Sunday, May 22, 2016

Seriously?

After a lot of debate (and trial and error) and with much trepidation I've decided I need to put my records in and attend the YSA ward by my house. 

Today (which is really my first week back) is ward conference. And for Sunday School they brought in stake leaders to come talk with us. And by stake leaders I mean the stake young men's president and stake young women's president. I kid you not. 

Honestly, it's no wonder so many older singles leave the Church. It's not always a lack of testimony, it's a lack of belonging. I appreciate the experiences and knowledge these stake leaders have and can share with us, but it honestly just seems and comes off as though they are continuing to treats single ADULTS like YM/YW. 

I am 29 years old. I have a masters degree and over 6 years if experience in my career. I have lived away from home since I was 18 years old. I have moved multiple times on my own. I have traveled to across the world with just friends. I don't need or want to be treated like a teenager. 

I love the Church. And, as a whole, I love and truly do believe in the organization of the Church. But, I do not understand when people act like an 18 year old who got married and pregnant two seconds after graduating high school is more of an adult than me. If you don't believe this happens I can pretty much guess you got married early. You don't know what it's like to be seen as an outsider in a ward because you don't have stories of poopy diapers and lack of sleep. 

We, as members, HAVE to change. We have to understand that not everyone gets married and starts popping out babies. We have to find a way to make room for everyone and utilize everyone's talent and ability without putting people in boxes - sahm, the singles, divorc├ęs, etc. 

As time goes on this will be more and more evident. There will be more of us staying single older who will feel like they don't belong. The truth is of course they belong. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of inclusion and a place for us all to bring our talents and help move the gospel forward. We need to figure out how to make our wards more like the true gospel.

The sad truth is that if changes don't happen to the church culture we will start losing older singles. 

There's not one type of "good Mormon". We are a collective of individuals working towards a similar goal. I hope we find ways to make our wards feel more like that. 

(I guess I'll step down off my soapbox now and get back to listening to this YM/YW leaders. Wish me luck.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thinking Ahead

*Warning, this post gets pretty personal (and a bit TMI) on a subject I haven't opened up much about. It's something that's been on my mind for a few days now, and since I don't know what the future holds, I figured I would get these thoughts out now so I have them to look back on.

As I was driving home from work on Thursday I realized that although I started the sugar pills on Sunday I still haven't bleed at all. This isn't that odd to me anymore, I've skipped bleeding a number of months now since I started on birth control a year and a half ago. But this time my mind went somewhere else with those thoughts.

First, let me back up a bit.

As I am (what feels like) the oldest living virgin alive I kind of hate being on birth control. It feels like a waste. We all know abstinence is the best firm of birth control and I've got that down pat. However, at the beginning of 2015 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Very simply put, PCOS affects your hormones, how your body absorbs different foods, and your period. Instead of releasing eggs like normal, my ovaries start the process but don't finish. Lazy stinking ovaries. No follow-through. Instead of releasing the egg, there's this little hair follicle that grows and then just hangs out in my ovary forever. It's not something doctors go in and remove. They're tiny and not doing much except collecting in there. But because you're not ovulating normally it can make it harder to get pregnant. (One of most girls, and definitely one of my, biggest fears.) When I was first diagnosed I had 14 follicles in one ovary and 10 in the other. Not sure how many I have now, but I would assume more. When the doctor first told me how many I freaked out, because while I do not know much about the human body, I do have the impression that ovaries are pretty small. I relaxed a bit when the doctor told me that wasn't a lot and she's seen some women with hundreds of follicles in there. So that's a plus.

[I feel like I should put a disclaimer in here, because I am in no way a PCOS genius. The description provided above is what the main takeaways for me are. People with PCOS have different symptoms and different issues. And honestly, compared to some issues I could I have gotten, I think I lucked out a bit. When I was first diagnosed a read a lot about it and kind of freaked myself out. So I decided to take a more laid back and relaxed stance on it. I try to follow my doctor's recommendations and enjoy the life I have as much as possible.]

Before my diagnosis I thought it was pretty sweet that I would only have maybe one period while everyone else had gone through their cycles two or three times. I never knew it was a problem. And I remember thinking when I was first starting birth control that it was going to suck bleeding EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. But whatever, the birth control would help regulate my hormones and keep my uterine lining from getting too thick, (I warned you about the TMI) so I started popping "the pill" each night before bed.

The first few times I skipped a period, meaning I took the week of sugar pills but never bleed, I was worried. Then it happened again. And again. How is something that is supposed to force my body to have periods still not making that work? Are my lady parts that screwed up?

I goggled it (the most legit way to find answers to anything obviously) and then followed up with the Gyno at my next appointment. Apparently it's not that big of a deal. It happens to some people. My doctor said that the birth control is regulating my hormones. And that even if I don't bleed it's better to keep taking them and let them regulate everything instead of leaving it up to my body and taking the risk of that uterine lining building up and potentially leading to other, potentially more dangerous, issues down the road. And that the pills are in control basically, so if there's lining to "shed", it'll "shed". (side note: we seriously need some better terms for periods. Not necessarily cute and flower terms, just some sort of upgrade.) So, moral of the story, blood or no blood I just keep taking that little pill each night and wait till week 4 to see what happens.

Now back to what prompted this post (aka overshare)....

As I was driving home realizing I was 4 sugar pills into another bloodless period, I started thinking about pregnancy. Sure, I've got a bunch of steps between where I'm at in life now until I need to worry about pregnancy, but I'm a planner and a thinker, so that's what I was doing. I started thinking about how my doctor had told me that stopping birth control (as in once I'm married and trying to get pregnant) may actually help me be more fertile because my hormones have been regulated by the birth control so they'll be used to running through the normal 28 day cycle each month. This thought was followed by me wondering how I would know I was pregnant. The obvious answer I thought of was "you'll be late or miss a period so you'll take a pregnancy test". That thought was quickly followed by, "if you're not having regular periods (even while on birth control) how will I know? Will this mean that month after hopeful month I will buy and take pregnancy tests only to get another negative?"

The thought was a crushing blow.

Not because it was a new concept - not being able to have children. I've thought about that a lot over the last year and a half, and even before then from time to time. I am a huge proponent of adoption, but of course I would love to carry my children. I want to experience that part of life. But at the end of the day I know that being pregnant and literally giving birth to a child is not the only path to motherhood. If I won't be able to have children, well that will suck. A lot. But, if my future husband agrees, we'll go down every other path we can to have a family. But this experience wasn't about that.

So let me get back to what it was about.

What made this time hurt especially bad was because I could literally see myself - each and every month that again I didn't start bleeding - wondering, getting excited, hoping that this would be the month. And I could see myself taking the test, anxiously waiting trying to occupy myself for the few minutes it takes to get the results, and then looking at another negative reading. Because I don't bleed like normal I wouldn't have a warning indicator. Each month would seem like a "late period". Only to feel that crushing blow. Month after month.

I cried the rest of my drive home.

*****

I know there are a thousand different reasons why this may not end up happening in my future. And maybe it was stupid to even think it in the first place. But in that moment it felt so real. It was a clear vision of a potential and heartbreaking time. One that I hope I don't have to face. But who knows what's to come in life. Maybe I had this experience as a warning to give me comfort that there is a greater plan if something like this does happen at some point. Maybe it is to make me even more grateful if I don't struggle with pregnancy. I just don't know.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Getting back to me

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my years living in St. George. I’ve also thought a lot about my time leading up to moving back there and since moving away. With this post I’m going to try to articulate my feelings. I’m not totally sure why I feel like getting this out there is important, but it’s been on my mind so much that maybe it’s time to put it into actual words.

In the 3 ½ years I lived in St. George I created a pretty great life for myself. I had a job I could have probably stayed at for the rest of my career. I had a house that I loved (even with it flaws). I was in a great ward and had a calling that was insanely stressful but rewarding at the same time. I was able to be an integral part of my nieces and nephews lives. I was able to travel and see so new parts of the world. I had Leni & Fritz. When I think about all these things I feel lucky, but at the same time I am shocked at how quickly I let me life evolve into something I had never expected and had never even thought about whether I wanted it or not.

It started like a snowball effect. First came the house. I did have the goal to buy a house by the time I was 30. And to my habits, I did it sooner than anticipated at 25. Once I had the house I just seemed to create a life around the new/permanent me. It wasn’t like I was forced into anything. I was doing everything I thought at the time I wanted. I was back in good old St. George and making the most of it. I always said how easy living in St. George was (especially compared to life in Los Angeles). And it was. It was an easy life. It was easy to create this new plan for my future. A future that involved going to the same office with the same people day in and day out, eating at the same restaurants each week, lots of nights watching my nieces and nephews in their various extracurricular activities, and many night spent home alone. Thanks to Tinder I did go on a few dates here and there, but it was never with anyone I felt was actually a good match for me.

In a lot of ways, my life was pretty great. And it felt like a complete-ish life. Looking back at it now though I can see a lot of ways that it wasn’t the life I wanted.

If you asked me in college (or even when I was living in LA) if I wanted to move back to St. George I would have laughed in your face. It was a great town to grow up in, but it holds very little of the things I love as an adult. I still remember the first time I saw the email talking about a job opening at SkyWest for a tax person. I laughed and showed my friend Fuchi so she could laugh with me about the thought of me moving back to St. George. I was really proud of the fact I’d gotten out of there. That I moved away for college and then again to start my career in LA. St. George will always be my hometown, but I had no plans to move back there unless maybe I was older, married, and had kids. (And now even that has changed. I really don’t know if I could/would ever want to live there again.)

This post has sort of turned into a rant about why I hate St. George, but that’s not it at all. Just a few weeks ago when I was in Louisiana I was reminded of how lucky I was to grow up somewhere so nice and clean as St. George. And I know that. I know my life has been extremely blessed because of where I grew and who I grew up with.

But what it really comes down to is that the person I’ve become, and the person I want to be, doesn’t exist in St. George.

Which is why I’ve titled this post “Getting back to me”. Over these past 7 months of living in Dallas I’ve been reminded of what I love about life, shat makes me happy, and how I want to spend my time.

Maybe it’s easiest for me to just list some things I’ve recently realized I’ve missed about living in a big city and away from my hometown.

·         Anonymity: I love being able to run errands without running into anyone I know. I can get totally fancy or wear sweats and no make-up. It doesn’t matter.
o   Last time I was in St. George I ran into like 4 people I knew from high school within a few hours. And these were separate incidents – not like they were all at the same place together.
·         Food choices: A friend and I go to dinner at least once every couple of weeks, if not more frequently. When deciding where to go we typically try to pick somewhere new that we’ve never been before. Some places end up being better than others, but it’s always a fun adventure.
o   I can literally list the restaurants we eat at in St. George on one hand, ok maybe two if we’re talking some of the more rare times we “branch out”. And it’s not that these places are even that good, it’s just the only real options.
·         New adventures: I love going to new places and seeing something I’ve never seen before. There are very few places I don’t want to travel to. And besides St. George and Huntington Beach (for my family’s annual Dad trip) I have no real desire to go somewhere I’ve been before.
o   My family has a tendency to go to the same places and do the same things on repeat. Even staying at the exact same hotel. Which, of course, there is nothing wrong with, but it’s not what I enjoy. Why do something I’ve already done. Let’s try something new. Maybe we’ll like that even more.
·         Possibilities: I have a great job right now, but if I want to change it eventually there are a million options to choose from. Want to go to a bigger company? I can do that. Want to go into a completely different industry? I can do that too. The feeling of freedom and possibility is huge for me.
o   I did love my job at SkyWest. And honestly I do miss it from time to time. But really my career options there were so limited. If I wanted to leave there weren’t many options for me to keep doing what I do (corporate tax). And I didn’t even mention the fact I was grossly underpaid especially based on how much I was responsible for and how hands-off my boss was (which I actually appreciated because it made me learn and work harder). But still, it’s the principle of the matter.
·         New friends: I have great friends from all stages of my life, but I have really enjoyed making new friends here in Dallas. Somehow I was incredibly lucky and got in with a great group of friends pretty much as soon as I moved here. We have lots in common – similar schooling and career paths – and enjoy getting out and doing new and fun things. It has been so nice having new and true friends. I am pretty good at making “friends”, but making true/real friends is something else entirely. Friends who look past the petty issues and truly care about you. And I feel like I’ve found that here. Friends who become your substitute family and sometimes understand you better than your actual family does. Friends like that don’t come around all the time so I’m glad I’ve found that here.
o   No need to go in on St. George for this one. I made some great friendships while I was there. People I plan to be friends with forever. I also had some not so great friendship experiences while I was there, but I try to focus on the good times I had with people instead of the bad times/or endings.
·         Party of 1: This tends to fit with all the things I listed above, but I guess I’ll give it its own bullet point. I love being able to go out and do things alone. I used to hate being alone. I was that girl who didn’t even like to go to the bathroom alone when I was younger. Now I tend to do just about anything solo and only realize after the fact I could have/should have invited a friend to join me. Things I do solo: salon trips for mani/pedis, movies, dining out (I recently started solo dining at my favorite restaurant once a week and I love it. Sometimes I take a book, sometimes I don’t.), trips to the zoo, weekend roadtrips, anything else I want. There’s so much freedom going and doing whatever you want at your own pace.
o   I did a few things solo in St. George, but because you’re always running into someone you know it seemed weird to be out and about alone. It was like I was back in high school and had no friends (even though I had friends in high school lol). And you definitely couldn’t do much solo on weekend nights.
·         It’s my life: This point is harder for me to make, because I don’t regret how I lived in St. George, but I am glad I didn’t stay there like I was forever. I love being an aunt. It’s one of my favorite things. But it really took over my life. It was like I was playing tag-along to my sister’s life. If her kids had any performance, game, or birthday party – of course I was there. How could I not be? I’m the self-proclaimed favorite aunt I had to defend my title. And I do LOVE my nieces and nephews like crazy. But at some point I have to live MY life. And I have to remind myself it’s not selfish to do so. That reminder is what Dallas has given me. I do still have some work to do on this front (maybe I’ll explain in a future post), but I’ll get there eventually.

Well, I think that’s most of the highlights. Again, it’s not like I feel like my life was crappy when I lived in St. George, it definitely wasn’t. I just find it interesting how I didn’t intend to move back there and then found myself creating a whole different life once I got there. I know now (thank you hindsight) why I moved to St. George. I moved there so I could spend the last few years of my Dad’s life in the same town as him. So I could have so many memories with him I never would have had otherwise. I was there for his final days. I was there to start the healing process in a familiar place with people who had been/were going through similar things. I was able to travel and escape reality for a bit. And for all of those things and more I will forever be grateful for my time in St. George.

But man, am I happy I left!  


And I love Dallas, but who knows. Maybe in a few years I’ll pack up and leave here too. On to the next adventure. I’m just so glad I didn’t see the life I created in St. George as something I couldn’t move on from. It was a great life, but it wasn’t my whole life. I want different. I want new. I want more.


*Fun Fact: Since I published this post the song from the movie, First Wives' Club, has been playing on a loop in my head "I'm young, (I'm young) and I love to be young. I'm free, (so free) and I love to be free. To live my life the way that I want. To say and do whatever I please."