Four Pillows

I could but I can’t. He offers but I shouldn’t take him up on it. I have a hard stop rule: no one comes over after the evening news goes off. Celibacy is hard as f*ck.

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I could but I can’t. He offers but I shouldn’t take him up on it. I have a hard stop rule: no one comes over after the evening news goes off. We could talk on the phone, take it all the way back to tenth grade. “You hang up” “No, you hang up.” Nothing he wants is child’s play. I have to stand my ground as much as I can even though it would be nice to have that conversation in person. That’s the lie you always tell yourself: you can keep boundaries as long as you don’t cross that boundary. Go there but not there.

I have work in the morning, he doesn’t care. He asks if he can stay the night. He can leave for work from my place. I ghost the conversation, overwhelmed by the request and what my head and heart desire. I roll over to sleep — and try to suppress the desires, clutching the four massive pillows on my bed. My right leg drapes over the largest of the four as if I’m holding on for dear life. If these pillows aren’t there, if I didn’t have the Holy Spirit dropkicking me in the chest, if I didn’t have thoughts of failing myself and my journey, he’d be here. And those pillows would hit the floor since they’re barely room for two people in this full-size bed. A sacrifice would have to be made.

Celibacy is hard as f*ck. I practice it not because of what Scripture says about “sexual immorality” or Christian cultural standards or a fear of going to Hell. I practice it for my sanity; I once lived a life where sex was a salve for my bottom-feeding confidence and a coping mechanism after my Dad left earth. I practice celibacy because of Romans 7:15–25, because ‘what I want to do I don’t do but what I don’t want to do, I always do’. Because of false idolatry; actions can be idols. Because I don’t want to deal with dudes and their static. Because my conscious would eat me to smithereens. I’m not yet in a space where I’m okay with it.

You do a lot to not feel lonely. I felt lonely as a teenager who didn’t date. I felt lonely as a girl who grew into herself but still needed men to validate her existence to breathe. I coped with whoever I could because escapism is a gateway drug to a false sense of peace of mind.

I think sex to be a beautiful moment between two people who love and care about each other, whatever love and care means. I just know that I never had that in the ten or so years it’s been a part of my life. I’ve seen the worst of what happens when someone treats you as a sexual receptacle. I realized this year that I always though sex to be transactional. Oh, you spend time with me? I owe you sex. You act like you know me in public? I owe you sex. You show a smidgen of interest in me? I owe you sex. It was never for enjoyment, it was always payment. Payment for time spent and hours away from doing something important because surely I wasn’t important to any of these men I messed with.

Doesn’t take away those feelings that sexual desire equal attention and when I’m in desperate need of attention, affection and affirmation — alone in my room and my thoughts — I crave for what it would feel like to get that 1 AM phone call asking to come over because he needs to “see what’s good with me.” He’s had thoughts and ideas about how the sex could be. He’s seen me walk, he needs to know if the “ride game good.” I want to fulfill his request but I can’t.

My first years of celibacy were declarative. I did a lot of phone and cam sex with men I barely knew, traded pics for vids on Tumblr. Whatever I could do to fulfill the desire and angst within me when I first moved to a city that I barely knew. I wanted to meet up with people but got too scared. I didn’t want to rip off the scabs off the past, it would have been too painful. I also carried a lot of guilt about sleeping with someone. I still do. Sex is not healthy for me and may not ever will be. I’m still grieving about that.

Because I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a point where sex will be mutual and beneficial. I’m pretty confident with knowing that it may never happen again. Feels weird to put sex in a coffin but I know this time in my life doesn’t have time for it and that’s okay. That doesn’t stop the inquisitions and the aches to fulfill those requests — his and mine.

I could let him come over. We could do some but not all of what we both want to do. But could I wake up that next morning in peace with what I’ve done? I remember the last time the Holy Spirit had to save me from myself. It wasn’t pretty.

This is my attempt to write every day for the month of July. To keep up, follow the hashtag #wedj2019!

Memoirist in spirit and in truth. Christian essayist when both the spirit and truth move me. email: crjtwrites[at]gmail.com

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