This Is Way Beyond My Remote Concern Of Being Condescending
I HATE telling people I'm Mormon. Hate it! There always seems to be some stigma attached to Mormonism in peoples’ brains and that stigma immediately gets attached to me when I tell them I am a card carrying, garment wearing Mormon. As I'm sure you are keenly aware by now, I am not your everyday, run of the mill LDS chick. I am so liberal it hurts sometimes; I'm brown (and NOT Pacific Islander), have a dirty mind and the mouth to prove it; I think the best way to dance is similar to sex standing up; I wear cleavage baring clothing etc. etc. etc. I love the gays, the woman's libbers, the tree huggers, the alkies, the British - the saints and the sinners alike. I consider myself rather undiscriminating. And so, when people discover my Mormon-ness I tend to get varied reactions. Some people think it's cool that I am so open to other thoughts while still remaining faithful in my own beliefs. Others though think I'm not so great, that I'm a "bad Mormon" for having the friends I have, listening to the music I do, wearing the clothes I do on occasion (though, let's be honest, I once put on an outfit I thought was rather racy, turned on the webcam and showed Aidan and he essentially shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's too conservative." So really, I think I'm dressing just fine.) But I just hate the idea of people deciding who I am based on something as abstract as my religion. There is a lot more to me than Mormonism, although my membership in the church does play a huge part in who I am.
When I first met Aidan I didn't tell him I was a member of the Church. He knew I was Christian, and that I didn't drink, smoke, do drugs or have premarital sex, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him I was Mormon. The first few weeks we were getting to know each other, I was the PICTURE of all things Mormon-y, but I never told him my religious preference because I had NO idea what he knew about Mormonism and I didn't want him to judge me because of it. I wanted him to just get to know ME. What I DIDN'T realize at the time was he had been reading my website since the first day we met and KNEW I was Mormon the whole time. I wrote a post (which I WILL NOT link to because it's so embarrassing, and honestly, I can't believe I'm even talking about it) a couple days after I met him that basically was me gushing to the internet the long list of reasons I thought he was great and the much shorter list of reasons it didn't matter - those reasons being that he lives in England and he isn't Mormon. I HATE that he read that. I hate that I wrote that. I hate that it matters at all. It doesn't matter one bit to me now that he isn't a member of the same church I am. What matters is he is one of the best friends I have ever been blessed with. The detail of my Mormonism didn't change the way he felt about me or treated me (though it has lead to some rather feisty debates), so in a way, my fears seem unfounded. But I have had experiences (oddly enough, mostly with other members of my faith) where my Mormon-ness was questioned - where my faith, my own personal belief was judged not based on the kind of person I am, but the shoes that I wore, or the word that I said, or the CD I had in my stereo. I would rather just not deal with it. I would rather just be a Christian.
I think a lot of knowing the details about people is so we can put them into categories... divide them up, put them where we think they belong. She's my lesbian friend, he's my Republican friend, he's my Jewish neighbor, she is my drunk-on-the-weekends pal. I suppose in a way, I just want to live a life without borders, a life without categories. A life where my faith defines part of me, but not me on the whole. A life where my religion is another addition to the sum of my parts, not the sole defining characteristic. I would rather be known as Sarah the good friend, or Sarah the semi-talented writer then Sarah the Mormon.
But that's just me.