Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cranky Christian

Going to church doesn't make you a good person any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.  -unknown

Being born and raised a Methodist is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.  It is a religion that encourages independent thinking, doesn't claim to be the one and only keeper of the "truth" and welcomes all...especially the sinners (and let's face it...we're all sinners in one way or other-some of us just don't admit it).  Granted, over the course of my life, my church's views have become increasingly liberal , which thrills me to no end and keeps me coming back.  I know that no matter what I do or think, I am always loved and welcome.  God/Allah/Buddha (choose the name of your higher power) loves me NO MATTER WHAT.

A person who has been very dear to me but who will remain unnamed recently proclaimed that he/she was a good Christian...because he/she goes to church all the time and because he/she reads the Bible.  This, followed by a diatribe about how he/she has been faking his/her "love" for me for the last 15 years and that I was a terrible person because I'm a procrastinator and a horrible housekeeper and that I love my pets too much and that I'm a terrible mother, blah-blah-blah (vomit) made me reflect upon what makes a person a good Christian...or just a plain old good person.   I've been active in my church for most of my life, but I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not always a good person.  On the other hand, some of the most loving, generous, non-judgemental and forgiving people I have ever known have very rarely or never attended church.  There's two kinds of sin according to the book of "Leah's World as She Sees It":  sins of the body and sins of the heart.  I'm way more worried about what's in my heart than I am about whether I'm smoking, drinking, fornicating (not that I such luck), etc.  Aren't those things better than lying, betrayal, cheating and stealing?  Yes, I've been guilty of all these things during my life, too...but I spend most of my reflective time focusing on how I can improve on my sins of the heart.  That doesn't leave much time for all my other sins.  And when I am confronted by those who think they're superior to me because they have hidden all their faults and look really good on the outside, I get cranky...really cranky...and there ain't many people happy when Leah's cranky.

I couldn't care less if when I die (or even while I'm alive), people fault me for my sins of the body, because in the long run, I know that God, Allah, Buddah (and all the other names we have for God that I can't think of right now) loves me and everyone regardless of our religion (wow-there's a topic I can't wait to write about), regardless of our habits, regardless of our sexual orientation, regardless of how we keep our house or how much we love our pets (ooooooh...I am so bitter about that one) regardless of any of our they of the body or the heart (although I have a really hard time trying to swallow the thought that God loved Hitler and my first husband).  I want people to remember me for being a loud, sometimes cranky and loving lunatic!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There Is a Charm About the Forbidden That Makes it Unspeakably Desirable - Mark Twain

Amy and I made plans to be freshman dorm roommates in Austin Hall on the University of Utah (the U) campus in the fall of 1981. Our plan was to live in one of the units which they call "suites"...suites were basically  little apartments which consisted of one common room, one kitchen and three bedrooms which housed two girls per room.

My parents believe that when you start college you should “go away” to college and although I lived in the same city as the U (none of my out-of-state choices would take me), I was thrilled at the opportunity to live life on a longer leash than the one I’d been raised on.

When further investigation into Austin Hall revealed that it was a dorm where boys were allowed on the floors where the girls were housed , my parents strictly forbade this, halted my plans and made arrangements for me to live in Bailiff Hall…on a floor where boys were FORBIDDEN to enter.  Apartment living was out of the question...that was for floozies and tramps! And…coupled with the fact that Austin Hall was open to all ages (including seniors), they realized that there were going to be kids living there who were old enough to buy booze and that was not going to fly!!!  One of the other selling points was that Bailiff Hall was only for freshmen and sophomores...the under 21 crowd...and that sounded much more appropriate. 

Bailiff Hall was a zig-zag shaped building with seven or eight zigs. Each zig had three floors. Each zag had three floors. The entire building was a boys’ dorm except the one floor I got assigned floor of one of the zigs. Go figure.  That should have been a big red flag to my parents, but the brochures said “no boys allowed” and they believed it. I did, too, because I had been raised in the bubble known as Murray, Utah…a place where cotton candy was abundant and everything was as it appeared.  Bad things didn't happen in Murray.  It was a great place to grow up!   Anyways, back to Bailiff Hall…it was just for incoming freshmen and sophomores, so there was no chance that any booze would make its way in because none of us would be old enough to buy it. This sounded like the perfect solution to my folks…the people that wanted to protect their already “highly-spirited” daughter from the evils of the world.

Amy met her future husband our first year and she adjusted exceedingly well to campus life. I, on the other hand, being a resident of Bailiff Hall, lived a quiet, mundane day-to-day life of study and inner contemplation. NOT!!! It was a life of utter decadence and severe frivolity! Boys prohibited from the floor? HA! There were boys on the floor constantly! Booze flowed freely! The guys on the floor below me had a vending machine that dispensed beer! Imagine our delight when we would push the “mystery” button and get an imported beer! Imagine our disdain when that same button would produce generic beer! Anybody remember generic beer? Simple white can with plain black writing? Yes, it looked a lot like Dharma Initiative beer (Google-image it if you’re unfamiliar). Boys spent the night. Girls stayed out all night. And to make things worse, I joined a sorority. Let your mind wander where it may...I’ll deny everything.

Amy and her future husband did wonderfully in school and never had to have a “good stern talking-to” from their parents (like people who were placed on academic probation their first quarter) and they appropriately married after they graduated.  They both got great jobs, started a family and are highly respected to this very day.  I'm not saying that I experienced one of those "talking-tos"...AND I'm not saying that I didn't. 
In contrasst, I made every poor choice in the book. “Boy Crazy” had always been my middle name, but to be denied the chance to fellowship with my brethren made this moniker sound genteel. The attempt to keep me protected from whatever it was that my parents were trying to protect me from backfired.  I had more fun that year than any other year of my life! I met Mindy, who is my dearest friend and will be for life. I have stories that I will laugh about until I die! My boyfriends were a blast!  My non-boyfriends were a blast!  We danced on tables!  We played football in the dark on the quad!  We played constant pranks!  The boys kidnapped my favorite stuffed animal from my dorm room and held it hostage...they sent me polaroids of him tied up and blindfolded and didn't release him until we paid the "ransom" which consisted of Playboys and beer (that was embarassing...buying Playboys at the coner 7-11)  We published a weekly newspaper which regaled all of the week's antics.  We took pictures of Jake (aka Jake-o-Lantern) through his bedroom window as he masturbated.  We raided the cafeteria!  We drove to the hot springs at 4:00 in the morning!  We played video games!  We "borrowed" my friend's car to drive to Naugles for tacos at all hours of the night!  We made fake ID's and went to the bars!  (Imagine 24 of us all going in at one time and we all had Rhode Island driver's licenses...they never even questioned it.)  It was sheer mayhem!

The next two years I lived in my sorority house. Mom and Dad thought that would be a better place because now I would be living in a building with just girls...and it was a great place for me to meet other girls who were involved in their studies. Wow…that’s a whole other story. I won’t even go there, but I bet you can imagine the frivolity that ensued during those two years!  And just to let you in on a little secret...panty raids really do happen and girls are not the culprits.

Then came my glorious senior year.  My parents were still opposed to apartments, but by this time, they had lost all control.  I moved into an apartment…without my parents’ permission (even though they were paying all of my tuition and a generous portion of my living expenses). They were certain that I would never make it through college…and...I don’t know…maybe it was the fact that I was almost burned out on partying by then…or maybe I had matured…or maybe it was just the fact that I now lived in an environment where I wasn’t forbidden from exploration of the world outside of Murray, Utah…but that was the year I settled down. I loved school by that time and I was doing really well. Never mind that I had to go a fifth year to make up for that first quarter (GPA 1.85…academic probation)…and to make up for the incompletes and the three times I had to take Math 101 (no I didn’t fail the first two times…I just didn’t do so swell) so that I could get my GPA up. I buckled down and became reasonably settled and yet still reasonably fun! And yes, I did graduate…and my parents were both astounded and proud...despite the fact that Mindy and I drank champagne in a limousine on the way to our 9:00 AM commencement and then I fell asleep during the keynote speaker's presentation) and despite the fact that the first job I applied for was to be a flight attendant.

Still… the awkward age of 47, I feel like I haven’t made my mark on the world. The need to express my inner adolescent still exists and the closer my son gets to college age (Heaven help me if he’s anything like me!), the more I look forward to focusing on my wild and crazy side again! I can play a mean game of Scrabble, I love to read and I’m thinking about taking up yoga…….do I know how to have a good time, or what?

Friday, July 16, 2010

What I Did For Love

     There is usually some sort of weird thought that gets stuck in my head every day that eventually materializes into a "theme" for the next 24 hours, I obsess over it ad nauseum and think I need to share it with everyone that I can manipulate into listening...thus the need to start this blog.  My friends have always told me that I overthink everything.  That's probably true, so I'm hoping that this will be a good, healthy outlet for me and I'll be able to ease up on people who have the bad luck to come into the sanctuary of my personal space when I feel the need to verbally ejaculate (that one's for you, Steve).  I'd like to think that I think the same kind of thoughts that everybody else does...the only difference is that I like to admit out loud exactly what I'm thinking...hopefully I can say the things that most people are too afraid to confess and everybody can be entertained.  For example, one day at lunch I told a story about a "boy" friend I had a few years back and somebody thought that it would be a good idea for me to start a blog...I usually have some unusual story with some unusual slant to it.  In fact, I have a ton of stories about odd experiences I've had in my life.  Even my dad has always told me that I should write a book about my life because I've experienced so many things.  So, sit back and relax and I'll tell the story I told at can decide if you've ever done anything like this before, but been too embarassed to admit out loud what your real motivation was.  I guess the reason I feel so compelled to be so uncensored about my real thoughts is because I feel a need to purge my soul.  So, here goes...
        A few years back, I was half-heartedly in the market for a new car...the car I had right then was paid for but I had started having a lot of repair bills.  There was this fellow...let's call him Earnest...he knew a little bit about cars and we had talked a little bit about what I was looking for.  We spent a lot of time together, but I could never tell if we were dating or just "hanging out."  One day he called, told me that he'd stopped by a car wholesaler and had found a car that he thought would be perfect for me.  We went to look at the car.  It was an awesome deal and I figured that I couldn't NOT buy it because he'd gone to all this trouble, I wanted him to like me and he was way cute...too cute for me.  Somehow...I honestly can't remember how...I ended up talking myself into buying the car thinking that at the very least, maybe I'd get lucky.  Well, I never got lucky.  Earnest never got lucky.  In fact, I never did figure out what was going on between us.  Now he's married and I am...not  (thank God...but that's a subject for a later, longer, more bitter and jaded post).  Bottom line is this...LIFE LESSON LEARNED...don't do things to please men or make them feel like they are a hero, 'cuz in the end, it just ain't enough to get 'em to put out and you get stuck with a payment every month.
    P.S.  Yes, I still have the car.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Something in the Way He Moved Me...

Paul McCartney came to SLC last night for the first time!  It was EPIC!!!  Yes, I was self-conscious about going out in public, but I forced myself to be open to some fun and boy, oh boy, did it pay off.  I'm sure the skinny little blonde bitch next to me didn't appreciate me shakin' my bootay, but I didn't care.  I felt like a kid again!  It's probably the most fun I've had in 25 years...and it made me realize how badly I've forgotten how to have fun....all because I'm so worried about what I look like.  Paul was amazing!  The people were amazing!  There were people from all walks of life, all sizes, all colors, all ages...and it was glorious!  Paul played for almost 3 hours, but the best moments were the moments when the band would go quiet in the middle of a song and the entire crowd carried on singing.  Wow!  20,000 people singing in unison a'capella!  What a rush!  I was so moved by the many people being brough together with music!  There is absolutely nothing else in the world that can unite people like music.  It is truly the universal language.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fat or dead? recently posted one of their reader's "secrets" (check out the's amazing and they update it every Sunday).  The individual claimed that they would rather die than be fat...something to that effect. recently had a story about fat people being charged more for airline flights.  The readers' comments/blogs in response were mean, nasty and self-righteous (all directed at fat people).  Being a BMI-challenged person myself, I certainly understand the personal torment that being overweight holds.  However, I can think of worse things.  Is being fat really so repulsive to some people that they would rather die or alienate everyone around them?  Personally, I find it repulsive that someone would be so shallow as to think that way, but even if I was that way, I wouldn't choose death over life.  We all know that people's general judgment of fat people is that they're lazy and dumb.  I'm here to tell you that I have more get-up-and-go and intelligence in my little finger than that kind of person has in their entire being.  Each morning, I have to face my flaws and enter the world, knowing that my flaws are on display for everyone to see.  If I were a bigot or a thief or a prideful ignoramus or was cheating on my spouse...whatever my sin of choice may be...I could hide it and probably be tempted to feel entitled to present myself as superior, too...and show the world how wonderful I am, only showing my true side while hiding behind a blog or a "secret".  These people may look perfect on the inside, but what do they look like on the inside? 
       In my life, I have learned that being overweight has bonus "life lessons" attached to it.  Although it can be humiliating and a source of great personal trauma, it also teaches me to focus on what's really important.  What are my priorities?  What kind of person do I want to be?  How do I want to be remembered?  How do I want other people to feel when they interact with me?  Were I able to hide my shortcomings/flaws so readily, I don't think I'd be the same person.  I wouldn't be worrying about if I make people happy or if I'll be going to Heaven or if I've been kind to the people around me...or what is the meaning of life?  I'd be more concerned with what I look like and all of life's important lessons would go on the back burner.
     Anyways, I am left with one those of you who would rather die than be fat...fuck you.