I’m going to take some time to make something clear. I am a bad person.
I do bad things. I wish there was some way I could make it clear that I’m not saying that in a flippant conversational way. I HAVE DONE REALLY BAD THINGS IN MY LIFE.
Every once in a while, including very recently, I am filled with self-realization met with a very real self- loathing.
Curled up in a ball in my bed, at 4 AM, having not slept a wink, I recently tossed and turned and cried over a deep sense of dread and despair over my sinful state. I watched the sun come up.
Twice on the commute to work, just this week, I found myself resting my forehead on the steering wheel, as I passed beautiful mountains that usually leave me breathless. My thought? “I am going to Hell … and it is my fault. I can’t repent of everything….even if just for practical reasons…I’d be 80 by the time I hunted down and made everything right with everyone I’d ever wronged…even if I just pulled over the car and started right now. And I might not even have the human capability to do it. I might work until I’m 80…and still fail. ”
And the grand irony is not lost on me that my “Commuting Book on Tape of the Week” is BELIEVING CHRIST…with the author’s soothing, sincere voice coming over my car speakers and flowing over my head as I lean it on the steering wheel. But it’s not really going over my head. I’m getting it, and the point and doctrine and everything. But yep…still going to Hell.
The phrase “going to Hell” has been used so much that it has kind of lost its real bite. I want to make it clear that I am not thinking I am going to Hell in any sort of colloquial sense. I’m not going there “in a hand-basket.” I’m not going there on a road “paved with good intentions.” Though I might have said it, I’ve never REALLY been on a “Date from Hell.” or had a “Roommate from Hell.” I’m not “going to Hell” in the way that BYU is going with this season’s football team.
I’m talking about a state of damnation. I’m talking about a state where I don’t feel that I can even be justified enough in God’s infinite grace ot qualify for atonement and exaltation. Because there are times when I think “No, God. I can’t repent for that. It is too hard.”….which, even in the most liberal and merciful of doctrinal interpretations is grounds for a lack of atonement efficacy.
Pretty Terrifying. 4 AM- curled-in-a-ball terrifying.
It’s amazing just how much people don’t know. My little sister, for example, came to me last month and told me that she felt that she couldn’t measure up to me in…among other things, “never getting mad or annoyed with people.” Now, for those of you who read my blog this is the funniest thing you may ever have heard. But this just goes to show, that we don’t know people and their faults as well as we imagine we do.
Just a few short examples of my confessional…on top of not flossing regularly I:
have been insensitive and just plain mean to those I’ve loved. Repeatedly.
have let others take the fall for me when I’ve done something wrong.
have sacrificed my integrity to save my own skin.
have been less than gracious when I haven’t gotten my own way.
have been cruel and unforgiving, while others have forgiven me.
have failed to help friends in need.
have reacted to my fear with anger, instead of seeking to understand.
have beleived myself “too good” for many people while completely blind to my own shortcomings, which are much worse.
and sometimes I really hate myself. Really. I hate myself.
Now, after reading over a few of my posts ( I’m not a fan of the editing process….because it is time consuming and time is my favorite thing…after, maybe Jesus…and crepes. ) I also see how I manage to sound like someone who eats and breathes feminism and thinks that they are perfect at this.
I am not a perfect feminist. Upon reflection…I’m not sure even sure that I am a particularly good feminist role model. Also, I breathe air…and eat….crepes. But, just as a short example of possibly disqualifying behavior…
I have a lot of clothes. Including high-heels. Lots of them. (IN MY DEFENSE (!)…I’ve been the same sizes since I was in 8th grade…so really, my large amount of clothing has a lot more to do with the fact that I don’t throw stuff away. I wear things until they fall apart…or until my Mom secretly takes them from me. Also, I went through a deep “heel” hating phase, seeing it as a pretty prevalent representation of women’s sexualization and disempowerment …but then I thought…I’m going to wear whatever I want, and I find them visually interesting…My whole goal in life will be to defy of other’s expectation. The heel-wearing blonde, Mormon, El Ed major…will squash your racist/ sexist arguments at your dinner party….and then maybe beat you at Yahtzee. )
I listen to pop music on the radio during my commute. ( I listen to other kinds of music too. But nothing will get one more awake in the morning than Kesha…and sometimes I can’t get NPR on my radio when I pass the point of the mountain.)
One of my favorite songs that comes on the radio right now possesses the lyrics “I will get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans. Be a teenage dream tonight.” AND I CHALLENGE YOU to find lyrics more shady than that. (I’ve really got no defense for that. )
I eat meat. I like pork …WHILE I completely understand and accept the points of eco-feminism…and the very culturally embedded connection between the bad treatment of the earth and animals, and the oppression of women, even biblically. After reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter…I got really into Animal and Environmental Protection ( which you think wouldn’t be related…but once I seemed to really tap into women’s rights, the others just seemed to flow naturally out from the same fountain.). I even bought several plants, and had my own potted herbs. They all eventually died. Which leads me to…
I kill plants.
Everyone once in a while, driving home from a particularly discouraging day of work, all I seem to hear is a long repeated chorus from my dates, old boyfriends, parents, and concerned friends. “You would never have to work again….You would never have to work again….You would never have to work again….You would never have to work again…” And sometimes I find it a very tempting proposition. (Never quite tempting enough, though…but still, tempting.)
I don’t always stand up to people’s sexist comments.
Sometimes, when a girl makes me very angry, I think words that are offensive to women.
I date men who are not feminists…and I still find them to be worthwhile human beings and go on dates with them several more times.
Sometimes I use my sexuality to get things I want. (Fully aware that this will not work forever. I’ve got maybe, 2 more years, tops.)
I find enough cultural value in mainstream American culture that I don’t regularly hold as much judgement as I maybe should for people who feed ( and are fed to) “the system.”
I’ve been offered an opportunity by the college of my dreams (Columbia! )in partnership with the organization of my dreams (The Peace Corps) … but it would make it nearly impossible to marry for a long while (including over 2 years contractually) …and with very few LDS prospects. And, once I let go of my own denial…I admit that may be the biggest reason I haven’t accepted yet. That’s right. In spite of myself, I am letting the possibility of having a man in my life prevent me from doing awesome, hard things I want to do. Pa-thetic! Oh my gosh. * head to desk contact*
I have never pursued a love interest of my own desire. Ever. I don’t even know how. All my relationships have been when a man, who I wasn’t initially interested in, has basically worn down my resistance…and after dating for a while I finally see all the awesomeness about them. But I have never had the guts or perseverance to go after men I am interested in. Independent woman, my elbow. ( Even when we are both skydiving, scuba enthusiasts with backgrounds in Japanese culture and shared political interests…and he calls me on the random sometimes just to talk and instead of flirting or even making a pass, or asking him out, I just sit there…like a waifish moron . GAH! )
Sometimes I’m like “God, couldn’t you have made me prettier? That really would have helped out with a lot of things. Just sayin’ .” Which I KNOW is a stupid, sexist thing to want. I’m ashamed.
I think that parties, and social engagements and fashion are actually very interesting and fulfilling in an Anthropological, Historical, Political, and Spiritual way. I consider them a form of art, just as I consider oil painting and sculpture art…but I don’t always consider the traditional arts and crafts ( like crocheted blankets, or toll-paint, or quilts) to be true art…even though they are creations primarily made by women from all walks of life…and that valuing them has very feminist backing.
My favorite artist is John Singer Sargeant…who has been critiqued as being one of the guilty parties of creating unrealistic, on the pedestal representations of women. (But he’s not! He was actually a big supporter of the women’s suffrage movement…and he sat between the two camps of conservative realism and the new hippies of impressionism and acted as a bridge between both. You should really check him out. His confident, independent portrayals of women…and other progressive coolnesses, abound.)
I think that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are marketing and entertainment geniuses. ( And really…I’ve got not defense for that either.)
So really…someone is probably writing a Femi-missed-ish post about ME somewhere. And that’s fair.