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Mormon Masturbation Manifesto

I've been reading a book called 'Leaving The Saints' by Martha Beck. Like me, Martha was born and raised in Provo, Utah. Her father was high up in Mormon heirarchy. The book is blowing my mind. I know it came out nearly a year ago.. I've been avoiding reading it because I just didn't want to deal.. Specifically because I haven't resolved my Mormon messiness. Additionally, I didn't really want her book to influence anything I write as our experiences within the Mormon church were, for the most part, extremely different.

One thing that caught my eye I will share for you. It might help explain my fucked-upness when it comes to sex. Not that I've shared that little bit of fun with you all in any great detail, but fuck it. I have sexual issues. Issues. Such a general word for some shit that can destroy a marriage. Anyway.. to give you a taste of what would cause such issues in a young Mormon woman I will quote an excerpt from Beck's book.

"The Latter-day Saint (Mormon) attitude toward physical desire is more what you'd imagine hearing from Queen Victoria if she'd lived in the 1950's and joined the John Birch Society. Mormon leaders rarely speak out about sex except to state that it is direly forbidden to anyone who isn't sealed in the covenant to that one special man (or forty-eight special woman). When they do tackle some sex-related issue, these leaders spare no effort in encouraging Mormons, young and old, to repress their physical urges.

Let me show you what I mean by quoting a tract that was once widely disseminated among the Saints. It was written by one of Mormonism's twelve apostles to help flawed but well-meaning Church members avoid the insidious sin of autoeroticism. This selection is mild, compared to the whole document, but it will give you the general tenor of Mormon attitudes toward sex. The following is printed just as it was in the origingal document, capital letters and all.

-If you are associated with other persons having this same problem (masturbation), you must break off their friendship. Never associate with outher people having the same weakness...You must get away from people of that kind.

-When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes. Then GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM AND GO INTO ANOTHER ROOM WHERE YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, GET OUT OF BED AND GO INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIX YOURSELF A SNACK, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight.


-A Book Of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night has proven helpful...

-In very severe cases it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be broken..."

Duuuude... Is it any wonder I'm in dire need of serious counseling? But enough about this.. I'm unemployed, The Surge isn't home and I've got a vibrator in my bedroom that's calling my name. Maybe I should follow that last rule and tie my hand to the bed frame.. Kinda kinky, no?

Happy Birthday, Asshole

"Y'know, Monica farts, ALL the time." My older brother Brandon drops this bomb casually, then giggles with glee as my current crush swallows and stares stupidly at his shoes. "She's been to the doctor about it but even he doesn't know what's wrong."

He was bigger. He was stronger. Most importantly, he was older and at the age of fifteen had apparently sworn an oath dedicating his life to ruining mine. Gone was the sweet, smiling youngster with a face full of sunshine. In his place trawled a scowling teen with a chip on his shoulder that could rival the Grand Canyon.

I tried to conduct the very delicate business of being a 13-year-old girl as far from his evil eye as possible. Sometimes, though, avoiding a tornado proves rather difficult and, well, you just don't make it to the storm cellar in time.

This latest torture session had started when I had the unmitigated gall to actually think it was safe to invite my new junior high crush over to the house.

"Okay, I'll see you in a minute." After untangling myself from a phone cord stretched so much it could nearly reach outside the house, I hang up the telephone.

Before taking the very bold and exciting step of inviting the super hot Joe Bonham over I'd thoroughly checked the house from top to bottom, taking extra care to listen at Brandon's always locked door (he'd taken to using his ground floor bedroom window as an entry/exit) to make sure the coast was clear.

There was Jordan, quietly watching afternoon cartoons in the basement, an occasional chortle interrupting The Roadrunner's "MEEP MEEP!" Shaun was hippety-hopping about on the trampoline in the backyard. Mom was, of course, at work.

After investigating the "fort" Brandon had erected from old wood he found piled in our shed I officially declared the premises a Brandon-Free Zone and had raced to the kitchen telephone to invite Joe over.

After I hang up the phone I hustle to my bedroom to slide into a pair of my best acid-washed jeans. The extremely stylish ones with the bow perched atop the zippered ankle. I twirl in my full length mirror to examine the effect. Niiice. I top the jeans with my very cool black tee-shirt with "Lifes A Beach" spray painted in hot pink across a chartreuse tropical beach scene, then skip to the bathroom to check my bangs.

As my fingers peck at my perfectly curled bangs like a demented chicken, to my utter dismay I hear the front door slam shut. I freeze as the unmistakable pound of my brother's feet on the stairs beat to the rhythm of my rapidly approaching heart attack.

I stand still, hand on the turquoise canister of Aqua Net, ears straining, praying to god it is only little Shaun in search of fruit roll-ups. In my heart I know it is Him. The Evil One. The squeak of the cereal cabinet confirms my worst fears. Oh Heavenly Father above above! Brandon is home and Joe was, at this very moment, innocently heading straight into the yawning maws of hell!

Bang arrangement forgotten, I pace the bathroom floor furtively before leaping into action. I ease open the door, carefully look both ways then ballet dance across the hall toward the phone in my mom's room. Frantically, I dial Joe's digits.
"Is Joe there?" I hiss desperately at his mother.
"No, dear. He's on his way to a friend's house." She sing-songs down the line Donna Reed style. I could almost smell the cookies baking in her kitsch kitchen with it's green and white gingham curtains, a complimentary contrast to the red walls painted in an old-timey Coca Cola motif.
"Can I give him a message?" She asks politely. So this is what normal families are like, I marveled. Cordial phone conversations, mothers at home preparing dinner. Little Johnny probably enjoying milk and freshly baked cookies at a silver and formica kitchen table.

"Um... No. Thanks anyway!" I slam down the phone and skitter to the living room window and peer out despairingly, just in time to see Joe press the doorbell down below. Before I can move, Brandon thunders heavily down the hall shouting I'll get it!

I scramble after him but it's too late. I round the corner to a nightmarish scene. There stands Joe in all his hunky fourteen-year old glory. Joe AND my big brother Brandon.

My older brother turns to me, a wicked grin through which all manner of putrescence from his dark soul enters the universe splits his horrifying countenance.
"Soooo..." he says to Joe. "You like my sister, huh? I bet you wouldn't like her if you smelled the bathroom every morning when she finishes."
Embarrassed, Joe looks to me for help but I am agog at this gargantuan leap into new and humiliating territory. I can only gurgle "Nu-uh.."
"In fact," Brandon continues unabashedly, "yesterday she forgot to flush. You would not BeLIEVE the size of the loaf she left sitting there. Biggest turd you ever saw. She really pinched off a record breaker!"

I spiral into despair, my young life flashes before my eyes before I regain enough composure to rush Joe from The Wicked One's gnarly clutches.
"C'mon Joe. Lets go hang out in my room." I try my best to ignore Brandon, but the three of us know there is no recovery from 'stinky loaf' talk. At least I don't give Brandon what he really wants. Tears, screaming, slamming doors. Those are the only reactions that will satiate The Beast.
"Seriously Joe, I'm not lying!" Brandon continues. "Why would I make THAT up? That would just be weird." He utters this last bit before casually taking a bite of his cereal.

Oh, the trickery! The sheer duplicity! I drag Joe down the hall by the handful of tee-shirt I've grasped in my fist.
"You know, Monica wet the bed until she was eight years old." Brandon trails us down the hall, shoveling giant spoonfuls of Trix into his snarling mouth. I slam my door and thankfully, he stays out. Apparently, his work here is done.
"Just thought you should know, man!" He shouts helpfully through the wood laminate door.

Inside the bedroom, Joe and I stare at each other in silence. Finding words is akin to locating Waldo in my little brother's favorite book.
"He is SUCH a liar." I finally sputter, careful not to get too defensive for fear of appearing guilty. But it's ruined. Joe doesn't know my family well enough to brush off their special brand of horror.

So... How's The Weather Where You Live?

Writing a public blog the day after admitting horrendous depression is like meeting up with friends the morning after you got drunk at the bar and screamed at someone until you cried. A tad embarrassing. Or maybe it's like you're going through a divorce and trying to joke your way through small talk at a party where everybody knows your spouse left you for a younger, better looking version. If you try for humor, it's sadder still. Were I to attempt a funny blog about how I got caught digging my shorts out of my bum whilst walking Max down what I obviously thought was an unpopulated road (I think I exposed the entire mass of my left bum cheek) you may courtesy laugh at my jokes but then you'll look at me (or the monitor) cock your head inquisitively to one side and say "but how ARE you?" "Fine." I'll respond. "No, how are you REALLY?" And then you'll touch my arm for effect. And then I'll be doubly embarrassed. I know it shouldn't feel that way, but it does.

The outlook toward taking depression medication is similar. There is still that stigma there. I feel it, even. If Lance Armstrong can win the goddamn Tour de France without steroids, I should be able to make it through life without Zoloft. Right? Kind of like, what the fuck? Quit slogging around and get over it already! Depression is so self-indulgent. A part of me feels that way toward myself. Another part of me knows it's out of my hands. If a person intelligently knows, can discern that her life is nice, loves her very sweet husband and her dog, has decent relationships with most folks - but can't bring herself to get out of bed..

Well, I don't know. I s'pose I could go jog, get those endorphins pumping, but really that does shit for the black hole of despair that grabs me by the nape of my neck, yanks my head back and spits in my face. The feeling that it's hopeless. That everyone is an asshole, even my nice husband. That my bed is the only safe place. That I should never, ever have children because I will, of course, fuck them up beyond repair. The increasing feeling that life is shit and the best you're going to feel is when you're seven, playing kick-the-can with the neighbors and don't know broke from money, bill paying, complex relationships, loneliness etc. And I'll be damned if when you're 7 you just want to be 12 so you can stay up until nine o'clock like your older brother and when you're 12 you wanna be 16 so you can drive the car away from your annoying family and when you're 16 you wanna be 18 so you can move away from your annoying family and when you're 18 you wanna be 21 so you can, like, drink until you can't see and when you're 21 you wanna be 25 so you can be out of college and in the real world already and when you're 25 you're still drinking until you can't see and suddenly you're nearly 30 and you're thinking... WHAT THE FUCK? I can't afford this bill. I can't do this. I am such a failure. I hate you! I hate me! I wish I was 7!!!!

If only to save my poor husband from me, I am going to try the Zoloft. This will be an interesting experiment anyway. I'll chronicle Zoloft: Day One.. and so forth. We'll see...together. If I'm slobbering onto the computer keys, typing shit about nothing (wait, don't I do that already?) then lemme know I'm a big fucking bore and I'll try something else. Either that or I'll go for that jog. Endorphins, you know. For all the talk I hear about endorphins, one day those little fuckers will be credited with world peace, ending hunger and curing aids. And we can all say we knew them back when..

Dear Diary And Shit...

Donnie Pizza Sauce and The Surge are cooking up a veritable storm. It's raining tomato sauce. Snowing Parmesan. The boys are in the kitchen, which is as it should be. I'm laying across my bed with Maxer, luxuriating in the air conditioned bedroom. Tomato sauce, garlic and Olive Oil permeate the air with tangy flavor and Frankie Lymon's falsetto is doing it's part to season my apartment with coziness. If Donnie has any say, Dean Martin is certain to follow.

We are having a dinner party and the boys are chopping, slicing, dicing, grilling, baking and every other culinary term you can think of. At the last moment I'll head in and "chop up a salad" as Grandma calls it, and then I'll slice some tomatos and mozzeralla over small hunks of french bread, sprinkle with fresh basil, bake and present my contribution; the appetizer.

Despite the festive dinner party atmosphere I am feeling the same. Shit. Am counting the minutes until I can anesthetize with wine. I am medicating with wine under the guise of "hey, it's a dinner party, I'm not a sad, depressed wino, I'm a cheery party thrower!" But that's exactly what I am - a gloomy alcohol abuser half-heartedly attempting a cheerful countenance.

I will begin taking Zoloft soon in the hope that it will take the edge off. This morning when I woke up I cried. Because I was awake. That can't be good. I hate to even type this shit here. But if I start censoring myself or my depression because of who's reading then what good is this blog? It's chemical, this thing. I WANT to be happy. I try to be. But every day, as I do what needs to be done I wonder what I'm even doing. Why am I even making this fucking bed, I think. It's just going to get unmade. Why sweep up the dog hair? The black bastard just sheds another pound within the next half hour. The fan blows Arizona sized tumbleweeds of the stuff across the hard wood floor.

Sometimes, for kicks, I try to imagine the greatest thing in the world happening to me. A book deal maybe, The Surge's band selling a million records, ANYTHING. It still doesn't cheer me up. I talk to myself while walking Max. Yesterday I realized I'd been saying "somebody help me" over and over again. It's bad. I'm hopeful about the Zoloft.

Are You Coming!? You Really Should!