Monday, October 3, 2011

Not your average Conference post (Redux).

Background: I wrote this post after a lot of thought this weekend, and then (as some of you have noticed), I took it down. I worried that some of you who are in very different circumstances than mine would not appreciate my viewpoint. BUT, this morning, a fellow single friend wrote me and told me she identified with some of the things I said. I'm thankful for her encouragement, because I really thought hard and felt passionately about the following ideas, and it really, really bothered me to take it down. I feel these are important issues to talk about as women.  I can say that I wrote the following with the best intentions. So here goes. I'm exercising my freedom of speech today.


Sigh. I had a LOT of conflicting thoughts as I listened to the talk about motherhood and children tonight at conference. Can I say that out loud?

I've thought about it all afternoon. I thought about my very best friend, who just welcomed her first little daughter into the world. I thought about another dear friend who recently had the courage to write honestly and sincerely about a miscarriage. Of course, I also thought about my own career, about an awesome opportunity I'm excitedly pursuing right now, and my wonderful (and work-heavy) classes, the Art of Paris and Preventative Art Convservation. I pondered the sweet and surreal (and sometimes annoying) experiences I've been having in my current employment, nannying the world's most adorable and brave two-year-old prince, Cobb. I thought about my grandmother, my aunts, and my mom, who grew up with gender roles very different than today's, and who saw and felt their experiences as women and others' expectations of them as women change drastically over the last few decades. 

At the end of the night, I just find myself very grateful for the fact that I'm single right now and that I don't have to make the career/homemaker decision yet. I don't know what I'd do at this point. I'm sure Heavenly Father is aware of this fact, and he probably has me where I am for that reason. I want to love someone and raise beautiful little people, I want to work and change the world. Tricky, but not impossible to combine

This all reminds me of something my brother Spencer once told me: we were talking about the mandate upon us to wait, what feels like forever sometimes, for trials to end. He brought up Abraham's 90 year wait for a child. "Lindsey," he said, "I think Heavenly Father had him wait that long because Abraham had to learn something about Abraham." At times, the concept of patience just stokes my fiery, flusterd soul further and I roar about like an impatient toddler. But tonight it doesn't bother me. Tonight I just find myself very grateful that Heavenly Father sees fit to lovingly orchestrate a private tutorial for me, his child. (Echo Dieter F. Uchtdorf's beautiful and inspiring talk).

Later this evening, I watched the following. I think it stands as a pretty great liberal foil to our conservative conference talk on children and women's role, and yet... there's a lot of truth in it as well:

My thoughts:

1. Even though it made me super uncomfortable, I LOVED the parts where they played raunchy scenes without any music, because the sheer idiocy of the entire sexy/b*tchy/ditzy spectacle became so clear. SUCH ironically powerful images!!! (update: This now makes me think of President Monson's wistful talk about the changing moral compass of today, and our assignment to stand firm for goodness. Amen, prophet.)

 2. WARNING: This clip doesn't say anything about how valuable the role of mother can be, nor about what a great option it is for many, many women. Motherhood and careers do not have to be mutally exclusive, feminists!

 3. I can't make up my mind: IS it imperative that we eventually reach a 50/50 gender split in governing bodies like Congress?
3b. If I ever meet that Fox News guy who made a crack about politicians with PMS, I will junk-punch him.

Tangent: I remember describing for my last boyfriend once the strange sadness I got sometimes, thinking about my career. I tried to explain to him that it's a weird feeling as a girl, knowing one day you're going to be asked to just... GIVE AWAY this part of your life that you're totally in love with. The earning money, networking, working hard, gabbing with colleagues, printing business cards, and changing the world part of yourself. Ex-bf admitted that he had never thought about such an emotion before, never realized that women might feel that way. He tried to empathize with me as much as possible. He did NOT try to solve my problem, or tell me what I should do, or what other women in his life would say to do... he just told me that he realized how much that would suck. That was a great moment of validation for me. I'm thankful for feminist men who believe in and value women as equals. (That memory came to me as I watched the part in the video about how the media today breeds insecurity in women in a major way. Again, amen. Thank you men who validate women for having souls.)

4a. I still hate Rachel Maddow.
4b. Here's to the strong women in my life who have transcended stereotypes, made beautiful families while keeping themselves strong and whole, too, women who have had broken hearts and yet rose above, who have trusted God and talked to him in times of trial, fear, and doubt, and will continue to do so to the end. Women who make life beautiful. Those are my heroes.

Only slight related happy-healthy collage I made while babysitting tonight.

My friend Lauren's smart comments:

I thought it was a great video, well, done and so interesting. Some of those images were really disgusting and graphic. (The rap video at the beginning being seared into my head. Gross.) But I think what the women say in the video is so powerful coupled with the disgusting images, because you realize how much we are desensitized to the media. It was also reaffirmed that I hate video games. I think people--women in particular--will get something out of the video. I think its good to recognize things wrong in our society. And you know, I also think that it kind of, in a round about way, goes along with Sister Dalton's talk about fathers and being role models and examples to daughters. Just think, if a father encouraged his daughter to be everything she could be and encouraged her to make a difference in the world, she'd be so encouraged and successful and she'd think/know she could do anything. 

[...] I find myself having a hard time with the work vs. motherhood thing too. I always, my whole life expected to be a mother. I thought I'd get married young like my mom. I thought I'd graduate from college and that would be it, I'd maybe go back to school later. But here I am 27 nowhere near getting married and knowing I need to go back to school in order to further my career and by doing that increase my job satisfaction and in turn increase my self esteem and happiness. On the other hand I can't help thinking, if I get married after having had all this education, am I really going to want to stop and be a mom like I originally planned? Probably not. And then I get frustrated and stop thinking about it and decide I should probably go on multiple dates with the same person before I start planning my future. :)

I hear ya, girl.

1 comment:

Summer Lewis said...

Excellent thoughts! That video was stunning and eye-opening (IRAQ has more women in government?! What the...). I feel a little bit like I've been where you are. I think many more women that would openly admit have had the same thoughts. I didn't make it to grad school, but I went to college long enough that I should have. I feel blessed that the thing I choose for a career is also something I use regularly as a mother. And really I think that could go for anything. I think there are many more doors open to us as mothers now to continue pursuing interests and goals that initially seem outside of the home. Learning to achieve a balance is crucial, but you can. And when we choose to do things to make the world a better place, we do it not just for ourselves, or the world, but for our children too, whether we have them with us now or later!
Just don't ever let the fear of seemingly giving something up keep you from finding something new and even better.