In Defense Of Celibacy

Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

I am terrible with boundaries. I meet a woman, I like them, I begin to feel positive feelings and I become an open book — writing the most heartfelt love poetry, giving away my social security number, my grocery money and my winter coat. Up until recently, I always sort of viewed this as a quirky, perhaps slightly humorous part of my personality. Had I been forced to scrutinize it deeper, it wouldn’t be long before I’d realize it sprung from a need for connection and love. As I said, however, recent events have caused me to look at it with quite a bit more seriousness.

If I have learned anything in the past few weeks, it is that staying single and celibate is not just a wise decision — it is what absolutely needs to happen for my own self-preservation. Initially, my thinking was that I should steer clear of entanglements, so I can concentrate on very important projects that need my attention right now. It’s deeper than that, though.

I never really used to fear strangers before. I walked through life with this carefree attitude that everyone was inherently good-natured and does not want anything but the best for us. This is not necessarily true. There are people in this world — and I hate to have to face this fact — that will irreparably hurt us if they are given the slightest opportunity. As I mentioned, I hate to have to even think about this. It impinges on my positivity; however, there is a fine line between positivity and stupidity. I crossed that line this past month.

I used to cringe at the thought of voluntary celibacy. Now, it seems like the only path available to me. Opening myself to any more strangers is no longer an option. I laid in bed this morning before the alarm went off and ran through every possible scenario that could’ve happened with my last encounter. Everything about my life could’ve been destroyed if one or two events went down differently. It is only through sheer dumb luck that it didn’t.

It feels incredible to accomplish things — but never having accomplished so much before, I was ill prepared for how solemnly I need to protect myself right now. There’s a Bob Dylan line that goes, “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” That is also true in reverse. My days of having nothing to lose have ended. It’s a joyous occasion, but it is also time for me to radically change old ingrained patterns and behaviors before I find myself in a horrific set of circumstances that I will not be able to reconcile or escape.

Not only that, but it will be interesting to observe how I navigate the world without that incessant inner pull always being allowed to drive the bus. I am guessing that it will net me the inner peace and joy that remained so elusive in the never-ending search for everything that existed outside of myself.

In Defense Of Celibacy was originally published in P.S. I Love You on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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