• Ava Hoffman

Nitty Gritty

I want to safeguard this space well, so here we are – a whole piece full of expectations, boundaries, and definitions! I hope it can answer some of your questions, explain some things you might have already noticed, and assure you of the safety here❤


Definitions

First off, the whole of Taboo Talks is going to be a content warning (CW) and trigger warning (TW). That said, I will be faithful in labeling pieces and posts with the specific CW and TW it warrants. I do not want you to feel blindsided, friend.


The purpose of these is twofold. One, I want you to be emotionally and mentally prepared to engage. Two, I want you to feel safe. It allows you to skip it if your capacity can’t hold it.


For my unsure friends: Content Warning (CW) – potentially upsetting, offensive, or mentally exhausting material Trigger Warning (TW) – content relates to topics that may cause a trauma response


Following these abbreviations will be the symbol “//” and uncensored words or descriptions to give you, the reader, a heads up.


Content Warnings are more general. Material that is briefly mentioned or alluded to will fall into this area. Trigger Warnings will be given to material that is known to be trauma-related, cause PTS reactions, and/or material deemed to need reader consent.

These links are great resources, if you’re looking for more clarity. https://medium.com/@UntoNuggan/trigger-warnings-101-a-beginners-guide-e9fc90c6ba0a

https://www.selfdefined.app/content-warning-guidelines/

https://www.themix.org.uk/mental-health/looking-after-yourself/a-guide-to-content-and-trigger-warnings-37946.html

 

If you’ve been reading any of the Taboo Talk pieces, you may have noticed that there is a lot of Bible talk. There’s a reason for that! These pieces will all be written from a Biblical worldview, and there’s a couple definitions that form this.


Worldview – a framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world Biblical worldview – a view based on the infallible Word of God Infallible – absolutely trustworthy; unfailing; certain; exempt from error


So. For me to write from a Biblical worldview, I must hold certain beliefs. These include (but are not limited to): I believe in God. I believe all humans were created for His glory. I believe the Bible is true, and I believe psychology, archeology, biology, etc. support what it says. I believe in absolute truths, and I think the Bible is the only thing that defines those. I believe Jesus was born as a man, lived as a man, died as a man, and came back to life as a man. I also believe He never made a mistake! I believe God created the universe and all things in it. God redeems my life, and I do not have to earn it or prove myself. Evil is real. Satan is real. Hell is a real place. I believe it is my job and my joy to share my Jesus and our story with others. And I believe in the accuracy of the God-breathed Word.


We live out our worldviews in everyday decisions. That view we hold answers questions about where we come from, what is wrong with the world, and how we fix it.


I believe – and Taboo Talks – will reflect these questions and where I personally find the answers. I will incorporate other worldviews. We may even walk through them! As a research scientist, I routinely search out unbiased and reliable clinical research. There is much good in that, too!


All worldviews are welcome in this space! I am not threatened if you hold a different view – in fact, I welcome it! Your insights and unique questions will challenge me and those engaging in this space. It sharpens all involved and makes conversations richer.


These links have more information! https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/whats-a-christian-worldview/

https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-worldview.html

https://answersingenesis.org/the-word-of-god/what-is-a-biblical-worldview/

 

Final definition, and this one is particularly near and dear to my heart.

Image-bearer – any and all human beings as they reflect something of God’s nature and character


When God created the world, He also laid the bedrock of human identity. In this space, you will be viewed through His eyes and treated as one who reflects Him.


Beloved. Cherished. Flawlessly designed. Purposefully created and intentionally constructed. Adored. Seen. Heard. Loved. You are His favorite. Treasured. Full of dignity. Valuable. Worthy. Precious. Very good. You were forged in His imagination and formed in His hands.


This is true no matter what you believe. Even if you don’t know God, this is you. This is true no matter what you carry. Your baggage and past don’t define you.


You don’t have to believe any of this, friend. The important part is I believe this, and you can hold me accountable to it.


Here’s a couple links that go more in depth. https://www.gospelproject.com/bear-god-image/

https://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/imago-body.html


Expectations

1. Expect uncomfortable topics.

There’s a reason this space is called “Taboo Talks.” Our cultures like to deem certain topics “off-limits.” Not here. Here we will discuss the seemingly unacceptable, and that will feel weird. It might feel like we are crossing a sacred boundary line. That’s okay.


We’ve been conditioned to avoid these types of chats, trained to speak about them in hushed tones behind closed doors. Feeling squirmy when they hit close to home is okay – just because I wrote about a certain thing doesn’t mean I’m totally comfortable with it, either!


2. Expect to disagree with me.

Remember when I said that all worldviews are welcome here? Well, that means there are lots of things we are not going to agree about! Despite what mainstream media and socials present, it is possible and good to have honest conversations with those that do not stand in your same camp.


We often see two perspectives presented…and that’s all. The middle is actually a really big place and really sound opinions live there. You’ll see the middle often from me. It is okay to disagree.


3. Expect accessibility.

I touched on my Biblical worldview earlier. I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to make it accessible, regardless of what you believe. If you’re struggling to understand, let me know!


I also will do my best to make the resources and research I use available and easy-to-understand. I get how hard sifting through those things are – I want these pieces to be a glimpse into them with themes and ideas presented in normal English sans science-speak. If you’re struggling to make sense of it, let me know!


4. Expect discussions.

I will post Taboo Talk pieces on Tuesdays. The Daily Ava socials will have question boxes in stories. Leave questions there. Comment your thoughts. DM your wonderings. I will look at each one, and on Thursday of the same week, we’ll have a talk. We’ll work through y’alls responses anonymously.


Conversations have been vital in my journey. Yours may be the same; it may not be. In any case, I want you to have the freedom to respond, to chat. Your thoughts are welcome here.


5. Expect stories.

I will my share my story often. Usually not in its complete version, and there is a reason for this. I share vulnerably in order to encourage you, friend. My bits and pieces are meant to exhort you and glorify my God. I share only insomuch for that end. If there are gaps or holes in my story, they are probably there for a reason.


The stories and thoughts of others may make an appearance. They will be attributed as appropriate, cited as needed. Permission will be asked of those whose stories are featured, and anonymity will be observed, especially when requested.


As humans, we learn through stories. Personally, I think that’s why the stories and lives of so many humans make up the majority of the Bible! Just as statistics and research will be present, people will be, too. You are not alone. You are not the only one to be in your situation. Be encouraged!


Boundaries

Any safe space has limits. They help protect us, and they’ll help protect this space.


Respect. Tenderness. Curiosity.


We respect one another’s personhood, and we respectfully engage. If the image-bearer thing resonated with you, that’s what this looks like. We treat each other with this identity, this label, and only that. Perhaps The Golden Rule is more your speed. Our Muslim friends teach tolerance. All these form the equation to respecting one another.


And remember, we can disagree and still be respectful.


Tenderness means “delicate, soft or gentle; easily moved to empathy or compassion; kind; considerate.” In this space, with such raw topics, let’s strive to handle one another’s stories tenderly. Shame and guilt are heavy companions – we need not pile on.


Tenderness allows us to walk in as our whole selves, able to share honestly and receive wholly. Empathetic responses don’t care about the baggage or the mistakes. Compassion embraces all people, all identities, all labels.


And contrary to popular belief, embracing does not necessarily mean accepting, approving, or affirming😉


Curiosity asks questions. It desires to learn. To know. It approaches a topic free from accusations and rhetoric. It seeks to integrate experiential knowledge with research and truth. It casts aside assumptions and chooses to see people first, not labels.


Please recall that questions are good!

 

Friends, hear this. You are safe here. No matter what baggage you bring. No matter what identities you hold. Your fear is welcome here. Your mistakes, your shame, your guilt – they can sit with us. In this space, you are safe. Your whole self is welcome. You are seen.


Your pain matters. Your story has been written on His heart. Your tears are counted. Your darkest day, your hidden secrets, do not define you here. Your loneliness doesn’t decide your worth. I will not call you by your guilt or your shame. In this space, you are not labeled by what you cannot change. You are not your past. You are not the summation of abuse, neglect, assault, depression, disability, or the myriad of labels on your heart.


Here, you will be called by name.


I understand that you are bringing heartache, unspoken experiences, and traumas into this space. I understand that engaging certain topics may be difficult, if not impossible. You don’t have to finish the piece. You don’t even have to start it! Take what you need. If those needs change, these words will still be here❤


Come sit at the table with me, friend. You are seen. You are loved. You are wanted.

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