Thursday, August 18, 2011

Girls Camp

4th year awesomeness!
Let's be honest here, I was ready for girls camp to be over long before it started. I'm just not a camper. I hate being dirty, as a kid I had a phobia of dirt. And little creatures out in the wilderness are not cute to me. I'm crazy for a concrete jungle, not so much the woods.

But folks, I rocked it! I slept in a tent, my snot was black from dirt, and I reeked of body odor for days. It was the best week of my whole summer. I would do it all over again if I could.

The camp was jam packed with activities to keep the girls busy nonstop. There were horse back riding, crafts, a rock wall, repelling, archery, and the list goes on. My years at girls camp had  nothing on this.  At one point the girls were required to do a ropes course and by no means was it easy. They had to do activities like climbing a 15 foot wall with no ledges or rope and a trust fall. There was a lot of crying and cheering during that time. They encouraged each other and as a team overcame some difficult challenges. At first I constantly heard "I can't do this" and once it was accomplished I heard "I did it!" It was incredibly moving. Life is hard and challenging and huge obstacles like a 15 foot wall can stop you in your tracks, but it doesn't have to. I left telling myself that I could do hard things and I have been doing hard things.

Love these girls!!

The highlight of my week was bonding with my little unit of ten girls.  We worked well together, and by the end of the week there was a strong friendship developed between all of us. They made me feel like a million bucks, if I could feel the way I did at camp every day from now on, all my little challenges would be solved. Seriously, hang out with the youth for just an hour and you will feel so so good.

There were times at camp where I felt serious sorrow. My heart completely broke while chatting with some girls who expressed that they hoped to be married by 20 and have at least 2 kids by 23 because they would feel less of themselves if that didn't happen. It bothers me that in our Mormon culture, that bar has been set and has brought down more girls than needed. I quickly explained that I was 27 with no kids and while it was super hard (with Mormon culture), I was no less of value than someone who was much younger than me with kids. No where in LDS doctrine does it say that our Heavenly Father will love us any less if we are not married by 20 and have 4 kids by 28. I let them know that life is this huge incredible journey and not to be so hard on themselves if that dumb idiotic expectation that is set upon them does not happen. Can you tell that it just ticks me off? Why do we all have to fit in one mold?

I've struggled for a long time with this expectation that is set by LDS culture. While I did give in and got married super young, by no means was I ready to pop out a baby 9 months later. Hell, seven years later and I don't think I am ready. But I have lived this amazing life in those last seven years that I wouldn't exchange it  for the world. I've traveled, finished a degree, and spent some quality time with my husband. He knows every little thing about me, and for our relationship that is crucial. It has been the perfect route for me, I needed that time to grow and learn. I'm not saying that if you choose the other route that you are dumb, I'm just saying I could have never pulled it off. I also feel that there are other girls who can't pull it off either and feel less of worth because of it. Believe me, it took me years to convince myself that I was ok and normal, what ever normal is. The Lord loves me, and that is all that matters.

So I say, let's celebrate individuality. The world needs a little bit more of it.

5 Grass Lovers:

Erica Layne | Let Why Lead said...

This is exactly why you are so awesome! Well, just one of many reasons, of course. Knowing that about yourself - that you didn't want to be a baby machine by 25 - at a young age is so unusual. I definitely didn't know myself that well!

And it really troubles me too that girls are feeling that pressure. Hopefully slowly we can lighten up some of those aspects of Mormon culture!

ixoj said...

Amen, sister! As you well know, I share your sentiments exactly.

Myrna said...

Lucky girls to have you for a leader. I could SO NOT do girl's camp. I did it one year as a girl myself--too much for me.

Mammodouy's Stories said...

Wow! You are quite something, Layla!
Taking my hat off to you!

Lindsey Walker said...

I totally agree with you! That's why Dan and I waited for so long to have kids. I was 27 when we had Max and we had almost been married for 7 years. We chose not to have kids. We weren't ready and I am so glad we waited. The pressure to get married young and have kids young in the LDS culture is not healthy. Good for you for know what you want and not being pressured into anything!