Friday, October 27, 2006

garments

I took off my garments for the first time when I was still a church-goer, but mostly a non-believer. They were just made up by JS, after all. But the Mormon paradigm made me feel terribly guilty about it. Maybe I was doing something wrong. Wasn’t I allowing Satan to have all power over me? Didn’t the garments distinguish me as Mormon? Didn’t they protect my spirituality? Didn’t they protect me from sin? Did this mean I was going to inevitably commit adultery with the next guy I saw? Hadn’t I made a covenant? So I put them back on.

Strangely, they provided a sense of comfort. I was back in my old paradigm, comfortable, wrapped in my heritage and all that is known to me.

Then I thought, this is silly. They’re just underwear. A church telling me what underwear to wear? Off again. On again. Off again. Switching back and forth with my confused worldviews. After a couple weeks, they were off for good.

I moved my pile of garments to an out-of-the-way drawer. A few months later, when I needed the drawer space, I moved them into a garbage bag in the closet. When I cleaned out the closet, I moved them into the basement storage space. A few months later (how long was it?) when I was re-arranging the basement, I took the whole bag and chucked it into the dumpster. I saved one pair and my temple clothes, for what, I don’t know. To show curiosity-seekers?

It was too anti-climactic. It was a significant day, and so insignificant at the same time. It took me a long time to be ready to actually get rid of them completely. So when I did get rid of them—and all the heavy symbolism with them—why did I choose to just toss them in the dumpster?

On the one hand, dropping them unceremoniously showed how little authority the church has over my thinking and behavior now. That's certainly a good thing. But on the other hand, I obtained them in such a ceremonious (and creepy) manner, and they had influenced my daily life for years. Might it have been more catharctic to get rid of them with more, I don't know, ritual? Perhaps I wanted a little ritual. I still miss ­a little ritual.

I’ve heard of some people burning them, but that seems a little too much. Angry. These are still the sacred implements of my parents, after all.

A few words, maybe.

“Old Joe, these once marked who was a polygamist in your little cult, and they ruled my wardrobe for x years—I am done with them and you.”

Or

“Today I’m reinforcing that the church no longer rules my life.”

Or

“F--k you, G!”

Now I can’t even remember the day. Was it summer, winter? Was it sunny or night time? How long after taking them off was it? Why does it matter to me now?

Readers: What did you do? Or are you still stuck with them for various reasons?

7 comments:

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

Some of my early posts touched on this a little and it's interesting to see how different people went through this. After making up my mind that the church was all a bunch of bull, I made the decision to go drinking with my brothers. One was already inactive and the other found out the truth when I did. We were heartbroken and pissed. Right before we went drinking, I rent my garments. I literally tore my top off of my body and into pieces. That was the last time I ever wore my garments.

from the ashes said...

Wow, that sounds like it was really amazing. All the anger and despair being manifest in a physical act of destroying the symbol of your old life.

And lucky you that you have brothers out. I'm jealous.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Never wore them...I'd probably have done what you did. Just put them in the garbage after a year of having them out of the way.

Christy said...

My story parallels yours in so many ways. My first time without garments was when my husband and I took a trip to southern california to see U2, that was April 1, 2005. I was actually thinking about blogging about it this morning... maybe I will later today. But same as you, they were on again, off again, on again, then off forever.

Abner Doon said...

Here's the post I made on the Foyer about 1 1/2 years ago:

"I feel somewhat ridiculous announcing this, but it's an important step for me, and who else would understand? Today I bid a formal goodbye to the magical worldview. An outward sign of an inward awakening, you might say. I gathered up all my garments, placed them into a garbage bag, and put that bag into the garbage can. No ceremonies, no fanfare. (If I'd had a lucky rabbit's foot, I'd have thrown it away, too.) Of course, I'm not leaving the church, so I had to buy some white T-shirts and boxers lest a believer should catch a glimpse of colored gentile underwear and go Danite on me, but that's a small price to pay. Radio to temple: Abner has left the building. Permanently."

montchan said...

It was tough to take them off. I don't know why. And then I kept them. For a long time.

Finally, one day I was detailing my car and found the box in the garage. So I put them to good use.

It felt so liberating to be wiping off hubcaps with them.

from the ashes said...

Hi, abner! Glad to see you around. Sounds like the garbage route is common.

Christy- I think we took our Gs off within days of each other. Funny, eh? Kindred spirits.

montchan- I found it tough to get rid of mine too. They sat in that bag for a long time. I like the hubcap thing, you heathen!