I never thought I would become a writer, in school my writing was average if I was lucky. But something changed while I was a teenager, I think the things I went through needed a way of release and writing was healthier than cutting. I kept a journal through all of my teenage years and I still have them today, they are full of very interesting things I would have otherwise forgotten. Maybe it was all that journal writing that turned me into a writer, because I went from journaling to blogging when blogging was still a relatively new phenomenon. I made many mistakes and wrote a lot of shitty stuff.
I wrote dumb religious articles about how women shouldn’t work outside the home, girls shouldn’t go to college, and that a woman had to submit to her husband. I wrote articles claiming that the King James Bible was directly inspired by God. I look back embarrassed about all of this but in writing those things, I learned how to write. I had passion for my subjects and it just oozed out of me and onto the page. Then I finally realized that women could go to college and I went off to college to finish a degree I had started years ago. I couldn’t choose between writing, sociology and psychology, but after a while I chose to major in writing and sociology, while picking up tons of communications classes as my electives.
This meant that I learned a whole range of writing from creative writing to journalism, to feature writing, to research papers. Now I’m studying for a master of arts in English and creative writing, and I’m learning so much more about writing that I never knew. I’m learning to analyze texts for their storytelling elements, for how the author built their fictional world, diction and syntax, and stylistics. All these things help me to become a better writer because I’m reading and studying other writers. I’m learning to apply the analysis to my own writing, which is making my writing richer.
I was born to write. I love to write. God gave it to me as an outlet, as a gift to process things that happen to me. God also gave it to me to express myself and to ultimately share my life with others. My writing journey is so freakin’ cool, and the master’s degree of my journey has only just begun. I’m almost at the end of my first semester and it’s really helped my writing develop and made me want to talk about writing, hence a whole post about writing.
I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but I’ve been too scared to. I don’t want you to think differently of me but now I’m speaking out in hopes that it will help somebody. I’m not the kind of woman you’d invite to speak in your church, I’m sort of rough and I’ve done some stupid shit. And I say shit. Which nice church women aren’t supposed to say. I’ve had some major struggles as a Christian and one of those was an addiction to pornography. I know many people who think that porn is no big deal especially between consenting adults, and I’m not trying to be judgmental but to share my experiences and thoughts.
First, in the evangelical circles I used to run in, porn is seen as exclusively a men’s problem and there are no resources to help women caught in the trap. So it was embarrassing when I finally started to want to admit to someone that I had a problem because it was supposed to be a men’s issue. Women, especially good Christian women, weren’t supposed to struggle with it at all. So I was a freak and it was hard to go to someone for help.
I was so ashamed. I felt like I was a dirty freak whom God obviously hated for what I had done. I thought that I had no value unless I could perform as other women performed in porn, and I had no self-respect because I viewed images that were damaging to me and I could not stop. Even six months to a year after I had stopped consuming porn, I could see those images in my head. That happens less now than it used to but things that have been seen cannot be unseen. I felt like I was a prostitute or that I might as well have been because at least I’d be making money but those thoughts are damaging. I didn’t realize that I was so much better than that. I’m going to do all I can to protect my children from porn.
I’m certainly no prude. I believe in sex education in school from a young age. But I believe that pornography is damaging to everyone, both men and women. What brought me to the point where I was able to admit that I had a problem and to deal with it was that I realized that a lot of porn is produced via human trafficking and I’m totally not ok with that. It also depicts and normalizes violence towards women and it feeds rape culture. The reason porn is so damaging is that it doesn’t respect the dignity of humanity. It objectifies women, it teaches us that sex is supposed to be the way it is depicted in porn, and when it’s not, people are disappointed.
I’m only just starting to realize that I have worth and value to God. That’s still a daily struggle for me to know that. But as I detox from toxic religious environments and continue to feast on Jesus, slowly but surely I’m realizing that God loves me.