Friday, August 6, 2010

the "D" word

I'm writing a book. I've been meaning to explain more about it but I guess I'm finding it a little difficult. It's a project that quickly is becoming quite near and dear to my heart. I also pretty much decided it was something I wanted to do only just two weeks ago and so didn't want to say anything about it prematurely less it didn't actually ever happen. (All talk and no action is the worst.) But I'm almost 25 pages into now so I think it's safe to say I'm gonna make this puppy happen.

I'm writing about my experience being a twenty-something LDS woman getting divorced. 

I have a few motivations driving this endeavor. First, I know there are so many girls out there who have gone through or who are currently going through a divorce. Unfortunately, I didn't really know this until I had gone through the process myself and found that girls in similar situations just kept coming out of the woodwork. It really was crazy. Like multiple girls in my Salem, Oregon single's ward. The first semester I taught at UVU, in a class of just a little over 20 students, five- yes, five- girls my age were divorced. Even though it happens so much, it really doesn't feel that way when you're in the thick of your own divorce. At least, it didn't feel that way for me. It felt incredibly lonely and shameful. Sure I knew that divorced happened but it happened to older women with a mortgage and four kids. I had been married only two years, had no kids, and school loans. Divorce didn't happen to people like me. If I had known that someone else, like me, had gone through it, hearing their story would have been such a comfort during the hardest times. So that's one main goal in writing this: providing true empathy and a decreased sense of weirdness and isolation for others. 

Similarly, something that I find can unintentionally add fuel to the fire of shame, embarrassment, and isolation is feeling that the topic of divorce is a rather taboo subject in LDS culture. It needs to be talked about and talked about bluntly and honestly because, whether we like it or not, it happens. I think about how when I'm leading a group full of adolescents who have all attempted suicide a few days ago, I need to be able to speak clearly and directly to that gesture instead of dancing around the issue because it might make me feel a little uncomfortable. Asking blunt questions such as, "So what were you feeling immediately before you tried to kill yourself?" helps to demystify something that is pretty taboo. Once you've unveiled it, then, and only then, does it become malleable in your hands and something that you can effectively work with. Thus, if girls going through a divorce can read something that will help them feel just a little bit more understanding and support, it's my hope that they'll be able to feel stronger and more confident in their ability to get through.

Speaking of getting through, that's another huge goal of the book. I want to dedicate a large portion to discussion of how I actively used the gospel of Jesus Christ to survive the process of divorce. It's so real and I know I have received amazing blessings from trying to fully utilize prayer, the scriptures, temple service, and the atonement. 

Lastly, I hope to touch on life immediately after the divorce. Things like unexpected positive outcomes as well as unexpected pitfalls. 

I've been feeling that this is something that has the potential to be really healing for me. If I can help just one person through this adventure, it will be a way for me to create lasting meaning from the suffering. I love that.    


Bryn said...

Good for you, Sam! There is definitely a need for this kind of book and these kinds of discussions. I wish you all the best with your project.

Ashley Thalman said...

Good for you Sam! I am so happy when people want to talk about things that are difficult. It can be so revealing at to your own strength!

Amanda, Jack, Corban, and Gabe said...

Bravo. I have many friends that are still single mostly because they're scared it will fail shortly- so why endure the hurt? I Love your strength in doing this. you are truely an amazing woman and I thank you for it on behalf of my friends that have gone through this similar situation. Look forward to seeing the finished product down the road!

Sarah said...

great idea. i think this will be so amazing! im glad you're my sis:)

candace said...

I do hope the book includes a painting or two. or ten. I'm sure your words will be relateable--but your art speaks volumes you could never write in a book! It's interesting that no matter what our situation is, we are all learning the same thing--how to rely on the Savior. I think you're ultra brave for sharing your journey with the world.

p.s.Where can we pre-order the book? :)

Brynn said...

Wow. This is big, Sam. I mean it. Really big. I can already feel the power this book will have. So, count me in as one of the top cheerleaders of this project.

Saskia said...

I'm a relatively new reader of your blog and am now reading all your earlier posts ;-) I was wondering, did you finish the book? That ought to be a very good read.

Shaylin + Cody said...

So, I'm new to this blog, and I love it already! I've gone through .. oh probably the first 5 pages of posts (: Anyways, this book sounds awesome. One of my best friends just went through a divorce at 21 years old, and my Dad and brother have both been divorced twice, so I'm no stranger to divorce. I love the way you write in your posts and I'm so excited to read your book when you're finished with it! Do you have a tentative release date? Way to go! I already know you're an amazing woman, and I don't even know you (:

Heidi said...

I'm new to this blog, and got divorced a little over a year ago, after a year of marriage. I have frequently thought over the last year that divorce needs to be less taboo in the church. It was so hard at first to sit through celestial marriage lessons in Relief Society, and hear comments like, "The ONLY reason for divorce is abuse." When in all actuality, divorce is a harsh reality, and while I do believe it should be worked out if it possibly can be, you can't force somebody to stay who doesn't want to. And that makes neither party a bad person.

Sorry for the soapbox, I just have so much to say on the topic, haha. Anyway, thank you for your thoughts, it's always good to be reminded that I'm not alone in these things. Have a good day!