minute decided not to go.  Her friend from the band she was traveling with convinced her he was a jerk and to stay in Boston…Thank God?

For years I “knew” I had saved her life.  God heard my prayer.  So two years later when she announced she was leaving the church a sick thought squirmed in my head. Was she supposed to die? I had head in church that it is better to die in the church then leave it.  I tried to tell her about this story to convince her to stay. She wouldn’t hear it. She said I was brainwashed.  What had I done? Did I save my sister only to have her sent to an eternity of outer darkness?  I didn't care!  I loved my sister and was glad to have her.  I’m not sure I’m strong enough to handled such a tragedy.  I love her so much. This was when the first seeds of discourse about the church settled in.  Maybe it was selfish, but I was glad my sister was still alive despite her leaving the church.

The world changed 12 years ago.  So many innocent people lost their life’s.  People of all different faiths and creeds.  People who I’m sure prayed just as earnestly as I did.  I did not save my sister.  God did not spare her. A dumb boyfriend and dumb luck saved her life.  I can't explain why I was up till 3:00 am begging for her safety.  Every year I remember how lucky I am that my sister is alive.  Without her I’m not sure I would have the courage to leave the church. She has been an example of strength and confidence.  She did leave even though everyone was watching.  I’m discussed with myself that I ever thought I made a “mistake”.  That I begged for her life only to watch her take off her temple garments.   My older sister is alive when thousands were not so lucky.

 There is one person I can thank.  He never walked on water or heal any lepers. He is the lead singer of a band and though he was really only trying to give basic dating advice he inadvertently changed my life forever. I have thanked him many times without getting on my knees.