Friday, December 16, 2016

Mental and Emotional Purity

Many people (who have excellent taste in films and shows) have been raving about The Crown on Netflix so, naturally, I wanted to watch it. I have Netflix for a couple more days (I got it for a month) and have been attempting to add it to my queue but it never showed up. I wondered why I kept adding it without success. I thought it was a glitch on Netflix's end until I tried to watch it on my laptop as opposed to my TV (which is hooked to Roku and allows me to watch Netflix, Feeln, EWTN, etc). So, what was the reason? The Crown is rated TV-MA. TV-MA and rated R films are purposely blocked because I simply do not feel comfortable watching sex scenes and nakedness. A couple people on my Twitter feed said "oh, it's just the actor's naked backside for a scene or two" like it wasn't a big deal. I'm sure it isn't to them but it is to me.

I've already written about how I'm proud to be a "prude" (5 years ago) and even expanded on why I choose to forgo watching films, t.v. shows, and reading books that have sex scenes in a post earlier this year. For the tl;dr crowd: I have an active and vivid imagination that does not to have those images replaying in my mind, which I'll later have to go to confession for. I'm also terribly uncomfortable with it. Yes, sex is a beautiful and natural part of married life but I'm not comfortable with those images, either visually or mentally. Even though they are characters and actors paid to do their jobs, it feels like an invasion of privacy on an intimate moment meant for two people. I've gotten comments about how "ridiculous" I am for "being this way" but I don't care. If I'm not comfortable with something, I'm going to avoid it. I know myself better than anyone else does and I know where my weaknesses are. There's a reason why I threw away my Meg Cabot books earlier this year and why I'm going to end this year with another music purge like I did 3 years ago.

Let's go beyond sex scenes. We women tend to be emotional creatures by nature. Hallmark movies and chick lit give us unrealistic expectations about love and romance. They make us feel all warm and fuzzy. When you're a single woman, it's so easy to fall into the temptation to think "wow, I wish I could have that..." Yes, I can now watch Hallmark movies and not think that life is going to be like that because, well, it's not. It's easier now but, oh, it wasn't always easy for me to separate between the two.

If you can watch these things and are not as sensitive to them as I am, power to you. I'm not here to shame anyone who can watch or read these things and not have them affect them. I, unfortunately, cannot claim the same so I do what I have to do to keep some mental and emotional purity. I know, I know. Some of you have an issue with the phrase "emotional purity" but I'm going to use it for one good reason: I struggled with it earlier this year.

During the summer, when I had an anemic spiritual life, there was a young man who (still is) lovely but was all wrong for me for several reasons. (side note: I should also remind everyone that I was emotionally fragile during this time so it wasn't the ideal time for this to happen though, looking back at it, I'm glad it did.) I was on an emotional high for quite some time, which hasn't been normal for me as an adult but it's something I was not unfamiliar with as a teenager while away from the Church. I felt things a lot more intensely then (think Marianne Dashwood as opposed to the Elinor Dashwood my friends are more use to these days) than I do now because I've learned to practice a lot of self-control and I've learned to not get carried away with my feelings or my imagination. I momentarily forgot that for a couple of weeks and it was unhealthy for me. I actually felt like a teenager and not the 31-year-old young woman that I am. All those ideas I got from books I read and movies I watched years ago came flooding back into my mind. "Wouldn't it be lovely if this happened...?" "Wouldn't it be romantic if...?" Does anyone see where I'm going with this and why I chose, years ago, to avoid things that could later be brought up in my mind when I'm having a moment of weakness? No, my thoughts didn't necessarily go there but they could've easily gone there if I hadn't exercised some degree of control (the little that I had at the time) over my imagination.

Yes, it's really dumb and I'm not proud of it but the evil one knows where my weaknesses lie. My emotions and my heart (hopeless romantic, party of one) are two of my biggest downfalls when I let my guard down. This young man, as lovely as he is, was a massive temptation to my emotional health. What I felt for him was so strong (or so it seemed; emotions can trip you up) that my imagination went into overdrive with romantic ideals. It's an INFP downfall; we're too idealistic and too prone to live in a fantasy world if we're not careful... and I wasn't for a while. Everything I worked hard to control over the years flew out the window. It didn't last too long, thank goodness.

I confided in those I feel closest to and I'm sure their prayers were what helped me get out of this ridiculous state of mind. I made the decision to nip it in the bud, as hard as it was. It took a couple of weeks but I was able to get out of that state of mind and back to normal. This happened months ago (during the summer) but I struggled with these thoughts again late last month through earlier this month when they resurfaced during the 54-day Rosary Novena I'm doing. However, this time I understood that it was because of the nature of one of my intentions for the novena so it was easier (time-wise) to overcome it.

So, you see, this is why I continue to be cautious and keep myself from watching things that can end up kicking my tush in the future. Yes, I'm uncomfortable watching sex scenes and naked people because it's how I was raised but I also know that it can be a weakness for me. I have a feeling there are more people like me out there but who are embarrassed to admit this (which was not easy for me to do). It is what it is. Know yourselves. Keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses. Don't ever be too comfortable with your own perceived power/abilities because temptation can be a lot stronger than you think. Evil doesn't take a day off. It will catch you off-guard. Prayer, remembering that you need God during these moments of weakness, and lots of moral support from people you trust are key during these times.

Alright, I think that's enough gut spillage for now. I'm going to go hide or something. lol. ;)

I hope y'all had a lovely work week and that you have a lovely weekend! :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


AnneMarie said...

Thank you for being so awesome and honest! I think you are so cool for recognizing things that could be points of weakness or temptation and avoiding them/rooting them out of your life.
And I get so irritated at nakedness in shows and movies. Nakedness is special, and I don't think it should be broadcast for others to see.

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - thank you for your lovely comment. It was one of the nicer ones I saw after this post went live. lol. And, yes! Agreed.

A Secular Franciscan said...

I too have been accused of being a prude - and even wrote a post about it ( - I also understand the issue of thoughts/memories/images coming back after watching things on television and in movies. It's one of ways the devil tempts me, so I try to avoid watching. But, sadly, I have too many years of such memories. One of the things I do is when something pops into my head I start repeating "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Hang in there. You are not alone!