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Counseling Center At Gordon College 978-867-4301 Counseling.Center@gordon.edu National Center On Domestic And Sexual Violence 1-800-799-7233 Or 1-800-787-3224 (24/7 and strictly confidential) www.Ncdsv.Org Hawc: Healing Abuse Working For Change 800-547-1649 www.hawcdv.Org/services Anxiety And Depression Association Of America www.Adaa.Org/living-with-anxiety/college-students


SPRING 2016

These personal narratives provide a wndow into true human experiences that are often hidden or overlooked. Let them be a catalyst for discussion, a cause forquestion. We invite you the viewer to participate in this publication. Make use of the white pages. Disclaimer – the views expressd in these stories do not refelct the views of Gordon College, or even those of the editing staff.


TA B L E O F CONTENTS

verb 3rd person present: contents 1. satis tent her” synonyms: satisfy, please; s lify “her reply seemed to content him things that are held or included in s the flask and drank the contents” th ent occurring in a substance. “milk amount, proportion, quantity “foods the titles of chapters or sections con contents page” synonyms: constituent “the contents of a vegetarian sausag website or other electronic medium. “ stance or material dealt with in a sp from its form or style. “the outward f sages” synonyms: subject matter, subje thrust, substance, matter, material, t


sfy (someone). “nothing would consoothe, pacify, placate, appease, molm” noun plural noun: contents 1. the something. “he unscrewed the top of he amount of a particular constituwith a low-fat content” synonyms: with a high fiber content” a list of ntained in a book or periodical. “the ts, ingredients, components, elements ge” information made available by a “online content providers” 2. the subpeech, literary work, etc., as distinct form and precise content of the mesect, theme, argument, thesis, message, ext, ideas “the content of the essay”

Purity as a Prayer Colors Where Our Love Lies I Can’t Wear White On My Wedding Day What is Purity? We Didn’t Grow Up Idyllic It’s Your Fault I Didn’t Feel Guilty If I Told You A Guide to Loosing Yourself in 6 Easy Steps For Fear of Being Impure The Whispering Voice: A Retropective Untitled Untitled Names Have Been Changed Lyrics Untitled The Beattitudes’ Purity Untitled


If I Told You is a Gordon publication that collects anonymous stories from

students and alumni regarding their

experiences with issues that are difficult

to discuss within the church.

To provide a space for students and

EDITOR M ARIAN T H Y P OS A D A S - N AVA EDITOR E MMA B ARCL A Y CO-EDITOR

alumni to share personal stories about

R ACHEL D AL E

discuss within the Church due to fear

DESIGN EDITOR

topics that are often difficult to openly

of shame or judgment; To combat a

sense of isolation these individuals ex-

perience through stories and dialogue; To assist the Gordon community in thoughtfully and compassionately

engaging with these topics.

S ANDEV H AN DY S TA F F MADISON M EARS CHRIST Y BRAD L E Y JORD AN T HIBA ULT

ADVISORS IRVY LEVY KAT IE KNUDS EN


III F O R W A RD

We chose purity as the topic for this year, for its diversity in meaning and manifestation in our lives. The word has been a source of regret and distaste, of erasure, as well as the struggle for wholeness. It has been my pleasure to partner with my co-editor-in-chief, our team of editors, and our designer to push this conversation forward for our community. That in our communal confessions, in our individual processing of our worlds, and in the tangibility of our words we may access healing and growth. Growing in the understanding that one idea, one word, one conception cannot represent a community—and when we hear and learn how one word has affected each one of us so differently, our compassion for one another has space to exist. This is what has been If I Told You’s vision: to become a space where each voice is represented for what it is, enabling us to humanize one another. When you and I listen and speak in this space, we find a welcome for our isolation to melt a little. And so here we approach the conception of a space of trust. Thank you.


for·ward adverb: forward; adverb: forwards 1. toward the front; in the direction that one is facing or traveling. “he started up the engine and the car moved forward” synonyms: ahead, forwards, onward, onwards, on, further “the traffic moved forward” in, near, or toward the bow or nose of a ship or aircraft. in the normal order or sequence. “the number was the same backward as forward” 2. onward so as to make progress; toward a successful conclusion. “there’s no way forward for the relationship” synonyms: moving forward, moving forward, moving ahead, onward, advancing, progressing, progressive “in a forward direction” antonyms: backward into a position of prominence or notice. “he is pushing forward a political ally” synonyms: toward the front, out, forth, into view “the winner stepped forward” 3. toward the future; ahead in time. “from that day forward, the assembly was at odds with us” synonyms: onward, onwards, on, forth; More to an earlier time. “the special issue has been moved forward to winter” adjective: forward 1. directed or facing toward the front or the direction that one is facing or traveling. “forward flight” positioned near the enemy lines. “troops moved to the forward areas” synonyms: front, advance, foremost, head, leading, frontal “the fortress served as the Austrian army’s forward base against the Russians” antonyms: rear (in sports) moving toward the opponents’ goal. “a forward pass” in, near, or toward the bow or nose of a ship or aircraft. ELECTRONICS (of a voltage applied to a semiconductor junction) in the direction that allows significant current to flow. 2. relating to or concerned with the future. “forward planning” synonyms: future, forward-looking, for the future, prospective “forward planning” 3. moving or tending onward to a successful conclusion. “the decision is a forward step” 4. developing or acting earlier than expected or required; advanced or precocious. “an alarmingly forward yet painfully vulnerable child” 5. (of a person) bold or familiar in manner, especially in a presumptuous way. synonyms: bold, brazen, brazen-faced, barefaced, brash, shameless, immodest, audacious, daring, presumptuous, familiar, overfamiliar, pert; informalfresh “the girls seemed very forward” antonyms: shy noun noun: forward; plural noun: forwards 1. an attacking player in basketball, hockey, or other sports. FOOTBALL an offensive or defensive lineman. 2. FINANCE short for forward contract. verb: forward; 3rd person present: forwards; past tense: forwarded; past participle: forwarded; gerund or present participle: forwarding 1. send (a letter or e-mail) on to a further destination. “a forwarding address” synonyms: send on, mail on, redirect, re-address, pass on “my mother forwarded me your email” hand over or send (an official document). “their final report was forwarded to the Commanding Officer” dispatch (goods). “a freight forwarding company” synonyms: send, dispatch, transmit, carry, convey, deliver, ship “the goods were forwarded by sea” 2. help to advance (something); promote. “the scientists are forwarding the development of biotechnology”


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There’s this beautiful song by one of my favorite artists, Holly Arrowsmith, about releasing ourselves to God so we can be set free. The last stanza reads: “On my way home to the fireplace The wind it’s stinging my flinted face It whispers ‘Release,’ so I open my hands And scatter my worries into its breath As I wade through autumn’s tide. Teach me to trust when I don’t see To love always, as you have loved me To lay down my life to be set free To guard my heart in your peace.” –Holly Arrowsmith: Flinted It’s this gorgeous folksy tune that reminds me of my own need to guard my heart in the peace of Christ. It’s been a challenge to figure out how to do that, but I think Holly hits the nail on the head: “To guard my heart in your peace” is to “lay down my life to be set free.” And I think that’s the real challenge. Laying down our lives to be set free. It’s paradoxical, really, and tends to give me a violent reaction. The first time I read through Hinds Feet on High Places, I almost threw the book across the room. The book is an allegory for the human experience of a person maturing in their salvation through God. The protagonist, Much-Afraid, journeys from the Valley of Humiliation through peaks and valleys, deserts and seas, climbing to get to the High Places. Finally, finally, after the long journey, Much-Afraid is preparing to be fully sanctified by the Shepherd, so ready to meet God on the mountaintop when He leads her to an alter and asks her to sacrifice her whole self to Him: ‘My Lord,’ she said softly through the mist. ‘Will you come to me now and help me to make my burnt offering as you have commanded me?’ But for the first time on all that journey there seemed to be no answer – no answer at all – and the Shepherd did not come….[A]nd into her mind came the words which Bitterness had flung at her long before when she walked the shores of loneliness: ‘Sooner or later, when he gets you up on the wild places of the mountains he will put you on some sort of cross and abandon you to it.’

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It seemed that in a way Bitterness had been right, thought Much-Afraid to herself, only he had been too ignorant to know and she too foolish at that time to understand that in all the world only one thing really mattered, to do the will of the one she followed and loved, no matter what it involved or cost… She knew now without a shadow of a doubt that there would be no Angel to call from heaven to say that the sacrifice need not be made, and this knowledge caused her neither dread nor shrinking. She felt nothing but a great stillness in which only one desire remained, to do that which he had told her, simply because he had asked it of her. To say I “couldn’t even,” is an understatement. …which I realized pretty quickly was a problem. Because that sounds exactly like what Christ asks us to do in the Gospels, doesn’t it? One could call that realization “conviction.” Conviction. I have struggled with the ideas and acts of masturbating and watching pornography since late middle school. This isn’t an unusual story. What is unusual is that I am a woman. Actually, this isn’t unusual either. Studies are starting to show that many women partake in and struggle with both of these, but are afraid to admit it. Unfortunately, our culture has only thought of this as a “men’s issue.” As you can imagine, this has compounded a lot of shame and confusion in my life. I’ve asked many questions over the years, made increasingly more challenging to answer since most women don’t talk about this: Is it sinful? How am I supposed to feel and act about my desire for sex as a single woman? What happens when I enter into a relationship? Does this change my views of physicality with a potential spouse? What does healthy sexuality even look like? And as I have wrestled with these questions, I have wrestled with God. I acknowledged pretty quickly that pornography was sinful. As much as society tells me a little isn’t so bad, maybe even healthy, I couldn’t get out of my head that I was exploiting someone that had never given me explicit consent to enjoy their body. I wasn’t in partnership with them on any level, so I shouldn’t be using them for my own enjoyment. But masturbation was a different question. If not mentioned in the Bible, could it be sinful? I sought counsel from mentors who expressed differing opinions. Some thought that masturbation was equivalent to lust, which is explicitly forbidden in the Bible. Others wondered if my shame of masturbation was linked to the shame that Evangelical “Purity Culture” has placed on my body and my sexuality as a woman. “Besides,” my doctor told me, “It’s a good release valve

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for tension with lots of health benefits. I encourage it.” It was helpful to look through both of these lenses. As a person who loves words, distinguishing between lust and shame in my sexuality was important. Yet at the same time masturbation was producing more and more shame. I knew something was wrong. I felt over and over again that God was asking me to give up masturbation and I argued back, hard: “If it’s not sinful, then why are you asking me to do this? If I don’t really know that it’s against your will – if it could even be healthy – why are you asking me to give this up?” She felt nothing but a great stillness in which only one desire remained, to do that which he had told her, simply because he had asked it of her. You see, conviction. Simply because He had asked. My counselor once suggested, “What if this is a spiritual battle? What if it doesn’t matter if masturbation is healthy or good or sinful? What if it’s keeping you from God because you don’t want to lay it down?” Idolatry. Conviction. Fear. Control. Desire. Confusion. Conviction. I’m fearful that both our society and our Church body are looking at sexuality as something to covet, fight for, own. C.S. Lewis writes in The Screwtape Letters, “And all the time the joke is that the word ‘mine’ in its fully possessive sense cannot be uttered by a human being about anything. In the long run either Our Father or the Enemy will say ‘mine’ of each thing that exists, and specifically of each man.” What if sexuality wasn’t mine? What if it wasn’t about me to begin with? And if I make it about me, if I make it something I’m fighting to keep simply because I want to use it however I see fit, or enjoy, or desire, but refuse to let it be used by the Lord in consensual community, then I really have to think

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about what I’m fighting for – sexualiy or the state of my soul. To be honest, I’m still wrestling. I too often identify with Jacob and the Angel in Genesis 32, too stubborn to be the brave Much-Afraid who stands at the altar with neither dread nor shrinking. But I am learning how to open my hands and release, trusting that laying down myself will set me free. The more I inch towards my own altar, the more I realize the struggle for purity has become a longtime prayer, stretching me toward God. I am begging myself to allow God to love me without the need for someone or something or my own self to complete me. To be fully and completely known by God. Instead of allowing purity to cause me shame, dissociation, or the need for perfection, I am looking at its purpose and reaching toward a greater understanding of what it means to be pure. Of what it means to be deeply loved by another person, by great intimacy with friends and family, and by the Church who acts as the tangible hands and feet of God. Of what it means to be loved by the Lord who authored love, who knit my body, who created my longing to be fully known and fully embraced. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I can only whisper, “Amen.”

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Our love lies tattooed in an old, musky grey couch lying in a landfill somewhere.

But even now I can feel the warmth where his breath collided with my desperate throat. My back, his hands—

The dark, our blanket, we lay legs to head, head to legs. We didn’t stare at the screen, but it flickered as stars would.

pressed together. How could I forget the marks of naïve intimacy and feel guilty of them? He was loved by me, and I know

Our pupils glistening white, he dove ivory tips into my curved calves, slid

I held his blue-eyed gaze for the last year of his life. Oh, but all the joys I would have given

over the cap. Fresh and smooth, he imprinted my heels and toes. He never said the words, but as we crept further down into

to exchange his shy touches for one whisper of what every curve of my body withheld. On that misty grey couch

the cushion, moving closer to my trembling thigh, I knew that life started with him.

I let him touch me because I knew that was the only way he could speak of his foggy heart.

How we covered our eyes to the sun— it never hit me until he began his sleep; we were no longer parallel lines but forever angled apart.

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When I was little, all the neighborhood kids and I used to love going down to that part of the beach where the woods meets the sand. There were all these neat little rocks that you could find there and, if you hit them hard enough on the long concrete wall by the parking lot, they split open. Inside, they might be full of blue, green, purple, yellow crystals – geodes. We’d yell when we found a good one, and hold the biggest and prettiest piece high over our heads for everyone to look at. I loved breaking them apart, because it’s fun to wreck stuff when you’re a kid. But my favorite part was always when I’d take them home. I’d sit in my room, in my favorite space between the bed and the dresser, and try to put the rock back together. I loved holding the rock pieces perfectly put back together in my little hands, and then opening it up to reveal the beauty inside. It was even more magical than when I broke it in the first place. There were a few times when I’d try and get the whole rock back together, but there’d be a missing piece. This always frustrated me the most because it’d be almost perfect, but there’d be that one piece that left it always incomplete. I couldn’t have that moment when I put the rock back together to open it up in my hands. Being sexually assaulted feels like being a geode with a missing piece. It’s the refrain we heard throughout childhood. As a kid, I went to weddings where the brides wore white and everyone knew why. I watched more and more of my friends put a ring on their finger and promise to wait until marriage. My friends, my church, my pastor tell me this piece is the most important part to have and to protect. It’s the best part of the rock I was supposed to hold up and brag to my

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friends about. I’d show it off on my wedding day, when I got to wear white, and I could present it to the man who deserved it. It was what made me a Godly woman, worthy of respect. Worthy of love. When someone took that piece from me, when I’m no longer capable of putting the rock back together and presenting it to the person who’s supposed to love me, when I can’t wear white anymore, I drown in my terrible mistake. I’m a broken rock, no mystery as to what’s inside my heart. You can see all the way through the big gaping hole. It’s my ultimate vulnerability. Regardless of how it happened, I’m told I’m not the good Christian woman anymore. From the pulpit, I hear about how Christ saves the addict and the alcoholic. But in my church, there’s only shame for the young girl who was assaulted by someone she loved. We have meetings, offer up our space and our hearts, only for those who suffer from certain kinds of affliction. We hold hands over the man who has recovered from alcoholism. Praise God that he has delivered him back to his family. But my loss is different. It can’t be prayed over and redeemed.There’s no healing power to renew me in innocence. There’s no love, no respect. There’s exclusion, there’s judgment, there’s pain. There’s isolation. Loneliness. Silence. Where’s my redemption story?

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W H AT I S P U R I T

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When every aspect of your upbringing engrains a certain perspective in your mind, it’s nearly impossible to overcome the failure of straying from the “correct path.” During my childhood, I attended church with my family every week and was enrolled in a private Lutheran school. I spent summers going to a Christian camp and played in Christian sports leagues. My role models were all virtuous women who encouraged me to read my Bible and pray daily, surround myself with other Christ-followers, and – when the time came – seek a godly man who would be the spiritual rock of the relationship. Throughout the transition from private to public school, I heeded the advice that had been given to me for so many years. I made friends with other Christian girls and we joined our high school’s Bible study together. I distanced myself from anyone who swore or spoke of anything inappropriate. I always tuned my car into the local Christian radio station. I steered the conversation to religion whenever possible. The fourth finger on my left hand was always adorned with a silver band that read: purity. When I started to date, I barely even held hands with my boyfriends. Everything was in an effort to keep myself pure and wholesome, a ‘perfectly wrapped present’ for my future husband. I survived high school ‘unblemished’ due to a self-righteous distance I placed between myself and the world.

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My decision to study at Gordon was made primarily because of the commitment to faith that was held at the school. However, in my sheltered upbringing, I never experienced how much variation there could be within this faith I thought I understood. Suddenly I found myself challenged by other believers believers who listened to secular music and swore and slacked off and smoked and drank and didn’t uphold the standards of purity I had so long believed in. I dedicated so much time to avoiding these things; was it all for naught? Could one really be a Christian without strictly adhering to such principles? Curiosity led me to seek an understanding of these foreign aspects of the Christian lifestyle. I started slowly, justifying my actions by saying that if anything else, God would use the negative things I did as a testimony in the future, as a way of connecting better with people who had struggled with them. Of course, this was a foolish way to deal with the guilt of sin. For the first time, I swore. I tried alcohol. I stopped going to church, praying, and reading my Bible. I stayed out late with guys. I had my first kiss. I got involved with a guy who spoke sweet words to encourage me to become complacent towards his physical touch; too quickly things went too far, and I couldn’t get out. I said no, and the situation was dismissed because of the involvement of substance. Despite what the world would say – yes, it was rape; no, it wasn’t rape – it changed me. I no longer could fully accept that I was a woman of God. Coming to terms with what happened and what my identity is in God has been a long process. In a Christian society that views purity so highly, to have the shame of what I’ve done was nearly unbearable at first; because regardless of whether or not it was rape, it was my own decisions that led me to be in a situation where that could happen. It took over a year for me to feel comfortable telling anyone what had happened; for a while, I gave up on any the idea that any Christian guy could ever accept me for my past. And in that mindset, I lost sight of the fact that above all, I am the daughter of One who is always forgiving and redeeming. There is more to purity than the physical; the intentions behind thought and relationship going forward reflect the state of one’s heart, and the peace one has in relation to God.

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prayer prer/ noun: prayer; plural noun: prayers a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. “I’ll say a prayer for him” synonyms: invocation, intercession, devotion; archaicorison “the priest’s murmured prayers” a religious service, especially a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together. “500 people were detained as they attended Friday prayers” an earnest hope or wish. “it is our prayer that the current progress on human rights will be sustained” pray prā/Submit verb: pray; 3rd person present: prays; past tense: prayed; past participle: prayed; gerund or present participle: praying 1. address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship. “the whole family is praying for Michael” synonyms: say one’s prayers, make one’s devotions, offer a prayer/prayers. wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome or situation. “after several days of rain, we were praying for sun” adverbformalarchaic adverb: pray 1. used as a preface to polite requests or instructions. “pray continue” used as a way of adding ironic or sarcastic emphasis to a question. “and what, pray, was the purpose of that?” col·or noun: colour; noun: color; plural noun: colors 1.the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light. “the lights flickered and changed color” synonyms:hue, shade, tint, tone, coloration “the lights changed color” one, or any mixture, of the constituents into which light can be separated in a spectrum or rainbow, sometimes including (loosely) black and white. plural noun: colours “a rich brown color” the use of all colors, not only black, white, and gray, in photography or television. “he has shot the whole film in color” a substance used to give something a particular color. “lip color” synonyms:paint, pigment, colorant, dye, stain, tint, wash “oil color” HERALDRY any of the major conventional colors used in coats of arms (gules, vert, sable, azure, purpure), especially as opposed to the metals, furs, and stains.2.pigmentation of the skin, especially as an indication of someone’s race. “discrimination on the basis of color” synonyms: skin coloring, skin tone, coloring; race, ethnic group “people of every color” a group of people considered as being distinguished by skin pigmentation. “all colors and nationalities” rosiness of the complexion, especially as an indication of someone’s health. “there was some color back in his face” synonyms: redness, pinkness, rosiness, ruddiness, blush, flush, bloom “the color in her cheeks” 3. vividness of visual appearance resulting from the presence of brightly colored things. “for color, plant groups of winter-flowering pansies” picturesque or exciting features that lend a particularly interesting quality to something. “a town full of color and character” synonyms: vividness, life, liveliness, vitality, excitement, interest, richness, zest, spice, piquancy, impact, force; More variety of musical tone or expression. “orchestral color” 4. an item or items of a particular color or combination of colors worn to identify an individual or a member of a school, group, or organization. the flag of a regiment or ship. a national flag. “he was called to the colors during the war” 5. a shade of meaning. “many events in her past had taken on a different color” character or general nature. “the hospitable color of his family” 6. PHYSICS a quantized property of quarks which can take three values (designated blue, green, and red) for each flavor. 7. MINING a particle of gold remaining in a mining pan after most of the mud and gravel have been washed away. verb verb: colour; 3rd person present: colours; past tense: coloured; past participle: coloured; gerund or present participle: colouring; verb: color; 3rd person present: colors; past tense: colored; past participle: colored; gerund or present participle: coloring 1. change the color of (something) by painting, dyeing, or shading it. synonyms: tint, dye, stain, paint, pigment, wash “the wood was colored blue” take on a different color. “the foliage will not color well if the soil is too rich” use crayons to fill (a particular shape or outline) with color. “color the head, eyes, and bill with crayons” make vivid or picturesque. “he has colored the dance with gestures from cabaret and vaudeville” 2. (of a person or their skin) show embarrassment or shame by becoming red; blush. “everyone stared at him, and he colored slightly” synonyms:blush, redden, go pink, go red, flush “she colored” cause (a person or their skin) to change in color. “rage colored his pale complexion” (of a particular color) imbue (a person’s skin). “a faint pink flush colored her cheeks” (of an emotion) imbue (a person’s voice) with a particular tone. “surprise colored her voice” 3. influence, especially in a negative way; distort. “the experiences had colored her whole existence” synonyms:influence, affect, taint, warp, skew, distort, bias, prejudice “the experience colored her outlook” misrepresent by distortion or exaggeration. “witnesses might color evidence to make a story saleable” synonyms: exaggerate, overstate, embroider, embellish, dramatize, enhance, varnish; falsify, misreport, manipulate “they color evidence to make a story sell” lie verb 3rd person present: lies 1. (of a person or animal) be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface. “the man lay face downward on the grass” synonyms: recline, lie down, lie back, be recumbent, be prostrate, be supine, be prone, be stretched out, sprawl, rest, repose, lounge, loll “he was lying on a bed” antonyms: stand (of a thing) rest flat on a surface. “a book lay open on the table” synonyms: be placed, be situated, be positioned, rest “her handbag lay on a chair” (of a dead person) be buried in a particular place. 2. be, remain, or be kept in a specified state. “the church lies in ruins today” (of something abstract) reside or be found. “the solution lies in a return to “traditional family values.”” synonyms: consist, be inherent, be present, be contained, exist, reside “the difficulty lies in building real quality into the products” 3. (of a place) be situated in a specified position or direction. “the small town of Swampscott lies about ten miles north of Boston” synonyms: be situated, be located, be placed, be found, be sited “lying on the border of Switzerland and Austria” (of a scene) extend from the observer’s viewpoint in a specified direction. “stand here, and all of Amsterdam lies before you” 4. LAW (of an


action, charge, or claim) be admissible or sustainable. noun 1. the way, direction, or position in which something lies. the lair or place of cover of an animal or a bird. plural noun: lies lie2 noun plural noun: lies 1. an intentionally false statement. “Mungo felt a pang of shame at telling Alice a lie” synonyms: untruth, falsehood, fib, fabrication, deception, invention, fiction, piece of fiction, falsification; More antonyms: truth used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression. “all their married life she had been living a lie” synonyms: untruthfulness, fabrication, fibbing, perjury, white lies; More antonyms: honesty verb 3rd person present: lies 1. tell a lie or lies. “why had Wesley lied about his visit to Philadelphia?” synonyms: tell an untruth, tell a lie, fib, dissemble, dissimulate, misinform, mislead, tell a white lie, perjure oneself, commit perjury, prevaricate; More get oneself into or out of a situation by lying. “you lied your way on to this voyage by implying you were an experienced sailor” (of a thing) present a false impression; be deceptive. “the camera cannot lie”

wear1 wer/ verb: wear; 3rd person present: wears; past tense: wore; gerund or present participle: wearing; past participle: worn 1. have on one’s body or a part of one’s body as clothing, decoration, protection, or for some other purpose. “he was wearing a dark suit” synonyms: dress in, be clothed in, have on, sport, model; More habitually have on one’s body or be dressed in. “although she was a widow, she didn’t wear black” exhibit or present (a particular facial expression or appearance). “they wear a frozen smile on their faces” synonyms: bear, have (on one’s face), show, display, exhibit; More have (one’s hair or beard) at a specified length or arranged in a specified style. “the students wore their hair long” (of a ship) fly (a flag). 2. damage, erode, or destroy by friction or use. “the track has been worn down in part to bare rock” synonyms: erode, abrade, rub away, grind away, wash away, crumble (away), wear down; More undergo damage, erosion, or destruction by friction or use. “mountains are wearing down with each passing second” form (a hole, path, etc.) by constant friction or use. “the water was forced up through holes it had worn” cause weariness or fatigue to. “some losses can wear on you” 3. withstand continued use or life in a specified way. “a carpet-type finish seems to wear well” synonyms: last, endure, hold up, bear up, prove durable “the tires are wearing well” BRITISHinformal tolerate; accept. “the environmental health people wouldn’t wear it” 4. of a period of time) pass, especially slowly or tediously. “as the afternoon wore on, he began to look unhappy” synonyms: pass, elapse, proceed, advance, progress, go by, roll by, march on, slip by/away, fly by/past “the afternoon wore on” literary pass (a period of time) in some activity. “spinning long stories, wearing half the day” noun: wear 1. the wearing of something or the state of being worn as clothing. “some new tops for wear in the evening” 2. clothing suitable for a particular purpose or of a particular type. “evening wear” synonyms: clothes, clothing, garments, dress, attire, garb, wardrobe; More 3. damage or deterioration sustained from continuous use. “you need to make a deduction for wear and tear on all your belongings” synonyms: damage, friction, erosion, attrition, abrasion; weathering “the varnish will withstand wear” the capacity for withstanding continuous use without damage. “old things were relegated to the bedrooms because there was plenty of wear left in them” synonyms: use, wearing, service, utility, value; informalmileage “you won’t get much wear out of that”


WE

DIDN’T

UP

WE

I DY L L I C .

GREW

UP

PRIVILEGED,

WHITE, H E A LT H Y,

FED,

HOUSED.

BUT GROW

WE

GROW

HAD

AND

WE

DIDN’T

UP

I DY L L I C .

EVERY

GIFT

BLESSING

BE-

STOWED

UPON

US.

WE

THE

ARE

WA S H E D A R YA N

FAC E S

WHITEOF

PERFECTION

CARRYING BANNERS OF VIOLENT CHRISTIANITY INTO THE STREETS OF OUR CITY


We were children and this was our inheritance. From two-parent, heterosexual homes – born the children of immigrants we ourselves had no tangible memory of a time when we were not welcome. We marched dutifully to church on Sundays, to play groups on Mondays, bible studies on Wednesdays, and fellowships on Thursdays. Our parents counted their blessings in each smiling, blue-eyed face as our lips formed prayers we were paid to learn. Every night each of us – in our respective apartments, bent our knees and bowed our heads to the god we also inherited. And we were the seeds of the Kingdom, being planted in the harsh concrete of this lost, spiritually needy city. We didn’t grow up idyllic. When we were young we watched the homeless vomit by our feet as we strode past – pulled by the force of our fathers’ arms. Told not to look. We were told not to look at the prostitutes on our corners – who could not be zoned away. We were told not to put money in the bowl of the black man’s cup because he was on drugs. We were told not to look at the shadows under the eyes of men and women walking home from ground zero for the next ten years after 9/11. We were told not to listen to the shrieks of the mentally ill on the subway at night. We were told not to give our bodies to anyone but our future spouses. We were not raised idyllic. If you were brought up in the middle of nowhere, you didn’t have to be told not to look. And maybe you are better for it. Because we were raised in the city of death and had to keep our eyes closed every day to protect the purity

19


that our parents had conceived us in, born us into, and raised us to uphold. When we were twelve our parents let us out of our apartments onto the subways where we could hold the poles for the first time instead of our parents’ hands. Now you are a frat boy in Michigan, posing for Facebook photos with your pants down and a bottle of whiskey in your hand. Your father ran from the falling towers in September twelve years ago and no one talks about how he hits your brother and threatens to kill your mother. No one talks about his trauma – it is impure. Now my sister is a Taoist in West Virginia engaging in spiritual practices we used to curse over breakfast sandwiches when Asians with weird beads came near us. We don’t talk about her shrieks and yells and the drugs she brought into our pure apartment or the black boys she slept with in warehouses when she was fourteen. We don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about how for three years the only way I could look at my body in the mirror was if I could also see the large scars I gave myself from slitting my wrists every night before going to bed. I am queer – I like girls, and I watch porn, and I touch myself when I am lonely. I know I am going to hell and we don’t talk about it. And if we do, it is about my confusion and how I am not part of the “us” I was raised to be a part of. We were not raised idyllic. We do not talk about your daughter who was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend after bible study on Fridays. Not once. Not twice. Repeatedly. And how we were all asked to keep our legs closed and shun her. We don’t talk about how now she hides her pain in a secular support group because the

20


Christians don’t care. When our parents let us out onto the streets when we were twelve, we were let free. We were twelve. And there were no more prayers – no more people to rush us past the suffering. No more people to ask us to “please ignore this diversity.” There was no one to tell us no to go to ground zero and cry for ourselves because we had seen what happened that day and we had all closed our windows and hidden from the ashes that fell on us. There is no one to make us come to dinner on Friday and church on Sunday. My mother wears sunglasses in church to hide how much she cries for her children. Purity was always white, purity was always prayer, purity was always silence and banners of lies. Purity was always blame, guilt, shame, and mirrors, because if we actually touched the dirtiness that lay outside – if we touched what was between our legs – if we wanted to be out after the sun went down and saw what happened in the shadows, we would be walking into the pit of ashes that descended on our hearts, not just that day in September, but every day afterwards – when white patriotism flying Christian flags of burying doubts became our childhood. We were not raised idyllic. And we are the wayward ones who destroyed the purity we were taught. We are the wayward ones who pose naked, drink alcohol, take drugs, and cut ourselves with the blades of razors that don’t hurt quite as much as being told; You are saved and set apart – from the rest of this world: this ugly, damned, color-full world.

21


22


IT’S

YO U R

FA U LT

I had just transferred to a Christian middle school two months into the first quarter, and I hadn’t made many friends yet. I was excited to start fresh and leave the past behind me. Only a couple people from my old school attended Academy, and they would never betray my trust with gossip. Or so I thought, until I was walking to history class and the words that would forever change me hit my ears. A girl with long dark hair and piercing green eyes said, “So how does it feel knowing you seduced your father? You’re the reason he’s in jail.” Then a tall blonde boy added, “What’d you have to wear to get daddy to rape you?” I think about what I wore when I was a child, plaid shorts down to my knees and t-shirts that showed nothing, just like every other child my age. Yet these foolish middle schoolers made me think that it was my fault. How could I be the reason my father was gone? How could I have done something to make him want me? I was only four… When I was blamed by Olivia and Casey for my father raping me, it made me lose hope in friendships, see myself as impure, and question if I really was the reason I would never see my father again. Perhaps this is normal of children who have been abused, but I felt as if no one understood. I believe that no one should be blamed when they are the victim of traumatic situations. I was hoping for a fresh start but instead I now couldn’t find a way to make friends. I would open up too fast and get burned, or I would close off too much and be rejected. This was my cycle and I couldn’t find my happy medium. My new classmates, just like my old classmates, made me feel so impure. I would sit alone in my room trying to tell myself I truly was pure and a virgin. I was trying to understand if my loss of virginity was dependent on a choice I made or based on the precious moment that someone tried to steal from me. One day, when I was in freshman year, my mother came in, sat down, looked me in the eyes and said to me “Alexandria, you did nothing. He was a sick man. It is not your fault.” It is not your

23


fault. Those five words took a broken girl and turned her into someone ready to fight the victim blaming patterns in my communities. I believe that victim blame should not be ignored and that whoever goes through trauma should know it is not their fault. Victim blame has become part of our world. However, one voice can spark many voices to speak and many voices can start a movement and a movement can spark reform in people’s words. If I am to learn to be an advocate for myself and other victims of abuse I had to know my opposing side, which in this case is more of a subconscious side. People have to rationalize to themselves that they could never have anything like it happen to them because they are not like that person. This, in turn, makes it shameful for a victim to come forward and report that anything has happened to them. For, it is assumed that they will be blamed and told that it is their fault. I know that pain. I know that fear of opening up to people after I was blamed. I was unable to share my story and the pain of it for so long because I figured I would be blamed and lose everyone I loved again. So what can I do now? Well first, raise awareness and speak up! Because I know what it means being blamed when you’re the victim, the accusers need to know that they are wrong and they need to know the consequences and repercussions of their words. I want to encourage those going through victim blaming and assure them that it is not their fault. Rape and sexual assault still stand as traumatizing moments, even without the blame, but with that extra layer added the trauma is perpetuated. Because I believed those lies, I know no one should ever have to feel the pain I felt in that moment. I believe that a man or woman should not be blamed for being the victim of sexual assault and rape. In the words of Clementine Ford, “… we circulate the idea that women’s clothing is powerful enough to either invite danger, or shield from it… we encourage the convenient excuse that shifting hemlines are a siren call no man can ignore.” So those who are a victim and have been blamed should use it to make themselves stronger. I became a fighter for feminism and victim blaming awareness because of this event. Instead of letting post-traumatic stress disorder rule my life, I’m fighting back and using the pain from that to push me into action. My vulnerability was once used against me, but now my weakness has become my strength, and that strength grows more and more every year. I have learned to help others from what I’ve been through, because I can either be crushed and shrivel by traumatic experience or I can choose to grow and flourish by advocating for others.

24


A G

U

I D

E

TO

L S

O I

N G

Y

O

U R S

L

E

F

IN

6

E

ST

A

EP

S

SY


1 When you remember what happened to you as a child, Ignore it. It probably doesn’t mean much anyway After all, You’re probably just using it as an excuse to get away with murder You’re probably just making it up for attention.

2 When a boy fondles you in your church boiler room, Do not tell anyone. Since you froze up Did not say no The best case scenario  Is that they will make you talk it out And tell you it is your “Christian duty” to forgive him The worst case scenario Is your formerly mutual friends burning a scarlet letter to your chest So you will make it your personal mission to live up to that label.

26

3 If you have sex before marriage, Do not let anyone find out. If you have sex with multiple people before marriage, Hide it under lock and key. If you have casual sex with multiple people before marriage, You can forget about going to heaven.


4

5

6

When you have become the perfect liar and whore, Do not get assaulted. You know what I said about no one believing you? Increase that one hundred thousand fold. The only difference is this time Not even the ones you love the most Will take you seriously. You’ll get your morning dosage Of slut-shaming And “what were you wearing?” The nightly pill shoved down your throat will be “He was in a bad place.”

When he texts you four months later Saying he hasn’t tried to kill himself in quite a while Tell him congratulations. When you read the word “sorry” in a public bathroom Say you’re okay. Do not say you are bulimic And that where his hands went that night Or the text messages that made you fear for your safety Had anything to do with your own perfectly calculated mental breakdown.

When your church talks about purity, Nod like the rest of the robots. Smile, because you are their concrete example Of who not to become. Why do they care more about the sex you have Than the sex that was forced upon you? They say trauma has a stronger link to addiction Than obesity does to diabetes Do they ever stop to wonder  If just maybe, I am addicted to everything I’ve been through So I can reclaim my story as mine?

27


P U R I T Y.

I

WENT

PLEDGES

TO

TWO

TO

CONFERENCES

PRESERVE

MY

AS

A

13

AND

“VIRGINITY”,

14

YEAR

W H AT E V E R

OLD, T H AT

SIGNING M E A N T.

However, I had friends who appeared to celebrate this idea much more than my family ever had interest in. There were “purity balls” which claimed to celebrate a girl’s virginity, reducing her entire personhood to only her sex organs. I realize this is not the articulated intent of the event, but it is absolutely a byproduct. This is positioning girls as sex objects in virginity before they’ve even hit puberty. Girls are taught that it is their responsibility to control what desires enter the male’s mind, and anything at all that is connected to her body is wrong, dirty, unworthy, impure, and her fault. A girl grows up loathing the thing that she walks with, that carries her from one place to the next. A woman who seeks to discover her repressed sexuality is shamed. It is up to men (first fathers, then husbands) to control a woman’s sexuality by making sure she does not disgrace him. Females are taught that we are not capable of being autonomous. Fathers are encouraged to take daughters on ‘date nights’ to affirm their pure femininity, yet this seems like oddly incestuous language. In situations of abuse, would the daughter even be able to know, would the father be able to realize his actions? Mothers are not encouraged to treat their sons that way, indeed sons are often raised to consider themselves just below their father in familial hierarchies, and just above their mothers. What was considered as “female impurity” has been used, historically, as legitimate reasons for her life or her death. Though in fact there have been many matriarchal societies and cultures, we have conveniently written them out of history and teachings. Body and Mind. The value placed on the “rational”, on “science”, the ability of humans to reason into understanding after the Enlightenment, privileged males—not females. In the current traditional views of Christianity, people are socialized to view women as irrational, weak, sinful, irrational; whereas men are

28


considered strong, powerful, wise (this was done in a study when the participants named qualities they associated with men/women and God/humans. When the qualities were shown together for all four subjects, the results clearly indicated that the qualities the participants associated with God were also associated with males, and the qualities associated with the human race were also associated with women). Where is this sovereign Imago Dei in something as unbalanced as that? I realize one can simple argue that “humans are sinful”, but even with that, why is there not a passionate front by the church to shift this belief system? The masculine often projects the hate and loathing it directs towards “things of this earth, not of God” unto the female; she carries all human disgust with the body, with the sexual act, with all passionate desires (so often labeled as a fault sexuality). This isn’t so difficult to believe when one remembers how quickly woman is blamed for any “stumbling” of a male. Growing up, I was never shown a theology of sex, of the body. The only way I was taught (formally and informally) to treat the body was to essentially negate it, to avoid it, to deny anything I ever thought it could want. I exist in a world where I was taught to loathe my body, I exist in an object that is foreign to me. I was taught that women are sexual objects that are responsible for making males commit rape. How messed up is that? How does one find words worthy of that rage? Divine. Instead of quickly reacting with anger and an “of course, you progressive Christian you, you’re crazy” (I point a finger because I went to camps which taught me to do this, they called it ‘defending the faith’), consider what the automatic doubt says about the Divine. Cannot the Divine be much larger than we humans could perceive? Could not the Divine be female and male and intersex, a reflection of this “Imago Dei”? I do not ask these questions of you here to threaten or accuse your faith, but to deepen my own, to seek a faith which does not justify violence against my body. Sacred. I want there to be sacred. However, my experience has been that when something is considered “sacred”, it is effectively untouchable. I mean this in such a way that questions are not welcomed, that anything other than apparently whole-hearted belief and reverence is considered wrong. Wrong as in sinful, unworthy. This is an enormous issue, for violence and trauma of the world will still occur; to not be allowed (indeed, encouraged) to question how rape is promoted by sexual purity cultures causes emotional and physical deaths. When a friend said to me, “isn’t ‘no’ what women say when they want you to keep going?” I couldn’t breathe. This was a male about to graduate from Gordon, and he still believed it. Partly his fault, yes, but in what kind of culture, college, church is he continuing to believe that is true? Why isn’t it so obvious that this is horrifically disgusting? I recently read that, “many lives have been ruined in the name of theological purity”. I can’t help but agree. Whether it is the rape of women and men, the suicides and encouraged deaths of the

29


LGBT+ community, the profiling and hatred of People of Color by a White Church and a White Jesus, this statement describes it all. So the sacred must be subjected to the same critical lens as anything else. Surely the Divine is powerful enough to be unthreatened by such human daring? After all, what kind of God can be worshipped if the Divine cannot withstand human capacity for intellect, passion, and desire for meaning? If it cannot withstand the anatomy of my body—of my female, white body—entangled with another, by choice or by force? In my last few years, I have found that opening myself to the glorious passions and joys of life means I must also open to the darkness and twisty horrors; they come through the same door, they are part of the same humanity and supernatural. The horrors and glories are often part of the same experience, the same moment of the day, and I am not free to embrace only one. I may choose to acknowledge one and ignore the other, but that does not mean it didn’t happen. It is still part of reality. I ask, often, can I have integrity without opening that door? What is bodily integrity when I am living as though my body is something foreign to me, when I don’t understand its rhythms and desires and health because I have been taught to believe the body is an ugly piece of earth, something separate from Heaven, something that must be tamed lest it commit atrocities (and almost all of its capabilities and desires are such). What does that mean as a woman, when my body is so often what is having atrocities committed against it? Ignored by this church, no less? What does it mean when I am terrified of my own limbs, my own organs and movements? When I read back over my journals, my blind rage and tears, a hunger to understand, to be alive, to be aware and conscious, to somehow find a way through what all these things must mean, I no longer feel such blind and boiling anger. Rather, I am overwhelmed with love and care towards myself; I am trying. I am trying to do the best with what I have, to keep asking for more so that I can do better, can be better.

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i·dyl·lic adjective: idyllic (especially of a time or place) like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque. “an attractive hotel in an idyllic setting” synonyms: perfect, wonderful, blissful, halcyon, happy; ideal, idealized; heavenly, paradisal, utopian, Elysian; peaceful, picturesque, bucolic, unspoiled, picture perfect; literaryArcadian “the once idyllic islands are now subjected to martial law” fault noun: fault; plural noun: faults 1. an unattractive or unsatisfactory feature, especially in a piece of work or in a person’s character. “my worst fault is impatience” a break or other defect in an electrical circuit or piece of machinery. “a fire caused by an electrical fault” synonyms: defect, flaw, imperfection, bug; More a misguided or dangerous action or habit. “it has been the great fault of our politicians that they have all wanted to do something” synonyms: defect, failing, imperfection, flaw, blemish, shortcoming, weakness, frailty, foible, vice “he has his faults” antonyms: merit, strength (in tennis and similar games) a service of the ball not in accordance with the rules. (in show jumping) a penalty point imposed for an error. 2. responsibility for an accident or misfortune. “an ordinary man thrust into peril through no fault of his own” synonyms: responsibility, liability, culpability, blameworthiness, guilt “it was not my fault” 3. GEOLOGYan extended break in a body of rock, marked by the relative displacement and discontinuity of strata on either side of a particular surface. verb: fault; 3rd person present: faults; past tense: faulted; past participle: faulted; gerund or present participle: faulting; noun: faulting 1. criticize for inadequacy or mistakes. “her colleagues and superiors could not fault her dedication to the job” synonyms: find fault with, criticize, attack, censure, condemn, reproach; archaic do wrong. “the people of Caesarea faulted greatly when they called King Herod a god” 2. GEOLOGY (of a rock formation) be broken by a fault or faults. “rift valleys where the crust has been stretched and faulted” eas·y - ēzē adjective: easy; comparative adjective: easier; superlative adjective: easiest 1. achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties. “an easy way of retrieving information” synonyms: uncomplicated, undemanding, unchallenging, effortless, painless, trouble-free, facile, simple, straightforward, elementary; antonyms: difficult, challenging (of an object of attack or criticism) having no defense; vulnerable. “he was vulnerable and an easy target” synonyms: vulnerable, susceptible, defenseless; antonyms: streetwise, savvy informal derogatory (of a woman) open to sexual advances; sexually available. “her reputation at school for being easy” synonyms: promiscuous, unchaste, loose, wanton, abandoned, licentious, debauched; More antonyms: chaste 2. (of a period of time or way of life) free from worries or problems. “promises of an easy life in the New World” synonyms: calm, tranquil, serene, quiet, peaceful, untroubled, contented, relaxed, comfortable, secure, safe; informalcushy “an easy life” antonyms: stressful, chaotic (of a person) lacking anxiety or awkwardness; relaxed. “his easy and agreeable manner” synonyms: natural, casual, informal, unceremonious, unreserved, uninhibited, unaffected, easygoing, amiable, affable, genial, good-humored; antonyms:formal adverb US archaic informal adverb: easy; comparative adverb: easier; superlative adverb: easiest 1. without difficulty or effort. “we all scared real easy in those days” exclamation exclamation: easy 1. be careful. “easy, girl—you’ll knock me over!” pre·serve verb: preserve; 3rd person present: preserves; past tense: preserved; past participle: preserved; gerund or present participle: preserving 1. maintain (something) in its original or existing state. “all records of the past were zealously preserved” synonyms: conserve, protect, maintain, care for, look after “oil helps preserve wood” retain (a condition or state of affairs). “a fight to preserve local democracy” synonyms: continue (with), conserve, keep going, maintain, uphold, sustain, perpetuate “they wish to preserve the status quo” maintain or keep alive (a memory or quality). “the film has preserved all the qualities of the novel” keep safe from harm or injury. “a place for preserving endangered species” synonyms: guard, protect, keep, defend, safeguard, shelter, shield “preserving him from harassment” treat or refrigerate (food) to prevent its decomposition or fermentation. synonyms: conserve, bottle, can, freeze, dry, freeze-dry; cure, smoke, pickle “spices enable us to preserve food” prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar. “those sweet preserved fruits associated with Cremona” keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting. noun: preserve; plural noun: preserves 1. food made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade. “home-made preserves” synonyms: jam, jelly, marmalade, conserve, fruit spread “strawberry preserves” 2. a sphere of activity regarded as being reserved for a particular person or group. “the civil service became the preserve of the educated middle class” synonyms: domain, area, field, sphere, orbit, realm, province, territory; informalturf, bailiwick “the preserve of an educated middle-class” 3. NORTH AMERICAN a place where game is protected and kept for private hunting or shooting. synonyms: sanctuary, (game) reserve, reservation, protected area “a game preserve”


1. SUMMER RAIN

S U M M E R R A I N A N D I ’ M S U R E LY B L E S S E D S T I L L H O L D I N G O N F O R T H E B E S T, A R E Y O U T H E R E ? S O R R O W L E AV E S Y O U H O P I N G T E S T T H E T R U T H A N D L E A P ; H O P I N G I T ’ S T H E T E S T.

A N D W H E N I ’ M T H E R E I ’ L L R E S T, T H I N K I N G B AC K – A COAST L I N E S U M M E R B R E E Z E W E A LWAY S W H I S P E R E D T E L L I N G D R E A M S , IT’S ALL THE SAME TO ME.

N E A R LY T O T H E P O I N T O F FA L L I N G THEN REMEMBER THE CARE YO U R E Y E S W H E N I TO L D YO U M Y DA R L I N G I ’ L L N E V E R B E S O R RY O F T H E L I F E T H AT W E S H A R E D THE RISK OF A WISH SEALED WITH A KISS T I L L D AW N , H O L D O N F O R T H I S .


i·dyl·lic adjective: idyllic (especially of a time or place) like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque. “an attractive hotel in an idyllic setting” synonyms: perfect, wonderful, blissful, halcyon, happy; ideal, idealized; heavenly, paradisal, utopian, Elysian; peaceful, picturesque, bucolic, unspoiled, picture perfect; literaryArcadian “the once idyllic islands are now subjected to martial law” fault noun: fault; plural noun: faults 1. an unattractive or unsatisfactory feature, especially in a piece of work or in a person’s character. “my worst fault is impatience” a break or other defect in an electrical circuit or piece of machinery. “a fire caused by an electrical fault” synonyms: defect, flaw, imperfection, bug; More a misguided or dangerous action or habit. “it has been the great fault of our politicians that they have all wanted to do something” synonyms: defect, failing, imperfection, flaw, blemish, shortcoming, weakness, frailty, foible, vice “he has his faults” antonyms: merit, strength (in tennis and similar games) a service of the ball not in accordance with the rules. (in show jumping) a penalty point imposed for an error. 2. responsibility for an accident or misfortune. “an ordinary man thrust into peril through no fault of his own” synonyms: responsibility, liability, culpability, blameworthiness, guilt “it was not my fault” 3. GEOLOGYan extended break in a body of rock, marked by the relative displacement and discontinuity of strata on either side of a particular surface. verb: fault; 3rd person present: faults; past tense: faulted; past participle: faulted; gerund or present participle: faulting; noun: faulting 1. criticize for inadequacy or mistakes. “her colleagues and superiors could not fault her dedication to the job” synonyms: find fault with, criticize, attack, censure, condemn, reproach; archaic do wrong. “the people of Caesarea faulted greatly when they called King Herod a god” 2. GEOLOGY (of a rock formation) be broken by a fault or faults. “rift valleys where the crust has been stretched and faulted” eas·y - ēzē adjective: easy; comparative adjective: easier; superlative adjective: easiest 1. achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties. “an easy way of retrieving information” synonyms: uncomplicated, undemanding, unchallenging, effortless, painless, trouble-free, facile, simple, straightforward, elementary; antonyms: difficult, challenging (of an object of attack or criticism) having no defense; vulnerable. “he was vulnerable and an easy target” synonyms: vulnerable, susceptible, defenseless; antonyms: streetwise, savvy informal derogatory (of a woman) open to sexual advances; sexually available. “her reputation at school for being easy” synonyms: promiscuous, unchaste, loose, wanton, abandoned, licentious, debauched; More antonyms: chaste 2. (of a period of time or way of life) free from worries or problems. “promises of an easy life in the New World” synonyms: calm, tranquil, serene, quiet, peaceful, untroubled, contented, relaxed, comfortable, secure, safe; informalcushy “an easy life” antonyms: stressful, chaotic (of a person) lacking anxiety or awkwardness; relaxed. “his easy and agreeable manner” synonyms: natural, casual, informal, unceremonious, unreserved, uninhibited, unaffected, easygoing, amiable, affable, genial, good-humored; antonyms:formal adverb US archaic informal adverb: easy; comparative adverb: easier; superlative adverb: easiest 1. without difficulty or effort. “we all scared real easy in those days” exclamation exclamation: easy 1. be careful. “easy, girl—you’ll knock me over!” pre·serve verb: preserve; 3rd person present: preserves; past tense: preserved; past participle: preserved; gerund or present participle: preserving 1. maintain (something) in its original or existing state. “all records of the past were zealously preserved” synonyms: conserve, protect, maintain, care for, look after “oil helps preserve wood” retain (a condition or state of affairs). “a fight to preserve local democracy” synonyms: continue (with), conserve, keep going, maintain, uphold, sustain, perpetuate “they wish to preserve the status quo” maintain or keep alive (a memory or quality). “the film has preserved all the qualities of the novel” keep safe from harm or injury. “a place for preserving endangered species” synonyms: guard, protect, keep, defend, safeguard, shelter, shield “preserving him from harassment” treat or refrigerate (food) to prevent its decomposition or fermentation. synonyms: conserve, bottle, can, freeze, dry, freeze-dry; cure, smoke, pickle “spices enable us to preserve food” prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar. “those sweet preserved fruits associated with Cremona” keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting. noun: preserve; plural noun: preserves 1. food made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade. “home-made preserves” synonyms: jam, jelly, marmalade, conserve, fruit spread “strawberry preserves” 2. a sphere of activity regarded as being reserved for a particular person or group. “the civil service became the preserve of the educated middle class” synonyms: domain, area, field, sphere, orbit, realm, province, territory; informalturf, bailiwick “the preserve of an educated middle-class” 3. NORTH AMERICAN a place where game is protected and kept for private hunting or shooting. synonyms: sanctuary, (game) reserve, reservation, protected area “a game preserve”


1 .. STT 2 3 U HO M EM D YEAY ORU R A I N

T O R N A N D TAT T E R E D , S R DR A CU OM BM BE LE C IONR A RN I DDOIR’ M S , S U R E LY B L E S S E D F R O M A L L T H E H E A R T S YO U F L AT T E R E D S T I L L H O L D I N G O N F O R T H E B E S T, A R E Y O U T H E R E ? LIFE’S CORNERS, S O R R O W L E AV E S Y O U H O P I N G FL , AY, H E ’ SB U BA I NTGL A S T , S WAT E PLTI NAEW T RTEOLY O B LR OENAT G ,HA T E S T T H E T R U T H A N D L E A P ; H O P I N G I T ’ S T H E T E S T. OH! LEFT HIS HEART STILL DREAMING. TO MY LOVE, DEAR T R U LY T O Y O U I O W E , IATN’ SD PA S T, OTE, WH E NI IW ’ MR O TT HEE RYO E U I ’ LTLH IRSE N S T, M Y A N S W E R E D P R AY E R . O NIEN L SG T W NN AT. TH KA IN B AI S CH K P– EA CEODA, SATSL IINFEL O SU MMER BREEZE …T AO RU S , FIL A F L, O O D , H E A R T S F I S T F I G H T, B U T H E A R T O EY KS NHO W W E A LWAY S W H I S P E R E D T E L L I N G D R E A M S , T H I S , OV E R T H E R OA R , W H E N LOV E - C R A S H F R O M L O V E , S W E E T H E A R T, IT’S ALL THE SAME TO ME. M Y G R AC E , I S YO U LOV E A N D S O U L S L AT C H O N S O F LY MY O L ATSHTE PPROAY E RO C OML EL SI N TRUE, N E ATI R NO TN TO H E OTN E YO U B EI L GFBFA ESID E G T R ELRI GTHHT, E ICFAIR’ D E H AV E H E R , D’ E D E PETLM HUB EM I ’TH STNR YA OE UM T HE DA R K SS IW D E O F LOV E E V E R A F T E R . Y UD R TO EN EERY E F L A RHEE N I T O L D Y O U M Y DA R L I N G I ’ L L N E V E R B E S O R RY TO LOVE IS LESS OUTLASTING HOPE – NOT SLEEPING O F T H E L I F E T H AT W E S H A R E D T H A N I A M , F O R YO U OLD AS A ROCKING CHAIR – WEEPING THE RISK OF A WISH N O T STPOE A BK EI N CG R ,UPA E LS S I O N - W H I P P I N G SEALED WITH A KISS THIS TIME WE’LL SEE ME TRYING B U T. I L O V E Y O U T OL S I. N E . AILLLL TDHAW AT NI ,HH AV ED , POUN T F OO NRT T HH EIL T R U T H O R DA R E ; I N E E D YO U .

35


2. T 3 4 HTH OW O E D YM AY OAUN Y Y E A R S H O W M A N Y Y E A R S , A N O T H E R T O DAY, T O R N A N D TAT T E R E D , H D OI RKRNIOW CO OW B BCLO EU DL C D O RTSH, AT N O T H I N G WO U L D C H A N G E ? F R O M A L L T H E H E A R T S YO U F L AT T E R E D H O W C O U L D I S E E T H E WAY F O R YO U ? LIFE’S CORNERS, L O O K T H R O U G H T H E V E I L I ’ M WA I T I N G F O R YO U . FL , AY, H E ’ SB U BA I NTGL A S T , S WAT E PLTI NAEW T RTEOLY O B LR OENAT G ,HA OH! LEFT HIS HEART STILL DREAMING. T MAYR L AOH E T OPVUET, ODNE A DR I S P L AY B UT I ’ M TFOE EYLOI N UE TR U LY U GI BOLW E,, YO U ’ R E U P AT T H E P E W, I T ’ S PA S T, I W R O T E YO U T H I S N O T E , M Y A N S W E R E D P R AY E R . O N E L A S T W I S H P E N N E D , A S I F L O AT. I S A I R S P I N N I N G YO U R H A I R ? …T AO RU S , FIL A F L, O O D , H E A R T S F I S T F I G H T, B U T H E A R T O EY KS NHO W T H AT S E P T E M B E R C OA S T L I N E S U N S E T T H I S , OV E R T H E R OA R , W H E N LOV E - C R A S H F - R I ’O L LM BLEOTVHEE, RSEW . E E T H E A R T, O OE F , TIHSE YWO DVAEF R A I D O F T H E V I E W, MN Y T GO RPA C O U RLLO A N D S O U L S L AT C H O N STEP OFF OF THE PLANE AND TELLING IT TRUE. S O I F M Y L A S T P R AY E R C O M E S T R U E , T O T H E O N E YO U B E L O N G B E S I D E I ’TD’ ST R YA OD UE PTLHUEM L I G H T, I F I ’ D H AV E H E R , A N D W H E N I S E E T H AT T H E R E ’ S N O PA I N , T H E DA R K S I D E O F LOV E E V E R A F T E R . T R ED R OW N E D T H E R A I N , L IEKNEDIEFRI NFALLALY E Y VSET EI P EV E R TA K E , TV O ELRO S IL E SS OUTLASTING HOPE – NOT SLEEPING H A S A LWAY S L E A D M E B Y YO U R , S I D E , T H A N I A M , F O R YO U OLD AS A ROCKING CHAIR – WEEPING A N D H OW T H E WA I T, N E V E R , N O T STPOE A BK EI N CG R ,UPA E LS S I O N - W H I P P I N G S T R AY E D O R LO S T M Y FA I T H . THIS TIME WE’LL SEE ME TRYING B UO T.K I ULPOAT V E TYHO LO E UC LO U D S , A L L T H AT I H AV E , P U T O N T H E L I N E . A NU D TIH ’ L LO B TR R EDTAHREER; EI SNOEMEEDH OW. YO U .

37


YA D E H T . 2

, D E R E T TAT D N A N R O T D E R E T TA L F U O Y S T R A E H E H T L L A M O R F

G N I H T A E R B YL E R A B S ’ E H , E N I L T A L F .GNIMAERD LLITS TRAEH SIH TFEL !HO

, E T O N S I H T U O Y E T O R W I ,T S A P S ’ T I .TA O L F I S A , D E N N E P H S I W T S A L E N O R A E H T U B ,T H G I F T S I F S T R A E H , D O O L F H S A L F S R A E T… H S A R C - E VOL N E H W , R AO R E H T R E VO , S I H T

N O H C TA L S L U O S D N A E D I S E B G N OL E B U OY E N O E H T O T , R E H E VA H D ’ I F I ,T H G I L E H T E D A R T D ’ I . R E T F A R E V E E VOL F O E D I S K R AD E H T

GNIPEELS TON – EPOH GNITSALTUO GNIPEEW – RIAHC GNIKCOR A SA DLO G N I P P I H W - N O I S S AP , G N I K A E P S T O N GNIYRT EM EES LL’EW EMIT SIHT . E N I L E H T N O T U P , E VA H I TA H T L L A


5. THE RIVER & RTHROUGH THE WOODS 3 . OVER 4 HTOW O Y M OAUN Y YEA S H O W M A N Y Y E A R S , A N O T H E R T O DAY, OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS TOO HO LC D OI RKRNIOW O T H I N G WO U L D C H A N G E ? C OW BBEST BCLO EU DYEARS O RTSH , AT N THE OFDOUR LIFE FRAMED H O W C OLOOK U L D I S ETHE E T H E WAY F O R YO U ? BY L I FYOU, E ’ S C O R NUP E R S , BROOK. LO O K T H R O U GHOUSE H T H E WE V E IGO. L I ’ M WA I T I N G F O R YO U . TO GRANDMA’S S W E P T A W AY, B U T T O O L O N G , A T L A S T , T M ET, ODNE A OH! HAVE A LOOK, AOH E AYR L TO PVU DR I S P L AY AT THESE TIMES, B UT I ’ M TFOE EYLOI N UE TR U LY U GI BOLW E,, YO U ’ R E U P AT T H E P E W, THEY BEND; IT WINDS, M Y A N S W ESTILL R E D MY P RMIND. AY E R . BLOOMING, I S A I R S P I N N I N G YO U R H A I R ? T O Y O U , I K N O W, T H AT S E P T E M B E R C OA S T L I N E S U N S E T A CHILL WITH NO CLUE, F - R I ’O L LM BLEOTVHEE, RSEW . E E T H E A R T, THE TIMEFRAMES WITH LINES BLUE, O OE FGOING, DVAEF R A I D O F T H E V I E W, MN Y T GO RPA C , TIHSE YWO O U RLLO WHERE I’M S TEP O F FWE’VE OF TH E PLANE AND TELLING IT TRUE. OH! HOW BEEN, S O I F M Y L A S T P R AY E R C O M E S T R U E , CERTAINLY DESPERATE, WELL, WE’LL MEET AGAIN. I T ’ S YO U P LU M A N D W H E N I S E E T H AT T H E R E ’ S N O PA I N , FLYING LOVE HOLDING YOU UP, T R ED R OW L IEKNEDIEFRI NFALLALY NED THE RAIN, THE DEEPEST CREEK, E Y VSET EI P EV E R TA K E , TV O ELRO S IL E SS BENT ON LUCK, H A S A LWAY S L E A D M E B Y YO U R , S I D E , T H A N I CAST, A M , FAOTUCK R Y OAND U FISHING A SKIP, A N D H OW T H E WA I T, N E V E R , PASSION MAKING MY NOSE DRIP. NOT TO BE CRUEL S T R AY E D O R LO S T M Y FA I T H . WELL DON’T SLIP, THIS FISH STORY’S TRUE, B UO T.K I ULPOAT V E TYHO LO E UCFROM LO U DEVERYTHING S, IT’S A LITTLE LOVE, I SHARED WITH YOU. A NU D TIH ’ L LO B TR R EDTAHREER; EI SNOEMEEDH OW. YO U .

39


U OY OT

.3

,SRODIRROC DELBBOC ,SRENROC S’EFIL , T S A L T A , G N O L O O T T U B ,YA W A T P E W S RAED ,EVOL YM OT , E W O I U O Y O T YL U R T . R E YA R P D E R E W S N A Y M ,W O N K I , U O Y O T ,T R A E H T E E W S , E V O L M O R F E VOL U OY S I , E CA R G Y M , E U R T S E M O C R E YA R P T S A L Y M F I O S M UL P U OY S ’ T I ERALF REDNET SSEL SI EVOL OT U OY R O F , M A I N A H T LEURC EB OT TON U O Y E V O L I .T U B . U OY D E E N I ; E R AD R O H T U R T


4 . OVER 5. 6 HCOW O MTHE EM A N LRIVER O Y NYGE A & NRO THROUGH SW THE WOODS H O W M A N Y Y E A R S , A N O T H E R T O DAY, OVER O NE M THE O R RIVER E T O UAND C H ATHROUGH N D T H E NTHE I ’ L LWOODS B E F R TOO EE H O W C O U L D I K N OW T H AT N O T H I N G WO U L D C H A N G E ? THE A N DBEST I ’ L L YEARS L E AV EOF H EOUR R E LIFE FRAMED H O IW CO UCLUDZ IUP S ETHE E’ V T BROOK. H OERR YO BY S M YOU, LIN GLOOK YO U E EB WAY E E N TFH E BUE?F O R E LO O K T H R O U GHOUSE H T H E WE V E IGO. L I ’ M WA I T I N G F O R YO U . TO GRANDMA’S A N D S L E E P I N G D R E A M I N G O F S TA R S W I T H B L U E E Y E S OH! HAVE LOOK, A HE ART A PU T O N D I S P L AY T AT THESE W I NFD TIMES, SL PIIN NG S B YO L LU ’ R E U P AT T H E P E W, BH UE T I’M EE L UUE FA , YO THEY A N D IBEND; SEE T ITHWINDS, AT T H I S A L L M A K E S M E F R E E BLOOMING, STILL MY MIND. I S A I R S P I N N I N G YO U R H A I R ? S O C O M E A L O N G N O W I ’ L L B E B E S I D E YO U T H AT S E P T E M B E R C OA S T L I N E S U N S E T A CHILL WITH NO CLUE, - I’LL BE THERE. THE L O V TIMEFRAMES E ’ S A S H O T GWITH U N FLINES O X H UBLUE, NT O NT R TE OA PI’M R A IM DIO F T H E V I E W, WHERE A SO UFR GOING, ET HTE O WO F I NRDL D T OA F PAY ND S T H P LTAON B E LAUNEDS T LING IT TRUE. OH! T HE EP HOW PO RF I CFWE’VE EOTFOTR BEEN, IES E KE I ELS CERTAINLY DESPERATE, WELL, WE’LL MEET AGAIN. S A LI OSN NH OAT W IT’ H LL Y OYO U IRN S AO N DC O WMHEE N EG E T E RBEE’ SB N PA , IDE FLYING LOVE YOU LIKE I F I N A LHOLDING LY D R OW N E DUP, THE RAIN, BIND THE DEEPEST S BREAK CREEK, ING LIKE VERSES CRASHING E V E R Y S T E P I E V E R TA K E , BENT PA R T ION E S ,LUCK, SYMBOLS H A S A LWAY S L E A D M E B Y YO U R , S I D E , FISHING CAST, A TUCK AND A SKIP, A N D H OW T H E WA I T, N E V E R , PASSION S O C O M EMAKING A LO N G MY N NOSE O W I ’DRIP. L L B E B E S I D E YO U S T R AY E D O R LO S T M Y FA I T H . WELL S O C ODON’T M E A LSLIP, O N GTHIS N OW FISH STORY’S TRUE, L O K U AT TH CFROM LO ULDEVERYTHING S IT’S C OO MA E LITTLE APL O NG LOVE, NEO W I’L B,E R I G H T BIESHARED S I D E YO WITH U. YOU. A N D I ’ L L B E T H E R E S O M E H OW.

41


S R A E Y Y N A M WO H . 4 ,Y A D O T R E H T O N A , S R A E Y Y N A M W O H ? E G N A H C D L U O W G N I H T O N TA H T W O N K I D L U O C W O H ? U O Y R O F YA W E H T E E S I D L U O C W O H . U O Y R O F G N I T I AW M ’ I L I E V E H T H G U O R H T K O O L

YA L P S I D N O T U P T R A E H A ,W E P E H T TA P U E R ’ U O Y , E U L B G N I L E E F M ’ I T U B

? R I A H R U OY G N I N N I P S R I A S I T E S N U S E N I L T S A O C R E B M E T P E S TA H T .EREHT EB LL’I ,W E I V E H T F O D I A R F A D L R O W E H T F O P O T N O .EURT TI GNILLET DNA ENALP EHT FO FFO PETS

, N I A P O N S ’ E R E H T TA H T E E S I N E H W D N A , N I A R E H T D E N W O R D YL L A N I F I E K I L , E K AT R E V E I P E T S Y R E V E , E D I S , R U O Y Y B E M D A E L S YA W L A S A H , R E V E N ,T I AW E H T W O H D N A . H T I A F Y M T S O L R O D E YA R T S , S D U O L C E H T TA P U K O O L .W O H E M O S E R E H T E B L L ’ I D N A


7. SC OOLO 6 MTHE EN G A LRIVER ONG & NO W 5.. OVER THROUGH THE WOODS M Y D E A R , I T ’ S B E E N S O LO N G N OW A N D I M I S S YO U O NE M O R RIVER E T O UAND C H ATHROUGH N D T H E NTHE I ’ L LWOODS B E F R TOO EE OVER THE W H O K N OW S H OW FA R O F F I A M N OW A N DBEST I ’ L L YEARS L E AV EOF H EOUR R E LIFE FRAMED THE ONCE IN A WHILE I REMEMBER S M IYOU, LPI N YO U V BROOK. ES TA B ERESN, BY T H EFRI R EEB FE OSR. E BY THE D EE NG ILOOK GC HU TZ S ,UP NE A’R SE ID TO GRANDMA’S HOUSE WE GO. A LOW D GE M S RS WITH BLUE EYES AN ND D G SL E E PIINNGG EDYREESAA MNI N OB F ESRTA T H O S E N I G H T S A LWAYS L A S T F O R E V E R OH! HAVE A LOOK, A N D B U R N I N G H E A R T S A LWAYS R E M E M B E R T HE WIND S P I N S YO U FA L L AT THESE TIMES, WE FOUND FREEDOM IN SURRENDER A N DB U IBEND; E IEN G T AT I S OACLELA M EE S SM E F R E E THEY ITHSWINDS, SO RSN U NT SH ET N ATKI D A N D C R YS TA L E VMY E NMIND. ING FIREFLIES BLOOMING, STILL A R ECL WLHOENNGI ’NMOB DLE BYO SO OEMSES A WE SI ’I L E U B E S I D E YO U YO U ’ R E E V E R Y T H I N G T O M E , I ’ D D O A CHILL WITH NO CLUE, E V E R Y S T E P T E N T I M E S OV E R L O V TIMEFRAMES E ’ S A S H O T GWITH U N FLINES O X H UBLUE, NT THE IF I COULD ROLL THE BOULDER, THIS TIME’S ALL I A T REE AI’M SUR E T O F I N D T O PAY M I N D WHERE GOING, H AV A NE DHOW T I ’ILSLE ATLWAYS T H PI T R’ISCWE’VE E RTUOE R O B L U EMSI SKSI EYO S U OH! BEEN, T H AT S O L EDESPERATE, MN KISS WE SHAR E D, YO U A LWAYS CERTAINLY WELL, WE’LL MEET AGAIN. S A I D, WA S “ T H E B E S T ” S O C O M E A L O N G N O W I ’ L L B E B Y YO U R S I D E C O U L D N ’ T M E A S U R E H OW I WA S B L E S S E D, W I T H YO U FLYING LOVE HOLDING YOU UP, I N F I N I T E LY T R U E , I T ’ S S O O B V I O U S , C O U L D I T B E YO U B IN SFA BLRLE A I NCGAT LC I KHE YO V EUR S E S C R A S H I N G THE CREEK, JU SD TDEEPEST I’K L L PA S YCMABUOGLHST U P I N YO U A NR DTIION ’EMS ,LUCK, SO BENT IFISHING F I ’ M LO S T, LA E TTUCK M E BAND E , CA UZ I K N OW T R U E CAST, SKIP, S O C O M EMAKING A LO N G N NOSE O W I ’DRIP. L L B E B E S I D E YO U PASSION MY A N D G LOW I N G E Y E S A N D E M B E R S S O C ODON’T M E A LSLIP, O N GTHIS N OW WELL FISH STORY’S TRUE, T H O S E N I G H T S A LWAYS L A S T F O R E V E R C O MAEBLITTLE AR LN OINNG L LAEVERYTHING B E R I G HRTE M BIE ESHARED S IBDEER ,YO U. IT’S LOVE, WITH YOU. A ND U GN HO EW AFROM RIT’ S LWAYS M WE FOUND FREEDOM IN SURRENDER.

43


S D O O W E H T H G U O R H T & R E V I R E H T R E VO . 5

O O T S D O O W E H T H G U O R H T D N A R E V I R E H T R E VO D E M A R F E F I L R U O F O S R A E Y TS E B E H T . K O O R B E H T P U K O OL , U OY YB .O G E W E S U O H S ’A M D N A R G OT

, K O OL A E VA H ! H O , S E M I T E S E H T TA ,SDNIW TI ;DNEB YEHT .D N I M Y M L L I T S , G N I M O OL B

, E UL C O N H T I W L L I H C A , E UL B S E N I L H T I W S E M A R F E M I T E H T ,GNIOG M’I EREHW , N E E B E V ’ E W WO H ! H O . N I A GA T E E M L L ’ E W , L L E W , E TA R E P S E D YL N I AT R E C

,P U U OY G N I D L O H E VOL G N I YL F , K E E R C TS E P E E D E H T , K C UL N O T N E B ,P I K S A D N A K C U T A ,T S A C G N I H S I F .P I R D E S O N Y M G N I K A M N O I S S AP , E U R T S ’ YR OT S H S I F S I H T ,P I L S T ’ N O D L L E W . U OY H T I W D E R A H S I G N I H T YR E V E M O R F , E VOL E L T T I L A S ’ T I


8 PC UO RLO I TEY 6 .. S 7. O M NG A LO N G N OW S TA N D S T I L L ,

M Y D E A R , I T ’ S B E E N S O LO N G N OW A N D I M I S S YO U B S TM I LOLRIET ’T SOCULC OH S IA NN GD . THEN I’LL BE FREE OEN E W H O K N OW S H OW FA R O F F I A M N OW H O L D H A N D S , I H O P E YO U W I L L . A N D I ’ L L L E AV E H E R E O NCE IN A WHILE I REMEMBER L E T I T G O , L I K E T H E T E A R S F L O W, SM I LPI N V ES TA B ERESN, BY T H EFRI R EEB FE OSR. E D EE NG I GC HU TZ S , YO N EU A’R SE ID CAN THEY SEW THE GASH?

A N G LOW A DG B ESRP SR O AO ND DY O SU L ESETPIILINN GREEDY REEESMAB MENIRN O FG TA RU S DWOI T LUE EYES D LG M BEEM IN F HM B E? TH HE O SSE SE T P FA ORRTE V S A IN DI, GYHOTUS’ LALLWAYS A L W AYLSAB OE F RW H O I A M A ND D IB C UA RN N’ITN G AELWAYS MH EM B EWRE U S E D T O AN S TH AE NA DRITTS, R M E M B ER R EW EN T H E W I N D S P I N S YO U FA L L W D AEN F CO E UND FREEDOM IN SURRENDER A N D I E IEN G T HSAT I S OACLELA M EE S SM E F R E E S O B U RSN U NT SH ET N ATKI D C AT C H M E , S P I N N I N G . I S T I L L B E L I E V E

DOCUR, YS I ERSY M E T H R O U G H ? IANN Y S HTA O ULL E DVREENAI N L G L OFVI R E ECFALR A RTECO L W DHLEABYO B U NMS LY HL OH LEN DNIGNI ’G YB OEUSIR’I L NED U OSOI D E YO U SO OE ES A O NMO W BTE YO U ’ R E E V E R Y T H I N G T O M E , I ’ D D L I K E P R E C I O U S E Y E S I H A D F O R Y OOU EO VE Y U RNYE S VT EE RPKTNEEN W T I M E S OV E R

LOV E ’ S A S H OTG U N F OX H U N T IA CROEUDL D E W BO II FS P Y ORUO, LTLH T EH SE OU RL DD SE . R, THIS TIME’S ALL I A AV T REE A S U R E T O F I N D T O PAY M I N D H TH E R E TUO O B L U EMSI SKSI EYO S U A NA DLPIET EURIR’ILS H E D’ISC AT NR D H TLE ATLWAYS TC HA AT LE KRI SES W E S H A R E D, YO U A LWAYS S A I D, S R ESDO A NM D NS U HEEMBBEESRT Y ”O U IWA ’ L LS R“ETM

S O C O M E A L O N G N O W I ’ L L B E B Y YO U R S I D E ICFOIUTL’ S TR E E A S U R E H OW I WA S B L E S S E D, W I T H YO U DN ’ TU M A NEV K S AO G AOI B N V I O U S , C O U L D I T B E YO U I NNFDI NI F I T IE LY T ERRU ES,P IETA’ S

B IN IEN,CGTAT ILKHE VE C A ND BBR ILLC I ’YO M B LS UE ES CRASHING JU S T’ TSFA LRE LEAA IT’ K LHL UR H O L Y ,SH N DBU SO,GLIH’SL SU LOV E YO U PA TII’M EMS SAYC MA A NR DD O TLUAPLW I NAY YO B B AS BT, Y. LBEATB Y. I FA IB’ Y. M LO M E B E , C U Z I K N OW T R U E

S O C O M E A L O N G N O W I ’ L L B E B E S I D E YO U H P T HI N E GP HEO AO N LDDGULOW YN EE S, AND EMBERS S O C O M E A L O N G N OW C AO N ’STE SN IN E TH I GGHA T ST O AN LWAYS LAST FOREVER CO M AI R LN OPIN GGCN LLLA RN I GEH BE EM S IBDEER ,YO U . A UE BBLU C LNA E ,E W IA’ M LB AEL O .RTE M A NPD HO RIT’AS LWAYS T MU PN TD INF ER SS CD AE NR D.L E L I G H T. WHEE FEO E,E T DHOEMEIYNE S S ULRI K REE N E Y E S W I T H F I R E T H AT S H O N E R E V I V E D T H E S T O N E .

45


WO N G N OL A E M OC

.6

EERF EB LL’I NEHT DNA HCUOT EROM ENO E R E H E VA E L L L ’ I D N A E R O F E B E R E H T N E E B E V ’ U OY Z U C G N I L I M S

S E Y E E U L B H T I W S R AT S F O G N I M A E R D G N I P E E L S D N A

L L AF U OY S N I P S D N I W E H T E E R F E M S E K A M L L A S I H T TA H T E E S I D N A

U OY E D I S E B E B L L ’ I WO N G N OL A E M O C O S

T N U H XO F N U GTO H S A S ’ E VOL D N I M YA P O T D N I F O T E R U S A E R T A SEIKS EULB OT ESIR OT ECIRP EHT

E D I S R U OY Y B E B L L ’ I WO N G N OL A E M O C O S

GNIHSARC SESREV EKIL GNIKAERB SDNIB S L O B M Y S , S E I T R AP

U OY E D I S E B E B L L ’ I WO N G N OL A E M O C O S WO N G N OL A E M OC O S . U OY E D I S E B T H G I R E B L L ’ I WO N G N OL A E M O C


8 PO U RLO ITY 7.. S NG S TA N D S T I L L ,

M Y D E A R , I T ’ S B E E N S O LO N G N OW A N D I M I S S YO U BE STILL IT’S CLOSING.

W H O K N OW S H OW FA R O F F I A M N OW H O L D H A N D S , I H O P E YO U W I L L . O NCE IN A WHILE I REMEMBER L E T I T G O , L I K E T H E T E A R S F L O W,

D EE I GYHSTESW , NTEHAERGSATA CA N PT N HE S HR?S , BY F I R E S I D E S . A N DY O GU LOW AENRD BEEMI N BG E RPSR O U D O F M E ? DO S T IILNLGRE EY MEESM B TH HE O SSE SE T P FA ORRTE V S A IN DI, GYHOTUS’ LALLWAYS A L W AYLSAB OE F RW H O I A M A ND D IB C UA RN N’ITN G AELWAYS MH EM B EWRE U S E D T O AN S TH AE NA DRITTS, R M E M B ER R EW EN W D AEN F CO E UND FREEDOM IN SURRENDER SO NEI N UN NISNEGT. O E IALN SV E C A TB CU H RM , G S PS IN I C ST L T B IEDLE IE DOCUR, YS I ERSY M E T H R O U G H ? IANN Y S HTA O ULL E DVREENAI N L G L OFVI R E ECFALR A RTE O LE S W BU NS LY H OHLEDNI NI ’GM YB OEUSRI DHEA YO N D UT O O YO G ITH OAM L I KU E’ R PE R EECVI E OR UY S TEHYI N ES D EF, OI ’RD YDOOU EO VE Y U RNYE S VT EE RPKTNEEN W T I M E S OV E R IA CROEUDL D E W BO II FS P Y ORUO, LTLH T EH SE OU RL DD SE . R, THIS TIME’S ALL I H AV E AE NADL IETD’ SATNRDUH EUIR’ LTL A LWAYS M I S S YO U H TC HA AT LE KRI SES W E S H A R E D, YO U A LWAYS S A I D, S R ESDO A NM D NS U HEEMBBEESRT Y ”O U IWA ’ L LS R“ETM ICFOIUTL’ S TR E E A S U R E H OW I WA S B L E S S E D, W I T H YO U DN ’ TU M A NEV K S AO G AOI B N V I O U S , C O U L D I T B E YO U I NNFDI NI F I T IE LY T ERRU ES,P IETA’ S C AS NT’ TFA BR I LCLHI ’YO M B JU LE L AIT’ LHLE ,C TAT UL U E H NA DU S ,G IH’ L SU LOV E YO U AO N LDDI ’M MY SHOA C TLUAPLW I NAY YO B B AS BT, Y. LBEATB Y. I FA IB’ Y. M LO M E B E , C U Z I K N OW T R U E H P T HI N E GP HEO AO N LDDGULOW YN EE S, AND EMBERS C AO N ’STE SN IN E TH I GGHA T ST O AN LWAYS LAST FOREVER A U BBLUI R C NPILNAGC E L LWAYS A L O N E .R E M E M B E R , A NPD H,E IA’ M R TASL A T MU PN TD INF ER SS CD AE NR D.L E L I G H T. WHEE FEO E,E T DHOEMEIYNE S S ULRI K REE N E Y E S W I T H F I R E T H AT S H O N E R E V I V E D T H E S T O N E .

47


G N O L O S .7 U OY S S I M I D N A WO N G N OL O S N E E B S ’ T I , R A E D Y M W O N M A I F F O R AF W O H S W O N K O H W REBMEMER I ELIHW A NI ECNO . S E D I S E R I F Y B , S R AT S R A E N , S T H G I N P E E D S R E B M E D N A S E Y E G N I WOL G D N A R E V E R O F T S A L S YA W L A S T H G I N E S O H T R E B M E M E R S YA W L A S T R A E H G N I N R U B D N A REDNERRUS NI MODEERF DNUOF EW SEDIT NAECO TESNUS GNINRUB OS S E I L F E R I F G N I N E V E L AT S Y R C D N A U OY E D I S E B M ’ I N E H W S S E L E R A O D D ’ I , E M O T G N I H T Y R E V E E R ’ U OY R E VO S E M I T N E T P E T S YR E V E I LLA S’EMIT SIHT ,REDLUOB EHT LLOR DLUOC I FI E VA H U O Y S S I M S YA W L A L L ’ I E U R T S ’ T I D N A , D I A S S YA W L A U O Y , D E R A H S E W S S I K N M E L O S T A H T ” T S E B E H T “ S AW U O Y H T I W , D E S S E L B S AW I W O H E R U S A E M T ’ N D L U O C U O Y E B T I D L U O C , S U O I V B O O S S ’ T I , E U R T YL E T I N I F N I U O Y H C TA C L L ’ I L L AF T S U J U OY N I P U T H G U A C O S M ’ I D N A E U R T W O N K I Z U C , E B E M T E L ,T S O L M ’ I F I S R E B M E D N A S E Y E G N I WOL G D N A R E V E R O F T S A L S YA W L A S T H G I N E S O H T , R E B M E M E R S YA W L A S T R A E H G N I N R U B D N A .REDNERRUS NI MODEERF DNUOF EW


8. PURITY S TA N D S T I L L , BE STILL IT’S CLOSING. H O L D H A N D S , I H O P E YO U W I L L . L E T I T G O , L I K E T H E T E A R S F L O W, CAN THEY SEW THE GASH? D O YO U S T I L L R E M E M B E R B E I N G P R O U D O F M E ? S H E S A I D , Y O U ’ L L A L W AY S B E P A R T O F W H O I A M A N D I C A N ’ T S TA N D I T, R E M E M B E R W H E N W E U S E D T O DA N C E C AT C H M E , S P I N N I N G . I S T I L L B E L I E V E I N YO U , S H O U L D R E A L LOV E C A R RY M E T H R O U G H ? B U T O N LY H O L D I N G Y O U R H A N D T O O L I K E P R E C I O U S E Y E S I H A D F O R YO U YO U N E V E R K N E W I S PA R E D YO U , T H E S E WO R D S . HEALED AND HURT SCARED AND SURE I ’ L L R E M E M B E R YO U IF IT’S TRUE AND IF I NEVER SPEAK AGAIN C A N ’ T B R E AT H E , T I L L I ’ M B L U E H O L D M Y H A N D S , I ’ L L A LW AY S L O V E Y O U B A B Y. B A B Y. B A B Y. HOLD UP THE PHONE, CAN’T SING A TONE A PUBLIC PLACE, I’M ALL ALONE. T H E E M P T I N E S S , T H E E Y E S L I K E C A N D L E L I G H T. E Y E S W I T H F I R E T H AT S H O N E R E V I V E D T H E S T O N E .

49


YTIRUP .8 , L L I T S D N AT S .GNISOLC S’TI LLITS EB . L L I W U OY E P O H I , S D N A H D L O H ,W O L F S R A E T E H T E K I L , O G T I T E L ?HSAG EHT WES YEHT NAC ? E M F O D U O R P G N I E B R E B M E M E R L L I T S U OY O D M A I O H W F O T R A P E B S YAWL A L L ’ U O Y , D I A S E H S O T D E S U E W N E H W R E B M E M E R ,T I D N AT S T ’ N A C I D N A E C N AD E V E I L E B L L I T S I . G N I N N I P S , E M H C TA C ? H G U O R H T E M YR R A C E VOL L A E R D L U O H S , U OY N I O O T D N A H R U O Y G N I D L O H YL N O T U B U OY R O F D A H I S E Y E S U O I C E R P E K I L W E N K R E V E N U OY . S D R OW E S E H T , U OY D E R AP S I TRUH DNA DELAEH ERUS DNA DERACS U OY R E B M E M E R L L ’ I EURT S’TI FI NIAGA KAEPS REVEN I FI DNA E U L B M ’ I L L I T , E H TA E R B T ’ N A C U O Y E V O L S YAWL A L L ’ I , S D N A H Y M D L O H .Y B A B .Y B A B .Y B A B ,ENOHP EHT PU DLOH ENOT A GNIS T’NAC .ENOLA LLA M’I ,ECALP CILBUP A .T H G I L E L D N A C E K I L S E Y E E H T , S S E N I T P M E E H T . E N O T S E H T D E V I V E R E N O H S TA H T E R I F H T I W S E Y E


T

H E

B

E A T I

TUD

E S’

P

U RI

T

Y

For Jesus, it seems that the kind of person you are affects whether you can experience salvation. Are you poor, are you meek, do you mourn, do you hunger and thirst for righteousness, are you merciful, do you make peace? (paraphrased, Matthew 5) The kingdom is yours. Are you the opposite? Now, admittedly, few of us will concede this. But Jesus finds a way to cut through our rationalism and our self-righteousness. We like to take our actions and use them to measure our worth, our value, and our fitness for salvation. But, for Jesus, where do anger and lust reside? As measureable exterior actions?

54


No. They reside as inclinations deep in our souls. Do not misunderstand. The point of the beatitudes is not to separate inclination and action with a dualism pitting faith against reality. Instead, the beatitudes seem to be Jesus’s way of telling us that our true selves rest underneath our carefully cultivated facades. For Jesus, the brother who hates in his heart, murders (Matthew 5.22); the one desiring to exploit, lusts (Matthew 5.28); the husband who takes advantage of legal loop-holes to escape his marital commitments, he is at fault for the resulting impurity (Matthew 5.32). In this way, assessing purity is imprecise at best. For who can search the heart but the Lord? ( Jeremiah 17). Consequently, removing impurities is also more difficult than behavior modification. It must be purged from that deeper place where desires for power, control, and self-pleasure reside. Perhaps rules and beliefs and liturgies can help us work backwards from behavior-training to soul-making. And perhaps the shape of our external lives--our patterns of behavior and the virtues they help us to practice--really can begin to reshape our self-serving hearts and minds. Perhaps. But perhaps it is also true that these rules and statutes can distract us from the real, soul-level work of living with integrity and contrition. Maybe we even focus on action for just this reason: to distract. Perhaps creating strong institutions, families, or churches has become just another external action; another surface-level purity which leaves us feeling clean without having actually toiled to root out our lust which causes exploitation and misapplications of control; and our hate which causes anger and irreparable disunity. Simply put, perhaps the lesson of purity is that the means must match the ends. Purity begins with our desires, and not with action. The call to reflect on purity, then, does not begin with a call to reflect on the mechanisms we try to use or the goals we create to help us become pure, holy, and good.This is, first and foremost, an opportunity to think about the impulses and driving forces behind these rules and expectations.

55


I

DIDN’T

WHEN

HIS

SMILED THE

HAND

AT

ME,

STILL

FEEL

BRUSHED

WHEN

BRIGHT

I

AGAINST

WAT C H E D

C A F É — AT

G U I LT Y.

NONE

HIS OF

MINE,

WHEN

PUPILS THESE

HE

D I L AT E POINTS

IN DID

I F E E L G U I L T Y. E V E N A F T E R H E W A S G O N E , I S T I L L D I D N ’ T FEEL I

THE

HAD

G U I LT

F I N A L LY

REGRETTED I

CAN

T H AT RID

WA S

STILL

FEEL

O L D - FA S H I O N E D

I

HAD

MYSELF

TRUSTING HIS

GAZE

BEEN OF

HIM,

HIM ON

WA R N E D

TO ME,

STREETLIGHTS

A B O U T.

THE

O N LY

TA K E

CARE

EYES

T H AT

WHEN

THING OF

SHINING

IN

D E C O R AT E D

I

ME. THE THE

S I D E WA L K S O F T H E S H O P P I N G C E N T E R . I R E M E M B E R H O W M Y H E A R T L E A P T F O R J OY AT T H E M E N T I O N O F H I S N A M E . H E L L , M Y H E A R T S T I L L D O E S T H A T . I S T I L L G O O U T O F M Y W AY T O RUN

INTO

HIM

AND

REMIND

MYSELF

W H AT

HAD

HAPPENED

B E T W E E N U S . A N D Y E T , I S T I L L D O N ’ T F E E L G U I LT Y, N O T O N E B I T. B U T S T O L E N G L A N C E S D O N ’ T R E A L LY A M O U N T T O M U C H I N T H E L O N G R U N . I N T H E G A M E W E P L AY E D , N E I T H E R O F U S C O U L D S AY W E C R O S S E D A N Y L I N E S . T H E R E WA S N O T H I N G S U B S TA N T I A L B E T W E E N U S ; W E N E V E R R E A L LY D I D A N Y T H I N G . B U T B O Y, D I D WE PLAN TO. I RAN THROUGH THE SCENARIOS IN MY HEAD A M I L L I O N T I M E S . W E W O U L D B E AT T H AT C A F É O R G E T T I N G L U N C H O R J U S T S I T T I N G O N A B E N C H I N T H E PA R K . H E WO U L D W H I S P E R SOME

SWEET

NOTHING

AND

WE’D

GO

SOMEWHERE

MORE

P R I VA T E A N D M AY B E A K I S S W O U L D T U R N I N T O S O M E T H I N G M U C H

56


MORE SERIOUS. I PLANNED IT IN MY HEAD TIME AFTER TIME SO I WOULD KNOW HOW TO REACT WHEN THE REAL TIME CAME. I

WOULDN’T

SWIRLED AGAIN,

TELL

HIM

THROUGH LIKE

A

T H AT

MY

I

WA S

MIND,

CROWD

A

VIRGIN.

ECHOING

OF

THE

OVER

MIDDLE

V-WORD

AND

SCHOOL

OVER

BULLIES

TA U N T I N G T H E N E R D I N T H E C E N T E R O F T H E I R C I R C L E B E F O R E THEY NO

PUSHED

HER

BULLIES.

IT

INTO WA S

A

LOCKER.

JUST

ME,

BUT

THERE

REMINDING

WERE MYSELF

C O N S T A N T LY T H A T I W A S W H A T I H A T E D T O A D M I T : A V I R G I N . IF

HE

K N E W,

HE

WOULD

NEVER

H AV E

ME.

THE

W AY

HE

R A I S E D H I S E Y E B R O W S AT M Y C H E E S Y F L I R T I N G W O U L D B E GONE. THE DRINKS HE BOUGHT ME WOULD DISAPPEAR. THE BUTTERFLIES

T H AT

HE

G AV E

ME

WOULD

TURN

INTO

RAZOR

B L A D E S , C U T T I N G U P M Y I N S I D E S W I T H E V E R Y B R E AT H I T O O K . S O I K E P T I T U N D E R W R A P S , C O N S T A N T LY R E M E M B E R I N G T H E PROMISE

I

HAD

MADE

YEARS

BEFORE,

ETCHED

INTO

M E TA L

A N D W O R N O N M Y L E F T H A N D A S A R I N G . I H AT E D T H AT R I N G . IT

HAUNTED

ME,

L I T E R A L LY

GOING

EVERYWHERE

WITH

ME.

B U T I K N E W T H A T W H E N T H E T I M E C A M E , I W O U L D E A S I LY T H R O W I T O U T T H E W I N D O W W I T H O U T A S E C O N D T H O U G H T. BUT I

T H AT

WA S

TIME

LEFT

DIDN’T

ALONE,

COME.

BECAUSE

WONDERING

HE

W H AT

I

DIDN’T DID

COME.

WRONG,

W O N D E R I N G H O W I C O U L D P O S S I B LY F A L L F O R S O M E O N E L I K E H I M . B U T I K N E W T H AT I F T H E T I M E D I D C O M E , I F O U R L AT E N I G H T WA L K T U R N E D D O W N A N A L L E Y A N D E N D E D U P B A C K AT H I S C A R , I W O U L D H AV E D O N E I T. I W O U L D H AV E D I S C A R D E D T H AT I

DREADFUL

SLIPPED

ME

OFF

ANYMORE.

LABEL

T H AT

OF

RING.

BECAUSE

THE

IT

EVEN

V-WORD

DIDN’T THOUGH

MEAN IT

WITH

GLEE.

ANYTHING

DIDN’T

TO

HAPPEN,

I H A D M A D E T H E D E C I S I O N . I H A D WA N T E D I T T O H A P P E N . AND

I

DIDN’T

FEEL

ONE

57

OUNCE

OF

G U I LT.


FOR F E A R

O F

B E I N G

I’M

NOT

FOR

TO

GOING

YO U R

TELL

THIS

I M P U R E :

TOUCH.

YO U

IT

ABOUT

BARENESS

MEMORIES

TO

AND

HAS

TELL

IS

THE

YO U

NOW

T H AT

2:39

C R AV I N G

CRACKED

HAMMERING

TONIGHT

A.M.

AND

I’M

MY

MIND

HAS

SPLIT

INTO

MY

THEM

IN

AS

MY

NOT

FOR

SKIN

EVEN

YO U R

BONES,

THEY

YEARNS

COME

GOING

WORDS.

CHISELING

AND

GO.

“If you love me, you’ll fuck me.” Those are the words you said to me the third time we went out. Who knows, maybe you were the sex-on-the-third-date kind of person. I thought the understanding of the word love was a simple one; a word that perhaps encapsulated naive feelings of infatuation. The kind of infatuation that caused my heart to pound at the thought of you, echoing the loud sounds each wave would make as it rolled beneath the surface of the oceans; the kind of infatuation where our French kisses tasted like vanilla and tainted the cotton-candy skies, which would leave crimson hickeys that turned violet blue, only to fade. I thought it was the kind of infatuation where our fingers would intertwine and refuse to unravel, separate, part, detach, distance, or let go… but I suppose it meant something completely different to you. Before I left home, my mother hammered two of her rules in my mind: “Do not fill your mind with un-pure thoughts” which was naturally followed up by “No having sex or getting pregnant”. And dear mother, my obedient self wanted to truly follow what you had said to me. Yet as soon after I left the confines of our 800 square-foot apartment, I met someone who took my purity and lit a flame to the corner of it. And I watched with horror, as it burned faster than a structure doused with gasoline ever could. And to you, who ripped purity right out from within me, you lied. You had told me that sleeping with you for the first time, would hurt. But you neglected to warn me about your kisses that carried poison, leaving me wanting more each time we made out; or your hugs that felt more comforting and familiar than my own home; oh, and perhaps you forgot to tell me how my heart would feel the pain as though being struck by millions of pieces of glass; or the pounding suppressed within my fragile ribcage; or the choking in the back of my throat; or the waterfalls pouring out from my dried up eyes, upon finding out that you had left me, without words.

58


And to all the ex-boyfriends who never had the privilege of touching my body in all the places of curvature where my hidden bones lay, the only reason I said “no” was because I only knew it to be ungodly and not because I didn’t understand what you meant when you whispered in my ears those three short and sweet, endearing words. And so now here I stand, guiltlessly throwing dead flowers on the grave of my purity, and erectingthis sacrament of my impurity. For this young heart never withstood the slightest chance of staying “pure.” And please, I beg you, tell me since when did purity culture become a criterion for being labelled a Christian? As far as I know, it’s the worst lie you could tell your infant son or daughter because at only the age of 20: this world has torn me apart and ruined me in more ways imaginable. So many people have already stripped my virgin mind naked and made love to my silent thoughts before leaving behind their ghostly memories, now abandoned. My heart has constantly, unendingly cried out, “rape” but you repeatedly argued, “it’s merely statutory”. And damn, it has taken time to heal, and time to accept what has been done to me, but guess what? Now I wear all these trophies on these now made sturdy shelves of my ribs, opened wide and on display for all the world to see.

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S H E D I D N ’ T H AV E A B R A O N .

O N LY A B L A Z E R A N D S U S P E N D E R S .

I C O U L D N ’ T S T O P S TA R I N G .

Somehow, I had stumbled upon this image in an article in a hair magazine gathering dust on our bookshelf. I felt weird. Bad inside. I didn’t have a word for that feeling at that time, but thinking back, it felt kind of like arousal, coupled with the curiosity of a child fiercely guarded from the world and its evils. But I also felt ashamed. This feeling was bad. So I put the magazine back and pretended I hadn’t seen it. But another hair magazine, another girl. My mom had gone through and torn out the images that were vaguely pornographic, but this one had escaped her notice. This time, the girl wore nothing but glitter paint, and I had that weird aroused feeling again. I would pull out that magazine from time to time to attempt to capture that feeling again. I told a mentor about these encounters, and she told me I wasn’t looking at porn, and I wasn’t a lesbian. Like other kids my age, I was just curious about sex. But I threw away the magazines and stopped listening to pop music that promoted sexual promiscuity and pushed away sexual thoughts and felt better. I was saving myself for marriage. I devoured every book on sexual purity I could get my hands on, and I even wrote my seventh grade Bible class paper on the stuff. I didn’t have a purity ring, and I didn’t go to a purity conference for pre-teen girls, but boy did I want to. Sexual purity was everything to me. But seventh grade me had no clue that college me would be wrestling with such sexual demons as real porn – not that softcore shit that was turning me on – and frequent masturbation. My parents cared deeply about protecting my brothers and me from sexual vices. I know my parents had the best intentions, but I cannot divorce sex from shame, and I don’t know that that’s a good thing. I don’t really blame them because I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were in their shoes. They kept tabs on our internet activity and monitored what we watched. We fast-forwarded through sex scenes in movies, and my dad and brothers would look away when a woman flaunting a bit too much skin would march across the television screen. Because I was the only girl, I looked and would tell them when the coast was clear. One time, my brother asked me why I’m allowed to look. I told him that girls are different than guys, that erotic images had more of an impact on guys than on girls. I lied to his face.

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I don’t know what initiated all this. Maybe the addiction was always there, just lying dormant. There were lines I always told myself I wouldn’t cross. To start with, I wasn’t going to have sex before my wedding day. I wasn’t even going to kiss anyone. But then I started thinking about sex. Almost constantly. I could sometimes conjure up intense, visceral fantasies at night before I went to sleep. Ashamed, I tried to stop these thoughts, because they started intruding during the day. I would scream NO in my head in defiance of these thoughts. But sexual fantasies were not enough to satisfy the ugly demons that reared their heads. I promised myself I would never look at porn. Until a retweet by a random Twitter account made me curious. I was 16. At first, I could only handle very soft porn. But the more I looked, the more I became acclimated to it. And the more I wanted more. I promised myself I would only look at pictures, but soon I was watching videos, too. I said I would never look at lesbian porn, because I would never be able to look at my female friends the same. But I looked anyway and silenced my conscience. I promised myself I would never masturbate. I hate the word masturbate. It’s a dirty word. It literally means, “to defile oneself.” But fantasies and pictures couldn’t cut it, so I tried exploring my body and doing what the women in the pictures did. I tried to pray demons into myself, asking for just a taste of the divine sexual ecstasy I craved. I remember the devastating shame. I walked into school after my first night of experimenting and felt eyes boring through my plaid skirt, felt them seeing my broken, defiled self. I continued to do it again and again. I indulged in nearly every form of porn and developed a wealth of sexual knowledge that probably rivals my parents’. I would like to believe this has not affected me, but it has. It is poison in my veins. People I know enter my fantasies. I stop caring that they do. Everything becomes a sexual innuendo. I’m the dirtiest person I know. Sometimes sexual fantasies arrest me with an overwhelming palpability, and for a moment, I zone out. When I come back to reality, I hope no one notices I was just thinking about sex. You see, sin lies. It tells you it will be fun. But it’s just lonely. This isn’t making love; this is defiling my body because I am seeking to fill a void inside of myself. I opened Pandora’s box, and I cannot close it, no matter how hard I try. I live in perpetual fear of my secrets exploding in my face. They weigh on me and make me sick to my stomach. I ask my God why he gave me these desires if he does not let me fulfill them or make them go away.

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be·at·i·tude noun: beatitude; plural noun: beatitudes supreme blessedness. synonyms: blessedness, benediction, grace; bliss, ecstasy, exaltation, supreme happiness, divine joy, divine rapture; saintliness, sainthood “the everlasting beatitude” the blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3–11). plural noun: Beatitudes; plural noun: the Beatitudes a title given to patriarchs in the Orthodox Church. noun: His Beatitude; noun: Your Beatitude guilt·y adjective: guilty; comparative adjective: guiltier; superlative adjective: guiltiest culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing. “the police will soon discover who the guilty party is” synonyms: culpable, to blame, at fault, in the wrong, blameworthy, responsible; More antonyms: innocent justly chargeable with a particular fault or error. “she was guilty of a serious error of judgment” conscious of or affected by a feeling of guilt. “John felt guilty at having deceived the family” synonyms: ashamed, guilt-ridden, conscience-stricken, remorseful, sorry, contrite, repentant, penitent, regretful, rueful, abashed, shamefaced, sheepish, hangdog; in sackcloth and ashes “I still feel guilty about it” antonyms: unrepentant involving a feeling or a judgment of guilt. “I have no guilty secret to reveal” fear noun: fear; plural noun: fears 1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. “drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder” synonyms: terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress; anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, nervousness, nerves, perturbation, foreboding; informalthe creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach) “he felt fear at entering the house” phobia, aversion, antipathy, dread, bugbear, nightmare, horror, terror; anxiety, neurosis; informalhangup “she overcame her fears” archaic a mixed feeling of dread and reverence. “the love and fear of God” a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone. “police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety” the likelihood of something unwelcome happening. “she could observe the other guests without too much fear of attracting attention” synonyms: likelihood, likeliness, prospect, possibility, chance, probability; risk, danger “there’s no fear of my leaving you alone” verb: fear; 3rd person present: fears; past tense: feared; past participle: feared; gerund or present participle: fearing 1. be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous,painful, or threatening. “he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death?” synonyms: be afraid of, be fearful of, be scared of, be apprehensive of, dread, live in fear of, be terrified of; be anxious about, worry about, feel apprehensive about “she feared her husband” have a phobia about, have a horror of, take fright at “he fears heights” feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of. “I fear for the city with this madman let loose in it” synonyms: worry about, feel anxious about, feel concerned about, have anxieties about “they feared for his health” avoid or put off doing something because one is afraid. “they aim to make war so horrific that potential aggressors will fear to resort to it” synonyms: be too afraid, be too scared, hesitate, dare not “he feared to tell them” used to express regret or apology. “I’ll buy her book, though not, I fear, the hardback version” archaic regard (God) with reverence and awe. synonyms: stand in awe of, revere, reverence, venerate, respect “all who fear the Lord” stare verb: stare; 3rd person present: stares; past tense: stared; past participle: stared; gerund or present participle: staring 1. look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one’s eyes wide open. “he stared at her in amazement” synonyms: gaze, gape, goggle, glare, ogle, peer; More (of a person’s eyes) be wide open, with a fixed or vacant expression. “her gray eyes stared back at him” (of a thing) be unpleasantly prominent or striking. “the obituaries stared out at us” noun: stare; plural noun: stares 1. a long fixed or vacant look. “she gave him a cold stare”


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PERSON,

MAN.


I had met him five hours earlier, but we were already lying next to each other in my bed, completely exposed. He had already laid out all of his cards: the issues he has with his dad; I already understood that he cared so much more about the world than he would admit; and that he had slept with X amount of girls, and here are their names… My turn to play my cards. I, too, have issues with my dad who plays a big role in the church; these issues with my dad influence my issues with god; my issues with god influence how I interact with boys. I was finally about to play my last card of the night, but I didn’t have to. He knew I was bluffing. “Wait. You’ve never slept with anyone before?” “….” I was paralyzed. Mortified. Petrified. The air in the room became heavier and the light became darker. He was no longer holding me. He told me he wouldn’t have sex with me because he wanted my first time to be with someone I cared about and someone who cared about me. And that person could never be him. I wanted to turn over and look away from him. But I was stuck. Stuck between two worlds. I couldn’t move into one, or out of the other. Nobody would ever want me. The good, god-loving boys I’m supposed to be with would be ashamed of even the thought of their skin touching mine. And now that I had finally met a good, god-ambivalent boy/man, my skin was too pure for him to touch. He exited the next morning with a feeble, see you later. I lay down to cry. He left his scent in my bed but took nothing from me. I began to wail. I prayed to god in pain and frustration. He didn’t answer. I prayed to god in pain and frustration. Again. This time, She answered. She was able to meet me in the space between two worlds that I occupied in loneliness – the space designated for women who are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. She understood this world is set out to use me and to shame me. She held me close against her breasts and let my tears run down her chest. She ran her fingers through my hair and assured me through her soft voice that I have the strength to exit this purgatory at the intersection of purity and shame. “No man shall cage you. Only you can define you. I am here to help you find your wings.”

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I F I

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Y O U

Drifting in the sea of sheets in the morning, awake from the dreams of skin on skin and happiness, awake from the dreams where I was “whole”. Feeling so old all of a sudden, like really, where did the time go? Wishing for the moments of child-like simplicity. When I was in love with the world and the people in it. Was never about my body when I was still small, but I’m old now and don’t know what to do with the curves and so I abuse them and let them be abused. I had sex, and I’m not married. He fell in lust with the way my hips sloped in my modest jeans and wanted to show me that there was freedom beyond the four walls I had built for myself. Wanted to free me from the confines of my dogma. It all started one night last spring. We stared through the dim light, illuminated by the soft glow of my headlights. Wheels spinning and shallow breathing, he wooed me in the dark with promises of love, promises of beauty and a truth I had never seen before. We had movie moments in the woods and by the ocean, talked about our fears and deepest secrets. I felt like the center of the universe. In the summer we met in the state that is torn apart—trying to say no and failing. Attempting to find love in wilted flowers, but in the morning light clutching nothing left living. We faced the law in bright colored images, trying to find truth in the black box. Both of us raised on legalities and principals, confused and trying to break out of our constructed shells. Confused when the supposed truth seemed so empty.

70


Months later, we reconvened in the familiar place. Wanting to be friends but slipping softly into something more, accidentally crashing back together. For a moment… the axis of this spinning globe. Hungry kisses trying to extract love, nights curled together as images flickered on the silk screen. It all took a turn. Romance exchanged for sharp reality. We had sex in my car. In the back seat. It was unglamorous and sweaty and sticky… after so many movie moments, it felt rather cheap. But it also felt good, and I liked it, and what do you do with that when you’re told that you should feel guilty and disgusting? The shimmer wore off. The snow melted, but I was still cold, still wearing my old sweaters to try and keep my heart inside my chest. Trapped in four walls and the reek of spoiled images of the future, the baited breath released in sour ecstasy and marred by impure thoughts. We said goodbye. He’s miles away. He tried to set me free, but I was not set free, just imprisoned behind another set of walls that promised different things. Purity. I flew the purity flag high in high school, led discussion groups and advocated for a ‘feminist approach’ to modesty. The people loved me, they did. The fall from the pedestal is a lot harder when you’ve climbed so high. Looking for the connection that I couldn’t find in God, that I was told I should find in God. That He should be a substitute for cheap sex. A cheap god or cheap sex? I was fed on milk but I was far too old. Looking for a god that is godless, looking for a man that is vacant. His promise of forever seemed more real than the eternity I was always told about. I liked the sound and thought that perhaps it could be real, that I could be loved. Wanted to be loved more desperately than anything. Wanted to be known. A church that creates a culture of distance and falsification, that isolates and segregates, that makes you feel unknown. In a culture where you are not known, why would you not look elsewhere? I had been alone for so long. My heart is empty and barren of the life promised. Jesus promises life, that’s what they always told me. But where is it?

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Always so drawn to power and yet so powerless. Thinking that perhaps I could save the world if given the right tools. Giving him myself to make him feel a little more whole, for a moment. Tethering us both, making us feel human. Oh, the humanity. Oh, my humanity. Humans—we are all so broken, such a mess. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t admit it. We advocate for grace and are unable to give it. We hide in our boxes, our god put on a leash to make us feel comfortable and in control. But it must be bigger than that. The blood that stained the sheets now feels like a sick metaphor. Mocking my pain, the loss of my innocence that was preserved for far too long. Perverted in one fell swoop, “you can scrub and scrub but it will never be erased”. Or so they say, those in their ivory towers, looking down their alabaster noses as the plank in their eye pokes you in yours. Do they not realize they are broken, too? Why are we all trying to appear perfect? Grace seems to have been left by the wayside long ago. How do we talk about purity to a church trying to appear perfect? How do you talk about truth to people who are trapped in shame? How do you give grace when you stratify? The feeling of him I wish I could erase. I would take it back if I could, I would. The smell of his skin on my skin and the weight of his head on my breast. I was used for my body. The body that I was always told wasn’t really me, that my soul was the more important factor. But it was my body that was used. I am my body, and it is me. Now I’m left in pieces, discovering that grace is so much vaster than I once thought. Falling from my pedestal in some ways was the best thing that ever happened to me. Understanding love now in a way I never have before—that it is love despite brokenness and humanness. Understanding my desperate need for grace. Understanding that purity isn’t about these rules, but it is about understanding that we are not pure. And that love is not something that happens to you, that you allow yourself to be caught in. But it is a choice. And it is so much more beautiful when you choose it selflessly. Purity is about being selfless. Maybe? I don’t know. I’m still learning.

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He needed a savior, and so did I, and so we tried so desperately to fill the hole in each other’s being, the hole that could never be filled by a church that promised delayed gratification. His lies so easily told and so easily believed; so naive, trained by a church that never gave me the proper tools but instead told me to keep things in the dark.

H O W D O W E TA L K A B O U T PURITY TO A CHURCH TRYING TO APPEAR PERFECT?

H O W D O YO U TA L K A B O U T TRUTH TO PEOPLE WHO ARE

In the dark, so connected and then wrenched apart because the world was spinning too fast and it all got away from us. Left here so empty and so raw. Wondering what happened? Knowing I could not have done differently.

TRAPPED IN SHAME?

H OW D O YO U G I V E G R AC E W H E N YO U S T R AT I F Y ?

Could I? I still have my lips tightly closed, I could never tell. I’m a leader, I’m so good. There’s no room for sin in a life worth leading.

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THE WHISPERING VOICE: PURITY RETROSPECTIVE?

Before you read my story, ask yourself how many people you think submitted their stories to If I Told You. I bet less than what you guessed, and definitely not 10% of the whole student body. This is a tough subject! And not many of us like to be vulnerable, not if we have to anyways. My journey down here is what shaped my understanding of purity. I want you also to consider the risk involved in me being vulnerable and sharing my story with you. I am sure that you can even see that from the If I Told You name. The if is an indication that though I want to tell you, I cannot be sure of how you will receive nor what you will make of my story. In all, I want you to be understanding. For one moment, try to be in my shoes as you are able! Why did I walk in that room? Dark, low sound from the T.V., blinds closed, eight eyes glowing, four close friends sitting on the bed, watching porn. Of course they had to be quiet, if their parents found out, it would have been a disaster! But, are we only to do what our parents want us to do? They convinced me to join them, and I stayed. My reflection about purity did not start until I lost what was dear to me. At an early age, I was told that my body was God’s temple that I had to care for. I was told that God hates sexual immortality. Remember I was born in a Christian home, and this is my life. I am a Christian! Four friends! I trusted them, I loved them, and that is why I stayed in that dark room. The road I started that night is what led me to one day lose my virginity. On that night, all I could hear was their whispering voices, telling me it’ll be okay, it’s just for fun anyway. But did I love that person? Should have thought of that before!

74


After that incident I started to ask restless questions about purity. What is purity anyway? Why did mom and dad teach me to never sleep with anyone before marriage? As I grew up I could see that they too, were broken. So why did they ask me not to do things they themselves have done? Here is where I am today. Sometimes in life you don’t know the value of what you have until it’s lost/gone! If I told you that my secret desire would be to get my virginity back, I think I’d know best what mom and dad meant. They told me so that I would be careful, and not end up broken as they did. Little did I know that they were wiser than I am. I have twelve friends who also have been hurt along the way. Not a single one of us who holds no regret. We regret because we wish we knew better that purity is not about protecting our dads’ feelings or only pleasing God. But also the courage to say that I want genuine love, and I want the memories of the person I have sex with to be the as the memories of the person I will be forever (if you think marriage is for you). The four were good friends, but did not build me. It was a path to destruction. I didn’t consider sleeping with many people an achievement. I am not interested in a consumerist relationship of meeting just my needs. I am not pretty, but I know I have been healed by the amazing grace! I am more hopeful, happier than I have ever been, not because there is no shame but because Jesus said, “men may call you impure, but I am a God who heals, forgives and forgets.” I feel like the ugly, broken bowl that has been repaired with gold. My man will come! And then I will truly know what purity is. In the meantime, I will hold on to the promises I have. Thank you for journeying with me!

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When I was a kid, my church had its own version of the Girl Scouts. Every year, we would go on a retreat where we would play games, sing songs, and read the Bible. When I was twelve, the retreat required a special permission form informing my mother of the material being covered during the retreat. We were told that the theme of the weekend was And the Bride Wore White. I was kind of a naïve kid, and I didn’t really understand what that alluded to; and the adults were too embarrassed to explain it to me. All I knew was that I was excited to spend a weekend with my friends. I had had a little bit of a sex talk before, but I really didn’t know much about it. That weekend was the first time I was introduced to the concept of purity. I was told that my virginity was my greatest and most precious gift that I could give to my future husband. I was told I needed to guard my purity from boys who would try to take it from me. I was given the impression that sex wasn’t something that I might desire myself, but something that guys would pressure me into. We practiced silly phrases to say no to guys who would want to have sex: this isn’t burger king, you can’t have it you’re way. We also heard stories of girls who had given up their virginity for some boy who left them. We were told we had the choice: we could be like a Styrofoam cup, to be used and then tossed in the garbage can, or we could be a precious teacup to be protected. Our worth was determined by what we did with our vaginas, and not by any value that God placed on us as his children. We were given teacups to symbolize our purity. I still have mine. I didn’t question these stories- I accepted all of it, and I promised I would stay pure until I was married; and save my first kiss until the man God had planned for me, proposed to me. It had never really occurred to me that sex was something that I might desire for myself until, as a shy high school freshman, a senior boy named Matt* asked me on a date. The date was awkward and I was nervous- he was 18, I was 14-- but he showed interest in me, and no one else had. We continued to date for a while, and during that time he consistently pressured me to have sex, to go further, to give in just a little bit more. For six months or so, he listened to my boundaries. Until one day, he didn’t listen. Afterwards, he went home, and I felt so alone. While dating him, I had isolated myself from most of my friends, and I really had no one to talk to about it. While I was hurt that Matt had not listened to me, I believed that it was mostly my fault. I had put myself in that position. I had lain in bed with him. I had let him do other things. I hadn’t really fought him. I gave in. I didn’t use the Burger King line. Maybe I had wanted it a little bit? I wasn’t sure. I remembered all of those teachings about purity; about how once I had sex, I was a lollypop that had been licked, or duct tape that would no longer stick. I thought that I was damaged goods to anyone but Matt. I decided not to talk about what had happened again. I stayed with Matt for a few more months, even when it was clear that he was seeing other girls. I didn’t think I had any other choices. Eventually he broke up with me to be with one of his other choices.

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* NAM ES H AVE B E E N CH ANGE D

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*Names have been changed

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C HANGED

I was so excited to get married. We had waited. We had done the right thing, so we were supposed to have this beautiful, healthy sex life in exchange. We had a Christian wedding ceremony, I wore a white dress, and all of our family and friends were there. And then sex didn’t happen on our wedding night, or during our honeymoon. It took a week before we had sex at all, let alone enjoyable sex. My husband fits the stereotype of having a stronger sex drive than me, but I struggle to have a sex drive at all. This is not for Dan’s lack of effort. Mostly I feel ashamed and embarrassed about sex, not fulfilled by it. I often resent my husband for even wanting sex, despite the fact that I know it makes him feel loved. Our sex life is not what we had pictured. But with whom are we supposed to talk to about that? Our pastor, or our old accountability partners? The Church does not have a support for people like us. I have found that in the Church sex is taboo if you aren’t married-- but if you are married, sex is assumed to be perfect. A Google search for Christian support for people like me comes up with page after page of articles suggesting that I need to simply submit to my husband’s desires, and pretend to enjoy it. My body belongs to my husband after all, and as a wife, I have no right to deny it. I am twelve again, and the church is telling me that my worth is determined by what I do with my vagina.

E

B EEN

I met a boy there, and we became friends. His name was Dan*. We went to senior prom together, and quickly became serious. I loved him, but I was afraid he would reject me if he knew about my past. After weeks of agonizing over the secret, I told him in a Facebook message. He responded by telling me that he loved me, and that he wanted to protect me so that nothing bad would happen to me again. We dated through college, and we are married now. Dating Dan was very different from dating Matt. Not only was Dan not taking advantage of me, but we were also involved with the church. There was a built-in support system to make sure we avoided sex. We had accountability partners and group dates and every time we would make out things got a bit too heavy, we would be overcome with guilt, usually cry, and then vow not to do it again. Over time we developed muscle memory that made it easier to avoid sex altogether.

M

H AV E

I spent that summer exercising constantly and hardly eating. I wanted to punish my body; I demanded that it conform to the impossible standards that I had been unable to meet. My family moved to a different town, and I started at a new high school. I committed myself to being a straight-A student in honors programs. I told no one about whom I had been the year before. I found a new youth group and started going back to church, where I found another venue to seek perfection.

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val·ue noun: value; plural noun: values1.the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. “your support is of great value” synonyms: worth, usefulness, advantage, benefit, gain, profit, good, help, merit, helpfulness, avail; importance, significance “the value of adequate preparation cannot be understated” the material or monetary worth of something. “prints seldom rise in value” synonyms: price, cost, worth; market price, monetary value, face value “houses exceeding $250,000 in value” the worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it. “at $12.50 the book is a good value” 2. a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. “they internalize their parents’ rules and values” synonyms: principles, ethics, moral code, morals, standards, code of behavior “society’s values are passed on to us as children” 3. the numerical amount denoted by an algebraic term; a magnitude, quantity, or number. “the mean value of x” 4. MUSIC the relative duration of the sound signified by a note. 5. LINGUISTICS the meaning of a word or other linguistic unit. the quality or tone of a spoken sound; the sound represented by a letter. 6. ART the relative degree of lightness or darkness of a particular color. “the artist has used adjacent color values as the landscape recedes” verb verb: value; 3rd person present: values; past tense: valued; past participle: valued; gerund or present participle: valuing 1. estimate the monetary worth of (something). “his estate was valued at $45,000” synonyms: evaluate, assess, estimate, appraise, price, put/set a price on “his estate was valued at $345,000” 2. consider (someone or something) to be important or benef cial; have a high opinion of. “she had come to value her privacy and independence” synonyms: think highly of, have a high opinion of, hold in high regard, rate highly, esteem, set (great) store by, put stock in, appreciate, respect; prize, cherish, treasure “she valued his opinion” cherished, treasured, dear, prized; esteemed, respected, highly regarded, appreciated, important “this is my most valued piece of crystal” per·son noun: person; plural noun: people; plural noun: persons; noun: first person; noun: second person; noun: third person 1. a human being regarded as an individual. “the porter was the last person to see her” synonyms:human being, individual, man/woman, child, human, being, (living) soul, mortal, creature; personage, character, customer; informaltype, sort, cookie; informal,body, dog; archaicwight “that person over there is the one who called the police” used in legal or formal contexts to refer to an unspecified individual. “the entrance fee is $10.00 per person” an individual characterized by a preference or liking for a specified thing. “she’s not a cat person” an individual’s body. “I have publicity photographs on my person at all times” a character in a play or story. “his previous roles in the person of a fallible cop” 2. GRAMMAR a category used in the classification of pronouns, possessive determiners, and verb forms, according to whether they indicate the speaker first person, the addressee second person, or a third party third person. 3. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY each of the three modes of being of God, namely the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, who together constitute the Trinity. used as a neutral alternative to -man in nouns denoting professional status, a position of authority, etc. “chairperson” if conjunction: if 1. introducing a conditional clause. synonyms: on (the) condition that, provided (that), providing (that), presuming (that), supposing (that), assuming (that), as long as, given that, in the event that “if the rain holds out, we can walk” on the condition or supposition that; in the event that. “if you have a complaint, write to the director” (with past tense) introducing a hypothetical situation. “if you had stayed, this would never have happened” whenever; every time. “if I go out, she gets nasty” synonyms: whenever, every time “if I miss curfew, she lays down the law” 2. despite the possibility that; no matter whether. “if it takes me seven years, I shall do it” 3. (often used in indirect questions) whether. “he asked if we would like some coffee” 4. expressing a polite request. “if I could trouble you for your names?” 5. expressing an opinion. “that’s an awfully long walk, if you don’t mind my saying so” 6. expressing surprise or regret. “well, if it isn’t Frank!” 7. with implied reservation. and perhaps not. “the new leaders have little if any control” used to admit something as being possible but regarded as relatively insignificant. “if there was any weakness, it was naiveté” despite being (used before an adjective or adverb to introduce a contrast). “she was honest, if a little brutal” synonyms: although, albeit, but, yet, while; noun noun: if; plural noun: ifs 1. a condition or supposition. “there are so many ifs and buts in the policy” synonyms: uncertainty, doubt; whis·per verb gerund or present participle: whispering speak very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy. “Alison was whispering in his ear” synonyms: murmur, mutter, mumble, speak softly, breathe; hiss; literarysusurrate “Alison whispered in his ear” antonyms: shout literary (of leaves, wind, or water) rustle or murmur softly. synonyms: rustle, murmur, sigh, moan, whoosh, whir, swish, blow, breathe “the wind whispered in the grass” antonyms: roar be rumored.“it was whispered that he would soon die” name noun: name; plural noun: names 1. a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to. “my name is Parsons, John Parsons” synonyms: designation, honorific, title, tag, epithet, label; informalmoniker, handle; formaldenomination, appellation “her name’s Emma”


2. a famous person. “as usual, the big race will lure the top names” synonyms: celebrity, star, superstar, VIP, leading light, big name, luminary; expert, authority; informalceleb, somebody, megastar, big shot, bigwig, big gun, great, giant “the top names in the fashion industry” a reputation, especially a good one. “he set up a school that gained a name for excellence” synonyms: reputation, character, repute, standing, stature, esteem, prestige, cachet, kudos; renown, popularity, notability, distinction “the good name of the firm” verb: name; 3rd person present: names; past tense: named; past participle: named; gerund or present participle: naming 1. give a name to. “hundreds of diseases had not yet been isolated or named” synonyms: call, give a name to, dub; label, style, term, title, entitle; baptize, christen; formal denominate “they named the baby Phoebe” identify by name; give the correct name for. “the dead man has been named as John Mackintosh” synonyms: identify, specify“he named the woman in the photograph” give a particular title or epithet to. “she was named “Artist of the Decade.” mention or cite by name. “the sea is as crystal clear as any spot in the Caribbean you might care to name” appoint (someone) to a particular position or task. “he was named to head a joint UN–OAS diplomatic effort” 2. specify (an amount, time, or place) as something desired, suggested, or decided on. “he showed them the picture and named a price” synonyms: choose, select, pick, decide on, nominate, designate “he has named his successor” adjective: name 1. (of a person or commercial product) having a name that is widely known. “countless specialized name brands geared to niche markets”


PURITY : If I Told You  
PURITY : If I Told You  
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