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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let me tell you about my "God-shaped hole"

Image source.

I wrote this in October 2014. I'm ready to publish it now.

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Sometimes, when she's alone, she wants to run away.

This life, the person she's become, how is it possible?

To get up in the morning and go to work is a battle. On the bus, she wants to cry. And why? Because all she can think about is how she's become such a bad person. A bad person. So bad.

Perfect Number and her boyfriend are living together. And that reality, that label, over and over it hits her and beats her down. Living with one's boyfriend is bad. It's so bad.

Because, everyone knows, people who are living together are having sex. Except, she's never had sex with him. She's still terrified. She's done sexy things, but hasn't actually had actual sex. But who lives with who is a totally acceptable topic for small talk, and every time someone asks, "So are you here in China alone?" she wants to justify herself, she wants to explain in detail which sexual things she does or does not do with him, because saying "I live with my boyfriend" is the same as announcing to the world that she is having sex with him and is therefore a bad Christian and dirty person- but no, no, trying to clarify would just make it worse.

And here she is, in this perpetually sinful state of being- "living in sin." And she likes it. She loves him. But she feels that God can't love her any more.

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Yeah, you guys. That's what's going on. That's me.

And from a purity-culture perspective, it makes perfect sense. I disobeyed God. I did impure things. I'm unrepentant. Now I have so much guilt and I feel like I'm a bad person. Well of course.

According to purity culture, my feeling this way is right.

But when I wrote The God-Shaped Hole Sounds Like Depression To Me, it changed my mind. This is depression, and this is NOT the way it should be. I need to get treatment.

I always write about purity culture and how it's bullshit and I don't believe it anymore. But the problem is, I still do kind of believe it. I still believe I'm a bad person because of all the lines I've crossed with my boyfriend.

I'm dirty, and if I ever break up with him, my life will be ruined.

According to purity culture, this is a correct assessment of the situation. Yes, Perfect Number, you are dirty. Yes, you have done unspeakably sinful things. You feel terrible. Of course you feel terrible.

But I chose to go to the doctor and get treatment for depression instead.

I reject purity culture.

And this is me saying NO, it is not right and normal for me to feel like I'm a terrible person. NO, this is not because of a "God-shaped hole." NO, this is not the obvious result of living a sinful life.

I started going to a doctor that specializes in psychology (and was trained in the US). We talk about my problems every week. I will get better.

There is no "God-shaped hole."

6 comments:

  1. Prayers for you. You are not a terrible person, and kudos to you for being brave and getting help. You don't deserve to feel like that, and that's the truth.
    Living with your boyfriend, whether sex is included or not, doesn't make you a bad person. And it doesn't make God think of you as one, or love you any less.

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  2. *hug!* So glad you are going to a doctor for your depression. :) That is a really awesome thing and I hope you start to feel better through the counseling. You know what else is a really awesome thing? Living with someone who cares about you and wants you to feel ok. I definitely know about the feeling of "we're living together so everyone must automatically think we're having sex. I must somehow inform them that we're not!" because I also grew up with parents who believed that, and with a church which thought it was their business to police people's personal decisions. But... we supported each other and loved each other and wanted the other person to be ok. That seems way more important than having or not having sex. (Sex actually isn't as amazing as having someone to rely on when things get tough. Seriously. If the church folks want to "protect" people from being sad when they break up with someone, they should be emphasizing the feeling of losing a best friend instead of losing the v-card. Sex is just another way to feel really close to someone.)

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  3. Thanks. <3 You're right- it's really great to live with my sweetheart because he always supports me and we love each other.

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  4. Growing up in the thick of evangelicalism, purity culture, and modesty culture, I understand exactly where you're coming from. It's a brave decision to go see a psychologist/psychiatrist when we're taught (at least I was) that you should just be able to "pray away" whatever problems you have, and that seeing a doctor for your mental health (or *gasp* taking medication!) is frowned upon. You aren't a terrible person for doing that, and you're certainly not a terrible person for living with your boyfriend. <3

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