Now, to talk about sex

As a religious person, I hit patches where I feel guiltier about sex than other times. I do think it’s morally wrong and I find it to be a copout when Christian people claim that God is all on board with their banging strangers because I think he’s pretty clear about promiscuous sex being on the list of “do-not-do’s.” (If you’re not familiar with this, I’m fairly certain the majority of college students hold this belief).

However, I do have sex with my male boyfriend. Lots of sex. Kind of weird sex, super-definitely-weird sex, or vanilla sex, depending on the day. We’re exclusive, we have been dating a long time, it makes him happy, it makes me feel close to him, and we use birth control AND condoms. Altogether, I feel like it’s a pretty reasonable decision to have sex with him.

Which brings me to something I feel much less comfortable with: my attraction to females.

As a 21-year-old, I’ve had about the same amount of sexual experiences with females as your typical high school sophomore boy. Picture him as a socially awkward, extra sweaty sophomore boy and it’ll give you an even better idea.

I am unsure if I am so inexperienced because I feel guilty about my attraction or if it’s due to the fact that I never sought out the opportunity to have those sorts of experiences (although the two are likely not unrelated). Additionally, I have friends who would be pretty uncomfortable with the idea that I like women. I don’t entirely blame them, because sleepovers and sharing hotel beds with me is about equivalent to sharing them with a straight male (which they also wouldn’t be comfortable with).

I also tend to not tell people I am attracted to women because I don’t feel that my sex life is their business. Why should they know I like women any more than they should know that I like to put things up my boyfriend’s butt (which they forsure do not need to know about).

Even as I’m writing this, I realized I haven’t actually said the word “bisexual,” only “attracted to women,” like it’s simply a fetish.

But it’s not a fetish. It’s a very real part of me, present since I was 13, but the only person who knows the extent of my attraction is my boyfriend.

Since I will soon be moving to a new place, where I will meet new friends, I am considering using the term “bisexual” to describe myself openly. That way I’m not forced to have an awkward coming-out-thing two years through our friendship when they accidentally see the search history on my computer.

On the contrary, I am also considering not doing this because, as I stated before, it’s not really any of their concern. Also, since I have a boyfriend, I likely won’t be fulfilling my desire for women anytime soon. Although the latter point is not completely off the table since he is a very understanding person who would be comfortable with me hooking up with a woman (under certain parameters).

Truthfully, I am unsure how I should approach this, but the idea that I could own my sexuality is exciting to me.

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God/Religion/the Meaning of Life and the Universe

I had a marijuana-induced realization the other day. What’s more interesting than my realization is that I was even smoking to begin with, since that’s only ever happened a wee handful of times. Ever since I got into graduate school I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself and as a result, been letting a little loose (LOL that taking three puffs of marijuana is letting loose for me).

Anyway, as for my realization: First, I realized that no one I was smoking with has a faith in God that impacts their life in a significant way. Second, I realized that I currently also do not have a faith in God that impacts my life in a significant way.

It’s hard to say I’ve ever had a particularly strong faith, mostly because I was raised in an environment which did not foster a strong belief in God. I did, however, go to a catholic high school which made my connection to God much stronger than ever before. I absolutely adored the way my teachers spoke about God and what their rationale was for God’s existence. It was purely logical, based on reason and not emotion.

However, even when my faith was at my strongest and I was going to weekly mass, it was still a struggle. I (still to this day) feel the urge to insult God while praying. Here is an example prayer:

“Hello God, it’s Velvet. I was just thinking that my sister could really use some support right now, so I should pray for it. I don’t know that you’ll do anything. Or that you’re listening. You might not be. Probably aren’t. But I’d rather be safe than sorry. Shit. Sorry. I shouldn’t say this right now. Anyways please help my sister. Thanks.”

So clearly, I’m not great at faith. When I lay out all the philosophies surrounding the debate between atheism versus deism, I consistently arrive at deism. Logically, I know I believe in a god. I do. What’s hard is actually having faith in that God.

I’ve noticed my cycle of faith looks something like this: trying-failing-trying-giving up for 6 months-trying again-failing. I’ve been attempting for quite some time to figure out the personal trends that impact when I try and when I give up on having a relationship with God.

Which takes us back to my weed-night. I realized I don’t try when my life is going well. When I am happy, when I am getting good grades and my family is happy, I simply don’t feel like putting in the effort. Because, as it turns out, maintaining a relationship with God is a lot of work.

Conversely, I also struggle with my faith when I commit lots of sinful acts, likely from the cognitive dissonance it creates within me. Basically, the only time I pursue a meaningful relationship with God is when I am at a dull normal.

Religion is much too much work to ever be a crutch for me. Religion makes me uncomfortable. It’s difficult and complicated and, at times, kind of stressful. I hope that identifying that I have a self-centered cycle for maintaining a relationship with God will help me to keep trying to pray and read the Bible and attend mass. Because truly, how can someone *kind of* believe that there’s an all-knowing, all-powerful creature whose hand was in all acts of creation. If I’m going to have faith, I want to do it right.

Celeb shout-out post: A Short Manifesto on Sick Leave as it Pertains to Worker’s Rights by Sebastian

 

The following essay will address the foundational ideological flaws surrounding the lack of paid sick leave in the US. Currently, if a worker shows to up to work sick, the employer is legally allowed to send them home without pay. This is wrong for multiple reasons. First, sick days are typically awarded in high paying jobs. It is to the lower class that a lack of sick days usually pertains to. This demographic is already struggling for money, and not allowing them to earn money because of an illness is especially discriminatory. If a low-income worker is not allowed to earn money due to their illness, it makes the financial responsibility of medical bills even more daunting. What this system usually amounts to is a large number of employees coming to work ill- and then spreading their illness to fellow employees. Not awarding sick leave affects whole institutions through this cycle of illness-sharing. Imagine a struggling mother or father living month-to-month to pay the bills coming down with the flu. This person would understandably feel obligated to come to work to earn money to buy groceries and clothes, despite the risk of spreading a potentially fatal disease to others in their work place. This temptation would be eliminated if sick leave were to be legally mandatory to allot to each worker. Moreover, the opportunity to take time to heal from an illness should not be a luxury for only the middle and upper class, but a fundamental human right afforded to all.

“Humbled”

Lily Zacharias

A few weeks ago, I sat down with my laptop and go-to study playlist and began my first ever practice GRE exam. I was THAT jerk in high school who never even looked at an ACT prep book, yet rolled into the test and got a score I never dreamed of being able to get, so naturally I was pretty confident in my abilities to whip out a killer score with minimum effort. I finished the test under time and excitedly clicked “View my Score.”

So…I viewed my score. My incredibly, painfully low score. Ouch.

There I was: my ego crushed, my spirits low, my stomach craving ice cream. I went into the test expecting the absolute best, and left feeling utterly embarrassed that I thought I could conquer the GRE in one unprepared shot. In a word, I was humbled.

Which brings me to what this is really about:

There are three words that I absolutely abhor seeing on…

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Stephanie

Do you know where I’d go to find solace?

I had a certain spot in the upstairs bathroom (our bathroom)

I’d curl up where the dark oak of the cabinet met the chipped white paint of the bedroom door

Underneath my body- still covered in baby fat- was the fluffy navy rug Memaw bought us

I think I always cried more than you did

I’d cover my ears and sing to myself.

Every few minutes I’d slowly take my hands away from my face like a frightened snail poking its head out of its shell to see if it’s safe

If it wasn’t, I’d snap my hands up to my ears again before I’d hear voices long enough to understand them

I was so scared of listening because I didn’t want to create memories for my mind to play over and over. (Truthfully, it worked. I don’t remember much of what was said.)

After it was through, when I’d finally see you walk (crawl?) up the stairs, I’d usually just be pissed at you for letting this happen again (It wasn’t your fault)

Well, that’s if I was even allowed to see you.

I know it affects you still. And I’m so sorry.

I think about it, too.

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.” -Kurt Vonnegut

With the words of the lovely Mr. Kurt Vonnegut in mind, I will proceed with my first experience blogging. I hope this blog will be a free space for me to express myself without judgment (from myself or readers), which is why I am choosing to do it anonymously. I will try not to worry about it being good, or pretty, or profound, or terribly well-written, rather simply an outlet for art to freely exist in open space.

Introductions ought to come next. My name is (for the purposes of this blog) Velvet. My real name is not Velvet. My real name is short, and generic, and practical. But blogging seems to be none of those things. Blogging is verbose and entertaining and artful. And insomuch that I am trying to think of my life as more of an art and less of a documentary, I shall think of my blogging-self as Velvet, for the material velvet’s impractical yet beautiful characteristics.

I am graduating with an undergraduate degree in psychology this week. I will be undergoing a Master’s program in clinical psychology come fall. I have two siblings, both female. I am an Aunt to a lovely little niece. I have two parents, two best friends, and one boyfriend.  I try to run fairly often. I like to bake. I like all sorts of music. I have roughly a billion other interests and characteristics which I am sure will come out in time.

I plan on blogging a good bit from now on, and I hope my thoughts and feelings provide some entertainment for you.