i have never been to an actual confession like the ones they have in church with the priest where you have to confess all of your sins while you stare straight ahead inside of a small box. but i have some things i have wanted to confess for some time now. i hope you will hear me out. hear my confessions and sins, and abolish me from them. give me resolution. forgive me.
a long time ago, i promised myself i would remain a virgin until i was married. some time ago, i broke that promise. i don’t think i ever expected to truly recover from that night; it was traumatizing and frightening, and it has taken me almost 3 years to realize how much of my trauma came from my preconceived ideas about sex and love. church had always taught me that sex determined my worth. i held that very closely even as those teachings tore at my self-image and identity.
forgive me for believing those lies. it has taken my three years to finally see it was not my fault. i am not worthless. i am not less valuable because of my sexual status. i am not less worthy of love and respect. i am not any less loved by God despite what the church would say. i deserve respect.
i have not had a good relationship with Church since then. i feel as if losing my virginity put me in a second class status. i was quickly labeled a sinner and dismissed. people have tried to get me kicked out of small groups as punishment for my actions. i have been the topic of gossip among my peers. in the safe walls of church, my secrets have been discussed without my consent. i lost so many friends who thought i was living in sin by choosing to engage in a healthy sex life, away from the immense trauma of purity culture.
forgive me, but its so fucking hard to forgive those people. forgive the bitterness in me. i am so bitter. i try not to be, but every day i feel the pick at my wounds. the hurt goes deeper and deeper. i have lost all hope of having a future in an evangelical church like i once wanted, because slutty women don’t get church jobs. and i’m angry about it. its easier to silence women sometimes than to acknowledge their criticisms on theology and purity culture. its easier to ignore than to change. sometimes, i feel like the church just isn’t ready; but i think, if they aren’t now, they will never be.
i have another sin to confess to.
i’m bisexual. but that is not my sin. my sin is in thinking that made me defective or wrong or sinful. my mistake was in examining those parts of myself, i deemed them bad when i should have been celebrating it. i’m bisexual. i’ve been attracted to women my whole life; it isn’t news to me. but coming out was not something i had planned on. i figured i could get away with marrying a man and living a life that looked straight on the outside. but I think God wants more for me than that.
people do not belong in closets. i’m done hiding away in one. i have come to the painful conclusion that all of me is needed at the table; not just the nice parts, but the parts i don’t like talking about, the parts i’m ashamed of, the parts i don’t want the church to see. all of who we are is welcome at the table.
in 2016, i started to read more about sexuality from an educational perspective, and forgive me, but i can’t go back. i have seen and personally felt the destruction that purity culture has wreaked on my life; and i stand by the belief that if the fruit is bad, so is the tree. purity culture must be cut off at the root. i have cried with too many friends who questioned if God loved them because of how much of themselves they “gave away” to boys. the church had told us all that touching us made us less valuable. we believed every damn lie. forgive us.
i keep trying to be optimistic about church but how can i be, when they will only allow me to marry in their sanctuary if they approve of my partners gender? how do you feel safe somewhere that calls you an abomination because of something natural, or maybe even God given? so lately, i haven’t been going. its the first time in my life where i am making a conscious decision to skip church. i’m sorry, but i just don’t have the heart.
churches have remained mostly silent on the issue of Black Lives Matter; they are afraid to be too political. too divisive. but they alienate the Black lives in their communities that desperately need to be upheld and supported. its upsetting.
i confess; i am so angry at the Church. i wish she was better. i wish she gave more of a shit. i wish she would support me. i wish i could let her go but i write painful love letters to convince her to change. sometimes, the church is a cruel lover.
it has taken me a long time to come to full grips with my deconstruction. it has taken even longer to build a stronger faith. change requires you tear down everything you once believed, and have the courage to try again.
but i no longer seem to have the energy for debates like i used to. i don’t make these confessions as an invitation to disagree; no. its a statement for you to read and resonate with, and if my words don’t speak to you, keep scrolling. i don’t have the strength in me to explain why gay people deserve rights or why i deserve to be in a position of leadership in a church despite what people might think of me. i don’t want the whispers and secrets and gossip anymore. i’m not ashamed of who i am.
my writing has always been a way for me to speak when i am afraid and to shine light on pain that thrives in the darkness. purity culture has been poisoning my life for too long. im here to call it out and put an end to it in my life and in the lives of others. too many women and young girls carry wounds from careless theology made by men. but there is a life past it and that is what i want to write about. my time in my own exile has been quiet the adventure.
its a damn shame that i have to be so vulnerable in order to be believed and listened to.
i do not know what the future holds. but i’m done watering myself down to make myself more digestible for others. i’m a tough pill to swallow. God didn’t make me quiet, and i’m finally realizing there was a reason for that choice. they say to speak the truth in love, and that is all i’ve tried to do. so with my aching heart, i give you these confessions. i don’t want them anymore. they are not my sins to carry