Source: On Education and Being a Woman
Last night I got done working a shift at the Temple here in town. Every time I spend a night working at the Temple I walk away with a glow, a spiritual buzz if you will, that I always wish never had to wear off.
I got home and jumped onto Facebook and caught wind of the news. I saw that Same-Sex marriage was to be defined as apostacy. That didn’t entirely surprise me. Later that night I had a coworker Facebook message me asking about the other new policy. I looked at the article he sent and initially didn’t believe it. The handbook they posted didn’t look official, and I hadn’t seen anything from the Mormon Newsroom or LDS.org.
The article said that children of same-sex couples could not join the church unless they were at least 18 and denounced their parents’ way of life. I didn’t believe it because this also seemed much different from the way the church has been moving.
Let me be clear, I didn’t have any perceptions that we would start accepting same-sex relations for the members of the church. But I saw the church start putting funds towards assisting gay youth in Utah who often are at high-risk for homelessness and suicide. I saw Elder Oaks condemn Kim Davis for not fulfilling the oath she made for her public office. I saw the church promote protection for housing and work for the LGBTQ community. When I saw this it just felt like it was stepping away from everything my beloved church had been building. It was stepping away from everything I had been building.
I know it’s selfish, but it hurt because I knew this would hurt people I cared most about. In my two years as a grad student I have made some wonderful friends who are part of the LGBTQ community. These friends of mine have been there with me to suffer through horrible classes, laugh about the troubles of being a GTA, and showed the unconditional love for me even with our conflicting beliefs that my religion has always taught me to have for other people. These friends of mine shared connections with me I don’t have with anyone else.
So as I came to realize that the new policies were true, it broke and confused my heart. It’s been a lot of soul-searching. Looking through my social media I have seen much of the same feelings of confusion. I tried to give my coworker answers as to what was going on, but I honestly don’t have any.
But though I don’t have all the answers, there are some things I do know: I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God restored on the Earth. I know not only that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, and that the Prophets and Apostles called today are of God and do their best to adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that these men aren’t perfect, no one on Earth is, but I’ve made promises to uphold their teachings and counsel. I still sustain these men as I did years ago when I was new to the church.
I could go into great lengths about how there is some practicality in this new policy, that it’s nothing new, or go further into the confusion it has caused me. Trust me, if you have frustrations or disagreement with this policy I understand, you’re not falling on deaf ears. For as much confusion this has been, interestingly enough I have found some interesting words of comfort in this time:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
These times are confusing, and hard, but God is never the author of confusion. People are the only authors of confusion. I implore anyone who is confused, conflicted, or angry to simply pray about this. I won’t say that you will all come to the same conclusions, or that things will be made easy once you’ve prayed. But what I will say is that Heavenly Father wants us to seek understanding, and it is never wrong to ask.
It. Is. Done.
Well, almost done. Or more accurately, it heading towards being close to almost-done. I’m talking about my thesis, a.k.a “The Monster.”
A few days ago I went to meet with my graduate advisor to discuss next semester, which meant talking about my comprehensive exams and thesis possibilities. I was waiting quite a while for my advisor to show up so in the mean time I wandered around the offices to see who I could talk to. I ran into one of my professors and started discussing my “future.” As we talked she just said, “I worry about some students but I don’t worry about you.”
As flattered as I was I thought, “Seriously? You saw me eat two expired sandwiches in your class last week and I was about to eat another one yesterday except you gave me pizza. You’re sure you’re not worried about me and my future?” And in my defense after surviving all the bouts of food poisoning I’ve had I do not fear expiration dates. If the price is right they are more ‘guidelines’ than ‘warnings.’
After I talked with her and went back and forth across campus looking for my advisor, I finally got to meet and talk with him. We went through my semester plans quickly, discussed my thesis idea, and he even said he wanted to be a part of my thesis committee. The meeting went well. Surprisingly well.
When I’d shared my concerns about comprehensive exams and my thesis he said that he wasn’t worried about me. Again, I thought about eating expired sandwiches, but then I started to think about how people just aren’t worried that I’ll finish my M.A.
It’s weird. A year ago I never would have imagined I’d have things together, that I’d be okay at this point. Then again at this time last year I was still grappling with the fact that I was in school and not in Utah like I had planned to be. More importantly, how did this all work out?
It baffles me how Heavenly Father has slowly but surely gotten me to this point. I regret questioning him so much if grad school was really what he wanted, but I’m so thankful he didn’t smite me for pestering him. Yet maybe my questioning has something to do with all the food poisoning I’ve had… Or maybe because of my failure to refrain from Hy-Vee chinese buffet food.
Anyways, I still don’t understand why people have this sense of calm when it comes to me and accomplishing my M.A. I guess everybody just sees something I don’t quite understand. Regardless, I’m thankful they do. It just further proves, again, that Heavenly Father was right and I was wrong.
Now if only people would have this same calmness about me and my living choices. Despite past problems my complex has really straightened out. Admittedly I am a little concerned as to why the same neighbor has a different car every 2 weeks (I’ve been tracking this for a few months now) and I don’t feel the need to carry my pepper spray around anymore (maybe because I lost it)!
I’m glad people aren’t worrying about my school work or future job prospects, hopefully they will stop worrying about my apartment too.
Last night my dad called asking me about some pharmacy stuff and I told him I would be around Hastings or Kearney this weekend. Somehow this translated to me making my way home as well… Not entirely sure how that will work out but I figure I’ll just do what I’m told. This made me realize I had not shared any of our texts since this summer, so here is a bunch of my misery for you to enjoy!
I am ashamed of myself. For the first time in my adult life I have let a cold knock me down. I tend to have a problem of working through sickness because of pride and learning from a Dad who will likely die from an electrical shock at an old age rather than just old age. This week has been another story.
Saturday evening after General Conference (one of my favorite sessions ever- the whole Saturday) my friends and I were looking for something to do. Our plans will usually start as one thing then turn into whatever will cost us the least amount of money. We decided to take a walk around ConAgra Park, aka the site of evil.
We wandered around and somehow I ended up chasing the geese. I don’t remember how or why I got myself to do that but I think I just have this innate drive to chase geese. Much like my desire to trap a wild turkey into my car. See, this is a pic of me chasing geese back in 2008. Things have not changed…
I managed to get my hands on a goose for a bit. I didn’t pull any feathers, maybe just ruffled them a little. I can’t tell you how much I want to domesticate my own bird. Anyways, the next day I may have started to come down with something…
All through Sunday Conference I had to fight to stay awake. Halfway through the morning session my couch-mates were giving me sideways glances. I think my friend Melissa was thinking about taking me out and burying me in the back. It’s always the quiet ones that are most likely plotting to kill you. Frankly with the amount of sniffling I was doing I would deserve it. We’re all professional students, we can’t afford to be sick.
By Sunday night I was in a haze of sniffles and sleep. I woke up at my usual 6 AM to see how I was feeling and decided to email my bosses that I was close to death. Everyone was understanding but missing a day of graduate school can be detrimental. Plus I actually like my Monday classes. You don’t get to say that too often in college.
I slept all day Monday and should’ve stayed in bed for longer, but I was stupid. It was a Wolfpack birthday, Ash was turning 26 again. I texted MT at 2:30 saying something along the lines of dying and not being able to make it then around 4:30 I drank DayQuil until I felt different and texted again that I could make it.
Should I have gone? Probably not? Was it a bad idea to drink more than the daily recommended amount of DayQuil? Definitely. Do you know what happens when you drink too much? Your symptoms go away but you get the weirdest headache. My vision became, what I would call, “psychedelic.”
But, it was Ash’s birthday. The last birthday of hers we will likely ever spend together. I still remember us becoming friends 2 years ago and breaking into her garage to decorate her car to show that I really cared. I may have been sick but I couldn’t miss one more birthday with Ash, especially if it was at the Cracker Barrel. Seriously, that place looks like my hometown wrapped up in an Iowan restaurant.
See, I was so excited to be there with Ash and our friends. I had promised Ash I wouldn’t post this, but I bet my meager little blog doesn’t count. After dinner I could quickly feel the effects of DayQuil wear off. My nose began to run like a river and sleepiness came over me like a princess under a spell. Though let’s be honest, I am no sleeping beauty. Sleepy Lauren has been described as, “deranged”, “delusional”, and “just plain weird.”
I’m feeling a lot better after being in a coma all day today as well, but I am going to be up forever catching up on homework. I miss the days of undergrad when I could actually skip assignments. The worst thing is that I have this small worry that I have bird flu. Before I know it I could be pulling feathers out of my back like Natalie Portman in Black Swan. That crap was all in her head but it could happen to me! Well, at least if I die by feathers and growing mad I will have one last sweet memory with the pack.
Some days you realize how much of yourself can change in a year. Like when you’re sitting in your dark office, grading papers while eating your clearance Walmart sandwich and drinking what you promised would be your last Mt. Dew Kick start- it hits you. You are finally the pure embodiment of a poor grad student. The hipster glasses and heart palpitations from the caffeine really emphasize this revelation.
But in all seriousness it’s been fun to see this shift in myself. I (and any of you readers) remember how last year this was all a constant nightmare- I mean “challenge”… It was hard coming to grad school, we all know that. What I thought would be completely impossible would be to embody the whole grad student persona.
Everyone else knew all these theorists and knew how to properly use APA citation, and I was lucky to be there, mainly out of a few faculty members undeserving faith in me and a desperate need for a GTA who knew how to work a camera. But now- now I understand Marxist theory! I know hegemony! Big words don’t elude me! Well, most of the time they don’t! That is until I get around law school friends. You know what’s great about dental school friends? They completely accept the fact that no one understands their big words and jargon so they never even try using it around others. I have never once hear them use too big of a word around me. Why can’t more people be like dentists? I bet there are fewer serial killers that are dentists than there are that are lawyers. Just saying.
But the biggest thing I’ve gained is compassion. I don’t think I wasn’t compassionate before grad school but it has opened me up in a lot of ways. The world changes, and not always in ways that you accept, but you can always be kind and respectful. I thought being a Mormon in a predominantly Liberal department I would run into some difficulties. Yet I found that no matter what beliefs or lifestyle my classmates and professors have, everyone here truly understands that “different” doesn’t mean “hateful.” The best part is that no one seems determined to change anyone to their exact way of thinking, but we understand that differences need respect, not always change. I only hope that when my classmates reflect on me that they found me to be this way as well.
Well, enough of the deep-reflection-y post. I’ve still got a lot of crap to talk about. I think most of my family has forgotten about the blog, so maybe it is safe again to exploit my shenanigans without a family member responding that my actions are impeding my marriage potential. Anyways, I promise I’ll be writing more. How else will I find people to bail me out of my next jail stint if I don’t keep this blog to help me outreach?
Once upon a time I wrote about suffering from food poisoning yet finding the strength to go on a date by drinking profuse amounts of pepto bismal and fervent prayer. Lets just say I have another tale to tell that follows an eerily similar storyline.
I’ve been seeing someone for just over two months. Admittedly I should have posted about this sooner. But then again I never know how invested my family is to the blog and I did not want another call starting with, “You promised you’d call if you met Prince Charming!”
This guy has actually been talked about on this blog a lot before actually. It’s been a few years and sadly it was before I gave the guys names. Now I will fix that and he shall hereby be known as “Radio Guy.”
Radio Guy lives in Lincoln and has a demanding job and I’m here working two jobs and interning, so dates have been sporadic. Our last date came after not getting to spend much time together for nearly 3 weeks. Sadly this determination to spend time together was my downfall once again.
This summer I’ve been nannying for the Oakey family again. That week two of the kids had thrown up, but I had chalked it up to eating greasy food and for having tiny immune systems. Friday came around and the mom was starting to feel queasy. I assumed it was just from her general weakness when it comes to puke. Guess how many times that has left me to take care of puking messes?!
Anyways, I left at the end of work with my stomach feeling slightly upset too. But did I possibly think I could have caught something? Nope, I was too focused on hanging out with Radio Guy to think logically.
My stomach troubles fluctuated the rest of the day. When Radio Guy and I finally met up I was feeling better. Honestly I’m sure my stomach still bothered me, but I was just kind of happy to the point I was easily forgetting the problem at hand. Yeah- I know I’m getting a little cheesy. Anyways…
After Radio Guy left I had to rush off to play in my volleyball league. Towards the last set it was undeniable that my stomach had turned evil. At any moment I was expecting it to turn into Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and take over the rest of my body.
Of course the smart thing after volleyball would have been to go home and sleep. But even though I wasn’t feeling well I wouldn’t admit that I needed to go home. I only have so many opportunities to be social with my work schedule so I opted to go to a party for a friend. I hope I never catch a zombie virus because I can promise I will be that person who causes the world to get infected because I couldn’t stay in quarantine.
By the time I made it home I was starting to look like a zombie virus victim. I became comprised of slurred speech, pale complexion, and a swagger that looked like it came from the Thriller music video. Once the clock struck midnight the vomit came. I’m trying to think of analogy that accurately portrays how much time I spent with my bathroom pleading with God to make it stop. I’ll just keep it simple and say that I was out of it for almost 5 days and drank pepto bismal like an alcoholic. I might have been delusional but I think I could hear God laughing when I begged for the puking to stop.
Looking back I probably would have avoided some of the puking if I would have just stayed home that day and rested. But as I said, my determination to see someone did me in.
I also can’t help but worry that any guy I date is now going to come with a bout of puking. Why can’t I have a tradition of getting flowers? Why does it have to be puke?! Ugh, I guess I should be thankful it’s puking and not something worse like Ebola or raging diarrhea. Though I swear if I start getting raging diarrhea when I date I will happily stay single instead. I’d rather go through life alone than suffer a tradition of diarrhea.