My current fella and I are different in MANY ways. I always want to go out, and he wants to stay in. My glass is half full, and his half-empty. He is a fantastic cook, and I tend to mess up the easiest of recipes. Despite our differences, I am a lucky lady. I found someone who supports and helps me achieve all of my hopes and dreams in life. He helps prepare me for shoots, is my videographer some days, does all my techy stuff, and even made the Lama-Leah logo. We live together and sometimes work together. I am extremely grateful.
We have been together pretty much since the first day that we met, and we haven’t spent that much time apart from each other. He met my family within the first week, and I was given a key fairly quickly. He opened up his apartment (and his desktop) for me to go and write/work/submit free of distractions. Before moving in, we ate dinner together pretty much every night. Some days he’d pick me up on his way home from work, other times I’d meet up a little later, no matter what, we’d see each other but I came (to my) home every night. At this point, I was under my fathers’ roof and so I had to follow his rules. It was an expectation that I didn’t spend the night in a boys house.
One evening, a special circumstance happened. On a Friday afternoon, we had a project to do together that had a deadline. I was leaving for Minnesota early the next day, and I wouldn’t be back before the end of the deadline. While there were multiple individuals involved, it took much longer then any of us expected it to. With three people working hard, we didn’t finish until around 3 am. I was loopy, to say the least, and we were having a terrible rainstorm.
I was packing up my items, preparing to leave, and my boyfriend took note of how tired I was. He suggested that I spend the night and told me I could have the bedroom, and he’d take the couch. I was conflicted. You see, I am not a strong driver and when I’m tired I dissociate. Those are two dangerous combinations. I knew my mom would’ve wanted me to be safe, and my Dad wanted me home.
I thought long and hard. I finally came to the conclusion that safety was more important than appearances. I texted my mom and told her I’d be back before she’d probably even be up. He gave me a T-shirt to wear, tucked me in, and then he went to the couch.
That was a difficult night.
Part of me felt cool, but another part knew that if any Christians found out of this I’d be getting the wrath from them. As I laid in that bed, I dwelled on the anxiety that came with the idea of sleeping in a man’s bed even though he wasn’t even in the room. I thought about his neighbors knowing that I left in the morning. I couldn’t stop thinking about how if Grandma McCready was alive and found out about this night, she’d be mortified and ashamed of my actions.
A few (very short) hours later, he woke me up, had coffee ready for me, and helped get my stuff to the car. That entire night was pure and innocent. I left for vacation that morning and didn’t see each other, but talked every day for the next week.
I kept that night between my parents and I. My extended family (who I was visiting) didn’t know. You see, I was halfway convicted and halfway not. I knew that I did not do anything wrong that night. Would others believe me? I don’t really know. My secular friends would’ve believed me. My Christain ones would question me and my reasonings to stay.
This what purity culture has done to me. For years (and even now to some extent) it has made me focus on what other people think. I was taught that if you have multiple partners, others (and your future spouse) will see you as less valuable. As a female, if I don’t dress modestly Christian boys will think less of you. If you live with your significant other before marriage it looks bad.
As I’ve thought about it, I realized that’s what religion (at least in America) oftentimes turns into. The focus shifts from God and turns into keeping up with appearances. Don’t believe me? Think about all the arguments you’ve had with someone of a different generation about what kind of music should be played in Church.
At the end of our lives, we won’t answer to man but to God. I am tired of focusing on what other people may think because honestly, it is exhausting. It’s going to take some time to re-wire my brain. But feels like it could be a freeing concept to live by.
My challenge to you is to reflect on the traditions in your religious background that aren’t biblically-based. Ask your self if you feel convicted or if you continue doing them because that’s all you know.
With all the love,
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