Healing From The Lie Of Purity.
Age 14. My fear is that when I kiss my boyfriend, our braces will lock together. That’s all I need: my first real kiss turning into a medical procedure.
After the days of romantic dry humping, my underwear soaked wet, body aching from all the sex I won’t have, it is time to end it. I’m religious, so my boyfriend’s penis is pointing me directly away from God.
I know it is time to say goodbye before I make the biggest mistake of my life, making Jesus, the church, and everyone pretty pissed off at my happy vagina.
I ignore my sexual energy because there is no room for sex in the church. I’m only 14, and I star on a liturgical dance team. I am a Christian mother’s wet dream. I turn heads because of my gorgeous round… spirit.
I turn the head of the youth pastor. I’m grateful because here is a man I can look up to and love, who wouldn’t want a thing, because no one who leads in a church has to worry about sex, right? That’s only for those sinful people who just can’t get their act together.
Prayer sessions turn into making-out sessions, because no one is quite like me, he says. If I wasn’t so gorgeous, he wouldn’t be so weak and have to have oral sex. Of course, it’s my fault. I was the one born with breasts and a vagina. He pulls away to marry someone his own age. I keep my mouth closed.
There is just no room for sex in the church.
Now I’m 18, and on the brink of my life. I’m researching suicide on the computer when I’m supposed to be doing my homework. A way out is better than having to face the mess of my life. I look down and no longer see skin, I’m just some blow-up sex doll, meaning nothing at all.
I want to drive into the street lamp because I am damaged goods thrown aside, never to have anything to offer to anyone else, says my church. I am chained to their definition of purity, and I better keep it squeaky clean, and definitely not have messed around with the youth pastor underneath the sheets.
I saved my life by claiming my body and making my purity reliant on my untouchable soul, and not on what a man did to my body young or old. I saved my life because I stopped holding myself hostage to an unrealistic reality.
The church had no room for sexuality, and no room for me, but I saved my life by learning to touch my skin and call my beauty holy, and not sin.
I rose from the ashes of the underworld where I was banished to. I didn’t belong there, but many young girls lose themselves there, too ashamed to live on and face life. And that is why I speak today: for the families of the ones who didn’t survive, for those who did survive but lost joy in their bodies and the light because of lies about sexuality.
Because a whole society puts a woman’s worth in her purity, or lack thereof.
Let’s make room for sex in the church, and in our entire world.
Let’s make room for real discussions about sexuality and attraction, of figuring out how to truly prevent the abuse of sex and power. Let’s talk about what sex really is. Let’s not demonize sex, so people can really be honest and not commit acts of abuse behind closed doors.
But this story is not just about the girl who almost took her life because of the abuse of sex, of power, of lies. This story is about forgiveness. It is about the only thing that set me free. It is about the time 10 years later when I saw the youth pastor at a Trader Joe’s, wanting to throw the entire section of avocados at his face.
It is about how I ran out of there unable to breathe, unable to be in the same place. I knew at that very moment that I had to let this go, or it would haunt me for the rest of my life. I mean, he was a person: at Trader Joe’s, going food-shopping, maybe he wasn’t evil, maybe he was just human.
I met with him and gave back what was not mine to carry: guilt in my body, shame in my skin. I gave every single thing back to him, and he gladly took it. He asked for forgiveness, and I saw that he was not a monster, just someone with a broken heart.
I walked taller, knowing that my forgiveness helped free someone who was living in the dark, where I was too. And this is exactly what the world needs now: more coming together and forgiving, instead of me against you.
And for you dear one, for the one who barely survived, or who is still holding onto all the lies that there is something wrong with her sweet sexuality, know that your body is so precious, that your beauty is so sacred, and there’s nothing you can ever do to lose that. Ever. I promise.
I dare you to confront the ones you think who stole it all away, and learn how to forgive them all. You will set yourself free, and them too. The world needs more of that and more of you.
Maria Palumbo is a healer. She is a dancer in the dark. She lovingly guides women in the retrieval of their own souls through coaching, workshops, and community development. She celebrates freedom from shame in body, mind, and soul. Her work is fun and delicious, making the journey of healing gorgeous and satisfying, like a kiss under the Full Moon. Fall in deep love with your soul by connecting with her on Facebook or at her website.