Who Are You?

Mr. Fob and I attended the Sunstone Symposium today; we really did not have the time or resources to attend the entire event over the last few days, but perhaps at some future time we will. Today was a nice experience for both of us. The sessions we attended--together and separately--were enriching and it was nice to spend a day away from the children focusing on adult contact. I had been a little nervous about asking my sister-in-law to watch them for a full day but they enjoyed themselves and were also happy to see us when we picked them up.

I will admit that one of my motivations in attending events like Sunstone is meeting people. After typing that sentence I realized that I made it sound like a bad thing. It's not a bad thing to be sociable and to be part of community. I do feel a little silly when meeting people that I perceive as being somehow 'cooler' than me and acting like a giggly fangirl. It's silly because I realized today that we are all working together to build a community, even if some of us are more visible and known than others.

I was also talking to someone today about one of the problems inherent in blogging. I love blogging and I like being a 'blogger'. I think I will keep doing it for a long time, even though there might be some more fallow periods along the way (I feel like I've been going through one lately). She and I were talking about blogging and the false intimacy it can sometimes foster with people. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to meet people who know many of your darker secrets, things you might not have shared in other forums. There can be a tendency to categorize people by the things we know about them, especially those things that set them apart from others. Many people there, both those who read us online and those who don't, know Mr. Fob and I from our writings and interviews about our marriage. It can sometimes be a little weird for people to know me as 'that woman who married a gay man'. I have a lot of other facets to myself and we have a lot of other dimensions to our marriage. On the other hand, I still am convinced that our visibility has been mostly positive. We have been able to form several close friendships with other couples in similar situations, and I often have people reach out to me about a variety of difficult topics. It also places the issue on the table and invites others to discuss it with us. Sometimes I've had people apologize, especially when they express opinions about things like gay men marrying women (don't worry, I don't usually recommend it either). I know that by being open I run some risks. Openness can leave you vulnerable, but it can also give you more opportunities to connect to others. I hope that as I keep writing and participating in communities, both virtually and in 'real life' I can keep discovering more depth to myself and to others.


I think about the idea of "false intimacy" a lot because in some ways I think blogging has disconnected me from real people. Through the Internet, I've found a community of like-minded, faithful women who think outside the box I was raised in. I love my family dearly and have a few good (real) friends, but so few of them understand this unique need that is filled through blogging. It is a place to share what is really on my mind and to realize that some of my ideas are not really that far out after all. For all that sitting at my computer and writing is such a solitary endeavor, lately I've begun to think that part of the reason that I write is to know I'm not alone. I'm so grateful to have come in contact with a community of LDS people (through blogs like Segullah, FMH, Voice of Reason, yours, etc.) who seem to understand so well that gospel doctrine and LDS culture are two very different things and have the courage to lead examined lives.

Blogging has opened my mind while simultaneously strengthening my spirit. And I think you are very, very brave for stepping out to meet the cool people face to face. I find that Science Teacher Mommy is easy to hide behind, for all that she is a part of me too.
Sarah said…
Nice post...thank you for sharing :)
Em said…
As one of the reachers-out, I've been grateful for your openness at various junctures in my life. And I'm glad for your blog because I can keep some semblance of contact with you since we've gone different directions! It's nice. :-)
c jane said…
It was so nice to meet you and your husband Foxy. I appreciate you and your willingness to be open.
C. L. Hanson said…
It was great meeting you! I'm going to subscribe to your blog so that I'll get to see some of these other facets of your personality -- not just the "Mr. FOB's wife" and "Mormon woman who married a gay guy" things I already know about. ;^)
Aerin said…
I agree with the false intimacy comment - I think whoever said that was very wise. It's also always difficult to know who is reading and who may know what about you.

On the other hand, one of the great things I've found about blogging is that although we (people in general) have distinct differences - there are similarities. And people/relationships are complicated.
Michelle said…
I hear you-- and I'm afraid I've been guilty of not seeing "whole people" through their blogs.

But now that we're in the same city we're sure to meet some day and I'll get the full picture.

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