Friday, October 3, 2014
Does a Creative Person Fit in Mormon Culture?
I joined the Church in California, went to BYU, got married, and had two small before I confronted "Mormon Culture". We had moved to a small bedroom community near Provo, Utah, and were enjoying have a home of our own. Then it began.
"How many quarts of peaches did you can?" I had made a brief foray into the world of canning, then after spending two days cleaning up my kitchen afterwards and ending up with only 30 cents worth of apple juice, I decided it wasn't for me. I was given sympathy for being too ill to do it and wishes for better health.
I felt intimidated when saw all the mothers busily running errands, cooking good dinners, baking cookies for school, gardening, and cleaning. Trying to fill a role I felt was expected of me, I tried doing these things only to conclude that I don't like that sort of life. I had loved being in college; attending lectures, studying, and writing papers. I joined the Church because I believed the principles were true, but what was all this? I hadn't signed on for this busy Mormon homemaker life. Yes, my health prevented me from this "busy" life, but I couldn't admit to others that I really didn't want to live as they did. I felt both shame and relief.
Looking back, I have no regrets that I spent my time taking my children to the library, and reading stories to them. My days were filled with teaching, working ,and playing games with my children, These were happy times and I enjoyed them.
Now that I'm older, have I "shaped up"? No. I'm still a creative person who would rather write, think, and study instead of cook, clean, and garden. I guess I am busy, but is my own way. I am thoroughly enjoying having time to support family and friends, blog, serve as a missionary, do family history, and manage our business. I freely admit that I have delegated the shopping and housework to my husband.
What has made the difference? Yes, "Mormon Culture" is getting a little more distant from pioneer times, but the main change is me. Finally, I have accepted that it was ok to be me. I don't need society's stamp of approval. God approves. He made me the way I am. He gave me these gifts, and He expects me to share them.
I have now realized that any culture is determined by the people in it, and since most American people are people who value dealing with things instead of ideas, the measurement of success and "goodness" will be in their language of quarts, cookies, dollars, and number of errands. Rarely are creative people's contributions valued until after they have received honors and riches.
I now accept that most people only understand and appreciate people like themselves. It is very difficult for a sensing, hands on sort of person to understand an intuitive person who creates in their mind. It isn't just "Mormon Culture", probably the only culture I would fit in would be in a college or artsy community.
I've finally grown up and quit trying to change others to be more like me so they will understand me. I no longer send my time bemoaning my lack of acceptance. Instead I enjoy being different. I enjoy being me. I'm having a great time blogging all day, and I can even admire my neighbor's freshly canned pears- with no guilt.
As a confessed "grasshopper", I love this article written by a BYU writing teacher. It was printed in the Ensign, the adult magazine for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These are some poems I have written about being me. Topics- Self Esteem.