From the time I was about 12 years old, when I started going to Young Women’s classes, I believed that my role in life was to be an obedient wife and mother. Birthing and raising children was supposed to be my highest calling - and that’s all I wanted. I was dreaming about the children I would have one day in middle school, but when it came to personal and professional development, I wasn’t thinking past college. All of the women I knew that had made it that far were stay-at-home moms and primary teachers. That was the only thing I imagined for myself, because it was the only thing that I knew.
I left Mormonism with my family when I was 16. When I was 18, I got engaged to my abuser. Even though I wasn’t Mormon anymore, that culture that I grew up in favored quick engagements at a young age, so I thought it was normal. I told myself it was fine - I thought my body belonged to him.
Even as barely an adult, I thought my job was to be a wife and mother. That’s who I was. Leaving that abusive relationship and starting the recovery process has been incredibly painful and incredibly powerful. I’m learning to live in my body again - not just the body that makes babies and provides pleasure, but the body that dances, that writes poetry, that laughs and cries and looks up at the stars.
A few months ago, I came out as nonbinary, while recognizing that I am still deeply connected to womanhood. Starting to express my identity as a woman and a nonbinary person has been far more incredible than any spiritual experience I had in the church when I was confined to the box of “woman.” And with that, I am learning that I don’t have to fit into any of the boxes that the church assigned to me. I don’t have to be a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have to marry a man, and I don’t have to devote my life to an organization that taught me my body isn’t my own.
It’s a journey that I’m still on. And if discovering yourself isn’t sacred - then I don’t know what is.