I’ve been hesitant to publish this sort of post since I first launched Building, Not Broken back in January. What I’m writing about is a sensitive subject to some, and a very personal one to me. I know a lot of my family members read my posts, and the contents of this blog will follow me through life, so being transparent in this way is a bit frightening. While it’s really no one’s business but my own, it may be helpful for someone else to know. I want to share my experience with abstinence for continuous healing of and growth within myself, and as a potential push-forward for someone else.
I’m 8 months abstinent and proud of it, yet I can’t help but sometimes wish I could say otherwise. It’d be better if I could say I was 15 months, and even more amazing if my abstinence didn’t come with a length of time attached to it. Whatever the case could have been, we’re here now- my journey and me. Our story is one of pride, temptation, regret, and overcoming.
Two or three months ago I wrote a letter to an earlier version of myself. In the letter, I wrote what I wished for her during that time in her life. I wrote of the things I wish she’d known and the things I wish she hadn’t done to or thought and said about herself. I wished the thoughts in the letter would’ve reached her sooner. This is my letter to all of you.
If you find yourself either on or considering a journey with abstinence- thoughts that I wish had been given to me:
- Don’t attach your self-worth to your chastity. This is all too dangerous. There’s a way to take pride in your decision without placing so much weight on it that your whole world falls apart in the unfortunate event of a mishap. Either way it goes, your sexuality doesn’t define you.
- Know yourself and have discipline. Whether you’ve engaged and are now abstaining or are a virgin, make the effort to know yourself and be realistic about what you can and can not handle. Don’t put yourself and your journey in jeopardy. Maybe you’re okay to “Netflix & Chill” with a person of interest and not give in to temptation. Maybe you’re not. Car dates can be pretty fun when you’re listening to music and talking or just vibin’ together, but maybe you’re better off not moving your conversation to the backseat. Small decisions make big differences.
- Don’t beat yourself up. This goes back to the first thought of not viewing your self-worth as dependent upon your sexuality. Your journey may not prove perfect. You may slip up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself back together if you want to. Be kind to yourself. You’re only human.
- Let yourself grow. As you change, so may your thoughts, goals, etc. A journey of abstinence may appeal to you today; maybe it will be less significant tomorrow. Assure yourself that it’s okay. Allow yourself the liberty to move, as long as you’re never being swayed.
– Jade M Ernest