Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Spouse Strayed; Why I Stayed VOLUME 1

“My covenants meant more to me than the mistakes. It hurts and you wonder how you’ll ever love again, but we have four children and they deserve their mother AND their father­čśč They deserve to see us work through every challenge, because I’m today’s world, you won’t escape life without challenges. These challenges get uglier and uglier, and I want to teach my kids how to make it through. How to fight. How to survive. Not how to quit. Quitting has eternal consequences. That hurts more to think about.”

Ive began speaking with people about their triumph over infidelity.
This is a hot topic to debate.
Some think “That’s the end!” If their spouse cheats.
Others think “If they’re sorry, we will work it out.”
Then there’s the inevitable “I’ll never love you, but we are staying together for the kids.”

What do you think you’d do? I promise. You won’t. 
You think you’d walk away because you need to send some sort of message.
You need to “love yourself” enough to walk away from eternal covenants.

I’m not going to say it shouldn’t EVER happen.
Holy cow, it should and it will if God makes it known to you!
Heavenly Father is BY DEFAULT guiding a covenant marriage. If HE IN HIS ALL KNOWING WISDOM knows the marriage shall end. he will make it manifest.
The rest of the time, I’m pretty sure
“For time and all eternity”
Means...
For time.
And.
All.
Eternity.

Ready for the ugly part?
That includes...BIG FAT MISTAKES.

I know so many people (more than not) who have triumphed over infidelity.
I literally have only met two couples. TWO. I repeat, two, who have not faced infidelity in one form or another (and I won’t be asking because I don’t want to know, unless others choose to share) The thing is, whether we like it or not, it’s the new thing. It’s the new “whoops”.
Whoops I smoked a cigarette.
Whoops I skipped school.
Whoops I lied to a cop about how fast I was going.
Whoops I cheated on my spouse.

Cheating is defined by the couple.
I know couples in very open relationships who accept sexual relations outside of the marriage as long as the couple discusses it first.
Know couples who consider pornography cheating.
Whatever you base your marriage vows on, stands.

In a covenant marriage, it’s defined by the laws of chastity as explained in the temple recommend interview. (We know what they are)
Still, why then do so many people stray?
Then, excuse their behavior?

I’m lost on that, but I know it’s time to start offering support and speaking out about the sneaky, elephant in the room.
No more shaming spouses who “stick it out”.
Are you kidding????
Those people are AMAzing!!
They deserve aooo many blessings for honoring their TRI-covenant vow. Yep, the three way promise between them, their spouse. And GOD! Which remains in tact as long as the marriage (sealing) is in tact.
These blessings are tremendous. Huge.
And when kids are involved...it’s a whole different story.
Celestial families do not deserve to be broken up.

When a marriage is abusivo or toxic, Heavenly Father will help guide a separation. We must always also offer support to people who’ve divorced and lost eternal marriages. Nothing hurts worse, not even the death of a spouse. Death has been defeated. Christ overcame death. People will live again forever. But divorce? Divorce shatters “eternity” it shatters “dreams” it shatters hearts.

Stay tuned for more stories, and feel free to submit your own!
Your “Why I Stayed” might only be “Why I stayed for 20 years...and then left.”
I still want to know.
We are still here for you.

Anonymous inquiries
Brittanyshannon.author@gmail.com
.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Great Loves

Today I’m going to write about Great Loves.

Writers are good at telling stories, and telling our own is sometimes hard.
Recently, I’ve been having dreams about each of my Great Loves.
I’m kind of a person who believes nothing is a coincidence.
It leaves me wondering: What does this mean? What can I learn from this?

Each of my Great Loves has become a deep part of who I am. I believe that’s why I’ve had one dream about each of them recently. I think my soul searching is reminding me of how I became who I am today.

Let me add that I’m not a creeper who has fantasies about loving other people — I’m
Very committed to my marriage! Dude.
But I’d be discriminating against my heart if I didn’t acknowledge the Great Loves that influenced me, that brought me into this sense of person and woman that I am.
I am very confident in myself and my situation, which gives me freedom to discuss these past Great Loves with fondness and nostalgia and appreciation.

I’m also lucky because I don’t think many people have had the opportunity to have several Great Loves. Maybe you don’t even believe it’s possible. Maybe you’re a die hard romantic who believes in only loving one person evvvvveeerrrr. I believe in loving one person. Ever. At a time. It doesn’t mean I’ve only experienced loving one person. Ever. I’m insanely loyal, and my Great Loves didn’t overlap. Nor will they ever.
Each Great Love was a unique experience, and they’re memories I cherish.
In honor of these experiences and the dreams I’ve had lately, I’m going to touch on them.

My first Great Love began in seventh grade. I know. Crazy young and naive. It will sound silly but it lasted most of my teenage years and was mostly long distance. We wrote love letters. If you’ve never experienced writing love letters, it might not sound very intimate, but it established an intense Great Love that became easily one of my favorite youth memories. We could tell each other anything, but this relationship built on writing posed a problem.
My Great Love ended because nothing physical ever became of it. Living long distance, I went to visit one time with this fantasy that I was going to be swept of my feet and proposed to, (I was that in love) but The vacation passed, and I ended up not even being kissed. I know it had a lot to do with how shy the guy was, but I needed more. My heart had to move on. So, after over five years of loving greatly, I closed that chapter without having been on a single date.
I learned I needed someone who wasn’t ashamed of loving me, that would sweep me off my feet, and would physically dote on me.


Great Love number two was during a period between eighteen to twenty one years old. I didn’t know you could love someone more than oxygen. Oh, the flattery! Poems & flowers. I didn’t know passion could be as delightful high as it was horrific low. We had a storybook romance. Met on the beach during spring break. Had everything in common. Loved music. Danced in the streets in the rain. Couldn’t live without each other. Fought the most explosive battles one could dream of. It was inTOXICating. Poisonous. Explosive. Abusive. I lost my soul trying to please a person who could not be pleased. From a Religious perspective, we went down separate paths. You can feed one of two wolves: he fed the bad wolf. Walking away from this Great Love was walking away from oxygen. That part of me died.
I learned I needed someone who wasn’t going to abuse me, cheat on me, lie to me, or disrespect me.

Another Great Love came about from a teenage friendship. It was a premortal kind of love that I’ve never experienced. I knew I knew this person in the preexistence. I felt it. There was something special there. Because we met at thirteen years old and became friends, and I had this otherworldly knowledge of being friends in the premortal life, it was the longest love I’ve known. It was also the most tragic. At twenty one, soul searching, trusting no one, I turned to the friend I’d known the longest throughout my life. We loved each other in many ways. I couldn’t place it, I just knew it was an insanely strong bond. Because of this confusion, I kept thinking “Loving Him” meant “romance”.
It didn’t.
Turns out my love was so powerful because it was very maternal and sisterly. However we knew each
 other in heaven before we came to earth, it was not meant for us to sail off into the sunset together. By this stage in my life, I had more self confidence, had become fiercely independent, was probably the most attractive I’ve ever been physically, and had adopted a “take no crap from nobody” attitude, which didn’t work well with someone who had a temper, substance abuse issues, and raging jealousy. It was a “let me try to save you” relationship, and I couldn’t save him.
I learned I cannot be someone’s “Savior”, only Jesus Christ can, and they have to want to change for themselves, not just for you.

The last Great Love came when I was finally maturing into adulthood. I had a pretty good sense of what I wanted (thanks to all my experience). I am fortunate that I’ve never just “dated around”. I’ve always been in serious relationships because that’s who I am. I give my heart ENTIRELY to whoever I’m with, and if I don’t see it happening, I didn’t even go on a “first date”.
I was finally smart enough to say what I wanted and needed, articulate emotions, sacrifice personal agendas, make compromises, and settle into “the long haul.”
This meant, come what may, I am in it to the end.
I found a partner that compliments me, that is a fantastic co parent, who is on the same religious level, and enjoys the same activities.
We work through differences.
We hardly ever fight.
We are best friends.
I’ve learned what I need is a teammate, someone who will never give up, always work side by side, and find joy in the journey.

I’m so so happy I’ve had Great Loves, and that I can look back on them (and all their ups and downs—and obvs I’ve never been perfect either) with gratitude.
I’ve had several other Great Loves that weren’t the romantic kind, like my Sister Wife who I’d literally marry if anything happened to my husband!! I also had a gay friend whom I loved deeply for a while, and felt like “soul sistas” with him. (It was one sided LOLS...so we “broke up”)
I love my siblings like crazy. Literally. And I LOVE MY KIDS more than every word in the English language can possibly describe.
I love love.

I love it so much I am very picky with who I give it to. There are times when I take it away from someone because I can’t afford to give it anymore. I reserve it. My love is special.
Love makes the world go around.
It shouldn’t be treated like a flavor of ice cream of seasonal coffee.
It should be wisely distributed and used for good.
It should NOT be expressed as lust, control, or codependence.


I learn more about myself by my experiences with Great Love, and would enjoy hearing your stories should you choose to share them with me.
Thankful Thursday!
And Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, September 24, 2018

Three Life Lessons

Three
Life lessons:

There is not enough time in 24 hours for me to accomplish all that I need to do. I cannot help my children learn their ABC’s while also teaching them to share while also cleaning the kitchen while also going grocery shopping while also cleaning their bums while also...This is where we learn to lean on the Lord. At the end of the day, when my kids say their prayers at night, I know I’ve focused on what was the most important, and that is developing a healthy relationship with their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I want my kids to learn and value education—which they will. But more than that, if they can only learn one thing each day, I hope it’s that they are a Child of God. They are loved beyond measure. We are here on earth for so much more than learning to count to ten, than becoming famous, or for making lots of money. I hope they never lose sight of their divine potential and purpose.
.
I’ve learned that people do not want to see the icky side of life. Eons ago I sought support when I was dealing with a loved one immersed in addiction, an abusive adulterer who others saw as charming, funny, and giving. Our own bishop washed his hands of us. It was heartbreaking. I was alone. I wasn’t out to paint this man as a bad guy, I simply needed comfort for the truths of what was happening behind closed doors. No one believed me, and even went as far as defending this man in the public eye. It wasn’t until years later that by his own admission people realized all I’d said was true, but it was too late. I’ve always wondered if healing would’ve come sooner if I’d gotten more help. More recently, I’ve sought similar support for my tattered relationships and have discovered that some of the atrocities are so ugly, 9 times out of 10 people bury their head in the sand instead of helping. It is often TOO painful to acknowledge. How could someone so smiley and bright on the outside be so manipulative and conniving behind closed doors??? The evils are just TOO awful. People don’t really purposefully hurt each other, do they? Good men don’t cheat, do they? Parents don’t abandon their children, do they? Church going Christians don’t lie and steal, do they??? This is where we learn to lean on the Lord. He is the ultimate comforter and supporter, and He is the safest place we can go to when we need a Listening Ear. He gives wise counsel and bears our burdens when humans are fallible and fragile. I understand now that even when I’m advised by a counselor to seek a mentor and sponsor, humans can not be relied upon to bear the burdens of eternal consequence. My Savior is there for that. It isn’t fair at times to place those heavy truths on the minds of mortals. It isn’t fair to taint their perspective or deprive them of the innocent perspective they have of others. We don’t have to be alone, we have God.
.

Last, I’ve learned that God will send us through the tests we least desire & are least capable of passing. This is where we learn to Lean on the Lord. He makes more of us than we ever thought possible. On my own, I am not equipped to handle the battles I face, but when I put more faith and trust in God and Christ, I find talents and skills emerge that I didn’t know I had. My strength doubles. My fear abates. I’ve walked through the fires that scared me the most, I felt the flames lick my skin, and I thought I’d been scorched to the point of permanent scarring. I had two basic deal breakers. In my mid twenties I realized that I’d been through a lot of the icky stuff (that most people bury their heads in the sand over) and it had helped me be stronger in “choosing my battles”. I’ve witnessed women break down in tears over children who misbehave during sacrament meeting at church. I’ve felt compassion for them because I know that there are so many bigger things to be fretting about, and God has refined me because I was ready. I was born ready. I faced things as a child most people won’t even face in adulthood. God has obviously treated me as a born soldier. He prepared me in the pre existence. I didn’t know it for a long time, and sometimes I still doubt it. But through the atonement of my Savior, I’ve seen a growth and a power that was not present before I faced these battles. He has consecrated my afflictions for my good. I will forever be thankful for that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Go, and sin no more.

“It is our great opportunity to experience the peace of repentance and the joy of forgiveness, and then to proclaim that pathway to others. Once we have found that peace, we are to bear witness of it and teach others how they can obtain it. This we do by being long-suffering, gentle, meek, and by having the pure love of Christ for all we meet. This is our calling as Latter-day Saints. This is our great joy and our blessing.“
Spencer W Kimball

To the adulteress, Christ said, “Go, and sin no more.”

I find it impossible to hold back my experience with repentance, and see it as my duty to proclaim this pathway to others. For I am what was once called an “adultress” and grievously sinned against God. There is no soft-pedaling my errors. I did wrong, I confess it before my God, and bear witness of the peace it brings when one fully repentant. 

It is my privilege to go forward in life having forsaken my sins, seeking the pure love of Christ, and expressing gratitude for the magnitude of blessings I’m giving according to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of Him, my wrongful deeds are washed away.

It is a beautiful process to become clean again, and even more beautiful to help others find the courage to seek repentance. It is not difficult. It is freeing.

I respect my covenants so much more today than I ever have, and I hope and pray I will never let my savior down again.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Girl on Girl: Oppression

Girl on Girl
OPPRESSION

YEAH...sorry, it’s not what you think.
I’m here to discuss the ugly little truths behind “girl on girl: oppression”.
Mostly because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and having received some comments or been a part of discussions revolving around this topic, I figured instead of annoying Instagram followers with a novel post with straight opinions, I’d vent them here for anyone who is interested.

So this hot thang above....is me.
Twenty something me.
A fit, cute, fashionable girl.
I’ve spent most of my life (fourth and fifth grade excluding) as a pretty attractive female. My youth I was dangerously insecure, but others found me good looking. Then, in young adulthood, I blossomed. I was filled with confidence and thought I had it pretty good. This isn’t to say appearance was a given. I worked my tail of to be in shape, and loved exercise. I’m a hairdresser, so naturally my hair was always in tip top shape. I enjoyed dressing up and wearing makeup (but don’t let that fool you—I’m always the first to get dirty) but all of these things led to a strange and undesirable conclusion:

MEN: Gosh, she’s every guy’s dream.
WOMEN: I hate her.

This isn’t a pity party. And those of you who’ve hated another girl won’t easily admit it, but I will. I’ve only hated girls who’ve had more than me, in areas I always wanted more of.
(Height, chest, voice, etc)
Not recently, of course, but my younger more immature self was defiant and oppressive to other women. Ironically, I faced that oppression. Day in, and day out. For almost two decades.

Why is it a girl can call herself fat and ugly, and the world will respond with sympathy, and “Hang in there, girl!!” Comments??
If a girl calls herself skinny and pretty it’s an open casting call for Biggest Troll and Hater.
I find it interesting. That even the insecure women don’t realize they are in fact a part of the oppressive movement, simply by the way they respond to more confident women.

Part of being confident isn’t just showing off what you have (though you certainly have the right) it’s helping others see what they don’t see in themselves, TOO. It’s lifting those around you. It’s being a voice for the strong woman, lending self esteem boosters to those around you who need them.

There will STILL and haters who read this and think, “I don’t feel sorry for you one bit.”
That’s fine.
Don’t.
Don’t feel sorry that I’ve never been respected by men.
(Or women..straight ones who are insecure or gay ones who “want me”)
That older men hit on me when I was under age and solicited me.
That high school boys were vying for who could “get in my pants” first. (None did)
That men out at dance clubs or bars never treated me with honor or tried to get to know a single thing about me.
That I’ve been cheated on by every man I’ve been in a relationship with.
That I’m viewed as a sex object, and if I don’t meet the unrealistic sex expectation, I’m considered a huge disappointment. (Believe me, I’ve tried to meet them ALL)
I’m thrown into a category of “vain and materialistic” because of my love of fitness and my career choice of cosmetology.
That I’ve been asked to show up “not so pretty.”
That I’ve actaully had to downplay my appearance for the Salem of others, including not wearing makeup (even “ugly” girls were wearing), wear baggy clothes, or in the presence of pervy men I’ve had to go “ugly” so as to not attract unwanted sexual advances.
That other girls think I “have it easy” because I’m “pretty” or “skinny”.
That anytime I try to succeed in a career atmosphere I’m hit on by a superior.
That behind EVERY MALE friend of mine is a scathing female partner ready to claw my eyes out (and yes, I’ve gotten scathing emails from wives of my male friends before-one even accusing me of having an affair with her husband simply by liking a picture publicly on Facebook...and I quote” if you were ugly I wouldn’t have worried”.) which is doubly ironic, because men never cheat up. And I think there are plenty of very happy, healthy, feminine women out there with “less attractive” looks...with just as much appeal to cheaters.
That I can’t even smile in the direction of a man, or offer a compliment to a complete stranger, male or female, without being called a “flirt”.
That I’ve been sexually abused.
That I’ve been told if I were sexy all the time, I’d get more acting jobs.
That I was approached at a gathering by a gay woman and the first thing she said to me was, “Take your shirt off!” (Not, what’s your favorite color? Or, tell me something interesting about yourself?)
That I’m not considered attractive unless I wear certain clothing or makeup.
That most women (even close friends) end up destroying our relationships due to envy and jealousy.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for you.

We all have our load to carry. Mine isn’t difficult, and I wouldn’t change it. I’m just offering insight into this world of girl on girl oppression others (namely those trolling on the attractive).
My thirtieth birthday brought a huge relief for me.
I saw it as leaving those twenties and those “hot years” behind.
It was relaxing.
Less pressure,
I don’t have to meet anyone’es Expectations anymore.
I’m not the “hot thang” wherever I go.
Sure, sometimes I’m the beautiful woman, but I’m a woman now. An “old lady” with three kids and wrinkles who isn’t just a sex object. I’m not as despised by women around me, and I’m not as lusted after by men. I have been able to feel pretty again, and wear makeup to church h without being the recipient of scowls from other ladies in the building who “don’t have time to workout or get ready.”
That’s stinks.
I do.
I do workout.
I do get ready (usually).
I have the right to show it, own it, be proud of it. I also have the right to demand respect for it.

All women, no matter their self confidence, no matter their size, should not be a contributing factor in the oppression of girls. Women should be building one another up. We should be standing strong, as a united front. No size, shape, or color is the definition of beauty. My use of the term “ugly” has been strictly for descriptive purposes, and I truly believe no individual is “ugly”, but unique and beautifully different.  It’s up to us to accept who we are and be the best versions of ourselves without comparisons. Without hate.

Much love to ya, and to the next generation of “hot thangs”: good luck, sistas!!
#metoo

Friday, June 8, 2018

Dee Eye Vee Oh Are See Ee

Have you ever met someone who raises their hand and says, “I’m so glad I went through a divorce!”
Me either...until now.
Let me be the first, but also let me rephrase it a bit.
I’m glad I went through a divorce, because of how much it taught me.

At the risk of sounding like a whack job, I can honesty say that I’m so happy for the experiences I went through. Granted, I highly caution against getting a divorce unless God commands you to.
In which case, you better listen...lest God smite you down for disobedience. Speaking for a friend...

The truth is, if I saw that man whom I was married to before, I would likely give him and his new someone a big hug. Starting with the new someone! I mean, what a blessing that trial was to my life, and so much gratitude fills my heart every day with how much I learned, how it shaped me, and who I am now because of it. It literally PURGED me of my worst qualities. I doubt there was another way for that to happen. I know God brought that man and I together for a reason, and I know He commanded us to be apart for a reason. He sees all, the Great Picture. He knew what we were to become but that we had to go through some fiery furnaces to get there.

“Divorce” is not a French delicacy.
No, it’s more like a rotten, fermented, pungent potatoe salad that’s been left out in the heat for weeks.
Yet, somehow for me, it was the most shape-shifting, soul-stretching, and Faith-building experience. It’s like the rhubarb pie, nobody wants to get it cause it sounds weird but it’s really the most delicious!
I can see how the Lord used that time in my life to fulfill His purpose, to guide me along to the place He would have me be, to who He wants me to be.
I’ve had so many instances happen where I was like, “Oh! That’s why He sent me on that rugged journey!” That’s how He taught me to listen to the spirit, to repent, to feel compassion, to not judge.
The Lord’s timing is perfect. I have full trust that the Lord has worked miracles in both of our lives, and that our families have also grown spiritually. I pray for them, and have no regrets other than I wish I could ask them to their faces to forgive me of my shortcomings. Life is so sweet and not long enough. 

In other news. Preparing for an ETERNAL marriage is something quite extraordinary.
It is the exact opposite of divorce, but virtually as shape-shifting.
Nothing has terrified me more.
Nothing has caused me to stay up late reading and reading and searching the scriptures.
I am so excited to be with my children forever.
There is no doubt in my mind this is what God wants me to do, but getting enough courage to stand without shaking in that room will take all of my energy.
Any tips!?!?

:)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Documenting Brittany: Coping With Substance Abuse




Coping with Substance Abuse Vlog
By Documenting Brittany

Preface: Everyone DOES feel pain differently. Some people do have “worse” lives. There are women who have given birth nine times naturally.
;)
Having prepared myself for all those arguments, I’m confident that God also gives us our own unique, personally prescribed, toughest battles. They come at different stages of life over a variety of time and at multiple ages.
My crippling problem might not be yours, and so on.
To the viewer who thought, “No, money doesn’t fix things, but God does. She should have prayed.”
Dude.
A girl who grew up LDS and never once thought to pray about her immense suffering? Why didn’t she think of that? Oh, she did. I thought that much was obvious.
It goes without saying (yet here I am saying it)
I exhausted ALL the avenues before out of the deepest and darkest desperation, turned to a numbing substance.
I’ll also argue that God doesn’t always take our afflictions from us. Prophets have stated such.
But Jesus Christ promises to always be there with us, to comfort us during them.
I testify that He did just that during my weakest moments.
Human as I am, I chose a method of coping many LDS people judge and condem, yet I never lost my testimony of or turned my back on Christ.
Lastly, to the viewer who is just so amazingly spiritual that they’ve never been tempted by substances, never been crippled, never felt so weak because of a trial that they abandoned their religious values, never had a prayer to relieve pain go unanswered....get ready.
Your time will come.
When you get there, reach out to someone who has already been through it.
You might be surprised to find out what you can learn.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter

It’s been a long time coming, but my smile lines are officially deeper than my frown lines :) 
There was a time in my life this was not so; and I was much too young to be having frown lines. 
These days I’m so very proud of my smile wrinkles and would never even consider covering or changing them.
I have so much to be grateful for.

Easter Sabbath was amazing.
General Conference was edifying and enlightening.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Is Your Path the same as God’s?

I’ve been pondering this question a lot today. Wondering, is my path the same as God’s? Am I walking the path He wants me to walk?

Sometimes I’ve been sitting in a house for days at a time and I speak only to children under three. Most of the time they’re screaming and crying at me, or fighting with each other. I get desperate for human interaction. Since most people aren’t available unless it’s through social media, I find myself binging social media in an effort to connect. What I encounter are failed connections or surface level friendships. I get depressed. I withdraw. And I’m back in my same circular path.
Which then poses the question: Am I on God’s path for ME?

I’m going to try and figure it out, one tiny set at a time.
I deactivated my social media accounts. Again. For the umpteenth time.
The break is much needed.
I’m going to evaluate my life circumstances.
I don’t have the relationships I want; that is the relationships I have currently, like with my husband, my parents, my siblings, and my friends, are not precisely where I wish them to be.
Do I have a hard life?
No.
Am I extremely blessed and fortunate?
Yes.
I’m going to celebrate those aspects and continue to improve my relationships while utilizing prayer and scripture study. My goal is to align my path with God’s, for if I’m encountering a hrdahip of some sort, I will be able to know what God’s purpose is in my going through it.

As it stands, I’ve felt painfully alone for a number of years. I do not have people to confide in about my deepest darkest pains and the struggles I’m having. Which, in relation to the world’s crises, are NOT that bad. However, I’m not human and I suffer pains and afflictions just like the next human. I do wish I had a confidant, I do wish I had stronger relationships in my life; but for now, I will focus solely on strengthening my relationship with God. I know He is always there and will be my everlasting friend.