I sold my soul to a three-piece/
And he told me I was holy/
He’s got me down on both knees/
But it’s the devil that's trying to/
Hold me down, hold me down.
As a young, Mormon woman, I felt absolutely redundant. From reciting a long-memorized creed in unison with other young women to talking about and preparing for marriage as young as twelve, I felt like a small, replaceable part in a well-oiled machine. There was room for nothing but conformity and obedience. I was expected to follow a clear cut life plan and be a cookie cutter girl, but for the longest time, I wanted nothing but to be fire.
I never felt this more clearly than the first time I went to the Young Single Adult Ward, the very purpose of which is finding someone to marry. All of the young men’s heads snapped to attention when they saw my sister and me: two new potential wives. It was as if my red hair in the wind was actually blood in the water.
And when I go to Utah, I get the same feeling, because I am surrounded by the life I was supposed to live, but didn’t. Instead, I am everything I was warned not to be. And again, I stand out, but not as the pinnacle of desirability, but danger. “Not like us.”
So when I read The Handmaid’s Tale and read about “econowives,” I felt an old sense of familiarity. When I read about The Commander and The Ceremony, I thought of every time I’ve had a worthiness interview alone with a middle aged man and my future duty as a wife. And when I read about The Center, I couldn’t help but feel I’d had those lessons, too. And now, my records in the Church Office Building are flagged:
They’ve hung me on The Wall for apostasy.
#thehandmaidstale #margaretatwood #replaceable #tothelefttotheleft #ohandveilyourface