In Greek Mythology, the Maenads were mad women, dancing with abandon and ecstasy, manipulated, tortured, and controlled by the male god Dionysus. Their euphoric high spirits were viewed as madness and hysteria; their reactions to the abuse they endured attributed to the fickleness of their sex. In Mormonism, I was a mad woman, swayed by a satanic feminist agenda designed to draw women away from marriage and motherhood, my anger at the indoctrination I received proof only of my own poor character. Today, I am proud to be educated, proud to have given into my madness, to be an educated lady, Lady Maenad.
Six years ago I registered for an online English course through Salt Lake Community College, nursing baby tugging at my breast, a toddler tracing lines in crayon on my registration papers. The guilt I felt attempting something- anything- that might draw my attention from my children consumed me, yet I shyly progressed forward, driven by something I could only describe at the time as “the spirit.” My intensive religious background left me unable to attribute my own intuition to anything but God, yet if God whispered to me that education was in my future, that being must have been intent upon destroying my faith and belief him. If God initiated my ascent into academia, then God is none other than myself. I have faith- yes- but faith only in myself.