Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Night

The dog is whining at the door. My brother is letting in a variety of ward members here to hear his customary (for our ward) post-mission fireside for the youth; he just got back from his mission a month ago. I can hear my former leaders talking in the entryway. These are the people who taught me in young women's, in Sunday school, in all the basic tenets of the Mormon church.

Now, my mom enjoyed telling me over the summer, they judge me. The ones who were facebook friends with me would comment to her on my liberal leanings and my lgbtq rights lobby. One of my former leaders, the woman whose children I babysat for years and years, came to my mom with tears in her eyes (says my mom) because I had sworn on facebook. "What on earth happened to Kylie? She used to be such a wonderful girl!" Not any more, apparently.

These are some of the people about to come into my house and hear my brother give a talk telling the youth of the ward how to be a good missionary. There's him at the front of the room, pounding the invisible pulpit, and there's me hunched over on the couch, anxious and worried about being judged by the people my mom says judge me.

Frankly, it's not that big of a deal. I'm anxious about it, but I don't actually care what they think of me. I don't care how many of them know I write on this blog. I'm comparatively comfortable with who I am right now. But the one thing that gets me is that I know they all wanted me to fit into a normal Mormon life--make good Mormon choices, marry a good Mormon boy a few years into college, settle down into my good Mormon life. A Mormon life as defined by my parents--obviously not all Mormons live this way. But for my parents and my ward, there's a perfect way to live, and I'm not living it. And I'm trying to make some huge life choices right now--a year into grad school, wanting to decide what to write a thesis on, if I want a PhD, so on and so forth--and none of the people I looked up at as role models when I was growing up no longer believe that I have the capacity to make "good life choices." All of my life choices are bad, from their perspective, which my mom and dad had no problem telling me over the summer, and now I don't know how to regain the confidence I need to move forward with my life.

Anyway, they're all here now, gathered around me, so I have to close this and listen to the devotional. Here's the poem of the week, in closing, and if you're living in Utah, be safe in the cold and the snow this next week!

Mary Ruefle

Every time it starts to snow, I would like to have 
sex. No matter if it is snowing lightly and unseri-
ously, or snowing very seriously, well on into the 
night, I would like to stop whatever manifestation 
of life I am engaged in and have sex, with the same 
person, who also sees the snow and heeds it, who 
might have to leave an office or meeting, or some ar-
duous physical task, or, conceivably, leave off having 
sex with another person, and go in the snow to me, 
who is already, in the snow, beginning to have sex in 
my snow-mind. Someone for whom, like me, this is 
an ultimatum, the snow sign, an ultimatum of joy, 
though as an ultimatum beyond joy as well as sor-
row. I would like to be in the classroom — for I am 
a teacher — and closing my book stand up, saying 
“It is snowing and I must go have sex, good-bye,” 
and walk out of the room. And starting my car, in 
the beginning stages of snow, know that he is start-
ing his car, with the flakes falling on its windshield, 
or, if he is at home, he is looking at the snow and 
knowing I will arrive, snowy, in ten or twenty or 
thirty minutes, and, if the snow has stopped off, we, 
as humans, can make a decision, but not while it is 
still snowing, and even half-snow would be some
thing to be obeyed. I often wonder where the birds 
go in a snowstorm, for they disappear completely. 
I always think of them deep inside the bushes, and 
further along inside the trees and deep inside of the 
forests, on branches where no snow can reach, deep-
ly recessed for the time of the snow, not oblivious
to it, but intensely accepting their incapacity, and 
so enduring the snow in brave little inborn ways, 
with their feathered heads bowed down for warmth. 
Wings, the mark of a bird, are quite useless in snow. 
When I am inside having sex while it snows I want 
to be thinking about the birds too, and I want my 
love to love thinking about the birds as much as I 
do, for it is snowing and we are having sex under 
or on top of the blankets and the birds cannot be 
that far away, deep in the stillness and silence of the 
snow, their breasts still have color, their hearts are 
beating, they breathe in and out while it snows all 
around them, though thinking about the birds is not 
as fascinating as watching it snow on a cemetery, on 
graves and tombstones and the vaults of the dead, 
I love watching it snow on graves, how cold the 
snow is, even colder the stones, and the ground is 
the coldest of all, and the bones of the dead are in 
the ground, but the dead are not cold, snow or no 
snow, it means very little to them, nothing, it means 
nothing to them, but for us, watching it snow on the 
dead, watching the graveyard get covered in snow, it 
is very cold, the snow on top of the graves over the 
bones, it seems especially cold, and at the same time 
especially peaceful, it is like snow falling gently on 
sleepers, even if it falls in a hurry it seems gentle, 
because the sleepers are gentle, they are not anxious, 
they are sleeping through the snow and they will 
be sleeping beyond the snow, and although I will 
be having sex while it snows I want to remember 
the quiet, cold, gentle sleepers who cannot think of 
themselves as birds nestled in feathers, but who are 
themselves, in part, part of the snow, which is falling
with such steadfast devotion to the ground all the 
anxiety in the world seems gone, the world seems 
deep in a bed as I am deep in a bed, lost in the arms 
of my lover, yes, when it snows like this I feel the 
whole world has joined me in isolation and silence.


  1. I have a high school class reunion in Utah this summer. I have been on the reunion planning committee for two years. I came out last summer. Some of my classmates guessed I was gay in high school. They knew it before I knew it, but now I am the subject of some of their gossip behind my back while I get some congratulations posted to me directly. Twice my guy has asked why I am thinking about not attending the reunion. Both times he was offended by what was being said behind my back. I have six months to make a decision.

  2. Blehhhhhhhhh that sounds absolutely horrible. My Utah class reunion was last summer and cost $30, and I'm terrified of half of those people now for similar reasons. Anyway, I'm really sorry, and I hope you figure it out. Good luck!

  3. That poem was luscious.

    Re: confidence, you can do it. For me it happened by doing things and taking chances. Even the things I tried and failed at built me up. I want you to build past these people.

  4. Thanks, Matt. You're great, and your confidence inspires me : )