Purity culture slut-shame blues: Everything I know about sex I learned from Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan was back in the news again recently for finally accepted his Nobel Prize. And it seemed like a good time to share an article I wrote about Dylan, sex, and growing up evangelical. Hope you enjoy. 

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I was 10 years old when I sat through my first abstinence series at church. My parents had discussed its age-appropriateness, but had decided that my relative youth was a good thing. It meant my first introduction to sex would come within the safe, godly confines of our church. So I sat in the church sanctuary dutifully every week as various pastors took turns stressing the dangers of things like necking. I didn’t have any idea what necking was, but I made a mental note to avoid it.

Those first lessons in abstinence were downright confusing. I wondered why the French apparently kissed differently than Americans, and why their methods would be so much more provocative and potentially sin-inducing. [Continue reading over at Salon]


I’m happy for you. But I won’t attend your baby shower.

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Well, I accomplished my #1 publication goal for 2017: The Washington Post. This is a personal piece about the grief of being child-free (but not by choice) during a life stage when pregnancy announcements and baby shower invitations are everywhere.

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Finding out a friend is pregnant with her first child immediately puts a damper on our friendship. It makes regular visits and updates emotionally draining and painful.

I want a child so badly that sometimes it physically hurts. But because of health risks, a biological child will never be an option, and adoption isn’t currently in the cards. I’m child-free for the foreseeable future, but not by choice. There’s a lot of grief tied up in it. [Continue reading over at the Washington Post]


Turning 30 is nothing like I expected — but that’s okay

Rachel's Birthday

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My 30th birthday was earlier this month, and the article I wrote while on the verge of  leaving my 20s is now live on HelloGiggles and I wanted to share it with all of you. (Spoiler: I’ve been 30 for nearly a month now, and it’s not nearly as bad at the anticipation.)

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In less than a week, I’m crashing headlong into a landmark birthday: the big 3-0. Throughout my 20s, I expected that turning 30 would mean I’d finally found my place in the wild world of adulthood. But instead of making me feel like I’m about to become a legitimized grown up, turning 30 has left me wondering if I’m failing at adulthood altogether. [Continue reading on HelloGiggles]



Creed

I believe in Something and More.
Some call it the Divine or Magic.
Others call it the Great Unknown—
the mysteries, future discoveries
in the cosmos or a single flower.
But I call it Beauty and Wonder.


Resolved: A No-Diet New Year Starts Now

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I’m excited (and a little nervous) to share my very first published piece of 2017. Hope you enjoy, and happy new year!

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“I’ve noticed you’ve gained a little weight,” Mom said as we sat in the car. I was 11 years old and my body was just beginning to hint at hips. She reached over, tugging on the new roll of stomach fat that was hiding under my t-shirt. “Getting a little pudgy,” she teased.

I’d been too busy feeling awkward that I was morphing into what adults called “busty” to specifically zero in on what my stomach had been up to — no good, as it turned out.

[Continue reading over at Salon]


Halfway Out of the Dark: Thoughts on Yule

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“This little light of mine,” I sang at the top of my lungs in children’s Sunday school, “I’m gonna let it shine!” The room full of preschoolers held up their pointer fingers as if they were reenacting a candlelight vigil.

“Hide it under a bushel?” we sang as we cupped a hand over our little lights. “NO!” would be the thunderous response, “I’m going to let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!”

I heard a lot about light growing up. I was taught God was light and that Jesus was the light to the world. Light embodied goodness, the divine, and power. “The light is more powerful than darkness,” the senior pastor liked to say. “When you flip a light switch, the darkness vanishes.” It didn’t come slinking back for another round after it’d put some mixed veggies from the freezer on its eye. Light prevailed, instantly. Darkness didn’t even stand a chance. Providing that lightbulb keeps working, you’ll be darkness-free.

Electricity was a common working metaphor for light, but I think it played a part in us missing why the metaphor for light would have been meaningful to the original writers and readers of the bible. They didn’t have electricity. They couldn’t just flip a switch. Light was important because they knew what darkness truly was.

Sometimes there isn’t a light switch to banish darkness with a single command. Sometimes there is no light. Sometimes things are just dark. And darkness can be terrifying. Read More