Sunday, August 31, 2008


I have to confess. I've been throwing Rachel a few too many scraps lately. It all started because I heard that Alanis Morissette made a guest appearance on Sex and the City (I know it was many years ago, but I'm not a fan of the show, so back then I didn't care), but then I learned that in this particular episode she kissed Sarah Jessica Parker's character. Well. I had to see this for myself, so naturally I went to You Tube.

Let me just insert that You Tube is not a safe place for someone like me. You can easily see anything you want, and you can justify it because it's not a porn site, so it's not as bad as that. But, it is. As bad. I found what I was looking for. And then, you know how they have all of those other little clips on the side similar to the one you're watching? You're already there, right? You're already watching something you shouldn't be, so why not? Let's see which other actresses I know have kissed girls in the course of their work. Truthfully, there are a few more than I needed to know about.

Since then, Rachel's become greedy again. Girl has quite the unquenchable appetite. There's only one way to stop her once she gets going, and it's beyond any power that I possess. Let me just say that dinner was really, really good tonight. Any food is unbelievably satisfying when you've been fasting all day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the process

I wonder why you pick the ones that will end up moving on. Is it your fear that the relationship evolution will bring Rachel to the surface? You are always in "safe" mode when you know they will end up dating and ultimately marrying.

This is an interesting question. You may have asked this before, Heidi—I don’t remember. However, I do know the answer.

1. These are the girls with whom I associate: LDS girls who are either already married or have that as their goal, because that is the culture. They are active members of the church because that is what they want.

2. Of course I play it safe because the LDS thing is also what I want. When I have ventured out into the danger zone, just to see, it was brilliant because it taught me that Rachel is not who I want to be 100% of the time. Fortunately I never left the nest for very long, so it wasn’t hard to return.

3. I am “attracted” to goodness. Or maybe Alex is attracted to goodness and Rachel twists it around to make it less than good. Any relationship that I truly invest in with best friend cannot go the Rachel route. It would sour. It wouldn’t be what I ever meant it to be. And so it wouldn’t last. And if it didn’t last, it wouldn’t be friendship. It would be a fling. That’s how Rachel operates, not Alex.

So it’s all part of the process. I get to have them to myself for a while, and then I watch them move on and share themselves with others, get married, have children, whatever else. I had my time, and I get to keep it. Someday I’ll have someone of my own. And hopefully it will be a boy. Like Jason. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

best friends

So I have this "best friend." (In my world, "best friend" means codependent friend, where the codependency is mutual. It's like having a girlfriend without all of the physical stuff, if you know what I mean.) ;)

I call her MJ. Others have started calling her that too, but it was my name for her first.

MJ is getting some attention from boys lately, and I have to admit it’s bothering me just a little. I don’t want her to know it’s bothering me, because she hasn’t been neglecting me at all, and really it’s what she’s supposed to be doing. How can I possibly object if I love her and want what’s best for her? She’s 20 years old. She should be dating and having a good time. That’s what you do when you’re 20 and cute and single. You look for someone to spend your life with. I keep telling myself I don’t mind doing things by myself, like shopping and stuff. I really don’t. I did it for a long time, and I still do it. I just invite her along because it’s nice to have companionship.

Monday, August 25, 2008

are you my mother?

It seems that all of my life I have been hunting for mothers. Every path of my life is littered with them, so they are not hard for me to recognize. They are women whose presence I crave, whose time I savor, and whose attention I bask in. But sometimes I wonder why God gives them to me, if they cannot be my mothers.

They have qualities in common. They are kind and caring, gentle and intuitive. Sometimes they are older than I am. They sense a need in me, and they respond. They are usually mothers themselves, good mothers to their children, happy mothers, happy to be mothers. And happily married. They're doing what they were meant to do, including influencing me, and they are glad to do it, because they do not need what I need. Except that my insecurities cannot completely accept what they want to offer. As desperately as I want it, I am afraid. Why? Because I want more than what they can give me? Because I am afraid of feeling unsatisfied, left alone, wanting more than what I wanted in the first place, and frustrated as a result?

I said it to one of them. I told her I wished I could go back, start over and be born to her, because she would be the kind of mother I would want, because she would be wise and loving and would have so much to give. She took it as flattery, smiled at me in that indulgent way, but I could tell she did not understand. How could she?

I have imagined lying in their laps, feeling small and fragile like a child, listening to the soothing sound of their voices, telling me stories, singing me songs, and me feeling safe and secure and just knowing, because there would be no reason to think otherwise, that I would be taken care of, that my needs would be met. I have wondered what it would be like to be held by someone like that—someone who is stronger and wiser, confident and unafraid—someone who knows how to love and how to give because they have the ability to trust.

Maybe that's why deep down I am afraid to introduce children to the world. I wonder if I am able to give them what they need to survive, or if I'll end up like Julianne Moore's character in The Hours, who loves her children but abandons them anyway, knowing that she will harm them no matter what she does, escaping because staying is death to her and leaving is life. I'm sure no mother expects to do that to her child. And yet, it happens.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the room of my soul

Here's another one of those fun blog quizzes. I liked this result...

What Your Soul Really Looks Like

You are a warm hearted and open minded person. It's easy for you to forgive and forget.

You are not a very grounded person. You prefer dreams to reality. For you, it's all about possibilities.

You see yourself with pretty objective eyes. How you view yourself is almost exactly how other people view you.

Your near future is calm, relaxing, and pretty much what you want. And it's something you've been anticipating for a while now.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


What I wonder is... what purpose do our "Rachel's" serve? (I say 'our' because I have one too and suspect, as you do, that we are not alone.) Is she only there to distract us? Tempting us, pulling us from what we want the most, toward what we want in the moment? Does she feed unmet emotional needs, telling us that if we just TRY to placate her we'll be happy, but in reality, she's pulling us away from the things that give lasting and meaningful happiness? Or does she serve a higher purpose? Does she keep us on our toes, helping us to work harder, protect ourselves better, know who we are and what it takes to be our best selves? And finally- can I ever completely choose my "Alex"? My Rachel road looks messy and unhappy and while I can't see me embracing her, I can't quite shake her off either. Part of me is very comfortable with her taunts and tuggings. Part of me loves her and wants her comfort and companionship.... even though I know she'd destroy me if I let her.

Kimi asks some insightful questions.
First, as Latter-day Saints we know that in life we have opposition. Alex versus Rachel. Christ versus anti-Christ. Good versus evil, essentially. So yes, I think evil is there to distract us from our purpose, tempt us to make alternate choices, help us forget about the wedding feast by offering us fast food; and yes, I believe there is a higher purpose to opposition. It’s there for a divine reason. We know that without all of the above, how could we pass the test?

So if Rachel is in fact part of my nature, and letting her loose is not the answer, what is the answer? To fight her off for the rest of my life? I can’t imagine that being what I was meant to do. With the ups and downs of being female, it is impossible to quell her. And, like Kimi, I enjoy her sometimes. She makes life interesting. So I don’t think it should be about completely turning her off.

Because Alex is not all good, and Rachel is not all bad. Alex can eventually rise to all good status, but only with divine help; and Rachel could probably make it to all bad, but I’d have to not only take off her bridle, but her saddle and her horseshoes and let her gallop as she pleases, which I can’t even imagine myself doing.

So maybe “choosing my Alex” means allowing Alex and Rachel to walk hand in hand, but not as an equal partnership. Alex would walk one step ahead and have her other hand on that iron rod we talk so much about. And maybe with Rachel in tow, instead of in the lead, Alex can learn how to manage her better.

Friday, August 15, 2008

time quiz

Apparently I belong in 1951. "You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!" Whatever. Just because I like old movies?

Monday, August 11, 2008


A question was asked:

Do you feel [Rachel] "overtook" you when you became her (how did you put least in your mind), or do you feel you allowed yourself to be overtaken?

Hindsight is one of those really helpful things that life gives us. Using that and my limited memory, I would say that I never lost control of myself, that I turned Rachel on when I wanted her around, and when I didn't or it was inconvenient or embarrassing for her to show her face, I stuffed her back into my pocket. I never lost my ability to choose who I wanted to be, which also allowed me the freedom to decide to axe her when I felt like I had taken the fantasy too far. I'm not saying that was easy to do. Her way of thinking had become habitual. I had to retrain myself to clean up my thoughts and try to act appropriately in certain environments. I had to dust Alex off and wear her around until she felt comfortable again.

I even found it helpful to imagine Rachel's demise. An accident wouldn't do, and neither would murder, because then the blame would fall upon someone else. It had to be suicide. Imagining it for me was pretty final. I actually mourned her. And there were others who did too. But like anyone you knew who influenced you in any way, she still peeks from under the lid of her coffin and whispers in my ears.

Friday, August 08, 2008


There's this old legend you may have heard before. I read it once and it has stayed with me. If I sound like one of those people in testimony meeting who's always repeating the same stories, please allow this one Velveeta moment. It goes something like this:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Now, my point. Rachel emerged sometime in 1998. She didn't always exist; she sort of grew to life size by feeding off of the scraps I threw to her. I believed they were harmless scraps -- a movie here, a story there, a fantasy written out. She had this enormous appetite. It was hard to keep her satisfied. In fact, it was nearly impossible, and much easier to keep feeding her until she was stronger than I ever intended her to be. Until I became her. At least in my mind, because of course she was much too dangerous and shameful to me to expose.

So there's some wisdom in this old legend, and in the old notion: "You are what you eat." Think about it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


You know those people you hear about who are happily married with children in one area of suburban America, but they have another family on the other side of the country and they split their time between the two and call it business travel? Why do I feel like that? I don't live in New York City. I don't even go there for business. I haven't been there since 1997 (or so). And yet somehow I feel like I'm being deceptive, not sharing this blog with my inner circle. It's not like my siblings and my closest friends are completely ignorant of my quandary. We just don't generally talk about it.

It also makes me wonder, when you get tight with someone, do you tell them all about your secret, shameful side? Do you want to know about theirs, or would it just be better to not go there?

Monday, August 04, 2008

the dilemma

So here is the quandary: let's call the two sides Alex (BTW, not my real name) and Rachel.

We're both fond of Alanis Morissette, romantic poetry, Jane Austen, superheroes and a tight hug. We like shopping online, buying Ben & Jerry's, shoveling snow and watching independent films.

Alex is a card-carrying Mormon. Yes, you read that right. In other words, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a temple recommend. She goes to church every week, teaches primary, does her visiting teaching, and not only attends the temple regularly but actually has worked at the temple every Saturday for four years now. She lives in Utah. She works 40 hours a week and faithfully pays her tithing. She works on genealogy, scrapbooks, adores her nieces and nephews, looks for opportunities to serve her fellowmen, and all of the other cheesy stuff you'd expect from a good latter-day saint young woman. She even graduated from BYU and went on a mission. She's a nice person that deals with depression and PMS once a month just like everybody else.

Rachel does not fit in small-town Utah. She lives in New York, writes for a magazine, rents a penthouse on the 14th floor, and drinks lattes for breakfast (not necessarily because she likes them, but because the owner of the shop is a friend). She is talented and beautiful and worshipped by many. She loves the world's admiration and drinks in the flavors of her culture. And she is attracted to girls. Guys too, but mostly girls. She doesn't flaunt it, but her readers and the press and her friends and family are all aware of it. And because she stopped going to church and doesn't live the way she was raised, nobody bothers her about it, and she doesn't feel guilty (so she says).

Alex and Rachel are both content in their respective worlds, but what may not be readily apparent to the non-religious is that these two worlds do not comfortably merge, and in fact, cannot coexist. Most days I am perfectly satisfied and even happy to be Alex. But lately I have felt like Rachel.


I am two people. I don't think that I am alone in this realization; perhaps many of us sense, as Robert Louis Stevenson fictionalized, that each of us has Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dimensions to us, that we are not simple beings, but that we struggle to tame the demon within, in an attempt to merge the two and claim a solid, impeachable identity - a face that we can show to people. Not one that changes erratically, but one that is consistent and true. Integrity is probably what I'm trying to describe.

A few years ago I was having dinner in a restaurant with a couple of friends. I confided in them the struggle I was having, between being who I wanted to be, and wanting something else entirely. Essentially I am the good girl with a secret desire to be bad. I want to rebel without tarnishing my reputation. My friends nodded and laughed and looked at me strangely, and then one of them said, "Alex, you are a quandary." I like big words but I admit I had to look that one up. Though I had a vague idea what it meant, I needed a better grasp on what she was implying. And I guess now I know. I have been in a delirious and sometimes frustrating state of perplexity for the majority of my life.

I therefore hereby welcome myself to blogdom.