Friday, August 29, 2014

My "Thing"

When I was in college I was very active. I was consistently involved in projects, theatrical plays, movie making, open mics, dating, dancing, exercising, skiing, long boarding, classes and Divine Comedy.  I had so many "Things" going on and I loved it. My activities were a great distraction from the occasional spat with depression, suicidal thoughts, or sexual frustration.  I had a full and mostly happy life.  

Since leaving the church I feel like my "Thing" is Mormonism.  I find it ironic that it took me leaving the church to identify myself by it. My stand-up comedy is all about Mormonism.  This blog...obviously is all about Mormonism. My life story is Mormonism.  Every person I meet wants to know how, why and what Mormonism is. The church’s isolation tactic makes socializing outside the cult very difficult.   
My boyfriend Alex is a very talented guitar player. He is in a Van Halen Tribute band. Music is his "Thing." My roommate loves to read and talk about reading. That's her "Thing".  My co-worker is all into yoga and he loves buying stones and mediating with them. It may sound goofy to some but it is his "Thing." 

I used to have so many "Things" but lately I feel I have nothing. 

"Oh Emma, that's not true." I tell myself.  "You love your job! Car sales are really fun and fascinating and perfect for your personality." 

And it's true. I do love my job, but some days my job does not love me back.  My job can’t be my only love in life. Some days at my job people will ask me about my past and Mormonism will come up.  I don't love those days.  

I have spent the last few weeks contemplating this loss of personal development.  I had a bad day at work and the walls of self-loathing started closing in.  I'm ashamed to say I started falling back into my old habits.  Depression, and suicide idealization.   I tried to snap out of it.  I went for a run but as I ran my eyes were scanning the city skyline for tall buildings to jump off of. I began to shut down.  I began to cry in broad daylight, nervously pulling at my hair.  I was having what felt like the beginning of a nervous breakdown.  It was frightening.   I called a few people but no one picked up and when they tried to call me back it was too late.  I had fallen so deep into depression that I hid from everyone.  That night I drank a few beers to try and knock myself out.  At work I was barely present.  My managers noticed I was not my normal happy go lucky self. But I just kept quiet.

When I was Mormon I felt this way often.  I spent many nights in solitude crying and hating myself. I did not want to talk about it but desperately needed to.  After a particularly bad night of negative thinking I decided it was time to talk to someone.  I opened up to one of my managers at work who I trusted would understand.  Talking about my struggle made a big difference and I was able to get back to functioning at work. 

I think the biggest advice I can give at this point is be patients with yourself.  It's not my only "Thing" in my life but it is a big part and that's okay.  I do have other interests and it's important to continue looking for new adventures and hobbies. Yes, leaving Mormonism is hard but look and the progress you have made. There was a time where I thought about killing myself on a daily basis.  Now when I do feel suicidal it’s an abnormal feeling, and one that is easily dismissed. That's called progress my friends and if progress is my "Thing", well...I’ll take it!

Friday, August 8, 2014


Gather ‘round friends and I will tell you a terrible tale. A true ghost story. It all started at the BYU’s Women and MBAs introduction dinner.  The events you are about to read actually happened. MUAHAHAHAHA! 

I was fresh out of an engagement.  Aunmarried 26 year old.  The possibility were endless?   Ha! I was sexually frustrated and lacking any real skills to get me a job.  This boy was supposed to take me to the next level.  Married Ward.  I could be married and enter a new phase of life.  That was when I saw the invitation.  

"Welcome ladies,” said a cheerful woman in a business suit, “My name is Bethany and I am here to tell you a little bit about what BYU's MBA program has to offer you.   We are so glad all of you have taken an interest in forwarding your career at this blessed University. So sit back, enjoy your Christmas sparkling grape juice while we tell you why BYU's MBA program is right for you. "   

The dinner started out great. Different professors from the program all stood up and talked about the different classes and tests you would be required to take to apply for the program. at first I felt hope.  Maybe I could take care of myself without a husband?  But something felt off, the room seemed sad. It didn't become apparent just how sad until later in the evening.
"Ladies," said Bethany, "We have a special treat for you. Tonight we have with us three women who graduated from BYU’s MBA program. They are going to come up here and tell you a little about themselves and their experience."  

What happened next was the most horrifying display of self-loathing I have ever witnessed. The first woman took the stage. She had long stringy  hair and and was wearing what looked like a funeral dress.

"Hello, my name is Tiffany," She said  "I decided to get my MBA because I realized I was turning 30 and I wasn't married. I never planned on having to make a living for myself but I figured if I had to work, I should further my education."  I almost did a spit take as the other zombie women were all shaking their heads in agreement. Tiffany continued to tell of her menial job and how she hoped it would someday help her find a husband. She also commented that God may not have wanted her to get married and she will have to except that. What a rousing way to conclude your motivational MBA speech.

The next woman took the podium. She was very smiley and very pregnant. 

“Hello everyone, I’m Melony.  I was so excited when BYU asked me to speak today.  I had great success getting my MBA.  Much like Tiffany I was a little worried about my future because I wasn't married yet.  So I decided to get my MBA, and it’s actually where I met my husband.” Melony then proceeded to tell us all about how she met her husband and just how wonderful he was and how wonderful being married was. She concluded with, “Well…as you can see, I’m not actually using my MBA but my husband has a great job.  We just bought a house!”    

Melony Waddled off the stage. Finally the most terrifying speaker was announced.  The woman sitting next to me was called to the stage. She was absolutely beautiful and seemed very collected.  But her tale was the most tragic…

“Hi my name is Suzanna.  After I got my MBA I was offered a job at Google.” Wow! I was impressed! “…but I turned it down because my boyfriend at the time said he wanted us to get married and I would have to choose between him and Google.  After we broke up I spent two years working for a company in Africa. I spent some time in DC where I…” and here she listed quite a few accomplishments.  Though I was impressed, I could not quite get past her irrational turning down GOOGLE for a boy who clearly was not that into her. She now works for a company in DC but confusingly she lives in Salt Lake City. “I do spread sheets for a company all the way out in DC. I can work from home in my PJ’s.” she said with a laugh. 

"Hmmm like a hobo" I thought. Things got more awkward when she returned to the table.

 “Good job.”  I said, “That’s really impressive that you lived in Africa.” 

“Ha yeah!” She said bitterly, “It was great but you do feel the pressure.  I mean I’m 35 now and I just got dumped again.  I could have been dating for those two years you know…” 

“Um yeah I guess”, I said.

“I mean I just don’t get what I’m doing wrong.  Dave and I have been together for 6 months.  And about a month ago we were in the temple and he said he was praying for a sign…you know, like, if I was the one…and I guess right when he prayed is when I got done in the bathroom. So I came out and he saw me.  He told me it was a sign we should get married!  But then last week he said he felt the spirit tell him maybe not…but I’m like, what about the sign at the temple bathroom, you know?”  

Suzanne spent the rest of the night analyzing every man she had ever dated. All the other young woman at the table chimed in with similar concerns.  All of them were single too.  All of these woman were recently dumped...all of these woman sounded like...

 I then had a hair raising sensation. As if I was being watched by someone who knew my fate....  IT WAS ME!  Everything she was saying and had said sounded like my life.  I was sitting next to my Ghost of Christmas Future. Some pathetic girl, unsatisfied with all the good she had done because she was still single. Including, but not limited to, giving up her dream for a man.  The reason I was at this dinner is I had been dumped after moving from NYC to Utah for a man.   If I continued down this path I would become Suzanne.  My tombstone would read 

Here lies a chick who 
has seen the world but 
she never got married.  
What a shame.   

I felt sick for days after that dinner and I wish I could say it was the food.  I decided against the BYU MBA program.  I figured there are many better ways to deal with being single.