I didn’t realize until I was at college that masturbation and strong sexual desire is a normal attribute of nearly every healthy person. My high school years were spent thinking that I was a deviant freak. Those years were counted in weeks that followed the shame cycle; dreading the coming of Sunday when I’d have to bless the sacrament; furiously the praying to God late on Saturday nights to forgive me this one last time; imagining Angel’s in the rafters of the chapel scowling angrily at me as the sacrament being passed out to the congregation had been poisoned by my sinning hands.
Sometimes I could abstain for a whole week, maybe two, and pretend to break one of the many flaxen cords around my neck, but alas, being the “freak” that I was, I would eventually lose the battle. After succumbing to my evil desires, I remember sitting in the dark on the edge of my bed physically pantomiming the action of placing a loop of “flaxen cord” around my neck, imagining Satan himself holding the other end, pulling me away into the darkness. Life was grey.
The joy I had known when I was a child was sucked away. 24 hours a day of self-hatred, a crushing feeling of unworthiness wherever I went. The thought definitely crossed my mind more than once that it would probably just be easier to end it all, there was no way I was getting to heaven anyway.
This all came to a head every bishops interview. The feeling of sheer dread during the weeks before. I can say that my Bishop was a good man, only acting according to the system that he was a part of. But those interviews were so deeply traumatizing. I remember uncontrollable tears , having to describe to him what, when and how. I imagined God, angels and dead family members behind him, judgingly listening to every humiliating detail. In that moment I just wanted to die. After it was over, the cycle would begin all over again.
The damage caused by this trauma has stayed with me throughout adulthood. Deep subconscious sexual issues that I’m still working through today. NO young person, or any person for that matter, should have to be shamed for being a normal, healthy human being. This has to stop now.