Since leaving the Mormons, I've had to really try to see the good in this community in which I live. If I don't consciously seek beauty, I'll get trapped in the mudpit of Mormon superficiality and its saturation of the culture.
This past Saturday, my husband and I went on a hike with some local exmo friends. We took a trail from Spanish Fork Canyon, and hiked to Fifth Water Hot Springs. The mountains at this time of year are still covered in snow, but there wasn't much on the trail. The river was roaring next to us the whole time, and the smell of sulpher was sometimes too much for me.
When I was hiking (and listening to my MP3 player) and as I looked at the towering trees and peaks around me, I felt worlds apart from the Mormons. I felt free and happy and excited about life. The still small voice--you know, the one that tells you you're not good enough--was nowhere to be found. Because of this, I was reminded of a time long ago when I felt that same feeling. (don't continue to read if you're related to me!) One time, while at girls camp, my friends and I decided to ditch one of the activities and go hiking up the mountain a bit. When we were up there we found a nice green meadow with several big, flat rocks scattered around. We thought it would be fun to go naked-tanning. So we did! No guilt, no shame, just fun. It was so warm! The rocks warmed our backs, and the sun warmed our fronts. That's one of only a handful of times I let myself be so vulnerable, and I was greatly surprised to not get hurt.
Utah is a really beautiful place, and the weather is great here. I need to get out of the valley more, and into the wild!