Until packing up and moving across the country when Cody graduated I had lived in the same five mile radius my entire life. What this means is that almost every memory, both good and bad, happened in this five mile radius. The same five mile radius in which I am currently staying. Cody asked my dad if he could marry me in this house. But I have also broke up with boyfriends in this house. I have had birthday parties here, I have passed out drunk in a backyard a few blocks away, I used to babysit the now tall and gangly teenagers that live across the street. I had my baby a few blocks away from the mall where I bought my first pair of heels. I spent nights in the hospital due to depression steps away from where I had my first kiss.
There are a lot of memories here.
And a lot of them hurt.
High school didn’t go so well for me. While the LDS religion is not (NOT, I promise) the majority, it is prevailent. And Utah has always had a feeling of “us against them” regardless of which side you are on. (And I’ve been on both.) And rarely does either side see this the way I have been able to see it.
I was a wild child, that is obvious. My fellow wild buddies and I would swear off the goody goody Mormons, we stuck together in all our rebelliousness. Avoided their gathering places, avoided the things they liked to do. But I was always secretly envious, they had such a good time together, all without alcohol or drugs. But I was only invited once, and I was treated like an outsider the whole time.
Flash forward to to now. I have a dear friend who has been with me for what feels like forever. She has always lived in the “right” neighborhood and had the “right” friends. Her parents knew the “right” people and she did all the “right” things. GAH, how envious I was of her and that she had been born into the Utah “club”. She was going to grow up and follow in her parents footsteps, her kids would be another generation of the “cool” kids. They would never have to worry about unpopularity, vicious rumours or clawing their way to the top.
Or so it seemed.
Today at the park by her house in the neighborhood I wished I had always lived in we watched the next generation of the “cool” kids. (with their Biblical names, might I add) They were going to be “cool” by birthright, “cool” because of where their parents chose to buy their house. I told her that one of the reasons I didn’t want to come back to Utah is because we would be classified, stamped and sorted as soon as we crossed city limits.
“LDS. Lawyer. White. Children.” YOU. GO. HERE.
And “here” is not where I want to be. It’s hard to break a Utah mold. Very few people have done it. If any. And compared to most of the other women I would be “sorted” with, I would be considered “not Mormon enough.” Anyone who has never lived in Utah is confused at this point, but I swear to you it’s true. This state feels like one big competition. And I don’t want to play.
After I told her this I was worried that she would be disappointed in my opinion. She loves Utah.
But then she told me she had the same feeling of inadequacy. That she will never be “Mormon enough” to fit the mold that she has been given. It was a weight off my shoulders. One little confession from someone I’ve looked up to and always considered such a perfect example of an LDS member for as long as I can remember.
Utah is beautiful. Painfully beautiful in fact. Salt Lake is an amazing city, it is run well and is very well taken care of. But there’s so many people running around trying to shove the rest of us into our place while keeping themselves in bigger, newer, shinier, tighter, more expensive places than their neighbor that they’re kind of a buzz-kill to the natural beauty of this area.
I understand we get comfortable with whom we associate with the most.
But is it normal where you live to get so comfortable that everyone else feels left out?