TW: Mild themes of child sexual abuse and sexuality
MIRIAM: Just a few minutes after leaving the neighborhood pool, the summer sun had already dried my bare shoulders, but I still smelled the chlorine from the pool water on my skin and in my hair. I trailed home with other children ahead and behind me as we passed the local gas station. The moment that I neared the station’s payphone, it rang. At seven-years old, I loved to answer phones, so I hopped to it and answered the ring.
The caller on the line did not ask for someone else, he just started talking to me. He asked me to say something. The words he asked me to say were strange, but I said them. He asked me to say them again. I did. After a few times, I decided the man sounded unpleasant, and I hung up the phone. Continue reading “Protecting My Children by Honoring Their Privacy and Consent”
MIRIAM: They say the beginning of wisdom is knowing what we don’t know, and I agree, but what happens when what we “know” doesn’t come from us? What happens when we completely depend on others to introduce us to knowledge, to confirm and validate it? And what if that inability to be our own anchor means we’re never enough, making us vulnerable and continually on the precipice of exposure as inadequate? This is the Impostor Syndrome, Mormon woman version, a syndrome that is ratcheted up by the fact I didn’t grow up like my priesthood-bearing counterparts who were raised to understand they had divine authority. Continue reading “My Impostor Syndrome As a Mormon Woman”
MIRIAM: Before dawn at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, my first child was born after a very quick labor. The nurse had told me to signal when I felt pressure so that she’d know when I was ready to push. The pressure came, and I did not push, yet my body pushed out my new daughter with no voluntary effort on my part. She was born so quickly that our doctor missed it; the room where my body gave her precipitous entrance filled with half a dozen excited nurses.
Within the hour, my baby had been whisked out for a bath, Daddy following her according to our plan. The doctor—a fellow Mormon—had arrived and was examining me to ensure the delivery of the placenta when he began cussing under his breath. The nurses hadn’t noticed that I was bleeding out. Continue reading “A Cry for Our Mother”
MIRIAM: Sometimes it’s just too much.
Our family’s kitchen has two entrances, and the traffic between them is often busy, seeing as many of us pick through leftovers and prepare our own meals. It was one of those soul-tired, spirit-weary days when I had no fresh cooking planned. So when my oldest daughter asked me to make her favorite dish of roasted potatoes and onions, I could feel my universe starting to collapse onto me.
It had been a hard year, one of the hardest in my life. The last few months had tested my courage for the future of my marriage. I felt like I was walking alone, without my husband. He was there, but I didn’t feel him with me. The emotional distance between us felt like a cold weight pressing constantly on my chest.
It had been a difficult week, full of all the normal busy stuff and work drudgery, but it had also been traumatic for people I loved. I had spent days trying to help the traumatized. Yet those who caused the pain were resistant to the cries of the wounded, and I felt thoroughly discouraged. The world felt dark and suffocating, and my daughter wanted me to cook on the one night I thought cooking would kill me. Continue reading “When Ten Billion Roads Converge”
MIRIAM: Since the man who had hurt us was there that Sunday, this was one of those Sabbaths when the constant presence of ushers in the hallways was absolutely necessary to me. If you have not been traumatized by violent crime, it might be hard to imagine how I felt. I will try to show you: Continue reading “Amen to His Priesthood”
MIRIAM: Sandy kept delicate glass-blown unicorns on her dresser. The walls of her room were covered in horse posters, and her white metal-framed daybed was adorned with a life-size unicorn print. To me, another twelve-year-old, this was heaven. Beside her very own bedroom and its luxuries, the turmoil of a barely functioning family overwhelmed their effect. Continue reading “Claiming Individual Worth”