I think back on all the baggage I was holding on to prior to 2019. Life felt heavy. I felt weighed down and I now realize some of the weight I was carrying didn’t belong to me. It’s time to give it back to the people I was trying to save that never asked me to save them.
A lot happened between 2013 – 2015. So many family and church friends disowned me for posting bodybuilding competition photos. I was living in fear of disappointing God and so many women I respected who told me I was “tempting others to sin”. These women inboxed and called to tell me they showed my private Facebook page to their husbands and teenaged sons who were not my Facebook friends just to get their opinions… I was stalked by a new convert who found my number in his wife’s bible and then bullied from the pulpit with scriptures and “God’s word”. I said something to the church leadership and very little was done to protect me. Some of the people who shamed me said it was because I was revealing too much skin on Facebook.
Let’s talk about this flawed logic… First of all, when you go through something traumatic you search for answers to make sense of it… I’m so glad I have the language and education around rape culture to think critically about my situations. Those who took my photos from the Internet, carried them around in their phones and took it a step further by showing someone else my photos that you believed were inappropriate and indecent, actively participated in sexual exploitation. I was not the problem. My teeny bikini was not the problem. I was drinking my water, lifting weights and minding the business that pays me (fitness blogging). Not addressing men’s inappropriate language and behavior was and still is the problem. Until that’s done in the pulpit, church folk will continue to blame women for their own sexual violence… That’s called gas-lighting! And I’m not here for it.
Second, It took me 33 years, but I now know better about how God’s love works. You can’t tell me about my relationship with my father. He knows me and He knows my heart. His love for me is unconditional and he will never throw me away like so many others have.
Third, I inspired you, but you used religion as an excuse to shame me so you could feel better about not being who you wanted to be. That’s not my baggage! And I am returning it all to sender.
Follow me for more… This is an introduction to my story. I’ll be unpacking it all on the #mamietaughtme blog in new series called Unpacking Religion, Relationships and Rape Culture for Women’s History Month.
Send me your questions. I’ll answer them in my posts and FB Lives.
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