It's about to get real personal.
I was thinking to myself… to write this out? Not to write this out.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.”
Lord. Have you ever unpacked that? Oh William you genius you. Alas, this isn’t about William Shakespeare or his plays…
I grew up in a Christian home. God. That’s become the cliché way to start any good blog, book, auto-biography for Christian book-store or the perfect intro talk to youths at a Jesus Camp.
Let’s try this again.
Let's talk about sexuality and how weary and bored I am of it being taken out of context - blown out of proportion or dumbed down to something meaningless that animals do.
Problem is that when we’re convinced we're just highly evolved mammals doing what the animals do, you strip people of their humanity and now, we’re just doin like they do on the discovery channel. But, if you’ve ever been in a relationship that had a highly charged sexual element to it, and you break up… vs. the one that didn't have that element… which one, in most circumstances, hurts worse? So there's something more to it, clearly. But then, in religious circles, there is this heightened stigma on sexuality… making it the forbidden fruit that is both holy and worthy of damnation. (Grow up with that, and after being kissed for the first time, you’ll understand fully the weight of shame.)
The animalistic approach makes me nauseated. The religious approach makes me want to weep for my soul and confess to a priest. Fact is, there’s truth to both parts, I think. We are born with desires that are gifts which are wonderful things but, they can be used to build up or to tear down. When we stop looking at other people as human beings who have value and worth, and diminish them until they are simply a means to a pleasurable end… we’re just using each other. At the same time, when I’m supposed to act like some sort of demi-god, it’s just another impossible task in some man made system to earn holiness... physically and mentally... we're set up to fail.
Both of these angel vs. animal situations hit home for me. Two times in my life, I ended up in a situation where a man forgot I was a human and must have had some Nebuchadnezzar moment where he’s struck with madness and thinks we’re livestock in mating season. Not only that, but these two individuals refused to take 'no' for an answer… and did that whole ‘Mr. innocent’ routine afterward. Class acts those two. I was in a semi-relationship with one of them at the time… (and I use that term as loosely as possible.) The other was married and just took advantage of the fact that we were alone in his home and I’d been babysitting his child. Hello bad movie. Both have left lasting painful impressions. Including that I have found myself still incredibly uncomfortable being alone with men that I don’t trust sometimes.
Another situation in my life… There was a boy that I cared for a lot. He chased me like a girl wants to be chased. He romanced me in ways I thought were only in films. However, the two of us were in fragile places of healing from heartbrokenness. The two of us set some healthy boundaries for our blossoming romance, and in fact, determined to step back from the romantics a bit until the dust settled. We wanted to pursue this, but protect each other. So, one evening, we got together and due to sleep deprivation and alcohol and a big dose of the lonelies, inhibitions were pretty much nil. So those brand spanking new boundary lines we'd drawn were just drying and we just crossed them. I mean, drag-raced over the lines. Best thing is that this is completely out of character for both of us. Question is why some people cause the memory of the evening to haunt me like an angry ghost? Like I should have a scarlett letter sewn on my chest. Really? The queen of self-control loses it once and now I’m looking over my shoulder at the sideways glances that say, "stay away from that girl, oh ye saints, because she'll infect you with lust."?? Yeah, not so much.
Christina Aguilera sang it well once, “Sorry, I’m not a virgin. Sorry, I’m not a slut.” Welp, there’s that. And you didn’t even have to play truth or dare to get me to answer it. And it seems that if anyone should find out, you’re either Hester Prynne wearing a garment of shame or you’re Jenna Jameson and prolly gonna give it up. Thing is, I’m neither of those things. I have made mistakes I'm not proud of. I've been used and taken advantage of. And once upon a time I acted out of the belief that I was getting married to live happily ever after... ring on my finger and all! But the most important part of my story is that I've learned some lessons... valuable and painful. I've learned to forgive. And received forgiveness... and lots of grace... and lots of healing.
God knows my heart on these things. I’ve shared my heart with my close friends and family and mentors. It’s all that really matters. But for the record, yes I am a hot-blooded sexual woman but, I have chosen to have conservative boundaries in order to maintain a shalom… a health. A wholeness. A peace in my heart…and in the hearts of others in my life. Not out of a religiosity or out of prudishness... out of a deep respect and honor… out of a carefulness that springs out of love. Because I want to "chase after a life of love as if my life depends on it... because it does." Intimacy is just best in a safe place and if it isn't in a safe place, it ceases to be intimate and becomes something else altogether. Sexuality that is an expression of love in the truest sense is beautiful. Outside of that, it's most often an expression of selfishness... it contradicts love and turns it into a weapon that can potentially wound us, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Maybe that's the exactly the point... Love is the safest place for it. And at the same time, Love covers all of our humanity and frailty... it's the only place where there is grace to be just who we are… and space to become all we’re becoming.
And I mostly wonder how many of us are in situations like this... have been in situations like this... are discussing this... wrestling this... or at peace with this... and maybe just need to know we aren't alone or maybe need someone who's walked this road to hold our hand... or maybe we just need to tell our story...
Because we're not alone... but there's not enough talking...
"I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more." – C.S. Lewis