Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confession: I used to be a feminist.

Today's confession:

For many years I identified myself as a feminist. 

It was something that developed in my late teens and in college as a way to rebel...still not sure who I was rebelling against... society? Mormon culture? Men? I don't even know.

 I knew I believed in my faith but was annoyed by the culture of women who I figured were all secretly Prozac-popping, unhappy desperate housewives forced to stay home and bake cookies.

I distinctly remember after watching "You've Got Mail" in high school fantasizing about cutting my hair short like Meg Ryan (which I did) and living in the city with my dog and my business... Oh wait she ends up with the guy in the end...I think I just loved Meg Ryan. What else did you need?  Sex in the City in college added to these fantasies about living a single and sexy life in a big city. Who needed anything else but girl friends and fashion?  My goal was to pursue a PhD in psychology and then one day have my own radio talk show... and a dog. Perhaps I would one day marry and have children and he would be able to accommodate to MY lifestyle and perhaps even stay home so I could fulfill my life long dream?

Well, needless to say- neither of those fantisicies happened.

I never moved to the city with my dog.
I DID fall in love and marry my husband...although, I didn't change my last name for years.
 I DID go to graduate school.
I DID pursue my career. 

And after 6 years of marriage, I DID get pregnant.

Another confession...

During that time, I was having a difficult time getting excited... or at least showing it. I felt like I had to explain to all my non-married and non-parent friends who were well into their careers a reason for my decision. I began to feel slightly resentful towards my husband. "How come his life doesn't have to change at all but mine does? How come he doesn't have to get fat and sacrifice his body for this little human? He has no idea what it is like to stay home all day because he still gets to go to work and do adult things." 

Blah Blah Blah. 

But it wasn't until I almost lost my first baby and then did in fact loose another baby when I pleaded with the Lord to give me strength and knowledge on how to over come these trials. What was I to learn from all this?  

All of a sudden "How come he gets to____ and I don't" began to transform into,  "I am so lucky to experience my divine role as woman and as a mother."  I know several woman, including my dear sister, who are struggling to have a baby. I can't take this gift for granted and I know that not every woman is fortunate to experience this. But there is a divine role for every woman...and for every man specific to their innate and eternal gifts and it is individual.

 I finally stopped wasting time fantisizing about another life and actually started LIVING and LOVING the one I was creating.

I asked the Lord to help me understand my individual divine purpose as a mother... and found confirmations all around me. Which I am going to talk about more in depth in another post.

All of a sudden my eyes and my heart were open to my individual divine role.  It may look different than yours or your neighbors...and I encourage you to pray and seek for answers on what it means to you. But all I know is that I don't have the need to compare myself to anyone else. I now understand my individual purpose and I know there is a specific plan for me.

I don't have to hide behind the title of a feminist. 

I now see myself as a EMPOWERED WOMAN. One who doesn't need anyone else or titles to prove that I am of worth. I am proud to be woman and embrace my feminine traits that have been given to me for a purpose.

To all my fellow sisters who felt that wearing pants to church last Sunday was making some sort of statement about inequality in your religion- I encourage you to take up that issue with you and the Lord. Pray about it.  Remember when we continually think like a victim- we become one. Stop asking, "What more is in it for me..." and start asking, "How can I give more to someone else."

Remember, this month's challenge: LIVE FOR OTHERS.

As for me and my beliefs, this quote by Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard and fellow Mormon, sums up my beliefs: 

"I still have many questions, but I don't have any doubt."  

Time is up- my little one is awake from his nap... please excuse my grammar and misspellings....I have been made aware that I need an editor...haha and it's true.



  1. People who are insecure are the ones dealing with the idea of wearing pants. People who know who they are care less and that is the irony of it all.

    1. Totally agree. That is what cracks me up.

  2. Cristi... we are more alike than you know!

  3. Oh cristi. I love you. You truly have a gift for writing. I so enjoy your posts. XOXO, Shelley

  4. Loved this post! I too identified as a feminist in High School. This post was just what I needed to get me from "Why can't I" phase. Thank you and keep writing!

    1. Donna- So glad you enjoyed- WOMEN CAN DO ANYTHING.

  5. Interesting. I am a feminist and I am trying to understand why you are no longer wanting to be feminist. Why wouldn't equality for men and women be a good thing? Are you writing about this because you don't support the Violence Against Women Act? And what is this about wearing pants?

    1. Jamie- great question. I think I have come to a place where I don't like to categorize myself in a particular group. Equality is such a difficult thing to define especially when men and women are generally so different in so many ways. I do think empowerment of women is important and we should embrace the gifts we have been given- I'll talk more about what brought me to this place in some upcoming posts. I feel sometimes the attitudes of my previous thinking were so focused on why men needed to change that I wasn't focusing on the beauty of being a woman and I have really embraced that part of me.

      About the pants deal- There was an LDS movement last month where women wore pants to church to state their opinion on wanting the women to hold the priesthood- I thought it was silly because women should be feel empowered enough to (any many women outside of Utah do) feel comfortable wearing pants to church anyhow- but most importantly, I think they are missing the point of what the gospel is about- well at least what it means to me. Many women didn't even know why they were really wearing pants...they just did it because some of their favorite mormon bloggers were doing it. It's annoying to me when something like that becomes "cool" or not "cool" to do instead of the purpose. That may have been confusing in my post...

      Thanks for your comment- I love hearing from all different thoughts.

    2. Hi Cristi! I am so happy to see your response; I am sorry I didn't see it earlier. Now that you are replying to comments; I will try to check more often. Thanks for your further explanation about feminism. We see "feminism" differently. I do not see it as being a part of a particular group, but more of a set of beliefs. So when I say, "I am a feminist" I mean that I support ending oppression of all kinds and particularly family and sexual violence (of which most, not all, is targeted on women and children). I see the devastating damage caused by these evils everyday in my work as a child victim counselor, and in the groups I facilitate for women survivors of domestic and sexual violence. So you can see that I see feminism as a social cause, not about the differences between men and women, make sense?

      I am not even sure how to respond to the pants at church deal! That is a lot to think about. I don't feel it would be fair for me to form an opinion either way, especially because I am not part of your LDS or Mormon blogger culture. However, I would encourage you to think about that obviously some women DO NOT FEEL EMPOWERED to wear pants to church, and that might be part of the point.

      I love your blog! Thank you for sharing yourself with the world, and not being afraid to put out there some of the difficult, pressing issues in our lives.

    3. Jamie- I so appreciate your response and love defining your definition of feminism. Thanks for that. Being a counselor myself and working with children and women as well that have gone through such devastation as you mentioned- I totally agree with you. I am a supporter to ending oppression and empowering women. In that respect- I would consider myself a feminist.

      I appreciate your comment because it gave me a chance to reflect more on my inner thoughts and more about the actual definition of “feminism.” I think in this instance I was referring more to do with actual difference in social gender roles and more of what women have called "mormon feminist."

      The woman who started the LDS movement “Wear Pants to Church Day” was coming from a place of wanting more “equal” roles in serving in the church. Something that I think many other woman participating were unaware of what they were standing for. I just felt like it seemed confusing and to the outside world that we aren’t allowed to wear pants to church (untrue) and that men and women are unequal in our faith (also untrue).

      My faith and testimony of what I believe has nothing to do with gender roles- it is much deeper than that. It is an individual relationship I have with God- and that is enough for me. I think this is where these ladies are missing the purpose and point of our faith.

      Thanks for your comment- You sparked some great thought process for me- lots more posts about this to come!

    4. Fascinating the way words can mean different things, depending on cultural context, isn't it? Your thoughts on faith have given me a chance to reflect on gender roles and my own faith also. I have a strongly held beliefs about how women should be treated politically and socially (yes, equally! yes, kindly!), but my faith journey is has little to do with gender issues because I am seeking God through non-institutionalized means at this time. Someday, women's roles in a church and in God's eyes may be something I need to consider too. Christ himself had much to say, through his actions and words, about women. He turned the social system of the time ON-ITS-HEAD-AND-UPSIDE-DOWN when he did things like let women eat at the dinner table with him. Would Christ have only allowed men the power of priesthood? Difficult to say, and certainly a topic many organized Christian religions struggle with. I follow your blog for the therapy ideas, but am getting plenty of other things to think about! You have my email if you would like to discuss further, and I will be looking forward to seeing your posts to come.

  6. HAHA the irony of this is while I respond back to some of your comments- You've Got Mail is on TV. I'd love to watch it now as an adult and see what about it was so great as a teenager!