So I tried to have a debate with a friend yesterday. It didn't go well. There were lots of hurt feelings and a lot of harsh things said. This was my final response to him. And this is more private than I would usually share on my blog. But this is doubling as my journal. And some of the things I said, I want to remember. So here it goes:
You fling a lot of mud for someone who doesn't want to be judged. I was 100% honest with you yesterday about my feelings and opinions. I called you naive because I was teasing. And I really do feel bad that my word choice or immaturity offended you. I just looked up the definition of the word to make sure I knew what it meant. It was a sarcastic remark. And I really don't understand how you could think I was being serious. You are, according to the definition, the opposite of naive. I thought it was okay to play around and be sarcastic because the conversation was getting a little intense for me and I was trying to keep it lighthearted. I do not have the knowledge to appropriately have that intense of a conversation about anything of a political nature. And it is something I am VERY self-conscious about.
You said I wouldn't back down and kept digging my hole. I did not get upset until the very end when I felt attacked. And you didn't view some of the things you said as an attack because you don't know my background of life-experiences either. Just as I didn't mean to offend you by the comments I made, you did not mean to offend me (I don't think) by constantly making reference to my religion and my church and my education.
Here is a much longer story of my life than you will want to read. But I am hoping that it will help you to better understand my responses yesterday.
I have always been very stubborn and strong-willed. I fought my parents for my entire senior year of high school about not wanting to attend BYU. I thought that BYU would be the worst, stupidest place to be stuck. But in the end I went there almost entirely for financial reasons. And because I have never had the guts to break my mother's heart and it was something she wanted desperately. I resented most of my professors and even argued with many of my psychology professors about how we needed to be prepared to practice in the real world and not the bubble of Utah Valley. My desire was to attend a grad school as far from BYU as possible in order to not be judged by my education. I never anticipated getting married before graduation. I had no intention of starting my family at such a young age. I was determined to not be the typical mindless BYU student that I spent so many hours rolling my eyes at.
(I should add here that I loved my four years at BYU. I made amazing friends and grew as a person so much more than I ever imagined that I would. And one of the things I learned is that it doesn't matter what a girl chooses to do. If she wants to get married young and have 20 kids, then she should. And it will make her happy. I might have desired for more of those things if I was in a different environment. But I was so stuck on not being "typical" or doing what was "expected of me" that I probably missed out on a lot of experiences that could have really helped me grow. Funny how life works.)
I never went to grad school. 7 years after my graduation I still live in Utah. I am about to be a mother of 5 children. My kids are going to be really close in age which means I have been pregnant and/or had little babies around a LOT more often than I have been comfortable with. I do feel like I have turned into exactly what I tried for so many years to fight. I do often feel like I have lost complete control of choice and that I am destined to continue on a path that I never wanted or asked for.
Now after all that rambling, I have to make it very clear that I am very, extremely overwhelmingly happy. I feel out of control and insecure, and yet it has taught me so much about my inner-strengths and about relying on others. I have learned SO much from the way things have turned out for me. So now I am at a point where the only thing I need to over-come is just being happy and not constantly worrying about how others view me. I will go to grad school. I will make a difference in the world. But right now my job is to make a difference by raising my little family in a way that they too can make a difference.
In terms of my feelings about church, I just don't have all the right words. It is so frustrating for me to have so many emotions and opinions and never have the words to express it correctly. I am incredibly devoted to my religion. I am overwhelmingly indebted to my Heavenly Father who is my everything. And I hesitate to say things that would detract from that. But I attend my church and I follow the teachings that they offer because I agree with them. And because my life works out better when I make the choices they encourage me to make. But I like to think that I define my religion, and not that it defines me. It has molded me, influenced me, and motivated me. But I want to be viewed as an individual with my individual thoughts and opinions. It does not control me. It does not tell me how to feel.
I have done more research and I do have more solid feelings on the same-sex marriage issue. I do realize that I can't talk with the big boys without having the facts and research to back it up. We are very different people though. And we are going to have very different opinions on things. I disagree with MANY of your life choices. And yet I have more respect for you than I have for most people I meet. And our lives are only going to continue to be more different as we each continue down different paths. But that is why I value your friendship. If I fall into a place where everyone around me believes, does, and says all of the same things then my brain stops working like it should and my experiences in life become even more narrow. I need the variety I grew up with. It defined me. It helped me to become who I am. It made me comfortable in my own skin.