No Longer Alone in a Crowded Room

You’ve probably been there—surrounded by people, but completely alone.

I’ve often felt that loneliness in my religion. Even though I grew up Mormon, attended church every week, served a mission, I still often felt like a piece out of place. And for so long, I didn’t have the words or stories to explain why. I wanted to stay, but for several years, I had wondered and prayed if I even fit.

On the morning I discovered Exponent, I felt particularly lonely.

I went to a brunch with women in my ward. They were lovely, inclusive people, looping me into their circle as much as they could. We saw each other all the time and could make small talk. But I always felt a gap I couldn’t seem to cross. And on this particular morning, I was tired of figuring out where to build the bridge.

So I sat quietly alone, ready to leave.

When I did, I noticed another woman also sitting quietly. But she seemed more comfortable in her quietness than I did.

As we chatted, she mentioned serving as poetry editor of a magazine. I’m a writer, so I got excited. I went home, looked up Exponent II—a magazine I’d never heard of—and found more than just the writerly publication or blog I expected.

I found voices that told me I wasn’t alone.


At Exponent, I found stories that sounded so familiar they could have been my own. I found others that differed from my experience so much that they beamed light onto parts of my spiritual experience I hadn’t considered. Women asked questions I’d never been brave enough to say out loud. Every voice honest, smart, wrestling.

“We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — ‘Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.’” —John Steinbeck

The stories at Exponent II and The Exponent blog have helped me feel less lonesome as a Mormon woman. And when we know we’re not the only one, we tend to stop second-guessing our perspective and we allow ourselves to grow. At least I did.

Exponent II is a volunteer organization with some hefty technical needs to secure the site from recent hacker attempts—and you can help this second. We’re running a fundraiser this week to preserve this space for a variety of women’s voices.

Spread the word and DONATE TODAY! Click here for more information and a list of prizes for those who donate.



Kathy is a writer living in Phoenix, AZ.

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1 Response

  1. EmilyCC says:

    I love that Steinbeck quote and you.

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