Purity. For What?

Purity (noun): freedom of sexual immorality, especially of sexual nature.
"Purity is what a woman should strive for." 

Synonyms: virtue, piety, honor, decency, integrity, saintliness.

As a little girl, I can remember lessons and sermons being taught over the topic and idea of “purity” – primarily the role that it was suppose to play in my life, as well and other young girls like me. I can still hear the idle threats against my sanctity as a whole, and the echoes of fear escaping from the mouths of young girls who had internalized these ideals.

The ‘8th Grade Tea’ was similar to a right of passage. We were on the brink of womanhood. We all sat nicely dressed in our dresses, skirts, blouses and mid-sized heels, and attentively listened as the speakers spoke. We quickly learned what it meant to be a woman and which lady-like qualities we must acquire- the most undeniable being ‘purity’. As the evening went on we further discussed and conceptualized its meaning,  with the overarching concepts being: No sex before marriage, and if so it must to cease immediately. Anyone who was ‘not pure’ was sure to be damned and not fit for marital bliss – now, or ever for that matter. We were to save ourselves for our one true love, our king. These memories were filled with horror and fear of being ‘unclean’, because once you are unclean there is little hope for redemption or salvation. Yet as we were being verbally instructed and pressured, our male counterparts were participating in a lackadaisical day of fun and games. No need for structure, because boys will always be boys (regardless of instruction) – so they believed.

As I have grown into young adulthood and indulged in my fair share of relationships, and counseled some of my girlfriends though their’s. There are some things that have become more and more evident to me – the values of what women and men conclude to be sacred. Some of these values are chosen on an individual level, where as others are socially constructed from events such as the one mentioned above. For the average woman ‘purity’ has been her ascribed status, but an optional act for men.We are taught to save ourselves, to be upright, and holy. Whereas, men are not. They are taught to sow their wild oats, do what ‘men’ are expected to do (and we can all assume what oats are being sown). Subsequently, as men and women age we have one group who cherishes and relishes in thoughts and ideals of purity, where as one does not. Women grow to be bachelorettes who seek long-term monogamous commitments, with marriage in mind as the end result. As for men, they grow to not know how or when to stop their ‘sowing’. Unfortunately, the cultural dissonance between the values of men and women lead to a large number of women who become broken-hearted and scarred from relationships of infidelity and mistrust.

My question though is this, why are these values primarily being taught to women? Is it because of the Holy scriptures such as:

1 Thessalonians 4:3

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from
sexual immorality.

, which does not even limit its commands to women alone. Or is it because women’s main duty or role has historically been to complement and adhere to a man, submit to his beck and call, or be the caretaker of the home and rear upstanding children. I mean, get the idea of abstinence and celibacy, and I do believe that these are things that we should aim for – but not just women, but men also. I believe that the application of these standards only being limited to one sex is indeed counter-productive. If these ideals of ‘holiness’, ‘cleanliness’, and ‘decency’ are continuously just ingrained in one sex and not the other, what good does that really do? I mean “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, right? Or for the purpose of this blog, one spouse to another in a ‘holy and perfect union’ (marriage) or a relationship. In other words, one partner can ruin or harm a relationship – whether it be a male or female.What good is it for me to save myself or to be ‘pure’ for ‘the one’, when he is being taught not to be. Do I not deserve the same in return? Am I not worthy of him saving himself especially for me?

 

 

The idea of this blog is not to invalidate the need of purity, abstinence, or celibacy, but to reiterate the need for these ideas to be taught to men just as much as they are shoved down the throat of woman

******Disclaimer: This is not scientific/research article. This is written from my experiences and my view point.

 

– As Told by HER, Hailey Elise

 

 

The Diary of a Graduate

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**Day 1 – (Graduation, 5/7/2016):

Today is the day, the day all of the other Spring 2016 graduates and you have longed for – GRADUATION! Yes! The day that ends one chapter of your lives and prefaces the next. The day that signifies that we have thoroughly and competently completed all of the course work placed before us. The day that proves to the entire world – that yes, yes we are adults and we are ready to actively contribute to this thing we call the “real world”.

As we all sit in a row beneath the crowd in a pitted gymnasium, with our fellow classmates for the last time, we remember just how far we have all come. We begin to reminisce on all of the late night study sessions consumed with cramming, caffeine induced highs, and the stress of procrastination that could cause even the best of us to have a break down. We think about the last few tests that we have taken, the last walks across campus, the teachers we loved and hated, the class we looked forward to and the ones were barely passed, and the faces that turned into friends over the years. In this moment, on this day, you remember exactly way you came to college – to get that paper (both figuratively and literally)!

On Graduation day we bask in the excitement and pride of your family members and friends. We remember the nostalgia of our college days – memories that were made, and the sentiments of memories that are more of a blur (we all know how wild college can get). As the day continues we happily accept and engage in congratulatory gifts and celebrations. This is the day we say good bye to our past, while simultaneously welcoming our future.

So for all of my graduates remember, on this day, YOU CELEBRATE!

**Day 2 – (The day after Graduation, 5/8/2016):

Day 2 is comparable to a hangover, plain and simple.You wake up to remnants of pleasure and joy, yet you are still trying figure out what exactly took place. Of course you can conclude that you conquered what once felt like an unconquerable milestone, however you are still unsure of the details and the acts that took place. On this day you rest assured knowing that the task was completed, and the mission accomplished.

Although the hype has settled and you have returned home, your journey is still alive. All of you dreams and aspirations now finally seem attainable. Your dream home is now within eyesight, and you dream car is almost touchable. The vision for your life no longer seems like a hallucination, but a clear portrait of your future.Your time has come.

During this time your work and time spent at the University of Preparation seems to be the most significant. You relish in accomplishments and feats gained over your time in college.You own the good times and the bad times, because in the end you came out on top. In this moment YOU are the most valuable player, you are untouchable.

Today Graduates, soak it all in, and always remember to DREAM!

**Day 3 – (Post-Graduation, 5/9-5/11/2016):

You did Graduate! That’s right, YOU!

On these days the self-affirmations continue to flow, but just a little slower. You have completely acknowledged and accepted that this the place that you are in (a graduate) and the social location you have acquired, a marketable young adult – who has the the world at his/her feet. You are now a millennial who has acquired a Bachelor’s degree, who just happens to be unemployed and a little unsure about life.

Confusion begins to sink in, because you have been prepping for this moment for so long – yet, you realize you just may not be as prepared as you may have thought. At this point though, you cannot help but to harp on the fact that you CAN indeed do anything, and the possibilities are endless.

On this day graduates, uncertainty may persist but know – THE WORLD IS YOURS.

**Day 4- (The Reality of Graduation, 5/12-5/15/2016):

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to talk about this thing we call LIFE.

At this point all the glamour and radiance that once surrounded this wonderful idea of ‘graduation’ has seemed to subside, although it will shine through once again. Reality begins to kick in, and quite frankly $%^* gets real. You begin to realize just where you stand, that is, an unemployed, slightly intimidated, unsure, young adult. Oh how quickly the tables begin to turn.

You realize that these dreams and aspirations that you have longed for require a little bit more than that all too symbolic piece of paper. You realize that college was literally just the beginning. At this point you do not know really where to go, or what move to make next – sure, you can apply and get a job, you can further your education, you can get internships, and even explore the world. However, there is this cloud of doubt and question that seems to succumb you. The real questions that seem so prevalent are: “What do I want to do?”, “What can I do?”, and “Is it the right move?”

Graduate, today you will worry and that’s OK. Every writer worries as they begin to write their stories.

**Day 5 – (Pending, this story is still being written, 5/16 – ???)

As you begin to sift through these questions you will begin to realize that there is no wrong answer as long as you are honest and pure in your search. There is no illegitimate act of response, regardless of what people may tell you about your dreams and path. This is your story and your journey. Life is not some straight narrow path, but one with various twists and turns. Lucky for you, you can opt to take any one you wish or you can create a new one.

As a recent graduate this is my story, my experiences, and my thoughts. I hope I have in so way comforted and encouraged all graduates and upcoming graduates alike. If you take nothing else away from this story, understand that you are not alone on this journey.

– As Told by HER, Hailey Elise

Be sure to check out our YouTube vlog!

“Thoughtful Thursday: Graduation Series”