Quick background: Have been in Utah all my life, born and raised in the Mormon church, baptized at 8, resigned at 18, now 32. Had one relationship at 21.
I have a TBM grandmother on my father's side and both TBM grandparents on my mother's. TBM grandmother has been through hell on earth with her late husband, so while she believes in the church she also knows everyone has their free agency and respects choices, loves everyone regardless of who they are. My grandparents, well, we'll get in to them in a bit.
I'm currently working on a Bachelors in IT full time and working full time. My previous job required us to go to the office even when COVID was in full swing. Back then I thought it was deplorable that they'd make us operate with the virus around, but in my current situation working from home I am realizing I need other people around. I'm a quiet introvert though, so I have issues in public and the only people who can tolerate me are immediate family.
Last January my father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. During Christmas we all just thought he was having his usual stomach aches. Fast forward to February, and he passes away. He was one of the only people on this planet who loved me, understood me, that I could converse with, and he's gone. Maybe it's better I am working from home now because the majority of time is spent trying to distract myself or crying. He was an amazing member of his education community and will be missed by a lot of people, leaving behind some big shoes to fill as well.
32, single, childless, no one to pass anything on to, I feel completely worthless. I've recently been having nights where I don't sleep until 4 AM, staring at my phone screen at the national prevention hotline number. I hear people make excuses for me all the time: "30 is the new 20" "You'll find someone" ... it's become more insulting than encouraging. Mormons push and push for you to make kids so young, living in Utah it seems that if you don't get married right at 18 you're done.
I'm obese and overweight. Believe me, I know this is part of the problem. I'm not the type of person who will say "Oh gee I don't know how this is happening" or blame my metabolism/thyroid/whatever. At one point I dropped 130 pounds and was the best version of myself. My grandmother on my mother's side, for all my life, was constantly nagging to the following:
0-18: "Go on a mission and get married in the temple, go on a mission and get married in the temple, repeat" 19-27: "Wow, you are fat. Do you know how fat you are? I just need to make sure you know how fat you are." 28-30: "Oh, you aren't fat anymore. Why aren't you married yet? When are you getting married?" 31-32: "Hey you are fat again. You still aren't married as well and you live alone. Just need to make sure I remind you of this every time we meet."
When I was losing weight and active, at first I had a good headspace about it. As the weight came off and the constant "Why aren't you married" questions kept happening, something ticked and I threw myself in the dating pool unready. I failed in all fields and failed spectacularly, and almost came home one day from work with a suicide plan ready for action until I forced myself to drive to my doctors office and explain what was going on. The medication helped, but it zonked me out of whatever progress I was making and here we are again.
After dad died I just couldn't take this shit anymore, I sent her a text letting her know that I may not be an active member but I know there are some good rules Jesus lived by like do unto others and love thy neighbor. I asked her directly if she thinks less of me because I didn't go on a mission and get married. Of course I never got a direct response back. Of course she had to go ask my fucking siblings, reading them the text and asking what they did to deserve this woe is me.
I can't get another job without up and moving away at this point, and my mother (who I do love and is in no way like her mother) needs all the support she can get right now. I'm stuck inside all day, and my free time is doing school work. Last time I saw grandma we didn't have much of a conversation because I shut down her main talking points, that I'm fat and work from home as a childless single 32 year old. When does anything get better? I'll get my degree which will open doors and make me the bad guy by moving away from my widowed mother. I've wanted out of Utah since I was 13 and I've failed that spectacularly. I'm really thinking it's time to just make a god damn exit plan on life already. I miss my dad.
Thank you for the compliment. Writing is one of my stronger traits, when I was young I didn't have many friends so I relied on forums and chat rooms. It has certainly helped in writing oriented classes.
My father had his doubts in the church and would express them in my youth. However, he would also tell me while he had problems that if it was something that made me happy and helped build a better life, he wouldn't hold it against me for staying. He also emphasized free agency (yes, even after I was right and baptized, it's a shocker this detail goes missing after others are baptized).
I think what really pushed me, funnily enough, was my grandmother's constant nagging of me doing her bidding. I said to myself, if I'm really going to hunker down and do these things, I better understand what I'm getting in to. Long story short, looking at church history, milk before meat, etc. really opened my eyes to a world I didn't even knew existed at that time. Whatever holdover I had went away when Prop 8 was in full swing. Not a homosexual myself, I couldn't help but note the hypocrisy in the church telling others how to live their lives while lamenting the loss of polygamy.
Not so much a compliment, rather a salute. Something observed. (Those who know me, complain I am not approachable)
Dad seems to have been a Free Thinker. Having the capacity for independent original thought. It is the most difficult of all things to be, and consequently rare. It sounds as though he gifted this to you. Perhaps his greatest gift.
Capacity for polished thought is a magnificent power yet also hazardous to the self. Like holding a samurai sword. The task is to wield it without being cut. Without it turning on the wielder.
We were both filled with dogma, yet you had the manhood and strength to walk. (Took me much longer and I wasn't even in Utah)
Part of the dogma is we are responsible for everything and everyone. Duty and burden is everywhere. I must always eat last if ever. Suffering is laudable. We are so indoctrinated. (Dissecting it critically, it is inculcated so we may be controlled - a mustang self-saddled and self-tamed)
So the primary disentangling critical question all must answer is: What is my primary responsibility Who am I primarily responsible for Where does my primary responsibility end
(Why is the instruction in depressurization to first place the oxygen mask on oneself)
Philosophers have on this differed, but they're just philosophers, many of them are dead, and this is a gut-me-myself question only I can answer
(Weight stuff is easy, can be done without starvation, but it's not important compared to this one question - because the answer to the question can save - or cost us - our life)
A subtle shift of perspective, vision, realization
The hard stuff is done. Those difficult-to-attain qualities and tools are present already: * capacity for courage and independence (walked once already) * intellect, capacity for reason * drive, life-force, "will to power" But life energy is being sapped, drained by dutifully dragging baggage that is not even a responsibility. And that unnecessary baggage is dropped, released suddenly -- through a shift in perspective. (The experience like waking up late, scurrying, frantic - and then realizing suddenly it's Saturday. No work today.) And the question - "what am I actually responsible for" - is intended to accelerate, trigger that shift.
See - was once in a similar hole (duty and dedication can be deadly) - overworked, overstretched, hating life - which is why reach out here. What saved me was the sudden realization: selfishness can be a virtue. That the only actual responsibility is to take care of the self; everything else is a gift given freely, not a responsibility.
It feels "ick" because it runs counter to all with which we have been indoctrinated.
In taking care of the self, valued others are also taken care of. All benefit. It does no good if, being overtasked, over-responsible, one vanishes.
It's that aircraft depressurization scenario: oxygen to the self first, so others may be aided.
Does not require tons of work, or burdening the self. Simply a shift. Folks will be okay if you take care of you.
I'm inferring that you're a male, but my advice wouldn't be that much different if you are female. Either way, the kind people in your life telling you that you have time to find someone, get married, and perhaps start a family are correct. I think my dad was in his late 30s when he got married. He and my mom had two kids. It can be done. If you are a female, you have somewhat less time to make your family, but that can be done as well.
I would quit visiting or talking to your mean grandma. She has nothing to offer you at present, and much to take away. Keep building your relationship with your mom. Perhaps some day your mom can move to wherever you relocate.
Please keep your chin up. You have a lot to offer a prospective partner. You are intelligent and hard-working. You care about your loving family members. Keep at what you are already doing, and your life will continue to progress.
I would get out there and date (use the dating sites and apps,) if for no other reason than to meet a lot of different people, and get more familiar with what you want and don't want in a partner. Focus on making friends. Don't let your weight be a hindrance. I know plenty of overweight people who have dated successfully and who have made happy marriages. Try to make your date laugh, ask questions about her/himself, and listen, really listen to the responses. Many people are starved for someone to listen to them.
Good luck, and do keep posting. We are rooting for you!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/2021 04:44PM by summer.
I'm afraid I might not be the best person to ask for advice. I was 20 when I resigned and ran off to join the Navy right after. I burned my bridges with most of my family over the years, though I do recommend you keep contact with your grandmother on your mom's side to a minimum. You wouldn't stand for a stranger talking to you like that; why should you stand for family treating you like crap?
While I can relate to being single and not having a lot of experience in relationships, I don't relate to the shame of being childless. I'm a crude and foul-mouthed person, so not being in a relationship or having kids might be a good thing. There are worse things than not having children; having kids and treating them horribly is the main one. But I at least can teach my nieces (and soon a nephew) some minor bad habits (belching, swearing, letting them think for themselves) as an uncle should.
Some advice I can give: make an exit plan for Utah, not life. You have a good head on you, use it.
Sometimes when people (especially introverts) leave the church, they keep the ‘leaving’ mentality as their ‘go-to’ response.
(Ask me how I know-I used that tactic for years. Until a near-tragedy caused a serious re-evaluation of my behavior.)
It’s toxic. It makes change more difficult than it is already. And change is what people who are trying to figure out how to gain a ‘regular’ life need the most. It is a vicious cycle that never seems to end.
But. If you are paying attention, things-little things-happen that, if you grab them before they pass by, can start you on a path to a better existence.
It is important to see those little opportunities, recognize them for what they are and capitalize on them.
Just keep your head in the game and don’t let those opportunities get away. It makes all the difference.