It’s not THAT bad

Now that I know people read my posts sometimes, I feel like I need to be quieter. That’s so dumb.

I often feel or have felt like I need to be quieter. To be liked, to keep the peace, to be ladylike enough, to not be annoying, to not be too much.

The other day, we met with the young missionaries again. They’re really sweet girls. And we have tried to make it clear that we and our house are a place of safety, of rest, where they can always find water, a place to be away from all the people, or a place just to chill and have goofy or deep conversations. It cannot be easy making it your whole life to go and proselytize, especially so young, especially as a woman, especially so ill-equipped.

Our main goal has been to give them a safe place and to assure them that questions are welcome here, and, admittedly, to maybe help provoke some of those questions for them.

Anyway. We met with them again recently. They invited their mission president and we were not aware they would be doing this. He is an older man who speaks with authority and arrogance. He started off with niceties and made sure to tell us of his high calling in coming out to Salt Lake. We began to ask questions and he shot us down. He spoke over us, he parried with questions asked in the teacher voice, he chided us on our “subterfuge”, he gave us a browbeating for causing contention.

It was in this interaction that I realized that there is indeed something within me that acquiesces to religious men in authority. I had counters, I had thoughts, and I held back because I knew that me speaking out is not what he wanted. I knew that he would see it as contention and that that was not “what I was supposed to do”, as if he had any say in my life.

I felt like I should be quiet. I should not bring out my offensive ideas and rude questions, I should not soil the conversation with my evil contentious spirit.

That was terrifying. Thank God my husband wasn’t really falling for it. At one point, the guy interrupted my husband to give us a bit of a brow beating and Andreas literally let him finish and then went: “okay, ANYWAY” and turned to the girls to ask them a question.

I don’t know how to feel, but I wanna try. That Billie Eilish song is hitting so much more than just the feminist feels lately.

It was shortly after this meeting that one of the missionaries was reassigned. It was the girl who was much more open to hearing us, who seemed concerned that I was very uncomfortable with the tension, who admitted to us that her shelf of questions was stuffed to bursting. She was replaced with a girl very similar in personality, but it was like she was the next version, the one who would not veer from her assigned statements no matter what. It feels very much like they stole the one away for malfunctioning and replaced her, while everyone else acted like nothing was wrong and not to worry. It is a very upsetting fever dream.

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