I dreamed that at BYU, before General Conference, this special church man had to come around and verify that everyone was going to watch all four sessions of conference. This man was named Brother Skinner and was actually the guy from the X-Files who is in charge of Scully and Mulder and tries to help them sometimes by telling them to conform. Anyway, I morally objected to having to sign a paper saying that I was going to watch 8 hours of conference, so my professor helped me hide in the ceiling t avoid signing it. Alas, Brother Skinner found me hiding in the ceiling and dragged me into his office for questioning: aren't I a good Mormon? Why was I hiding, then? Don't I plan on watching all the sessions anyway? Why not sign a paper saying so? What am I so afraid of?
Anyway, I got out of signing the Official Conference Contract and went over to my cousins' house to write a paper. However, Conference was on in the background, and several people started giving talks about how evil I was, saying I didn't sign the paper and I wasn't a real Mormon and I was a bad person. The closing prayer was all about how they hoped I could repent and become a better person and sign the contract that said I was willing to be a good Mormon by watching Conference.
This led to me being livid and also panicking, and I called my mom to try to explain the situation to her. She was skeptical, told me I was a bad Mormon, and refused to listen to my side of the story. After all, she'd heard it in Conference, so it had to be true!
I then proceeded to write a letter to Feminist Mormon Housewives invoking a variety of Harry Potter metaphors to explain my innocence, which they rejected on the grounds that they were too rambly (alas, like most of the seminary papers I'm supposed to be working on right now). My uncle then was persuaded to go to church with his friend and informed me that someone in church had already given a talk on how I represented a particularly bad type of person, was a liar, and should be kicked out of the state immediately.
Then I was so panicked that I woke up. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal--actually, it's kind of funny. Compared to my frequent nightmares about rape and murder, it shouldn't be too bad. But I was still freaked out enough to wake up. I'm guessing this particular dream has to do with my dread about going home for Christmas Break. I was going to go to church with my family on the 23rd just to make an appearance; as my parents have frequently informed me, the whole ward knows of my exploits, including being liberal! advocating for abortion rights! dating an "older man" that my parents don't approve of! All of this, of course, is my own fault--everyone in my ward knows this because of facebook, and not because my parents have talked to seemingly everyone about my supposed exploits, leading me to encounter a variety of strangers that are connected to people in my ward about what a terrible daughter I am. Again, this is not my parents' fault, as they've told me many times! It's my own for being willing to swear on facebook, leading ward members to come to my parents in tears asking what happened to me!! And my poor defenseless parents of course have to agree with them about how evil I am because coming to my defense would be completely ridiculous!!!!
The nightmare thus indicates that I'm panicking about going home to my home ward because I'm worried that everyone has been gossiping behind my back and believes already that I'm a terrible person--which is the reason why I wanted to go, frankly, to hold my head high and show them that I'm the same smart, nice person they thought they knew so well when I was a kid. But the terror of going by myself and encountering all the girls I graduated with and knowing the whole time that my parents are scrutinizing me to make sure I'm paying attention--why is she writing in her journal instead of paying attention?? Is she TEXTING?!?--means it might not be worth it.
Still, I'm tired of my supposed ignominy in various circles. Friends moving out because they think I'm evil. Having to conform to my roommates' expectations because they assume I'm just as Mormon as them--though the new Packer and Beck quotes on the fridge might be to counteract all the gay literature and anti-bullying slogans we have on the fridge. This isn't necessarily my roommates' fault; why do I care so much anyway? If I were less insecure I could just be my own brand of Mormon or non-Mormon, as the case may be, and not worry about what anyone thought. But I'm stuck here at BYU, and I've gotten very good at policing myself, and I've gotten very good at conforming.
I don't really have anything else to say. This isn't meant to be a diatribe against the church; I still consider myself Mormon in a lot of ways, and I agree with the most central tenets of what Christ (and every prophet from Mohammed to Buddha) taught, which is that above everything else, we need to love each other. Which is what makes staying in the church so hard--I don't feel that love coming from, well, anyone, frankly, including my parents, who are supposed to be such! good! Mormons! Just like I should be!!!
Sidenote--can you tell I'm freaked out about staying at home for four days beyond just feeling like I have to go to church with my family? I'm already idolizing the knives they keep in the kitchen. Just going home for dinner on Sundays makes me depressed out of my mind. But, of course, I can't talk to my parents about any of this, because they've already said to my face that the fact that I feel uncomfortable in their house is, obviously, my fault. It's because I feel guilty about what a sinner I am, which is obviously why I don't want to go to church anymore! If I could just be less evil, then my parents wouldn't have to be disappointed in me! Because the fact that they're disappointed in me is completely my fault, and they bear no responsibility in making me feel bad! But they're sorry that I'm suicidal, and are more than willing to help, so I should definitely feel more comfortable calling them than my nice, helpful boyfriend if I'm ever feeling bad about myself, because that makes perfectly logical sense! And of course I'm not going to bring up any of those gay things around my poor, helpless, younger siblings, right? I have to watch my mouth, young lady, and make sure that I don't corrupt those poor high school-age children!
I didn't mean for this blog post to degenerate into a huge rant. I kind of wanted to write about the huge things that have been happening in the gay blogosphere, namely the new "mormons and gays" website (...lol) and the two cases going to the Supreme Court that will likely decide on the future of gay rights in America, which I am both excited and apprehensive about. I guess my personal anxiety about going home is trumping that, which I'm sorry about. I'm still not sure if I'll go home for church in the 23rd. It's not like I owe my home ward anything, and it's not like I have anything to prove. I shouldn't care what they think of me--but I do. A lot. So I guess we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, it's starting to just lightly snow outside, which is nice. I'm listening to the Princess Mononoke soundtrack and thinking that it's more than time to watch my favorite Miyazaki movie again. I'm going to a friend's homecoming, which might be the reason for some of this anxiety, but I'm actually excited to hear him talk about his experiences and then go eat some food at his house and watch the snow. Maybe I'll wear my rosary and bring my Koran to feel better about sitting through Sacrament meeting, but I'm pretty sure it will be okay. And then, of course, it's back to the daily grindstone of the final weeks of grad school, which means working on my paper about human rights and forensics and the imperial West, even though I'd much rather be watching an episode of Supernatural. Or Psych, which has consistently gotten me through a variety of hard times. Go figure.
I'm off to go get ready now, and scrounge up something warm to wear. I hope you all have a pleasant Sunday and a nice week. Here's the poem of the week, as usual. Happy Sunday, everyone.
MEDITATIONS AT LAGUNITAS
All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.