Today I spent my lunch period skipping class. I know, I know. I’m ‘bad’. Shame on me, blah blah blah. I don’t regret it. Anyway, my friends and I were helping to sell wristbands and cranes for Japanese club. They’re selling them to help Japan. It’s a great cause and I wanted to show support for this cause. And so commenced my awkwardness. I yelled out to people. I called people over to our booth, people I’d never met nor saw before. I called them by t-shirt color, by the jeans they wore-anything. I used an auctioneer voice. I told people that I loved them. At one part I told a guy that he could “buy a crane for your sweet heart…or your boytoy. Whatever floats your boat.” All these things embarassed my friends. I was the loud drunk friend in a bar who keeps yelling, “You know what? I love guys! You’re so cool. Let’s hang out more.” to everyone he’s just met.
My friend Tia was participating in the Day of Silence (She wrote her blog entry on the subject and why she supports the gays here) , in honor of LGBT people. We joked that had she been able to talk, she could have stopped me. Anyway, I began with this story because I wanted to talk about the Day of Silence (and also share how much I make my friends embarassed. It’s quite a gift I have). It’s a day that’s meant to point out the lack of a voice that many lesbian, gay and bisexuals have. We exclude them. We bully them. We restrict their right to love. The Day of Silence is one of those things that’s there to point this out. It’s there to point out just how intolerant we can be. It’s a shock and awe campaign at heart, something there to make people ask “Why aren’t you talking?” and go “Oh, I didn’t know that was happening.” It makes people think.
Tia said, “I want to coexist with the people of the world. I don’t have to always like or support them, I just have to live my life and stop trying to interfere in their way of life. If you want to be against homosexuals, fine, you don’t have to support the idea, you just have to let them live their lives and receive all the benefits of being citizens of the United States of America. It just irks me when people refuse to get along. I could argue for hours about it, and get really upset because I can’t help but think what if it were me?” in her blog post about the subject. The last part really makes you think. What if it were you? What if it were you that was being harassed? You would care.
Sexuality doesn’t define us. Our personalities do. Our choices do. Sexuality is neither good nor evil. And I really do believe that it’s genetic to a point. I mean, do you really think that in this intolerant society that someone would choose to be gay? You think they’d choose to be gay in a society where they wouldn’t even be able to marry their lover, where they would be discriminated against, harassed, bullied? They’re told that God hates them, that they’re going to Hell. Who would choose that? What person in their right minds goes “Yep, that’s the life I want.” Sexuality is something deeply ingrained in a person. It is unchangeable. We need to understand this if we’re to better ourselves as people.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about sex. I know, awkward subject, Savanna. How dare you speak of that? But that’s my point exactly: why is sex so awkward? We view sex as both this forbidden thing, this sacred thing that must be shared with one you love, that must be kept until marriage and yet this thing that we do with friends and call it “benefits”, that we sing about in vulgar songs, that has become so casual. How can sex be both casual and sacred?
I know that it’s religion that makes many people view sex as sacred. I remember a conversation I had with my best friend. She told me that she planned to save herself for marriage because it was a tribute to God. I was doubtful that she could do it. I gave a speech which came down to me saying that, in this day and age, it’s harder to save yourself for marriage and that it’s not as important to people. We’ve got peer pressure, we’ve got the media. It’s much harder for a sixteen year old girl to say, “Well, I’ll wait until I’m married.” when she probably won’t get married until she’s almost thirty. In the ‘olden’ days, girls were married off much younger…they had sex much younger. There wasn’t all this hullabaloo about having boyfriends first and then working your way up to mister right.
I’m all for the right to make your own decisions in relation to your sexuality. If you want to save yourself, go ahead. It’s your choice. What I’m pointing out is that it’s extremely hard to do in this day and age. The Christian establishment puts all this blame on girls that have lost their virginity though. They’re ‘impure’ and must be born again as virgins. Since when did being a non-virgin make you automatically evil? Is this the mysterious 11th Commandment that Moses forgot to etch into stone? Your sex life is exactly that: your sex life. Save yourself if you want to but if you find someone that you love, if you find someone that you want to intimately be with then do it! Don’t let people tell you that it’s wrong, that you’ve committed a spiritual crime.
I’m of the impression that God as amazing as he is, doesn’t really care whether or not your hymen is intact, girls. God is forgiving. God is loving. We shouldn’t make him out to be this overbearing figure that is prejudiced and unrelenting. Although I believe in the bible, I realize that it was written by men who were living in a time of different standards. And I believe that they put some of their ideas that were shaped by these standards in the bible. I mean, for God’s sake, some of the books of the bible are letters. Yes, they’re letters from prophets but they’re still letters. This isn’t God directly speaking to us.
My idea of God is shaped by what I’ve seen in life, what I’ve read in the bible and of what I instinctively know to be true. I suppose I’m getting a little anti-religion but I do believe that organized religions can sometimes restrict our spirituality. And back to the topic of this post, it can restrict our sexuality. I mean, if God didn’t want us to enjoy ourselves a bit, why would sex feel good? Don’t be a slut but enjoy yourself a bit. Do what you want!
Now, for the casual side of sex. Sex has always been to me something that you do with a person that you love. That’s just my opinion of it. I mean, I think that casual sex is, if you want to do it, fine. It’s just making sure that you’re ‘safe’ and not becoming a complete slut that people need to remember. But once again, sex was made to be enjoyed. I do think that our society has become too focused on sex though. We’ve had these sexual revolutions. Sex has become more casual. It’s everywhere in the media. We’re all encouraged to be these raging nymphomaniacs. Just like with religion, don’t let the media control your sexuality. If you want to wait, wait. If you don’t, don’t. Just don’t let anyone else decide for you.
Cherub-shaped girl, growing into
Woman and Crone. Creation more
Serene than the CRACK! of plates
shifting angrily beneath all, forming
mountain and volcano from chaos.
as a Girl, running wild
in an eternal summer, cuddling
a tattered and loved bear,
She sucks a thumb that
still tastes of dirt and
adventure. Laughter as She caught
a frog by the creek,
how it wriggled through her
fingers and bounced away. Licking
sticky sweet syrup from her fingers.
in Adolescence, She finds warmth
in four eyes connecting, crinkling
in wry smiles, shy kisses
on the porch, embraces in
the dark, togetherness in legs,
tongues and hands moving to
a primal beat as they
danced around the fire of
their passion. And when winter
came, dimming the sun, twisting
vines came to annihilate the
red-brick walls of the
dream they’d hidden themselves in.
She found the emptiness of
sorrow – red-rimmed eyes accusing
all, wailing in the night,
unfiltered despair as potent as arsenic.
in Womanhood, She learned joy-
mouth opening wide as tinkling
laughter spills out, a disease
to all that hear it.
She learns to love kneading
dough, dressed in a cloak
of flour, knitting thick woolen
sweaters, digging up turnips, coaxing
life out of the earth, to
love the man who wears
the mangled red sweater and
eats handfuls of burnt bread,
professing that it’s his favorite.
He slips an arm around
her waist and they dance
to a symphony heard only by their ears.
Motherhood begins with spring, bringing
two fetuses, floating idly in
her lifeblood. She hums as
she runs fingers over the
enlarged belly, baffled by creation.
Time comes to her dressed
in a soft breeze, tickling
her cheek as she slumbers,
bringing two girls – one soft-spoken,
the other tall and proud.
summer colored days pass, full of love.
She embraces Old Age. Back grows
crooked and formerly limber parts
ache. Wrinkles form in the
soft skin, etched into the
body like tattoos of time.
the end comes,
like decaying roses-red-in
an autumn wasteland. There
is a soft whisper of
a breath, exhaled, then gone into the air.
Lately I’ve been enamoured with the concept of penpals.
The idea of writing to another person, miles and sometimes oceans away is so romantic to me. I love blogging but there isn’t the intimacy of handwritten letters, of longing to get a new letter and the thrill of finally getting it in the mail. It’s beautiful. A lot of people just don’t understand that. They get an email and it fulfills them. For me, I want something different. I want something personal.
My first penpal was in second grade. I think her name was Tara-something like that. We grew into good friends, although we’d originally been forced to write each other. We promised to write each other after school ended. She never wrote me back. Maybe that wasn’t the best experience but it did get me hooked on penpals. I’d scour the internet for penpal sites when I was ten. Of course, I could never join any of these communities because my mother was convinced that forty year old men with handlebar mustaches and white vans were just waiting for a pretty young thing like me to write. And so I didn’t write.
Finally, with my teenage discovery of livejournal (and also, coincidentally, teenage angst) I found penpal communities. I wrote little “about me”‘s and emailed back and forth with a few but none really came to anything. Even now, I’m only on my second letter. But still, it’s the thrill and joy of sending and receiving. I’ve three penpals now. They’re all quite darling. They’re all also older than me. Apparently teenagers of my generation either do not like me or don’t frequent the penpal communities I do.
Penpalling is something I do to feel close to other people, to bridge the gap between worlds. Instead of IMing someone, there’s a personality to it, a distinct quality that comes with each letter. There’s the stationary, the stickers, the drawings and the mixtapes. You can’t do this things with an email, with a text. So even as my generation abandons traditonal forms of communication, I’ll hold on to the someday barbaric act of sending a letter.