Give Me Sex Jesus

Yesterday I saw on Twitter that there was a documentary screening in Pasadena for a movie called Give Me Sex Jesus about that insanely popular Evangelical movement True Love Waits which if you grew up in a church particularly in the last 20 years or so, you know all about it. And it has probably scarred you in some way.

I watched the short trailer and promptly got tickets for my boyfriend and I. In our relationship so far he and I have talked a lot about the things youth group told us about sex before marriage, things our parents, pastors, and friends did or did not teach us.

The weird shame feeling that comes with wanting someone.

The insane way a past can feel like you’re on a sinking ship that’s taking you into your future.

My boyfriend and I are sitting in the room before the documentary starts, I look around and I see people and couples of different sexual orientations all coming because their teenage years (and lets be real, their adult years too) were intensely impacted by this purity movement. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Whether or not this movie is any good, it’s incredible to be in a room of people wanting to reconcile and make sense of this. So many open minds and hearts.”

The documentary shared stories from people who grew up in this era of pledging to wait till marriage. We heard stories from couples who did wait, couples who didn’t; gay, lesbian, and transgender men and women who had to try and find their identity in the midst of heavy un-acceptance and intolerance. Even heard a great deal from the man who began the entire movement, who without intending to, kind of screwed over a generation of youth’s sexual understanding. (Not that he feels responsible for it, anyway.)

There were so many moments in this humorous and very real documentary where someone would say something and I would think, “Yep, I’ve heard that a thousand times from my friends.” and “Mhmm, that’s always how I’ve thought too.”

So very many moments watching it where I could do nothing but shake my head.

A gay man named Chris shared his story in the documentary about growing up in an extremely Evangelical home, his grandparents founded Campus Crusade for Christ college ministry, he talked about when he was young his prayers were less that God would make him straight and more that God wouldn’t let him die while he was gay because it meant he’d go to hell.

I sighed, a heavy sigh. Heart aching.

Even worse though, after the film played there was a short panel, and Chris who shared his story was on the panel, and people asked questions. One guy in the audience asked Chris, in so many words, whether or not he had come to term with his faith while being homosexual. Chris said, “Am I a Christian? No.”

He went on to answer a bit further but as soon as he said no the tears began to pour down my face.

Thankfully it was the final question for the panel and as my boyfriend and I headed to the car I couldn’t hold back the tears.

I’m not asking your opinion on the subject, because I don’t care what it is, that answer… “No.” It tells me and it should tell you what a shit job Christians can do at loving.

Late in my high school years I walked with my dear friend through his journey of accepting that he was gay and through that acceptance he could not figure out how to hold onto his very real faith. A huge part of that was the lack of acceptance and love felt by the people who had helped mold him in his faith.

It was incredible hearing everything that was shared but that end note just shattered my heart.

Again, I am not interested in upsetting or hearing your beliefs on the matter. I’m telling you, something is wrong.

There were so many rough and insightful stories shared in the documentary and as easy and uneasy as it is for a group of 20-30 year olds in Los Angeles to watch it I hope it hits the people in the small town in Michigan where I grew up.

This white girl and MLK Day.

I have the enjoyment of being the primary content writer for the blog I oversee where I work at The Giving Keys. On Friday I wrote a post about Martin Luther King Jr. Day to go up today. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so unqualified to write a blog post in my life.

Recently seeing the movie Selma re-stirred within me, and I am sure a great deal of others, the impact that this man has made on history. Particularly civil rights and African-American culture.

This is weird for me to attempt to write out and describe, but seeing Selma along with writing the post on Martin Luther King Jr. have had this way of making me feel the color of my skin. And the rotten history attached to this color.

I spent years of my life working with Detroit youth, where I was generally the only white girl in a room of young black girls that I counseled. And I adored it. I adored them. Adored, adored, adored. I had big plans to spend the rest of my life working with Detroit teens and then other plans happened. But through those years I came to understand and acknowledge race and racism in ways I otherwise never would have had the chance to. For that I am forever grateful.

I learned how ignorant hatred is, and how powerful love is.

I learned the sheer force that culture has on an individual.

I learned how difficult it is to reshape that culture.

Leaving the movie theater a couple weeks ago after seeing Selma, I couldn’t help that my stomach churned with that question of, “If you were alive in that time, in that location, which side would you have been on?”

No one wants to dare say such a thought aloud but I can’t imagine I am the only one who thought it. Believe me, I know it’s a disgusting question and it’s extremely hypothetical and really there is no way of knowing. I mean it was a different time, and place, and things are different now, right?

Re-listening to King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on Friday when writing the blog post one of the lines that stood out to me was this:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

Maybe, things are not so different yet. We are not yet standing in the day that Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of when our current events are still exactly that.

There are still sides. Tragically. Horrifyingly.

You still choose whether you stand on the side of paranoia and prejudice or do you stand on the side of peace and equality. In some ways we may be less naive and less hateful than years before, but we are still not where we should be.

At the Golden Globes last week Tina Fey made the joke, “the movie Selma is about the American Civil Rights Movement that totally worked and now everything’s fine.”

We are not where we should be. We are not where we should be when over 50 years later we are seeing the same issues, the same violence, the same preconceived notions without bothering to understand.

Everything is not totally fine.

I can’t help but look at the life Martin Luther King Jr. lived and wonder what things would be like if more of us viewed humankind the way he did. If more of us fought for peace and equality with even half the vigor that King did, what levels could we reach together?

Because that’s the thing, it has to be together. No one can do it alone.

It’s time to come together.

Don’t be like Ryan and Kelly.

Awhile back I watched the movie One Day, which a friend had kept telling me I needed to see.

I watched it, and did not have an inspirational About Time reaction with this movie. Just the opposite. I nearly had a How I Met Your Mother finale level reaction. I have become increasingly intense about our need for “clean breaks” in the last six months or so.

The lack of being able to fully break away, whether it be a job, a church, a relationship, even social media is proving to be a devastating affair for my generation.

We have on-again-off-again relationships with everything we do in life. We are noncommittal to the nth degree. Yet, we this have a debilitating fear of saying no and stepping forever away from the things that are damaging to us, because we ask ourselves, “what if it’s the best thing that will come along?” We break up and get back together with our exes. We beg our bosses to keep us in our dead end jobs that we complain about to everyone we know. We stay in churches that don’t further us along because finding a new one takes too much effort.

The question is, are we lazy and settling, or do we honestly not know how much more we deserve?

For as long as I can remember I have had this thought that I am not supposed to live an ordinary life. That my life has to, in some way, be different. Not an intense strive to be higher and do more than others, but I have just always had a desire to not settle for what other people settle for.

This deep seeded goal of mine has in a lot of ways not made life very comfortable/comforting. And often, when spending time around people who are living a life I would call settling (ugh, I know I’m the worst, I swear my horse is not that high! I just view things differently from others!) I spend time in their lives and I think that it’s actually rather wonderful, and maybe they know something I don’t know.

Each year that passes I come to learn more and more that there are seasons for everything. Something you want with all your heart in your 20’s may not be all you want in your 30’s, what you want most in your 30’s may not be something that matters to you in your 40’s, and so on and so forth. Priorities look different for everyone. The idea of “settling” looks different to everyone.

The fact remains though–especially to my fellow twenty-somethings–there is a big life out there full of great people and amazing opportunity and you don’t need to fight for things to stay in your life that do not build up your life.

I hate the idea that we circle back around to people who don’t bring out the best in us, that we settle for jobs that don’t fill our hearts.

There is truly so much more to this life than the majority will ever embrace.

Make clean breaks. Make getaways. Make the life you deserve.

 Don’t be like Ryan and Kelly from The Office.

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What are you looking for?

For some reason, I have been asked a lot lately what I’m looking for in my future husband. A lot. Like, maybe two dozen times thus far in 2014 have I had this conversation… That’s a lot…

The interesting thing is, each time I answer the question I get more sick of answering the question. Not because I think it’s a stupid question or not worth discussing. Today even, for the second time THIS WEEK, I found myself answering again what I’m looking for in my husband. Once I answered it I wished I hadn’t even said anything.

So I thought to myself on my way home from work this evening why this question has begun to get under my skin. Turns out it’s a really simple answer, it’s because I know what I want. I’m a very black and white person. (Though, I had to admit to myself awhile back that not everything is always black and white.)

I know what I want. To the level where I almost find it not worth talking about, though I’ve mentioned it before.

I’ve had these conversations with people about what they’re looking for in a spouse where they get this twinkle in their eyes and their voice grows so hopeful you would think they are sensing this ideal person is around the corner coming for them as we speak.

I almost envy that.

Years ago I sat in front of a guy friend I was falling very much in love with as he told me about the girl he was going to ask to coffee. My world stopped. My heart became tightly squeezed in a vice that didn’t release it for far too long.

Now, years later, I have come to realize what a deep insecurity I have formed from that moment. I feel like every guy I like is about to tell me about another girl they’re interested in that is not me. It’s only recently dawned on me how deep that fear goes.

When you’re part of a good community and everyone loves you and wants what’s best for you, you receive a lot of, “If he doesn’t like you, he’s crazy!”, “Obviously, there’s someone way better for you!”, amongst others. These are 98% wholly annoying and 2% slightly comforting. Realizing this insecurity has brought me to a place a reevaluating my identity and recalling my worth, what I know of me not just what people who love me will say. In general I would say I’m not an insecure person. I know who I am, I’m okay with who I am. But this one little thorn in my side can sting pretty good.

I’m not counting on a man to reverse this insecurity for me. But I am believing I will be the girl that gets asked out for coffee, not the one who hears about the girl worthy of a coffee date.

So, I know who I am and I know what I’m looking for. I can tell you on repeat what I want, what I won’t be settling for, and why I won’t be settling. Though I’d rather just show you in the way I live my life.

 

The majority of my heart.

There’s a few topics lately that have been turning over and over in my heart, constantly on my mind, unable to shut up about them. And since I have neglected this blog something real, I figured I would do what to me is the healthy thing–get it out in writing.

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A few weeks ago I finally saw a little movie called Short Term 12. One of the most real and beautiful movies I have ever had the privilege of watching. Being me, obviously, I cried my way through the entire movie. The movie, for those of you that haven’t seen it (which you promptly need to after reading this), it is about a girl that oversees a short term foster care unit, after having grown up in one herself. That’s all I’ll say about it now. Go watch it though.

A couple weeks ago I had a dream one night that my brother and sister-in-law had fostered a couple kids without telling the rest of the family, and they only announced it to us because they were adopting these kids and they were so excited and wanted us to celebrate with them. In the dream, I completely lost it. My jealousy was off the radar. I was so completely envious of them. Married, fostering, adopting… While I was still single, motherless me. In the dream, I left the celebration because I was so upsettingly jealous that I couldn’t handle celebrating. I woke up in tears.

Here’s the thing about me, I talk quite a bit about adoption in case you haven’t noticed. But, it’s not just “a thing I want to do”. I called my brother a few days after I had the dream and I told him about it. His question of course was, “Would that really be how you feel if we were adopting?” I said, “Right now, on some level, probably. Unfortunately. But I would also be so, so, so happy.” I explained it to him like two sisters, where the younger sister gets married before the older sister, the older sister can’t help but feel it was supposed to be her getting married first. I said to my brother that fostering and adopting isn’t something that’s big on my heart, it’s the majority of my heart.

The other day I was out to lunch with a friend and we saw this pale blond little girl with blue eyes, and my friend says to me,  “That’s what your kids will look like.” I looked at the little girl who had the same towhead hair color I had as a child and did not remotely feel like I was looking at my future kid. A few months back, my friends and I were getting brunch in Vegas before heading back to LA. In the restaurant sitting across from us was this beautiful family, I looked at their son, a little black boy with long curly hair sticking out all over his head. I remember saying out loud to my friends, then, that I felt like I was looking at my future child.

You can tell me my young age until you are blue in the face, but to my heart (not every single moment, but the majority of moments) it makes no sense to me why I am not already a mom.

Me. Career building/desiring me. Full of dreams and plans, and zero desire to be a housewife ever. Me.

It is not something I want to do, it is something I am.

 

Why this single girl hated the ending of How I Met Your Mother.

If you haven’t seen the series finale of How I Met Your Mother this is obviously going to be a **SPOILER ALERT**.

Last Forever: Part One

In case you forgot I was pretty stoked for the ending of the show, I may have even blogged about the show once, or twice, or three times… (I have an obsessive personality, so what.) But when I finally saw the ending I was so incredibly let down that it actually ruled my thoughts for a couple of days.

I’ve never been too terribly disappointed with the ending of any television show, particularly sitcoms, I didn’t think it was possible to end a sitcom so poorly. I was proved wrong.

The final season of the show had me falling in love all over again. Seeing Ted meet this woman of his dreams that he always believed was out there was surprisingly overwhelmingly sweet. I probably cried through half of the season because I’m a sucker for sitcoms and seriously–it was that precious.

Then the series finale happened and I sat there feeling regret that I had ever watched the show. I’ll narrow my despise down to two specific reasons to avoid me ranting via blog for the next week.

1. You can’t have it all. When Robin and Barney announced they’d gotten divorced (over a thirty second scene after the ENTIRE last season being all about their wedding) I shook my head. Robin always wanted a career, we all knew that, but the fact that her career is what drove the divorce after only a few years of marriage was so upsetting to me as a woman building her own career.

For years I have valued the “Liz Lemon Mindset” of having it all. But within a few years of this fictional marriage Robin and Barney quit their vows because of her job? As if her working was anything new? Two career driven people that respected that in each other couldn’t stand to stay together hardly at all.

2. The entire show was a “re-return”. The fact that Ted ended up with Robin at the eventual end was nauseating to me. Dozens of times throughout the series Ted realized why he and Robin should NOT be together and yet when they were older and the mom had died, they end up together.

I hated this because I hate the idea that we inevitably end up with someone who isn’t even a good fit for us just because we can’t move on and make a clean break.

(Side note: found it really weird that Ted Mosby, mega romantic that helped plan other people’s weddings, waited 7 years and two kids later to finally spontaneously marry the mom.)

(Second side note: I won’t even mention the fact that Barney remained a pervy dude into his 40’s until he finally got a random woman knocked up and had a daughter then changed his ways.)

You guys, I actually am aware that these people are fictional. That this is not a biographical show. That these characters are in no way correlated to my life. But I was really enjoying this final season of seeing characters settle down in their lives with the right people, only to fast forward into the future and see that none of it really worked out.

We live in a day and age where people believe in prenups more than they believe in the one. We believe more strongly in shacking up than tying the knot. For a minute I thought this show would provide us with a lovely view of that foreign trend: staying together. Instead it became more (fictional) evidence to us that commitment is fleeting and moving on is impossible.

I refuse to accept the How I Met Your Mother finale.

I believe commitment is possible and baggage is unnecessary.

With this, I am done talking about this show. Hopefully forever.

I believe communication CAN exist.

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This past week I dedicated a ridiculous amount of thought time to figuring out what the hell was going on between me and this guy, when suddenly a new guy entered the scene seeming pretty great…

This has nothing to do with last week leading to Valentine’s Day, this has to do with last week being a regular week of life.

Sometimes I think, there has to be simplicity out there somewhere. There has to be a relationship that isn’t a minefield of confusing games and misunderstood words.

And I mean that far beyond the guy/girl aspect.

There must be a way to communicate well and have healthy relationships with those around you devoid of consistent pain.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about communication. I pride myself on being someone who was taught well how to communicate and resolve conflicts, literally–I spent years being taught those subjects. And Lord knows I don’t always ace them, but the amount of times I have had to go back and repair relationships because of miscommunications that happened ages ago is astonishing.

We are people, we are frail, we are all vulnerable whether we like to think so or not. But there must exist some rightful balance between honesty, vulnerability, and thick skin.

There must be a way to go through this life without growing more and more numb to emotions, and on the flip side, there must be a way to go through life without letting your emotions reign your behavior.

Unfortunately, I’m not offering any answers. This is a blog written by a girl on her way to gather wisdom, not a girl who has all the answers, remember?

But I do believe there is a happy medium. I’ve witnessed people that take care of themselves and others in a way that gentle and effortless, yet thoroughly practiced.

For myself, I think the beginning of finding that medium is to surround myself with people who handle their emotions well and communicate in a healthy way. If you want to be like someone, be around them, and it will happen. (Though that fact has positive and negative consequences attached.)

And for all of us, I think we should get in the habit of dealing with the thorn in our side the moment we feel it. Don’t wait for the pain and agitation to get worse than it could be.