disclaimer: before i begin i want to say that this is my opinion as a young mormon woman. what i share is what i understand as well as my frustrations. my frustrations concern a specific cultural part of being mormon. some of you may not agree with me and that’s ok. but i will ask that if you do leave any comments please be polite.
i hope i give this justice. i really do. because i’ve been wanting to write about this for a while.
it. is. always. on. my. mind.
but i just haven’t been brave enough to get it all down.
a 20 year old female friend recently told me that while in a conversation with someone at church about what she planned to do after graduating from university next year, she was asked whether she wanted to go on a mission or get married. and when she said neither she was told she’d better pick between the two.
woah, woah, woah….come again?
two things here…
1. did i miss the boat? when did they become the only two options for a young mormon woman?
2. am i the only one who thinks getting married at 21 is not right for everyone? because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. our stories, our paths, are completely different. and i am very sure it was meant to be that way.
so when you tell me that i should be settled down right now i really really want to yell at you “do you know my life?”. i want to ask where i can find this timeline thing where i can tick off specific milestones because apparently i have totally missed the mark.
ok. let’s hit pause. let me inhale…..exhale. ok….
i might come across a feminist. and maybe i am. but whether or not you want to label it i’ve got to say it. as a nearly 30 year-old mormon woman i am tired. tired of my not-being-married being the thing that defines me. that often the conversation always comes back to ‘so who are you dating?’, ‘are you thinking about marriage?’.
yes i am. and i get it. the ideal, the eternal family ideal is what we all aim for (what i’m aiming for). and i do believe that being a mother or mother figure is the most beautiful calling a woman can have. but i feel we need to remember two important things:
1. being a wife and a mother should not be the only thing that defines me as a woman. i love this message that was given at the april 2008 general conference by elder m. russell ballard:
“…even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children.”
2. and the lack thereof should also not be the thing that defines me.
i am developing myself right now. i’ve gotten to experience some incredible things, visit some amazing places, and meet the most wonderful people. it hasn’t been by choice, but more just the path that i find myself on. and i am ever-so-grateful for that path because…because it has made me.
from elder ballards quote i understand that even when i am a wife and a mother, i still need to develop me. i cannot be there for anyone else if my own soul is weak.
i get it. people want me to be ‘happy’.
but shock horror my happiness is not determined by my marital status.
and my path in life is not determined by anyone else but me and my Father in Heaven. it is, and always will be between Him and i.