Another fundamental difference in how I experience sexuality, is that the discovery of my attraction to women (in my thirties) did not in any way diminish my attraction to men. The pie went from being baked in an 8 inch pie pan to a 10 inch pie pan. This was an addition not a transition or a denial of who I was fundamentally. There wasn't a feeling of loss, sadness, guilt or shame. It was just a very interesting new facet of who I am. Since I'm fully satisfied with the original pie, and to tell you the truth, well satiated, I don't feel the need to eat the rest of the pie, but it's definitely there. I'm now approaching twenty years of experience (and several unique incidents of attraction) without further expansion of the pie or reduction of the underlying attraction to men, I doubt that there will be further transition to a more gay state of being and I think the phrase "something more that straight" is a fairly apt description of me. I could choose to eat the other parts of my pie, but I don't for religious reasons.
It's no secret that I have a problem with Drama Queens, women who blame the church for their problems and persons, in general, who do not wish to be accountable for their own choices. I blogged about my admiration for Queen Elizabeth II and what a solid role model for mature, yes even LDS, womanhood she is. So I'd like to consider the following points from "You are not a princess 25 points for women and men to consider":
My responses are in Italics
1. You are not a princess. You do not deserve to be treated like royalty just by virtue of your sex. You deserve to be treated no better or worse than you treat others.
We are all sons and daughters of a King (and Queen, don't forget), remember the golden rule and the first commandment. The hardest place to apply this principle is in personal relationships. But if you find yourself falling into expectations wherein you think you deserve more because you are female-think about it. Please.
2. You are not any more “special” nor any more “entitled” than anyone else. You don’t deserve special privileges and nobody “owes” you anything by virtue of who you are or because of your gender.
I agree, along with the caveat of we are all special. When a male does show a woman traditional grace notes of opening doors, speaking kindly, please reciprocate with the traditionally appropriate thank you and other arts of graceful living.
3. You are just as “lucky” to have found your husband/boyfriend as he was to find you. Have you ever considered that there are times when you are lucky that he puts up with and tolerates you?
It is great fortune when a person finds the love of their life. But some partners are more blessed when others because the reality is that few relationships are 50/50 all the time, and there are ebbs and flows. It's nice to be evenly yoked but most marriages, partnerships and relationships are not that way. But it's probably better in many cases than pulling alone and when its not, well perhaps its time to go your own way.
4. Men have feelings, too. They hurt just as much as you do when you criticize, reject, dismiss, ignore, make fun of, disrespect, invalidate and/or mock them. In fact, they may hurt more because they don’t have as many emotional outlets as you—especially if you tell him his feelings “don’t count” or to “be a man” when he expresses his feelings that you mistakenly claim he doesn’t have and/or is “wrong” for having. He has feelings and he has a right to them even when they’re not the same as yours and/or are expressed differently than you express yours.
I've seen some terrible stuff along these lines from women, but men also do the same to women and some partners do this to each other. I don't think this is a uniquely princess failure.
5. If it’s okay for you to have male friends and maintain friendships with your exes, it’s also okay for your husband/boyfriend to have female friends and maintain friendships with his exes. It is not different for you because “you’re a woman.” It’s faulty logic to suppose women are inherently more trustworthy than men. This is called a double standard and it’s not okay. Otherwise, the culturally acceptable pronouncement, “Men are all dogs” should be met with “Women are all bitches” (i.e., female dogs) and should be equally culturally acceptable.
I agree, but note that we as LDS people probably exercise more caution in these relationships outside of the current marriage, partnership or relationship. On the other hand, we of all people, should be best equipped to have solid friendships with others including our ex's due to the twin principles of repentence and forgiveness. Note that I said "should" sometimes its just not humanly possible.
6. A father is just as important in a child’s life as a mother. Period. Just because you have a uterus doesn’t make you the better parent by default.
Well, this is an interesting argument for a Moho blog isn't it? I will agree that the optimum configuration for a family IS a mother and a father. The proclamation for the family also supports this family configuration. The question arises when a traditional (mother/father) family breaks up who is the better parent? It's not really relevant legally, because the law looks at what's best for the child. And, when you use that as your defining calculus, things change significantly. As a society we no longer dispose of fathers. Period. Because they are important to children. So is anyone who is important in the life of a child, both same sex parents, stepparents(I've seen it) and biological parent's exes.
7. Children are not “hers” and “his” objects. The correct possessive pronoun is “ours.”
8. Your husband/boyfriend does not “owe” you. He shouldn’t be expected to financially support you and shower you with gifts unless you’re willing to reciprocate and equally support him without question or complaint. You’re neither his child nor his dependent. You’re supposed to be his equal partner.
This brings up the question of the disposable LDS husband who is dumped because he is not a good provider through no fault of his own. Quite frankly, I've seen this way too many times. You may not have wanted to work, but if your husband is underemployed but diligent, stalwart and doing other things he needs to do, this is not a basis for destroying a family. Yes, my dear, you do need to seek employment or be willing to give up the second car and the scrapbooking hobby.
During times of prolonged unemployment as in the current he-cession will you support him by going out and getting a job of your own, taking a second or third job (as he would have) or will you fall back on the notion that it is not your role as an LDS woman because you have children?
If he's hurt, injured, mentally ill or just left behind by the workforce, will you pick up the slack with a cheerful heart?
9. Your husband’s/boyfriend’s desires, needs, wishes, feelings, likes and dislikes are just as important as yours. It’s not all about you all the time. You’re supposedly in a mutual and reciprocal relationship; not a service industry/client-vendor relationship.
10. If you’re not willing to make changes in yourself and your behavior, you’ve no right to demand that your husband/boyfriend do so. Nor is it reasonable to demand or expect your husband/boyfriend to make all the changes you want first before you’re willing to do your own work.
11. You are not a better human being by virtue of being a woman. You’re not a goddess. You’re not a sacred cow. You don’t “rule.” You’re a person, just like your husband/boyfriend is a person. You both deserve to be treated with equal dignity and respect when you act and treat each other with dignity and respect.
This is that strange place of bifurcation within the LDS church where women are placed on a pedestal due to their roles as mothers and men as their roles as priesthood bearers. Is one really better than the other and if you could see the dichotomy as equal dignity and respect how would that change things? I can see LDS feminists rewriting this statement as "You are not a better human being by virtue of being a man, . . . "
12. It’s a lie and a manipulation to say you “sacrificed” your career when you never really wanted to work in the first place. If you see your husband/boyfriend as your ticket to freedom from being a wage slave, be honest with yourself and your husband/boyfriend and most important of all, BE GRATEFUL. Having another person pay your way through life is not an inalienable right; it’s an enormous gift for which you should express gratitude on a regular basis.
It's also a lie and manipulation to say that you really wanted to stay home but couldn't afford to when you are working to afford a home that the majority of the inhabitants of the world would call a mansion.
It's a further lie and manipulations to say that you didn't pursue employment or educational opportunities because of your spouse, kids or the LDS church's stance on women working. These were your choices as many, many, many LDS women's careers now demonstrate.
Please do be grateful for the hard work of your spouse or partner when you have been able to have the luxury of staying home. This is particularly true if you have had the remarkable opportunity to care for your own children in their own home. This is something I wish I could desperately give my husband and baby song next year when he is the remaining child in our home, but I cannot. We have a situation where this would be the optimum for the three of us. I appreciate the handful of times I've been able to do it and my husband went off to work without ever complaining and has been unemployed less than .25% of the time we have been married. He is remarkable for that fact alone.
13. It is wrong to use your child(ren) to hurt, control or extort money from your husband/boyfriend/ex. In fact, it borders on child abuse. Children are not pawns or human shields to be used for your own selfish reasons. They’re people who will later grow to resent you for using them in this fashion and will likely develop psychological problems of their own as a result.
14. It is wrong to expect or demand that your ex continue to financially support you after the relationship ends. The children are entitled to support until they become adults at the age of 18. You’re already an adult and, as such, you’re capable of and should legally be expected to take care of yourself— unless you’re willing to continue to support your ex by doing his grocery shopping, cooking cleaning, errands, etc. If your obligations to your husband are finished after a divorce, his obligations to you should also be finished.
This depends on the circumstances and the laws where you live. Sometimes Women are required to support an ex after a divorce as well. But, while I cannot agree with this as a blanket statement, yes, part of being accountable is realizing that things change and usually not for the better after a divorce in terms of finances. Divorce and Bankruptcy tend to go hand in hand.
15. Your husband/boyfriend is not responsible for your happiness. It isn’t his job to make you happy; that’s your job. Just as he is responsible for his own happiness. He’s supposed to be your equal partner, not your emotional wet nurse.
Cruelly stated but true.
16. The desire for sex in a committed, loving relationship is healthy and natural. Using sex to control, shame or hurt your husband/boyfriend by withholding affection or making sex transactional is unhealthy and wrong.
Unfortunately, this assumes that only women play this game, but men do too. Respect of boundaries for both parties is also important-remember its possible to force your partner. Also, low libido and sexless relationships are, interestingly, not the sole province of opposite sex marriages, partnerships and relationships.
17. Your husband/boyfriend should be more important to you than your child(ren) just as you should be more important to your husband than the child(ren). In other words, you should be each others’ first priorities; children second. You don’t need a husband if your sole desire is to have children—unless you see the man as a source of income for yourself and the children. If you can’t support yourself, you probably shouldn’t be having children. Marriage is a bond between two grown adults; not a bond between parent and child (Marc Rudov, 2008). You vow to honor your spouse and put him or her before all others, this includes your children. Children eventually fly the coop. If you make them the focus and raison d’être of your marriage, don’t be surprised when you no longer have much of a marriage as the years pass.
18. You are only entitled to what you earn or produce. Men are neither beasts of burden nor “working boys” to be pimped out in the service of their partners or ex-partners. No one owes you a living. As an adult, you’re not entitled to be taken care of by another party unless you have documented cognitive or physical disabilities that prohibit you from working. Last time I checked, being a wife, ex-wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, mistress, ex-mistress, mother and/or simply a woman wasn’t considered a disability.
See my comments under #14.
19. It is just as ABUSIVE when a woman slaps, kicks, hits, spits at, scratches, shoves, pushes, punches, pulls hair, uses a weapon, swings a golf club at or throws objects at a man. It isn’t funny, cute, justifiable or deserved. It is indefensible, inexcusable, criminal and just as prosecutable as when a man acts violently toward a woman. Period.
20. The same goes for emotional abuse. It is unacceptable.
I would add stalking under this category which can also occur within a marriage I've posted a you tube video also originally spotted by Dr. Tara who wrote these 25 points. This video has PG-13 language, but it is very typical of female stalking of husbands, partners and exes.
21. It is neither “normal” nor “acceptable” adult female behavior to throw temper tantrums, withhold sex, cry, rage, pout, have disproportionate reactions to events or be unable to control emotions and behaviors. At the very least, these are signs of emotional lability and poor impulse control; at worst, these are indicators of serious pathology and quite possibly some kind of personality disorder.
The same is true with certain male sterotypical behaviors as well. I would cut some slack on the crying though, we do a lot of that, both male and female in this culture.
I think we probably as an entire culture and I'm speaking of the complete overculture here need to do a better job at helping our people function emotionally.
22. It is not okay to divert money from your joint checking/savings account(s) or open credit cards in your husband’s/boyfriend’s name without his knowledge and explicit permission. The first instance is stealing and the second is considered identity theft and fraud. Signing your husband’s/boyfriend’s signature to financial and legal documents is forgery. All of these actions are illegal.
I would add that the converse is true as well, but a little less frequent in occurrence. Also you could substitute elderly parents and minor children for husband/boyfriend here as well.
23. It is irresponsible to live beyond your means and abusive to expect your husband/boyfriend to foot the bill or go into debt to cover your expenses. If you can’t responsibly use a credit/debit card then, much like a child, you shouldn’t have one.
24. It is never acceptable or permissible to threaten to deny your husband/boyfriend/ex access to the children you share. It is not okay to make up abuse allegations because you’re feeling angry, hurt or out of control. This is an act of slander (spoken) or libel (written) and if you swear to it in court, it’s also an act of perjury.
This aggravates me to no end when I experience this in my professional life. It is particularly annoying because so many women are actually victimized. Those that choose to lie about abuse make a mockery of the suffering of their sisters.
25. It is not fair to commit to or marry a man and then try to change him. If you don’t accept him as he is, just like you expect him to accept you and your faults, then you have no business being with him. Everyone has a right to feel accepted for who he or she is in a relationship. If he’s “not good enough” for you from the get go; keep looking and cut him loose so he can be with a woman who appreciates him.
Wow. I don't even want to touch 25 in terms of an LDS MOM marriage. But, yes I have to agree with the basis of this statement. And, I also have to state that it is not rational to expect no divergence, no change and no faults in a partner. It pretty much is an uncertain journey.
One of the difficult and traumatic questions that arises as you read the story of Stuart Matis as told in the book In Quiet Desperation, is why his parents accepted Stuart's purchase of a gun. Stuart's parents address this issue and note that they were afraid of alienating Stuart and they hoped by keeping communication open that might possibly make a difference. Yet, they were also astoundingly fatalistic (which studies show is a common response by family members, friends and even the medical profession) about the potential for Stuart to take his own life and many people have difficulty with their perspective and the context they chose place the events in.
Can you really make a difference by reducing means? Yes.
First, most of the time you can make a difference because the overwhelming majority of suicide attempts are impulsive in nature and 90% of attempters do not go on to die by suicide later. Second, guns in the home are the major source of means for teenagers who commit suicide. Better control, storage or elimination of guns (and, we are actually talking handguns here since hunting weapons are rarely utilized in suicide) from the household is a huge step towards safety in the home for teens, Elders and family members dealing with mental illness including depression which many, many people will experience some time during their life.
How do we do it?
Reduce easy access to dangerous substances at home. That includes:
Firearms - Because firearms are the most lethal among suicide methods, it is particularly important that you remove them until things improve at home, or, second best, lock them very securely.
Medications - Don't keep lethal doses at home. Your local Poison Control Center can give you information about what constitutes a lethal dose for the medicines you need to keep. Be particularly aware of keeping prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone and methadone) under lock and key both because of their lethality and their potential for abuse.
Alcohol - Alcohol can both increase the chance that a person makes an unwise choice, like attempting suicide, and increase the lethality of a drug overdose. Keep only small quantities at home.
The How to Specifics-Firearms
(Adapted by the Harvard School of Public Health from Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program )
A lethal weapon available to a person in the depths of despair can end a life in an instant! Firearms are used in five out of ten suicides in the U.S. Removing lethal means from a vulnerable person, especially a youth, can save a life. It's like keeping the car keys away from a person who has had too much to drink.
Who Can Help Store or Dispose of a Firearm?
Some law enforcement departments (not all) will take firearms. Some offer temporary storage, some offer permanent disposal options, and some offer both. First, call your local police department, sheriff or state police. Identify yourself and explain your concern. Ask for the Officer on Duty; write down his/her name and the department's name. Arrange with the officer a time and location for him/her to pick up the firearm, if they offer that service. Do not bring the firearm to the police department unless told to by the Officer on Duty.
Does the Firearm Need to Be Ready to Go in a Certain Way?
If you know how to safely unload the firearm, unload it. If you do not know how to unload the firearm, tell the Officer before he/she arrives to pick it up. If the Officer asks you to bring the firearm to the police station, name who will bring it, what the person looks like, and the time the person will arrive.
What Happens to the Firearm?
The gun owner and the Officer will complete some paperwork. What happens next depends on the department. If the owner no longer wants it, some departments may have it melted down while others may sell it. Departments that offer temporary storage may have different policies regarding how to retrieve it (e.g., if applicable in your state, the gun owner may need to bring in a valid firearm owner ID card).
What if Law Enforcement Storage or Disposal Isn't an Option?
-Temporarily store the firearm at the home of a trusted relative or friend. Be sure the person at risk cannot get the firearm before or after it is removed. NOTE: Not all people can hold the guns for you. Check the list of prohibited persons under federal law. -Lock the unloaded firearm in a gun safe or tamper-proof storage box with ammunition locked in a separate location. (BETTER YET, don't keep ammunition at home.) -Trigger locks are sold in sporting goods stores and where firearms are sold. Some police departments offer free locks. -Be sure the keys and storage box combinations are kept away from the person at risk. Remember: This does not guarantee safety. Youths generally know their parents' hiding places. -Do not place the firearm in a bank safe deposit box. Most states have laws that prohibit carrying a weapon into federally insured buildings such as banks. -Sell the firearm following the appropriate legal guidelines.
The How to Specifics-Meds
Avoid Storing Lethal Quantities of Medications in the home.
-Find and Locate prescription Medications in the home. -Dispose of any not in use at the time. -Consider keeping very small quantities of over the counter drugs available and keep larger quantities under lock and key. -Find out what the lethal dosage is for each active prescription and keep larger amounts under lock and key. -Most pharmacists are willing to provide you with counseling on these matters and you can also call your local poison control center. -Do not order by mail in super quantities.
Behavior changes in your loved ones that may indicate an intent to use Medications for suicide or other inappropriate uses:
-Watch for doctor shopping or unusually high numbers of visits in your loved one or friend. -Watch for the accumulation of unfilled paper prescriptions. -Hoarding of medications, such as pain medications, long after the event that prompted the prescription has passed.
Disposal of Medications
Borrowed from a Vermont Department of Health Factsheet:
Prescription medications should not be flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain. To properly dispose of prescription medications, use the following guidelines:
Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of their original containers.
Mix the prescription drugs with an undesirable substance (used kitty litter, coffee grounds, soil, etc.), place the mixture into a sealable plastic bag or container, and place it into the trash. Please choose an undesirable substance that pets won’t want to eat.
When discarding a transdermal patch, fold the patch into itself and then place it in the undesirable mixture.
Despite or should I say in spite of Questioning Song's remarks from last night's FHE, I really don't think I experience sexualtiy in a "Homo" way. But it's also very clear to me that I experience something more than "Straight" sexuality, whatever we are going to call that.
The way I experience sexuality would actually support the "homosexuality is a choice" line of thought. At this point, I've heard (well read) over and over that others do not see their sexuality as a choice. My brother in law was like me and when he finally experienced sexual attraction, he experienced it to both sexes, but later clearly felt a preference for men. On the other hand, my friend John had lived with and loved a man for over ten years but was willing to consider marriage to a woman. So my closest real life contacts who had actually lived their lives with substantial amounts of homosexual conduct did not speak so very forcefully against the choice idea as they might have. So given this place I find myself in, I really don't find the argument that homosexual conduct is a choice distressing.
Given how I progressed to this point, I actually wonder if many, many more people experience their sexuality in the same way I do, with quite a bit of fluidity. Could this be why so many people are continue to argue that homosexuality is a choice? Because this is the way great numbers of people actually experience their sexuality? And, this raises its own set of questions again as to how I should deal with Questioning Song and his sexuality which may be quite different than mine in the long run.
Then I look back on this long marriage and I find myself saying well what about this, and when that happened remember how I lonely I felt, and why, and how, how rigid is that, or I would like it this way, and I can't help but wonder how many issues partners in mixed orientation marriages would have had anyway even if both parties were straight? And, yes, we can constrict this to the purely sexual arena and I still find those questions arising for me. I have been through so much and so has DH that other people find indicative as problems arising out of one partner's sexuality and it's just not computing that way for me. Long term marriages have varying phases with differing levels of intimacy.
Tonight we had our first get ready for Two Guys and a Prom night by watching this video of the Horstmanschoff's family's experience with homosexuality for Family Home Evening. It was a little long. All independent filmmakers do this, they inflict too much information on their viewers. Baby Song said, "Weird." Questioning Song said, "Thank God you're kind of a Homo, too!" and DH said, "Does this mean I can have a second wife?"
No one asked me, but as a parent, I'm not really satisfied with either the Scouting Program or the Young Women's program. But, I don't dislike these programs either. Yes, I've heard people testify that these programs are inspired, and they may be, but more likely they are a product of our wonderful correlation committee, instigation of which was a huge blessing to the membership whether inspired or not.
Scouting is a rather odd phenomenom which can manifest in strange ways. The relationship between the Boy Scouts and the LDS Church and Homosexuality seems to be caught in a self-reinforcing cycle. I found Rex's post interesting to say the least. Understand that number one Song, is an Eagle, and even questioning Song did quite a bit of scouting, and that baby Song will probably go forward in Scouting quite a way. Girl Song really resented not being able to be a Boy Scout, but of course she was always upset about every thing her brother got to do that she didn't. Quiet Song is technically an adult scouter, and while she thinks that avowed homosexual quite surely doesn't include a heterosexual with some homosexuality, she finds the line quite arbitrary.
I do like the personal progress program in concept, and now that it is open to every woman not just the girls, I'm going to finish mine. Just as I don't get crafting in Relief Society, remember my idea of a great way to spend a day making something right now is replicating found objects in cast iron, I'm not entirely on board with the remainder of the young women's program, except for Girl's camp. I OWE a lot to Girl's Camp.
In the early 1900's one of the achievements for girl's included clearing a 1/4 acre of brush. Some things do change . . . Where's my bandelero?
Previously, I've posted here and here about the recent passing of my Drama Mama and not so much about the family schism she partially purposefully and partially unwittingly engineered a few weeks before passing. I've also written about the family proprensity to play the blame game and how I sometimes slip into that old habit largely caused by bad family of origin conditioning. As though receiving an email from my mother's email account with no explanation whatsoever that had a pdf attachment of a tacky funeral announcement was not enough, there is now a facebook posting accusing Drama Mama's bishop of directing a third party to steal the family jewels.
Oh, my. What next?
How was it possible to so get the facts so incredibly mixed up (I actually do have most of the facts and the finger points to the nutzoids' agent in the matter and the bishop was not even remotely involved) and so avoid the personal responsibility that actually dwells somewhere other than Drama Mama's poor bishop who had actually zero to do with any part of this?
Onward and forward to another day . . . and, thanks to all those folks willing to serve and who unwittingly take some of the collateral damage.
Another question regarding Chaucer's commitment to go to prom was "Will his parents have a melt down over this?" Understand, Chaucer is not LDS, but he lives in a trailer park. Also understand that the Song family also lived in a trailer park at one time, but stereotypes still creep in. I mean is it possible they are just unrepentant redneck, trailer trash? Oh, the vast unknown that gets opened when one contemplates future in laws. Yeah, right, its just a date. Now back to the main question, will there be problems from Chaucer's parents and will the Kid ultimately disappointed?
The Kid simply didn't know the answer to this. He didn't know if Chaucer is out to his parents or not. However, since Chaucer is eighteen, he didn't think that it would matter.
The Kid is also almost eighteen. This actually makes a huge difference in my comfort/discomfort level. It helps that the Kid went to Prom last year with a girl and dated both the flaming red haired ninja girl and ferret woman before becoming interested in his first two male romantic interests. I've had 18 months to process this, revisit my own sexuality/testimony/intellenctual take on the issues, some significant preivous experience with a gay friend, had a now deceased gay brother-in-law and lived in various gay friendly communities.
DH pipes up and says, "We didn't have a meltdown." I had two inner responses, 1) Honey you lying sack of ________, and 2) I'm glad it wasn't visible. More, on my meltdown and my husband's meltdown (which actually involved the Kid and Chaucer last year), he conveniently chose to forget- some other time I suppose.
Then DH says, "Don't do this to be provocative or make a statement." The Kid assured him he wasn't doing it to make a show and explained that they will probably go with a group of people like he did last year. The Kid also explained that although he would like to dress somewhat flamboyantly (he did last year with his female date who made her dress out of a striped bed sheet with a matching tie for the Kid), he didn't think Chaucer was into that. Inside, I thought to myself, "Well, there goes my opportunity to make funky chapeaus for the two of them . . . ." It's funny how twisted the half full glass mindset I have about life can get.
As I have pondered Chaucer and The Kid going to Prom 2010, I've wondered how Grandmother felt when Mother started dating married men and going to roadhouses at age 16. Perhaps this is one reason why Grandmother started drinking at about this time and began her descent into Alcoholism? Yep, no meltdown here. Thank God for Dr. J and the miracle of modern anti-anxiety medication. I think it might be time for a series of posts titled Babylon 1956-1970 wherein I explain the very different background from Mormondom that I was born into and why I want my kids to avoid anything that looks remotely like it. No visible meltdown, but there has been plenty of anxiety, I assure you.
At this point, in my heart of hearts, I know that Chaucer and the Kid will now be coming to our house before Prom for pictures. This still makes me a little anxious. I make The Kid go to church, mutual and seminary and DH supports me in this because of a few "incidents." DH is now agnostic and the Kid is identifying as Atheist. However, DH feels that the kid needs the moral grounding church has to offer and has remarked, "they don't check to see if you have a testimony or if you are gay at the door." DH and the Kid accordingly don't take the sacrament. But, for some weeks we've been going together as a family and I am satisfied with that.
Even when the Kid wasn't attending Sundays and Mutual, I still required Seminary attendance. My perspective was that this is the one thing that was the most important in the long run as far as, lets face it, preserving maximum options for future missionary service if any thing changed testimony wise. Attaining Eagle Scout also fell by the wayside due to the twin barriers of no belief in God and LGBT or questioning identity.
With Seminary graduation looming, I fear (but have no knowledge that this would be the case) that somehow his graduation could be impacted either by official decree or the Kid winding up being too embarassed to attend after going with Chaucer to the prom. But, truth be told I think many of his friends and his leaders already know. High school social consequences are zero for a variety of reasons I won't go into.
I'd rather not have to explain ourselves to any outlying do gooder who doesn't already know that the Song family is pretty out there anyway as far as being card carrying liberals. But every LDS congregation, no mather how tolerant, has at least 1 or 2 of these types of personalities. And, often I've found these vocal few to be some of the folks with the greatest problems in their own personal lives-think homophobic closeted gay folk. The Kid thinks there won't be any problems. I think he is right.
We also wondered if Chaucer was really serious about doing this and if he would get cold feet? I wondered if the Kid would take this as another rejection. The Kid assured me that his relationship was really much more casual and that he would be ok if Chaucer got cold feet.
I then told the Kid that it is my wish that he find a nice Mormon boy to settle down with. The Kid both liked this and found it uncomfortable. I also said that I hoped both would attend church regardless of excommunication, disfellowship or whatever. He asked, "How would I introduce my husband in Elder's Quorum?" "What if we have kids?" We said, you will introduce him as your husband if you are legally married in a state that allows gay marriage. If you are in a state that allows domestic partnerships, you will introduce him as your partner and that will be that. If you have kids, you will introduce them as your kids with your partner or husband.
And, that will be that.
We also shared about our family friend who went on a mission and is now marrying her girlfriend she fell in love with as a heterosexual woman. He got a kick out of the cute Mormon "lesbians."
DH supports gay marriage and I am just so tired of the whole debate that I no longer participate politically on the issue. If the Kid marries a woman, I will go to the wedding and do the traditional parenting things. If the Kid marries a man, I will go to the wedding and do the traditional parenting things. God can sort all of this out in the millenium.
So last night the Kid asked me how I felt about him going to his friend Chaucer's (name changed here) prom in May. Oh the mixed feelings and logistics of it all as a something more than straight, living to have no regrets, active member mormon lady of a certain age parent. Where to start?
First of all, we know Chaucer, and his most memorable imprint upon us as parents was his disturbing lack of hygiene. However, we haven't seen him for a year, and the Kid assures us Chaucer has undergone something of a metamorphosis. The Kid is a stud muffin and when not fighting the dreaded teenage acne, and even when the facial eruptions occur looks pretty good even if I say so myself. DH and I don't make no junk when it comes to offspring, although we always wonder how this could be(being relatively dweebish ourselves), genetically, we seem to have combined well to produce better specimens in our offspring. Yes, I am a braggard.
Second, the Kid wanted to know if he should bring Chaucer to the house or meet him elsewhere. What's the problem you may ask? Well, there is a little brother who is cognitively delayed and the original birds and bees talks have been difficult enough, but now we will need to explain to him why the Kid has a male date. And, then how does this fit or not fit in with gospel principles and what does this mean for our family? Fortunately, the Kid has thought about this and has some good ideas for the talks with little brother. I think the next few weeks of Family Home Evening are going to be very interesting . . . .
Third, the Kid's previous two male romantic interests (before them he previously had two girlfriends-one who is now his best friend) have now decided they are straight. This was a bit of a blow to his self esteem as a budding bisexual or gay man. The Kid readily admits that there is something incredibly exhilerating about Chaucer asking him to the Prom after these experiences. I thought it was kind of funny when DH said, "You don't have to go with him, just because he was the only guy who asked you."
And as I now have to run off to work, I must leave the post incomplete. Stay tuned for installment two wherein I share the high points of the family discussion of the hypothetical of how the Kid should introduce any future husband he might have in Elders Quorum.
I greatly admire Queen Elizabeth II. A few months ago, I received The Queen on DVD as a gift. Helen Mirren was awesome. I so love the little speech that the Tony Blair character made about the sacrifice of the Queen.
Elizabeth has certain everywoman characteristics that I can relate to as a mature woman and not a cinderella fantasy. She has (had) an incredibly heavy load of responsibilities most of her adult life and particularly as a working parent. Her choice of a husband was not universally accepted at the time, although he was royalty. She has several children who haven't always made the best choices and one or two may not have met her expectations. She obviously tries hard. She can make mistakes and as the film so carefully detailed and has also faced those mistakes.
This was even more interesting to me as I pondered some of the blessings we women receive in our endowments. We are not to be Cinderella and be swept off our feet by Prince Charming. We are queens in our own right, with or without a consort, and we have responsibility to others along with our privilege. As is so wonderfully shown in the film, it is a life of hard work, great thought and meditation, devotion to duty, and great restraint. Soldier, auto mechanic, diplomat, mother, grandmother, head of state and manager, she is a great example.
Back in November, I wrote my Goodbye Drama Mama post. That's when I decided enough was finally enough with certain family members and Mother. I did all my mourning then as well, and, wept profusely.
Last night Mother passed and I've barely felt the pain. My family of origin was highly dysfunctional, i.e. totally nuts. I spent part of the day reading Drama Mama's emails that I've saved since 2003. She was really something and so are the others (still living) involved in this most recent go round.
It's relief I feel, with only a tiny bit of shame for being glad she's gone. I certainly hope that Mother manages to work through a few issues before we meet again. And, today, once again I felt the kindness of my husband and my kids. It's so nice that we don't have to be defined by our messy families of origin.
This afternoon, I've passed the time by quietly working on the longest tax return I've ever had to prepare in our married life. There is that old saying, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes."
Another thing I just don't get-when in Rome live by Rome's laws. The BYU honor code.
To read some bloggers you'd think the Spanish Inquisition was in place. So, never having personally attended the Y, I guess I just don't quite get the allure and the reason for staying if one is unhappy. Oh-your parents are paying for your education you say? Hmmmm. Well one could choose to pay their own way. Of course, few universities on the planet are as affordable as the BYU's for those who qualify for the super duper member rates. Or is it that you want all the benefits of affiliation with said university (networking, high ranking, and status)and not the baggage?
Sorry, if you are not feeling the love, sign me "a product of fine non-Utah community college, public university undergrad, Methodist and Jesuit grad school programs," Quiet Song.
When I met her, it was under the unpleasant yet reinforcing experience of being held up to be an example of what a young LDS girl should dress like in the era of the miniskirt. As I recall, it was my first night at mutual in my new ward and the lesson was on modesty. I had made my cute blue jumper the previous year in Home Economics class. Sewing came easy to me, Mother did it, and it had been the only 4-H option available to me as an inner city gradeschooler. By the time I was a second year Beehive, I COULD make just about anything I wanted to and my mother would buy fabric and patterns when she wouldn't buy new clothes.
I think this was the start of my love hate relationship with Queen Bee. Our fathers were business associates. Hers was already on his way to being more successful than my stepfather. She had the added benefit of having a sane, moral father figure in her life, I did not. Her mom was the classic LDS homemaker. Mine was not, but became a world class baker of whole wheat bread, could can anything and began her odyssey into what I'll call a health food fetishism which has lasted the rest of her life.
Queen Bee did not like having any attention diverted to me. In the next few months she managed two nasty emotional sabotages through other people, one through the same beehive leader and another through one of the young men, who told me I didn't belong in their ward group and I should get out. I know this because another girl told me that he wanted to be with Queen Bee and she had been there when Queen Bee asked him to tell me. Fortunately, Queen Bee and I did not attend the same junior high school.
I was very, very used to being the new kid as my mother had moved a lot as a single parent. Paying my dues one way or another was typical. At least this was not physical and I was not being physically attacked for being a newcomer.
During the second year of Beehives (never thought how funny this is before), Queen Bee and I had become uneasy friends. I remember many nights of pleasant sleep overs. Her Mom was fun and I liked her. Queen Bee's mom let me borrow a beautiful pink long dress that she had made for Queen Bee for a dance. As I recall, Queen Bee could no longer fit the bodice.
I don't ever remember being sexually attracted to Queen Bee, but I do recall wanting to be her friend and never quite feeling like I measured up. This feeling of inadequacy grew during the high school years and we attended the same school. Queen Bee became, you guessed it, a cheerleader. She also had a classic Barbie Doll figure. I did not, I had a good, but old fashioned hour glass figure. Queen Bee was naturally browner and in our California beach community that also added to her popularity package.
In retrospect, it's funny how inadequate I always felt around Queen Bee. I remember asking her about Cheerleader try-outs. With incredible scorn, Queen Bee basically told me I was crazy for even thinking of trying and that I absoulutely did not have what was necessary to be a cheerleader. So I didn't try out. I cannot remember if it was because I felt so put down or simply no longer wanted to be around her.
Understand that I was very, very beautiful as a teenager. I had been solicited to model locally, but turned that opportunity down. I've always wondered if that was foolhardy and whether I should have taken advantage of that opportunity when it came. However, I never felt beautiful.
And, I felt so ugly compared to the popular Queen Bee. Being a shy and serious person didn't help.
As we continued on in high school, Queen Bee, mostly maintained our "friendship" by borrowing my surfer chick clothes. Mother had discovered a cute boutique that carried Alfred Shaheen and other hawaiian designers and I had great women's hawaiian shirts and a really wonderful bikini with a cover up that I never wore without the cover up. Queen Bee was never allowed to wear jeans, they were too unladylike (remember it hadn't been so very long that we could even wear pants to school). As I also had a horse at this time, I had plenty of jeans of various configurations, wranglers, checks, and the classic Levi's 501's.
So often, I would lend Queen Bee my 501's and a hawaiian shirt and she would come out of the bathroom at school as someone different, a surfer chick. And off she would go in my clothes to her other friends. I remember thinking how odd it was that she so liked my clothing but not me. I also loaned my three piece bikini and cover up to her (how nasty is that?) and later heard she was wearing the bikini only.
Queen Bee eventually paired up with a rich, asian boyfriend who was not LDS. I remember being at his house once with Queen Bee so we must have continued spending some time together willingly. I basically had several strong male friendships with boys in our ward, a couple maturing into quasi and full romances. During those years, I can safely say that most of my friends were boys, but I so wanted a strong female friendship and my experience with Queen Bee was frustratingly unrequited.
After moving away in my Junior year, I did make several strong female friends at the next school. And, later met DH. I can honestly say that DH was the very best thing about those years. And, bless my girlfriends (active LDS girls who did allow me to be their friends without limitation) for loving and befriending him, too. They were not popular but had strong convictions and a sense of their own worth.
When I've read posts on first crushes, read stories of teenage same sex attractions and how the writers later characterized their experiences with friends, I've wondered why I was so drawn to Queen Bee and so badly wanted her approval. I don't think it was sexual at all. But I wanted to belong and somehow Queen Bee had become the gatekeeper or icon of acceptible feminity and I just didn't measure up. I just didn't have what was needed to really be a young women. I was too mannish. There were other reasons I wished I had been born male, again, fodder for another post. These were all thoughts I had that I used to reinforce my own low self esteem.
Also, the whole modesty and appropriateness in dress was interwoven with our mutual teenage experience. This is where she chose to rebel and she used me to do it.
The term Queen Bee comes from a book called Queen Bees and Wannabees. It was later made into the movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan. Not only did I really like the movie, but thus began my obsession with LILO as well. I guess that's also fodder for another post. Strangely some of this Queen Bee behavior carries on into adult life with some women, too.
I think I'm no longer a wannabee, it's taken a long time to get here. I hope I have not become a Queen Bee either although there are characteristics of a heavenly queen that I hope I do have. As women we judge, we criticize each other and ourselves, we try to protect our turf, we fail to forgive and worse. I decided to really make an effort to find Queen Bee last night to see how her life turned out. I don't want to be her friend (well, I think maybe I'm still fearful of rejection or nastiness), but I wanted to know.
In the last couple of years, Queen Bee lost her father and married a daughter off to a nice young man. From my strictly online sources, I was able to ascertain that Queen Bee didn't stay with her high school boyfriend, she married what looked to be a nice LDS boy, got her own degree, put husband through professional school, went through a serious health issue with husband, went through serious health problem and miracle with one of her children, experienced financial hardship, possibly endured criminal activity by her husband, and divorced her husband. I found her facebook profile and could not believe how unhappy she looked. Wow.
This only serves to reinforce what I already knew about life, that there are tremendous sorrows hidden within each and every soul. I am not at all happy for her distress or gloating about the things which on their face seem to be better about my life. Life is not easy even for Queen Bees.
In my community there are at least three distinct religious groups of women covering: two in the Christian tradition and one in the Islamic tradition. Our Islamic ladies wear the headscarves sometimes with abaya or long dusters, and sometimes in regular western clothing. One Christian group wears prayer caps with long dresses and capes. The other tends toward the long denim skirts and kerchiefs. These women are respected in our community and while they tend to be devoted to home and family, many do work outside the home AND run businesses here both as individuals and as part of their families.
We do not have any fundamentalist Mormons here. My Jewish friend, strangely, is the only person I have ever heard snipe about the dress code of our covered friends. This goes along with her well meaning but unfortunate lack of tact. I do not think there are any Orthodox Jews here or we would see the requisite wigged married ladies.
Because I am old, I have been exposed to other head covering traditions such as in the Catholic church, yes I am old enough to have attended a Catholic wedding mass, be named for a Catholic Saint (subconsciously, I think, by Mother), and be familiar with the Catholic Mantilla. Mother briefly attended Catholic nursing school before being dismissed by the assistant Mother Superior for (choose any of the following): a) walking in the convent halls in only her underwear (this may have something else to do with my interest in the history of underwear!), b) drag racing on Saturday nights, c) Coming to Sunday Mass so drunk she could not say the Rosary, d) Her older brother calling the school and asking, "Is this the Catholic whorehouse?", or e) some combination or all of the above. Mind you, Mother was not Catholic, nor was I baptized Catholic. Nevertheless, Catholicism is a part of the family tradition. It is also the tradition I married into.
I had a lot of misconceptions. I met a beloved customer who shared with me her true and abiding Catholic faith and how a devout, pious modern Catholic lives. It was eye opening and nourishing. There is a lot of diversity in Catholicism and some of that diversity is finding expression in a return to more traditional practices such as women wearing the head covering.
As I have experienced my friends and neighbors who cover, I do not find oppression. I do not find oppression myself in being a woman of cover. And, I believe more and more women of many faiths are choosing to cover both in worship and in daily life as a statement of faith and identity. However, I do believe many people feel threatened by covering women because it distresses their own secular identities. This has even been raised as a possible source for the head covering conflict in France, as it is a difficult reminder for some of the influence and power of the Catholic church.
So you may ask how is it that Quiet Song has so much interest in the history of underwear? I will give a few answers:
1) In general I love potty humor. However, as a parent I specifically dislike Captain Underpants, and was more than happy to "inadvertantly" abandon the one book we had from this series in the Urologist's office. Yes, sometimes the young'uns have to be seen in these places, too. I also have to admit that some of the potty training cassettes we used had some pretty catchy tunes. And, when DH admitted to the littlest angel that he would like character briefs, too, and wanted the Incredible Hulk . . . . Well, I've never stopped laughing.
2) I once was asked to build a fleet of corsets for a local theatre production, which I wisely declined, but not before learning a great deal about corset manufacture.
3) I have never, ever had a bra that fit, and seriously considered making my own. Now I'm at an age and with a family history of breast cancer, I may face future reconstruction, at which time I'll have my girls realigned and rebuilt in such a way as to fit standard commercial brands of brasierres instead.
4) I also considered making or having a corset made to train my waist flab to lie in a more attractive manner than it does. Ladies, ever notice the strange confirguration of fat and how it appears to be related to where the waistband of pants hits? I discovered that there is an entire subculture related to the modern corset. And,
5) There is the ongoing debate that temple garment wearing women are oppressed creatures who do not own control of their bodies as recently demonstrated on the Curie's blog. The curious result is that for some people wearing underwear that allows you to express your fashion sense or makes you feel sexy, dominating or attractive is ok, whereas wearing underwear in conformance with the tenets of your faith and an expression thereof is not ok.
Three sites of interest on the history of underwear and, men, I have not forgotten you!
And, waist training and corset dieting from the lovely Romantasy.
Finally, from the War on Terror in 2009 we have Zachary from Texas fighting the Taliban in his pink boxers and flip flops. Note that these are "I love New York" pink boxers. Not to be outdone, Umar Farouk of Nigeria, attempted to blow up an airliner with his explosive briefs on behalf of Al-Qaeda on Christmas day.
I read the Curies blog regularly, (sigh, except sometimes when it makes me blush) and have followed Mister's exploration of trying to determine what his sexuality is. He mentioned taking the Klein test. Today I tried the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid and came out straight but very, very close on the quadrant of being emotionally gay. On the Multidimensional Scale of Sexuality I came out Heterosexual with some Homosexuality and low but measurable ratings for concurrent bisexuality and serial bisexuality. Concurrent bisexuality means having sex with males and females separately during the same period of time and serial bisexuality means alternating male and female partners over time.
Both of these scales seemed to require a fair amount of experience with multiple sexual partners (one and only one for me) and more experience using erotic material than I have. Both tests attempt to measure sexual fluidity at any given time. I don't know how accurately either measures the "active LGBT LDS member lifestyle" with no porn, no gay cultural identity, and limited sexual contacts. Perhaps I'm "straight for the cause?"
So, do I know anymore than I did when I started? Not really. Sounds a bit like of a wine marketing slogan though, "Heterosexual with a piquant hint of homosexuality."
With the very large number of children being reared in the church by their mothers without a father in the home, the large number of single women and the large number of men who are either unable or unwilling to preside in their home as priesthood holders, I'm going out on a limb here and suggesting the following observations reflect actual reality for us as a people:
1) Many women are already performing functions traditionally thought to be performed by holders of the priesthood, i.e. presiding in the home, and that we outnumber men in the church and are more likely to live alone at some time in our life due to our greater lifespans.
2) Many women are actually performing blessings and the like in their homes and for their loved ones, and most are not sharing that information with others as it is considered sacred, and, yes, sometimes, sacreligous, and both the language and perception may be different as women who find themselves in this situation do not exercise the priesthood power as a result of their ordination but rather as a right of their endowment,
3) and, that the church is actually at the level of it's most fundamental building block, the family, is an unabashedly matriarchial institution in actual fact regardless of whether there is a presiding priesthood holder present and accounted for.
Wikipedia's definitions of both Patriarchy and Matriarchy are useful here. As I cobbled together the numbers in the past when thinking about this issue, my unscientific feel for the numbers was that households in the church spiritually "led" by a woman would be at least 40% and may even exceed 50%. That would make for interesting research.
In case you had not noticed, the economy sucks. I'm feeling whiny. Since I've never been a dispensationalist, I find no joy in noting that we are barely keeping our heads above water from sinking into a full bore economic depression. I find it tedious.
So far I've refused to participate in the recession, but there are times I definitely think, "Somethings gotta give."