Baltimore is being kind to me. I have an amazing roommate. I am in a good program. My ward is pretty top-notch.
But is it enough?
Let me rephrase that, and give some background.
For two years, I lived in the greater Salt Lake City area. I attended a single's ward, and I hated it. I tried to make friends. I tried to be involved. I tried to feel a part.
But most Sundays, I left in tears.
I did find a few friends. But sometimes they even made me feel like I didn't belong, and that I didn't fit into the ward family. I'm not sure it was intentional, but it often felt that way. I hadn't grown up in the area, and I didn't seem to live in the right neighborhood to be invited to hang out.
Now, I know what you're thinking, and I can say that I did try to invite people over to do things at my place. It didn't matter how many people I invited the same few showed up and no one else.
So for two years, I lived in silent agony. Feeling rejected in the one place I sought refuge. Thankfully, I knew that my Heavenly Parents didn't reject me, or I would have walked away. My faith in their love for me, their knowledge of who I am and what I am carried me back to church each week.
I've never really expressed to anyone how hard those two years were for me. I'm trying to recover, and each week in my new ward makes it a little bit better. But I find it hard to trust. I don't believe that the Bishop and co. are really on my side. I want to believe they are, they've been nothing but kind to me. I just need time to heal and time to trust. I'll get there.
So when a group of women gets together and says "let's do something so no one feels marginalized and unnecessary" I want to join. I want to be part of something that can help those, like me, who struggle with knowing they belong.
Because we ALL belong.
All are alike unto God: male and female, black and white, gay and straight.
God is a Mother and a Father.
Mormon women matter.*
I matter. Everyone matters.
But some still point fingers, and call us names. They tell us that we are near apostate because we want to wear nice slacks to church as a sign of solidarity. And it hurts a little bit, and all that progress flies out the window, and once again I'm that woman who felt like she didn't belong in her faith.
And once again, I have to remember that my Heavenly Parents love me. They want me there. And so I go.
*Brooks, Joanna. (2012). The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith. pg. 193