Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The best laid plans of bloggers

Sigh.

Just when you think you're getting the writing bug again, the doubting bug creeps in. Six weeks ago, I thought-- you know what? I miss all that blogging. I'm going back to it. I'm going to write until I feel like a writer again. I'm going to do it without apology or explanation. It's going to be positive. It's going to be better. And then life happens.

I know you get it. I'm guessing it happens to you too. So maybe a little explanation IS in order.

I really don't know why I stopped writing. One reason may be a lack of time. Truly, I have never worked harder in my life. In the last couple of years we've been working harder than ever for less money than ever. I know we're not the only ones, but we're doing our best to keep our heads above water. My parents' company has been around for 25 years this month, and we're doing all right. I'm proud of the services we offer, the quality work we do, the people we employ. It's just tight right now. So yes, I work a lot. My brother used to accuse me of wasting a lot of time on social media, but to be honest I only check ye olde Facebooke in the mornings before work (in that still-waking-up, pre-shower part of my routine) and when I get home in the evenings. My phone makes it easy, but friends posting a life event on FB is no guarantee I'll see it. I hate it, but this thing that was supposed to help us keep in contact with one another has grown into this huge beast, and unfortunately I only seem to login when some lady from church is posting her latest and greatest pictures of food, or another emotionally-needy lady is having yet another public breakdown. Long story short: I'm out of the loop.

And then, like I said, I thought I'd try to keep things upbeat. Not long ago, I really felt like I was at the end of my rope emotionally. I'll be frank-- I was exceptionally needy in the friend department, and I think it was driving some folks away. The crisis-- if I'm being honest-- was that I was getting old. Now, you and I both know that 32 and a half is not old, but if you're a member of my LDS-readership, you get what I'm saying. And it's not a problem with the Church (notice the upper-case C, meaning doctrinally-sound, REAL church) but with the church (lower-case, meaning culture). You get to be a certain age, and if you're unmarried, you're a lost cause. Not everyone feels this way, of course, but it still happens. So when one, wonderful ecclesiastical leader (branch president) suggested that I speak to a slightly higher-up ecclesiastical leader (with the idea they could hear what it's really like to be a 30-year-old single woman), I took it. I hate to say it, but the meeting was devastating. The man I spoke to is someone I still respect, but he was by-the-book and not particularly understanding. I wasn't looking to be an exception-- heaven knows I had no intention of staying in a singles ward forever-- but maybe for some compassion. His advice was phenomenally bad. He basically told me that I needed to make a list of all the single men I knew. First, I was to cross off anyone who was gay (!)--not because they're bad people, but because they simply wouldn't be interested. His words, I promise. Then I was to take off the felons, etc (I wish this were non-applicable, but it is what it is). I was then instructed to ask out every man on this list in hopes of getting a boyfriend. Are your eyebrows arched off your forehead right now? Mine were. And to top it off, if that didn't work, I was supposed to move. Right.

I don't want anyone to misunderstand me here. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, orthodox Mormon. I believe in all the doctrine, even the things other people think are weird. I'm doing my best to live it. But file this experience under "little c" with a capital CRAZY. And it broke me. It probably goes without saying that I didn't follow through on this advice. There was no one I wanted to date anyway, and moving wasn't (isn't) an option, nor would it have been a solution. I convinced myself I just really needed a good network of friends-- a support system. But that fell apart too. One friendship in particular stands out as a typical example. I was friends with Person A. Person A felt they had no friends, which was incorrect, but they needed me. I introduced Person A to People B-Z. Person A gained confidence. It shouldn't have happened, but as Person A received more invites from the B-Zs, I started to feel like chopped liver. When I expressed the concern-- even acknowledging my legitimate happiness in A's success, but still saying I felt like we didn't spend any time together anymore, Person A stopped calling all together. That too was a confidence-shaker. Even though it wasn't true, I started to identify myself as typically the member of a friendship chiefly involved with care-giving, and I told myself that if I needed something or was the vulnerable one, the friendship would end. It's absolutely unreasonable, but it's absolutely what was going on in this crazy brain.

Well, the good news is, I'm over it now, but it DID take about a year for me to feel better. And now, things are still hard because LIFE is hard, but not because I'm making it harder. I attend a family ward, and haven't been so happy in a church family in YEARS. I leave every Sunday not only feeling spiritually uplifted, but socially bolstered as well. Oh, sure, there are problems, but had I known how happy I would have been to go to church where people love me (and I love them because we serve one another), I would have left the other congregation ages before. I kind of wish bad-advice guy above would have just suggested I try going to the family ward for a while to see if I were happier. It might have saved me a lot of heartache.
Whew! I guess that was building up for a while.

So anyway, the more I tried to think of fun, happy things to write about over the last few weeks, the more stuck I felt. I had a run of bad luck my friend Linda attributes to Mercury in retrograde (whatever THAT means), and didn't know when I'd have a happy and HONEST thing to say. Family dog was shot. Vandalism at our farm. No money and big bills to pay. Car trouble and lack of wheels. Health problems amongst family members. Getting bit by a dog. Whatever. It's life. But there have been great things too. I've got three nieces who love me, and we have a lot of fun together. Sometimes I even feel like I've taught them something, though they teach ME every time we're together. I'm healthier emotionally than I have been in a long time, and my body is catching up on that too (that’s another bit of good news, but I’m not sure I’m interested in being a health guru just yet, so stay tuned). I still am busy, but I know that I’m contributing in work and with some community projects I’m involved in. Occasionally, I even take time to do some fun things. And now that I’ve cleared the air, maybe I’ll be in a better position to share them with you.

2 Comments:

At November 12, 2013 at 1:11 PM , Blogger Sokphal said...

Move to DC. Please? :)

 
At November 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM , Blogger Reuben Collins said...

Rachel, sorry to hear you've been down lately. I always enjoy reading your posts. Your writing is full of some of the bravest vulnerability I've seen.

I'm sorry you received some absolutely lousy life coaching from your church leader, but I'm happy to see that you were smart enough to toss it out the window.

I enjoyed your thoughts about big C Church and little c church. I lost hope in big C Church over a decade ago, though in doing so I learned that I loved little c church more than I ever imagined. So I'm always interested when I hear folks throwing little c church under the bus.

Please keep writing.

 

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