Thursday, September 12, 2013

ManGames: I am not a man.

Last week, I wrote about an old wound. As I was writing, I got an email advertising Man Games. At first, I admit, I cussed and swore at my computer... And then I read the whole email to find out that Man Games aren't just for men. Women can play too...

I sent my friend (Sara) a text and told her that I wanted to do this, and asked her to come too.
She had seen the advertisements for it, thought they were just for men, and felt disappointed, because it looked like fun. So, we signed up and spent Saturday "competing" in Man Games.

Here is what I learned from Man Games.
I am not a man.

I know this is not news to anyone... but really... I am not a man. We walked up to the pigs we were supposed to "rastle", and I thought, "Those are big, but I'm tough, I can do this."

Very large pigs, I can handle. Squealing pigs make me cry.

Then someone else went into the ring, and the pig started squealing, and I just wanted to cry. There was no way I was going to be able to wrestle a pig to the ground when it cried like that. It sounded scared, and I wanted to call the whole thing off. Sara was going through something similar. We might not be traditional women, but we are perfectly fine never wrestling a pig again.

I took her picture, but I was feeling the same thing.

Next we were off the Mounted Spear Throw.
I'm pretty comfortable with horses... I've never thrown a spear from on top of one, but it seemed easy enough. I got a bullseye. 10 out of 10! I was the only person in my group of 40 to do so. I don't know how I would do on a second try, but it's okay... You only get one try in ManGames.

Before the bullseye...
Next, we went to the Obstacle Course/Man Race/Crossfit Challenge.
There were a whole bunch of new things to try:
Running. I've done it before, but only when I have to.

Mud puddles up to my thighs.

Crawling under barbed wire. REAL barbed wire.
Caber Toss.
This is my manly pose. I think I had just done the caber toss, but I can't say for sure...
Axe Throw.
Log Toss.

Flipping a big tire. This was the most challenging one for me. When I lifted, it stayed, and I fell over. Eventually, I completed the task though.
Football throw and punt. How is it that I have never thrown a fullsize football before?

There were a few things I've done before, but not in a timed setting:
Running hills. Mostly I've only done this after I have lost my horse. That's only happened twice. Do I get credit for the fact that both times I was in jeans and boots and a big old heavy duster?
Running tires.

Running over and around hay bales. It's a lot more fun when you're trying to get a baby goat to follow after you. Next time maybe ManGames could bring in some baby goats?
Jumping Fences.

We finished only to find that the buses that were supposed to take us to the water events, left. Luckily my parents had their car, and they drove me, Sara, and our new friend Jana to Deer Creek. Just in time for the park rangers to shut the whole thing down because it was raining, hailing, and lightening.

I didn't get to try the huge rope swing, and I didn't do the kayaking, paddle-boarding, or swimming.
I didn't sign up to try the Flyboard Frenzy, because I was worried about how much money I was already spending. $25 more wouldn't have been a big deal, but I couldn't convince myself that it was a justifiable expense.

I plan on doing it again next year, and hopefully the weather will be more cooperative, because I want to try everything. I also hope they have more challenges next year. More mud would be good.

And, they said there would be a fishing challenge. I hope it's fly fishing. Real men don't chuck bait.

It's too bad you can't see how much it is raining in this picture. And, it is also unfortunate that I don't have the conversation that had just taken place on video either:
Me: "Real men don't quit just because of a little rain or lightening..."
Sara: "True. I am not a real man. Let's GO!"

It was a blast.
And I think by letting myself do things that look fun, even if they are called ManGames, maybe I'll start to heal that old wound. I learned that I am definitely not a man. I don't want to be. I am also not a traditional woman. I don't want to be. I really like the person that I am: a perfect mix of feminine and masculine.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Still looking up.

I love the song, "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.

BJ first played the song for me, and I felt like he was singing it to me..."I see that you've come so far to be right where you are," and, "I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily. I'm here to stay to make the difference that I can make."

I thought of myself, "We got a lot to learn, but God knows we're worth it."
I thought of the kind of friend I want to be - make a difference, never give up, give all of my love.

Today is the twelfth anniversary of 9/11. A day when humanity suffered a lot all in one day.
I am very aware of the suffering we cause on each other. We are the only species that could ever commit some of the atrocious things I have seen. We are the only species with enough imagination to be able to hurt each other like we do...
There are no Hitlers or Bin Ladens in the rest of the animal kingdom... Not to mention the things I have seen people close to me suffer...

And still, "God knows we (humans) are worth it," no matter how much we have to learn, "Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Man's Conversation with his Son (and my thoughts on it)

There's a blog post going around that makes me cringe... Not gonna post a link to it, because it is just like so many other "modesty" posts, and it makes me cranky. Girls, cover up so my "men of integrity" don't think nasty things about you. If you want to my friends with my sons, you'll dress just the way I think you should.

And while I will get as cranky as anyone at Cosmopolitan magazines that promote that women are nothing but sex objects, I feel cranky when you tell a woman that she should cover up (because basically, she is nothing but a sex object.)

I am going to share a link to another blogpost.
Seeing a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and a Son

There's so much of this I love, but I'm going to focus on the last two paragraphs first. They brought me to tears. I am so used to hearing that I am nothing but a body to be ogled or to be hidden... That to love myself means to hide myself, and that it is my responsibility to control men's thoughts (and in turn, their actions.), it felt refreshing.

I read it a few days ago, and have gone back several times to reread it... because I need the reminder.

I am struggling with a feeling that I am worth less than a man, because I am a woman. I read Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and identified with the feeling... but I wasn't quite ready to face how much I hate my femaleness.

I came out as asexual, because that was better than being a woman. (Fuck. Don't you dare use this to hurt any other asexual person. THIS IS MY STORY, but it does not lessen the reality of some people's asexuality. It also doesn't change the way I felt then. I had to accept that I was different, and that label made the most sense at the time. It doesn't quite fit today, but I'm not sure what label fits now... anyway... not the point of this blog, but I had to write it down.)

I am not a "normal" girl, but such a thing doesn't really even exist. All of the rules and guidelines about how a woman is supposed to be, supposed to dress, supposed to think, act, and live... are just nonsense.

Back to Seeing a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and a Son

This is the paragraph that meant so much to me:
"I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.

My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.
Because in the end, they want to be with you.  Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other.  And that’s not just what women want.  That’s what people want.
- See more at:
My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.
Because in the end, they want to be with you.  Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other.  And that’s not just what women want.  That’s what people want.
- See more at:
My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.

Because in the end, they want to be with you.  Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other.  And that’s not just what women want.  That’s what people want."
My fight is the belief that I deserve this, "they want to be with you.  Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other," and that I deserve that EVEN THOUGH I am a woman. Something deep down says that isn't so... I am less than. I am an object. I something to be used and abused. And with all of the work I have done, I am still fighting that belief. And it's hard.

And one more time, Seeing a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and a Son

There is so much truth in this statement.
"Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them. If you truly love a person, do not reduce them to an object. The moment you objectify another human – woman or man, you give up your humanity."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An old wound

I have an old wound. It's deep. It hurts, and the silliest (seeming) things make it hurt more.

I hate that I'm a girl. I feel less than, because I have the wrong genitalia. It has been a part of me for a long time. BJ asked me seven years ago (holy cow. It's been a long time!) why I felt less than... I wrote a long reply about everything I could think of... It had a lot of stuff about the EQ President (I couldn't say no to him, because he had authority, and I was just a dumb girl), Larry (I was his wife - nothing but his property), D (I felt guilty that I couldn't just support him... that I actually had thoughts and opinions of my own), the temple (A woman is supposed to just obey the will of her husband), etc.

All of those things were important and definitely things I needed to deal with... but those things aren't a part of my life now, and the wound is still there.

I feel it every time BJ says, "I wish my sons were here." or "I wish my boys liked fishing." or "I'm taking the boys (somewhere)."
I feel it every time someone says, "Just going fishing with the boys."
I feel it when the guys invite me to go fishing/camping, but I'm the only girl there... I feel like I have to be the best fisherman there to prove that I deserve to be there.
I feel it when girls talk about stuff they want to do together, and that sounds awful to me.
I feel it when we get together with other couples, and I'm supposed to go spend time with the women-folk. I feel it whenever the topic of Boy Scouts comes up.

I felt it when I was eight, and my mom was a cub scout den leader, and she spent a lot of time with all of my friends, doing fun stuff, and I didn't.
I felt it when I was supposed to go spend time with Kaily, but I felt out of place and shy around her.
I felt it when I was in YW, and our activities were all about weddings, and dresses, and marriage, and crafts, and my brothers were going to Day Camp where they got to do fun things like hiking and camping and zip lines.
I felt it when I compared Young Women's Camp to Boy Scout Camp. I HATED Camp as a YW... but I might have liked camping with the boy scouts.
I felt it when my dad went camping with the Scouts, and he took me a long when I was little. Once I was older, it wasn't a question, and I didn't get to do things like that with my dad anymore.
I felt it when I felt like I wasn't supposed to want those things anymore... I was supposed to want to be a good girl.
I felt it when my girl friends were all crushing on boys, and I wasn't.
I felt it at church every time I had to go sit in that stupid relief society room... And I wanted to scream at some of the stupid things the women said.
I felt it whenever women talked about needing their girlfriends, because I didn't need that.
I felt it when I realized how little authority I had in my own life: bishops, counselors, twelve-year-old boys, had more authority than I did.
I felt it when I'd listen to talks at church about the eternal nature of gender.

I don't know how to heal it.
BJ has made adjustments to the way he talks. He says "kids" now instead of "boys" or "sons", and that doesn't hurt... but I'd like to HEAL the wound. I'm tired of feeling it...

I just don't know what my next step is.

Monday, September 2, 2013

What a great day! Fishin in the rain, and finding out how good the 4-wheel drive really is.

My favorite place to go fishing is about two hours from my house. We found it by accident when we were out exploring a few years ago, and it is where I really fell in love with fly fishing. Work has been busy, so I've only been there twice this summer... the season is quickly coming to an end.

It's a beautiful place. Even when the clouds are thick and the rain is coming down. I just love it.

We thought, 'Any day now, the roads are going to be impassable, so we gotta get back at least one last time.'

It rained all day Saturday, all night Saturday night, and was still raining Sunday morning.
The roads weren't TOO bad getting in, so we pulled out the float tubes and started fishing.

We'd been there about twenty minutes when we could tell the roads weren't getting better, the rain wasn't letting up, and maybe we needed to get out of there while we still could.

This guy didn't want to park there. This was our evidence that the roads might not be so great...
We fished for another hour or so, and then packed up and drove out. There is a steep hill, the mud was thick and slimy, but the FJ (Toyota FJ Cruiser) just climbed up it. VERY slowly, but it made it. We decided to pull over at the top of the hill and hike back in. I was not done fishing!

I learned that standing water on the roads isn't so bad... It's when those puddles become one with the road that is the real problem.
The hike was only about a half a mile, but it was mostly up hill, and slippery. I am SO glad we went back! The fishing was AWESOME!
The hike was tiring, so we stopped to take a selfie.

BJ with a fish.

One of the many tiger trout I caught.

Probably the same tiger trout. I am not talented enough to take pictures of my fish. BJ stopped fishing and ran over to check out my fish. I love that he gets almost as excited about me catching a fish as he gets about him catching a fish.

It's gorgeous, isn't it?

We fished for a few hours, but we hadn't thought to bring water with us... At least I remembered to bring candy bars. There was a guy camping with his boys and 4-wheelers, and they offered to drive us back to the FJ. THAT was a muddy ride. There was no place safe from the flipping, thick, slimy, mud.

Back at the FJ, we changed out of our waders, thinking we were home free. It turns out the roads didn't get better - they got worse. The rain hadn't stopped, but also, there were several cars and trucks that had tried to get out but couldn't. They had dug ruts and holes and churned up mud, so it was six-eight inches deep. There was a big pick up truck stuck, but BJ's truck just slowly made it's way through. We were sliding, we were kicking up mud, but the FJ sent power only to the wheels that were getting traction. Somehow, it figured exactly how to get us through it all. I wish I would have taken pictures of the road, or even a video of the people on the side cheering us on as we chugged through the mess... but I didn't. 

The mud doesn't even begin to tell the story.

I wish the pictures and my story telling could better explain how AWESOME this day was. The adventure was perfect - just the right amount. The fishing was great. I lost count of how many fish I caught, but I lost count at twenty-something. BJ caught just as many. The scenery was beautiful. I couldn't plan a day that great, but if I could, that is exactly how I would want it to go.