Thursday, October 16, 2014

What do you miss about California?

Guess what.

I have now lived in Utah for six whole months.

How am I feeling about this?

I’m . . . hesitant. In the same way that whatsherface is hesitant about Decemberween gift exchanges.

On the one hand, yes. This move has been very good for me in many ways. My writing career, for example, has clearly taken off since I moved here. And that's awesome. 

Speaking of which, stay tuned for a sneak peek of the new Tiny Talks cover later this week!

On the other hand, there are tons of things I still miss about California, like my family and all the friends I made there and the absence of that sinking dread that has taken up residence in my brain since the beginning of September. It’s the dread of winter. I know it’s coming. I’m powerless to stop it. All I can do is brace myself for the onslaught and stock up on warm fuzzy socks.

But I think the biggest thing I miss is not being in a minority. (Cue the Greenday song, right?)

It's true, though. I don't like being exactly the same as everyone around me.

I've always known this is a downside of living in Utah, but lately it's been made especially clear to me how much I dislike this fact of life here. Want to know why?

This movie came out:

I want to support this film. If I lived in California, I’d be all over it. Well, not really. I’m rarely all over anything. But I can think of at least one or two people I’d definitely talk to about it: my good friends who are not LDS and with whom I’ve had conversations before about my religion.

Speaking of which, if any of you are reading this, you should maybe think about seeing it. I can’t actually recommend the movie until I see it myself, but I've heard good things.

The problem I have with the movie is that it's reminded me that here in Utah, if I want to meet a mormon, I don’t have to go to a movie theater to do it. (Although if I did go to a movie theater, I am sure I would meet many Mormons there.) The fact is, I don’t have to go anywhere to meet a Mormon because the chances are very, very high that if I sat out on my front porch for a minute or two, the first person who drove past my house would be a Mormon. And so would the next person. And the next one. And the one after that.

In fact, according to Wikipedia—most reliable source on the internet, I know—If 10 people drove past my front porch, 9 of them would be Mormon. And the other one would be non religious.

And I hate that. I mean, I don’t really. I love my church and I’m glad other people love it too. It’s true. It’s good. I want other people to be a part of it.

It’s just that I miss constantly knowing that I’m different. And I miss hearing outside opinions and having my beliefs challenged and my eyes opened by people who think differently. I miss knowing that my political beliefs don’t match those of the people around me. I miss people being weirded out by the fact that I’m the oldest of seven kids. And I miss looking different. Here I’m just another white girl in a knee-length dress.

I suppose part of what I miss has its roots in that teenage desire to not be ordinary, as illustrated in this song from my favorite musical.

Gosh, I love the Fantasticks. Although, I'm not exactly sure that being "kissed upon the eyes" would be a pleasant experience. Maybe it would if you like that sort of thing, but it sounds a little disconcerting to me.

Anyway, here the only minority I’m a part of is the almost-30-still-single club. That’s not exactly the way I dreamed of being identified when I was a kid. Oh well.

Honestly, there are good and bad things about both places. And I'm happy to be where I know my Heavenly Father wants me to be right now. But the moral of the story is this: be grateful for the people around you who are different. They’re the ones who remind you who you are and what you stand for and why.

And on that note, I’m going to cheer myself up from this minor bout of homesickness with more Teen Girl Squad!!!!!!!

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