I didn’t really enjoy women’s conference. I enjoyed being with my family and spending time with sister part. But other than that I didn’t have all that great of a time. On the car ride home I tried to untangle the knots in my brain that come about when my life stops making sense and I have to sort things out again. I spoke out loud to Spencer. If I don’t jive with stuff that is said at the conference pulpit, then what can I depend on? Oh yeah, Jesus and God. Well, okay, if I can depend on Jesus and God, then why do I need religion and church and everything? Can’t I just live my life praying and doing good deeds and trying to be a better person? Why do I feel like I have to jive with the stuff I don’t really wanna jive with? No one can mess with my relationship with God, so why don’t I just work on that and do something else for three hours tomorrow?
I haven’t wanted to go to church for a while now. I don’t know what it is. I go in and out of phases. It just feels hard to get there and I feel like I have to like meditate before I get there. Also it’s like I don’t feel like I have friends at church and I want to have friends, but then I just want to sit in the back and not talk to anyone. I love a lot of the women in my ward, though. And I’m busy and everything, but I want to bond with people and maybe I don’t know how to. Like my home is always a wreck. So having someone over for just an hour is like a three hour process cause I have to clean the house. I don’t have three hours. Cooking for someone? OMG no. Taking someone out? Well, sometimes I have money for that, but not always. If I go over to someone’s house I worry I’m taking up their time. I mean really the most ideal hang out is wearing pajamas and having them get in bed with me and watch a movie. So then maybe I should just only hang out with Spencer. Damn, back to square one. WAIT, but that’s all I did before I got married! Hung out on a friend’s bed and watched movies with a bag of kit kats! Why can’t I do it now? Is it the sex thing? No one wants to sit on a sex bed? Do I need to get my own “bed to sit on for watching movies with my friends” bed? Is that creepy? Yes? Okay I’ll stop.
People, just tell me the rules of being a married woman so I won’t ask these questions anymore.
Is it just the age/my current life situation that I feel completely not social? What about the church thing? Why is it that sometimes I’m all up for going to church but lately it’s exhausting? Maybe it’ll get better with time, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jessica isn’t even in our ward anymore and my heart hurts so much that I didn’t try harder to be her friend before she left. I adored her! And Amber moved today!
I’m fine with being alone. And then I get lonely. And then I want to be alone. And then I get lonely.
What are you thinking about tonight? Are you up?
I’m thinking about alcohol and how I’ve never had it. I’m twenty two and have never even had a sip. Isn’t that funny? I’m thinking about how proud I am of that. I don’t know why, really. I guess we all have these moral commandments for ourselves, whether they’re religious or not, and we all tend to break them because we’re humans and everything. I just like that I’ve kept that one at least this far. I guess it just bothers me, the whole alcohol thing. People love talking about it. For, like, ever. It’s boring as hell.
But I talk about TV shows all of the time. Like I can’t stop. And I’m comparing that to the way people talk about their oh so unique but so totally not unique cup of coffee or their glass of wine. What is it about it? I don’t know, I’m too tired to come up with something.
For me I feel I’ve been numbing myself with TV and I’m not telling you this because I think I need to change or I think it’s bad, it’s just how it is. I don’t want to work on anything after school and work. I just want to be sucked into a virtual life so I can get through this.
It’s time to sleep and I don’t want to, because when I go to sleep it means when I wake up it will be Thursday and I will go to work and then run around finishing everything I need to before class at 6.
While I’m with Megan in Europe, I get to see Loira in England and Marina in France. I can’t wait. It makes me so happy, this trip.
I don’t know if I want to go to grad school. Part of it completely freaks me out and I keep thinking I won’t be good enough. I don’t remember thinking that way at the beginning of my undergrad. Did I? Was I nervous? I can’t remember. I just remember packing up my clothes, hugging my mom goodbye and driving to Jeff and Stacey’s.
I never went back to my parents after that. I had no idea I would never live there again. I moved everything out, my room was taken and everything, and I was gone. Isn’t that weird? I don’t remember visiting often either. I didn’t go back on the weekends. I went with my cousin Bryant to church or skipped church and studied. I guess I was busy. Oh yeah, I was working at Zupas on the weekends too. I was probably exhausted on Sundays and I was worried about gas money and stuff. And I loved hanging out with my cousins.
Anyway, about grad school. I don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do. It sounds long and hard and terrifying. I don’t feel like writing essays anymore. But I know I will want one. I know I want one now, I just don’t want to do it. And part of me just wants to be at home. With a baby, yeah, sometime, but also like I just want to be at home in a bed and never leave and wear sweatpants all day and eat Ben and Jerry’s. I think a lot of it is fear and I’m sick of working hard. I just don’t want to work hard at anything for a while.
New art on the wall! This is what I wanted to show you the other day. It thrills me to have something above the bed. Don’t stare at them too long if you’re OCD. I have to go back and straighten them out. You know when you’re so excited about art and you hurry and hammer it in? I need to get out of that habit before I move to an actual house, or whatever.
Which one’s your favorite? Mine is the Iceland one.
Mom gave me these for my birthday. I think she knows I go a little cray cray when my space isn’t pretty.
We’ve lived in this space for two and a half years. Can you believe it?
Nothing exciting to say. I’m tired. I want to go back home and watch Once Upon a Time. I want it to be Maxwell’s birthday again so I can be with my family. I want the freeway light posts to turn into palm trees.
I got some hard things done, like turning in my graduation papers with a late $25 fee. But since I have two majors, I’ve paid $50. But it was a given. I never could have turned it in on time.
I also wrote out a check for $55 with an application to be in the National German Honors Society. It was $45, but I spent $10 extra to get the honor chord in the color of the German flag. You know what I’m saying? You know, the tassel thing you get to put on your graduation hat.
It was all for the tassel, people. All for the tassel.
I love my husband. He’s going to get everything he wants in this life. You know why? Cause he’s a good egg.
I’m also buying a 52 dollar scarf because it has pockets in it. Yeah, yeah, I know, I could have just gotten some fabric, gotten out my sewing machine and made a pocket. Put no no, really, no, when in any life time would that really happen for me?
“It really bothers me when you say that,” I said to Spencer at Target over the weekend.
“When you say, ‘why would we buy that when we could make it?’ When have we ever actually made something that we wanted to buy? Never. We just didn’t buy it.”
“We could make it over spring break.”
“That’s what we said about the headboard. Two years ago.”
If you didn’t get it from the title of this post, I AM GOING TO ROME. The tickets are bought! Megan and I are spending two weeks in the summer running through Italy and PARIS and LONDON. This is the first time going to Europe for fun!–without having to be at school or work (I know, such a spoiled thing to say, right?).
I’ve been holding off on telling you this news. Megan posted it on her social media platforms and I quietly untagged myself. You know why? Cause I was embarrassed. I felt guilty. I was excited, but I felt that everyone else would think I was this selfish married girl, not taking money or her husband into consideration.
For three years I’ve had to learn again and again that I love what I love, I am who I am, and I cannot be Anne if I don’t feed my spirit the things it so selfishly wants.
When we were first engaged, I listed in my head the things I’d have to sacrifice in order to marry Spencer. How would Spencer be Spencer and Anne be Anne together? How would we be able to accomplish dreams and future goals when they seemed so different?
I decided in my mind that I would have to be the one to sacrifice the most. My dreams were too farfetched. Unrealistic. Too fantasy-like, too childish, not productive enough, not “money” successful enough. I watched people ask us what we were doing with our lives and as I told them my dreams, I felt their eyes quickly pass over to Spencer’s where he told his solid, five-year plan. It would be me that would have to settle down and fit into the good-girl, good-wifey life, I thought, and cheer on the side as I followed my husband in his dreams.
Of course, none of this was Spencer’s perspective. We had been dating for almost a year and he was always excited about my goals and my future. He listened, without scoffs or eye rolls. He took me seriously. And when the “marriage” word popped up, and when I let him know of these worries, he told me we would always find a way for both of us to live joyous lives. Together. I clung to his words, hoping he meant them.
It took a few breakdowns and prayers and fights to get this idea out of my head. And it still pops in once in a while. I don’t think it’ll ever go away completely.
Because even though Spencer loves me unconditionally and prays for my dreams as much as his, and hugs me so tight when I get a job interview or an acceptance letter in the mail, I can’t stop validating my decisions to everyone else. “Yeah, I’m going to Hawaii. I don’t spend a lot of money, and we’ve been really good with our budget, and I really just needed it, because I’ve been kind of depressed and… yeah.”
“Yeah, I’m going to Germany for four months and leaving my husband. Yeah, I have to do it for school though, and I’ve been really good at saving for the past months and Spencer’s going to visit so I’ll see him.”
All of the time, people. And the truth is, I just wanted to go Hawaii, dammit. I just wanted to go to Germany. I didn’t have to go to Germany. I got that international studies double major when I got back. But can I say that? No, I’m too embarrassed. How can I help it? I worry what other people think of me. I worry people think I’m a bad wife. Do you know someone said this to us when we were dating? That because I’m “this way” I won’t ever be able to make Spencer happy?
But I don’t have to have a Plan B life. I can have Plan A life all of the time. Even though this fear pops into my head every few months and I have to fight it again, that fear isn’t winning. I have received more blessings in the past two and half years with Spencer than I have in my whole life. Every question to God has been answered. Every answer has been better than I expected. And this year, we are getting huge blessings for both Spencer and me. Next month something huge is happening for Spencer. We both feel it. I’m so excited.
So, back to the point. I’m going to Rome with my best friend and I am dying of excitement.
I am completely head over heels in love with my sweet, hard-working, forgiving, hilarious, ridiculously good-looking husband. Spence, I love you. I’m so lucky to be with you.
(Sorry, not sorry, Em… And Sara. Hahahahahahahaha.)
It was a long and lovely winter break. Emily came home from her mission and I bawled like a little girl as I watched her at the pulpit and as I sat in the ward I lived in until I was eleven. I ran my fingers through the patterns carved into the wooden benches, like I used to when I tried to keep my eyes open during sacrament meeting. I thought about Grandpa coming to our ward and showing me how to read the hymns, even though I already knew how. I remembered when I ran up to sing the last verse of some song during the primary program and Nathan Brown tripped me on the way up. I remembered Melissa getting confirmed in Sacrament Meeting after being baptized and at the time I had no idea she had a little sister with whom I’d become best friends.
After church we went to Marlies’ house because we couldn’t get enough of Emily and Marlies and Jerry. We met David, her now fiancé, who is a total sweetheart. I searched for Libby, who lay underneath the table in the kitchen licking her paws. I made kissy noises and rubbed my fingers together like I used to, and sure enough she walked out from underneath the table and said hello to me.
“So are you pregnant?” Emily asked.
“Are you trying?”
“Can I be in the room when you have your baby?”
“Can I be the Godmother?”
“Can I cut the umbilical chord?”
“Anne do I need to give you a conference talk on having babies?”
And then later.
“So are you gonna marry David?” I ask quietly with a cookie in my mouth.
“It seems that way,” Emily hides a smile.
“When’s the wedding?”
And my mom in a loud voice, “WAIT! DID I JUST HEAR THAT RIGHT? Anne, did you ask are you getting married and Emily, did you say it seems that way?”
Well, yeah, I mean, we were trying to keep it cool, but, yes Mom.
Em and I were born three days apart–me on February 23rd, and her on February 26th. We are both 9 feet 10 inches. Both of our middle names are Louise. We both have the same size feet. And we both equally loved Aqua’s Aquarium album, the one that has the “I’m a Barbie Girl” song on it. See? We were meant to be soul sisters.
And then I got to see Megan. The day after fall semester ended, Megan called me and asked if I wanted to go to a jazz game with her. Yes! We sat at City Creek for more than two hours catching up on life and then walked to the Energy Solutions Arena and stayed there for maybe 30 minutes before we bailed and walked down Mainstreet and in Temple Square, jumping up and down and giggling as we dreamt about our lives. We spent around five hours together. I never get that much time with my friends anymore. Heaven.
Then Bruna came to town. It’s her first time being back in America since her foreign exchange in high school, where we all met each other. Bruna is the most laid back friend I have. She is cool with doing whatever and when she sees me getting stressed out, she just yells “ANNE!” and rolls her eyes at me. She is also a friend that gets you to do the things you want to do–like buy leather leggings. And a leather jacket. And a white blouse. And A floral dress. We went ice skating and ate at Bruges downtown and went to the Natural History Museum and shopped at Park City. We had sleepovers with Megan and bought cheap crap at Wal-Mart. I felt like I was seventeen again.
And then Ana had her baby. Yesterday Megan and I stopped by her and Jake’s house and we both held baby Jace. “Okay aunties, look over here!”Ana said as she took a picture. Megan and I both repeated what she said and squealed. “Auntie Anne and Auntie Megan! Auntie Anne! Auntie Megan!” Ana texted us as she was at the hospital. “The doctor says the baby could be here before 5!” Megan and I texted back, “PUUUUUUUUSH!” I love Ana. She makes me laugh, she sends me packages, she responds to my text rants. When I was in Germany in high school, she figured out how to call my host family (at four in the morning, hahaha) to wish me a happy birthday. When I told her personal things in high school that I felt sad about, she just shrugged and said, “You’re Anne. You’re going to be okay.” She has always been a wonderful friend. I’m so happy for her and Jake.
School has started and my brain is having a difficult time getting back into studying. I come home from school and watch Once Upon a Time, which I got hooked on over the break because of Bruna and Megan.
There are exciting things happening for me this year. But I’ll save it for another post.
I’m grateful for friends. I only have a handful of them and I don’t get to see them all of the time, but they are enough and I love them and I’ll have them forever.
During Christmas my mom said she likes to get through January before starting new years resolutions. I thought it was a good idea as I’m always in the January shlumps. That’s why you haven’t heard much from me. I needed a break from trying stuff.
School started and I feel like I’ve been on auto-pilot. Somehow I get through my days and then I sleep and wake up and do it all over again.
On the first day of school I got laid off from my job at the U. I know it wasn’t me, but I think it always feels a little bit like it’s your fault in the back of your head. The miracle in all of this is that I got laid off an hour after signing an HR form to another job. It’s weird how it all happened because I was looking for an extra job to pay for some things of my own (that I’m going to keep vague for now). It felt like a miracle, but at the same time I was angry. I prayed an angry prayer and said, “Why would you do that? You knew exactly what it took for me to look for another job. You knew how to get me job searching. Are you taking advantage of my desires? Are you giving me false hope? Cause now I don’t have money for what I wanted. So yeah, thanks but no thanks.”
And then three hours later my FAFSA and scholarship money came in. All was well. If God spoke to me in Disney quotes, he’d say, “Patience, Iago, patience.”
So now I’m working at Church headquarters as a German-speaking customer rep. Did you hear that? I’m speaking German at my job. And I’m working with Italians, Germans, Dominicans, and Portuguese people. The church thing is cool and weird all at the same time. This is funny, though. I walked into my building and five guys in suits were carrying giant Big Gulps full of mountain dew. Guess what time it was? EIGHT THIRTY A.M.! Hahahaha. I’m like, dudes, y’all just need to grab a cup of coffee. I’ve been training for the past two weeks, so on Wednesday I’ll start taking calls. I worry that I’ll screw up a phone call. That someone will yell at me cause I’m too slow. I worry that I’m not learning the programs and information as fast as others when they do training. Worry worry worry.
I’m taking Zumba, history, Spanish, and nutrition. History is my favorite. It’s a three hour long class, once a week and it’s off campus. I enjoy this class because my teacher is funny and he laughs at others. I really hate people who crack jokes but never laugh at anyone else. It makes me super uncomfortable. But my teacher has a sincere laugh. And he says things like “I think this kind of history is boring” and “I really don’t know that answer. Someone google it.” How can you not like a history grad student who calls history boring and doesn’t act like a know-it-all professor? He’s also from Turkey and has an umlaut in his name. I think I just like people ten times more if they have an umlaut in their name.
During the week of Martin Luther King day he asked us to write in class about how race has impacted us AND how we are privileged, in regards to race. Once we were done, we discussed our answers in class. A woman raised her hand and told us that she isn’t discriminated for her race, but as a woman, she is. A man raised his hand and said as a white man he isn’t discriminated for his race, but as a gay man, he is. The conversation went on.
And quite frankly, the conversation pissed me off. Even though I agreed with every single person who spoke and at times got riled up and wanted to talk about my own experiences of being discriminated as a woman, THAT WASN’T THE QUESTION. Can we not for one second admit that we are privileged? Why are we constantly trying to show how underprivileged we are? Like, why couldn’t we just straight up answer the question? Even if someone had said, “I don’t feel privileged as a white person,” like, in ways that seems better to me than ignoring the question and coming up with reasons for being underprivileged. I don’t know why, it just bothered me so much and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Like maybe this is why we have such a hard time empathizing with others. “You have it rough, but I have it rough too!” Or what? What is it?
The best thing about you, 2014, is that you’re gone now. And that you left quickly. So thanks for that.
I think this is what happened, 2014. Professor M made me read Nietzsche in January, that’s what.
And Goethe in February.
And Kafka in March.
And Hesse in May.
I mean what kind of person does that in the middle of winter? Oh yeah, A German professor.
What else happened, ’14? Oh yeah, that New York Times article rattled me. You know, the one talking about all of those Mormon feminists getting excommunicated. That was rough. And then the Trib article about the General Relief Society meeting only with the Mormon Women Stand, a group led by Mormon women I find distasteful to say the least. That was rough. And then trying to talk to the men in my life about this painful subject.
And then what, 2014? I felt incredibly alone. I got on Facebook and wanted to scream. And some people tried to make me feel better by talking about it, but instead of talking about feeling alone and the whole church thing, it felt more like a big church bash. And that didn’t feel good either. Cause when someone says to you, “I get you, Anne. I really hate going to church too. It stinks. They’re so judgmental and I hate being associated with them.” I’m thinking, “WHOA WHOA WHOA, hold on, NO!”
I spent many many phone calls crying with my mom.
I hadn’t had an anxiety attack in front of Spencer ever until this fall. He got to see three full-fledged panic attacks. He had to see me fall into depression and understand what it really meant for me to be anxious.
I think a mix of all of this put me into a low self-esteem. I never thought I had low self-esteem, ’14. But I realized that I hated being in my own skin. I hated being me and hated the expectations I had for me. I worried about looking silly. I worried all of the freaking time (guuhh, exhausting) what others thought of me–that I was not enough, not enough, not enough.
Then fall was here and you did provide me with some fun classes, ’14. Like Spanish and watercolor, even though they were harder than I expected. And then I became friends with Pilwon, a study abroad student in my business class from South Korea. And together we spent many nights at the library until 1am working hard and snorting and bursting out laughing. That was good, 14. Good work. I’ll give you that. But that business class gave me headaches, as you know. Like having to kick someone out of my group. Yep. That was rough. Real rough.
One more thing, and I think then I’ve covered the bad stuff about you, ’14. I was so angry. And I can’t tell you why in this letter, but I was so close to losing it, you know? Like running away losing it, hahaha, into the woods! I was planning out my loin cloths! I was done. Not with Spencer, you know that. It wasn’t about Spencer.
So yeah, I think you’re a big whore, ’14. But here are some good things that happened, that I need to let you know before I say my last goodbye.
I was called to be a gospel doctrine teacher in my ward, which meant each month I got to teach the basics of the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sunday School. And better than teaching, I got to spend my weeks sticking my nose in the Old Testament, learning about righteous kings and fallen kings and the warnings about pride and the prophets’ pleads to serve and love the poor. This calling was an answer to my prayers. And I felt like God was saying something like this to me, I want you to know how much I love you and how rockin’ awesome I think you are, and I want you to stop thinking that you’re not worth anything, because you are. So here. Now you get to be with me all of the time.
I got a full tuition scholarship from the department of languages and literature, and then an $800 award from the German department. That rocked.
I got to spend another year with Spencer.
I went from not exercising at all to running 5 miles easily and doing a 5k.
Even though we only had one income, WE PAID OFF OUR BILLS EVERY MONTH. We were freaking, but we felt a lot of financial safety because of tithing. Since being a 12-year-old girl babysitting, I’ve had a testimony of tithing and the promises that come with paying that 10%. I know God gave us protection this year.
“What else happened in 2014 that was good!”
“I don’t know! I can’t thinking of anything!”
So there we have it, 2014.
Wait. One more thing that sticks out to me the most. I was full of sadness, anger, and fear all of 2014. For the first time in my life, I thought seriously about my future as a Mormon woman. I thought about my testimony and I felt I needed to leave. But as I’m looking back at this year, even with all of the pain I have felt due to the Church, even all of the sadness I often feel during the three hours on Sunday, even when everyone is choking me with “I challenge you” or “I encourage you” phrases, I have known this year more than ever that my Heavenly Father loves me.
And I know that I would not have felt Heavenly Father’s love for me as strongly without sitting in church for three hours every Sunday learning what it meant to feel the spirit and knowing the blessings of prayer and scripture. Because He told me he loved me through scripture. He told me as I sang a song with my family in sacrament meeting. He told me in a blessing from Spencer. He told me in a journal entry I wrote during relief society. He told me as I said goodbye my brother as he left on his mission. He told me when Spencer kissed me and said “I’m so glad I get to be with you forever.” He told me when we drove up the canyons to Silver Lake. He told me in a prayer that burned within me.
So, yeah, I still think you were a big pooper, 2014. But thank you for making me strong.
P.S. I’m going to post my iPhone pictures of 2014 sometime today or tomorrow, so I’ll see y’all soon! Not you, 2014, I wasn’t talking to you. We’re over.