Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Touch the Unicorn!

Why is it my new ward makes me feel like I have a giant unicorn horn attached to my forehead? The reaction to a happy 31 year old single woman seems to one of quizzical awe or audacity and fear.
"ooohhh...so unusual!"

or-
"DON'T TOUCH THE UNICORN!"

Seriously. It's like being single makes us some kind of exotic, bizarre commodity to trot out and sell tickets for or lead in a parade, OR...you're exotic, bizarre and they don't quite know what to make of you so they keep a safe distance and suggest forms of fencing.


You're either outlandish and a danger to society or some kind of oddity not to be trusted. Where this impression comes from, I'm not quite sure, since it could be a number of things.
1) Maybe you're "too old" to be single and should have been reproductive by this point in life.

2) Maybe you don't consider yourself "too old," and are having a pretty great time with no regrets. (Shocking. The audacity.)
3) Maybe you're too cute/fun/youthful to be single. (Because only fat, ugly ogres who never leave the house are still single, right?)
In addition to all this, my candor and "joi de vive" has been embraced by others with such gusto that I have been asked to represent the underrepresented. The single women who are tired of being represented as "single women," who require fixing and who want to be recognized as whole individuals taking part in a community think that I need to run some sort of "Hilary for president" campaign and demonstrate how okay it is to be "over the hill and spunky." Like one of those red dress & purple hat sisters in their 60s.

To be honest, I don't want to be either. I am tired of taking one for the team. I am tired of being the example. I am tired of serving my time as "the older girl who's still cool." Even hearing myself say such things, I think, "That's ridiculous! We ALL serve and we all make sacrifices! Don't be so selfish. Think of Sheri Dew." Unfortunately, that was what I was most looking forward to as being part of a family ward. Selfishness. No required socializing and lingering longer. No micromanaged social life. My time would be mine and the Lord's alone. I could go for the sacramental renewal of my covenants and gained spiritual enlightenment and then just go home. If I wanted FHE, I'd have a family. If I wanted a date night, I'd date someone. I don't even really want more women friends anymore and girl night is SO over for me. And I really don't want to be told what to do or where to spend my time; especially when the options are (ironically) completely self-indulgent. "Let's play games!" "Let's have a party!" "Let's blow things up in a microwave!" Sorry, kids. I'm not a kid anymore. And I don't want to be treated like one. I'm a bad-attitude Betty now, and I don't even care. I am not going to allow the church culture to become my automatic default for who I hang out with and I don't want the activities I participate in to be dictated by a schedule designed around frivolous games with people other people think I should click with simply because we are peers. If I participate in an activity, I'd like to make a contribution. I'd like to serve my fellow man. Maybe part of our dissatisfaction with "singles wards" is that the cultural socialization expects to make us be just too damned selfish!

Everything revolves around socializing...but haven't we learned that true happiness comes not from temporary thrills, but a deep commitment to serving others? Isn't the best way to foster a relationship with God to take time to read and study His words and then take time to ponder and wait for an answer? That we only learn the true nature of God through these steps, and that it is this way which we learn and develop our personal relationship with the Lord? Why do we think human (read: romantic) relationships would be any different? Which begs the question: Why are we filling our time with busy-ness and not allowing enough time for stepping back, going out, and genuinely attempting to learn more about each other one-on-one?

For once in my life, I have no solution here. For once in my life, I feel entirely selfish and irritable. I am no unicorn. I am a grizzly. And if one more of your sticky handed children reaches out to touch me, or if you dare to reach your curious little paw too close, I am liable to bite it off and then turn and saunter off in another direction, flattening forests on my way out.
sigh.
Any suggestion for solutions? I want a serious attitude adjustment. For the safety of others. Because I am increasingly uncomfortable being the unicorn. And my money says, so are you.

36 comments:

Left-Handed said...

My only thought is to try to find reasons to like the people around you . That doesn't mean you have to become everyone's new best friend, just find ways to appreciate and it will be easier to overlook your new ward's shortcomings.

Salt H2O said...

Why do you expect more out of Orange County? You've decided to live in the hub of superficialty and then get ticked off when things are well....superficial.

Huntington Beach isn't going to change over night- well rounded, deep, accepting, thoughtful, service oriented people aren't typically drawn to a life of breast augmentation, $750,000 condos and designer jeans. You live in a world of sterotypes, so don't be surprised when people try to put you in a sterotype or are shocked when you break the norm.

The HB will never change for the better. There isn't some untapped sorce of service giving, literature reading, independent film watching, living within their means living, career pursing, having close realtionship with the savior, geeks somewhere.

Your new ward will be no different from your old ward, just with the additional dose of bitterness and the occasional annoyances of seeing people younger than yourself in church with their children.

My suggestion: which will come as no shock - is to move.

missa said...

there is always me...

Left-Handed said...

I like the moving idea too.

f*bomb. said...

Interesting. I didn't even mention that I went to a party and about 45% of the attendees were getting drunk. It felt awkward and forced...kind of like High School. Only in San Diego.

The first thing my friend said when he found out was, "Get out of Orange County."

There has got to be a better solution...

Anonymous said...

Really? Everyone in your ward looks at you like you are a unicorn because you are so much happier/cuter/funner/more-youthful/thinner/less-ugly than them?

Hmm. I think I'd probably be unhappy too if I had the audacity to tell myself (and everyone who stumbles across my blog) that I was better/cooler than everyone around me. Or maybe your ward-mates are picking up on your opinion of them and that is why they are looking at you funny. Or maybe they're not looking at you at all and you've just convinced yourself you are a unicorn because you wish you were a unicorn.

f*bomb. said...

O gag.
You don't read carefully, do you?
The assumption is that if someone (male or female) is single and over 30, it's because we're somehow ugly or have a personality defect. And that's simply not true. More and more of us are taking the time to get an education, travel, have careers and develop ourselves outside of simply having a family.

I'm not knocking those who have gotten married either; I'm just noting (as we've all noticed) that the norm is shifting, but somehow the expectations are not. So, my question remains:
How do we reconcile our evolution of self with cultural expectations?

So, Anonymous, please read ALL the words before you assume I would be the kind of person to belittle others. Otherwise you'll look like an ignorant ass.

Rudie can't fail said...

Don't think about Sheri Dew. I don't want to be Sheri Dew. Do you want to be Sheri Dew? I don't want you to be Sheri Dew. I think we talk about Sheri Dew all too much.

Also being a unicorn, my solution has been to separate my church life and my social life. I am much saner when everything in my life does not revolve around who lives within my ward boundaries. I have more non-LDS friends than LDS friends so that helps get out of the bubble as well.

Salt H2O said...

Farrah,

Sadly, I bet I know the guy that threw the drunk party in San Diego.

The answer to "How do we reconsile our evolution of self to cultural expectations?" is pretty simple.

You don't, and you never will. You'll spend your life being true to who you are and ignoring what others tell you you should be.

Since you can't change other people the only option is to change your surroundings or become accustomed to being looked at strangely.

Salt H2O said...

P.S. Anonymous commenters are pansies. They could at least fight like a man and post their name.

Joy said...

I don't think people are looking at you thinking you are too cute, too young, or too fun... People are looking at you bec you are bitter, confrontational, and ANGRY at the world...
here's a solution for you:
Self-Reflection

Anonymous said...

Farrah, I know and love you. I think this came off a little more bitter than you really are. I know that you have a heart of gold and that you always want to serve others. Maybe the lesson here is that you are really going to have to work hard to love these new people in your life. ( SUCKS TO HEAR THAT HUH?)

Cory, I take persoanl offense to your following comment....."The HB will never change for the better. There isn't some untapped sorce of service giving, literature reading, independent film watching, living within their means living, career pursing, having close realtionship with the savior, geeks somewhere."

I feel like that comment really describes most of my friends in HB. But I'm sure you have a better grasp on my personal relationship with my Savior than I do. In fact it sounds like you have a better grasp on HB's spirtual progression than anyone who actually lives here. The ironic part is that you want to write everyone in the OC off as being judgemental. HUH? Is that the pot calling the Kettle Black? I can say with surety that I have never been around a group of people who show more love towards others regtardless of their current or past transgressions than the people in sunny HB. We're alll just trying to make it right? Some are doing a little better that others, so we help when we can. I could be missing the boat here completely..... but isn't that exactly what the Savior did? Love without judgement. BUt I guess since I wear designer jeans (cuz they make my butt look better) that means that I don't understand the gospel. But I do understand when people are casting false judegement or using lame stereotypes. It's usuasally a sign of low self esteem.

Melissa Thornton

f*bomb. said...

O geez.
I DON'T HATE PEOPLE IN MY WARD!!!
I DO think it's weird to be treated like an infant when I'm an adult and I AM increasingly uncomfortable when my peers are expected to be my friends simply because our resumes have two similarities: we're LDS and single. I assumed that the older I got, the less relevancy this would have in my social world.

Also:
Can we please not fight on Blogg? Blogg is very sensitive and is here for the purpose of coming together and finding harmony through our different perspectives.
Thanks.
Love.

caroline said...

one last swing?

first of all. stop on the blogg hate people who don't know farrah. and stop rushing too conclusions that a woman who knows she's awesome is all of a sudden conceited and looks down on other people. can we get over that people? have we not progressed beyond that?

second, farrah is just putting it out there that people don't know how to treat her and it gets old. like anyone hasn't felt that way, no matter where they live? i felt that when i was the only religious person anyone knew in san francisco, i feel that way now in a ward where it seems that people complain about being single rather than just loving life and making the best of their circumstances. so back off your judgmental high horse and just give her a break. she's complaining. on her own blog. she's asking for positive suggestions and feedback, not a your uneducated judgment or a lecture.

farrah, my advice is: it's a phase. i have felt that way a lot. and recently. with time and just remaining close to your Heavenly Father, like i know you are, you will feel the peace you seek.

and everyone else: discouragement and feeling out of place is not conceit and bitter. so just back off.

Anonymous said...

look inside. you live in a great ward. everything your saying here is born out of immaturity. Get to know the people you think are looking down at you. They are probably just curious to know who you are but maybe they are just too shy or whatever to talk to you. Are you sure that people don't look at you and think you think these same things about them. Spot pointing fingers and take a look in the mirror. it is you, not them with the problem.

besides, how many times have you been to your new ward anyways?

f*bomb. said...

WHERE THE F DO YOU GET THE IDEA I'm criticizing people in my ward?!?!

You need to re-read and THEN comment. Right now, you're just plain sloppy. And it's embarassing.

caroline said...

listen anonymous, looks like your finger of judgment isn't so innocent. pull the mote out and go read someone else's blog. be how do you know what her ward is like? have you ever felt like an outsider? seriously, what is your problem? just be cool for two seconds and stop judging one of the nicest, most caring, funnest, cutest, people i know.

veeda said...

Unicorns aren't real. But Farrah my dear, you are.

P.S. One day Mei wants to meet you. Promise me you won't bite her hand off.

caroline said...

you know who i judge??

this girl:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/02/25/porter.too.pretty.to.fly.wtsp

f*bomb. said...

Veeds-
Everyone knows I eat small children. Didn't you read about that? I'm a Democrat, after all.
(let the gasps of horror commence!)

rachel said...

Anonymous- Go ahead and play Twister with your ward if thats what floats your boat. Nobody is stopping you...

Most likely you are married with 5 kids and can't relate.

Salt H2O said...

Wow, Farrah- you sure started a ruckus! Better watch your back!

Mellisa- First, how are you? It's been a while! By no means did I mean any personal offense, nor was I juging your relationship with the Savior. To deny that Orange County is a superfical landscape is dillusional. (it is home of The O.C., Lauguna Beach, The Real Housewives of Orange County and what was that other lame reality tv show on MTV?) Of course there are exceptions to the rule- and to be quite honest, if I could live anywhere in the world right now- I'd chose to live in San Clemente. But after spending some time in the south and the east coast the only place I've found more image obsessed than So.Cal is Utah.

rhyll said...

farrah, i am still confused about what the main point of your post is. i'd like it if you could sum it up in a sentence or 2 so when i reply, i'm not misunderstanding you. because it seems like there is a lot of misunderstanding here, and if what caroline says is true, that you're just venting and a little irrational (which we all get when we're venting--it's not bad) then my response would be different. also i am legitimately curious as well--how many times have you actually been to that ward?

and caroline, melissa knows farrah and has known her for quite some time. they've been in the same ward for quite awhile. and if farrah can't handle people saying what they really think (which she can), then she shouldn't have a blog and she certainly shouldn't be marketing it as much as she does. so lay off. farrah is a big girl.

we all care about farrah, but that doesn't mean we always agree. and last time i checked, farrah didn't have a problem with that.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it my new ward makes me feel like I have a giant unicorn horn attached to my forehead?"

The first sentence of your post is a criticism of your ward. Maybe you should re-read your post.

caroline said...

i have no intention of laying off when someone accuses a friend of mine of being immature and judgmental. especially when i know it's not the case. i've talked to her about this issue at length. it's not the disagreement i find offensive, it's how it's presented. and ironically, super judgmental. i'm officially out of this argument. cause it's all just talking in circles at this point. farrah, i love you and always have your back. even if you are a big girl.

The Dally Llama said...

Wow. I have no insight into the subject of this post, especially since I don't know any of you, other than Rhyll.

It is strangely comforting, however, to know that I'm not the only one to unwittingly toss a match into a powder keg every now and then.

And anonymous posting is chickenscat (I'm trying to stop swearing).

Rodney said...

wow farrah you've hit a nerve it looks like. since this is an open forum i'll give my two cents as an HB1er.

i read this real fast so if i'm way off you can tell me i take no offense...

church is for everyone. and lots of people need social activities to keep them going. I've been in the HB 1 ward for a year now and i love the ward. its amazing and I've been to exactly one mid-single activity. the activities for most part don't suit me. the blue and gold dinner is coming up and I'm totally excited for it. I had a cub scount call me the other day to sell me water bottles for emergency preparedness. he was hilariously awkward and i loved it. anwyas, We're all at different points in life and church does everything it can to cater to everyone. it has to. you just got to pick and choose what works best for you outside of the core activities. i don't think its fair to be critical of how things are run in a ward that has as many varying needs as our ward does.

I also believe sincerely that people are the same everywhere. East coast, west coast, republican or democrat we all have our vanities and short comings. Orange county is no less superficial then anywhere else in the world. we just happen to live here so we see it under a magnifying glass.

ask for a calling in primary if you want a change of pace. teaching primary was probably the best thing that ever happened to me in the church.

Get to know the people in your ward. you'll probably really like them. you just don't know each other yet. they aren't looking at you like you're some strange alien they are just looking at you because they don't recognize you.

and Kory, seriously? I love my breast augmentation and there is nothing you can do to take that away from me. They are mine.

but seriously the husband of one of wives of the real oc was in my office today. we might do some work on her website. awesome.

f*bomb. said...

I really hope you anonymous people are on the fellowshipping committee, because I bet you do a steller job of making people feel comfortable and loved. Truly.

Roger, you read me JUST RIGHT. Everyone else is getting emotional and personal over a simple question:
What do you do to feel normal when you're in a different ward?

Thanks for contributing a sincere, honest solution. You're a gem.

The Meesh said...

Wow wow wow... tee hee. I just have to laugh at this long long blog of not really addressing the subject.

Haven't we all been that uncomfortable "new" person? Granted there have been some ward changes and moves that I've actually been excited for, but for whatever reason, the first, like, year, of going to Church I usually felt like the awkward buck-toothed girl in the corner. And I'm a hotty who is totally friendly and outgoing! So how does this happen?!

Probably because change is hard. Even when we choose it and think it will be new and interesting and good for us (and especially when it's forced upon us, read: turning 31 and being asked to move on to "real" wards)it's hard. We get used to routine, to familiar faces, to casual flirtations with any guy who looks our way (because you can trust they're all single, except for the Bishop, of course).

But maybe there's another reason for Farrah's feelings. Let's all be honest here. Whenever there has been a new influx of people into my ward, I'll admit I've done the momentary check out of the fresh new crop of men. But, for whatever reason, the catiness in me comes out as I end up spending way too much time checking out the "competition" as the beautiful, talented, altogether perfect girls walk in. Isn't that awful? And I don't think I'm the only one.

I fear someday even though I'll be happily married and secure with my situation, if a hot single girl moved into my ward, my claws would still come out.

So ya, to sum up -- change is hard and you're a hotty moving into a ward with people close to your age, but not necessarily your life situation. If I were them I'd hate your guts too. :) But then I'd get over myself and fall madly in love with you and all your awesomeness... and hopefully you'd let yourself do the same for me.

f*bomb. said...

um...Again...No one hates me here. (Well- I didn't think anyone at church did, but the anonymous posters have me thinking otherwise.) Nor do I hate my ward- I already knew most of the "singles." So that's not it at all.

I feel like we- as single adults- are treated like we are a special interest group when we're in a family ward...and I don't like that. As though I'm there for the wrong reasons (wrong circumstances?) and
that I'm automatically expected to hang with my own age group and have things in common merely because we share two things:
1) We're single
2) We're LDS

And what I'm asking is- does anyone else feel awkward about it and what do you do so you don't feel like scratch on the blackboard?

Anonymous said...

From one anonymous to another...
Do yourself a favor and stop posting. You're starting to sound cruel and attacking, and you're better than that. This is a public forum, and respect for you is dropping fast.

louisgray said...

Hey Farrah, until they bring back polygamy, there's very little I can do to help! But we feel your pain.

Whether it's being single, or not having kids by a prescribed date, or voting Democrat, or just being different in any way, it's pretty easy to feel like you're the odd one out. I can't solve the issue in a single comment, and nobody can. You need to find what's right for you and put yourself first sometimes. Good to hear you've got the energy not to back down.

f*bomb. said...

HAHHAHAA!
Louis Gray for President! AGAIN!!!

All I can say is, I'm glad I'm not the type to offend easily, or I would have stopped going to church long ago...If not officially yestarday.

Thanks for chiming in.

cropstar said...

My advise? TWO MINUTE DANCE PARTY!! It solves everything.

But seriously though- I'm preparing to transition into a family ward after 14 (very) long (but fun) years in singles wards. I'm looking forward to knowing new people who are in different stages of life and having new opportunities to serve. Having said that, I'm also apprehensive to leave behind what has been so familiar to me for so long (ie- singles wards) and I cringe at the thought of being grouped with the single women of the ward (who I know and respect) simply because, as you said, we are women and we are single. Frankly I didn't like hanging out with them when we were still in the singles ward. Why would I like hanging out with them in a family ward?

Perhaps it just takes time to settle in, get to know the people you don't already know, and find your place. Like someone already said- change is hard even if it's good change. Once people get to know you they will see just how much you have to offer and little by little that unicorn horn of yours (which I sincerly hope is fabulous and bedazzled!) will be shaved down until it's just a little bump (because let's face it- the reality is unless you're married with 5 kids you'll never completely fit into the mormon stereotype... then again who wants to fit it? Stand out! Wear that little bump with pride! No offense to those who are married with 5 kids)

Good luck Farrah!

PS- if all else fails revert to the TWO MINUTE DANCE PARTY idea. In fact, TMDP would be AWESOME in primary! Imagine!

Michael said...

Dear FarrahKahn,

Blog fighting. Blighting. Reminds me of the good ole days on 14 o'clock.
Probably some good clarifying cream and maybe an exfoliating rinse would get rid of the unicorn on your forehead.

Also, how in the HELL did Dallas end up on this blog?

Love,
Michael

f*bomb. said...

Sweetest Michael,

Please do not ever make recommendations involving "exfoilating" or "cream" in public. What we do in private, stays private.

PS-
I might be pregnant. You really need to call me.

PPS-
You and Cy still owe me dinner.

PPPS-
Dallas needs a venue to write lengthy, technical jargon to remind us that he is very, very intelligent and very, very boring. If you won't make your services avialable to him, he's bound to find another avenue. He's a tenacious sucker. And we're glad to have him here.
smooch.
-f.