Yes. i am still alive. I'm engaged though, so maybe I'm only half alive? I'm joining the rank and file of Mormondom and I must admit that while I am so very very very excited to marry JR, I'm having a slightly rocky transition. Oh, believe me, I know what you're thinking, "HOLY HELL. ALL I"VE HEARD YOU DO IS WHINE ABOUT THE BABIES IN THE BASKETS AND THE WOMEN WITH THE WEDDING RINGS AND NOW YOU"RE ALL, 'wo wo wo is me! I'm getting everything I've ever wanted!' HRRRRMPH. PPHLLLLLPTTTT. BOO HISS."
I allow you to be annoyed.
But I also allow me to be annoying.
There's this part about how I'm having a slight identity crisis. For the last many years, I've been a single active mormon virgin trying to reconcile my place in a church where the mainstream is not me. And I was really really good at being that girl. I was wise. I was optimistic. I was inspirational to myself. I was secretely fond of being the girl that confused the masses, "I just don't understand why you're not married?"
but now, when we have a chastity lesson in Relief Society in JR's ward, I'm not "the other". I'm not the girl who doesn't know if she'll ever get to have sex (in this life, blah blah blah). I have this ring (a beautiful one, I might add) on my left hand that makes me indistinguishable from the girl across the aisle from me who got married at 22 and has three kids. There was this row of single girls behind me in JR's family ward during said chastity lesson who looked like some of my girls...the kind I would quickly connect to and kvetch about the marrieds and the world and talk about how we were finding our place in this community. I had a weird desire to hide my ring and go sit with them while yelling, I"M ONE OF YOU! I SWEAR IT! I"M ONE OF YOU!...instead I just turned quickly around at the end of the lesson, introduced myself and blurted out, "I'm 34, I just got engaged, and I don't know what I'm doing!" Smooth. Really smooth.
And then there is the part where I'm really putting this body image thing to the test...This is too much information, I'm sure, and I'm sorry if you've stumbled upon this and wish you hadn't...but I just need to put this somewhere. If you're aren't LDS, you will probably think this is ridiculously backward and feel sorry for me. But maybe just maybe you will identify.
For years, I've been battling with my body. Hating it and loving it in equal measure. I've lost 75 pounds, up and down, back and forth and my body, my dear 34 year old body has seen better days. All this is to say that I don't look good naked. Skinny or not, my body is not that of a taut 22 year old (I guess I'm really over those 22 year olds?). And I'm going to be naked for the first time with a man who has the body of a greek god. Though he is wonderful and I know he wants me as I am, it is not JR's responsibility to make me feel good about myself. This is between me and the world that has taught me poorly. Today I tried on lingerie. I cried for a solid 10 minutes in the dressing room, the desperate tears of someone who knows she will never (at least not without surgery) look like the images of sexy that are purveyed by the makers of underpants. I found a beautiful vintage inspired robe thing that did make me feel pretty, but I couldn't get past the feeling that I was a failure at sexy in the grand scheme of things.
Here is where you want to write me some sweet comment about sexy is a feeling and that men don't really care....but please don't because I care. I get those things. I care because I'm angry that I'm still seeing myself through someone else's eyes, namely society. I care because I know that this is a last ditch adversarial effort to undermine my sense of self and worth. I care because I haven't yet mustered up whatever courage or strength it takes to not give a crap if my inner thighs are jiggly even though my legs are rock solid from all the strength training I've been doing. I'm angry that I'm still angry. Sigh. But I do have something. I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and will send help to comfort me and teach me whatever I need to know. Remember this girl?
She's still me, ring or no ring.