A poet and essayist’s candid account of how she came to painful terms with her sexuality and her Mormon faith.
Growing up in the Mormon Church, Hardy (This Blonde, 2009, etc.) learned early on that the only “right way to live” was by following Mormon doctrine. She also learned that, as a woman, a home, babies and a “hot dad” of a husband were the three most important things she could aspire to have. Unlike the Mormon girls she knew, though, Hardy wanted time to live life on her own terms before committing to the eternal partnership promised by an LDS marriage. But she faced two problems. With every year that passed, the pool of available Mormon men grew smaller, and any males she dated outside the church were more likely to expect sex from her. Tormented by efforts to keep “[her] body separate from [her] spirit,” Hardy sought release from desire in the sexy rhythms of salsa and flirtations that sometimes led to more than she bargained for. Meanwhile, she fumbled her way through a series of unconsummated relationships throughout her 20s and 30s. Despite the endless sexual frustrations and the despair into which she eventually sank, the author still found the beginnings of the personal fulfillment for which she longed in teaching, travel and writing poetry. It wasn’t until she was over 35 that Hardy finally renounced celibacy and broke away from the church. To her credit, she still managed to maintain respect for the imperfect and often contradictory system that, though unable to completely accept or understand her need for independence, still “taught [her] so much about integrity and love.”
A searching, sensual celebration of one woman’s struggle for identity and autonomy.