Monday, March 21, 2011

Church....(HEAVY)

My mother in law called me tonight......
She and my husband have a some-what volitile relationship, so we are all on "cordial" terms.
I have never met her in person, she lives in Australia...

Ok, well, as always, my activeness in my church came up.  (Well, my husband's, but mine got tossed in too)
I grew up, and in most ways am Mormon, aka LDS (Latter Day Saint).
I have always had a roller coaster relationship with church activity.  When I go, I'm the perfect specimen, when I don't, I'm as far off as you can get.

Well, the past couple years I've been off.  Way off.  In fact, I have a hard time saying "I am Mormon"...it's more, "I grew up Mormon".  I have never been to the church in my town, and I've lived here 2 years.  I only go when I visit family back home, and that's mostly to see old friends.

The reason I'm discussing this now, is because of a few things my MIL brought up are swirling in my head.
She told me I was better than this.  How my husband has some really important blessing/work ahead of him (if he follows his covenants), and I am really really special to have been chosen to be his wife.
A lot of this is really deep and personal, and may not make sence, but go with it.........
She also referenced our future children, and how they were saved for us, for the right time or something.

She seriously had me tearing up.  It was sweet, and came out of love and concern. 
Anyways, the reason I'm swirly, is because for the first time in my life, I have been feeling like ME. 
I dress how I WANT to dress.  Do what I WANT to do, style/color my hair how I want it, etc.
I do not first think what others will think and how they will percieve me.  I over-analyzed every move I have made my entire life. 
We are taught that people judge us and the church based on our actions, so be on your best behavior.
So on the outside, as much as possible, I was the perfect Molly Mormon.
On the inside though, for as long as I can remember, I was different, but never got to vocalize that.

I am not opposed to going to church.  I don't HATE it.  I don't deny it, at least completely....
I guess I just don't know how to be both Good Manda and Bad Manda at the same time.
How to be ME.  Who I AM. 
Church tells me I Am a Child of God, a chosen soul reserved for the last days, and if I follow that path, I have some heavy heavy things in my future.
The world tells me, I can do what I want when I want, and I like that.
Even at full scale rebellion, I am still reserved, its somewhat my nature, somewhat just engrained.


I almost got my hair cut shaggy and dyed pink, black, and blonde.  (my stylist cancelled, and it didn't pan out, but I still wanna do it).  My question is.....if I were to go back to church, am I going to cop out and worry more what others think, or do it, and get stared at and very much judged.
Not to mention my ear piercings.  I've thought about facial piercings, and would like a tattoo once I've reached goal weight.  What of these?  These are all HIGHLY frowned upon at church.

But these are me.  They are "of the world", sure, but its something I like. 

My mind is still racing.  I'd like your feedback.  This may be a touchy subject, I dunno....
Anyhow, thanks in advance.
Manda

7 comments:

Brenda LU said...

I understand about being judged. I have been in the Baptist church practically my entire life. I am having WLS next month and have told no one at my church. I am even the church secretary. I love my church, don't get me wrong and would do anything for any of them. I go for the sermons. It is a small gathering and I enjoy that. I've never gone to a church that has over say 100 people as members.
On the other hand, I have seen what having piercing and tattoos has done for some people. My oldest son has tattoos and he is a police officer. He cannot work for some of the best out there bc they don't allow tattoos that can be seen, piercings either. We are dicriminated for all sorts of things. I,for one, would not do the piercings and diff. colored hair if you are the least bit worried about being judged... bc you will be. Go get a manicure/pedicure, get some weird colors there. Go do something adventurous. That is just me. Wishing you the best and so glad you feel like...YOU!!

Angela said...

excellent my long comment was refused....

bottom line, I think the MIL is on the right track but YOU have to reconcile the you that you want and what the Lord wants and be comfortable with that decision.

My faith and follow through with the counsel we've been given has helped me though some serious struggles. Good luck!!!

Kellie said...

Manda, I want to comment, but can't spend the time I want to on it. I know how you feel and will write a real comment later, hopefully tonight when the kids are in bed.

Manda said...

Brenda: I know you're right, but that's what I'm fighting against. People already judge me from my weight and I have to curtail my image because of my weight as well. Its just frustrating to have to conform. Blah.

Angela: You always write too much ;) make sure you copy your comment before you submit it, and if it rejects it, just email it to me. I appreciate all you've supplied me with.
I do still have faith, and still talk with God daily. I just don't know that I can agree with all the buckets and buckets of counsel we're given.

Kellie: I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Kellie said...

I think that what you are feeling is fairly common, even within the LDS church. We are told we shouldn't rebel and yet still think for ourselves. It is a delicate balance to tread and can be difficult. You know what the standards of the church are, but find it difficult to live by all of them because something within you pulls you in a different direction (like the hair color, tattoos, or piercings). I understand that you'll feel like everyone is looking at you and how frustrating or even frightening that can be. What you have to remember though is that everyone is self conscious. Even if they don't appear to be.

My daughter's primary teacher has flaming pink hair. I love her. My youngest's nursery music leader has a tattoo on her foot. I love her. One of my best friends in this ward, and she was the first friend I made here, is overweight to the point that it's unsafe for her to get pregnant at this time. I love her.

I am willing to bet the people in your ward will just be happy you are there and won't be as judging as you think. We are taught NOT to judge others, not TO judge them (sorry for the all caps there, reading over it the sentence got confusing without them).

We are supposed to judge situations and actions so we can make correct choices, but not the people themselves. It doesn't always work out that way, I know, but that is the guidance. I'm really sorry things are frustrating right now with church.

I do know what it feels like to at least feel judged (whether there was actual judging going on or not is irrelevant). I hope and pray that you'll feel at peace with yourself and with who you are, Daughter of God and all. Pink haired or not. :)

Manda said...

wow, thanks kellie. I know we're not supposed to judge, but everyone does anyhow. Like, I can think of a handful of people that are friendly and outgoing with me when I'm active and following the rules. When I'm not, I never hear from them. Partly cuz "out of sight, out of mind", but it feels more like rewarding good behavior. LOL.
I think i'll try my ward out, see how it it fits.

Kellie said...

I know exactly what you mean by out of sight, out of mind. I know I've been on both sides of that one. I've felt forgotten and I know I've (and feel guilty for) realizing a month or so after meeting someone at church that I haven't seen them in a long time and didn't notice right away that they weren't there. There is a difference between what we are supposed to do and what we actually do. I'm afraid it's because we are human and there is no real good reason for it. I get busy and forget to be friendly sometimes because I feel like I'm already being pulled in so many directions at church or even during the week. I made a personal goal of being more friendly with people (specifically at church since those are the people I see most of the time, but others as well). It's helped me realize that I do have friends, even if we don't hang out like friends hang out in high school.

I guess what I'm saying is it's hard for people to be friendly if you're not around them. That's what I've figured out for myself anyway. :) I know you'll figure out what you personally need to do to be yourself, happy, and spiritually active.