“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” —Paulo Coelho
My doctors and those around me often remind me to only do what I’m able to and know more. At the Behavioral Health Clinic, I was taught that on your best day, you shouldn’t go and sign up for the things that you won’t be able to do on your worst day.
This week has been a rollercoaster as always, but it truly has been better than most. The first few days were kind of rough, but as soon as I started getting enough sleep it got better (shout out to my psychiatrist for excellent med management). However, despite having a good week there’s been something on my mind making me rather sad.
When I was in Primary when I was little and through growing up we would sing songs in church like We’ll Bring the World His Truth and I Hope They Call Me On A Mission and I would always get kind of irritated and sing under my breath out of spite when the boys got to sing these songs by themselves. I didn’t understand why the girls didn’t get to sing too. All I wanted was to be called on a mission. I wanted to wear a nametag proudly and share the thing that brought so much joy to me with others.
I kept this perspective as I went into Young Women’s and everyone—family, friends, leaders, etc.—all knew that I was stuck in stone about serving a mission. I planned to go to college for a couple of years until I was old enough and then serve a mission. I was so excited for it. People used to ask me “What if you meet Mister Right before you go?” and I would respond, “If he’s Mister Right he’ll wait.” And I honestly believed this with all my heart. I had decided that any guy who was right for me would be willing to wait while I served the Lord, the most important thing to me.
Growing up, people always told me I would be a great teacher or a principal for a school. I always twisted up my face at this, hating the idea of teaching and being intimidated by it. I didn’t want to handle a classroom of people, let alone a school. Still, elementary through high school people were telling me I’d be excellent at it.
I had always been kind of shy about public speaking. I didn’t particularly enjoy giving talks in church or school. I was completely comfortable with performing on a stage, but speaking by myself was another matter. Sometime early on in high school though, I came to the conclusion that it was simply easier to get speeches and presentations over with first instead of stressing about them so I began volunteering to go first in every class and I became more confident in it. It was easier when I was in a class of people I knew and could sneak in little jokes that would make my friends laugh. Just before I left for college I was given a calling to teach the Sunbeams in Primary. I was so excited and fell in love with teaching these little ones. They were so impressionable and so smart and they taught me so much. I loved every crazy minute and missed them dearly when I went to school. My third semester I was given the calling to teach in Relief Society. I was nervous but again, fell in love with this calling. I became comfortable with managing a class and leading a discussion. I was led by the spirit and learned much from that experience. I was grateful for all of these callings and opportunities that I knew would help me on my mission.
I had a countdown on my phone of days until I turned 19 beginning from the time I was 17 1/2. Everyone at college knew about this as well. They too posed the questions about Mister Right but my response was still the same. Some people were encouraging of me going on a mission and others thought that I should be more open to other ideas. All of them shoved their opinions upon me insisting they were right. I stayed strong in my opinion however and planned to take mission prep Spring 2016 so that I would have it my last semester before I turned 19. On February 4th, 2016 I could start my papers and I looked forward to that day. On April 4th, I could turn them in and I kept that in my calendar as well.
People in church always moan, groan and complain when others say “On the mission,” or similar but I on the other hand always listened intently when people said this. I loved to hear mission stories and so when I asked RM’s for their stories we were both happy because there’s nothing more RM’s love than to talk about their missions.
I’ve been waiting to go on a mission my whole life. I could have my call by now. I could be shopping for mission clothes and going through the temple and learning a language. If everything had gone to plan, I would be months away from a nametag.
Earlier this year though, my depression and anxiety were diagnosed. At this point, I don’t even bother mentioning a mission to my bishop because I know he wouldn’t allow me to go. I can maintain a stable mood for maybe 5-7 days. My meds are still getting figured out. If I went on a mission this year as I’d been planning to, I would be sent home. The thing is, that I realized last summer I had never asked about a mission. I’d always assumed it was right for me because everything told me it was. When I realized this and started praying about it, my answer was always “not right now” and I didn’t understand why.
This makes me so sad. I see all of my friends getting their calls, leaving and then I get all of their emails and look forward to them every week. I still want it. My patriarchal blessing talks so much of a mission and it sounds like a traditional mission that I would be serving during this time. I don’t know if I’ll go in the next several years though. It may be decades, before I can serve a couples mission. I don’t know. And it hurts. It hurts to have something I’ve always wanted be taken away just as soon as it was in reach.
My roommate often mentions or asks about missions in life and what the rest of us think ours are. I had never really thought about this until she asked but I guess it makes sense that we would all have one.
Right now, I’m not preparing to serve a mission because it doesn’t feel like I’ll go. I’m still staying strong in the church and worthy and such but a mission isn’t my main focus. I’ve shifted to a different type of teaching that also brings me immense amounts of joy. I never expected it to come into my life but I’ve fallen in love with teaching dance. I’m hoping to teach the basic social dance class here at BYU-I starting in the Fall or Winter and everyone around me has been so encouraging of this. They all tell me what an excellent teacher I am. I’ve been and am an assistant teacher for multiple social dance and team classes. I teach on campus at social dance nights and multiple times have taught a group of 15+ couples. I’m loud and when I step up to teach, I fall into place of being in charge. No matter how bad my anxiety or depression have been that day, the instant I become the teacher, that all goes away.
I’ve taught my friends and tons of random strangers. I get thrown into teaching things I’m not comfortable with and still manage to do it in a way that people can understand. I haven’t been confident in all of the steps, but the more I’m asked and forced to teach them, the easier it becomes. People compliment me and thank me for teaching them and it feels so good. It feels like home.
I don’t know if I’m going to serve a mission. I know the whole every member a missionary and all of that and I believe it. It still makes me very sad that I don’t get to go right now. But I’m happy with teaching dance. It’s not the same thing I’m bringing to people to share happiness, but I’m still sharing happiness and for now, that’s enough for me.
Hasta manana, iguana!