Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gaining My Own Sense of Self

That is definitely still in progress. So many new ideas and thoughts to go through. So many new ways to seek my sense of who I am. I've been thinking about this lately because I'm so newly out of Mormonism and yet so many things that have defined me were through the Mormon lens.

My role as a woman was defined for me. Get married and get an education only for a way to support if necessary, and have children, support my husband in his priesthood and nurture and raise my children in the Gospel. That was pretty honed in sense I was a little girl. I was never felt very "motherly" so I tried not to think too much about that aspect of marriage. But at the same time I was never encouraged to look for things that really interested me, to hone in those talents, and I never gained a sense of longing for learning of a certain topic, etc. And I'm not saying that it's just because of growing up in the Mormon church. Statistics clearly show girls behind in math and science in the United States than other developed countries.

I guess I'm just whining and should just buck up and get on with it, but I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I love learning about language and now the sciences such as biology. I'm also focusing on feminist study. There is so much I don't know about other women who have paved the way in society and were boat-rockers in their...hell, they'd be boat-rockers now. Elizabeth Cady Stanton...we learn a bit about her during the suffrage part of history class but that's about it. I just realized she wrote her own women's Bible, taking out all the crap derogatory toward women!

So before I was a wife and a mother (still am) and that was supposed to be enough and now I do want more but don't know what. I want to teach my son to be loving and a good person. I want to teach him to think critically and to not be afraid of the world. Now I don't have the religious tug telling me how I should. I now have my inner self screaming at me to figure it out...I feel like I'm still stuck in a sort of limbo. I know what I want to try to be and I know what I don't believe in, too....

Also my marriage was also defined by Mormon standards. Religion was a commonality we shared. Back in December we had a pretty big fight and my DH asked me what we had in common now that we no longer had religion to share. It made me realize how much I still need to work on my marriage and remake it how I want instead of how someone told me it should be.

I'm continually realizing what a tough road it all still is leaving Mormonism behind...in a way I can never leave it behind since it's part of who I am, how I was raised. I'll always have family and friends in it. I'll always have ancestors that crossed the plains for it too. It's figuring out how to gain a new marriage while leaving an old one behind, about figuring out how to raise my child so completely different than I was, it's about figuring out who I am now and what is good for me and my family and thus rubbing and gouging off the scales of confinement on my role in this world. It's also about continually loving family even when they say and do hurtful things since I no longer believe. I guess that is still my Mormon think coming through too...I don't need to figure it all out right now; it's about the journey and the pieces I gain along the way.

The road looks tough but worth the walk, run, jump, lying down, or skipping while on it.


JZ Just Zena said...

I know right where you're at because I'm there myself, I just got a much later start than you have. It's scary, it's liberating, it's frustrating and very slow. And I don't think that road out will ever be truly over.

Donna Banta said...

When I left 10+ years ago, I remember feeling like this shouldn't be so hard. I knew people who were going through divorces, or the deaths of loved ones, had major health issues or economic problems. I seemed like leaving Mormonism should be easy in comparison.

The fact is it is terribly difficult for a true believer to leave the LDS Church, and it requires a huge life adjustment. You lose your friends, alienate your family, and you call into question some of the huge decisions you made based on obedience to the church, such as marriage, kids, education, etc.

Best of luck to you. I'm still struggling with some of those issues, but it is getting better.

Fanny said...

I feel for you and what you're going through. We're all on our own individual journey, though I believe most of us collectively understand how incredibly difficult it is.

I'm fortunate that my DH and I left (1 year ago) together, but it's hard having our grown TBM kids still in it and not getting why their folks have tossed the "eternal family" concept in the trash (in their minds). And they don't want to discuss it, so we don't get anywhere with them. We're just hoping down the road they'll really question their beliefs and will feel free to come to us for support. It could be years from now. Hopefully your DH will open his eyes too.

Hang in there. You're really not alone. More are joining you every day.