Saturday, December 26, 2009


I stopped at a Del Taco in Elko, NV and pulled on my coat (mostly to disguise the fact that I was not wearing a bra) and went in.  I had been on the road for 8 or 9 hours and I was tired and wanted a shower.  I caught a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and was surprised by how pretty I looked.  I certainly didn't feel pretty, but I was gorgeous.  I looked confident and relaxed and my hair was falling right and the coat made me look well dressed.  The girl taking my order looked slightly intimidated by me so I took off my sunglasses so that she could see my eyes. People always tell me that my eyes are my prettiest feature, but I think they are my kindest. She relaxed some.  It was a strange experience. So many times I have caught a glimpse of myself and been surprised by how disheveled I looked. Being surprised by my beauty was a first.  

 I am constantly surprising people.  I had lunch with a guy who is a Ph. D. student who asked about my holiday travels.  I told him I was headed for Utah and he asked in a sympathetic voice if my family was Mormon.  I told him that they were and I am too.  He headed into politics and wanted to know if there were any liberal Mormons who were good Mormons.  I told him there are, but he started to see that I wasn't enthusiastically grouping myself among them, though I am friends with many.  I guess he knew me as a professor and evolutionary biologist and assumed a lot about what that meant.  

On the other hand, I was at a Chuck Close/Ansel Adams exhibit and, I surprised that guy because I like Chuck Close better than Ansel Adams.  I guess he knew me as a nice Mormon girl and assumed that Impressionists and Naturalists are my favorites.  I don't know.

And then another guy was shocked that as a single 32 yr old Mormon I didn't want to marry him.  When he finally started listening to me after I explained this, he was surprised by how much I value education and intelligence.  It bothered me that he was surprised by that.  I felt that I had failed in some way.

I like Moroni 7, especially at the end where it says:

"45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

  46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— 

 47 But charity  is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever ; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

  48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen."

This is how I want to be and what I focus on most, but that isn't enough.  A lofty goal of becoming like God some day doesn't undo the necessity of figuring out what it is to be me. I hate that I am such a surprise to people.  I'd like to look like a good Mormon girl who is intelligent and educated and an evolutionary biologist, financially conservative, and who likes art and literature, kind but hard working, forgiving but determined and focused.  I don't know how to look like that all at once but I think I came close in the Del Taco.

1 comment:

laura said...

agreed. and you are beautiful, miriam. i think our problem in consistently being found a dichotomy takes shape when you consider that what we aspire to lacks all ties to culture and is not rooted on this earth. great entry.