I think sometimes I hesitate to write about the subjects I’m about to tackle in this story because it will be painfully obvious to most the reasons I have “issues.” Perhaps those who choose to write understand this fear. Most writers are introspective and understand that writing can be therapeutic. Oftentimes, after writing about feelings or happenings, I feel they’re not even worth sharing because I’ve learned the lesson I should have and am embarrassed I didn’t learn it sooner and that anyone reading this might be embarrassed for me. This teenage happening turned adult realization however, though seemingly small, was just down-right pivotal in my road to recovery. I’m going to address being raised Mormon, I’m going to address being a feminist, and I’m going to address being (a) really funny (girl.) It is my belief that these are not mutually exclusive, but some would have you believe they are.
|"If you're a really good girl, you could be one of many!"|
I was raised Mormon. This meant a whole lot of church, a generally happy childhood, and A LOT to live up to. This was also a church whose leaders believed that “feminism was one of their greatest enemies.” Perhaps. Girls are pretty scary, especially when we’re shooting other humans out our vaginas. *Shutter.* It is more likely that the church fell victim to the scare tactics anti-feminists were using like, “they want the downfall of men” and “they’re all lesbians” and not just, “Can we vote, please? Also, can we make the same amount of money as you for the same jobs, guys?” (Sorry, Mormon readers who are about to defend the church and feminism. I’ve got one word: Polygamy. I’ve read and pondered all I can on the matter and it still doesn’t sit right with me. Until God comes down and is like, “Polygamy is totes cool, and here’s why…” I can’t and I won’t. But this is not what I’m here to discuss.)
His name was Gary. (Ha! No, it wasn’t. What a dumb fake name I’ve chosen to protect the innocent (guilty.) Frankly, if I told this story with its details, some readers might know who he is, so I’ll be nice. Gaaaarrryyy.) He was the son of a, we’ll say, higher up in the Phoenix area of the Mormon Church. He was like LDS royalty. My teens as a Mormon were going well. I was 16, getting (a little) cuter and my personality was ROCKIN’. Others laughed at my jokes and everything I did. I was also discovering my talents in high school; dance, drama, and really coming in to my own. Comedy wasn’t just a means to cope anymore (See the “Mascot” post,) it was fun! I’d discovered I’d inherited my grandfather’s very dry sense of humor. I felt a sense of pride every time I used sarcasm or a non-sequitur. (Thanks, Grandpa.) I was cute AND had a personality. I was turning into quite the Mormon prize. But when I thought Gary was interested… Gary, a goofily handsome, son of a higher-up, smart, funny, and Mormon royal?? I was like, “Andrea, you’re a friggin’ Mormon princess!” Life was good.
The strangest part about dating the ultra-religious is that you often don’t even know you’re dating at all. It seems to some that talking after bible class or being with other dates on an approved group date means you’ve courted and are subject to potential marriage scrutiny. Gary had spoken directly to me a couple of times, some seemed an attempt to flirt. One time, he and I happened to be on the same “triple date” (with other people,) and I remember being quite the life of the party. (We played pool and I can be charmingly competitive.) But we’d never spoken on the phone, never had an extended conversation, nor had he ever asked me out on an actual date. So, when he broke up with me, I was pretty surprised.
I had no idea our “relationship” had warranted such a dramatic ending. Surely he understood that we would inevitably end up in the same room at church, and by his definition, we would date again, right? Never-the-less, he asked me if he could drive me home from church one day. I was like, ‘oh, this is it! We’re finally gonna get to know each other. Maybe he’ll even ask me out on a date because that would be fun!’ He, however, had something different in mind. As he drove the .4 miles to my home he spoke of our “relationship.” I was like, ‘Whaaaa?’ and he was like, “yes, you’re wonderful but I can’t keep dating you any longer.” I was really taken aback here. ‘We dated? Was it fun?’ “You’ve really got to work on your sarcasm,” he said as I gaped at him in disbelief. ‘What is sarcasm, again? It must be that super cute, dry bit I do and it’s a sin, apparently. Damn, there are more sins?!?’ As he walked me to my door (this break-up lasted about 4 ½ minutes, 3 minutes longer than our relationship) he said, “There’s no room for sarcasm in Heaven. I hope you remember that.” I was at a loss for words. It was odd enough he was breaking off our imaginary relationship and if it were just that, I would’ve laughed at him with hearty, “Whatever, dude!” But, “There’s no room for Sarcasm in Heaven?” He tapped into something very deep and emotional. I fought back tears as I ran into my house and back to my room. I replayed our every interaction over and over in my mind. ‘What had I done that was so sinful? Why was I going to hell THIS time?’
I spent a long time trying to figure that out. Too long. I was quiet in church for a long time for fear I may say something sarcastic. I finally asked my mother for her expertise on the subject and she said, “He’s an idiot.” That helped a little, but I was still scared to date other Mormon boys because I may offend them if I slipped in a little sarcasm. So, when I fell in love with a non-Mormon boy from school, who deeply appreciated my humor and out-spoken-ness and was quite the ass himself, how could I be blamed? I began to really think I just didn’t fit in at church anymore. Gary breaking up with me for having a boisterous personality could not have come at a worse time in my Mormon career. At 16 we were already being taught how to be “good and worthy” wives, that submissiveness was a valued virtue (a virtue that I did NOT possess,) and that feminism would be the downfall of society. I just wanted to go camping like the boy scouts did, ok?! The combination of all of these events lead me to think an out-spoken, feminist, and ambitious female like myself might never be appreciated by my perceived definition of a Mormon boy, nor by the church. Sitting around, hoping that some virgin hero might return from his mission and want to sweep me up and impregnate me before my ovaries shriveled up sounded
like a dream come true terrible. This is my
simplest explanation for my “inactiveness” (non-Mormon-ness) now. Looking back
on my limited Mormon options, it is entirely possible that most of them were
just “idiots” like my mom said. (She’s so wise.) How could wildly witty and yes, sometimes,
sarcastic banter between two humans be a sin? I found it to be fun and thought
it was wildly attractive in a mate. Sarcasm is an acquired taste, some may argue that its the lazy kind of funny, but it is
most certainly not a one-way ticket to hell.
What Gary probably experienced before he accused me of committing a sin, was that I was a bit of a threat to him. It was really he, and not I, who had the problem. It took me a long time to learn this and that I was still dealing with subconscious feelings that being sarcastically funny was a sin. We should never suppress a girl’s (anyone’s) personality based on social or religious norms. I’ve felt an intense guilt my entire life for my humor or even laughing too loudly or too much because of this incident and many others. I’m just grateful for my inclination to always follow my instincts because it’s lead me to have exceptionally fulfilling relationships. Sometimes I’m like, “I just have too many funny and talented friends.” (Sarcasm)
Funny, witty, and sarcastic usually means supremely intelligent. So it’s not surprising the “idiots,” are threatened. The feminist in me would like to offer some advice and change the lyrics of the song “If YouWanna Be Happy” by the (hopefully sarcastic, but most likely misogynistic) Jimmy Soul, from:
“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. From my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.”
“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a vapid woman your wife. From my personal point of view, get a funny girl to marry you.”
Lesson taught; delightfully offensive song made more delightful. Two birds. Say whatever the fuck you want to say, ladies and laugh as much as you want at whatever you want. You will never regret it.
|Hell is a magical place where all the cats look like this.|