In life women are told to hide their sexuality, as if being okay with our bodies and our own skin is a sin. Men can sit around all day and talk about the girls they’ve hooked up with and how hot they were and that’s perfectly fine, but the moment a woman opens up about her sex life she is seen as a hoe or less than human.
I was raised in a world were I was afraid to tell anyone when I had lost my virginity. Hell, my parents only found out that I wasn’t a virgin two years after the fact because my vengeful ex’s mother decided to tell a church pastor and his meddlesome self took it upon his own “right” as a self-righteous upper class white male to sit down and tell my father that I was a sinner and I had had sex. I was sixteen, I had made a mistake.
However, that didn’t matter to a pastor who couldn’t keep his nose out of other people’s business. So, Pastor – you know who you are, if you ever get to reading this — let this be a reminder that you are all that is wrong with this world, and you are the reason I don’t go to church anymore. I have a relationship with God and I believe he is almighty, but I also believe you made a huge mistake when you decided to put your nose where it didn’t belong.
Since that day, since that moment where my world shattered, I had to come to terms with a mistake that I was long since trying to be rid of and therefore took to hiding my sexuality as a result. Out came the large hoodies and the overgrown t-shirts. Soon, my idea of flirting was talking about movies and books. It took so long for me to fully recover after that, but I’m still not sure if I’ve recovered.
I felt ashamed of who I was, that I wasn’t pure anymore and that I never would be again. There is such a stigma that you should never have sex when you’re young and only wait till marriage. Yet, that stigma only seems to be placed on women. Fast forward almost five years in the future, and I am still affected. I was trying to enjoy a shower, something that should be so innocent and sweet, a place of comfort and cleanliness and yet it wasn’t.
Somehow, because of words that were drilled into my head by you and your entirely too religious and self righteous family, I couldn’t find comfort in my own body, and I don’t mean by a standard of beauty. I mean, when I was kissed by a man that I deeply care about and held with the utmost affection, I had a look of terror on my face because I couldn’t help but think that there was something wrong with me.
I was trained to think that because I wanted to experience this world for myself and be open and honest about who I am, that I was wrong for thinking like that. All I wanted to do was be able to be vulnerable with the man that I was falling in love with and instead of feeling like I was able to do that, the weight of society came down and I was terrified that I would be judged. Judged by my family, my friends, my little circle of people that I cared about.
It didn’t matter that they may not have judged me, I still felt as though they would. Additionally, I felt like I couldn’t talk about my experiences when I knew I was going back to being under my parents’ roof because I was always afraid of what they might think – and I valued their opinions. I had been counting down the days till I moved out, not because I didn’t love living with them. I did, and I am eternally grateful for everything that they have done for me and I am so incredibly lucky to have grown up in a household with two loving parents. I realize that and I am thankful.
Yet, I still counted down because I am not a child anymore but some days I felt as if I were stuck in between an adult and that 16 year old girl making those mistakes that I made so long ago.
But hey, I beat teen pregnancy. So, compared to the rest of my graduating class – by that standard- I’m doing phenomenal in life. Not to mention that I found a full-time interior design position prior to graduating from Cleveland State University – thus putting me ahead of my peers that were still internship hunting.
And yet, despite all that – I just feel like society has repressed so much of what I could have done, how I could have flourished under different circumstances. However, now, I am ready to take back my life, one step at a time – starting with this article.