Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What does it mean to love?

This is the giant question that beats through my heart and mind and being on a regular basis.
There was a time that I would have not liked to admit it, but I was a borderline obsessive romantic.
I read and reread every Marriage and Love and Romance and Dating general conference talk I could get my sweaty palms on.
I told my roommates on an almost daily basis, "You guys, this could be the day. This could be the day I meet my soul mate." 
I perused my copy of Pride and Prejudice every few months. Watched the movie at least once a month, and fell asleep to "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias.
I wrote letters to my Future Husband and cried in bed when I woke up alone, feeling that I could only be one half of a love story by myself, and that was all I could ever amount to until I found "the ONE."
And then I discovered all of that was more or less bull shit.
Ok, maybe it wasn't that dramatic or brutal and maybe I still do have a little leftover romantic in my heart.
BUT. I have lived a little since then. I have loved a lot. And I have realized a few things.
What I always imagined love to be was this giant hole you dropped down into a magical land of rainbows, unicorns, and happy little golden tandem bicycles where you ate lollipops and snuggled with puppies and your sweetheart all day long. HAHA. Good joke.
So that's not exactly what I have experienced now. Not quite.
I am glad it's not the way I pictured it all along because if it were that easy, it would not be as beautiful.
I believe that part of the beauty of loving someone is the choice it is to love them.
I don't think it is ever not a choice.
What I thought love was before I had known it personally was possession, belonging, and companionship. Those are things that can be brought by a relationship, but those things are not love.
Love is about letting go. It is letting go of your ideas and preconceived notions about what that person should or should not be. It is about letting the other person be who they are, and encouraging them to be more than they believe themselves to be. It is about supporting what is best for them, even if what is best for them is not you. It is allowing for change, for openness, for total sacrifice of self.

ALWAYS THE QUESTION HUH?????????????????????????????????????
my viscous blood
through my stone hardened heart
for you.
my body still cries at night
from the absence of your touch.
and my ears still ring
with the words you never whispered.
somehow I am alive
though every portion of my existence
was founded on your presence.
if I listen through the pipes
it may reach me.
hey world still here

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thank You, Miss Sugar.

And all my other sources of wisdom too, of course.
Like my mother, and a few close friends.
They help me, stand by me, and choose to care enough to listen.
So yes, thank you are the two words I have to offer to those who have held a place in my life.
But for now, I just want to repeat a few snippets from Miss Sugar.

Advice for your twenties:

"Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it. This is good advice for anyone at any age, but particularly for those in their twenties.

Because in your twenties you’re becoming who you’re going to be and so you might as well not be an asshole. Also, because it’s harder to be magnanimous when you’re in your twenties, I think, and so that’s why I’d like to remind you of it. You’re generally less humble in that decade than you’ll ever be and this lack of humility is oddly mixed with insecurity and uncertainty and fear. You will learn a lot from yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love." 

And on letting go sometimes:

"You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart."

And on growing up: 

"The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming."

I looked up magnanimous after I read this column, and it means to be expansively forgiving and generous. I decided I want to be that way, expanding outward in love and generosity to the world around me. And though it's scary and sometimes a little bit heartbreaking, there is something empowering about being brave enough to not just witness your own becoming, but to shape it. 

Read more from the Dear Sugar column at

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Author Unknown

You told me I was a great chapter.

I wanted you to be the book.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Issue of Pants and Mormon Feminism

I have been moved. Deeply. In a way that I am not moved every day or every month but only on occasion. It is words that move me this time. Words spoken from an unorthodox Mormon feminist I do not know and probably never will. It is these words that cause me to cascade into tears, sitting here alone at my desk at BYU. I hide the cascade, shelter it from the boy who sits across me in his short haircut and plaid button up shirt. I am not sure why I feel this movement of sadness and ache in my heart. I think it stems from connection. Deeply, knowingly my very core is moved because I know this is my story too. I am far from orthodox. I am far from cookie cutter. My faith is not a blind faith, it is a faith that spans seas and hails God, Al-Fattah, the All Knowing, Father. It is a faith born from years of moments built upon prayer, song, and strong examples. I, who was raised with an unbelieving father and a deeply devout mother. I, who of mixed heritage, raised in an interfaith family, a liberal Mormon girl chose to come here to the Mormon Mecca, BYU. A place where I have found the best of people, not to say that in an elitist way, but in a loving deep-rooted way. The best of people because they are now my people. From the sweet, blonde boy from Wyoming to the dancing, giggly girl with pale green eyes from Utah. These are my people. I have found them, and know them to be cut from the same cloth. Because we are all cut from the same cloth.

And this is why I cry my cascade of tears for Joanna Brooks, who I do not know. Because somehow I do know that we were cut from the same cloth. I realize this is what her book is trying to say, that we are all the same even among our sparkling differences. We are all the same because whether we drink coffee or tea or not or whether we are gay or lesbian or not, we stand the same under God. Under God, we are all children, children of a loving and great Father in Heaven who may fill our very souls with sweet forgiving and teach us charity and love.

What strikes me inside is what her book does not say. She speaks of my culture, our culture, the same roots I have grown from. But she does not lay out what she believes, what she feels about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in plain English. Her testimony is not plainly stated. It is there, woven between the words and carried within her stories, and in the fact that she still clings to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her testimony is there, and though unspoken it still sings out. So this is why I cry, because I feel of her spirit far away, struggling with deep rooted doctrinal questions that I set aside.

Because it is not my struggle to ponder on these things. It is not my personal concern. Not to say that I prefer a blind obedience or to say that I would care to remain ignorant. No, because I know the things I know in the way that I know them. Because I am not overly concerned with matters that do not pertain to my own plan of happiness. Perhaps this is selfishness, to be unthinking of matters of female ordination or progression for women within the Church or even gay marriage. But I have not felt lacking for not having the Priesthood. I have not worried that I will never be able to bless or anoint my children.  Because I have experienced that God will give me what I need. For every time that I have asked, I have received. I too, stand differently on many political issues that many members of the Church are conservative about. But, I have not been crucified for my differences. I have not felt a withdrawing of God's love for my viewpoints. No, it is not my struggle to attend to, not my battle to be fought.

I will not join those who wear pants this Sunday. Though I have often referred to myself as a Mormon Feminist, I do not agree with all the implications of this movement. I do not feel of the gender inequality that these women feel of. I do not feel like a lesser citizen of my community. So no, I will not wear pants in solidarity. But I will say, I am interested. I am both interested and deeply respectful of these women who do dare to speak out in honesty.

Certainly, I applaud the kind of courage Joanna Brooks has in the telling of her story. And I will respect those who wear pants to church this Sunday. I will respect those that wave their signs for Yes or No on this or that. I will respect my gay brother or sister. Because I have promised to do so. I have promised to give the right to choose and to express as I embrace my own right to do so.

So I turn back, away from her intense questions and inward to the battles that are mine to be had. To school, and work, and family.  To the deep knowing that I carry within myself. To the strongest testimony I have which is this: The Gospel works for me. No one can challenge that statement, it is mine to hold, and each must find what works for them and how it works for them.

And though I feel of the pain Joanna has struggled with, though I see in her brazen words flashing across the page the great struggle she has had as she ponders questions of feminism and equality. It is not mine. I must fight my own battle. I have my own things to face, my own questions to find answers to. I must find just how this Church, this Gospel, this entire religion works for me. It is an every day process. I will never weary. I will never stop. I can only say again: The Gospel works for me.

Then turn to you, my Friend, with this question: What works for you?

Monday, November 19, 2012


You bend me.
I am light filled and radiant
swimmingly soft
pooling at your feet.
Stare slowly
talk faster
time moves for us
the minute blocks shift
We plod through concrete tunnels
crawling and squirming
wriggling towards
pitch black and tar filled.
Is this what it is?
The thing they all talk about?
It feels like digging through cement.