Sexuality, Religion, & Perspective
2018 has been a year of progressiveness, especially for women. Women everywhere have been reclaiming their rights, bodies, and sexuality. I, myself, have been on a four-year journey of self-discovery.
In this journey, I have learned many things, most of which I share with you guys on this blog. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know the struggles I had to endure from the strict religious community I was raised in. To summarize, I grew up with a mediocre amount of self-esteem, disguised as an over-righteous zeal, baseless humility, and a “sheep-like” disposition. It wasn’t until I turned 18 that I began to experience my “awakening.” Part of this awakening involved me coming to terms with my burgeoning sexuality. At this point in my life, I was raised to believe that any sexual relations outside of marriage were a grave sin, punishable by expulsion from the congregation and eternal shunning from your friends and loved ones.
This teaching not only ruined my first sexual encounter, but stuck with me for years, affecting my relationships, and most importantly the way I viewed and treated myself. When I lost my virginity, I was plagued with the tool that most religions use to control their masses; guilt. The guilt of my “sin” wrecked my brain, and I felt like a dirty sinner. I prayed incessantly for forgiveness, I studied biblical teachings and increased the amount of time I spent in service. I was constantly fearful, that God was going to out me for my sin and I would be cast out of my congregation and home, with nothing to my memory but a scarlet “A.”
I began to “wake up” when it dawned on me one day that LIFE GOES ON. My “sin” had not hailed the fire and fury of God’s wrath that I had expected. I wasn’t outed to my congregation as part of some divine discipline. I began to push myself a little more, test the waters so to speak of a lifestyle that was foreign and illicit to me. At 18 years old, in the prime of my youth, I was at a crossroads. Do I continue to live a life of confusion and self-hatred? Or do I take a leap of faith, and explore the world and all it has to offer? The teachings that I had inculcated into my heart deemed this to be a thought that verged on apostasy. However, the young, beautiful, adventurous me dared to dream of the endless possibilities of the outside world. What if I could take control over my own body and my burgeoning sexuality and not face eternal damnation? Could I still be considered a “good person” even though I violated one of the most cardinal laws of my organization?
So many people face the same scenario today. Whether it’s a judgmental family, a strict religion, or another social barrier, sexuality is something that is often misrepresented. Much of this misrepresentation is primarily due to the guilt and fear that many religious intuitions instill into their followers. This is where perspective comes into play.
Perspective can change everything. It can change the way you live your life, how your view and treat people and how you view and treat yourself. For me, changing my perspective, helped me escape from the mentality that held me back for so long. Instead of seeing myself as a small, insignificant human who is unworthy of God’s love and mercy, I learned to change my thought pattern to a more independent one. I’ve learned to love myself, and even to see God in myself. Now I’m not saying that I’m God, no, that would be illogical. But changing my perspective to see God in myself allowed me to believe that I am worthy of great things like love.
Getting in touch with your sexuality is one way to change your perspective on things. Mixed with religious views and society’s views, sexuality is something that’s often kept hidden and made to seem like it’s one of the darker aspects of our humanity. However, this isn’t entirely the case. I believe that your sexuality brings you closer to your humanity. The raw energy that you receive when you get in touch with your sexuality helps put into perspective who you are, as well as allows you to confidently navigate the world around you.
Many things can help us change our perspective. Whether we choose to let outside factors such as religion or cultural views or rely on our internal compass to influence the way we think, the decision at the end of the day rests with us. Just remember, no one can take your thoughts from you, no one can take your consciousness; at the end of the day, the only person that can precipitate a change in your life is YOU.