How I really feel…

As a child my mother worked very hard to teach me to be an independent person. She came from the era that women couldn’t rent an apartment, buy a house, hold a credit card or bank account in their name without a father or husband’s consent. She wanted her children to be able to take care of themselves once they left her home. My mother and father both had childhoods where they had to work hard and they both grew up with a good worth ethic. They never wanted to have children who were helpless.

It was because of this I learned that when it comes to my actions, my thoughts, my words…I am responsible for myself.

It’s because of this belief that I’m really tired of the lie that gets told in (mostly) religious cultures that says men are so base, vile, and corrupt that they cannot control themselves when it comes to their sexual passions. And because of this we women must cover ourselves up so as to not excite these men because they can’t help themselves. And if they do help themselves, it must be the woman’s fault, right? Wrong.

This idea isn’t new. The Victorians were so proper, a glimpse of an ankle was provocative. In some Muslim countries women are forced to be covered all over with burquas. Apparently in American religious contemporary society, a picture of a teenage girl not wearing a bra on Facebook is so shocking a mother has to write a shaming post about it telling these girls to keep away from her sons. The subtext being these sons are in no way capable of moderating their own reactions and mommy must do it for them.

Am I crazy to think that men are human beings and, therefore, capable of controlling themselves? Millions of men walk around this planet every day who are able to restrain their sexual passions and not act out on every sexual impulse that invades their brain. You’ll have to excuse me for not thinking that all men are just potential rapists waiting for the right trigger. The reason why I give men so much credit is because I know too many wonderful ones who are able to control themselves.

I think there comes a time in all of our lives when we realize that the only person we can control is ourselves. We can’t make people dress or act in the way we want them to. We can’t make them cater to our desires. We can’t make women cover up so as to not entice heterosexual men. Heterosexual men are going to be attracted to women that they are attracted to no matter what they wear. And, if I might add, how very self-centered of anyone to think that everyone else should cater to them.

I hope, with all sincerity that if a mother of teenage sons sees a girl on Facebook posting a “selfie” she finds provocative, she teaches her sons to control their own passions. Once they leave her home they are responsible for themselves. They need to be able to conduct themselves around women with propriety and respect. The way she does this is by teaching her sons that girls are human beings. Like Nate Pyle says, they need to be able to “see” women as human beings regardless of what they’re wearing.

The world doesn’t revolve around one single person (no matter how much Donald Trump wished it did) and we can’t expect people to be perfect and never make mistakes. I’m bothered by anyone who states that someone doesn’t get a second chance with them and then proclaims to be a Christian. I’m so grateful for the people who have given me a second chance. I  know that there are some people who will never give me a second chance, and that’s fine. That’s their loss. But I want everyone to know, you’ll always have a second chance with me. (Unless you continue to try to hurt me or someone I love. I do have boundaries).

“Jesus wasn’t about perfection. He was all about redemption. He said that he didn’t come to save the righteous, but the fallen. He gathered around him the prostitutes, tax collectors, and other ‘broken’ members of society and delighted in their company, not in the company of the self-righteous pharisees who stood on street corners exhibiting to the world how ‘perfectly’ they kept the letter of the law.” -Lorian Franklin Dunlop (someone I’m lucky to call a friend)

There might be people in this world who look at teenagers on social media and judge them as not worth their time based on a “selfie” they posted. They might decide that their sons or daughters shouldn’t be allowed to interact with these people any more. They might decide that these kids don’t ever deserve a second chance. They might feel superior to these kids because “they’re so perfect.” I’d like to remind them of my friend’s Lorian’s words and know that how you treat “the least of these” is a reflection of your character, not theirs.

That’s right, teenage girls who were shamed on the internet this week for daring to take a picture of yourself with pouty duck lips, what anyone has said or written about you is a reflection of their character, not yours.

And so I leave you with this, as my children go out into this world I want them to know that they are only in control of themselves. And if someone can’t get past the way their body looks enough to see the person behind the body, (their sparkling personalities, their wicked senses of humor, the kindness they show to others) and only seeks to make a sexual object out of them, that sin is not on their heads. There is no way that they dress or act that can cause someone else to sin. None. They are only the guardians of their own virtue, not anyone else’s.

Because Jesus.

sunset friends

Just a Heads up

I just want to let everyone know that if you disagree with anything I’ve said the best way to let me know is through the comments section. I am open to dialogue. I am open to discussion. I am open to changing my mind. I’m not open to tattletales. So if you want to go about taking me to task for things I write on my own personal blog in any way other than the comments section, you are cowardly. You know who you are and so do I.

Thanks!

I’m judgmental of judgmental people

I am so sick of people judging other people’s life choices. I think I remember a certain man saying “judge ye not, lest ye be judged.” Who was that guy again? Oh yeah, Jesus.

I was talking to a good friend in my old ward recently. Her and her husband are going through a crisis of faith of sorts. They feel like they are only a number at church. Ever since they stopped going to church, do you think anyone in their ward has reached out to them in compassion? Nope, instead people have stopped talking to them, won’t let their kids play with my friend’s kids (one kid even told her daughter that his Mom said her Mom was a bad person), and have been effective in shunning them. They’re really done a great job in proving how un-Christian they truly are. Do you think my friends will ever go back to church now?
I’m also really sick of people who have a certain philosophy on life trying to shove it down others’ throats. A woman I just barely recently met in my neighborhood has decided that because she likes natural home births that every woman should follow her example. She never fails to shove it down other people’s throats at church, in the neighborhood, or on Facebook. I can understand being passionate about something, but lecturing people on how stupid they are for not giving birth the way you want them to just alienates them and makes them defensive.
Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’ve probably been strident in my opinion a time or too. Ok, I know I have. But there is a difference between wanting to live your life a certain way and expecting everyone else to live their lives the way you live yours.
I was talking recently to a woman about the work I do with birthparents. She said something like, “ugh, I can’t imagine working with girls like that.” My response was to tell her that I work with the best woman on earth. It was hard but I left out the “so suck it!” at the end.
Seriously people, just back off. Just because you have certain moral or ethical code doesn’t mean everyone else has the same one. I mean there are certain credos we can all agree as a society that we must live by (no murder, no stealing, no cropped pants that hit mid-calf) but for everything else we need to seriously just live and let live.