The splinter throbbed throughout my hand and pierced my skin like a needle in a sewing machine. His hands reached for my own and instantly the throbbing began to stop. Actually, when I really think back, everything seemed to stop in that moment. Time stood still and had no meaning, the trees did not sway, and the birds did not fly. They merely stopped in their tracks, still beneath the clouds. His touch was so soothing, his voice was so sweet, like a lullaby to a restless baby.
I was young and innocent to the feeling that love offers, and my twelve-year old self knew nothing of the kind. His sweet embrace around my hand shock waved through my skin and into the blood that pulsed my fast-beating heart. There is something sweet about the first moment you feel warmth within your heart for a person that is not your mother or your brother or your father. It was in that moment that I realized that I was no longer a child anymore and that I would not look at boys the same way as I used to. He removed the splinter from my hand, and I looked up at him with joy. They say that silence isn’t sweet, but in that moment, silence was everything.
Now that I am an eighteen-year old woman and currently in college, I face challenges with men on a daily basis. It is a constant struggle to meet someone who is genuinely respectful and interested in truly getting to know you and not what is beneath your belt.
I know I am not the only one who fears the worst when I meet a new guy. Woman should not have to be afraid or feel pressured into anything, yet we live in a society where woman no longer feel that they are in control of their actions. Somewhere in the past couple decades, men have taken the front seat and put everything in too fast of a forward motion. Women need to have control over situations and not feel vulnerable. Girls, your body is your body, and you are never obligated to give it out to anyone that you don’t want to!
Being young, girls want to look sexy; they want to be desired and looked upon as seductive. The media has turned young girls into thinking that the more skin you show, the sexier you will appear. The truth is that, yes, maybe a boy will think you are sexier with more skin showing, but a man will appreciate your modesty. Ask any mature woman, and they will tell you that the more you respect yourself, the more other people will. The more you show, the less respect you are going to receive. I know it is not as easy as it sounds. There is so much pressure, between the media and technology to be sexual, but if you strive to be the one that is different, people will follow you.
As a teenager, we all know that rush of feelings that you get when you meet a new boy. He may seem interesting and cool, but that is no reason to let him push you around. As women, we have standards that need to be lived up to, and no man should ever push those limits. The truth is that a man never will, a boy will try. It is up to you whether or not you let these men do that, it is all in your control because every boy will try. It is just a matter of how far you will let them go.
I recently attended a party on campus. It seemed fun when I got there, but when I really took a look at what was going on, my view changed. I looked around to see girls wearing outfits that barely covered anything, boys taking advantage of girls, and boys dancing on them provocatively. All the female friends that I have want to meet a nice guy, but what they do not understand is that a party is not the setting to do so. Each guy there was more eager to fill a girls cup rather than to ask them their first name. This is not the way that dating should be experienced. The norm on many college campuses is to go to a party and meet a guy, but women are constantly being disappointed in the men that they meet. You can tell a lot about a man by the setting in which you meet them.
My personal advice to young woman my age is to go out and venture further than the parties that you get invited to. I later found out that three girls were raped at the party I was at that night, and to be honest, I was not shocked when I heard the news.
Often women are upset by the way that men treat them, but what they don’t realize is that a lot of that is in our control. WE set the setting and the standards. If you are not comfortable in a situation, take yourself OUT of it. There is nothing stopping you from walking away. The feeling of removing yourself from a pressuring situation with a man is a much better feeling than giving into the pressure they force upon you. Standing up for yourself may not be the common thing to do, but it is by far the better thing to do. Waking up and regretting a decision that was forced upon you against your will is much worse than simply just walking away.
So trust your gut! If a situation seems like a bad idea, just leave. Sooner or later, that feeling you got when you were younger, that first feeling of love, will return itself. You will meet a man who treats you with love and compassion. Time will stop again, but this time you won’t be a little girl, you will be a woman and all the power will be in your hands. Follow your heart, stay true to yourself, and, ladies, the rest will come with ease.