Because I’m Broken

I used to work at this bar called Club Baloo in Amarillo as a bartender. The club was owned by a man and his wife and they had 3 daughters. I loved all three girls from the beginning, but the oldest and I hit it off from the minute I told her that 15 year olds shouldn’t smoke and she told me it was none of my business. We grew closer and closer as the months and years went on and one night my ex-husband and I were put in charge of taking all three of them to a Third Eye Blind concert. When the first band was announced we all complained that we had no idea who they were at all. We sat and listened to them and they seemed pretty good but then right before the last song they were going to play the lead singer gets up to the mic and says that they are from South Africa. The girls are from South Africa so they lost it and then he played “Broken” as an acoustic song. The band’s name is Seether and that became our favorite song.

A year or so later, the oldest sister was diagnosed with bone cancer and she almost died. It was really one of the hardest times in my life because there was this girl who was like my sister and I could not fix her pain. The words to the song became so true and that was the only prayer that I could pray for her to get better. I was not Catholic then and I didn’t pray, I had nothing but this song to help me beg God to save this girl.

She did survive.

I was sitting in my car when I heard the radio announcement that Seether would be doing a meet and greet at the Hooter’s that I had worked at for a few years and that the radio personality that was hosting it was a friend of mine. I decided to stop what I was doing and get to that Hooter’s and meet the band. As soon as I walked onto the patio I saw Shaun Morgan, the lead singer sitting at a table alone. I walked up to him and introduced myself. He asked me if I wanted a beer and I said yes and sat down. I told him all about how the girls and I had heard them in concert and about Tash. How she was from South Africa and had just went into remission from the bone cancer. He asked me if we wanted to go to their concert the next day and I said “Hell yes!” I called Tash to tell her the news and he said “Can I talk to her?” so I handed him the phone and right then I realized what a great human being this guy was. He never once hit on me or tried to make me feel like we owed him anything.

We went to the concert which was AWESOME and he dedicated Broken to us at the end of it. To say that was the coolest moment of my life is such an understatement.

Time after time in my life I have come back to the words of this song and time after time it has been a prayer for me. Some people like certain prayers and for me this is one of mine. Because I am broken, and I do want to steal away the pain of those around me who are also broken, and I don’t feel right when people that I love have gone away.

The crazy thing is that I think these are words that could easily be words said by Christ as He went through His Passion and as He hung on that Cross. And also when we sin and choose to walk away from Him.

Cause I’m broken when I’m open
And I don’t feel like I am strong enough
‘Cause I’m broken when I’m lonesome
And I don’t feel right when you’re
gone away

When I open myself up, I show people who I am, they see that I am broken and weak and lonely, and that is so scary. I do not do it because I want people to feel sorry for me or because I want sympathy, I mean, I guess maybe I do, but really I do it because when I was far from God I would look at Christians and see put together people. I didn’t really get that people struggle in life no matter what, but with Christ there is joy and peace underneath it all. I was just looking on from the outside and making my judgments.

When I became Catholic, I decided  that my goal in life was to show people what life with Jesus really is and that I was going to do my best to be a “good” Catholic and still stay “real”. I had such lofty goals for my life as a Catholic woman. What is that saying about telling God your plans?

In my zest to be the bestest, realest Catholic woman EVAH, I think that I taunted the evil one a little too much, didn’t stay close enough to the Sacraments and polished myself up so much that I didn’t even recognize myself. I treated my husband like some ornament that was supposed to help me look a certain way and my kids like they were to act in a way that reflected well on me, even though most days I ignored them so that I could win a stupid debate on Facebook with this person or that person. All of this was complete bullshit.

And because God loves me, He allowed me to be knocked off my high horse. The fall has really hurt. I am bleeding. I am broken. I am tired.

I watched a video of Seether singing Broken and I went back to where I started, praying this song because I have no other words that come from my heart. All the other prayers are just words. Not because they don’t have meaning, but because I feel like a complete liar saying them. I have ignored my God. I have used Him as a tool to boost my ego. I have failed to love so many times that I am surprised that anyone is still my friend. I have turned my back on old friends because of my “best Catholic of the century” complex and I have judged Catholic women as lame, and I have argued with more people and been a bitch to them on Facebook than I can count. Saying the words to the Hail Mary or the Our Father just seems too little for me. The words to Broken are deep. So deep, that I can’t even explain how they fit into what I’m trying to say in this post! They reach into my soul and speak to God in a way that I cannot do on my own.

The worst is over now and we can breathe again
I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away
There’s so much left to learn, and no one left to fight
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain

Fitting In with Wounds

This past weekend I attended The Edel Gathering. There were so many reasons why I should not have gone. For one thing, I am one broke mesican. Since we lost Warren last year there has been one thing after another going on with our company and it all has piled up and exploded all at once. Long story short, our accountant was not doing her job and so we weren’t paying taxes for months. Not federal taxes or sales taxes. To top that off, my husband’s ex-wife decided to sue us for child support, actually for medical support, for insurance that she has not been paying for the past four years but somehow thinks we should pay for anyway because in her mind, we are rich. Well, we don’t have fat stacks in the bank but the one thing that I learned this weekend is that we are indeed rich. But the wealth that we have can never been shared with cash.

I have always felt as if I do not fit in anywhere. I didn’t have many friends as a child and it seems like looking back that I always felt that anytime I did get close to groups of people, something would end up happening and I would find myself alone. Time after time. On the one hand that made me very insecure but on the other, it made me able to have experiences with different groups of people. People from all kinds of backgrounds, races and religions. It was not until I started hanging out with black people who I learned what community is. I don’t think that other people don’t have community, it’s just for me, that is where I found it. I learned loyalty, honesty, how to tell it like it is, how to take someone telling me how it is, how not to gossip cuz you will get cut, how to fight and how to dance. I have always loved dancing. The one the thing that I didn’t really learn completely was how to love and how to let myself be vulnerable in order to BE loved. I have been so guarded for so much of my life and this weekend I think that maybe I caught a sense of why.

I have thought about wounds a lot lately. I’ve written a little about talking through our wounds and I can’t get the idea out of my head. It’s one of those things that God is constantly has rumbling in my heart. When the Sunday reading was about St. Thomas the part that caught my heart was when Jesus told Thomas to stick a finger in His Wounds. Isn’t that such a weird command? Jesus didn’t hug him or give him a motivational speech. No, instead He said “Look at my wounds, put your finger in them, they are real and they are what will help you SEE”. I have spent so much time since my conversion hiding my wounds. Sure, I blog about them, but when it comes to being in front of real life human beings I cower and hide them. It’s one thing to write when you think nobody is reading, but to look at another person in the face and open yourself up is a whole other story.

carav10

I talked to Jen and Hallie about going to Edel, but I didn’t have any money whatsoever. Jen said she could use some help getting ready and then Hallie said maybe someone would let me room with them. Even if not, I would just drive from Round Rock each night. I was so on the fence about it. But I love Jennifer Fulwiler and she really is one of the funniest people I know so helping her sounded like it might be a good chance to get out of the house. Then I thought that maybe getting to know some bloggers would be good for my writing etc. etc. To be honest though, I did not think that I belonged there. I am not holy, I don’t pray the Rosary every day and frankly I thought that this event would be full of lame white girls who homeschool and don’t know shit about the kind of life that I have led nor would they have any use for me. Do you sense a theme? I was only thinking of myself. And in my fear of being rejected by these ladies, I labeled them and rejected them before I even knew them.  I had put them in a comfortable little box and decided there was nothing in that box for me.

I was looking forward to meeting Heather from Mama Knows, Honey Child.  When I went to check in she was already at the front desk and I walked right up to her and started talking to her. She was loud and crazy, just my cup of tea. Along with her was my roommate for the weekend, Cari and a few other ladies. They said they were going to get dressed and then go find some food. I wanted to go but there was one small problem ; I had no money.

That morning, all our bank accounts had been frozen and my husband was so stressed. I was not the example of a good Catholic wife who supports her husband when life is hard. Instead I drove myself to an expensive hotel to spend the weekend having fun. I cried for 20 minutes in the parking garage because I hate fighting with my husband, I hate him feeling like crap and I had no clue how the hell I was going to get my car out of that garage come Sunday.

I really wanted to hang out with Heather so I sucked it up and I went to eat with them.  I used my last $8 to get a beer and Heather gave me a slice of pizza. We laughed and laughed. I have not laughed that hard in so long. I felt so comfortable and like these women actually understood what my life as a Catholic wife and mother is like. Forget the wife and mother part, just what it’s like to be a Catholic woman in this world today.

I decided at that point that I was going to be me. I was either going to be myself around Catholic people or I was going to be myself, Catholic and a hermit for the rest of my life. But I was no longer going to try and be someone I’m not just to hang out with people. It makes me tired trying to “act right” just for the sake of fitting in.

The cocktail party was so much fun that night and then the next morning Heather and Cari and I went to find breakfast. We sat and talked for hours and it was so clear to me that I have held myself hostage. I have felt like I do not belong in this Church or that I shouldn’t be writing, talking, or trying to be anything that even resembles a “good” Catholic woman. I have tried so hard to “fit in” some idea of what a Catholic woman should be that I became someone I am not and all of it was killing who I really am. When we got back to the hotel the event began and we listened to a talk given by Marian and she was talking about the exact same thing that we had talked about at breakfast. I sat there and cried. I’m talking an ugly cry that would make Kim Kardashian’s ugly cry look like nothing! God has tried so hard to get me to understand that He made me just like He wants me. I do not have to become anything but who HE made me. Detaching from my sins does not make me someone else; it makes me even MORE of who I am supposed to be.

I knew what message God was trying to get across to me but that night something happened on the dance floor that made me really see just how much my wounds affect me in this new life of mine. They are still there, still so open, still so fresh and old all at the same time. All the ladies were dancing and having a blast when someone came up to me and was trying to get me to get on the dance floor to a song that I didn’t really like. She went to pull me on the dance floor  like a sister would do jokingly to get me on the dance floor. I could feel the 13-year-old insecure and wounded girl boil up in my chest and then I just went into complete defense mode. My therapist calls them triggers and I was as triggered as I could get. I realized it and did not know how to calm down. Luckily the DJ finally played some hip-hop and I just got on the dance floor and went to my happy place. I didn’t mean to lash out at anyone, it was one of those things that I felt like I was outside myself watching and trying to tell myself that it would be ok, but I just couldn’t get my heart to stop racing. I guess I am making progress because I didn’t punch anyone even though every alarm in my body was going off because someone touched me without permission. It’s those wounds that make it so hard for me to be around Catholic “circles”. I don’t want anyone to see them and tell me that I don’t belong here. The thing is, I recognized what happened. I didn’t punch anyone, or cuss them out, or put them on my shit list. It was what it was, I knew that I had been triggered, that she meant nothing by it, it was an innocent thing and that I needed to calm down. Miracle. I calmed myself down.

I was sound asleep when the sound of the door closing behind my roommate woke me up. I lay there listening to her suitcase roll down the hallway as she headed to the airport and I started crying. “What the eff are you crying for? You JUST met her!” went through my mind. As I lay there I had this revelation:  instead of allowing my wounds to bring me into an encounter with other people as Jesus did, I was allowing them to keep me holed up in my room eating my feelings. in Lil Debbies. For the first time in a really long time, I was myself in a group of Catholic women and it was great. These women are all so awesome. They are moms, wives and Catholic. They can dance, rap (in a vintage dress!), drink, laugh, and are the opposite of lame. I am so blessed to call them my sisters. I have never felt so welcomed in my life. So accepted and so loved. Absolutely loved. It felt good to let people in.

As Jennifer said in her talk “The doors to the Cathedral have been busted open!” Yes, they have. May God give us all the Grace to look around us and let people in. The culture of encounter has been started with a weekend full of encounters that brought tears to my eyes as I sit here and write this long post about it. I cannot fit all the blessed moments I had this weekend into a blog post. If I talked to you, if you told me you read my blog, if you are reading it now, if you sat and listened to my crazy rambling, if you smoked a cigarette with me, if you saw me and didn’t talk to me, know that I am your sister. I am here for you. I am gonna help you with your Cathedral anyway that I can. And I love you. Not some lame “I love you” but LOVE that is rooted in Love Himself.

Please pray for me and my family. I am offering up every hard time, every tear and every moment of stress of each of your intentions.

#DEMCATHEDRALS

PS There will be a part II where I talk about meeting Calah Alexander and talked Brianna Heldt’s face off.

God’s love is Scandalizing

As I have written for a while now, things in my life have been a little rough for the last 2 years or so. There have been moments of pure Grace that have flooded over me like a nice hot bath, but for the most part, it’s been a long uphill walk for me. (And my husband, but this is my blog and I don’t write a lot about his thoughts, because they are his thoughts. These are my thoughts)  I have learned more from this uphill walk than I did when I was floating on Cloud 9 of a new conversion . God knows what He is doing and He knows when to allow certain things to be done. He knew that I was a very prideful person with low self-esteem and that is a terrible combination.  He pursued me, even when I wanted nothing to do with Him and then when the time was right, He wooed me with a herd of sheep on a country road in Rome knowing that would make me fall deeply in love with Him and that I would spend the rest of my life at His service out of love. I also fell in love with my husband on that road, for the third or fourth time in my life. I have fallen in love with that man so many times that I can’t even count them all.

Conversion is crazy. I didn’t have a St. Paul conversion really. I kind of think of his conversion as one where Jesus said “Hey! What are you DOING ya crazy person?!” And St. Paul came to his senses and felt bad about the things he had done. I did not. I mean, sure I realized what I had done was wrong according to the Catholic Church and I recognized that She was the pillar of Truth and was right, but I didn’t really feel bad for having done them. I felt bad that I didn’t know the truth for most of my life, and I was even a little mad at the people in my life who didn’t really ever tell me what the Catholic Church really was about. But I didn’t feel at fault for not knowing it.  However, I did think that since I now knew that Truth, that I would have to be a completely different person. I would have to talk different, sound different, like different things, expect my kids to be a certain way, for my house to look a certain way, to do things a certain way and to be like all those “good” Catholic women. And I thought all of this should just happen because I had this life changing encounter with Jesus.

I became so hard on myself. I compared myself to every Catholic woman, especially the ones on Facebook. The homeschooling, family rosary saying, 17 kid raising, open to life with a joyful smile. holy sex having, clean-cut kids at mass, and self-giving women who I found myself surrounded by. I am surrounded by amazing women who are heroes daily for the way they love and care for their families. I found myself thinking that I had a lot of work to do to be a good Catholic wife and mother. I needed to do all the things that good Catholic wives and mothers do. The dialogue in my head was “you are bad, you suck and you’re fat and getting fatter. You can’t clean your house, your kids are heathens and you are stuffing your face with cupcakes. You suck, you suck, you suck”.  Oh, and I’m a pervert for wanting to have an orgasm when I have sex with my husband. Finally after feeling like I was about to lose my mind and after many confessions of being lazy, a bad wife and mother where Father told me that I needed to be easier on myself, I sought out a therapist. It began as marriage counseling, but ended up with me going to her by myself for an hour each week. I cannot really tell anyone just how much this has helped me in my life. And in my marriage. I had wasted so much time trying to be a good Catholic that I wasn’t spending any time trying to just be a saint.

My therapist, who is Catholic and is approved by my Pastor,  has been a lot of help for me to understand the role that my childhood has in my life with my husband. Why things bother me and how to deal with those things in healthy ways, not ways that end with me in jail or my husband’s things laying in the front yard.

I took a lot of things personally; including discussions on Facebook or in comboxes, when they are not personal. I get validation that I am good at something,  from FB “likes” and when I start winning a debate of some sorts. And I tend to think of people I don’t even know as friends and then feel betrayed when they delete me, when the truth is that I don’t know those people and if they chose to not wanna see my 20 million daily rants, then that is ok and it doesn’t mean that I’m a horrible person.

The greatest thing that I have gotten out of therapy is that it is ok for me to be me. I am not going to be so and so, who seems to have all her shit together and has a perfectly clean house, with a perfect marriage and clean kids. I do not know what the inside of her life is, and it is none of my business. My business is my life, my husband, my marriage, my kids, my spiritual journey. I talk how I talk, I think what I think, I try to look at my flaws and fix them out of my love for Jesus, not out of some need to be better than my sisters in Christ and I write what I write. I offer it all up to Jesus Who is the only person Who can make anything good come from it. We women are sometimes our worst critic. I saw an article where Kim Kardashian said she felt like she should hide while pregnant because of all the rude comments on her weight when she was pregnant. I thought to myself how sad it is that one of the most beautiful women (in my opinion) thinks that she is ugly if she doesn’t look a certain way that the public deems “pretty”. How sad that she doesn’t realize just how beautiful she is in the eyes of God, regardless of her weight. Is it good to work-out and be healthy? Yes, but because our bodies are gifts, not because some random people on the internet will call us fat if we don’t look just right. We have to learn how to love ourselves in a way that is aware of who we are as children of God. Not that we deserve to be worshiped by the men who love us and that we should be in control of everything and have things the way we want. I think that a lot of that need for control is about us wanting to look a certain way for others to “approve” of us or look at us and say “wow. She really has her act together”. And really, the only Person Who’s opinion of us that matters is God.

God loves me. He is good to me even though I have failed in every way possible that there is to fail, and yet He blesses me every day. He gave me an amazing husband who loves and supports me. Who makes me laugh and who gets me when I storm into the bathroom as he’s taking a relaxing bath to rant about how masturbating is completely different than self-stimulation during the marital act. He doesn’t kick me out, or tell me to get off the internet talking about that stuff or look at me like a deer in headlights either. He listens and then says “yeah!” like a best friend should.

For the first time since the night that I sat in my car knowing that God was calling my name to come to Him, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me. I am so sure of that, that I can jump in feet first into things without fear of failure because it is not by my works that I will be saved, it is by His Grace and Mercy alone that anything good can come from me. Will it be scandalizing to some people at times? Maybe, but that’s ok, God’s love is scandalizing.

Let’s Talk about Sex part Dos **update

My last post got a lot of attention; I think it started a lot of discussion, which is what I wanted to do. This is a follow- up post. It comes with all the same warnings as the last one. Stop reading now if you are easily scandalized or if you think that talking about sex is the worst thing that anyone can talk about or if you think that sex toys are the devil’s tools to get people to hell because I don’t want to be the reason that anyone loses their peace.

I am Catholic. (SHOCKER) so when I speak, I’m speaking of things that I have learned from my faith as a Catholic. There are teachings on sexuality from the Catholic Church that have been around for a very long time. During the time that he was Pope, St. John Paul II had a series of talks where he discussed the matter of sexuality and human relationships. It is called “Theology of the Body”. There are books written by all kinds of people on the subject. Not all the people who are educated on Theology of the Body agree on things. But they do have the discussions.  I was shocked when I became Catholic and read the things that JP2 had talked about, because he did so in the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He wrote Love and Responsibility before he was even elected as Pope and yet the laity didn’t seem to really have a clue about any of it. Nowadays that is different. A lot of people know about these teachings and the words of JP2 and the fact that this has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church. But I still feel as if it is only certain groups of people. The teachings of the Catholic Church are not just for Catholics. I am not really sure how to say it without sounding crazy, but they are for everyone. Morality is morality; it is objective, not subjective. Just like murdering people is wrong is an objective truth, not “it’s not ok for me to murder people, but who am I to tell others that they can’t murder people?”  And that is what Theology of the Body is; it is the discussion about the morality of sex. Whether or not a person believes in God does not change the fact that sex between human beings is at its best when those two human beings love one another totally and give themselves to the other completely. Society is better when two people love each other totally, give themselves as a gift to each other in the marital act (sex) and bring children into the world who are brought up by a mother and a father who love each other totally and that love is shared with the children in a communion of persons. Just like the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a communion of persons. That is the foundation of what I am talking about. If anyone doesn’t understand that, then the rest will not make sense. I’m not saying you have to be Catholic to read my blog, but I am saying that there is more underneath what I’m saying than just “sex talk”. I am not coming from the same place as Dr. Ruth, I’m coming from a place that has lived the life she promotes and knows that there is something huge missing in that and it’s love. True love. Love that is the foundation for the family and for society. Sex is just as a part of that love.

Sex isn’t just about the penis in the vagina. Or what leads up to that. What secular sex experts lack really is the concept of chastity. When my husband and I decided to get married in the Church our priest told us that he would marry us after we finished our marriage prep, which included meetings with him personally. He said that during this time, we would have to remain chaste. Both of us thought that “remaining chaste” meant “you can’t have sex before marriage, but after the wedding it’s anything goes”. Ummm, no, that is not what chaste means.  This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says chastity is:

CCC
2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.

The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

See that? Where does it say “no sex before marriage and after marriage anything goes”? Nowhere. It is clear that sex is to be between spouses because that is what the second part is saying. “A lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman” is marriage. But the first sentence is the one that caught my eye the first time that I read it: the successful integration of sexuality within the person. That means that inside and outside of marriage, chastity means unity of our bodies and spirits and the integration of sexuality within us. In other words, if we are prudes or if we are hoes we are not integrated sexually. It isn’t “anything goes” but it’s also not “nothing that feels good” either. And each of those things looks different for each person. Only a person and God can know if they are unbalanced in that way. But you can’t know, if you don’t wonder and ask and talk to other people to get their thoughts and opinions on things. Take all that and figure it out for yourself. There is no such thing as “normal” as my therapist has told me. My “normal” isn’t going to be anyone else’s normal because nobody else has lived through what I have. There is moral and immoral, but not normal.

The first question when talking about sex toys is “are they moral”? The answer is that they are not immoral. There are some things that are never ok, under any circumstance, and then there are things that are not immoral as a whole for everyone but some people cannot do them. Like drinking for instance. It is ok for people to drink, but some people cannot drink personally. Objectively: people can drink, it is not immoral to drink. Subjectively: Some people can’t drink. (I’m not a philosopher so please excuse my simple thinking)  So it is ok to use sex toys in your marriage if you and your spouse are comfortable with them and understand that sex is a mutual giving of yourselves and not taking from your spouse. Also, there are times when they shouldn’t be used and times when they can be used, even inside the same marriage.

When I first got married to my husband, we could not use them. I was confused, and I had been used all my life. I didn’t trust that he was not using me and seeing me as a sex object if we did all the things that we had done before getting married, so we simply didn’t use them. As things have changed, as our marriage has grown and as we have dealt with a lot of personal issues, that has changed and we are slowly talking about the subject of these things again. But it was not right of me to suddenly just decide to take that off the table and not discuss it with my husband. Which is what I did. Our marriage paid for that dearly and there has been two years of pain, hurt, and damage done because I woke up one day and decided that blow jobs, vibrators and fun sex were immoral. I became a sex nazi and it almost destroyed my marriage. And for what? That is not the truth about sex. Not God’s truth, not anyone’s truth except the one that I made up in my head based on things that had happened to me in my past and what I read or the lack of what I read other Catholic women talk about when it came to sex. I have started working though all of my past in therapy and I’ve realized that so many people do what I did. They read the Church’s teaching through the eyes of their brokenness and then decide that they can’t enjoy sex at all. They can’t do this and they can’t do that and meanwhile the other person in the marriage is like “Wtf chuck?! This is not what I signed up for.” And then they grow to resent the Church and Her teachings on sexuality which are now being seen through that spouse’s pain.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who would enjoy seeing such pain and confusion and be happy about the division it causes in a marriage. The evil one, that’s who.

Some people are not ok with sex toys though, and that is ok. As long as you talk to your spouse about it and ya’ll are on the same page, then that is a great thing. The problem is when one spouse wants to do certain things and the other just shuts them off because they think that kind of stuff is “perverted”, that is not being chaste and it will cause a problem in your marriage. I am not saying “do what your spouse wants so they don’t cheat on you or turn to porn” what I am saying is that you have to be willing to listen to your spouse about their wants and needs and discuss it openly. You also have to be willing to talk and say what you like and what you want. If you don’t because you think that what you like is dirty then you are doing yourself and your spouse a disservice. Maybe you are perverted, but why not find out before you just throw yourself under a bus? Maybe you actually aren’t and you’re missing out. You don’t know until you find out.

Like I said, some things are never ok. Thinking about other people when you are having sex: not ok, threesome: no ok, watching porn: not ok, pretending to be raped: not ok (that’s my personal opinion, I’m assuming that it’s not since the whole thing is based on power and not love), S&M: not ok. I could go on and on, I’ve seen some seriously twisted fantasies in my lifetime. (and have lived a few of them out) But wanting to please your spouse and be pleased by your spouse isn’t twisted. That is what is supposed to happen. It’s ok to have sex so good that you can’t feel your legs for an hour afterwards.

I don’t know, I guess maybe there are people who can have sex in the missionary position for a lifetime and not get bored. I shouldn’t make it seem like that isn’t possible, and I tried to be that person after getting married but it failed. Sex was not boring, and I had orgasms every time, and I love my husband but when we started doing things a little differently and bring back just a few of the things that we used to do it was much better. Mostly because 1. I don’t feel superior to anyone else and I don’t feel the need to be a “good Catholic” in a way that changes who I am to other people. I am just trying to be the best me that I can, today. Period. 2. Because I am not shut off from my husband.  Little by little we are getting back to being comfortable with ourselves and not fearing getting thrown into hell because we did something wrong in the bedroom. Me keeping those things out of our sex life (vibrators) was not about chastity, it was about mistrust. I did not trust my husband to not use me and that was the root issue. I have learned how to trust, to trust him and to trust God. I do not have to be that scared child who hides in a corner to fend for herself because everyone is going to hurt me. Maybe they will, but I will be ok if they do.

When I wrote the Hoe to Housewife post, I did feel as if sex toys were perverted. I did feel as if my sex life with my husband was at its best but then afterwards I talked to him and I don’t think that he felt the same. So in a way, what I feared the most that he would do to me, I was doing to him. I was satisfied with having sex the way we were, but he wasn’t really and I didn’t care because I made it all about me and all about what other men had done to me. I ended up using my husband. I can see that now as I look back, but at the time I would have been the first one to say (and I did) “I don’t need sex toys, my husband and I are having great sex without them” with that little bit of pride. I’m not saying that everyone who says that is being prideful, I’m saying that I for sure was. But the truth was that I was having great sex and my husband was kind of bored. The only way that I figured it out was when he started talking to me and I started listening to him and then asking questions around about these things. I learn by reading and writing. So that is what I did. I set out to learn the truth. These posts are just some of what I have figured out, and I could still be completely wrong. I thank anyone who reads them and doesn’t think that I’m going to hell.

This post is already way too long, but one other question that I have is where to buy sex toys without having to go to a porn shop. That is obviously not cool to walk into with all my saint medals. And even buying them online isn’t cool, because I don’t want to support any kind of porn shop offline or online. Anyone have any ideas?

**if you want to discuss in private, please email me, I’m not really on Facebook much these days. My email is crazyfaceblog@gmail.com.

UPDATE****  I found this post to be very informative and also says a lot of what I think in a much more organized way.

I’m Gonna Talk ‘Bout Sex for a Minute

 

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I have been reading a few blog posts about sex lately. One of them written by my hero; Hallie Lord. She wrote this great little ebook called Spice Up Your Marriage: A 28 Day Adventure. Then yesterday I read this guest post of hers on Patheos and I finally got the guts to sit down and write this post. It’s been in my head for a few months now, but I was not sure how to write it without offending others. After reading Hallie’s post though I realized one thing: my intent is not to offend anyone, but to ask questions and put down some of my thoughts in plain language. It just so happens that I lived in the world of XXX stores and porn for a very long time so some of the things that I think about are not really the same as what women who have never lived that life think about, I guess, I could be wrong.

So, this is one of those posts like this one, that comes with a full on warning. This is adult language about sex. Not a flowery tampon commercial.

The thing that I haven’t really figured out, and that Hallie brought up in her post, is when is it ok to talk to Catholic friends about sex. Because in my old life I sat around and talked sex with my friends all the time, and not just “Hey, sex, bow chica wow wow” either. It was plain out sex talk. I don’t see that among Catholic women. I have been lucky to have a few trusted Catholic friends who I can talk about this stuff with, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm. For example, of all the blog posts and books that I have read about the beauty of sex, I have yet to see one single thing about whether vibrators are immoral or not, and let me tell you something, it’s really messing with me. I mean, Simcha brought up “sex toys” and made a notation about it in her book The Sinners Guide to Natural Family Planning , but there was nothing specific. Now, I’m not stupid, I know that using them for “self-gratification” aka masturbating, is not ok. But there are a LOT of ways to use them during the sex and have the sex acts still end in the right way (ejaculation in the vagina).

If the word “vibrator” made your head pop off, then just stop reading now.

I started having sex when I was 14 years old. I had my first orgasm when I was 13. (I was raped and molested from the age of 5 until 9 or so that I can remember, but I don’t count that even though there is a lot to say about that, it’s just not for this post.) From that age on, I had sex with a lot of people as I’ve said and there was a lot of good sex there. In the end, none of that mattered, the orgasm was a high but it didn’t last long and I ended up being alone when it was over and loneliness was the hell that I lived in for most of those years. But had I not had those years I would never have known what I know about sex. And now that I am in a valid marriage, those skills are pretty handy when my self-esteem isn’t in the toilet. So, how exactly do people expect newlyweds who have saved themselves for marriage to figure out the question about sex toys? There are a lot of them out there.

Either they will go to the internet in private, as Hallie brought up, and figure it out or they will live their life having boring sex. Both of those options are just sad. And anyone who thinks that boring sex is “just fine” is just as wrong as people who think that sex with no strings attached is “just fine”. God doesn’t get angry when we have good sex. He is the one who came up with it as a way of procreation. I think, and so do others, that He wants us to enjoy the marital act (sex) with our spouse to the max. I don’t think anyone is going to get to heaven and have God say “You gave yourself to your spouse fully, you loved them, you were open to life BUT your orgasm was way TOO ENJOYABLE so down to hell you go!” Does anyone really think that? But if we don’t talk about it then how will people know what is ok and what is not?

I know that the point is chastity, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume that everyone reading this understands chastity and isn’t out to pimp their spouse out for orgasms for themselves. (If you don’t know that, then go read on that and then finish reading this. This post is about sex between a married man and woman who love each other and want to mirror the love of Christ for His Church.)

How is a girl who has been chaste her whole life supposed to know how to give her husband a, umm chaste, blow job? It is possible, my husband and I had to make it up. I know that nobody is going to die from not knowing this stuff, but good grief; it’s not immoral (unless it ends the “wrong way”) and men just shouldn’t live life without that happening and women shouldn’t feel like it’s a degrading act when both spouses love each other. And for the record, women shoudn’t live life without their husbands gifting them with oral sex either.

I learned all the ins and outs about sex  from men (and some boys when I was a girl) who learned from porn or playboy. Now days, women and young women are learning from the same places along with Cosmo. It is so easy to read those things, do those things and then end up not being chaste, because then it can become about self-seeking pleasure. Especially if they have saved themselves for marriage and then happen to experiment sexually without anyone in their Catholic circle talking about these things. Even if their parents are honest and open, nobody wants to talk to their parents about some of this stuff.

I’m not a theologian, and I don’t even know if half the things that I enjoy are ok to do in a Catholic Marriage. Not knowing and the fear that comes from not knowing has kind of put a real damper on my love life with my husband. There are tons of other factors there, we have had a rough year, I’ve gained 60 pounds since we got married 3 years ago, I don’t feel pretty, and our marriage has been in a real ugly place since the day that I hit “publish” on that Hoe to Housewife post. But some of it is also the fear of doing something wrong or even questioning my husband’s motives. “Is he just using me?” or “Why would he want me to do that?” or “Why do I want him to do that?” or “Are we sick perverts?” which is always in the back of my mind.

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Sex just shouldn’t be like that. It’s a gift. It’s beautiful and sacred. Nothing makes me feel closer to my husband than good sex. Somehow, we have to realize that not talking about it sends newly married couples (a lot of which are already living together) to places that don’t have the good of their soul in mind, for sex advice. And that is like sending them right to the enemy with a target on them. The devil is a roaring lion, that I know for sure, and I can only imagine the glee he gets when a couple who has done the right thing and waited to have sex until marriage go to the internet for sex advice or just live their life not fully enjoying their sex life.

Let’s face it; it’s mostly women who suffer from a boring sex life. There are women who are ashamed to ask for an orgasm, women who don’t even know what an orgasm feels like (W.T.French toast?!) or who just suffer silently because they feel that wanting one means there is something wrong with them. On the whole other side of that are the women who don’t want to enjoy sex but want babies. Umm, ladies, that is using your spouse as a means to an end, and I don’t care how “sweet” and unperverted your sex is, that is not chastity. Using a man for babies is just as wrong as a man using a woman for sex.

I am bringing all this up because as a woman, I don’t know that answer to a lot of questions. We as Catholic women need to maybe start asking these questions (sometimes for the sake of our marriages) and I can’t really go talk to a priest about these things because that is just not really something that they deal with personally.Plus, I’m a woman. I don’t say that about anything else when it comes to priests, but this is kind of one of those subjects that only people who are doing it (and with the same parts as me) can answer. I mean they can answer plenty of other objective questions on the topic of ethics in marital sex, but there are just some things that people not having sex can’t really answer. We as women need to talk more about it, to ask questions and to realize that there is nothing perverted or shameful about wanting to enjoy sex, that it is primarily about procreation but it is also about beauty and unity between spouses. It’s the way that the spouses become one. It’s the ONLY way that they become one. Can that happen without toys, games, lingerie, sexy time music, and all that? Of course, but dude, for real, that stuff makes it pretty awesome. Like fireworks on the fourth of July. Life is just fine without red wine, but it sure is better with it!

I really hope that the discussion among Catholic women will start, because it has started among secular women a LONG time ago, and while the goal in life is not to be like the world, we should still be able to counter all the accusations about how Catholics are so prude. That and we need to be able to answer the questions of newlyweds who are trying to live their life chastely but wonder about some things.