This often happens throughout the day as it does because I like to converse. But tonight I had a conversation with my daughter. A conversation about boys and being used and what it all means to be “dating” when you’re in high school. My initial thought when my daughter sat with me in the car was that I am the luckiest mother in the world to be having this conversation right now for many reasons. Some mothers would dread this conversation and hope it never happens but me? I welcomed it like scotch on a day that ends in “y”. Why did I feel lucky? Well, first and foremost, my daughter is alive and well enough to be talking about this subject. That’s the part the makes me the most thankful. A year ago I never thought I’d talk about anything with her except for how she could get herself dressed and out of the house in spite of her debilitating depression. So there’s that huge deal.
Second, I’m lucky because my daughter wants to talk to me about this. My daughter trusts me enough that she knows she can run these things by me and that I won’t judge her or tell her that she shouldn’t even think about these things or that she shouldn’t ever do these things. She opened up to me about a subject matter that most other teenage girls talk to their clueless friends about or don’t talk about at all and end up making very awful decisions that impact their entire lives. She felt comfortable talking to me about a subject that is so taboo and so hush hush in our society that people end up in terrible situations because they are afraid to be open about it. This made me truly feel lucky.
Third, I’m lucky because it opened up an opportunity for me to talk to her about her worth as a woman. For me to instill in her that she does not need to be with a boy just because he wants her. It allowed me to show her that if she feels like she will be used by this boy then chances are she will be used by him. It was a golden chance for me to help her understand how beautiful she is inside and out and how any boy would be lucky to call her his girlfriend and not just some girl he uses for fooling around. We talked about all kinds of things like “slut shaming” and how awful it is, and rumors and labels and feelings about sex and it was so liberating. It started the process of growing a strong, independent, fearless, and self-loving woman out of an insecure, self-conscious, scared girl and it was beautiful.
Finally, it allowed me to point out to her that every woman, every person deserves to hold their body sacred and to only give it over to people they want to give it over to, end of story. In light of everything happening in the news about a rapist not being punished the way he should and the victim being re-victimized I felt it was so important to talk about the fact that nobody should ever do anything to your body that you do not want them to do no matter what. It allowed me to really share with her that sex is not dirty or disgusting when it occurs between two willing parties who truly love and respect each other and are physically and emotionally ready to share that experience. It helped me take the mystery out of sex because if there’s one thing I do know it’s that kids will want to try whatever you make a mystery or unallowed or forbidden. And it gave me the opportunity to talk safety and to include some good Mean Girls quotes such as “If you have sex, you will get pregnant and die, so just don’t do it. Here have a rubber”.
It was a good talk. I stopped her at the visuals thought. There’s only so much I can take.