Entries Tagged as 'Feminism'

The One Where I Don’t Know How It Ends

10.01.2015

It’s been almost six months since I last wrote on this blog. So much has happened. I could write about our trip to Europe or our summer in Utah and Texas. I could write about Trent’s internship and job offer. I could write about how we’re moving to Dallas next year when he graduates or how sharply I’ll miss Virginia or how, smack dab in the middle of the coming winter, I’ll give birth to a baby boy. I could go on for days about how much Scout has grown and changed. I could pontificate about what happened psychologically that caused my oh-so-dramatic absence from blogging, but I’ll spare you that much. It’s overwhelming to even try to tackle everything, so I’ll write about something else entirely. I came home tonight feeling an itch to write, so I’ll scratch it and see what happens.

I’m really happy these days. Things are going well for me and mine, but honestly, I don’t think that accounts for most of why I’m happy. I think I’m happy because I’ve been building back what I lost.

I didn’t do it consciously, but a few years ago, when I started to really acknowledge doubts about my faith and questions about my paradigms, I also stopped letting guilt motivate me. I realized that many of the things I did in my personal worship I did because I felt guilty if I didn’t. So I stopped doing those things. Plain and simple. I removed the guilt from my life and with it went the behaviors it motivated. And for the first time, I just let them go. It wasn’t dramatic or even outwardly noticeable, but it happened. I stopped reading the scriptures consistently. I stopped praying every single morning and every single night. I stopped being so stalwart with my church attendance and so rigid in my worship in a thousand other ways. I stopped telling myself I knew things I only hoped for and stopped being afraid to know my own limits. And for a while, I truly felt freer. I felt less burdened, more spiritual. I felt the fruits of the spirit in new ways, different ways. But after time enough to detox my guilt had passed, I also felt a longing to start over.

So I began to do that. I’m still doing that. I’ve been picking up the tenants of the faith I still call mine and “experimenting on the words.” It hasn’t been systematic, just fluid, and it started with the smallest of things, things like who is really up there listening when I pray. I’ve stopped being scared of asking my real questions of God, started trusting the times when the answers that come are unexpected or unpopular among my peers at church. I’ve stopped the cycle of self-loathing I spun inside when I felt different from them. And piece by piece I’ve gathered up the many things that make up Mormonism and weaved them back into my life, with many old conclusions and some new conclusions and mostly no conclusions, just progressions. Progressions without guilt. Progressions with integrity. My “testimony,” as we Mormons call it, is smaller and stronger than ever before. And that’s not coincidental. It is stronger, because it is smaller. It is stronger, because I’m not wasting my energy pretending. I’m spending it learning.

I’m happy these days, so very happy these days, partially because I’ve been building back what I lost, but mostly because I’m building something I never really had in the first place—a faith that is truly my own.

Listening to: William Fitzsimmons, “Well Enough”

As if I needed another reason to love Emma Watson …

9.22.2014

There is so much I love about this speech.

I love the way she describes her journey to feminism. It’s so very much like mine. Becoming a feminist happened slowly for Emma as she grew up and experienced life. “I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me,” she says. It wasn’t until later that she realized how much controversy surrounds the word.

I love that she laments that feminism has a history of man-hating. It’s counterproductive. And it’s one of the reasons so many people reject the label. “If you still hate the word,” she says, “it is not the word that is important. It’s the idea and the ambition behind it.” What matters is whether or not you embrace the idea of human equality.

I love that she points out the many ways gender inequality hurts men. “I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s,” she says. “I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of men, or less of a man. … I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are.”

I love that she understands that because we are all connected, the solutions are all connected as well. “When (men) are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence,” she says. “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

And I love how humble she is as she speaks. The vulnerability in her voice allows you to feel how much this means to her. It means that much to me too.

Listening to: Shovel and Rope, “Lay Low”

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