Facebook, I will burn you to the ground. I will descend upon you like a horde of locusts and devour your increase and nothing will be left for the gleaners. The Angel of Death will visit your house and wipe you off the face of the Internet.
I say unto you, I will not actually destroy you, for your bloated, gassy carcass would explode in my face were I to anoint you with fire. And there would go mine eyebrows. But I will cleanse you with an holy purgative. Lo, I will cast my list of friends into the very bowels of hell. Yea will I delete their names with a scorching that will be lamented by their children, and the children of their children.
First will I delete the very young—the ones who do that thing with their lips. Anyone who does that thing with their lips will I utterly delete.
I will delete those friends who lurk in the shadows, swooping in to “like” a vicious comment when they think I am not looking. Oh, they shall be deleted into Outer Darkness.
Friends who have passed through the veil since our friending, your numbers are four. And I will keep you close to my bosom, and I will delete you not.
But the person with 3,376 friends and counting? You will suffer a terrible deletion. And you whose posts proclaim your wealth and worldliness to the point where I just can’t even? Thou art gone, girl.
And verily I will delete the people who I know for a fact dislike me. And I will yet delete the friends I friended even though I disliked them with a great and mighty disliking, for I never said that I did not, also, suck.
And the accounts that have been deactivated like so many whited sepulchers (26 in total)? Wherefore art thou still on my list? Get thee the hell behind me.
The friend whose mother told me I was fat when I was a teenager? You are deleted by association (and seriously, who does that?).
Friends who message me admonitions to repent and return to the straight and narrow, to you it is given to be deleted. Friends who only want me in their downline shall feel the weight of my defriending so, so, so hard.
Did I reach out to you, a stranger in my father’s house, when I was in the throes of going Paleo? Ciao, baby. And did we inadvertently befriend each other because our names are so commonplace? That was no happy coincidence. Bye bye!
And did you secretly unfollow me when I murmured the word “shit” without an asterisk? Behold, you are defriended.
And when I have pronounced my judgments upon you, I will make a new and everlasting covenant with the righteous. That is, I’ll send you another friend request. Please say yes. We were, after all, in the same homeroom.
a frigid day, a diamond day,
a leaden time of lifeless gray.
a grinding year, a year like stone,
abrasive, hard, revealing bone.
it stymied me, it stifled me,
it ended things, some utterly.
a final sun sinks hard and cold,
and, blinding me, pours out its gold.
I’m still on my Mormon feminist soapbox, dear reader(s). It’s Friday and I think people would like to stop feeling things for a little while. I know I would. And yet, and yet . . .
So many people are still reeling from the church’s policy change of 5 November. I suppose it’s possible that even more people are happy that the very public hullabaloo has (inevitably) died down, but believe me when I say that LOTS of people are still reeling. I am. Has a day gone by since then that someone hasn’t called me in tears because either (a) they’ve just been designated an apostate, or (b) we’ve barred an entire category of children from full church participation? Nope.
The decision to change the way we treat same sex families was terrible*. Just awful. The worst. And here’s the thing: when you shut women out of the decision-making process, you get worse decisions than when you include them. Do I think that the church leadership might possibly have decided that babies born to gay parents don’t get names and blessings, if half the people calling the shots were women? I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT. I could be wrong, because women make odious decisions all the time. However, at this juncture there’s so much science behind the idea that diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous ones that I’m comfortable with my little hypothesis.
But we don’t let women make policy decisions. At any point in the last century and a half, we could have let women in on the whole policy-making thing. But we didn’t.
What we did was sow the wind. Now we get to reap the whirlwind.
*oh my hell, tell me you did NOT blame Jesus for this one.
my dream is gone and with it went my plan
to stay the course and be there for the dawn
of some great thing. but I don’t think I can,
and this because my lovely dream is gone.
a lifeboat made of little more than hope
(not watertight and also slightly frayed)
and yet “the thing with feathers” helped me cope,
and stay! of such was my good lifeboat made.
I didn’t need the ocean to be true.
the faith (and miracles it would precede)
were not my gift; the hope would have to do.
my hope is gone, and that I didn’t need.
whether it is true or whether counterfeit,
still the work to do is getting over it.
Two pale, horrid squashes were left by my door
Crying “we’re few! but we’re going to be more!”
An unspoken, tacit, unneighborly threat:
If I leave my house, these two will beget
A surfeit of squashes, tinged with the pallor
Of death and decay, and hour after hour
More death shall be birthed upon prickly vine
And hundreds of stillborn plants shall be mine
Should I, in an incautious moment be caught
Off guard, or asleep, or somewhere that’s not
At home, by my door, with my shotgun in hand—
No more squashes! I hate them. You understand.
Come walk with me and put your hand in mine,
and hold it tightly, and know that there’s a grand design
which says that you (and I) will never be alone.
Oh, but first, the thing I have to do is throw this stone
at you, my friend, because I think I should
cast you out, since you’ve stopped being good.
I mean, you are good, as some might use that word,
but used too broadly, the meaning gets obscured.
Specifically, I’d like to see you practice what I preach.
I know that in your mind, you (and I) and all are each
and every one of us the same in the widest sense
of “equal in the eyes of God” but your offense
has been to advertise this fact, and then to doubt
the absolute authority that lets me cast you out!
You know exactly what this loving stone is for—
it’s to help you on your way; now go and sin no more.
Evidently, my first-grader was just in a mini-play to which I was not invited. Totally fine by me. In fact I greatly appreciate not being invited to everything. And I greatly appreciate her teacher’s selection of “The Hanukkah Miracle,” because we have a bit of a monoculture problema in Happy Valley, and measures are being taken. May “The Hanukkah Miracle” be for a blessing. But I question the essential prop: a big, steaming bag of latkes. That strikes me as less than geshmak.
Well, UPS has barricaded me into my own home with the components of a chicken coop that is evidently made of lead. I guess the boxes will stay there until I develop the upper body strength that has eluded me for the past 46 years. I guess I’ll never leave my house again. I guess this is goodbye. (I know–I’m being melodramatic. Of course I can step over the boxes.)
When one is born with exactly zero spatial intelligence, it behooves one not to order chicken coops that have to be assembled. But one goes and does these things anyway. One is an idiot.
Also, one should wash one’s door.
Aunt Emilia Will Solve/Compound Your Woes: I will address your deepest feminist concerns very ardently on Mondays. You need not be a woman, nor LDS, to seek my ill-informed MoFem* opinion, which will in any case be worth what you paid for it.
(*Mormon Feminist — you knew that already)
DEAREST AUNTIE: how shall I respond to this party favor from the latest meeting of The Young Ladies Retrenchment Association?
DEAR FRIEND: Isn’t this the sort of harmless artifact over which one should avoid getting one’s undergarments in a twist? After all, it’s nothing more than (1) a garbage sack, (2) given to a girl who is, in all likelihood, dealing with issues of self worth, which are (3) exacerbated by a relentless focus on appearances, under (4) the auspices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hmmm.
Before we open up a big can of freakout on the person who spent a LOT of energy knocking this “challenge” together, let us agree that teaching young women to respect themselves is valuable. I deeply appreciate the sisters and brothers who give their precious time to help me rear my bambinos. I know what that sacrifice is. So I want to believe that supplying a girl with a garbage sack for her slatternly clothes is mired, somehow, in a swampy bog of good intentions. I want to believe that a lot.
“Standards” of dress are, at their core, an incredibly efficient way to pass snap judgments on people. And when I say people, I mean women. In less time than it takes to say “the Lord looketh on the heart,” a girl can experience the tidy sensation of taking another girl’s measure, and determining certain things about her. It’s natural, maybe. But Jesus didn’t come here here to buck up the natural woman, okay? Perhaps you feel, as I do, that you would rather have your daughter WEAR that plastic sack than fill it with articles of clothing that do not fall within the rubric of “standards.”
How to respond to the Garbage Bag Challenge? I’m afraid you have to be the fly in the ointment, the person who says to your daughter’s (or son’s) youth leaders, “Hello, this makes me uncomfortable–may I explain why?” Yeah, be that woman. It’s the hard work of feminism. That’s why so many people don’t do it.
I give myself three days to cry, to grieve,
to listen (yet again) to another’s point of view,
to wear my heart resolutely on my sleeve,
or a black silk ribbon–that will have to do.
mourn with me, my friend; I’ll mourn with you.