Al Fox: Tattooed Mormon

By Al Fox

Published: Friday, April 5 2013 9:30 a.m. MDT

Editor's note: This content by Al Fox originally appeared on her blog, Al Fox's Head. It has been posted here with the author's permission.

Boy have I been kept busy! A good kind of busy. March Madness doesn't just apply to basketball, but to me and speaking at Firesides. I've been traveling all over speaking at least four times a week, which has really reflected on my lack of blog posts. Now that I've healed from surgery and have caught my breath from my travels, adjusted to my schedule, I promise I will not go this long without a post. A lot of new subscribers and emails have come from my feature in LDS Living Magazine, as well as Deseret News, in response to having a hard time feeling like they do not fit in. Feeling that they are judged for their mistakes. Want to return but are worried what others may think. Or others who have become offended and do not want to return.

Let me share with you a story that I tell during my firesides that everyone gasps out of shock to. An experience that happened to me due to my appearance that when I say it everyone reacts the way I did when it happened. Although, truth be told, if it wasn't me telling the story to them, it could of very well been any of them that did the same thing as this man did.

This happened three years ago; my very first day in Utah, after the long, uncomfortable and terrifying trek across the country by myself to a new place where I didn't know a single person. I moved, against my will, because I knew that's what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I moved regardless of how hard it was and regardless of the fact I had no idea why I needed to be here. And I was scared. Not just because it was new but because of the warnings I received from so many people: "Al, don't move to Utah. No one will like you. Al, if you move to Utah, you will NOT fit in." That was really hard to hear, and I tried my hardest to ignore those remarks.

So here I am, my very first day across the country in my new home, and what am I suppose to do now? I haven't the slightest idea. Heavenly Father didn't tell me that much yet. I ended up at Cafe Rio we don't have those back home and you have to know I have a thing for tacos. So, you have to visualize this, you know how the line kind of snakes around, so you are in a big group of people while waiting? Well, I was right in the middle of it. And I was holding a church book in my hands. It was more of a grasp/hug to this book; it was a biography on one of the prophets. And while I was waiting in line I felt very tense. I could feel stares in every direction; it felt like lasers. I stood there stiff trying to ignore it but I couldn't. I could physically feel the stares from everyone. Finally, the guy next to me tapped my on the arm and said, "You know ... it's pretty ironic you look the way you do holding that book."

My heart broke. Stomach knotted. Eyes teary.

It took a bit for me to react. So many emotions ran through me, and I had to decide which one I was going to express to him. What I so badly wanted to do was to turn to him and yell. Yell and cry to him, "Do you know what I just went through?! Do you know how hard this is! Do you know who and what I had to give up to be here, and I don't even know why!"

How badly I wanted to walk around everywhere with my scriptures so that the 'lasers' would stop. And they didn't. I so badly wanted people to see me for who I've become. I literally craved more than anything for people to just know that I was trying. That's it. That I was trying. And they couldn't, and it hurt me so badly that it became physically exhausting.

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