catherine_connors

Catherine Connors
AGE: 18
STORY: I was freshly moved away from home, and dating an ‘older’ boy – twenty – who I had met in a theater group. He had just decided to passionately re-embrace his Catholic roots. He didn’t think that I was virtuous-slash-pious enough, and I (still a virgin, though well-closeted as such) was struggling with how to be a grown-up and how to follow my heart and still be “good enough” for this guy, all at once. I was working out my story, what to say to him, and then lost my own thread when it came to making statements about sexuality and sacrifice. I had no idea what I was talking about.

It embarrasses me – deeply – to read this again. But I’m proud to say this: I never slept with this guy, and not because of some misguided idea of pious sacrifice. I’d moved on and forgotten him by that summer.

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TEXT:

I will give you this.

I open myself to you. I tell you exactly what I feel, knowing that in all likelihood you will still just walk away, just so that you will know, and so that I, finally, will have sacrificed my pride for the sake of honesty. And even though you stand there with a knife with which to pierce my heart, I am not afraid, and venture to say that it would be a valuable wound, because it would not be borne of lies or manipulation. It would be a valuable wound.

I love you. I’m not sure why, simply I love you and am glad that I have experienced you. You haven’t tutored me, you haven’t guided me – you did bring some things to light, you triggered long forgotten musings, ideas. You showed me things. I don’t perceive you as stronger than me – I see you as older, more learned, mature. I don’t see you as a mentor, teacher. You are no better than I am.

I love you, and what I want is for us to try.

I know that on my own I can sacrifice sex, turn my back on temptation. Very easy to do. I ask for God’s forgiveness for my past transgressions and I go forward and sin no more. But it becomes twice as valuable if it is not only for myself and God, but also a sacrifice for someone important to me. It is very easy to embrace celibacy when you have no-one to spurn it with – not so easy when you are with someone.

I wonder how many people there are out there who will not have, or give up, sex before marriage.

Come to a live reading in Los Angeles @ L.A. Angst, in Brooklyn @ Cringe or in Seattle @ Salon of Shame! Want to send in your angst? Email me.

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8 Comments

  1. First reaction: Woah! I came across this before I saw Leahpeah’s explanation.

    Now reaction: Awww…. it does make me cringe, but not because it’s anything I (ahem) might not have written myself at 18. But because it *IS*. And now I am feeling all embarrassed and nekked all over, even though *I didn’t even write this!* How in God’s good name do you people do this together in public??? Do you all climb under your chairs or something? Egads, I need a strong drink now and there’s not even anyone else in the room.

    Courage, Catherine. Courage. And put that thing away before someone else reads it! šŸ™‚

  2. Catherine here. I’ve never published this before – hell, no. It makes me cringe in the deepest way – but’s that why I decided to pull it out and put it out there. It’s me testing my wings as a diarist – I wrote it at the time in my life when I first became self-conscious of myself as a writer, as someone whose words *might* be published – and it’s about as honest as one can get.

    But yeah – I’ve not yet linked to it from my website because I’m not sure that I want it fully exposed, especially to readers who have come to know me through my writing *there*, which is far less cringe-inducing.

    A million thanks, Leah, for letting me sprawl, naked, across your virtual page. xox

  3. I’ve recently moved and found in boxes old journals from high school. It’s only been about 6 years since I graduated, but OH MY the person in those journals makes me laugh and cringe and feel all sorts of other things. My husband had to tell me to quit reading the ‘teen angst’ and get to unpacking. He understood my penchant for reading them though when I read him an entry. If I lived closer to LA (or one of the other spots) I would totally read something. The funniest part about looking at my old journals is every single time I wrote I thought whatever was going on was the end of the world and I treated it as such. Sometimes I’d just like to go back and hug that girl and tell her it’s fine.

  4. C, you’re so brave. Not just to have published your heartfelt writings, but to have kept them.

    I clearly remember shredding my journals one afternoon in 2000. I packed the shreds into plastic grocery bags and went on a business trip where I deposited those bags in an airport lavatory garbage can during a layover.

    I’m still glad they’re gone, but I wish I weren’t so ashamed of my youthful dramatics.

  5. Ugh – this is why approximately one hundred years ago Bossy stood in the Incinerator Room of her childhood apartment building and sent all her journals down the fiery shoot.

    It’s fun to read someone else’s angst though.

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