life’s just too damn short…

Don’t you agree, Reader? Life is just too short. Too damn short. Too short for long lines. Too short for stupid arguments with the people you love (though they are bound to happen…). There’s just not enough time.

There aren’t enough hours in the day. I have often thought this to myself, especially over the last several months. I don’t know where my days go I am so busy sometimes. I wish I could stop time, get things done, and then start it back up again and let the hours trickle away with just a smidgen less stress than I had in the “moment” before. But alas, it’s just not possible.

You know what else life is too short for? For closed-mindedness. I’ve hinted and mentioned several times that I would breach a line of conversation that would possibly uncomfortable for some (and honestly, myself included). To say it out loud, or in this case, write it in the permanent ink of the internet, makes it “un-take back-able. ” It’s out there for people to judge and hate or rejoice in and support. I’m afraid of the former. Of the judgement.

I think the reason I haven’t “publicly” admitted, spoken, or written concerning what I’m about to expel is because I don’t want to hear the disappointment of the people I love. I don’t want to hear them ask me how I could think or feel such things. How I could “abandon the truth,” as some of my loved ones have so poetically put it in the past. How could I hurt these people whom I love and have no intention to disappoint? Or the friends with whom I used to share a deep sincerity for religion and spirituality?

But the truth is, dear Reader, that I have almost wholeheartedly abandoned those things. I don’t know what I believe anymore, but I’m pretty sure that the stories I was told growing up are not much more than that – stories of miracles, a ruling higher-power with an iron fist and a jealousy so violent, to wrong or disown him was to ask for a one-way ticket into an eternity of suffering. 

Over the last three years, I’ve allowed my heart and my mind to wander and wonder – to entertain a curiosity of what else is “out there,” or perhaps not out there. And the rules and lines I was once so afraid to cross I have left long behind in a trail of dust. 

And so I am here. A little bit brave and stepping off the edge of silence once again.

Here, where I am spilling my secret thoughts and what I have found to be the truth I was always searching for. If I was really honest, I would have to say that I’ve been searching for answers since I was a child. I always had private misgivings. And now, as an adult, I am allowed to explore and see, to taste and to listen to the other points of view. 

So. If you know me personally at all, this is going to be a lot of information and opinions you maybe (probably) (definitely) disagree with. Consider this your disclaimer.

Let’s start today with possibly the most uncomfortable topic of them all: casual sex.

There’s something so freeing about having sex with someone you don’t love. There’s no danger of having the responsibility that comes along with being in a relationship. You’re free to experiment and learn what you really want and like. You’re able to just enjoy it. (This is especially the case when it’s good. Obviously.)

Let me tell you the long, long story of how I have gotten myself to this point…

Growing up, I was under the impression that sex was reserved for marriage only. Much to my own (and I’m sure my parents’) disappointment, like most hormone-drugged adolescents I succumbed to physical temptation and “messed around” with several boys around age thirteen or fourteen. Making out was, well, awesome. And I had decent boobs at that age, which was a bonus for me (and the boys). There wasn’t a lot going on and I never “went all the way,” but I certainly did things that would make my mother blush…

(I would also like to add that all the boys I “fooled around” with were from church. Not a single one was from school. A few times, these little bouts took place at church, in fact. (Sorry, everybody…) Somehow, I was very popular in my church youth group, but just another kid in the crowd in middle school.)

It didn’t take long for those things to feel “normal” and to not feel very guilty about them happening. And then came high school.

I was far less “active” with boys than I had been in middle school. For one thing, my family had moved out of state and I started at a brand new school with no friends. I immediately blended into a giant crowd of “average” kids and didn’t have much to make me stand out. Looking back, I realize that I truly felt invisible. I went through high school having never been asked out on a date. High school was rough for me, emotionally. Lots of major family changes and a heavy dose of depression led me to graduate a year early and head off to college just to get away. Needless to say, I have nothing sexually exciting or embarrassing to share from those three years.

But college. College started differently. I met a boy and within weeks, we were dating exclusively. We fell in love hard and fast and for all the wrong reasons. I remember never being attracted to Matt – not in the least. But you know what the draw was for me? I had never had so much attention from the opposite sex my in my entire life and I loved it. I fucking loved it. I was the center of his attention. He treated me well. We went on real dates like in the movies. It was like my own personal drug: attention.

Seeing as how I had never been asked on a date in high school, I don’t even know what my parents’ rules on dating would have been back then… It just never happened. I learned in middle and high school that I wasn’t attractive. I wasn’t one of the pretty, skinny girls. I wasn’t athletic. I wasn’t super smart, just average. I wasn’t special or desirable (aside from those boobs in middle school). And then I went to college and this [kind of ugly] guy was acting like the sun shined out my ass. I felt desired and I liked it.

Within just a few months we confessed love for one another and started talking about getting married. I’ll also mention here that I attended a private Christian institution that tooted the marriage horn louder than any other biblically-driven instrument. Women came to school, often, to get an “M-R-S degree.” That first year, I was one of them. Sure, I wanted to graduate with a “real” degree, but I was also planning to walk at commencement with a ring on my finger and a wedding planned for a month later.

What I wasn’t planning on was losing my virginity.

But it happened. Those hormones were a’ragin’ and we had been fooling around for months without actually “going all the way.” And we would feel guilty about it because that’s what you do when you go to a Christian school. You act like you don’t struggle with “remaining pure” in your relationship and lie through your teeth. And then you stand up amongst all the other liars and pretend like no one is doing what we all know we’re all doing… We were all doing something we felt guilty about later… There are just levels to the guilt. (Trust me on this one, I’ve been at every level on the scale.)

So we had sex. I lost my virginity in a very unsexy, unromantic setting: the basement storage room. We had swiped a bonus room lamp to cast a lower glow so we didn’t alert anyone coming downstairs that the lights were on in the storage room… Because then they would try the door, which was locked, and know that we were in there hiding and doing it. (His parents totally knew we were doing it, but they weren’t “believers” and I think they secretly were glad.)

That first time, I felt so guilty. But the times after it became easier. It was no sexier, by the way. We had little understanding of a healthy sexual relationship and it was never about me, if you know what I mean… Honestly, it was pretty shitty.

A couple of months later, we stopped for a few reasons.

1) Our college ministry pastor happened to preach about pre-marital sex to our collective group and we felt convicted.

2) Summer hit and I moved 3 hours north to my grandparents house until the fall semester would begin.

3) Matt’s parents moved to another state and we no longer had the storage room to get it on.

and

4) If we got caught, we could both have been thrown out of school for an unspecified amount of time, which wasn’t worth the risk.

So we stopped. And then, thirteen months into what had turned out to be a terrible, emotionally abusive relationship, he broke it off. I was completely devastated. I had allowed our relationship to run my life – everything I had revolved around it. And then, to top it all off, I had “given myself” to Matt and now we weren’t going to get married. I was damaged goods.

I was a complete. Wreck.

The recovery details aren’t too important here, but needless to say, I came out the other side with some wounds, but felt stronger. And after that experience, I realized that my view had changed: I was okay with sleeping with someone that I loved and I was in a relationship with. The evolution had begun.

Fast forward to my final years of college and the few years after, and I maintained this belief. I was in another on-again off-again, tumultuous and confusing relationship in college that really messed me up, too, but he and I never slept together. Maybe that was for the best. And in the months and years that we weren’t together, I didn’t date anyone else.

I didn’t date because no one asked. I felt the same way I had all through middle and high school: I was undesirable. No one was interested and no one cared. So I girded myself more heavily with an independent spirit and decided, Fine. I’m okay with this. Whatever.

And then Korea happened.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve had some… opportunities. And at first I was shy, but now I’m totally comfortable with myself. Something happened once I got here: apparently I’m somewhat attractive to some people. And dude, it’s a nice feeling. Maybe it’s because I finally went back to blonde. Maybe it’s because I carry myself differently. Maybe it’s because I flirt more freely and I have let go of so many of those inhibitions that used to hold me back before.

I feel so much more confident it’s not even funny. I don’t want a “forever relationship” right now. I don’t want to be in love. And I don’t do “one time hookups.” These “opportunities” have been birthed out of new-found friendships or mutual friends. But the point is it’s my choice. I’m not embarrassed to say that I like what I like. I still try to play it safe and be smart about it. Tinder is still the proverbial community playground and nothing fruitful has come out of it; and I refuse to have that one-time “hit it and quit it” mentality that Tinder seems to encourage. But I love the freedom of having no responsibility to a relationship.

I might be somewhat average, but that doesn’t mean I’m invisible. I don’t feel hidden anymore. I feel wanted. I don’t care what anyone else says – just knowing that you’re desired is a major confidence booster. I don’t feel dirty. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel anything but awesome.

Maybe this is too much information for you, but I’m not sorry. Someone had to know about this awakening. Being sexually active and open to experimentation has changed me in such an amazing way. I’m glad I “did it.” Seriously.

*This piece was posted in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: No Time to Waste.

8 Comments

  1. paulygirl74 says:

    Yes! I know and I have been where you were and are.
    My only issue was that I married that first one. Not a good thing.
    We evolve and we grow , I think it’s great for you to blog about this stuff!!!
    Thank you!
    I always thought I was the only one that had had those guilt feelings . It felt gooooooood , but then oh so bad. Not healthy . I had (have) friends that just didn’t seem to have that guilt!!!!
    And as far as religion goes, in my opinion one can only grow by exploring and questioning. I grew in the church and went to private parochial schools where you just didn’t question!
    Once I felt doubt and stared really thinking about it ……I was in I chartered waters, girl! But I wasn’t struck by a lightening bolt and honestly by questioning and branching out I have really found out some neat things and feel firmer about what I believe and don’t believe!
    I think this blog entry of yours is about healthy growth. We all take different roads to grow up. :-)

    This was a good blog entry. I really feel ya on this one.
    I think you’re all good!!! Sounds like you have learned and are still learning and I think that’s a better way to grow up and become who you’re supposed to be!
    It sure took me a while and I’m still learning! ;-)

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thank you again, Paula (I hope I can call you Paula!) for your response! I have really come to embrace writing on these “tough” topics because it has allowed me to come out of my shell and truly be comfortable with who I am. I also know I’m not the only young woman who went through/is going through some of these question-answer battles. I want other young women to know they’re not alone and that there isn’t one set answer for everything.

      I think we all need to follow our own hearts. In time, we will become more of who we were meant to be. I agree with you there!

      So again, thanks for reading and responding. Your words are encouraging to me! :)

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  5. Reblogged this on a little bit brave and commented:

    Hey, Reader.

    I’ve been working on a few things lately and, largely, felt like I needed to share my own story about my “sexual awakening” to set up my thoughts on a post in the works. Rather than bore you with the same story in a different way, I’m re-blogging the original for you to scan.

    If anything, I hope this story will spur other young women struggling with some of the grey areas of their sexuality to be brave and confident in themselves.

    You are beautiful and desirable, Girl. Go get what you want. Or don’t. The decision is yours.

    Cheers.

    -K

  6. Grainne says:

    Great post!
    I had somewhat similar feelings to you growing up in Catholic Ireland. It wasn’t until I moved to Korea that I learned to open up, talk more about myself and my problems and not feel embarrassed about sex! I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m glad that you have been able to build your confidence while here. Sometimes we just have to leave everything that we know to truly be the person that we are supposed to be.

    • Hi Grainne!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, growing up in any kind of religious setting shapes so much of who we are – sometimes in good ways and, unfortunately, sometimes in negative ways. While I respect a lot of the “abstinence” messages that are sent by much of the religious community, I also think they are filled with lies and judgement. It shouldn’t be this way!

      I hope other young women in similar situations will start to explore and learn for themselves. It can be a tough journey, but such a rewarding one.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog! :)

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