Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's a Wonderful (Single?) Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cS562kV-xcs

Here's the clip from the movie unfortunately I couldn't link up the scene where George Bailey accosts the spinster librarian who never married but I found this still frame shot from the movie.

mary2.jpg

Every year my local city newspaper, The Deseret News, publishes original reader-submitted essays about their most memorable Christmas under the subject: The Christmas I Remember Best.
I thought I'd share my own submission to Deseret News of my own memorable Christmas past and the Christmas Future I yearn for. If they don't publish it, it's okay, because I'm posting it here for the entire world!

It’s a Wonderful (Single?) Holiday Life
By Michelle Llewellyn

Dear Father in Heaven,
I know I haven’t prayed in awhile but if you’re up there and if you can hear me, I’d just like to remind you that I’m forty years old now and still waiting for you to either send someone who will lasso the moon for me or lead me to a fulfilling career. Flipping burgers isn’t exactly how I imagined using my two college degrees. Spending yet another Christmas alone isn’t exactly how I imagined my life turning out either.
I’m beginning to wonder what the world would be like without me. The death of a patriarchal society, men shunning their responsibilities with nobody seeming to mind, has left the bulk of community and family service to women. I love being an aunt, the world’s best babysitter, but I’d prefer the title of “Mommy” like all the other women my age. Teaching Sunday school, serving all the married people in my neighborhood because I have tons of disposable time and money on my hands is supposed to fill that empty hole. Well, guess what? It isn’t working anymore. With no offers from a big, strong man courtesy of ldssingles.com to pay my bills so I can be a stay-at-home mom, I’m forever on my own. I’m beginning to think no one will miss me. How long’s it been since a young man asked me out on a date? I fear I’ve gotten senile in my middle age.
Remember that 1984 Christmas when I was ten and all my little girlfriends had Cabbage Patch Dolls except me? I was so happy when I unwrapped my very own chubby, dimpled, pacifier-faced baby girl, beige yarn hair in braids complete with official birth certificate and adoption papers. That was the same year I tried to cheer up my family as my parents were contemplating ending their dysfunctional marriage by getting a divorce. I thought, maybe if I put together a Christmas Eve program with me playing the piano and assembling my younger brothers and sister acting out the Christmas Nativity story, it might postpone the dreaded event that would forever change our family unit. They ended up divorcing anyway but the Cabbage Patch Doll helped.
Well, that’s sort of what I had in mind for this year. Like Ralphie’s Red Ryder, you could surprise me by pulling out an eleventh-hour Christmas miracle for me to unwrap. With all the Mr. (and Mrs.) Potters in Utah constantly passing me over for all those higher paying jobs requiring a degree, maybe I could get that library job I recently applied for. I can just picture myself walking home one evening after closing when a crazy man, claiming to be my long lost husband runs up to me, demanding to know the whereabouts of our children which means he desperately wants to create a family with me. I promise I won’t scream or faint! Instead, I’ll throw myself into his arms so we can start multiplying and replenishing.
Yes, I realize there have been many opportunities in the past to initiate a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. I haven’t forgotten all those blind dates you’ve blessed me with. One-time only blind dates that never worked out because so many single men these days don’t do romance and have tastes that are very singular compared to my high standards and principles that don’t include commitment to an Xbox or another person of the same gender. I’ve tried to live a full and meaningful life, finding happiness in the little crumbs thrown at me but it isn’t easy sometimes.
Please, don’t wait too long to make up your mind which Christmas wish to bestow on me. I must have a career or a husband soon before frustration and flat-out desperation drive me to hook up with Tinder or some other Monster!
How about if you just give me Clarence’s phone number instead? He seems like a really sweet guy. He’s immortal, he can fly, save lives and he likes to read; every single woman’s dream of a potential husband.
If not, I’ll just hasten my way to the next life where I’ve been told every desire of my heart awaits me, including all the Cabbage Patch Dolls I ever wanted. Okay?
Amen 



 And here's what she looks like thirty years later. The pink "Cabbage Patch Kids" enblazoned nylon jacket is the only original item of clothing left . (Please, don't sue me for indecent exposure, Xavier!) The pink and white striped shirt, blue pants, pink and white tennis shoes, socks and original pacifier were all loved away over the years including the original yarn braids, re-styled, because, honestly, doesn't she look like a Fraggle with that 1984 hair? And, no, I don't mean the giddy owner sitting next to her! 





Saturday, November 1, 2014

Is Anything too Hard for the Lord? Yes. Temple marriage

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14 KJV

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37 KJV

Notice both of these scriptures refer to married (or engaged to be married) women with the promise that they will become mothers in the near future.
Why are single women in the scriptures always so marginalized and utterly forsaken by the LORD GOD??? Why do we have to wait until the next life while everyone else and their dog celebrate their new-found freedom to marry each other (even the dog!) and create families of their own???

Here is my own list of

Things that are TOO HARD/IMPOSSIBLE for the LORD:



1. Temple marriage (or the ideal one man/one woman marriage see this article) because not all single women feel this way:



    2. That dream job after earning a college degree (or two) see this article 



3. Just ONE JOB that doesn't involve flipping burgers, substitute teaching or filling orders in a warehouse so I could afford to purchase a small, modest, home of my own.


4. Just ONE DATE on JUST ONE of my birthdays (from ages 16-40)
5. Just ONE DATE on Valentine's Day (from 1991-2014)
           see this craigslist personal ad

6. Admission to the "Motherhood Club" this woman gets it 

I don't care if you're a single, unmarried woman living in 2014 where the general consensus is "We don't need men!" or 1956 when the general consensus USED to be "If the kids are so determined to have sex let's encourage them to date and marry FIRST."
Deep down I know tender-hearted single women everywhere still secretly yearn for this now old fashioned ideal fairy tale ideal of dating and courtship:
    
                                         The boy initiates the date and arrives to pick her up
 
                                                 He meets the parents,

                                      The boy and girl spend time getting to know each other
From Fifteen by Beverly Cleary Illustrated by Joe and Beth Krush (1956)

Now, really, isn't that so much better than THIS????





















And finally, item #7 on my list of Things that are TOO HARD/IMPOSSIBLE for THE LORD

7. Putting me out of my misery with uterine or ovarian caner so I can finally die and continue my eternal progression on the "other side of the veil" where someone might be waiting to ask me out.

Now that I'm an official 40 year old virgin I celebrated by making my first ever appointment with a gynecologist to determine the underlying cause of my Dysmenorrhea (thanks Pathophysiology textbook from my U of U pre-English major days when I believed I could become a nurse or CNA and work in the Women's Center. Alas, two other girls from the same hospital cafeteria I worked in were accepted for those CNA positions while I was continuously passed over). My anemia and painful cramps that three years ago began to induce vomiting, alas, were not the result of a malignant growth or tumor, just noncancerous uterine fibroids as the transvaginal ultrasound and pelvic exam revealed. Having the doctor insert a speculum into your vagina is LOADS of fun, let me tell you!
They loaded me down with iron supplements and birth control pills and sent me on my way. Now I can be what my mother always dreamed for me to become: a prostitute! Wonder if I should give Romero, that married Mexican immigrant who worked with me in the kitchen at 1800Contacts almost a decade ago who was always trying to get me to have sex with him a call? I've been given the means to be responsible and as we all learned from watching Meet the Mormons one woman's bad choice was magically rewarded with temple marriage. Perhaps I was mislead by all those Young Women's lessons on dating and chastity as the ONLY path to eternal happiness. Where are the freakin' BLESSINGS???

Calling all terrorists! Please just SHOOT ME NOW!!! God's not listening to me. 


And now for the antithesis:

Things that are NOT TOO HARD/NOT IMPOSSIBLE for the Lord

1. Allowing the breakup of families and the subsequential rise of post-familialism
2. Allowing rape and sexual assault/molestation with no reconciliation or justice or answers (Why did this happen to me??? the incident occurred nineteen years ago October 30, 1995)

3. Allowing 40 years of bullying with no reconciliation (Again, WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME???)
              Linda Higginbotham Llewellyn Scholes always treated me with condescension and took the lazy road of parenting. As the oldest child she freely admits she made "A lot of mistakes" with me growing up (child abuse, emotional abuse). I never wanted to be like her. We have never been close because I just can't talk to her about anything. The conversation would ALWAYS revert back to HER. As a result I grew up insecure, with low-self esteem, with the hope if I continued to be a "good girl" being kind, working hard in school and minimum wage jobs so I wouldn't be a burden to her, serving others with a willing and cheerful heart that I would eventually be rewarded with an eternal family blessed by a worthy priesthood holding hubby and children of my own. I vowed I'd never make my children the victims of my own poor choices, like Linda Scholes. Ray Llewellyn was never around and will probably be surprised and shocked reading the following events:

             Sadly, tragically, I have learned the hard way that a girl who was constantly teased and tormented by her peers at school, was never asked to prom and was most recently written up (again) at her food service job would never be blessed with temple marriage. Not after hearing "You're Ugly!" and "Hey, Fish Lips!" throughout grade school, getting paper thrown in my hair in Freshman English Class, returning from PE swimming one day to discover my bra strung between the columns in the girls locker room, (I'd like to thank Saskia Irwin Stallings, Sunny McKell Ence and Robin Gubler who is probably just as happily married as the other two) and received numerous landline (remember those?) phone calls from random unnamed boys "pretending" to ask me out. I'd especially like to thank that Dickhead who asked me to Homecoming my senior year over the phone and stood me up because it was just someone's idea of a sick joke. I'd also like to thank Del Ruesch who would've been my first (blind) date at sixteen but when he found out who he'd been set up with suddenly found an excuse to cancel making me feel like a real princess. 
No support or sympathy from my family either. I hate the holidays. I'm always stuck on the outside looking in while my family doesn't know what to do with me. 
"No one is going to spend that much on you," as my dear (happily married with two boys) sister once told me when I grumbled about always having to purchase my own Christmas gifts, the ones I REALLY want like an iPod or a new expensive hardbound book; things a significant other might take the time and go out of their way to surprise you with because doing nice things for each other is what a good healthy relationship is all about. The kind I can only continue to dream of now and hope I'll be worthy to experience in the next life. 
"We're not YOUR brothers," the brother I'm closest with once told me while I was chocking back tears trying to express my feelings about how much my four younger siblings meant to me, a childless old maid with no real family of her own. I guess we really are "just a group of people who really like each other" as Elder Holland stated in the Ogden Temple Open house video they showed before the tour a few months ago. "You are very plain," this same brother also once reminded me, reinforcing the teasing I suffered as a child.
"What do you do? You READ!" my youngest (and still unmarried) brother once taunted as the reason I was never asked out as much as my cute younger sister, making me feel like a real princess. See, Linda Higginbotham Llewellyn Scholes was ALWAYS comparing me to everyone else. Never failing to remind me of all my shortcomings when it came to looks and popularity at school. 
"We'd prefer you keep your distance from OUR new baby, since you're not married or have children of your own," as my dear sister-in-law sneered while my brother just stood passively by in silent support of this knife being stabbed into the heart of his eldest sister. I wish I'd never witnessed their sealing in the Salt Lake Temple.

Families really suck sometimes.

The examples above prove that superficial popularity and physical attractiveness really DO matter more than whatever is written on your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Temple marriage, filling the measure of my creation, realizing my full potential either physically or professionally is simply too hard/impossible for THE LORD. Allowing me to experience being a victim, a doormat, an easy target? Not so hard.

Five times I interviewed this past summer of 2014 for English teaching/school librarian jobs and five times was passed over. One more email of complaint about me from a disgruntled associate at the hospital I work at and I'm terminated from the hamburger flipping job I've held for nine years. My new (female) boss loves to micromanage and was quick to label me as "insubordinate and disrespectful" with a bad attitude. Human Resources was equally quick to validate this. IlovemyjobIlovemyjobIlovemyjob   

I don't mean to be all sour grapes. Really, what this all boils down to is my frustration over lifelong unrequited love and the free agency and free will of men. Perhaps it IS the wickedness of men (and women) their lust for power (see D&C 121:39) that has tied the hands of God to prevent him from opening the doors or even the smallest window of heaven to pour out even one teeny tiny little blessing on me regarding dating, marriage and career aspirations. Or maybe, as Linda and Alan Scholes are so eager to remind me aka Biblical Job's friends and family: I've committed some horrible, irrevocable BIG SIN and must go and confess to my bishop, repent and get another makeover and find some new friends. Because that always solves everything.

I wonder what BIG SIN I'm guilty of? General Conference was just another disappointment with no answers, no acknowledgement of the most rapidly growing minority in the church. I'm really feeling forlorn and depressed. Spilling it all out, catharsis-like on this blog has helped a lot. 

Thanks for letting me vent.

Stay tuned for next month's blog post. Maybe I'll have an answer by then. Maybe I'll find a support group for losers like me who just can't fit in with all the married with families of their own normal people. 

To end on a more positive note, at least I can earn money to buy myself happiness and arrange for my own "dates" with myself because if I just sat around waiting for someone to come along and actually ASK me, I'd never go anywhere. My two good friends, Lauralee and Whitney also went out of their way to purchase a thoughtful birthday gift for me last month and are always there for me if I ever need them.

My only platonic guy-friend at work, Brian, also did a nice thing for me this week letting me borrow his City Library copy of the latest U2 (with a bonus disc not included in the free download) album for me to listen to because he knows what a huge fan I am.

My own dear, little sister isn't all bad either. She was kind enough to accompany me on a recent first time trip to New York City, a place I've always wanted to see.
We had a great time celebrating my 40th birthday together and I know she appreciates my willingness to babysit my favorite nephews as often as I can. Those two adorable boys are the greatest joys of my life. Porter would be too, if my sister-in-law would allow it.
Anyway, here's a sampling of the photos I took from the Big Apple, September 21-24, 2014.





  

Monday, September 29, 2014

My General Conference Wish List Oct 2014

Never fear, fellow faithful readers of this blog. The church is true, I'm not demanding women be given the priesthood or be allowed to take multiple husbands or that single sisters be entitled to as many pints of Ben & Jerry's Everything But The... she can eat every Sunday in lieu of temple marriage, (but you have admit that's a pretty good idea!) this is my wish list of what I, as a single, middle aged sister of the Mormon church would love to hear next weekend during our semiannual Mass Gathering...


New Revelation Proclaiming: During His Mortal Life, Jesus Christ was Married to a Woman 
That should put an end to all the current debate over gay marriage, at least in Utah.


Singles Wards Officially Disbanded
No more quarantined, marginalized lepers with Ebola viewed as problems to be solved. Family ward Relief Society and Priesthood quorums will be given the responsibility of organizing activities for the growing number of young single adult return missionaries in their respective wards to date, court and marry in the temple. With so many Millennials currently living in Mom and Dad's basement, all married couples in the ward will become proactive in matchmaking the youth, thus providing a solution to "the problem" because online dating just won't cut it. If it takes a village, Maybe arranged marriages aren't such a bad idea...


Updated "To the Single Adults of the Church"
If everyone is so quick to stereotype singles as "drifting adolescents" then tell us what we can do to help fight Satan in his war against the creation of families. If we truly must wait until the next life to have eternal families of our own, please, President Monson, give us our marching orders for THIS LIFE! We are like those in Alma 32. Replace "poor" with "single" humbled by our afflictions, cast out by our married brethren, esteemed as filthy and as dross, ashamed to worship God in the temple or at church, just because we failed to catch a husband (wife) and have no children of our own to raise up in righteousness because of our exceeding singleness and behold WHAT SHALL WE DO?


Polygamy Reinstated
On second thought, that might be asking too much!
Better wait for the millennium since there just aren't enough worthy priesthood holders who can barely support ONE wife, let alone two or three especially if all desire to be stay-at-home-moms. Such wishful thinking would require a return to patriarchy not to mention a Millennial economy!


Well, here's hoping.
What I predict is: many uplifting messages about the gospel, being good examples to the world, how to be better member missionaries and more urgency to do family history work along with all the usual talks focused on strengthening marriage, family and home that so many singles like me struggle to integrate.
I urge everyone to watch and/or follow conference online if, like me, they have to work use the amazing internet recourses available to stay up to date on what was said. Tune in next month for discussion on whatever comes to pass.



Friday, August 29, 2014

The Social Stigma of Being Single

I am excited to share this

The Experience of Never-Married Women in Their Thirties Who Desire Marriage and Children
Long name, amazing results!
I stumbled upon this 279 page dissertation pdf file (Marcy Cole, The Institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago, 1999) after Googling "Social Stigma of being Single"
Three nights and 14 pages of close reading notes later, I am ready to report because I found this study, understandably, FASCINATING.
25 women, all never married, between the ages of 29-39, educated and financially independent, were interviewed for this study.
Since I can hear the groans of those who don't share my enthusiasm for reading 200+page online dissertations for fun, here is my breakdown of the published results summarized for your benefit.
You're welcome. But I hope I'm not the only one who wants to know,
WHY HASN'T A SIMILAR STUDY BEEN DONE IN UTAH?!!!
We certainly have bigger pool of candidates than Illinois, not exactly the virgin capital of the world.

First off, the word "old maid" according to the Oxford English Dictionary has been successfully degrading single women since 1783, "Tis a cursed thing to be an old maid," (R Dixon, Cardian v iii. 34) while other derogatory cousins such as "spinster," "unmarried," "single" all carry with them the weight of general unpleasantness.
Single women are ignored, marginalized, viewed as victims of outrageous stereotypes, slapped with psychological reasons to excuse our imbalance. We are all irresponsible, damaged,  lonely, depressed, incomplete, immature, unfit, too obsessed with love and romance, too picky yet stuck like dead fish in a dried up dating pool due to a demographic imbalance that only gets worse the older we get.
It's a hopeless situation.
Thanks to socialization, the expectation that us girls are brought up on, (starting at a very young age) that we will, eventually, achieve the ideological norm of getting married and having children becomes a social stigma once we reach a certain age and realize IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET.
Men, interestingly enough, do not experience this stigma which explains their absence from the study.
The single women's experience has been divided into "stages" all of which I found eerily familiar:

Stage 1: The Time Warp
The realization or "wake up call" that certain life events have not yet come to pass which leads to over-consuming feelings of bewilderment and panic.

Stage 2: How do I Meet Thee?
In our desperation we jump on the "gerbil dating wheel" going out with anyone remotely available, signing up for online dating sites (Which aren't mentioned at all because the year was 1999 when this was published!) perhaps even cohabiting just so we won't have to be alone, as our mothers with their wagging fingers warned us was a fate worse than death, before wrapping their legs around their (worthy priesthood holding if Mormon) hubbies crying "Hallelujah, thank God, I already have a man!"
The pressure for single women not to be alone is great, indeed.

Stage 3: The Sinkhole
This is where I keep getting stuck. When no man materializes for us and we spend too many Friday nights, alone, with our old pal Ben & Jerry's drowning ourselves in self-pity, despair becomes overwhelming and we fall into a downward spiral of depression and lethargy. Life has no meaning, purpose or direction for single sisters in the Mormon faith. A wholesome, virtuous homebody does not a Heavenly Father bless. Pass the short, fat, juicy worms, please.

Stage 4: The Sine Wave Experience
"Anticipation is keeping me waitin'!" Sooner or later we do bounce back, climb out of the sinkhole, find activities and goals to renew our focus on. This is where the study starts to deviate from single women to all women in general. This is why men are from Mars. They just don't get how women can be consistently up and down. It's a roller coaster of emotions. These mood swings are amplified for single women, especially during PMS. We fluctuate between giddy joy at all the possibilities life has in store for us and despair that it will never be realized. While our biological clock keeps tick, tick, ticking on...

Stage 5: Free to be Me or "Doin' my strong woman number"
All Gen Xers will remember this
Free to Be You and Me was an audio record and reel-to-reel film  series that was a staple in my first grade class at Rose Avenue Elementary in Modesto, California (which my brain had completely blocked out until YouTube came along). Basically, the idea of this stage is that single women can embrace that feminism ideal of self actualization, become their best self (as Oprah would say) in all areas where men are lacking such as their professional and family connections. Taking up new hobbies and interests. Forming strong networks of support through friends, church acquaintances, finding God and even therapy. Whatever it takes to cope. Always emerging victorious and stronger. Composing our own version of "Let it Go" and singing it to the world.

There is a distinct correlation for singles versus marrieds between work and life satisfaction. A brick wall I'm forever banging my head against as someone who just can't achieve success on the socio-economic ladder: two bachelors degrees, certifications, yet stuck in the food service industry. I'm living the American Dream! So, why do I feel so depressed?

Singles struggle with the desire for intimacy versus desire for isolation and independence.
The study never reveals if any of the 25 women were still virgins but many of them admitted to seeking therapy out of regret for their past sexual relations with men who never valued them and finding the closure they needed to move past the pain and renew hope that the next relationship that came along might lead to marriage.

That's where the study clashed for me.
The phrase "having it all" kept popping up and I thought that was interesting considering the debate is still raging today. Over and over, the study insists on proving that single, independent, feminist-minded women can still find happiness and fulfillment without a husband, home and children of their own to focus on. I was never one of those women who feared I'd lose my identity if I got too close to a man who desired marriage (do such men even exist?). I was never one of those women content to party my life away, sleeping around and whoring it up until "the wake up call" stage kicked in as "The Economics of Sex" YouTube video shows the forlorn woman slumped outside the wedding chapel, ready to settle down but unable to find compatibility as all the marriage minded men are either already taken or not ready to commit yet.

I guess for those of us wise enough to hold out and wait for Mr. Right, we just have to keep hoping there's still one or two emotionally available men out there looking and preparing themselves to be worthy of us as much as we have been working on self-improvement to be ready for them.

Are you volatile (dangerous, out of control) or do you have a healthy self image, finding fulfillment in counting your blessings? Being the best aunt in Zion, visiting teacher, temple worker, (if you still have a current recommend in the Mormon faith) and all around do-gooder is admirable but somehow, I don't find it very fulfilling any more and such activities sure as heck don't pay the bills or have ever opened any doors to a satisfying career. It's certainly never led me to any long term relationships. I found it interesting that many of the women in the study also reported unresolved family issues, traumatic childhoods with abuse, divorce and absent parents who failed to be there for them while those who had a strong network of supporting and encouraging family and friends were better off.

All I can do is revert back to my meager blessings: two nephews, a little sister who doesn't mind me tagging along observing her experiencing all those life events I seem destined never to have in this life, a younger brother with whom I can easily spend an hour on the phone talking to about everything under the sun and a good platonic guy friend at my work who can always make me laugh as well as a handful of single girlfriends with whom I can find support and encouragement.

It was nice to read this very, very long dissertation and find validation in my own experience as a never-married woman in my thirties who desires marriage and children but can't seem to find it.
Nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Independent Women

In honor of Independence Day and Pioneer Day, I'm taking a break from writing my other blog (as inspired by this oldmaidmormon post) to say a few words in behalf of Women Who Married Later in Life or Never Married at All.
 I also want to comment on the Ordain Women issue.

 Kate Kelly in Utah (22 June 2014)

Everyone is praising Kate Kelly for being an independent woman, a married Mormon Feminist, who desires complete and total equality with her husband in the eyes of the Mormon church. She was excommunicated for trying to push her views on the all male leaders of the church and organizing quiet resistance and protest movements involving hundreds of other similar mined women.

My question to her and all Feminists is, "How does being equal with men help single, marriage-minded women?"
Answer: "It doesn't. You don't need a man to have it all."
Then why did you marry one, Kate Kelly?

Once again, single women in the church remain invisible. Who cares if we also desire all the blessings of the priesthood? Without a husband or children to identify ourselves with as the "misunderstood wives and mothers" does that mean we don't matter? That only MARRIED women are allowed to hold the priesthood? If that is so, it means these women have already decided for us, that holding the priesthood, like marriage, is obsolete. These married women whine over not being allowed in "The Boys Club" without stopping for a minute to think what it's like for those who aren't even in "The Club" of which marriage is the first requirement for membership. Where are the single women demanding priesthood ordination? Sheri Dew, where are you?
Kate Kelly's problem wasn't her questioning of church doctrine, and writing her own six discussions (which, as a return sister missionary, had me raising my eyebrows in alarm). She (and Sheri Dew's latest book) failed to ask the right kinds of questions in order to initiate the discussions that reveal just how deep the roots of this problem lie: not enough worthy priesthood holders to go around, failure of the church to teach and prepare men for marriage and family responsibility, placing these responsibilities on the women as both doctrinal and social issues creating a catch-22 as temple marriage is largely out of women's hands when the men choose other options over marriage, including divorce. This leaves a great many women on this earth with no worthy priesthood holder in their home, one they most likely bought and are currently paying the mortgage on themselves.

My argument isn't that women should be independent, completely self-supporting, allowed the same authority as men to participate in decision making pastoral duties. My argument is that WE SHOULD'NT HAVE TO!

Men were put on this earth to care for women. So man up men and do your duty!

I particularly love this quote:

“Be careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of a man’s ribs. Not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from his side to be equal, under his arm to be protected, and next to his heart to be loved.”
Matthew Henry
I'm looking forward to asking whatever angel was put in charge of keeping track of such things. I expect a full accounting when I die as I've lost count of the number of tears I've shed in this life over being rejected and put down by so many men (women too). I look forward to the next life when I can be placed next to a man's heart and experience the joy of being cherished because it just ain't happening for women in this life.

And now, here's Michelle's Top Ten List of Women who Married Later in Life or Never Married
These women are great examples for singletons and old maids like me for they did the best they could in this life despite never having the opportunity to marry. Let the men have the priesthood, all I want is to fill the measure of my creation. I frequently wonder what the hell I'm supposed to be doing with my life if God's will for me is to never experience (in this life) a woman's ultimate sacrifice of service, using my long list of gifts, talents and education to benefit a home and family of my own.  Eight of these women provide that answer of other ways I can serve and improve myself while waiting for that Zombie Apocalypse, or, what Mormons like to call The Millennium, when all things will be restored and fulfilled.

#1 
Eliza R. Snow
Because she was married as a plural wife to Joseph Smith (at the ripe old age of 38!) there's a hesitancy in the church to acknowledge her married status. Instead, she is praised for her service as Relief Society President, Zion's Poetess, and being everyone's favorite aunt, for she never bore any children.
#2 
Mary Fielding Smith
Married to the widower Hyrum Smith, at age 36, also an "old maid" by 19th century standards, she became a widow but not before giving birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be a future prophet.

And now, the eight women who never married but found ways to live productive lives as contributing members of society.
#3 
Jane Austen

#4 
Louisa May Alcott

#5 
Susan B. Anthony

#6 
Florence Nightingale

#7 
Clara Barton

#8 
Mary Amelia Ingalls
My apologies to all fans of the Little House on the Prairie TV series (1974-1983) but Laura's heroically blind sister never married! After earning her college degree, she lived at home with Ma and Pa until they died then moved in with married younger sister, Carrie. Putting family first was the pioneer way.

#9 
Mother Theresa

#10 
Sheri Dew
Last, but certainly not least, the only woman still alive who is the only conservative, modern, single, never married woman representing us singletons and old maids today. Sheri Dew could do so much more for our cause if she'd just speak up on some of the issues I've been writing about on my blog on which I would love her critique.

Once again, I will pacify myself with doing all I can to be a good surrogate mother and aunt to the children in my small, insignificant life. For me, the greatest joy is holding a little one on my lap and laughing at the antics of those little ones whom Jesus emulated so well in his teachings and in his life.

The following pictures were taken at my brother-in-law's family fourth of July gathering where we ate homemade ice cream, laughed and visited with family and friends and shot off lots of fireworks (of which Charlie got a big kick out of).
Hope everyone had a happy 4th and, for those in Utah, have a great 24th of July as we celebrate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, 167 years ago this month!





Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Matter to Single Women Too

Does every child need a father? Do single women need fathers? How old does a single adult have to be before parents are no longer necessary?

I grew up in a home where my biological father was physically absent after I turned thirteen. The engagement of Ray Llewellyn and Linda Higginbotham started out happily enough.

                                                   Engagement party for Ray and Linda -1973

He was a return missionary, (West Germany, Düsseldorf) she was home from BYU uncertain about what to do with her life. They met at an LDS church social activity for college age single adults, hit it off almost immediately and 24 hours later, he proposed. Their marriage was solemnized in the Los Angeles Temple, June 1973. That's when the tension began as both realized it takes more than physical attraction to make a happy marriage.

After lots of moving around (California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Washington) and five children later, Linda and her kids ended up in La Verkin, Utah. Ray remains in Seattle to this day.

She met Alan Scholes in 1992 and they were married in the St.George temple five months later January, 1993.Mom is so proud of herself for landing another husband, she refuses to be in the same room (let alone the same stadium when her oldest daughter is receiving her second bachelors degree) as Ray Llewellyn. Linda and Alan pride themselves on being regular church and temple attenders while Ray Llewellyn has gone through several relationships since his excommunication from the church and subsequent divorce.


When Mom remarried, I was relieved Father's Day would no longer be the dreaded holiday I'd come to despise. It sucks to be the only girl in Young Women's from a broken home. It hurt to see my friends hug and cuddle with their fathers while I feared I'd never enjoy a strong, stable relationship with any man.

Seeing my Mom find happiness again meant I might have a chance to get married in the temple one day too. I resolved not to rush into anything, like Mom did with Ray or be so desperate I'd snatch the first man who came along which is what I now feel she did with Alan because, unfortunately, Alan Scholes turned out to be a disengaged father.

After I turned sixteen, Mom would give me grief about my not being attractive or popular enough to be someone worth dating and Alan would concur since he didn't want to cause contention with the woman whose house he'd moved into and whose bed he was now sharing.

When I expressed interest in gong to college and getting a degree, they were quick to remind me that because Linda Scholes wasn't getting child support, it was the government's job to provide my tuition.

Alan makes a great home teacher when there's handiwork to be done around my apartment: installing a ceiling fan or hanging shelves but I could never talk to him about my own life's ambitions; my hopes and dreams. Alan Scholes never knew me well enough to have those father-daughter talks and Linda Scholes was always quick to remind me I needed to find my own boyfriend/husband.

That's too bad because I could really use some advice right now. I've taken a second job at a Walmart bakery and agreed to work Sundays because church attendance is hard for Mormon women who aren't wives and mothers by a certain age. I loved my Primary calling teaching the three and four year-olds but the group that came in from the nursery after the new year is smaller and quieter. The nice woman I co-taught with really doesn't need me anymore, so I slipped off to earn some extra money until I know what I should do with my second bachelors degree and the rest of my life.

For Alan and Linda Scholes, breaking the fourth commandment by working Sundays is now my biggest sin in their eyes which only makes them look more righteous. Other than that, I've never caused them any grief. I wouldn't have sex outside of marriage (like Alan's two oldest boys did) or do drugs or demand ordination to the priesthood. I won't even come out as a lesbian so they could at least have a reason why their oldest daughter remains so perpetually single. I've even refused to keep a great and spacious makeup kit. As a result, they just don't know what to do with me. We had a long, tense discussion about it last week but nothing was resolved. Nothing ever changes.

I broke their hearts. I no longer honor them as the closest people I have to "parents." The worse part is, I no longer care. At 39, I feel  my days on this land have been long enough already.

Growing up, the only thing I was ever encouraged to do was go out and get a job and start providing for myself, if no high school boyfriend was going to materialize. Alan had five boys to visit and provide for. A second marriage takes just as much work as a first one, if not more. Being the oldest (still) of ten children meant I was on my own when it came to making life's milestones happen.

They didn't happen and I have no father to talk to about it. Ray Llewellyn works at an auto parts store and hasn't used his bachelors degree in business or taken a job as a computer technician since the divorce in 1989. With no wife or children to provide for, why bother? He's happy and content with his life. He doesn't make me feel inadequate because I have no man in my life but I can't talk to him about anything either and there's nothing he can do for me be it intellectual, emotional, financial, or spiritual. He tells me I'm amazing because I'm his daughter but I have a hard time believing that from a man who never put family first.

I am nobody's daughter.

The only father left is the one my religion encourages me to look heavenward and beseech for guidance and direction but I guess He's too busy running the universe to care about trivial things like my never having had a boyfriend, date to the prom, steak dinner or flowers on Valentine's Day. The years tick by and I'm still waiting for the blessings from all my hard work while remaining a straitlaced virgin.  As a double whammy, I've never been offered a job outside of food services or been led to anyone who might open that door to an exciting career to make up for being single and alone.

As a Heavenly Father, God led Eve to Adam. Eve never had to compete with Lilith (or Steve, now that homosexuality has become an accepted part of the dating scene) she never had to pick her way through the minefield of her local single's ward. God was the First Matchmaker, but I can't expect him to do that for me in this day and age. Not when fatherhood is no longer a vital social ambition for males.

Fathers do matter. They matter to the mothers of the children they create. They matter to the little girls who will grow to adulthood, waiting to be asked and wondering what path they should take in the meantime. They matter to the single adult women who wait for marriage, who understand the wisdom of keeping both eyes open to prevent heartache. When it comes to the creation of a family unit, fathers matter a great deal.

And now to end on more positive note:

I fell in love last summer with a charming little movie called Despicable Me which I'd never seen until I borrowed the DVD from a friend and couldn't stop watching it, over and over. I watched it again today, in honor of Father's Day before my Walmart shift.

What is it about this story that hit me so square in the heart? The main character's transformation from villain to Snow White. Watching Gru forsake his life of crime to become a father to three little girls sets an example for all men who feel inadequate. It's both a fairy tale and a love story with an unlikely hero pulling out his ray gun to blast a condescending enemy before ending the day with goodnight kisses. It's fun to imagine having someone like that in my life who has my back.



Here's hoping all of us have, or already have, a good man in our lives who has our backs and is there for us whatever our age.
Fathers matter.
.Happy Father's Day

Thursday, May 8, 2014

When Michelle Gets Angry, really really Angry

I wanted to share a common incident that everyone can relate to that made me really really angry. Being single isn't always sunshine and roses and when life happens and you get knocked for a loop and have no one waiting for you at home to vent to and share your frustration with, it can make you want to scream and throw things. When that happens, there's nothing left to do except blog about it.
Those flashing blue and red lights in my rear view mirror caught me off guard. I was just driving home from a ten hour shift from work (6am-4pm) a month ago. I was tired and for those who live in the Salt Lake Valley, Alta View Hospital campus is built on a hill on the corner of 9400 South and 1300 East. Ever since getting pulled over a few years ago, I now obey the traffic rule and will drive all the way around campus to the north exit through two traffic lights instead of making the easier, more direct, and more convenient, albeit illegal, left turn onto 9400. According to the male officer, I was doing over 50 as I came flying down the hill past the Quarry Bend Shopping Center because I know the traffic in this area and I guess after taking the long way home I was a little excited to finally be on my way at last. I'd already passed 700 East when I realized I had the fuzz on my tail. I really thought I would be let off with a warning. I was given a citation anyway.
I have never been so angry in my life.
Just to clarify, my little, red, 1996 Ford Aspire is hardly a speed demon. Just a few weeks earlier I got the one finger salute driving this same route home on the 1300 East incline which the BMW behind me apparently felt I didn't take fast enough! I don't take my car on the freeway much anymore because it vibrates so hard whenever I hit 55mph. After fourteen years, I'm rather fond of my clunky little roller skate of a car that gets me where I need to go and I'd trade it in if I could afford a car payment but I only make $11.64 an hour flipping burgers so what's an old maid to do? I only live two miles from the hospital and have made this commute at all hours of the day and night for the last eight and a half years. It's not like I just caused a traffic accident.
I sobbed angrily the last few blocks remaining. I unlocked the door to my cold, drafty, solitary, cinder block one bedroom apartment, where no one was waiting to welcome me and ask how my day at work had gone. I collapsed onto the carpet with a new understanding of that derogatory term (pig)  for police officers. The whole world was against me, I was all alone, and nobody was on my side.
How aggravated would I have been that day, if I had someone to help me find the humor in the situation and make me laugh? If there were small children around to keep me from spewing cuss words that would make a sailor blush for shame? Maybe, if my life were different, I wouldn't have gotten so angry and frustrated that day when I just couldn't deal with it anymore.
But, like Sophie in the children's picture book by Molly Bang (1999) that inspired this blog post title, I let out my ROAR, had my cry and even though it took a few days, instead of just one afternoon like Sophie, I was finally able to put it behind me after paying the fine at traffic court one week later.
There is a happy ending to this story. Graduation day at the University of Utah arrived, my biological father drove all the way from Seattle to visit. My sister, brother, nephews and my best friend all came to support me. We went out to eat afterwards and had very pleasant evening together. It only took me three short years to complete this second bachelor's degree. Everyone was proud of me and I had to admit I was a little proud of myself too.

And Michelle isn't angry anymore.