I am Tara Thomas and I am the office assistant at Pure and Simple Truth for Youth, Inc., as well as social media manager, podcast host, and now blog writer. In this post, I will share my overall journey in life. As the months pass, I plan on writing more details about different situations that happen in my life.
I turned 20 years old this month and have been a part of Pure and Simple for just over a year now. In that year, I have learned and grown a ton in exactly the areas that we talk about at our retreats: identity as a whole person and child of God, the importance of healthy relationships and how to have them, and how to tackle temptations against my sexual integrity.
I first joined because I have struggled heavily with sexual integrity in my life. As far as I knew, before joining the team, that’s what Pure and Simple was all about: combatting the growing consumption of pornography in youth and recognizing that there’s more to life than sexual desires. When I went to training, I was given a ton of information that I had already learned while at my local Catholic high school. But I also learned that there was more to Pure and Simple than that… much of which I was still working on learning myself.
The first talk I gave at a retreat for middle schoolers was on healthy relationships and all I really talked about was the lack of them in my life. It started with bullying in middle school and not having close friends who I could talk to about my depression and so many other things that had reared their ugly heads due to my experience of being bullied. Then I talked about my friend group from the first two years of high school – it was incredibly toxic and the entire group had the mindset of use. I also mentioned experiences of my ex boyfriend from freshman year because our relationship was full of infatuation and manipulation until I learned how to get out of it without guilt. Then I finished with how I started to learn what good friendship was my junior and senior year of high school, and how I was still learning.
After giving that first talk, I was finally ready to give the sexual integrity talk. My struggle with sexual integrity was so intertwined with everything else I had experienced up until that point in my life – and honestly, even now. It included the same timeline, I just had a different focus.
I started really enjoying Pure and Simple because after the retreats, the kids had the opportunity to talk with the team and they actually approached me to ask questions. The number of times I have heard middle school girls tell me “I’ve never told anyone this, but…” reassures me that I am doing what needs to be done by being a part of this organization. Young girls deserve to hear that they aren’t the only ones with these struggles and that there is hope.
It was about five months into being a part of the team that I finally gave the identity talk. This was such a rough patch in my life. I was losing sight of my identity – the same thing that I was supposed to be giving a talk and guiding young girls to find. I had no clue who I was and I was going to be talking about it at the school I grew up in.
It took quite a bit of time but eventually my view of myself shifted from seeing my value determined by what I do to a beloved daughter of God. I’m still learning a lot of these things, but that’s okay. Life is a journey and sharing the ride to help as many as possible is what makes it worth it for me. I hope you will come along for the ride. You can subscribe to our blog to get notifications when we post!