I'm feeling pretty fantastic right now. I just finished off a bottle of Cabernet that I opened a couple of nights ago.
I should mention- I moved to Salt Lake City.
So, I'm in Salt Lake, and that means that I have some of Me Olde BYU friends to connect with.
They are spread out all over the Spectrum (the Mormon/Not-Mormon-Anymore Spectrum).
Today, I met with Ye Olde friend, Ben. He's adjunct faculty at, yes, The BY.
Yesterday, he had said, "Let's meet at the slab." For a BYU theatre person, we know that means the slab of granite that resides on the 3rd floor of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
I spent countless hours in the HFAC. Countless. When I didn't have classes elsewhere on campus, I was there. Theatre classes, rehearsals, performances, watching plays, parties, naps, shooting the shit.
And, of course, this is where I met Matt.
You guys know, if you've read posts in this blog or ever ever ever talked to me, that I was happy with the divorce. We both were. Both very amicable and on the same page, as it were. But, boy... the BAGGAGE.
The last time I cried about all that in relation to Mormonism at all was probably 4 years ago.
Today, I cried again.
But, first, The Slab. The first thing I said to Ben, when I met him at the Slab, was, "So many emotions being here."
His response, "That was actually the first thing I was gonna ask you about."
We went to his office and talked for a bit about just that.
The Theatre Department (the professors, the students, the program) is what saved me from utter seething bitterness while I was at The Lord's University. If you appreciate the Arts, in any way, you know what I mean. Open-mindedness. Safety. Permission to be human. Expectation to be human.
So, as I sat chatting with Ben in his office, feeling things that were as tangible as my flesh- wonderful feelings of a past home and meaty rememberances of emptiness- I cried. And these tears thanked me as they seeped out of my eyeballs. "Ashley! Thank you for releasing us! You've kept us in for so long!"
They were special tears. Special Ashley's-Time-at-BYU-is-in-a-Separate-Compartment-From-Leaving-Mormonism-in-General tears.
It felt kinda great. And Ben kept apologizing that I was crying. (You're so sweet, Ben!)
In other words, today, at BYU, I did some healing. "Thank you, BYU! Thank you, Universe! Thank you, Angels! Thank you, Oprah! Thank you, Tom Cruise!"
I told Ben about that feeling you have when you know something's wrong- a pit in your stomach, like a nausea. I told Ben that I had that feeling everyday of my marriage.
I told Ben about how unhappy I was, as a person, at BYU and then later in life, feeling betrayed because, I followed the formula. The formula for happiness. T's: crossed. I's: dotted. Every goddamn one.
I talked to Ben about all our mutual friends who were in BYU Theatre with us, who were hiding and closeted and TRYING. SO. FUCKING. HARD. to be whateverrrrrrr it was The Church wanted them to be. (you know...straight.)
I cried and cried and mother effing cried.
I wasn't prepared for this. I felt stupid at first. But I was with one of the best possible people for this unplanned, unexpected, unpretty outburst to occur. I was in a safe place, and this stuff needed to come out.
Ben said some amazing things that I don't know if are okay to repeat. He IS adjunct at the BY...
I did some healing because of my visit to BYU and with Ben. But it only scratched the surface.
BYU was a huge chunk of my life. My first time away from home. A place I went looking for Identity. A place that I needed to feel like I'd made it.
And now, just having had a shot of Vodka, I go to bed to postpone digging deeper than the surface... for now. I unearthed some shit, y'all.