Here we are, everybody. A clean slate: 2014! I have decided that I want to do the "trendy-one-word-theme-per-year" resolutions, along with a few goals. In attempting to ferret out my 2014 theme, I've discovered the themes I've had the last two years, in retrospect. And I feel to preface this year I need to give background and summarize the past two years for me.
I know a lot of people are confused because about two years ago I left Idaho one person, and I then returned a very different person. So let's start with what was happening back then.
2011 - Change & Moving On
Right before we left for Virginia in 2011, Darik and I had talked about how we had spent 10 years of our marriage trying to have children. The basal body temps, the chlomid, the charts, the shots, the accupressurist (muscle testing), the alternative homeopathic pills, the endocrinologist, the tests, the IVF, the more shots, the foster care, the failed adoption, the IUIs, the essential oils, the cleanses, the prayers, the fasts, the accupuncture, the hopes and dreams. In my church we are taught the ideal: we are sent here to have and raise families. And after ten years of learning and growing and stretching and doing everything in our power to accomlish the ideal: I was tired. I had to believe the life Heavenly Father sent me here was not to spend my emotional and psychological well-being in attempts of accomlishing the ideal. I did NOT want to give up hope. But in the end I realized for my own well being, I needed a break. For the first time in a long time I felt a centering peace. Within this span of time Darik graduated with his master's degree, we listed our home for sale, and started looking for a new job. In a very surprising turn of events we ended up in Virginia with a job that made less money, a home rented out back in Idaho losing $400 per month, and me working full-time while Ellie started 1st grade.
2012 - Discover and Own Your Worth
Over the next year I come to a lot of conclusions. I may not ever have any more kids - naturally, foster, or adoptive. And that's okay. For the first time in my life I felt a centering peace that came from accepting God's will in my life. Up until then I felt I'd been so converted to the preaching of the ideal and to gender roles, I wasn't open to the possibility that God had a different plan for me. I knew God had sent me here with my own specific talents and skills, but I'd been trying to apply them only in creating an ideal family: the reason we are sent to earth in the plan of salvation. And now I am owning the possibility that while, yes, mother is one of my roles here on earth, God's plan for me to build his kingdom is more than that. I do not fit a role, I do not fit a stereotype - my job is to discover His plan for me, and to let go of every expectation and belief of what I thought that was supposed to be.
Here I was not matching everyone else around me: the majority of women in my ward were stay-at-home mothers raising young children. They had walking groups and playdates, and I was working full-time. My life at work was interesting. At the beginning I struggled, more than I had anticipated. I felt between a rock and a hard place as I needed help and it was very difficult to obtain. They transferred me to a new position and I wasn't full of much confidence. At work over this year I began some difficult projects and found success. I was sent on week-long trainings in other cities where I spent every moment developing my brain and talents to help others, apart from my family and church. I used my specific talents (love of obscure data and working alone) to pull together a pretty valuable piece of work. I found a way to take my strengths and amplify them. I found a way to love my job, love learning, and love my coworkers. I found that in the workplace I am treated and viewed first as an individual: what talents and abilities and perspective do I bring to the table? I saw first-hand how genders related in an organization outside of the church. Yes, there were still some things that were appropriate and inappropriate between genders at work, there is always a line. But there was so much more interaction available to me with male work friends: who I came to enjoy sharing baby pictures, friendship, lunchtime, and political debates. It's really different than how we interact between genders at church, the comparison was jarring to me. After all of these experiences I saw the world with perhaps a little different filter, just as all of our own life experiences create the filter with which we view the world
As 2012 ended and Darik got a job in Rexburg and we prepared to leave, my boss told me how much she had enjoyed watching me grow in ability and confidence. And I truly believe that happened to me in 2012. I learned a lot not just at work, but about myself, and about my path -- and I decided to quit wanting something else. To love my path. To love myself. And I was excited: I would be getting a small piece of the ideal back, right? I would finally get to be a stay-at-home mom!
2013 - Let Go of Fear
The first half of last year I spent on more discovery. Although I'd let go of the ideal of my purpose was to raise a large family, I still assumed happiness was found in the ideal of staying at home. I have to say, I was a hot mess. Don't get me wrong, there were many moments I cherished and loved. I had many sweet and memorable moments with Ellie and the additional time we had together. I had a husband who was being challenged and stretched at work and who was enjoying it more than he ever had. But I still felt something was missing! I love reading, and I read a lot of books :-) but something was still missing. I had all of these ideas and thoughts and experiences that made me who I am. I decided to let go of my fear and just own it. I started blogging, researching, questioning, and working. I read my patriarchal blessing again. I went back to the feelings I had before of me being different and of worth. I had always been different than the girls and women around me - whether I was a sports-addicted child or an offbeat trend-hating adult. I certainly didn't fit the expectations and stereotypes that surrounded me. I just decided to let go of every ounce of fear I had -- I chose to tell my story. I felt I was finally strong enough to be vulnerable, to show my weaknesses and questions, and to take whatever came my way.