“Why aren’t you married?”: Day 8

(At the temple with my friend Erica)

This post is what you would call the monster. Meaning, this aspect of my life lies at the forefront of my many fears and expectations for myself. But it is an important part of my journey. So, probably with a few tears on my end, I will be honest with my experience concerning this question.

Anything I write here is for myself. But, it is also a part of me I really am ashamed of. As I have grown up I have realized feelings are precious things, and so are experiences: no matter how painful they are, even when compared to other people’s own experiences. But this is one of those cases I have to fight to let myself accept my emotions.

Please don’t think less of me for writing this. Believe me, if I could move forward without writing it I would. But I can’t.

I could talk about how much pressure is out there to be married before or after a certain age. But I won’t. I could also talk about whether or not it is necessary to even be married or if women should pursue careers first. But I won’t.

No, this is about me and my deep, overwhelming desire from a young age to be married in the temple and have a family. And not just to anyone. It must be to someone I feel I can trust my whole self to. I have a firm belief this desire has followed me from before I was born. It isn’t something I can rightly explain.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had ample opportunity to date and actually have been proposed to. (I forgot about that until recently when I talked to my mom. Moms remember these things.) But it isn’t really about getting married. At least, not at the deepest part.

It is about finding someone who is willing to commit themselves to me in all aspects of life. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is about taking on life’s struggles with my best friend, as cheesy as it sounds. Perhaps I am an idealist. Regardless, this dream has served as the center of my life a very long time.

But, despite everything I am not yet married.

And it terrifies me sometimes. It is irrational, perhaps a little selfish but it is real.

I remember being 16 or so during a young women’s conference and hearing a talk by someone in the presidency. She was not married and proceeded to tell us how, no matter if we marry or not, no blessings would be denied us in our lives. I am sure it was a beautiful talk. But hearing her words my heart broke a little.

The reason I felt so anxious, no matter how gently or caringly she gave the message, was because I realized my dream could very well not happen. So, ever since, there has been a small knot of grief locked in my heart especially as the years have passed by.

This little knot has grown throughout my life. Once was when I was 21. I fell for and confessed to a young man who I had dated for about eight months. Once I told him how I felt, he looked at me, told me I was a great girl and. . . just left. Literally. He stepped into his car and drove away. I never saw him again.

I remember being at my sister Jessica brother in law’s wedding reception. I tried hard to stay busy the whole time but afterwards I broke down, because it was painful for me to sit alone as everyone else danced with their partners.

I remember talking to my father when I was 24. I felt deeply impressed I should go on a mission for my church. But I didn’t want to. I looked at my father and told him it was because I was afraid I would be too old to get married when I got home.

Then on my mission I turned 26 and told my mission president what I told my father. But at that time things were a little different. I was in love with one of the missionaries I was serving with.

I remember the fateful moment I returned home and called him and felt perhaps things could work out. It was only a few days later I learned he had a girlfriend. Six months later he was married.

This last summer I attended two weddings for my younger siblings, two for my cousins and one for one of my dearest friends. I am sorry to say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was happy for them, but lonely for myself. I hated the way I felt as I watched them be with their significant other. It was a feeling of being left behind.

Since then I have pictured what the future will be like, watching my siblings have children. While I stay where I am.

That is what it feels like to see your life pass before you, as your dream remains unfulfilled.

Oh gosh this is hard.

So here comes the question, “Aubrey, why are you not married?” The answer is I don’t know. At least not completely.

But I will say this. Despite not knowing, I can now see more clearly who I am and where I stand then I ever have before. I have had many wonderful life experiences in college, Europe, on a mission and through continued work and education.

I have had to fight myself many times concerning this, because I often think if I move forward with my life I will lose everything I ever wanted or that I am giving up. But this is one of the lies which prohibits growth. We can’t sit and wait until our dreams happen before we can move forward.

That is the thing about dreams; we don’t have to wait for its fulfillment to be fulfilled as a person. But I can only see these truths now that I have gone through many experiences.

So, at 29 I look forward on a path which I can’t see the end of and I have a choice. I can stop and refuse to step forward into the unknown. Or I can believe; believe there is something better waiting for me, that I can be happy now, and my dream will come true.

I just need to wait and be happy living in the now. That may be the hardest trial of faith any of us encounter in this life.

But for me, I think I am learning a little more each day how precious the time I have is. Why waste it limiting my attentions to blessings I don’t have yet?

I hope to look back at this post years from now and see how lucky I was to have waited as long as I did.

I also hope I will be grateful for taking the time to face my fears.

Thank you for reading.

Do you Enjoy Eating: Day 7

This is a rather difficult entry to write but I feel it is very important for myself, and perhaps for any who read it.

When we list the daily essentials of life there are several answers which come to mind: water, air, clothing, shelter, sleep, companionship and FOOD. We need to eat daily. In fact it takes only two weeks of food deprivation to die. TWO WEEKS.
Food comes in as many shapes and forms as people. We have many varying tastes and expectations. I personally can recount EVERYTHING I ate in Europe five years ago. I can also recount every food I have ever hated, loved, regretted and dreamed of trying. In short, food is integrally intertwined in our everyday life.

So, if we need food and think of it so much why is it treated among us as one of our greatest fears and burdens? Because it is connected to FEAR and more readily SHAME.

Once upon a time I studied chakras as part of my Avatar the Last Airbender study spree. (If interested, read here —–> POST) Charkras are believed to be energy sources along the spine beginning at the pelvic floor and extending to the crown of the head. The third chakra Manipura deals with willpower and is blocked by shame. Interesting fact, it is located in the STOMACH.

It wasn’t until recently I noticed this important connection between shame and the stomach. In my post several years ago I surmised, “(Our Stomach) is the center of self-confidence, personal drive and personal power. Another way to look at it is as our inner fire, or zeal which gives one the motivation to grow and progress.”

Here’s the trick. Anything good in our lives can become a burden if we disconnect from its true nature.

For example, what happens when we overeat? When we notice weight gain? We feel deep shame and food turns to something bad, ugly and the evil root of our problems.This often leads to eccentric dieting, or binge eating depending on our state of mind at the time. I can attest this line of thinking does not lead to a skinnier waist line or confidence. It is almost like becoming locked in a cycle of self-loathing, where we feel ashamed of who we are and our inability to control our appetites.

I also wrote in my article this interesting statement, “Shame is antithetical to confidence. It denotes a loss of self esteem and respect as well as humiliation and dishonor. These personal disappointments keep one locked in place, ashamed and lost.”

I have definitely felt lost in myself, unable to look beyond bodily imperfections. And how I feel physically is more often then not connected to how I see myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My worth becomes a measurement and I frantically strive to pull myself back to the ideal body size.

And the enemy through all this? Food. Food becomes calories, carbs and sugars which we picture as future fat rolls and jiggling limbs. Food shines as our shame personified.

But is that what food actually is?

Do you know food’s definition? Google dictionary puts it thus:

Food: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth

It is because of food we are alive. It is because of food we grew up as children with teeth and hair and all our bodily functions working. Any unhealthy perspective on food traps us within ourselves. So, myself included, we need to break from this hurtful way of thinking about food. Because FOOD IS ONE OF THE JOYS OF LIFE! I will say it again, food is one of the joys of life!

Food is NOT CALORIES. It is FUEL.

We need to stop punishing ourselves by eating junk rather then nutritious meals. We also need to stop punishing ourselves mentally for everything we have eaten before.

And most importantly, we need to reteach ourselves to enjoy eating.

Today I actually asked myself the question, “Aubrey do you enjoy eating?” Then came deeper questions: “That oatmeal you ate, are you happy after eating it? Do you enjoy drinking chicory tea? If you ate that pizza, would you actually like the taste? Dear, are you really tasting that chicken you put in your mouth just now, or are you too busy playing your game on your phone?”

I have to wonder what would happen if food became one of the sources of joy I had in my day. Honestly, food is part of life’s experience. Why not enjoy the journey? Now, this does not mean eating anything and everything I come in contact with. It is more about finding what my body needs and enjoys.

Therefore, instead of punishing myself with thoughts and ideals concerning food, I want to learn better self mastery and awareness. Russell M. Nelson stated in his talk “Decisions for Eternity” ,

God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated.22 When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.23

In mind I think of it this way. I can look at my personal weaknesses in eating and punish myself with hatred and shame. That, or I can nourish and love myself and step by step help myself love what I eat and how it makes me feel.

Because I love myself, I will not only eat well I hope to eat joyfully! Recording in my mind my daily vitals should become one of my favorite activities!

To have Divine Worth: Day 2

(No glasses. now you all know what I look like without them.)

Whenever I find myself trying to understand self love, I reflect on earlier teachings from my childhood. For those who do not know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the main teachings we learn since we are very young is that we are children of God, with a divine nature and incredible potential.
The definition of divine is, according to google dictionary, “of, from, or like God or a god”. Worth is “ the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.” Therefore, whenever I would hear I had divine worth, they meant I came from God. This is an incredible concept. It is as Elaine Cannon once said, “There are two important days in a woman’s life: The day she is born and the day she finds out why.” (SOURCE)
But as it happens, because I have heard this for so long and SO MANY TIMES I forget the magnitude this small truth has. This is because such beautiful truths tend to become lost amidst louder more persuasive voices. Since I was a teenager, this has been especially hard for me. It was hard to think of myself having divine worth when so many voices in and outside my head screamed the very opposite.

They tell me how to be beautiful, as if I am not already. They tell me how to talk, act, “fit in”, find love, become a successful adult, etc in order to become someone of value.

There is the key. One of the worst lies we tell ourselves, myself included, is there is so much we need to do in order to gain worth, to be something of value.

For myself, it has always been “I am not my ideal body size or image of beauty. And until I achieve it I am not good enough. . . for myself or others.”
Former President Thomas Monson said, “We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices.” (source) I also think we are often one of the loudest voices putting ourselves down and limiting our perspective.

But the truth is this. As Rosemary Wixom said “Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.” (source)

We come from a God, who made us after his image, gave us this earth and loves us perfectly. THAT makes all the difference. At least, it does for me.

As Victor Hugo wrote, ““The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves—say rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

For myself, I feel I should ponder deeper who I REALLY am and build myself up. What does give me strength is to know God and Jesus Christ love me and understand me. This means they know my weaknesses but it also means they know the goodness in me and the GREATNESS.

Tiger’s Curse (2011) Book Quote and Short review

The dream made me realize how alone I really felt. Since my parents had died, no one had held me like this. Of course, I hugged my foster parents and their kids, but no one managed to break through my defenses- nor had I let anyone pull this depth of emotion from me in a long while.

That was the moment I knew that Ren loved me.

I felt my heart open to him. I already loved and trusted the tiger part of him. That part was easy. But, I recognized that the man needed that love even more. For Ren, it had been centuries-if ever. so, I held him close. . .

tiger's

So, I wanted to just share a quote from a book I really like. But it comes with a short review because. . . I need to get my thoughts off my chest. Tiger’s Curse is actually the first in a four book series. It is followed by Tiger’s Curse, Voyage and Destiny. Overall, it is definitely a good series to read and better than. . . Twilight. (Sorry. I had to say it.) Colleen Houck did a wonderful job embellishing Indian culture and creating likable characters with real problems.

I liked the main heroine Kelsey because though she was definitely insecure about herself and her relationships, it had a foundation for it that I could understand. But through it all, she was very compassionate and charitable. Ren was my favorite because he was intelligent, vulnerable and he loved very deeply. All in all, I saw in both of them my own anxieties in love and in life.

I also like Ren’s brother Kishan and was happy he received the ending and family he so desperately needed in the last book.

My thoughts on Colleen Houck’s novels are mostly positive. I love the way she writes, the setting she creates, and the the ending. But .. . . I can usually only read the first book and then the end of the fourth.

Of all the four novels in this series the first is my favorite because, well, there isn’t the mind crushing, painful love triangle from the others. Honestly, I can’t read the whole series because it gives me such awful anxiety and frustration.

Here is my reasoning. This was one of those stories I could tell right from the get go who would be together and I really thought it was tangible and real right from the start. But reading Kelsey’s decision to leave Ren after painfully watching him act though a haze of stolen memories and then have to read of how much she fought against herself to the point of almost hating herself. . . Oh gosh it is too much for me.

There are over two books of it and I just. . . can’t. . . make it through. I felt so sad for everyone involved. So. . . I read faithfully to the end, rejoiced it was finally over with Kelsey and Ren married happily with Kishan also married and happy and I was satisfied. But by golly if it didn’t almost destroy me.

So there you have it. The first is my favorite, I love the ending but can’t make it through the books without going through my own personal crisis.

DAY 11- Month of Movie Quotes: Rigoletto (1993)

Ribaldi: There is nothing more mean and ugly in this world than to have a beautiful gift, a loving spirit, and a desire to give and share these things, when there is nobody to share them with. You know what I mean, don’t you, Porter? Is it your father?

Porter: I hate. I hate my d-dad.

Ribaldi: Do you know what I think?

Porter: W-what?

Ribaldi: I think that you love your father. And you hate the way you feel. Change the way you feel.

Porter: He doesn’t deserve love! He’s mean and selfish. He doesn’t care about us! He only cares about himself. I hate him! He should love us! He should take us hiking, fishing, teach us how to play ball.

Ribaldi: Sometimes it takes hard times to make us gentle and strong.

Porter: How can it do both? It just makes my dad mean.

Ribaldi: Meanness isn’t strength. Your father is not a strong man. Not yet anyway. But who knows what tomorrow brings?

You mustn’t give up on him. He needs the love of his family now just as you need his love, and someday you’ll both get what you need.

This is not from an award winning film by any means. But I do love this scene. Rigoletto, or Ribaldi, has a disfigured face and lives in a mansion far from a small town. He is viewed as monstrous and cruel but slowly over time he helps the town and its inhabitants.

In this case he talks to a boy Porter, whose father has no job and takes out his frustrations on his family. A little broken hearted , Porter goes out one particular evening when his father’s yelling is too much to bear. That is when he speaks to Ribaldi.

I love this scene because it deals with forgiveness and charitable love. There are so many hurts inside us which can be healed through letting go and loving, regardless of circumstances with others. So much can change from simply loving.

DAY 9- Month of Movie Quotes: The Man Who Laughs (1928)

The Man Who Laughs   See my original review. 

1.God closed my eyes so I could see the real Gywplaine.

2.A king made me a clown, a queen made me a lord, but God made me first a man!

I decided to write to quotes because I believe they are connected. The first is the moment when Gwyplaine realizes Dea, despite his fears of losing her, loves him even knowing his face is deformed.

The second is the moment he proclaims from the depths of his soul the essence of who he really is. There is power knowing who we really are. And there is power in truly living and being loved by others.

DAY 6- Month of Movie Quotes: McLintock (1967)

McLintock: Becky! Come here. Somethin’ I ought to tell you. Guess now’s as good a time as any. You’re going to have every young buck west of the Missouri around here tryin’ to marry you – mostly because you’re a handsome filly, but partly because I own everything in this country from here to there. They’ll think you’re going to inherit it.

Well, you’re not. I’m going to leave most of it to, well, to the nation really, for a park where no lumbermen’ll cut down all the trees for houses with leaky roofs. Nobody’ll kill all the beaver for hats for dudes nor murder .

What I’m going to give you is a 500 cow spread on the Upper Green River. Now that may not seem like much, but it’s more than we had, your mother and I. Some folks are gonna say I’m doin’ all this so I can sit up in the hereafter and look down on a park named after me, or that I was disappointed in you – didn’t want you to get all that money.

But the real reason, Becky, is because I love you, and I want you and some young man to have what I had, because all the gold in the United States Treasury and all the harp music in heaven can’t equal what happens between a man and a woman with all that growin’ together. I can’t explain it any better than that.

My mother often tells me that true love comes through growing and laboring together. I believe we come to understand love in many stages of our lives. It truly is something we must all experience.

DAY 5- Month of Movie Quotes: Mansfield Park (1999)

Edmund Bertram: There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.

If there is anything we learn in this life, I feel it is that love changes and is strengthened in our lives through small everyday choices. The small crushes we had in middle school turn to budding romances, newly wed dreams, deep friendships and charitable companionships.

I feel some loves are truly worth fighting for, whereas others are counterfeits of true love. I like this movie because it shows many kinds of relatio ships and could be endings. But in the end, the main character Fanny chooses her own happiness.

Book Quote: The Paper Magician (2014)

The context of this passage is interesting. Ceony is traveling through the four corners of her teacher’s heart, encountering different parts of himself. She saw his proud and happy moments, his hopes and aspirations and here she encounters the parts of himself he can’t forgive: the dark corners each of us have but choose to overcome or cultivate. The greatest battle is the one within ourselves.

What about my mistakes? I think about them, too, but where would I be if I thought of nothing else? What sort of person would I be if I drowned in them?

‘I forgive you Emery.’ Ceony repeated. ‘I’ve seen all of it, and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t intend any of this to happen. ‘ She blinked away tears and stifled a sob lurking deep I get throat. ‘But I forgive you. It’s okay now. ‘

‘You don’t have the power to forgive.’

‘Then forgive yourself! ‘ She shouted, pushing herself back up. She pressed her palm against the wall for support. ‘Everyone has a dark side! But its their choice whether or not to cultivate it. Don’t you understands? Laura’s exploited hers, but not you. Not you Emery Thane.’ -Charlie M. Holmburg