I grew up in a home where THAT wasn’t allowed.
My sisters and I wore dresses to school because pants weren’t allowed. We learned to fight using only our eyes because raising our voices was not allowed. Tattoos were not allowed, nor were piercings (except one hole in the ear of course). I loved to read, but only books that were allowed. Unkind words were not tolerated and curse words were unheard of. I learned what the “F” word was by reading it in a gas station bathroom stall and pointing at it to my older sister who nodded once before whispering that I should NEVER say it.
When I started my period, I had no idea what was happening to me.
My mom said she hadn’t planned for it to start so soon and had meant to talk to me about it. She assured me it was my body’s natural way of getting ready to have babies some day after I got married. We didn’t even discuss sex because THAT was DEFINITELY NOT ALLOWED.
For a long time, I thought my experiences growing up shaped who I became.
I didn’t watch much television and went to see very few movies. But, I played outside a lot. I rode my bike and made up games with my sisters that lasted hours. We played Super Mario (saving the princess many times) and loved Tetris (humming the music into our dreams).
What I did not experience had a hand in shaping me as well.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been made fun of for not having seen this television show or that movie. Jokes involving famous quotes go right over my head. (Don’t worry, I’ve learned to laugh when everyone else is laughing.)
For the most part, I don’t mind not having those experiences. I was actually probably better off riding my bike than watching tv.
However, it would have been a good idea for me to know a little more about sex than to just be told it was dirty and shouldn’t be discussed.
I’m lucky I met a really sweet guy who didn’t take advantage of me . . . who was willing to teach me what he knew at my own pace . . . and who understood why I felt “dirty” after our first time and put his heart into making sure I could feel the beauty, safety, and love found in sex.
As a parent, I don’t look at my parents (and their social circles of the time) with judgment or regret.
I just know I want to do things a little differently with my kids.
I want them to know there’s a time and a place for everything. There’s not a one-size-fits-all rule for anything. Mostly, I just want them to know that our home is a safe place.
I want them to grow up in a home where THAT is something we can think about and talk about with an open mind, one lovely awkward opportunity at a time.
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