I was 12 when I had my first date with a boyfriend. This “relationship” lasted a memorable week. We walked to the movies to see Urban Cowboy. He shoved his tongue down my throat. The End. Less than two years later, I was then willing to give my best and most special gift away to my boyfriend because I could. My first time was mine to give. Because no one could tell me otherwise.
I watched this same situation happen with the daughter of some former friends of ours. And I knew exactly what she was going to go do and why. Her body was hers to do with what she wanted and the more her mother begged her not to, the more she knew it was her decision to make against her mother’s wishes. Her and my destiny were based on doing the opposite of what we were told to do. And that made us feel more powerful.
As lost young women, we then quickly discerned our value to society. It was our bodies that held value. Whether we were putting on string bikinis and watching the boys watch us. Or dressing up to the nines to go out in a Saturday night clubbing, we liked being liked this way. And when I got a little hit of esteem juice from this, from the interaction and power I had just for being a beautiful girl, I wanted more.
My sexual power was all that I perceived I had from age 14 on. My parents had lost me in their battle to divorce. And I had found something that I was clearly in control of. And I used it. College was a blur of one night stands and bad relationships. And although I would become monogamous when I got married, I had lived a lifetime of promiscuity by then.
That fateful moment, in my boyfriends attic room with a Natty Boh and a Marlboro in my hands, I was the biggest bravest girl ever. With magazine ad pictures of Lamborghinis and Ferraris taped over the bed, my intention to follow through was unfailing. My tiny Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and blue Oxford shirt came off. And I would only vaguely remember the surprise that this wasn’t really what I had in mind when I’d agreed to this fateful night. And later I would find out that I wasn’t his first.
What a powerful and thought provoking post told in such an appropriate way. You so accurately described those feelings most young girls experience as they enter young womanhood of wanting to be noticed and valued by young men. I keep an open dialogue with my teenage daughter, and I’m going to share this post with her. You have a tremendous gift of accurately describing human emotions and feelings in everyday life and situations. Thanks for sharing!
So funny because again, I was just thinking of you Trish. What a kind and thoughtful compliment you have paid me. Thank you so much. I was inspired to write this one as my little gal friend is still struggling, in many the same ways as I did at her age. And I still struggle with basing my esteem on my outsides instead of my insides.
Thank you again.
I have opened the dialogue with my Sophie. Kind of goes like this- she is in control of her choices, if she messes up big time forgive herself and keep it mum. I emphasized self worth, what is she worth? Her mind is an amazing gift, she needs someone to really see her not her outside parts. She is not a walking pair of boobs there to satisfy men who will forget her in a millisecond. She is worth more. Our parents never spoke to us like this, we need to empower our girls. Your face looks sad and disconnected but beautiful. Wish I could go back in time and empower that girl.
Thank you Melissa. If Sofie’s got you in her corner, she’s got a chance to make better choices than many girls do. And if by no longer keeping silent, I can empower other women to make good choices or help their daughters make empowered choices, it’ll be worth it.