On Building, Healing, and Strengthening Relationships, or… Tuesday.


Today… what an incredible day. It’s past 2:00 a.m. and I feel compelled to write almost four new LadyMo posts and a guest post for FMH and to write home to parents about how amazing today was. I have so many amazing and “how did I get here” thoughts competing for attention in my slowly tiring brain space, but my heart is in need of dissection and reflection. So, team, here we go. This is what I did today. 

Building Relationships

Today, I spent hours in the company of my faith and feminist leaders, even if they choose not to align with either or both of those identities. Their words have influenced my faith trajectory in profound and powerful ways, and to be among them was… inspiring. I spent my morning and evening with Lisa, DerekLindsay, and Artemis of fMh, and I totally geeked out. I didn’t sleep well last night and was still a bit nauseous this morning (I swear, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was pregnant), so this morning’s experience felt more like a “I cannot believe this people are sitting in my sweaty basement with me quilting and discussing Mormon feminism. I can’t believe this is real.” I don’t know if I contributed much to the conversation other than gawky fawny eyes, but great talk, we had.

Later that afternoon, after some errands and job-getting necessities, I met up with a new friend to do something, if you had told me three months ago would be happening, I wouldn’t believe you. I went wedding dress shopping with MoBoy’s fiancee. Let’s call her MoGirl. You see, while it was an awesome experience getting to know this great girl, it was also completely necessary for the healing relationship that will soon be discussed.

It’s a funny story how this came about, really.

Healing Relationships

A few months ago, I made a decision, however hurtful, that I couldn’t be friends with MoBoy. With everything that happened with another dude friend in the past, I didn’t know how or if I could be a good friend to him without complicating his relationship with ze lady. So, after a few weeks of shutting him out, I told him, “I can’t do this right now. Need time. Need space.” And he responded so carefully and so thoughtfully that when I was ready, he’d always be there for me.

Last month, while I was still in Kansas, a friend told me that MoBoy was engaged. At that point, our relationship was still weird, because, well, I’m weird. And I make things unnecessarily strange. When that friend told me, it felt … different. I wasn’t angry or hurt or upset, but I felt like I was completely missing out on MoBoy’s life and that I didn’t know who he was anymore. And that it was my fault (which it was). One day, while working at the bridal store, I was flipping through dresses helping another bride find her gown. A thought, which I cannot definitively attribute to my own inherent goodness or ability to mend bridges (clearly an area in need of improvement), popped into my head. “You are going to be friends with MoGirl. You are going to help her find her dress.” I guffawed at the spirit and told it sharply, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I screwed this up too badly.” And that silly spirit responded, “You’re going to fix this. And you’re going to help her find her dress.”

So dress shopping we went. And it was amazing. I made a new friend, who, presumably knowing my history, still wants to be friends with me. I can’t speak for her, and because I’m not the bride going dress shopping, and wasn’t my day, but I also know that yesterday was not about the dress. It was about building one relationship and healing another. And I’m glad that silly little spirit knows me better than I do.

Strengthening Relationships

After dress shopping and MoGirl bonding, we reunited with the fMh group at Derek’s house in Sugar Land (It’s really Sugar Hood or Sugar House, but coming up with other things to put after Sugar just brings me so much joy). We ate good food, we discussed heavy heavy topics. We talked about gender, doctrine, church culture, feminism, the temple, marriage, food, and quilting. I got to spend a lot of time thinking about my feminism and my faith. And I was in the presence of the coolest 7 (7?) year-old pirate on the planet. Artemis, your daughter is awesome.

After parting ways with fMh-ers, MoGirl said to me, “I am still processing everything I learned today, but I have a feeling that fMh is bigger than I think it is.” I told her that, for me, fMh gave me a voice I didn’t know I had or wanted or needed. I found fMh in the midst of a faith crisis/transition and it was a safe space to figure out my faith without having to compromise my feminism. I told her that people like fMhLisa, and all of the brave faithful and feminist men and women who came before and with her, are my feminist Mormon pioneers. I can be LadyMo Unafraid because of her work.

Late late later in the evening, while still in Salt Lake City, I landed at my bestie’s house and ripped him out of his apartment for sincere conversation. We have them so infrequently, that it needed to be prefaced that “this, in fact, is a sincere conversation.” He’s my best friend. We have zero boundaries and zero topics are off limits. People see us together and think, “Oh, they make each other happy. They must be in love and get married next week.” It is Utah, after all. And they aren’t wrong. We do make each other happy, because best friends do that. We sat at a picnic table, freezing our bums off, “defining the relationship.”

Sometimes I hate Mormons.

We aren’t foolish enough to think that boy-girl besties are an easy relationship to understand, and sometimes it confuses me. So, sometimes we (maybe just me, actually) need to step away from other people, have a quick pep talk, and figure out where and who we are. Last night, we did. And it was awesome. And I love him enormously that we could have that conversation and be who we are. Which is best friends.

It’s late, dear readers. Today was a busy and fulfilling day in the land of building, healing, and strengthening relationships. I learned a lot. I went places and felt things and thunk thoughts I wasn’t anticipating when I rolled out of bed at 8:30 a.m.

I promise, more tomorrow.

So much love,

The LadyMo


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