Hi there!

Hi there! Welcome to my corner of the internets. I'm a 26 year old therapist, photographer, and shop owner currently living in Seattle, Washington. My online spaces are educational and lifestyle accounts dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering women through digital art, home design, and travel.... with a touch of humor and personality sprinkled throughout. Stay a while!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Ask A Mormonish Girl: Part 5.

Happy Sunday! We're back for another "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" post! For anyone new, this is a series where I talk about my feelings on religion, being member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka "Mormon"), and reconciling all of this with democrat/liberal values. My goal of these posts is to help you know you're not alone with your questions and concerns AND to actually talk about them and create some conversation past "just have faith and it will work out". Overall, I believe in imperfect relationships, both with people and institutions. This series documents my very imperfect relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

(P.S. Please subscribe via email to be notified of future posts!)

If you don't see your question answered this week, please keep submitting it! I will get to all of them eventually! Every Sunday I post a question box on my Instagram (@emmycoletti) and I will save it in the highlight "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl". If your question is too long (or you don't have Instagram), feel free to email me instead at emmycoletti@gmail.com

How is it possible to not see the church as black and white? Belief wise? As in, it's either 100% true or it's 100% false? 

I'm starting this post off with this question, because I want to link this scene from Friends that is honestly so relative. I especially love the conversation that starts at 2:20, with "you believe in something and I don't" and Phoebe calling out Ross's "obsessive need to make everyone agree with you". P.S. After 4:10, I don't agree with her outlook and criticizing someone for "caving". 

Overall, I think it's important to not see anything black and white. Nothing in life is going to be all good or all bad. Every relationship, job, experience, etc. is going to be somewhere in the middle, with both good and bad parts. I've talked about how our relationships with institutions are going to be similar to our relationships with people: imperfect. 

Specifically to the church, just reading up on mainstream church history with polygamy, black people not allowed the priesthood, etc., it's clear to me this church is being run by very imperfect people. And if it has been "wrong" about things in the past, I don't see why that would be any different today haha. I'm just curious to see all the policy changes that have been made by the time I am 80. 

If we're arguing religion null based on science, science doesn't necessarily have a better track record in the "right" category than religion. (Ex: It used to think the earth was flat, bleeding people out got rid of disease, the atom was the smallest thing, etc.) 

So, to roughly quote Mark Manson from the book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: "Certainty is the enemy of growth... The more you try to be certain of something, the more insecure and uncertain you will feel. But, the converse is true as well. The more you embrace not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don't know. Uncertainty removes our judgement of others. It also relieves us of our judgments of ourselves."

If your husband is not nuanced, how do you navigate the difference? Are you the only Mormonish person in your family? If not, how did/do they react to your views?

First and foremost, while I have chosen to be open with the whole internet about my beliefs and thoughts, I want to respect the privacy of my family and partner when it comes to what they believe. 

I think this question goes along really well with the Friends clip. In a lot of relationships (whether romantic partnerships or family/friends), I think we are the Ross: We feel closeness is dependent on how similar we are to each other and any amount of difference is taken as a bad thing. So, we obsess about making others agree with us and with tearing down any beliefs they have that are different from ours. However, this isn't actually healthy relationship growth. Let me nerd out on a theory of couple development really quick. (That I think can be applied to any relationship.)

So there are five stages of development couple's go through (as developed by Susan Campbell):

1. Romance:

  • Common interests are focused on and differences are minimized/ignored
  • Few demands are placed on each other
  • They identify as a couple/unit, and lose a little bit of their identity of self. (Kind of like how babies identify with their mom and don't realize she is a separate person.)
 2. Power struggle: 

  • Differences that were overlooked during the romance phase are now looked at
  • The identity as a couple/unit fades and they start to see themselves as individuals again
  • In order to survive this phase, the couple has to:
    • Acknowledge the differences
    • Forfeit the fantasy of complete harmony/sameness
    • Accept the partner without the need to change them

I'm going to interject here for a second and say that power struggle is what tears a lot of relationships (romantic or family) apart. When we're talking about faith/differences in faith, it comes down to those same principles: Can you acknowledge your family/partner/friend has different belief systems than you? Can you accept the differences and let go of this very toxic idea that we all have to think the same in order to have good relationships? Can we accept our family member's/partner's beliefs without trying to change them? And P.S. this goes both ways. An ex-mormon person trying to tear down someone's faith it just as annoying as a Mormon person trying to convert someone, in my opinion. 

Last 3 phases are less relevant to this question but I'll add them in: 

3. Stability: 
  • Partners start redirecting time away from their partner and focusing on their self development. 
  • Learn to balance intimacy and independence. 
  • The goal: Know how to be intimate/part of a couple without sacrificing your independence/self identity. 
4. Commitment: 
  • Partners embrace that both are human and have short comings. 
  • Acknowledge the good of the relationship outweighs the bad and commit to it. 
5. Co-creation:
  • Partners value and respect the separateness of the other. (I view this as supporting the partner's independence: i.e. hobbies that are away from you, spending time with other people, etc.)
  • The foundation of the relationship is not "need", but a genuine appreciation and love for the partner.
  • They support and respect each other and work toward mutual growth. 
So, I don't know if that helps answer the question, but the TL;DR of how I navigate differences with any relationship in my life is accepting that there are differences, differences are healthy, and not trying to change other people's minds. Likewise, I'm lucky to be surround by so many great people who, while they may not hold my same beliefs, are able to accept that I believe what I believe.

Don't be a Ross haha. Don't waste your time trying to convert people to your way of thinking, unless they directly ask. Likewise, be like Phoebe and shrug people off when they come at you, trying to convert you to their way of thinking.

Do you wear garments? Do you go to the temple?

I debated answering this question and even wrote out a whole answer where I went into detail about what I do/don't do right now haha. However, I am deleting it because I don't feel like what I personally do or don't do is relevant to you and what you decided to do or don't do. 

My relationship with all things church waxes and wanes. Sometimes I am more into things that others, and if I know anything about the internet, it's that the second I say: "Here's what I do!" I will be grouped into a box and people will comment on anything I do that's outside of that box haha.

I will say, I have not been to the temple since they made the changes and once the pandemic is over, I do plan to go. I am very curious about the changes and want to see them for myself. 

Why can men be sealed to many women, but women can only be sealed to one man?

So first things, first, lets go over the official church rules: When women are living, they can only be sealed to one man. However, once they are dead, they can be sealed to all the men to whom they were legally married. Men can be sealed to all their wives while they are living and dead. (Church handbook link here.) 

Why women can only be sealed to more than one man once they are dead? Here are my thoughts (note: thoughts, not the official policy/explanation from the church). Women used to only be able to receive "blessings" through their husbands, so it makes sense that in order to get women more access to the blessings, men were allowed to be sealed to more than one woman. However, with the recent wording changes in the temple, I am curious if this policy will eventually change and women will also be able to be sealed to more than one man while she is alive. (For temple wording changes, read this Salt Lake Tribune article at your own risk, I don't think it says anything the church wouldn't want to be known, but I know how worried people get about talking about what goes on in temples.) I think women only being able to sealed to one man is a leftover patriarchal idea from when feminism was still something to be feared haha. 

Also, as I'm sure someone will bring up, the wording doesn't talk about men being sealed "to women". You'll note it's "men can have women sealed to them" or "women can be sealed to men". So men are the subject/object of power in both situations. I know this bothers people, but honestly to me I'm like, what else do we expect from a religion that still has so much patriarchy? Lol. 

I'm having a hard time feeling ok in my calling because I have differentiated in many ways from many areas/topics within the church. I know at some point my testimony will be "different". How do we handle callings of leadership in the church (especially with youth) when we are so hurt by and against many ways in which this church is led?

I've had similar feelings to this and the conclusion I've come to is this: If we are believing that callings are inspired from God, and that God knows us individually, then I'd say maybe you're in that calling because God wants those kids to get a little bit of a different perspective haha.

I've also just accepted that if I get released from a calling because people don't like my perspective, then so be it. 

What are your thoughts on the cultural expectation for kids growing up into the church to get baptized when they turn 8?

I haven't thought too much about it, honestly! I mean, I guess how much of a decision can an 8 year old make anyway? I don't find it too different from baptism in any other church, as far as consent. Baptizing a baby and a child is kind of in the same boat for me. I guess I'd hope that parents explain what it means and then let kids decide what they want to do. Instead of assuming their child wants to get baptized and talking about it as if it's going to happen, without even asking the kid what they want. But, I think most 8 year olds chose to do what their parents want, in either direction. I think kids catch on to a lot more than we realize. 

That being said, if a child chooses not to get baptized, I obviously hope that decision is met with respect, as with anything else! 


Ok, that's all for this week! I did get some questions about LGBTQIA+, but think I want to make that it's own edition! So I'll save those for a another week. 

That's it for this week! Kinda a hodge podge of random questions, but it was fun to switch it up! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:

For all questions garment related, click here

Click here to read the answers to: What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?

Click here to read the answers to: I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand? Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism. Do you believe the church is true?

And click here for last week where I answered: Have you ever been treated like you're dangerous for questioning? How do you stay nuanced? I feel so much guilt to be in or out. How to deal with church when you're an "evil democrat"? Do you have advice for dating outside the church but wanting to keep the same standards (i.e., no sex before marriage, no drinking, etc.) Is staying in the church the end all be all for salvation? How do you feel about the members relationships with prophets? Sometimes it seem like they put the prophet's words above Christ's teachings. Talking to boundaries/family around how you love your faith vs how they think you should? How did you decide to stop wearing your garments? Do you feel unqualified to attend the temple because you don't wear them? What are ways converts can come off wordly things such as coffee, since we have to? How do you feel about paying tithing?

Until next week!


Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti

Friday, December 11, 2020

Causebox Review

Hello and happy Friday! I just wanted to start this post off by saying this not sponsored haha. I have been eyeing the Causebox for a while and finally tested it out this fall! Now that I've been using the products for a while, I wanted to share thoughts on if this box is worth it. 

So, the box itself is about $50, but (as with all these boxes) has about $200+ worth of items in it. I have been trying to be more conscious about what businesses I support with my money, so Causebox was obviously the subscription box I was eyeing as they promote socially-conscious products (you can read more about that here). I needed a new bathrobe, so I figured if I hated everything else, $50 for a socially-conscious bathrobe was still worth it to me. But, I've actually ended up loving everything!!! Let's dive in.

A few things to note: 

1. If you're a monthly subscriber (pay per box instead of once for the whole year), you don't get to pick between the two choices. 

2. They also provide you with a little book that talks about each product and the team that makes them, which I thought was such a thoughtful touch. Some of the product backstories were really cool and I loved being able to see pictures of the real people who created them. 

3. Subscribers have access to their "market", which is open for limited windows and a place where you can purchase anything that's been in a box for a huge discount. Which is amazing if you loved a product, you can get a huge discount for gifts for friends/family (or more for yourself :) haha!)

Ok so, THE PRODUCTS. There were 6 products in total. 4 of these options came from 2 choices, and like I said, if you're not a yearly subscriber, which you get is random. 

Product #1: Bathen Waffle Bathrobe in Mint or Charcoal OR Bathen Waffle Towel Set in Mint or Charcoal. 

Like I said, the bathrobe was what I was most excited for/hoping for. And I got it!! I love using a bathrobe, but our place gets so hot in the summer (Seattle doesn't believe in air conditioning and we live in a 3 story townhome haha). So, I am so excited to have a lighter weight bathrobe to use during the hotter months. It feels like great quality and of course, I'm a sucker for anything ethically made. 

I can't find these robes for sale anywhere online right now, but here are some of Bathen's other robes. They look a little pricier than the waffle one, which makes me even more excited to decided to subscribe to this box and landed such a deal haha. 

Product #2: Artisan Direct Milky Way Lantern OR Tease Tea Glass 3-in-1 Tea & Fruit Tumbler

I ended up getting the lantern and I was literally gasping for air at how cute it is! I have just a cheap little set of string lights from the Target dollar section that I put inside of it and it is so cozy and cute. I've had it in the nursery and love the cozy vibes it gives it. I think I'm going to keep it there as we continue to decorate, for sure.

I couldn't find a link for this online either! I'm realizing the benefit of the marketplace where you can buy more of the products that you love. They'd make great, one of kind gifts! 

Product #3: Buzzy Basil Grow Kit OR The Green Co. Set of 10 Reusable Facial Rounds

I got the reusable facial rounds (I honestly feel like I got all of the best products haha) and was stoked! I have been wanting to transition from using makeup remover wipes to reusable facial rounds and micellar water. I have now been using them for a few months and love them! My only complaint is that I don't have enough haha! I use them at night to take off my makeup and then will wash my face in the name of double cleansing. 

Yay, found a link! You can get them for $14 here

Product #4: Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Gel OR Tribe Alive Rose Gold Criss Cross Cuff OR Volim Love Scrub

Once again, I feel like I got so lucky with the best option haha. I love simple jewelry and this cuff is so pretty!

Couldn't find a link for this one either! But you can shop Tribe Alive's website here

Product #5: Core Bamboo Bamboo Serve Set

Ok, so with the last two products, everyone got these in their box. The cutting boards we were using were seriously laughable, and I have been loving the bamboo one! (I love bamboo. I swear, we have so many things made from bamboo haha.) I honestly haven't used the spatula or tongs yet (note to self: eat more salad), but they feel like great quality. 

Once again, this specific set is not available online. But, you can still shop Core Bamboo's products here

Product #6: Way of Will Brightening Face Serum

So this was the product I was least excited about, mostly because I know nothing about skincare haha. HOWEVER. I have ended up loving it! I put it on after my lotion on my no-make-up days, and I feel like it just gives a nice moisturized feel throughout the day. 

I found it online for you for $24 here

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the Causebox! I feel like I got a lot for what it cost. When I saw they were having a winter box, I signed up again and was even able to find a discount code via Honey that brought my total all the way down to $34! I'm super excited to see what's in the winter box and am trying to avoid spoilers to keep it a fun surprise haha. 

Anyway, if you've gotten a Causebox, feel free to share your thoughts below! And let me know if you want to see another review of the products for the next box. 

Also, if you missed it, I did an unboxing on my IGTV. I made it in the throes of morning sickness, so excuse my awkward non-ending haha. And, if you wanted to try a box, you can use my link to get $10 off. And it will also gift me $15 for another box. So it's basically like your gifting yourself AND myself something haha. 

I hope you all have a great weekend! I've got some baking and house projects to keep me busy. As well as a potential Harry Potter marathon, because those always scream Christmas to me for some reason lol. 

Your Best Friend On The Internet,
Emmy Coletti

Monday, November 30, 2020

Ask A Mormonish Girl - Part 4

Good morning and happy Monday! 

We're back for another "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" post! For anyone new, this is a series where I talk about my feelings on religion, being member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka "Mormon"), and reconciling all of this with democrat/liberal values. My goal of these posts is to help you know you're not alone with your questions and concerns AND to actually talk about them and create some conversation past "just have faith and it will work out". Overall, I believe in imperfect relationships, both with people and institutions. This series documents my very imperfect relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

(P.S. Please subscribe via email to be notified of future posts!)

If you don't see your question answered this week, please keep submitting it! I will get to all of them eventually! Every Sunday I post a question box on my Instagram (@emmycoletti) and I will save it in the highlight "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl". If your question is too long (or you don't have Instagram), feel free to email me instead at emmycoletti@gmail.com

Have you ever been treated like you're dangerous for questioning? 

Not to my face haha. 

How do you stay nuanced? I feel so much guilt to be in or out. 

One of the first things I do with my clients is teach them about "cognitive distortions" aka ways our thinking is distorted. I give them this worksheet. You'll notice one of the distortions is thinking in black and whites. I think everything in life is nuanced, not just religion. Science is nuanced: For everything we "know", there are 10 things we don't. Relationships are nuanced: Highs and lows are normal and liking and disliking things in others is normal. Jobs are nuanced: I've never met someone who loves their job 100% of the time haha... You get the point. 

For me, accepting nuance means accepting things for what they are, instead of trying to change them into what they can't be. 

How to deal with church when you're an "evil democrat"?

I know Jesus wasn't political... BUT. If we look at some democrat values... I'm not entirely convinced Jesus wouldn't support them... ,hahahaha. Jesus was all for sharing, being kind and welcoming, and loving everyone. He spent his time with the most marginalized people and stood up for them. I have a hard time imaging Jesus supporting a border wall? Or kicking immigrants out of the country. I can't imagine him supporting capitalism that leaves 99% of the wealth with 1% of the population. 

I mean, you could surely argue that his ideology aligns with Republican values as well. But, all I'm saying is that I don't think Jesus would have thought Democrats are evil haha. And I'm biased, but I do think a lot of what he believed in (equality, equity, forgiveness, sharing, love, acceptance) is align with Democratic values. 

Do you have advice for dating outside the church but wanting to keep the same standards (i.e., no sex before marriage, no drinking, etc.)

I mean, I immediately go to my therapist hat which is: Figure out what your values are, what your comfortable with in partner, and then communicate that with your partner so you know if you're compatible. I don't think necessarily needs to be in your Tinder bio or talked about on the first date haha. But, if you meet someone and have a genuine interest after getting to know them more, then I think it's good to let them know where you stand.

Is staying in the church the end all be all for salvation?

I'm going to refer back to my answer on the last question of this post

How do you feel about the members relationships with prophets? Sometimes it seem like they put the prophet's words above Christ's teachings. 

I would say I agree, this does happen, but that it is align with the religion. Mormons believe in continuing revelation which essentially means what the current prophet says trumps what past books/prophets have said. We also believe the prophet is a mouthpiece for God and Jesus' will. So, if a member does put the prophet's words above Christ's teachings, I think that aligns pretty well with what the religion believes. 

Talking to boundaries/family around how you love your faith vs how they think you should?

What they think you should do has no meaning to you. It's just someone's opinion. Are we also going to wear what people think we should wear? And love the shows they think we'll love? I think the main problem here is seeking validation from people we're not going to get it from and not being able to self-validate. What other people think of you is none of your business. Only you can know what's best for you. Whatever way you have/don't have faith... that's your choice! Don't seek approval from others for your decisions. And don't let their opinions make you question your decisions. No one knows you as well as you do, therefore no one is in a better decision to make YOUR decisions than... you. :) 

(I'm saying this so casually, but it took me like... tons of therapy to learn that haha.)

How did you decide to stop wearing your garments? Do you feel unqualified to attend the temple because you don't wear them?

Temple qualifications make me lol because it's just some dude in the bishopric determining my "worthiness". I've heard so much variability between what one bishop passes off vs what another would withhold a recommend for. So, "do I feel unqualified" vs "am I unqualified" are different questions. I guess I'll find out what I'm "qualified" for during my next temple recommend interview. 

Also, I never said I decided to stop wearing my garments 😊. People seem to want to label me as Mormon or Ex-Mormon and I can't stress "Mormonish" enough hahahaha. The religious things I do wax and wane, sometimes I am more Mormon, sometimes I am less Mormon. I never make permanent decisions about anything, because like I said above, I love nuance and living in the gray area. And I am always learning more about this religion, as well as seeing this religion change. Garments are the same nuanced thing for me. My relationship with them will wax and wane, but I don't think I'll ever force myself into making a final decision to wear them or stop wearing them. 

I also think this question is mostly asked as people are searching for some sense of validation/approval/community. My answer is and always will be: You do you and no one else's garment wearing or not wearing should determine what you're comfortable with. Religion and spirituality is a personal journey and regardless of what someone else does, you have to find comfort and validation in yourself and your relationship with what you believe in.

What are ways converts can come off wordly things such as coffee, since we have to?

I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this, because I was raised in the church and in Utah (aka Mormon-land nonetheless haha). My suggestions would be to find replacements for the routines you already have. Like find a non-coffee drink you like in the morning, or a non-coffee drink at the coffee shop you used to frequent. I know a lot of people like Crio Bru and it's Mormon approved. 

I'm also betting there is probably a Facebook group out there for converts where you could ask this and get good suggestions! I know there are a few for LDS newlyweds, and LDS women and healthy sexuality (or at least I think that's what they're called). 

How do you feel about paying tithing?

A lot better now that I have 100% of my money go to the humanitarian fund. This is another one of those "am I qualified" vs if a member of the bishopric will think I am qualified during tithing settlement haha. I guess I'll find out! If they don't count it as tithing, I might look into donating 10% of my income to some other places, since I'm going to be marked as not paying anyway lol. But, as a whole, I'm all for donating money!


That's it for this week! Kinda a hodge podge of random questions, but it was fun to switch it up! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:

For all questions garment related, click here

Click here to read the answers to: What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?

Last week's post I answered: I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand? Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism. Do you believe the church is true?

Until next week!


Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Pandemic Style

We were originally going to go to a cabin in Washington with our friends from Utah this year for Thanksgiving, but when the mayor rolled out the new restrictions, we decided it was probably best to cancel. Especially with COVID-19 spreading so much, it just didn't seem like a good plan! So, we just did our own little thing this year. We usually don't really celebrate Thanksgiving/eat Thanksgiving food unless we're with family. But, it sounded good to the baby this year lol so we went for it! 

I'll link all the recipes we used. I made the stuffing the night before and it was surprisingly really good!  Just reheated it in the oven while the sweet potatoes cooked and it was good as new. The sweet potatoes were Ruth's Chris copycat and turned out sooo good! They were the main thing I was looking forward to, so I'm glad I wasn't disappointed lol. The rolls had a good flavor, but were definitely more like biscuits and didn't rise properly. And then the turkey... well ok, it was good, but I am paranoid about getting foodbourne illnesses lol. So I didn't eat much, but did just heat up a second helping and it was white which I think means it was safe to eat?? I never cook meat so I know nothing FML. I asked J what he thought of it and he said, "It was the most forgettable part of the meal" hahaha so guess I wouldn't recommend the recipe we used! 

We went on a lil' walk around Green Lake and have been just chillin' at home since! It's weird to think this will be our last Thanksgiving just the two of us. We'll have to establish some sort of traditions in the future haha. 


Monday, November 23, 2020

First Trimester Q&A

I actually started writing one of these when I was in my actual first trimester and I just felt dumb haha. I am not a super sentimental person. And while I am excited to have a baby etc., I think there's a little bit of an expectation for these subjects to be all I think and talk about. And that hasn't been true for me. Growing up in Mormon-land, it's really drilled into you that motherhood is the most important thing and I definitely think I've been feeling a little bit of a pressure/expectation to be wayyyy more into all this stuff than I have been so far haha. I'm accepting that I'm excited, but it's not my whole life right now. I'm still working as a therapist and running my private practice, doing creative projects on the side, dealing with a pandemic, and I was dealing a lot with what I expect will be the most important election I'll see in my life haha. So, yeah! I don't know if any of that will make sense to anyone but my future self reading this back, but basically I wanted to write all this out so I wouldn't forget the experience, while also remembering that it's ok if I'm not spending all my free time researching and planning baby stuff haha. (I mean what would my Animal Crossing villagers do if I just stopped showing up?! 😂).

But, without further ado, let's get into all the deets! And thanks for sending me questions on Instagram because I wasn't sure what I should document from this trimester haha so it definitely helped! (Also we took these pictures the day before we left Utah and it was the first time I got full ready in while lol.) (My dress was thrifted, but is the Free People "Spell On You" dress. Boots were also thrifted, but you can buy them here.)

How did you find out?

I was actually using an ovulation tracking bracelet (the Ava bracelet which I really liked!) to prevent pregnancy. Then, we used it when we were actively trying to get pregnant. So, I was tracking my ovulation/periods etc. and when I was a day or two late I went and took a test and it was positive! I was excited, but I didn't cry or anything. I actually never cried. I think the closest I got was when I told Jake and my eyes did well up a bit haha. 

How/when did you tell people?

I told Jake that day! So I think I was like, 4 weeks pregnant or something haha. It's so weird how they count the two week between your period and ovulation as "pregnant". I asked him if he wanted anything from Taco Bell and he annoyingly said "no" for literally the first time I have ever heard haha. Threw a little bit of a wrench in my plan, but it still worked out! I'll put together the video clips one day and post the video on Instagram probably. 

We were staying with my mom over the summer (when I found out) and Jake didn't think he'd be able to keep a secret lol so we told her that day or the day after. I'd always told her I'd put a bun in her oven when I am pregnant, so it was a little inside joke and nice that we were in Utah to be able to do it! 

I wanted to wait until we were out of the risky zone to tell everyone else, so we told the rest of my family and Jake's family I think after 12 weeks or so! I had pretty bad morning sickness, so Jake told his family alone. He took them a Mini Cooper toy car with the ultrasound pictures and then gave it to them as a gift. The way the pictures were folded they thought it was a receipt lol, but once he told them to look at that too they got it! I Marco Polo-d my grandma and texted my siblings. My sister thought I was joking and FaceTimed me so fast hahaha. 

How did you feel? Any body changes? Any morning sickness?

I didn't really notice any body changes. But morning sickness... Yup haha. Please enjoy this collection of Vomit Self-Portraits. (Please note this is not indicative of how much I threw up haha.)

I probably didn't leave the house for a few weeks. This is where I was grateful to be working from home and not having to go do in person sessions! I was also really happy to have my mom and Jake around to serve me so many snacks hahaha. We ended up being in Utah for basically my whole first trimester and it was really nice to be in my childhood home, with a yard for Tucker, a cold basement for myself, and two people to bring me food hahaha. Oh, and last thing I was happy about: I usually did feel better after throwing up! And I was always home so I always had a toilet to throw up in. 

But! I did start taking Unisom at some point and that did help a lot! I think I was only vomity from like... weeks 7-14ish. I went like a week or two without vomiting and that's when I started taking my Ritual prenatal because I thought my body could handle it... and then I threw up like 10 minutes before we left to drive back to Seattle lol. 

Any cravings?

Nah, just was focused on what I could stomach haha. I ended up eating a lot of cereal, fruit, and crackers. 

What prenatal vitamin did you take?

I started taking a gummy one because the ones I took with iron pre-pregnancy made me feel sick. However, taking the gummy ones got hard bc I had to eat 3 a day and the last thing I wanted to eat was candy lol. I also tried the Ritual pre-natal that is supposed to have a no-nausea iron release, and I'm pretty sure that one made me vomit lol. So, I stopped taking them pretty much! 😬

Are you going on a babymoon?

Nope, not while we're in a pandemic lol.

Any names picked out?

Nope. We've got a list, but mostly disagree on them lol. Plus I want to wait until we see her before deciding. 

How did you learn the sex?

We did the 10 week test that looks at chromosomal abnormalities as well as sex. Although I am kind of bummed because it means we missed out on getting the optional 16 week (or whenever it is) ultrasound pic that reveals the sex. So we just have the 8 week one where the baby is a little glob haha. 

What did you do to prepare?

Nothing until we got back to Seattle. (Excluding the obvious doctor visits.) Even then, I really only started clearing out my office (the nursery to-be) and buying some cute baby clothes. I do plan to do a newborn sleep class, breastfeeding class, and whatever the birthing or new parent class is offered by my hospital. Other than that, I'm not planning on reading tons of books or anything because I feel like it has been suiting me (and my anxiety) so far to just take things as they come. Too much information stresses me out lol. 

If/how much/what connection did you feel toward baby?

Not a whole ton. It's kind of just a theoretical thing until they're actually here... ya know? Like I think it will be fun and I'm looking forward to it, but I am not really the daydreaming about motherhood type. I don't want to get too set on expecting things being a certain way, so I'm just not thinking about it too much. 

Favorite moments: 

Probably the 3 weeks before I was sick haha. And seeing/hearing people's reactions when we told them haha. 

What are you most nervous for?

I am pleasantly surprised to say I am not like, extremely nervous for anything. I was very anxious pre-pregnancy but was pretty chill once I got pregnant. I was (and still am) a little nervous about postpartum and Jake not recognizing the signs and me doing something extreme, but I already have a therapist who specializes in postpartum and I plan to just schedule appointments with her every 2 weeks for a few months just to check in. And I'm going to make Jake learn a lot about it and what to look for haha. Since we don't have family nearby, it's kinda all up to him to notice if I am not acting like myself haha. I know I am a therapist, but I don't think it matters, because when it's your mental health it's hard to know what's normal and not. I have also been happy to see that my providers screen for it as well. 

What are you most excited for?

Just the change up! We've been married for 7 years and things were getting a little dull around here. It will be fun to see what her personality is like, what she looks like, new challenges and problem solving, milestones, having another human being to experience the world with, etc. 

And, that's a wrap! If I missed anything that I should document, comment/DM/text me haha. 



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Breast Reduction Q+A + 3 Year Update

Not gonna add photos to this post bc I want to keep it somewhat body positive!  

What size were you before and what size are you after?

This was by and far the most asked question haha. Before I was an F cup! (Maybe bigger but stores only go up to DD so it's hard to tell lol.) Every single day I had Jake rub my back because it hurt so much lol. Now, I am probably a D? Maybe a DD? Also harder to tell because #pregnant. But, my back pain is gone! Which was the whole goal of the surgery,

I do know they removed 316 grams from one and 233 grams from the other. 

Was your first surgery a reduction also? Or an augmentation?

Yup! A reduction!

What were the problems the surgeon had to fix in the second surgery?

So this is where I think just my body was made this way and this probably wouldn't happen to a lot of you. So, basically the skin between my boobs is lifted and doesn't lay totally flat against my sternum. (I think it was like this before the surgery, but I'm not entirely sure. I know in my pre-op photos I definitely didn't have a lot of space between my boobs so I think it's just how my body is. It also would have been a really rare thing if the lifted skin was the result of the reduction surgery.) Also my incisions were a little bit crooked! So, the second surgery was to see if she could liposuction the space between my boobs to get it to lay flat and to fix the original incisions to end at the same place.

The incisions definitely look a bit better now, but my skin is still lifted! I debate on whether or not I'll get it "fixed" one day, but I'd for sure want to wait until after I am done breast feeding before I consider it. But, even then, it doesn't seem like there's a great surgery for it and it's just an aesthetics thing. Like how many people see my boobs anyway?? Lol so it doesn't matter to me a whole ton. I don't have any pain and am worried that if I got another surgery where they put sutures between my boobs to get the skin to lay flat, it would cause a lot of pain or complications etc. So, as of now I'm rolling with my body's quirks and most likely will in the future too! 

So, I think for most people who get a reduction, it's just the one surgery! So plz don't be scared about it due to my story haha. 

Scared of losing feeling/my nipples dying?

Oh for sure! I was way scared of "nipple necrosis" as they say lol. I told my surgeon I wanted to be able to breastfeed, and I think she performed the surgery in a way that never cut off blood supply to my nipples. Mine didn't die but I know some people's do! So just a thing to talk about with your surgeon for sure! 

I also do still have some numbness in some areas! Not in my nipples, bc like I said, she didn't really cut anything off there, but the lower part of each boob is a little numb in some places. Doesn't really matter a whole ton to me though!

And then not a question, but re: comments about shame about having big boobs: 

I still would have gotten the surgery due to back pain, but I do wish I would have embraced the "look" a bit more. Growing up in a conservative culture, you're told to cover up all the time and "not to be a temptation" to the boys. *gag*. So, I felt like I had to stick to a very specific fashion/dress. However, as I am watching The Bachelorette, I am seeing Taysia with big boobs similar to where I was at and she rocks them! She dresses so cute and I wish I would have had more "fashion icons" if you will that had my body shape than the stick thin fashions I saw. The community I grew up in is definitely a little "cleavage phobic" lmao and I feel like that contributed to me (and lots of you from my DMs) feeling the need to cover up a lot... which is sooooo hard with huge boobs haha. So, shoutout to Taysia for being the fashion icon for rockin' huge boobs! 

I hope that helps! It's definitely a personal decision and I don't think you can go wrong either way! For the sake of my back, I'm really glad I got it done. A lot of people told me to wait until after I had kids bc they would shrink then, but that was too long to wait haha and I'm glad I did it when I did! I will definitely be interested to see if I can breast feed, but also I will not be extremely upset if my baby has to take formula. 

I think the biggest thing is just to know the potential negative side effects and consider if you could live with them/if they would be worth it for the benefits. 

Hope that helps! 



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Ask A Mormonish Girl - Part 3

    (Hi! Before we get into today's post: If you enjoy these posts, please sign up for email notifications! It basically just means you don't have to wait until I post a link to these posts on Instagram. You'll get an email with a link to it! Just look for the gadget on my sidebar or at the bottom of my site 😚 Thank you, as always, for all the love and support!)


    Hello and happy Tuesday! (I am 2 days late with this post haha.) We are back for another round of "Ask A Mormonish Girl", where I answer the questions you all submitted via my question box on Instagram over the past week! So far, I've really enjoyed this series and hearing that so many of you feel seen and heard. 


    My goal for these posts is always to share my thoughts (note they are my thoughts, and not necessarily the church's doctrine/beliefs) in a respectful way and create a middle path where people feel they can participate in the religion while still having concerns and reservations. I'm constantly promoting imperfect relationships, and I think we need more room for imperfect relationships with the church. I'm tired of this weird cultural where any sort of questioning or calls for betterment are labelled "anti-Mormon", shut down and shamed. The church needs a variety of voices and it is a direct result of these diverse voices, questioning, and calls for betterment that we have seen so many changes in the past. (Kids of LGBTQ+ parents now allowed to be baptized, more feminist changes in the temple, birth control being allowed lol, etc.)


    So, here's to unorthodoxy and irreverence, to respectfully voicing concerns, and to expecting more from that which expects more from us. 😎 Enjoy the post!


I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand?


    Hmmmm. This is an interesting question. I'll just be honest and say I haven't heard much about a lack of informed consent in the temple specifically. (I do remember A Thoughtful Faith had an episode about trauma informed care, where I think they did mention a lack of transparency. To this I would agree.) I'll talk more about this in the last paragraph. For now, let's start at the beginning. 


    For me, there were two things that helped when I first went through the temple. The first was having someone sit me down beforehand and walk me through what you do. I'm not sure if this is allowed actually lol. But, someone I am very close to (and who is active and attends often) was like, "I don't want you to be weirded out or confused, so let me tell you a little more about what to expect." I'll try to be vague in the name of respecting it all, but they showed me some stuff you only see in the temple and told me what to expect. At this point I had also studied other religions and I mean, they all have their unique ceremonies that could appear "strange" to an outsider. So, I was kind of expecting a lot of symbolism and stuff like that anyway.


    The second thing that helped me was curiosity. In our church, what happens inside the temple is not talked about a lot. I do wonder how much of this is cultural and people not wanting to be shamed by others vs actual orders written somewhere lol. But, ultimately I was just curious about this thing people always talked about lol. I've always been a "try to make it work" type person, so ultimately going through the temple for the first time I was just like, observing and cataloging to process later. 


     I honestly can't remember anything too shocking or that bothered me immensenly. (Actually, someone's phone did go off, which I hear is actually unheard of haha. I took it as a sign of like, "Ok, no matter how much I don't know or don't do "right", at least I didn't bring my phone in here when they specifically asked me not to haha.) Once again, I believe religion is always influenced by the culture at the time and the temple I think is no different. I wasn't expecting myself to agree with everything, understand everything, or love everything. My only expectation was to be open and respectful to new information and take my time chewing over how I felt about it all. 


    Ok, now for the lack of informed consent. Informed consent is an interesting term to use. In my therapy practice, I have to have specific "informed consent" paperwork, so that's where my lens is coming from. To me, informed consent means giving someone enough information that they know everything in order to make a decision they are comfortable with. In essence, all the cards are laid on the table and there are no surprises. I would say you don't know a lot about the temple before you experience it for yourself. The idea behind this is to keep things sacred, and honestly, seeing as how other religions have been criticized and attacked, I can understand that. However, I can also see how it could be daunting to go through something when you have no idea what's about to happen. Thus, the person in my life who told me what to expect was very helpful, and honestly, if someone came to me about to go through the temple, I would probably do the same. If the intention is to comfort and inform, I believe in a God who would be happy with that and encouraging of us bringing people to his "holiest house", as we believe temples are. 


    Back to the "informed consent" question though: I don't feel like you consent to anything without being informed of it beforehand. Granted it's been a while since I've been to a temple, but from what I remember, everything is explained to you before you make any commitments/consent. So, I wouldn't necessarily say it's not informed consent. I couldn't remember what they say about leaving, so I consulted with an active, returned missionary who informed me that at the beginning of the session they announce that if you are uncomfortable at any time you are welcome to leave.) I can definitely see the sweet, older workers (it's not always elderly people who work there, but it often is) trying to comfort someone and encourage them to stay. But, if you were really dead set on leaving, you could. 


    So, that's my two cents on first temple experiences! Don't be scared. All religions have "strange" ceremonies. There is no animal sacrifice or nudity or... anything extreme like that. It's just a bunch of symbolism as is the case in most religions. Also, you typically have to do an interview with a bishop and stake president before going through, so you could ask them as well what your options are for leaving if you start to feel uncomfortable/sick/panicky. Anyway! I hope that helps! I'm going to have an RM and active member proofread this before I publish, because I don't want any trolls telling me I "revealed" secrets of the temple haha. 

    A few things you might find helpful. (These are all church links so don't be scared to click!) This post tells you a little about what happens in the temple. You can see pictures of the types of rooms (and their meaning/purpose) here. And I actually feel like this video does a pretty good job telling you what happens during a temple endowment ceremony. This letter talks about the changes to the temple ceremonial clothing. 

I'm going to do a few quicker questions next, because whew! Turns out I can really rattle on when I get going haha. 

Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? 


    I actually don't think Mormons think wearing bikinis or crop tops is a "sin", per say. We are advised to be "modest in dress" and there's a culture where you're encouraged not to wear a bikini. But if you do, it's not like you have to confess it to the bishop or anything haha. 

Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism.


    I don't think any new age practices are against Mormonism. I mean, what are they specifically saying about them goes against the religion?? I'd be interested to hear the arguments. But, I mean, especially yoga, that's exercise for a lot of people! Meditation as well is a really well researched positive thing to do for mental health. Psychics... that one I could see more of an argument with as it gets into the whole "do we have free will/agency or is life pre-determined", but I mean eh. I don't see a strong argument against it there even. I might write about this more in the future as I get more comments/DMs about what the arguments are that new age practices are against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You've got me intrigued now haha.

Do you believe the church is true?


    I believe a lot of churches have a lot of truths. If I was a God and my main goal was to get people to have me in their life, I would definitely create a lot of avenues/religions to get people there, as I would assume there was going to be a lot of cultural/personality differences. 


Whew! That's all for today, folks! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:

For all questions garment related, click here

What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?: Click here

Until next week!


Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Ask A Mormon-ish Girl: Part 2 - The Garment Edition

 Good morning and happy Sunday! 

    We're back for another "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" post! For anyone new, this is a series where I talk about my feelings on religion, being member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka "Mormon"), and reconciling all of this with democrat/liberal values. My goal of these posts is to help you know you're not alone with your questions and concerns AND to actually talk about them and create some conversation past "just have faith and it will work out". Overall, I believe in imperfect relationships, both with people and institutions. This series documents my very imperfect relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

    (P.S. Check out the first post I did last week to read my answers to the questions: "What things do you struggle with in the church?", "What things keep you in the church?", and "Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?" And, please subscribe via email (on the right if you're on a desktop and on the bottom if you're on a phone) to be notified of future posts!)

    If you don't see your question answered this week, please keep submitting it! I will get to all of them eventually! Every Sunday I post a question box on my Instagram (@emmycoletti) and I will save it in the highlight "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl". If your question is too long (or you don't have Instagram), feel free to email me instead at emmycoletti@gmail.com

    Without further ado, let's get into this week's questions! And, as always, these are just my thoughts on various church topics. The official church policies may differ. I also reserve the right to change my mind on any of the following upon receiving new information. 

(If you are not familiar with what a "Mormon" is, please refer directly to the church's website here. There's lots of misinformation about us/what we practice and believe, so go to the right source to get your questions answered. And if you're really curious about Mormons, I'd suggest meeting with some of our missionaries. They are in most places in the world and are usually either a cute elderly couple or cute little 18 year old girls/boys. They spend 2 years studying these things, so the answers they can give you about Mormons are going to be a lot better than what I could. You literally just fill out this form and they will contact you! I think our missionaries are so cute haha but I'm biased.)

So, LOTS of questions this week about garments haha! 

"How do you feel about garments?" 

I, as you could guess, have a lot of feelings about garments. I will try to keep this organized.

It will come as little surprise to most of you that I have a certain... concerns with garments. Concisely:  

        1. The person who I have to discuss my garment wearing with is a man/member of the bishopric.

        2. The lack of comfortable female garment options.

        3.  Modesty policing.

        4. The changes in garment lengths over time.

        5. They are a symbol of a commitment, not the commitment itself. 

    1. Ok, let's start off with the bishop interview. No offense to men, but they have zero idea of what it's like to be a female who wears garments. First of all, I have seen both men and women's garments, and the comfort level between the two is NOT the same. Men's clothes are usually loose and their garments are pretty loose as well. Their garment waist line isn't that much higher than where normal underwear would hit them. However, even the new "low rise" garments hit me a good 4 inches higher than where a normal pair of underwear would. Which brings me to my main reason why it's hard to talk to men about garments: we have lady issues and they do not
    If you've had a period, you know about the bloating, the cramps, and the overall icks. The absolute LAST thing my bloated, crampy stomach needs is anything tight on it. Like I said, the new "lower" waistline hits my belly button, and the older waistline comes up to my boobs (no, seriously, it does lol). Not to mention the difficulties of wearing pads or pantyliners. These are intricate and intimate difficulties women experience, and maybe it's just me, but this level of detail with a member of my bishopric is not going to be a comfortable conversation for either of us lol. I will end this section by saying I have heard of many bishops being very understanding to women who experience yeast infections and not wearing garments (because it is a medical issue) and I appreciate that. I would love to see that same compassion and empathy extended to periods as well. (Granted I have never tried having this conversation with a bishopric member, so maybe the empathy is already there.)

    2. My second call for improvement would be on the comfort. I'm not even talking changing lengths here. Have any of you tried the "airism" shirts from Uniqlo? They are amazing. So light, so breathable. A fabric like this in a garment top would be so much easier to wear in the heat and increase women's comfort immensely. Similarly, a garment bottom made from an extremely stretchy, seamless option would also be so helpful. Us women have much variation in our bodies. The garment bottom right now covers our: thighs, hips, and stomach. That's a lot of areas that vary in size woman to woman! Victoria's Secret has many of these "seamless" and no show panty options. Ideally, the church could get their hands on a similar material and it would go miles for creating more comfortable garments. And, since I'm here, I would also suggest a lower waistline (although a stretchy, seamless option would make a high waistline a lot more bearable). Regular women's underwear comes *maybe* 3-4 inches above the crotch line and this lets our tummies breath, bloat, eat a good meal, etc, as compared to the not-as-stretchy and tight-waistband state of garments currently. I know there probably cost concerns with some of the above, but women's comfort should also be a concern. And if this many women are complaining about the same things, I feel we are deserving of the price tag. 

    3. Modesty policing. There's a few elements to this. 

    The first is the cultural taboo of having your garments show. I don't know if this was just a Utah thing or not, but the expectation seemed to be "Wear your garments, but don't let anyone see them." This is a really stressful thing to have to always be conscious of and can shake the confidence a bit. I eventually started wearing like a spandex/slipshort underneath all my dresses, but then we are back to the comfort issue of having two layers underneath a dress/skirt. 

    Second, it's interesting to me that garment lengths change with the mainstream fashion over the years. Imagine if we still had long sleeve, long leg, and one piece garments lol. So, I'm grateful they have been shortened, but I dislike that they are still partially "encouraging modesty". As women, we are constantly told out worth is determined by our looks. Modesty culture is tricky, because it can be very triggering to a lot of us who have had to overcome the feelings of shame with our bodies create by a sexist and patriarchal culture. Overcoming body image issues is a challenge, and one we are often working on our whole lives. Garments at their meaning aren't at all about modesty. They are a symbol of a commitment made with God. And it's sad to me that this symbol of a commitment has gotten intertwined to such a high degree with modest concerns, which in turn steers women away from wearing a garment they perhaps would have otherwise. 

    (Also, I just have to add this in here. Weddings rings are also a symbol of a commitment, right? I mean, you promise to stay faithful to your spouse and the ring is a symbol to communicate to you/the world that commitment you made. However, men have no problem taking their rings off in the name of "comfort". I realize that a marriage commitment and religious commitment have different levels of seriousness in some people's minds, but it's just a comparison I like to draw for any men criticizing women for not wearing garments due to comfort while sitting there ringless for the same concerns hahaha. Sexism is a system that allows men the same comforts it denies from women.) 

    Third, the amount of modesty policing with garments drives me insane. I say this having been on both sides. I have been the person who discussed whether or not someone was wearing their garments/still identified as Mormon, as well as been the person whose garment wearing was being discussed. And honestly, both sides are just icky. To have people judge you and passively criticize your choices is... unsavory, to say the least lol. And it says a lot more about the gossiper than the one not wearing their garments. 

    It's honestly just... so offensive haha. I don't know how else to say it. I've heard the term "salvation by surveillance" before and I have to giggle because that's exactly what it feels like. We watch members of our faith for any sign that they are doing "wrong" because it somehow makes us feel "holier than thou"... or... I mean I honestly don't know why we do it. But, we do. And mostly to women. What other people do is none of our business. Especially in this case. You can't assume someone left the church if they aren't wearing garments. You can't assume someone is a great member if they are wearing garments. So, it's just honestly none of our business and I hope we have all grown up enough that we are done discussing what underwear someone else is or isn't wearing. 

"Do you believe wearing garments is a commandment?" 

    I mean, it's not one of the 10 commandments lol. I did a quick search and couldn't find that language on the church website when it came to garments. I don't know what defines a commandment, but I do think we are asked to wear them and it is a part of the temple recommend questions. However, they have changed the wording from "do you wear them day and night" to "do you wear them as instructed in the temple" and to my knowledge/memory, the temple didn't provide a whole ton of detail. I am fuzzy on details and could be wrong about this! Feel free to drop resources in the comments if you have them. 

"Do we get punished or miss out on blessings for not wearing garments? I hate them." 

    Once again, I don't know what the official church policy is on this, so these are just my thoughts. I believe in a God that wants me to be happy and do good things for other people. I sometimes feel like religion is selfish. We get so caught up in the "checklist" to get into heaven and on what is going on with ourselves. Sure, these things are probably taken into consideration. However, I think a lot of others are as well. If I do get "punished" for not wearing garments, I hope I am also rewarded for all the things I do that aren't on the Mormon "checklist": Loving and being kind and inclusive to everyone, no matter their race or sexual or gender identity. Advocating for the marginalized and using my power and privilege to help create a more comfortable society for them. Donating my money to causes that further and equitable society for everyone.... etc. 

    I mean... you can *on paper* be an amazing member of the church: Read your scriptures, pray every night, wear your garments, go to the temple, have a church calling, etc... and still treat people like crap, elect racist leaders who are exclusive and demeaning, gossip about people and spread lies, not serve anyone in your neighborhood (and a religious "visit" doesn't count as service lol), etc. 

    Being religious is not synonymous with being a good person. And that's something that I always try to keep in mind. 

Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,
Emmy Coletti

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Ask A Mormon-ish Girl: Part 1

    Good morning and happy Sunday! I'm so excited about this new series, because talking religion, politics and values is one of my favorite things! For those of you who may be newer here, I identify as a Mormon AND a democrat... I know. What a concept haha. 

    (If you are unfamiliar with what a "Mormon" is, it's a slang term for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sure a quick google search can tell you what our church believes. And if you're really curious to learn more, we have cute little missionaries who would probably love to come answer your questions/tell you more. These posts are going to be geared to people already familiar with the religion, as most of my questions come from members of the church who are struggling with their faith.)

    I call myself a "Fringe Mormon" or "Mormonish" (I've also heard the term "Mormon Adjacent"). What does this mean? Essentially, while I agree with a lot of the church teachings and still consider myself Mormon, there are also parts of the religion that bother me and I wish would change. "Mormonish" is my way of acknowledging that while I agree with and support many aspects of the religion, I do still push for it to become better in a lot of ways. It's the middle ground between being a solid "Molly Mormon" believer and leaving the church completely. 

    I post about a lot of these things on my Instagram account, but it's honestly just too much to talk about and I wanted my thoughts to live somewhere a bit more organized and permanent. So, I wanted to do this little Sunday series of "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" where I take questions I get about the church and tell you my thoughts! 

    The obvious disclaimer is these are just that: thoughts. I reserve the right to change my mind upon getting new information or retract something that I may have phrased badly. And ultimately, if these posts bother you... click away, dear friend! I'm allowed to post my belief systems and you're allowed to not like it... and I'm allowed to not respond/care that you don't like it. :)

    Without further ado, let's get into some of the questions I gathered this past week. I got too many questions to answer all in one post. So I will list the questions to come at the bottom of this post! 


What things do you struggle with?

    I picked this question first, because I figure it will give you a good intro into me and my beliefs. There are many things I struggle with:

  • The church culture and amount of "cultural" things that have been made to feel like they are doctrine.
  • The patriarchal structure of the church and feeling like I do not have any feminist icons whom I can look to for support.
  • The amount of variation in bishop interviews with what is "ok" and still gets a temple recommend and what is "not ok". 
  • The exclusion of certain groups of people and justification of judgmental attitudes. 
  • The focus on outward signs of faithfulness (garment wearing, church attendance, etc.).
  • Conservative belief systems when Jesus was the OG social worker and upheld many democratic values haha. 
  • The lack of respecting other people's boundaries and service culture/being shamed for saying "no".
  • The lack of transparency about where tithing funds go.
  • The lack of clearly outlined reporting systems for bishops who are bad eggs.
  • When church leaders get involve in politics (like the AZ leaders emailing people to vote against the marijuana bill haha).
  • The amount of things that have changed in the past 100 years, yet there is still a mentality that the church today is "perfect" and "how it is supposed to be".  

    I'm sure there are more things... but that's all the comes to mind. If you have any questions about any of those, please comment below or shoot me an email with your QUESTION. (Please, phrase a question I can answer and don't just tell me your opinion on my opinions haha.)

What keeps you in? (And I'm adding: What do I like?)

    This is obviously the perfect follow up question to the above haha. 
  • The entire church is service based and there is no paid clergy.
  • The strong sense of community and comfort in knowing wherever you go, you will be welcomed by the church members and have people who understand your values/culture. 
  • The kindness of the majority of people I've come into contact with in the church.
  • The amount of service/support we provide for active/inactive members. And just for the service the church provides the community in general.
  • The guidance to avoid drugs/alcohol. 
  • The focus on families being the most important thing. 
  • That we don't believe in a "hell" per say, or that too many people will actually go there.
  • Mormon culture overall is really funny to me. I like all those movies like "Singles Ward", "The RM" etc. and poking fun at our strange culture haha. 
  • Overall, I've been surprised at how when I am assertive about my boundaries AND respectful and involved in my own way, I have not had too much push back. (This may also be helped because I no longer live in Utah County, and I know the church dynamics in heavily populated Mormon areas can be a lot different than in more scarcely populated areas.)

Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?

    This is the last question I'm going to answer this week, so make sure you check back next Sunday for more! And ask any of your questions in a comment below, on my Instagram story (@emmycoletti), or email it to me (emmycoletti@gmail.com).

    This is an interesting and tricky question. I think my answer would be: yes, but it has depended on where I live. I know people get defensive about the whole "Utah Mormon" stereotype... but I will say my life in Utah County was A LOT harder than it was in New York City, Connecticut, Salt Lake City, or Seattle. I will also mentioned I did a lot of therapy after leaving Utah County, so who's to say what the real change came from.

    I grew up in Utah County and lived there for a couple years as an adult. I would say I felt welcome *most* of the time. I did find it harder for people to accept that I wasn't going to show up to church every Sunday, as well as all the activities throughout the week. I did once get chastised for not showing up to my calling in Young Women's, but to be fair, I probably shouldn't have accepted that calling in the first place hahaha. And I did immediately ask to be released after the conversation with that individual and all was well. BYU was tough for me and I'll get more into it later. But, it was harder to feel accepted/belonging there. My roommate eventually stopped asking if I wanted to go to church after she realized I wasn't going to go haha. And I stayed out all night and/or slept at home the bulk of that semester... so I wasn't really too "involved" in BYU single life. I also got married fairly quickly and started going to a student married ward, but ended up skipping a lot because I didn't love that vibe either haha. We moved back in with my mom in Utah County for 1-2 years, and there I went to my childhood ward, so that was a bit easier due to already having friends/people who knew me. Overall, I do think it felt harder for me to *Be MySeLf* in Utah County/Provo/BYU. I do think part of that was the intense/judgmental church culture around me... I'm not going to lie to you haha. However, I also think a part of that was me caring about people's opinions and being accepted by people who don't value what I value, so I didn't put myself out there as much. 

    After moving outside of Utah... OMG. I can't even explain to you. We lived in New York City for a few months and that ward was AMAZING. I think like our first or second Sunday, some other young couples reached out to us and asked if we wanted to eat Thai food on their roof and it was on a Sunday. I remember thinking, "They order out on Sunday?! And it's not a big deal?!" And just immediately felt like I could be myself, because there were people who weren't going to live by every single little suggestion/cultural law. We were only in this ward for a little while, but I had really great experiences. We were in primary the whole time, and I don't think I went to any of the activities, so I don't know how many opportunities I had to "speak my mind". But, I did have a lot of great chats with other members and realized a lot of them had similar viewpoints to myself. That was really the first time I realized not everyone who identifies as Mormon is a cookie cutter member and that maybe there was more of a place for my authentic self than I had previously thought.

    When we moved to Connecticut, I also had good experiences. A young family immediately started chatting with us and were super friendly. Other older women in the ward reached out to get to know me. I LOVED Relief Society in this ward because there was such diversity. There were mothers who worked full time, immigrants, stay-at-home moms, converts, etc. I thought it made for such great conversation! I definitely felt for some of the teachers hahaha, but I do think it was nice to hear the perspective from mothers who worked full time and/or women who were converts. They weren't afraid to challenge some of the more "traditional" suggestions/comments and I loved that open dialogue. Also, some women wore pants (or even sweat pants!) and no one cared or whispered about it. One lady would even eat a full sandwich haha and I didn't catch anyone giving her the side eye.

    After that we moved to Salt Lake, which was harder for me, just because I wasn't happy to be back in Utah in the first place. So, who knows how my bad attitude affected things. But, when the Relief Society said they hadn't seen me around lately and I said, "Yeah, sometimes I go and sometimes I don't." I feel like they handled it really well and we had a great subsequent (non-mega-religion filled) conversation and just bonded as humans. This was also one of the first wards where I specifically asked to not be put in a teaching calling or something that would make me HAVE to be to church on Sundays (lol). The bishopric were really cool about it and put me on an activities committee. I went to a few activities on my own and people were generally nice. I think in this ward they knew I was less active and I don't feel like anyone really tried to fellowship/reach out to me. They pretty much just left me alone, but were friendly when I showed up and I really liked that.

    And now we're in Seattle! I am pretty quiet in most of the classes, but honestly, the Relief Society I am in already has AMAZING feminist, progressive lessons, so there's not too much that bothers me anyway haha. People probably know I am less active and see my husband at church alone sometimes, but I also don't get grief about it or reached out to. I volunteer where I feel comfortable and feel like I contribute. Although, since writing the first draft of this post, J did tell me that someone from the ward reached out to him to check in on us, because we don't attend any of the online Zoom churches lol. (Oh, and side-note, I took my email and phone number off the church directory a LONG time ago and that was a goo decision.)

    So, all of that to say, I do feel welcome in *most* Mormon communities I have been in. I still hear whispers here and there about my lifestyle/opinions on stuff, but I just roll my eyes and move on. It's a "whatever" thing for me now. The biggest shift for me came when I stopped doing what I thought I "should" and started doing what I felt I could authentically show up for. Ex: I'm not going to show up to many activities or have the visiting sisters over, but I'll drive an hour on a Saturday to pick corn for a service project, or pick up and drop off 50+ loaves of bread for the congregation every few weeks. (Although with the pandemic and being out of town, we haven't been able to do this as much anymore.) One of my favorite things about boundaries: You can be so sweet and nice, and still say no to someone. I feel like being able to give respect while requesting respect in return has changed a lot of my perspectives. 


Wow! That was a lot, but that's ok. Overall, I feel in a really good place with the church lately... and maybe that's because I'm not going due to the pandemic hahahahha. No, but really, I don't think it's ever going to be my personal biggest support system. I don't think I'm ever going to be the most reliable member. BUT... as long as I'm upfront with people about what they can expect from me, I feel ok about where I'm at. 

If any of the above were your questions, I hope I answered them to your satisfaction! If not, please comment below any follow ups and I'll make sure to get to them. 


Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend

P.S. If you haven't already read the book Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks, I'd highly recommend it! It helped me on my *FaItH jOuRnEy* a lot haha. 

Questions to be answered in the future...

Thoughts on tattoos? Should Mormons be able to have them? How do you feel about garments? What do you drink on the pics with the mug if you can't have tea/coffee? How do you deal with super black and white thinking in the church and with family members? When did you start seeing some things differently than the church? How does your religion impact your political views? How did you handle BYU? Do you believe the Book of Mormon was translated or just 19th century text?