“One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me”
– Ariana Grande
As a teenager, I wondered about what my husband would look like and be like. Would he be tall? What color hair would he have? Are his eyes blue? Green? Brown? Will it be love at first sight? How would he ask me out? When would I meet him? These are all very typical questions that flood a teenage girl’s mind.
I’ll never forget the first time a boy tried telling me that he liked me. I was an awkward and immature 7th grader who wore delias clothing and was obsessed with lip gloss and Myspace. I had glasses, curly hair, and I was not as thin as most of the girls. I was definitely at the stage were I was interested in boys, but never really thought that any of them were interested in me. If we’re being honest, while I liked boys, I also wasn’t really looking for a boyfriend. That’s why I was so oblivious when I was first “asked out”.
On top of all of the awkwardness that comes with being a 7th grader, did I mention that I was also in band? Yup. That happened. Not only was I in band, but I was in Honor Band. Yup. It just keeps getting better people. (awkward face) Anywho… Being in the Honor Band meant that we played with upperclassmen. A certain guy in the grade above started talking to my girlfriend and I (by the way, this girlfriend of mine was one of the girls that all of the guys wanted to date. I was always just the friend.) and we became friends.
A week or so later, after the last school bell had rung, I walked towards the band room to grab my instrument when the said upperclassman boy called out to me and handed me a very neatly folded written note. You see, back then, before kids had cell phones, that was the original “text message.” After he handed me the note, he walked away and said, “See you tomorrow.” I thought nothing of it of course.
Later that day when I got home, I carefully opened up the creatively folded note and this is what it said:
“Hi! Wutz up? Let
You a few
I have a question. I like this friend of mine, but I’m not sure if I should ask her out, because I don’t know if she likes me or not. What should I do?”
Yes, my friends, that is how those written notes used to go. lol (Anyone else remember notes like that?) Anywho… being the oblivious teenager that I was, I thought nothing of the note. I honestly thought that it was dumb that this 8th grade boy wanted to know what I thought HE should do. I mean seriously, grow a pair and just ask her out! Of course I would never say that to him….. but I sure did think it! The next morning, at school, my girlfriend asked me if I had received a note after school yesterday. I said yes, and after giving it a little more thought I told her that I believed that he may want to ask her out. She just laughed at me and said, “No dummy! He’s trying to ask YOU out!” She confirmed this by saying that he talked to her about me and confessed to liking me.
Well damn!!! That was awkward! Not to long after, I saw him walking towards us! I got all awkward and squirmy, because I had no idea about how he had felt about me and I wasn’t even sure I liked him or even wanted a boyfriend. Knowing this information weirded me out, because I had been totally clueless! Long story short, I eventually ended up dating him, because he liked me and because I liked the way he made me feel. With all of the attention he was giving me, he made me feel special. Our relationship was on and off for about a year and a half (as most middle school relationships are) when I finally ended things. I realized, that while for the first time I felt pretty and desirable, I did not really like him anymore. Middle school relationships are awkward.
Though he was not the boy I would end up marrying, I did learn a lot from him and I learned a lot about myself. While I was hesitant to date him at first, (because I didn’t think I really liked him) I ended up dating him anyways. You see, I grew up without a father at home and I enjoyed the male attention that I received from him. When I said yes to dating him, I still wasn’t sure that I really liked him. I more so felt peer pressured into it and eventually just road on the coattail of enjoying this new male attention.
He was my first kiss, but my first kiss didn’t mean anything and I knew that as soon as it happened. Again, I just liked the attention and the experience. While in that relationship, I felt pressured to do other things that I didn’t really want to do and when I didn’t do them I felt guilt tripped. “If you really loved me, then you would do this,” or ” Don’t you love me babe?” On top of that, I felt the pressure from my friends also. They were all taking THEIR relationships further. While I never gave into having sex with him, there are a few things/firsts that I wish I hadn’t given away.
During this relationship I learned a lot about myself. I learned that not having a father figure around made me that much more vulnerable and left me seeking the male attention more than I probably would have if I’d had a male figure around. I learned that modern day racism existed. I learned that peer pressure was a real thing and I learned that I was worth more than I thought. I learned that I didn’t have to do things that I didn’t want to do and I learned what it was that I did and didn’t want in my next relationship. In the words of Ariana, as for that boy I say, “Thank you, next!” As far as meeting my husband…. well, that’ll have to be another blog.
As women though, it is important that we learn some of the things mentioned above. It’s important that we know our limits and know that it is ok to say “No.” It is important that we don’t give into peer pressure if we really don’t want to do something and it’s important to not just stay with someone just because others think you should or because you are afraid that no one else will give you that attention. Know your self worth and love yourself first. You deserve a real love and you owe it to yourself to be loved fearlessly… even if that fearless love comes from you.