Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking back

I just dug up my old journal. I rarely wrote in it growing up. But, I read over this entry last night.

Age: 15

Hi. I think I need to start writing in my journal again. I need somewhere to release all of these thoughts going around in my head. As I just read over my entry [from 2 years ago], I almost cried. Was I really once that strong in my faith and testimony of the gospel? It's hard for me to believe that now. Everyone thinks that I'm this perfect little girl who just knows all the answers at church, reads the scriptures and prays on a daily basis, writes in her journal every night, and doesn't have any problems at all. I just want to scream at them! I'm not perfect! I have my own problems - they may seem minor to someone else, but they're trials to me. I mean, I like watching R movies, I want to cuss, I like bikinis and shorts. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I don't have a testimony anymore. Whenever any spiritual topic comes up I feel awkward so I tune out and don't pay attention. When people ask me my feelings about the church, etc. I don't know what to say. I feel stupid and just give the typical answers they'd expect from me.

I hate my life. Well, I can't say I hate it - I mean it could be worse, I could be worse. But every now and then I just get to where I hate myself and I think I'm so ugly. Don't get me wrong - I'm never suicidal or anything - but you can't say I'm very uplifting. I do have my Patriarchal Blessing and I do want it to happen, but... it's so hard. I think I only go to church on Sunday out of habit. I mean, I want to grow closer to God, and I pray for it to happen... and for a day or so I'm really spiritual and I realize all this stuff I need to start and stop doing, and then I'm back to my old self and that stuff doesn't seem important to me anymore. I really want to return to the Celestial Kingdom, but it's a real trial and a struggle for me to do what's right. I used to have a piece of paper on my wall with a saying on it that I wrote myself that said, "Is it not worth it to spend a few mere years in this life facing ridicule and rejection than to spend an eternity in sorrow knowing that you could have done well enough to live with your Father in exaltation?" It seems so simple. Don't worry what others think. Stay strong in the gospel. So what if people make fun of you. It won't matter what they said when it comes to your judgment - it's how you reacted to it. But it's not that easy. It used to be. In 7th and 8th grade I didn't care at all what anybody thought of me and I was a "spiritual giant." Now look at me - I'm lower than the dirt upon this earth. At least it obeys what it's supposed to do. Why can't I do that? There's a girl - S____ something in the L_____ Ward. T_____ laughs and makes fun of her, but I'm actually jealous of her. She is the strongest spirit I know - and I don't even know her, I've just seen her. She totally follows every standard - long shorts, nothing revealing or too tight. I mean, if she lost 10 pounds she could be the biggest tramp - she has like size DD cup or something, but she's not. I admire her and look up to her strength. I just wish that someday my testimony can be as strong as hers. And then there's guys - why does it have to be a member? That totally limits my options to like, 2 guys that live anywhere close to me. And 16? It sucks so bad!

I know I seem like a terrible person and well, I probably am. I don't want to be but... that's how it goes. I hate doing stuff with my family, watching people take the sacrament doesn't make me feel humble, it just looks funny (yeah, funny-ha ha). I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess the next time I have something to say, I'll write. Till then...

My response today.

I don't even remember writing this. When I look back to my youth, I remember sometimes feeling hopeless in middle school. I'd bottle up all of my anxiety and then break down every few months, sobbing as my mom held me. But, when I think of high school, I always think I was pretty happy. Reading over my journal now, I see that I've blocked out the bad feelings I had then. I was severely depressed. Not in my memory, though. In fact, after a few more entries even worse than this one, there are about 20 pages (rather, remnants of pages) that have been ripped out. I have no idea what I had written there. I don't remember ripping out the pages, nor why I would have done that. Well, obviously to prevent whatever I wrote there from every being read. It's all blocked out, though. I don't remember.

That was 12 years ago. Not 20, or 30, or 40. Only 12.

But that's not why I decided to write about that on my blog. Believe me, I'm not the type to go spreading the fact that I was severely depressed at the age of 15 around on the Internet.

It's why I was so depressed.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That is all.

It makes me so sick and angry today to look back and realize that I was disappointed in myself, that I was disgusted with myself, that I hated myself... because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts. At the age of 15. Because my parents and my church TAUGHT me that if I liked those things, I was a sinner. That I was not worthy. That I couldn't get into heaven. That I would lose my family. For eternity.

Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts.

That church gave an otherwise healthy, happy, 15-year-old girl such a skewed vision of life that she beat herself up and hated herself for not living up to their picture of a perfect young woman. That I beat myself up and hated myself for not being the picture-perfect young woman that everyone told me I HAD to be, in order to be loved by others, by my family, by god.

I thought that I was a terrible person. Because I liked R-rated movies, cuss words, bikinis, and shorts!

I am seething right now. How dare an organization that claims to be family-oriented and "Christ-like" continue to spew their lies! They made a 15-year-old girl hate herself!!! For not being "good enough."


I am good enough.

I was so fucking brainwashed that I couldn't see past their bullshit. When I didn't get answers to my prayers, I blamed myself for not being spiritual enough. When I felt awkward and uncomfortable at church, I blamed myself for not being receptive enough to the spirit. When I couldn't get through the Book of Mormon without giving up or falling asleep, I blamed myself for not trying hard enough. For not wanting it enough. For not being good enough.

I don't blame myself anymore.

I blame that church. I blame my teachers at church. I blame anyone who continues to deny reality and continues to tell 15-year-old girls that they're just not good enough. That maybe, if they just wanted it a little more, or if they just tried a little harder, maybe then god would answer their prayers. Maybe then they'd realize that they were special.

Go fuck off.

You ARE good enough. You ARE special.

I am good enough.

Shame on you.


Eric said...

Good for you! Tell them all go fuck off!

Erin said...

I agree. I had many similar feelings growing up. Gotta say though, that once Mormons really start practicing what they're preaching they will all be much happier. Being satisfied with nothing less than perfection is a huge problem.

Yes, I'm still a member. A recommend toting member. A returned missionary member. I still think that the views of many members are far skewed from the truth of the Gospel. Not that sinning with the intent to repent is ideal, but that is why there is hope in the atonement. I make my fair share of mistakes, but rather than focusing on what I don't do right, I focus on how I can be better. Not how I can be perfect, but how I can be better. 15-year-old girls have plenty on their plate to worry about. Harping on them for not being perfect is not productive, nor Christ-like.

A slight tangent, but somewhat relevent: my dad started a blog. He has yet to post very much, but he did post an awesome poem that captures what I'm trying to say. Here's a link:

Grouchy Old Utard - Best Poem in the World

Michelle said...

Though I have been out of the church for 20 years now there are still gaping holes in my self esteem that I can trace back to those years of not being good enough. I remember feeling doomed after my baptism because I knew, now that I was accountable, I was going to get shut out of the celestial kingdom. As much baggage as I think I have dumped, the specter of those times still rises when my defenses are down.

Michelle said...

Eric - smooches :-)

Erin - You intrigue me :-) I still think of the college Erin, which kind of is not the same as RM Erin. I'm glad we still get along!

Michelle - gaaaa. Tell me about it.

GreenishBlue said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. What a gorgeous voice you have. Like you, I grew up in the Mormon church.

Everyone who leaves religion has an interesting story to tell, but I'm always drawn to the striking similarities (and some stark differences) in the stories of ex-Mormons. I'm looking forward to exploring some of your older posts! :)

Michelle said...

Welcome, Patrick! I'm looking forward to learning about you through your posts, as well. I always love sharing with other ex-mormons. Nobody quite "gets us" like we do :-)

Carla said...

It's so familiar it's painful. Only for this little Catholic girl, it was sex. I thought I was a total pervert, because of things that were completely and totally normal for a teenage girl to feel. To expect a raging ball of hormones to restrain themselves from any kind of exploration or "indulgence" of their sexuality is cruel.