She’s Fighting a Battle with No One on Her Side

Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Toby Pimlico T-...
Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Toby Pimlico T-shirt in an episode of Sex and the City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tracy Chapman – Woman’s Work.

I just found this tumblr feed today that expresses much of how I feel as single Mormon girl (minus all the drinking). Im getting older (two weeks til the Golden Birthday!) and my facebook feed has changed with me. There are two major themes – the single people traveling and the married people posting married people/children things. Apparently everyone is on their 2nd baby, at least, now and I just finished school. I think its why everyone thinks Im younger than my sisters.

Ive also noticed that many of these mothers are posting things defending motherhood. While Ive seen the random political soundbites, I did not realize motherhood needed defending; as a single Mormon it usually feels like me and my friends are under attack. Although no one ever asks me when Im getting married (is it because they too are worried that I cant?), I know my friends are tired of hearing about it. My mother is tired of having people tell her how many grand- and great-grandchildren they have. My mother could care less, at least right now, whether she gets any or not. She’s more excited about my MBA diploma that just arrived at her house and seeing pictures of me at the Dead Sea. I think shes done with the children she has. More would be a problem.

My single group is tired of being told not to have sex or be alone with members of the opposite sex. We get it! Touching is bad! We are tired of feeling there is no place for us in a church, where once youre done being a kid, you have to have them immediately in order to stay relevant in the structure that exists. We are tired of 19-22 year olds (returned missionary age) being more legitimate adults in some way because they are married and have kids. As a friend would say, Babies having babies.

At this point, Im not even focused on having children. Changing diapers and cleaning up throw up sounds terrible. Ive finally got traveler’s disease and I dont even want to clean up after my self!

I am super excited, however, about getting a dog when I move back to the States. Maybe ill post lots of pictures of him/her doing adorable things, like peeing on my wood floors, to compete with the baby pics. The single person’s annoyance.

I think what I am trying to say is: My loins are not my purpose.

I dont believe that the equivalency of the priesthood is motherhood. Motherhood = fatherhood. And not having kids doesnt make me less of a woman and Im pretty sure having them doesnt make you a better one either. I know enough people in therapy because of crazy parents to know making a kid doesnt give you special powers or goodness.

The truth is maybe I dont know what Im talking about. As far as I know, I have no kids, barely have nieces, no cousins really. Just babysitting experience. So I dont know what its like to be responsible for a child and raise it and be in awe of the first steps and first bath and etc.

What I have done is raise those fully grown children into functioning adults. Ive taught their sons how to do laundry and buy clothes that look good on them instead of detracting. Ive helped them ignore the impulse to run away from relationships, and get married, and figure out how to improve the qualities of their relationship. Ive helped them find jobs and prepare for interviews and talked them down from their fears of amounting to nothing. Ive done all this while serving those I meet, and giving away the money I have and providing for myself and preparing a career that Im excited about. Are these things less than the eggs that my uterus insists on preparing for each month?

I dont want to feel like Im at war with married people or mothers in particular. They seem like good folk. I just dont want to feel like Im a failure at some cosmic plan, because I havent found a partner to settle down and have children with. I want the contributions Im making to the world to be valued as well, because otherwise how am I supposed to feel about myself then? Who knows when Im having kids? Or getting married? I just believe developing myself and those around me, if not as important as MOTHERHOOD, at least utilizes the same skill sets (Ive done more dishes and cleaning up at my best friend’s house than Ive ever done at my own). But as we go into wedding season and people start announcing impending births, I hope you can remember the little single people in your life – perhaps check their Amazon wish lists for a nice rememberance gift. And single people – watch Sex and the City – the Baby Shower (apparently season 1, episode 10).

I dont have a baby! Everybody drink!

And another for good measure.

I Dont Know What Ive Done or If I Like Who I’ve Become

Missy Higgins. A bit wistful and hopeful.

Flashback to driving around in high school listening to BSB at top volume. Which is mostly making the experience of navigating through and sitting at my gate waiting for my flight to the ME (Middle East) even more odd. This whole experience of being pulled out of the routine started at the gate in SLC. My flight was direct to Paris so there were a bunch of different languages being spoken, including a few lost North Caroliners whose flight had been delayed. Theres something about the homogeny of Utah that makes you very quickly notice the difference of people from “not here.” I dont know how to describe it any better than that. Its the difference in coloring, the difference in facial features, clothes, mannerisms  that just screams we arent in Kansas anymore. Perhaps when you live in a more cosmopolitan area these differences blend in more, but in Utah where so many people look the same, dress the same and seem to all be related to each other – differences stick out.

Just those few things immediately disconnected me from the world of midterms, and packing and eating Cafe Rio to a world much larger than I had previously been living in. I thought the nine hours of Silver Linings Playbook, Chasing Maverick and Battleship would be enough to adjust to a whole new world, but since I didnt sleep at all on board the loud screaming of the man on the other end of the row right before landing was still startling – he apparently was having a seizure. Another new experience – Ive never been on a plane with a medical emergency. Im pretty sure the flight crew was more freaked than the passengers. Fortunately multiple doctors on board, and things seemed ok- but again the medical personnel now spoke French and I recalled the little bit of high school French as the English-speaking doctor tried to explain to the French airport medical team that the German man had a seizure.

Even though in Utah I sometimes feel on the outside and not part of the culture, Im still an American, I speak English and I understand the rules of that world. Now even though there are signs in English, everyone speaks French and Im getting by mostly following gestures and my extreme familiarity with airport protocol that I hope still applies in other countries. Now Im sitting at the gate for my flight, and the flight before us is going to Kiev. So there is a mix of very blond, Europeans sitting next to dark-haired, hijab and sweatpants wearing Arabs. Every once in a while I get a whiff of what it smells like when we walk into the Middle Eastern store in Utah combined with the smell of human bodies . It smells… familiar. And to add to the mix of old and new there is a girl wearing a green Ralph Lauren sweater that I just gave away, and there were LDS missionaries on my flight to Paris. And one girl just asked to borrow my iPhone cord so she could charge her phone on my computer – shes going to the ME but lives in North Carolina. And it comes full circle.

Is this what the world is like when you leave home? This strange feeling that your world is slipping away with every accent, every exchanged smile with a stranger, with every decision about whether to try to ask for something in another language or just saying nothing and staying in English. And then its returned to you slightly changed like looking through 3D glasses. Youre not exactly sure what is real anymore, but right now Im both cautious and excited about it all.

Maybe Im actually home now.