Friday, September 09, 2011

Oh Hey There...Remember Me?

Yes. i am still alive. I'm engaged though, so maybe I'm only half alive? I'm joining the rank and file of Mormondom and I must admit that while I am so very very very excited to marry JR, I'm having a slightly rocky transition. Oh, believe me, I know what you're thinking, "HOLY HELL. ALL I"VE HEARD YOU DO IS WHINE ABOUT THE BABIES IN THE BASKETS AND THE WOMEN WITH THE WEDDING RINGS AND NOW YOU"RE ALL, 'wo wo wo is me! I'm getting everything I've ever wanted!' HRRRRMPH. PPHLLLLLPTTTT. BOO HISS."

I allow you to be annoyed.

But I also allow me to be annoying.

So there.

There's this part about how I'm having a slight identity crisis. For the last many years, I've been a single active mormon virgin trying to reconcile my place in a church where the mainstream is not me. And I was really really good at being that girl. I was wise. I was optimistic. I was inspirational to myself. I was secretely fond of being the girl that confused the masses, "I just don't understand why you're not married?"

but now, when we have a chastity lesson in Relief Society in JR's ward, I'm not "the other". I'm not the girl who doesn't know if she'll ever get to have sex (in this life, blah blah blah). I have this ring (a beautiful one, I might add) on my left hand that makes me indistinguishable from the girl across the aisle from me who got married at 22 and has three kids. There was this row of single girls behind me in JR's family ward during said chastity lesson who looked like some of my girls...the kind I would quickly connect to and kvetch about the marrieds and the world and talk about how we were finding our place in this community. I had a weird desire to hide my ring and go sit with them while yelling, I"M ONE OF YOU! I SWEAR IT! I"M ONE OF YOU!...instead I just turned quickly around at the end of the lesson, introduced myself and blurted out, "I'm 34, I just got engaged, and I don't know what I'm doing!" Smooth. Really smooth.

And then there is the part where I'm really putting this body image thing to the test...This is too much information, I'm sure, and I'm sorry if you've stumbled upon this and wish you hadn't...but I just need to put this somewhere. If you're aren't LDS, you will probably think this is ridiculously backward and feel sorry for me. But maybe just maybe you will identify.

For years, I've been battling with my body. Hating it and loving it in equal measure. I've lost 75 pounds, up and down, back and forth and my body, my dear 34 year old body has seen better days. All this is to say that I don't look good naked. Skinny or not, my body is not that of a taut 22 year old (I guess I'm really over those 22 year olds?). And I'm going to be naked for the first time with a man who has the body of a greek god. Though he is wonderful and I know he wants me as I am, it is not JR's responsibility to make me feel good about myself. This is between me and the world that has taught me poorly. Today I tried on lingerie. I cried for a solid 10 minutes in the dressing room, the desperate tears of someone who knows she will never (at least not without surgery) look like the images of sexy that are purveyed by the makers of underpants. I found a beautiful vintage inspired robe thing that did make me feel pretty, but I couldn't get past the feeling that I was a failure at sexy in the grand scheme of things.

Here is where you want to write me some sweet comment about sexy is a feeling and that men don't really care....but please don't because I care. I get those things. I care because I'm angry that I'm still seeing myself through someone else's eyes, namely society. I care because I know that this is a last ditch adversarial effort to undermine my sense of self and worth. I care because I haven't yet mustered up whatever courage or strength it takes to not give a crap if my inner thighs are jiggly even though my legs are rock solid from all the strength training I've been doing. I'm angry that I'm still angry. Sigh. But I do have something. I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and will send help to comfort me and teach me whatever I need to know. Remember this girl?

She's still me, ring or no ring.


Sarita said...

Darling, I can relate. I still want to be friends with the singles. I feel this impulse (even though I've been married for over 2 years now and I have an almost one year old baby) to explain how I was much older than you when I got married....and we started having babies later than you....or whatever....

Fact is....we have had different experiences. Heck, you lived in Korea. We've all had different experiences and we will all meld together and you will provide wonderful insight that others wont have and vice versa. I mean....It's not entirely their fault that they got married at 19. ;)

The annoying part is how excited I get for my friends to get married now. I try to hold it in, but even from afar, I am GIDDY for you. I love love. And I love the intensity of this companionship. And the intensity of my relationship with my single friends. Identity changes and feels a little lost, but in the end, it's all gain.

And the body thing. I get it. I've battled. My sister was an international model. I could have looked better on my wedding night. I DEFINITELY could look better now after gaining around 75lbs with the kid. And I feel sexy most days. He thinks Im sexy. Just dont let your Dad look at your new drivers license that you got right after giving birth. Because he will ask you why you dont like the picture where you have a massive double chin, because, well, you have a double chin, honey. And then you might cry your eyes out.

Anyway, I get it. Sorry for the novel.

Tamara said...

Yep. Me too. Hiding the ring and thinking, "I'm still trying to find my place in all this."
Guess what? I'm still trying to find my place in all this.
The adjustment was/is a weird one. I moved. Changed careers. Have a boy supporting my "dreams" and my rent. My name. Oh dear. WHAT is my NAME?? These things are an adjustment for me. Same goes for the 15 pounds I continually complain about that never appeared before my wedding day. It's an adjustment.
I whined the same song. "SO sad for me. I married the boy of my dreams and moved to Los Angeles to make my writing dreams come true. How sad for me."
Yep. I get it. No feeling sorry for those of us getting our dreams granted. But the major, major, major paradigm shift(s) will take some serious adjusting. It's just that way. And it takes time.
And now when you cry during that first year having a major identity crisis, you will know who to call.
Another thing. One of our (many) mutual friends chatted with me about the weight fluctuation. She was very grateful she got married when she wasn't at her ideal weight. Maybe you two should chit-chat.
Love you! This will all turn out great! I'm just glad you're thinking about the marriage. Can't wait to hear the tales of you in the bridal room standing next to the child brides! :)

Brielle said...

Just keep the lights off.....

lovestrong said...

I hear you. I actually read this book called "The Conscious Bride" (recommend HIGHLY) that talks about the mourning period a newly engaged girl/bride has to go through and that there's very few places where we talk about that. While there is a creation of a new life happening, there is also a very real death happening. We must mourn that death.

Isn't it fascinating to finally have what you want and to spend hours crying because you finally have it? I too have found myself not wanting to fit in with the marrieds. I want to scream, "I love him! But I'm not one of you, dammit!" So confusing.

I love you. And I love love love you finally have it. We'll be ok. We've had years to prepare for this. Right?

Sigh. I hope.

JonJon said...

I love you and your beautiful honesty.

MB said...

You're great. I know, you already know this. But, yes, I agree with "lovestrong" and how there's a death of the previous KaRyn and a birth of the new one.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Not to discount all your feelings because they are valid and I completely understand some of them and hope to understand the others for myself someday. But never forget that you have the sexiest ankles of anyone I've ever met.

Jon McFerson said...

your honesty is beautiful. congrats. JON

Julie said...

I love you. I totally needed that. Let's talk on the phone. Did I mention that I love you.

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Regirlfriend said...

I'm pregnant and not carrying it gracefully and I'm short, so it shows double. I won't let him see me naked. His previous gf was paid to get naked for strangers. (we so need a dinner). This can be troubling to me at times. Knowing that my well-built LinkedIn profile is going to pay way more years of our bills than her drawerful of pasties...doesn't make it easier.

But enough about me. You have decades of canoodling ahead of you, and most of that canoodling will be just like everyone else's after the first year. Familiar and warm, maybe smelling like dinner or clean laundry or real life, and with the lights off and the covers on. It's a waste of a gym pass and a summer tan. Know what it's not a waste of? Razors. And it's still amazing.

And at any rate, everyone looks hot in candlelight, and all of the girls look the same in a few years. Take heart. We love you, and more importantly, so does he.

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