Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fairy Tale Ending

"Okay," I said, sitting in the hallway.  Then I began putting my boots on.  I wasn't going to cry and this was not going to be one of those 5 hour break-ups. He wasn't worth it.  When he dropped me off at my apartment I told him to wait, I ran into my apartment and grabbed our book.  It was our fairy tale. The book he had driven 10 hours to deliver to me.  It held the story of our relationship spelled out in hand-drawn pictures and inside jokes. I had continued the story with pictures of of my own and together we built our enchanted romance. It was the cutest thing anyone had ever done for me. I had felt like a princess and he had been my prince charming.

"Take this.  I don't want it." I said, throwing it at him. He protested but I gave him no choice.

As I turned to leave, a thought struck me, "You know what Aaron?  I'm so glad that this is done because I don't have to pretend anymore.  I'm so tired of always acting. So tired of hiding"  

I don't think I even knew what I was saying on that very late October night.  Only months later did I realize how dedicated I had been to the role of Molly Mormon. So much of me was an act to impress these priesthood holders. That was the last time I saw Aaron and I have not missed him once.  

Now here we are, about 70 blog posts later, and I'm living in a different world. A newly minted Ex-mormon!  I have a steady job and a stable self-reliant life.  My life is my own.  I'm not the slave wife to my “prince.” But I have played the part of a Mormon princess for so long it is hard for me step off my pedestal. As I mentioned my previous Mormon love stories were whirlwind romance.  When you have post Mormon romantic epiphanies they hit hard and fast.  

Alex and I have been dating for a while….and guess what? We just keep dating.  How can we still be dating you ask? It's been 6 months, you say?  By Mormon logic we should either be broken up or engaged…right?  Strangely enough, I don’t want either. This concept of dating someone longer than 6 months was in conflict with everything I've ever experienced.  I still can’t quite comprehend it. It is kind of like trying to understand how the universe is infinite and it is also expanding. 

Eventually my uncomfortableness of our situation started to show, and my inexperience in non-mormon dating started to bubble to the surface.  I started thinking irrationally, trying to find problems in our relationship and exploding them in my mind.  One night, Alex sent me a smilie face emoticon :) instead of a winky smilie face ;) I used this textual symbol as fuel to exacerbate our clearly failed relationship. Unfortunately Alex is way to cool, collected and sweet to let me imagine problems. We talk and I soon realized I was just freaked out. Scared that i was prolonging something only to watch it burn in a year or three years. How can anyone take such a big gamble on love. 

Love isn't a fairy tale anymore. Now I realize that you can't just marry someone and be done. Even after you get married you have to still work at it. What "it" is I’m not entirely sure. I'm frustrated and disappointed. I don't want dating to be a slow and carefully thought out process. I want it to be fast and exciting…What happened to my whirlwind romance where you meet and you just know?  I have been dating Alex for over 6 months and I feel like there is so much I don't know about him.  When I look at him I don't just see a perfect man with no flaws.  Where is my prince charming? Where are those rose-colored glasses the church gave me?  My fairy tale life is ending.  I've lost the ability to mindlessly go through a romance with only the end goal in sight.

OR… Maybe I’m coming to the harsh reality that love is a journey not a fairy tale. :( 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Romantic Diarrhea

It was late at night and I was sound asleep in Alex's bed. After a decadent dinner of leftover ribs and gas station pizza, Alex and I had drifted to a cozy sleep. What a breakthrough. I usually hated sleeping in a bed with a man, but Alex was different. I didn't feel trapped. I didn't get the knot of guilt in my stomach that normally accompanied my sexy sleepovers. It just felt nice to be close to him. Around 4:00 in the morning I awoke to that sick feeling again.  I tossed and turned, my mind racing, and I began to sweat. Was this another panic attack?  Alex could feel how distraught I was. He wrapped his strong arm around my stomach and held me close. Although it was a nice gesture, it did not help. I threw his arm from my stomach. although he’s a sweet man, I couldn’t shake the nasty sick feeling I had woken up with. Suddenly, without warning I found myself running down the hall of his apartment. Right into the bathroom, where I threw up the contents of my stomach.  

It turned out I was not experiencing a panic attack, I was simply food poisoned. And it wasn't long until Alex joined me in my misery.  Here we were practically strangers, taking turns vomiting into the toilet…and nether one of us knew what to do.  We googled food poisoning and I even called my mother from his bed for advice. Of course I did not tell her Alex was there. 

"Well do you have diarrhea?" She asked over the speaker phone,

"yes" I admitted, embarrassed as Hell.

My mother recommended that I drink Sprite and lots of water. But Alex didn’t have any Sprite. I would have to walk down to the corner gas station. I began to get out of bed when Alex stopped me.  

"I'll get it", he moaned.  

The next 24 hours was spent puking, and trying to distract ourselves from puking. We learned a lot about each other from this experience. When I think about the important moments in our relationship it would be fair to say this one is at the top of the list. Alex and I have been dating for almost 5 months now. At this point I would even call him my boyfriend. 

When I visit the ghost of relationships passed I am reminded of the exciting and dramatic turning points in our relationships.  In Mormon land the process of finding your eternal lover happens very quickly.  Romantic milestones are constantly being reached. It is like falling in love in a movie. You ignore the communication problems, and just focusing on the fun of the journey. Before you know it, the movie is over and you havent even finished your pop corn! In 

Mormon land Alex and I would be engaged by now!  It was hard for me to decelerate into a more healthy relationship pattern. I was used to seeing my boyfriend every single day. When you only have 6 month to decide if he is "the one" you take every second you can get. One day after hanging around at his place all day Alex said something very strange to me.  

"You know…sometimes I just need some time to myself." I could tell he was trying very hard not to hurt my feelings.  

I, of course, was hurt. I took the hint and hopped in my car. I spent the next few days processing what he said. Clearly he didn't like me anymore.  I figured it was time to cut ties and start over. There were plenty of guys out there who would actually want to spend every waking second with me. But before I put the EX on our relationship I thought I might want to do some Non-Mormon dating research. 

I sought advice from my modern female friends.  Mindy had been dating my co-worker and she explained it best.  "Oh yeah, I really like Devin but I don't need to see him every day.  That would drive me nuts.  So I usually just let him play video games while I get my stuff done." 

Hum...I thought back to how many times I had gotten in my car and drove down to Alex’s place even when I sort of didn't want to. Don't get me wrong I always enjoy spending time with Alex but sometimes I felt obligated by an outside force to forget my own needs and focus on "US."  

The church is so focused on paring off. Singles are discriminated against and made to feel guilty. Unmarried men and woman are not “whole.”  It’s strange to come to the realization that I'm a whole person all on my own. I have a job, a savings account, and I can decide how I spend my free time.  I rent movies I know he won’t like and watch them by myself. I go swing dancing, and do comedy. Basically I have my own life besides just him, and that is okay. 

I no longer feel obligated to spend every waking minute with Alex. It is actually quite empowering. In the church single men and woman put all of their love and devotion and free time into the relationship.  They cling to each other from the moment they meet. And that's great if you are a parasite fish that feeds on a great white shark and you hope it never eats you. But in the real world normal relationship are composed of mixed emotions, complicated agendas and the occasional romantic night out.