Define Purity. Part 1

At one time I questioned how I could write about topics I hadn’t successfully survived—you know, so I had some credentials for authoring. In fact, I said to my daughter, “How do people write about parenting when they are in the midst of it? It seems so unfair to their kids to put them out there.”

I’m going to do it. Right now.

I’m going to write about sex. Today. In the middle of Einstein’s Bagel Company with the guy next to me talking about peace in the Middle East and the delicious smell of gluteny breads baking in the oven.

I’m not going to write because I think I’ve perfectly parented my child. I’m going to write because I am passionate about the truth and what is right. I’m going to write because there might be a girl or guy reading this who needs the truth. They may not have people telling them about their virginity from this vantage point or spoken in this language—a conversation about sex and purity they might comprehend and grasp. Here goes…

I gave mine away. I literally gave it up because it was a burden.

At just 17 years old, I was tired of people talking about it, wondering if I still had it, and small town guys thinking they could conquer it. Truth be told, I didn’t value it. While I still had my virginity, my innocence had been taken from me before I was in kindergarten.

Ouch, that was raw but it is truth.

I don’t have a story about child molestation by a pedophile. Mine is a situation that was, and still is, all too common. A neighbor kid can learn too much from older siblings, inappropriate things he hears or sees from his parents, television, magazines his dad thought were hidden. They take their curiosity outside the home to try to figure it out. That’s what happened to me at three years old.

Wow. I said it.

I have finally written the bare-naked truth of my past. What you need to know is it took me until I was in my thirties to figure out the impact it had on my life. I’ll give it to you in a nutshell today so I can get to the heart of what is on my heart today.

I knew what happened to me was wrong. But no one ever took me aside and said, “What happened to you shouldn’t have.” I had no clue what was happening when asked to drop my pants. I had no clue why my mom was upset when she found me like that. What happened for the rest of my life was that I thought it was my fault—I was a bad seed with a tendency to perpetually get into trouble.

In a small town, it became known among the rest of the kids and was considered funny. For years I was set up to have it happen again and again to satiate someone else’s curiosity. It wasn’t punishable. It wasn’t talked about. It was swept under a rug. It didn’t end.

When I entered my adolescent years, getting bumps and curves, it became a topic of teasing from older siblings and even groping from men (including my family) that should have known better. Kids tease each other in school about physical appearance. Messages from television, movies, and Judy Blume books didn’t heal my past, it confused me all the more. A book from the Christian bookstore about puberty didn’t explain the value of my body and the precious gift of my purity. Heck, I didn’t think I still had it much less know what to do with it.

Boys were fascinated by it. Insecure girls (like I was) believe physical attention is the equivalent of acceptance. I am pretty sure parents today still use the same cliché phrases mine did. “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” Catchy phrases don’t take the place of open conversation. My mom and I could talk about so many things. The problem was, what was taught and what was shown were contradictory—hypocritical in fact. We watched Three’s Company and The Golden Girls. I perceived that what was said was for goodie-two-shoes and nerdy people who didn’t have to worry about staying pure because no one wanted to be with them anyway. What did they know about physical temptation? No one was groping them.

Do you see what I mean? You think that if I guy is interested in you in THAT way, you have something of value. You certainly do, but it isn’t necessarily of value to him. And it isn’t something of lasting value. It is momentary pleasure.

My writing is obviously from a female perspective. If there is a guy out there who can write about the male perspective, please do. I’ll continue but wanted to dispel any cynical thoughts that this is one-sided writing. It is. It’s my story.

After I lost it, I used it. Still confused about the influence women have over men, I thought for years my ability to catch the attention of men was flattering. I encouraged it. I was a flirt for my own affirmation. I made a lot of mistakes for many years.

I knew having sex before marriage wasn’t what God intended but I thought I had the salvation card in my back pocket. Since the rest of the world was sinning, I was in good company. I had older siblings and a widowed mother wanting me to have a better life but what they said and did was hypocritical too. Sorry to put this out there, but it’s truth.

I played the monogamy card too. I wasn’t a bad girl because I was in a one-guy relationship… and then another…. and another. Sometimes they overlapped because I wasn’t secure enough to be just me. I had no clue who I was. I was looking to find myself in all the wrong places. TV and movies gave me all kinds of examples of love triangles that eventually worked out with a happy ending. Maybe my happy ending would come from a made for TV lifestyle? That’s drama.

This post isn’t going where I thought it would—you know, straight to the point in a nutshell. Perhaps I need to peel back some of the layers of reality so someone out in cyberspace can relate. Perhaps someone hasn’t learned yet that she (or he) still has worth and value, even if they have a checkered past.

That is the beauty of forgiveness. Unlike your virginity, forgiveness isn’t a one-time offer. Through our faith we have the ability to start again at any point we are ready to toss our hands up in the air and relinquish control. The type of forgiveness I am writing about isn’t of this world. We have no clue how to forgive and forget by our own will. It is so human of us to keep track of rights and wrongs but it doesn’t bring healing.

I wanted to write today to encourage kids and young adults who are caught up in confusing messages about abstinence and purity to shed some light on a truth that still exists. I failed.

I’m 1,216 words into this post and have yet to tell y’all that there is still hope to save yourselves for one true love. I guess this story will continue another day. I hope you can hold on until then. Follow me at www.lisahirsch.com

I promise not to lead you on like a star-crossed lover. To be continued…

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