“But I thought celibacy was just….” 

There is often this…sense of being out of step with the world. Yet other times I feel I’m striding along with everyone at the same pace. But, eventually I swerve off the path and head out into the woods or mountains to see the world on my own. There is a choice I’d made which has been long held choice in it’s eighth year heading into the ninth year which causes confusion in others.

      It’s a simple seeming word. Celibacy. 

      Most will tout their belief that it is merely the absence of sex. I would argue it is a much more complicated choice. Kind of like ‘going vegetarian”. There are all types of vegetarianism. There are those who refrain from beef or pork only yet still eat chicken and fish. Or those who will do dairy and eggs yet no meat or fish at all. Some even go towards a path where they eat dairy and fruit and grains yet no vegetables. It’s all in what works for the individual. 

     Absence of sex. This would imply you simply don’t have sex with another person. Most people seem to take this to mean a heterosexual relationship and leave no room for anything else. There is celibacy from men, or celibacy from women, yet the person still has sex with people the same sex as themselves. There are those who only believe in self sex and do not have sex with another person. There are also those who will have strong romantic relationships yet not include sexual contact. Then, there are those who will allow themselves all types of sexual contact yet do not have intercourse. All of these are celibacy. None of them should ever be met with derision or shame by others. 

      As with anything else in life nothing about celibacy is simple. Would quickly kissing someone steer you out of celibacy? No. Unless this is a ‘rule’ within your world of celibacy where a quick kiss would be breaking a rule. Then and only then do you seek to get back onto the personal path of celibacy.

     For me it became a path of no longer having the huge distraction in my life. It was something which was not going to happen to begin with. There are many private reasons for this, none of them open for discussion with anyone. The distraction finally faded into the horizon and along with it entered a wonderful silence. One where I could concentrate on myself and not worry constantly about another person. My life had been full of the thoughts for others. Even to the point I’d entered career fields which were all about a constant message of ‘give your all to others’. As a mother, a wife this was already in my day to day wiring. It seemed simple yet I’d forgotten a simple fact. I still had to give and give to my family after I was off shifts. 

      All I did for over a quarter of a century now, was to give to others. To the point I was drained, my life was draining away to the point I felt dead inside. I had nothing left to give to anyone, especially not myself. I stopped seeking out relationships of any kind. I worked, came home, gave to family, then went back to work again. An endless circle. 

      Celibacy gave me back to me. It’s allowed me to refocus and explore to find out how to define myself. Brain injury brought me to a sudden stop and the four years afterward were filled with trying to discover a way back to myself. I’d lost everything of who I’d been and began to stubbornly refuse to let go of my goal. I kept to towards the path of healing and moving forward in order to become a better me after brain injury.

      I can now look into the mirror and begin to see a woman I finally recognize most days as me. I have gotten to know her now and better yet? I have come to respect her. This had always been my goal. It is one which has been worth the very difficult fight to win. 

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