• Alyse

Ladder to Nowhere


My goal one day is to die.


This is not a suicide note, nor do I wish it for anytime soon, but it's inevitable right? I will die, so why not make it my ultimate goal?


I posted something the other day on Facebook because I had an interesting experience that left me feeling things I didn't realize I needed to feel. I seriously love those moments. I live for those moments.

Here's what I said, and you'll recognize this:


Differences between Utah and Oregon. Common question people ask when first meeting: Utah: So, what does your husband do? Oregon: So, where do you work?


Utah has a very serious cultural problem. I pick on Utah, because I was born and raised there, and have been raising my own children there. Utah is what I know. I know that we all carry different perspectives, but this one is mine so take what you will from it.


I have been asked this question "So, what does your husband do?" countless times. I've had lengthy conversations about my husbands career, where he's been, where he's going, I've even mentally saved some jokes about how I don't really know what it is he does because it's a bit over my head.

What I have known about this interaction is that I'm left feeling empty. These interactions feel... Hmmm... dumb, honestly, but it's more then that. It feels fake somehow, like you're shooting the breeze, and the interaction has no weight behind it. The connection to this person I'm chatting with has no real value, because they're interested in someone who's not even in the same room. Granted, I'm happy they're interested, but that's been my life. I am Shawn's wife. I have not been Alyse. I have been Shawn's wife. I've known that these interactions bother me because I've been saying this for years.


What I didn't know was how I would feel when someone I've never met would ask me "What do you do?".

I'm taken aback...

"What? You're actually interested in me?"

I've practiced those lines about my husband for over a decade, and now I'm left dumbfounded... what do I say about myself?! What DO I do? Who am I? What is my purpose?

Yes, it goes deep. Suddenly... I'm important, and I don't know how to handle that.

But, I'm happy. I'm overwhelmingly happy to have found a place where it's not automatic to throw your value below your husband. These women who did this, who continue to do this, do this to themselves as well. They do this to each other. It's second nature to devalue yourself as a woman in the state of Utah because you are below your man.

Think about this, my Utah friends, and hold your own value. Don't ask your friends about their husbands, unless your talking to their husbands. Ask them about themselves. Please. This one simple rephrase gave me a sense of self. "What do YOU do?" even if it's hobbies, or child rearing, it's not beneath any one.


Yes, I read too much into things, and lately language and culture are incredibly fascinating to me. Some cultures have words for feelings that we don't have, so do we even understand those feelings? Multi-lingual people are able to carry different perspectives on life simply because they understand the structure of a different language, and within that structure lies the importance placed on people, things, and the culture that we can't possibly carry without the understanding of their words.

Suddenly, I'm obsessed with words, and sentence structure because it is everything.


Anyway, that was a profound realization, at least for me. Someone else would brush it off, whatever.

Thank you Oregon for giving me a sense of value.


This move to Oregon has been a big deal for a lot of reasons. It's a fresh start for all of us, for me.


My mental state for, well, most of my life has been that I am worthless. Maybe not worthless, I'm raising children who carry a well-to-do family's name and who actually get a chance to follow their dreams and have a good future, full of self confidence and pride in who they are...

Any worth I've carried has not been mine at all.

I have never had potential. Or opportunity.

The truth of that is, that it's not true at all, but it's what I have believed, so it became my truth, especially in Utah.


So here I am, on New Year's Eve contemplating my life and it's purpose, or rather, my own potential.


This nation, outside of just Utah, has a big problem. You must work. All people must work, and if you do not, well, life is incredibly difficult for you and those around you.

This is where worth is held, on the thing you "do". If you don't "do" a thing for money, you do nothing. Women in Utah feel this too, despite the pride to raise a family. Those "work from home and sell leggings, books, make-up, and cookware... etc" are to fill the hole inside of yourself, and your pockets, because you are beneath your man. If your man left you... what do you have to offer?

Here's my opposite problem:


Each time Shawn gets a raise, or a new job he makes what he made PLUS whatever I managed to pull in and then some. Making me feel like what I'm doing is pretty much a waste of time. Why am I working when I know the money I make literally makes no difference in our lives, whatsoever?!

That is a first world problem if ever I did hear one.


So, I must work! Because I was raised to believe that my only worth is in the job I carry, and so I've built myself to wish and dream of being some amazing career woman, only to come across my other problem of whatever money I make makes no difference so why would I work a job I don't feel passionately about and waste my life making pennies that don't matter?!


Mom would call me "Hoity-Toity" because who on earth has problems like these?!


Me, I do, thank you very much.


**serious facepalm**


With all of that being said, 2018 was weird and left me with a new perspective on a LOT of things in life:

Family

Careers

Money

Sex

Religion Addiction

Identity

... etc.


And then through more fascinating conversations with the love of my life, the man I am not beneath, but who works with me, side by side, for all that we have and do, he asked a question that ripped everything I believe apart.

"What can you not compromise on?"

God dammit, Shawn, I love you more then anything in this universe.


I recognize how lucky I am to be sitting here and thinking to myself "I get to chose what I do with my life, I don't have to accept just any job to fulfill some weird dream I was told I am supposed to have. I can sit here and contemplate what I NEED from this existence."

But... Wow, that feels impossible.


The things I can't compromise on feel nebulous.

World peace for starters.

No more walls.

True freedom to chose your destiny.

A world free of greed. and full of community.

Will anything ever truly matter without these things?


I NEED this from the world, because we are destroying each other.

The problems I face, you face, we face, we create for each other. We ALL contribute to the suffering of others, even those of us who passionately spout how awful that is.


This is the mind I have, and live with every day.


I don't know what I want, I don't know what I NEED... can I really sit here and make resolutions, when normally I love resolutions?! I really do! I'm a passionate, goal driven individual. I need goals, projects, ideas, people... etc.


I need to flip this over and look at this as an opportunity.


My goal one day is to die. No matter which ladder I chose to hop on and climb, I will eventually fall to my death. None of these ladders have any other destination.


So, what now?


My only answer is, I'm going to do everything. If I can think of it, and I want it, I will attempt it.

I've already been so many things, and that is one consistency in my life. Every day I have a new idea. Every day I want something different. I can't seem to settle into any ONE life or thing I "do" so why not do it all?!

I will climb all the ladders.

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