It’s been a strange year, hasn’t it?
It’s been a strange two or so years for our family, actually. In December 2019, my husband and I were working on our Christmas card and basically ended up writing something like “Well, this year was hard, let’s hope next year is better.”
But honestly, I feel like I’ve been walking on shaky ground the past two or so years, like nothing is stable or what it seems. I stopped writing here (obviously). We moved twice in the last ten months. My husband has had about three different jobs in the last year or so. I started and sold a business and started a new one. We shut down our event company.
We’re trying to figure things out.
I wanted to look back on what happened and what is happening. I haven’t had the time or desire to write these things out, and I got out of practice. I started to wonder if anyone even cared or read these posts. It seemed superfluous.
Really, there were a couple of things going on and at play.
Number one, I had a negative and surprising experience.
As you may or may not know, I was a Relief Society President. I wrote regularly in this blog. I had just had a book published. And then one week the Bishop wanted to meet with my husband and me and more or less said I needed to be more careful about what I wrote in the blog. That I didn’t inadvertently lead people away. That I needed to make sure I watched what I said about talks from General Authorities or Apostles.
To me, it was a warning.
(I was also released from being Relief Society President around this time.)
When he left that night, I felt as if I had just been censured. I had been told to watch my back, more or less. I felt bruised. Wronged. Indignant. Like, how dare someone try to censor my blog and say what I should or shouldn’t write here.
But still, I slowed down. I did watch what I wrote from then on. But still, we held some conferences. We canceled one. We got a dog. I started a distance learning masters program. I decided to start a children’s bookstore. I started different hobbies and jobs. I filled my time and decided to step away from the blog and the all seeing eyes of the “Church” or the Bishop or whoever.
And then we moved. Twice. Once back to the island where I had my major OCD breakdown years ago. I had another miscarriage. (Like, seriously?). And then we decided to leave that place for good because, honestly? Now we are living in Seattle.
I started another business. We sell curated collections of children’s classics—books and vinyl records. It is called Oh Hello Again, and it is pretty adorable. But still I feel the need to write.
The problem is, I’m not sure what, exactly. The other problem is that it’s an international pandemic and I have two young children home all the time and writing requires, oh, I don’t know, peace and quiet for long periods of time.
So what about the blog? What about this website?
Well, I am here, right? But honestly, the truth is that sometimes mental health advocacy is exhausting. I threw myself into it for a good few years, and I burned out. I did. I got tired of talking about, thinking about, and living only OCD. Even going to therapy exhausts me now. I’m done talking about it exclusively, you know? I don’t really want to do that anymore. It’s not sustainable for me.
Also, church. Oh, where to start.
So remember a few paragraphs ago where the Bishop basically threatened me that I needed to stop leading people astray and then I got released and everything? Yeah, that kind of killed my enthusiasm for church a bit. Also, I started to think about my OCD and scrupulosity. I remember what my therapist Dr. Bob used to say about patients with scrupulosity and how it was so hard because it was like the therapist vs. God, and God will always win, right?
But I started to ask myself, what if? Like, what if I don’t get into the Celestial Kingdom? What if I did X Y or Z thing and now I’m a bad person? What if I don’t make it to the top level of Mormon heaven?
And eventually I realized that I didn’t actually care. I embraced the teaching (?) that we will end up wherever we are comfortable. That comforted me. I realized I didn’t actually care about ending up in the Celestial Kingdom.
This may be shocking. I’m okay. It’s okay. Because in realizing and accepting that for myself, I was freed from the scrupulosity. I was free! I didn’t have to worry so much about Church and duty and doing everything totally perfectly. The OCD didn’t have power over me anymore in that area of my life.
But also, suddenly the reasons I did things in and for the Church fell away. I didn’t feel the need to do 100% ministering. In fact, I didn’t and don’t do official ministering at all. I still read scriptures and pray, but my life isn’t dictated by upholding and living certain arbitrary standards that I placed on myself to be “worthy” and “good.”
So maybe now you can understand why it felt a bit weird to write in the blog. But now that we’ve got that out there, I’m thinking of checking in more frequently. Writing about life, and my journey. If you’re into reading about that, good. If not, I understand. You need to do what is right for you, too.