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Exercising Restraint Essay

I want to do so, by honestly describing what I’ve been through. I can’t really call this my ultimate story because at seventeen my life has just begun. I don’t want to exaggerate or over dramatize, because I know many people have had a much harder time than I have. However there are also those who have had it easier, but comparisons don’t prove anything. My point is neither to lament how my life has been rough nor boast how my life has been privileged. I know a lot of women judge themselves harshly; we’re often our worst critics. We tend to beat up ourselves, blaming ourselves, for everything that goes wrong.

I don’t judge myself and I won’t judge the people with whom I’ve interacted. I don’t mean that I love every one who has come my way, but I’ve come to see everyone has a purpose in my life.

So I’m shining the light on my past. I won’t tell you all my life because at the end, it will be a book. So I’ve chosen a special moment of my life and have decided to share it with you and thank you for coming a long for the ride.

On Saturday afternoons West End was the place to be. Wall-to-wall teens, cruising past the Gap, sampling new CDs, the shoe stores, the department stores, checking out the scene. My girls and I were walking one way; Sabian and his friends were walking the other. I’d seen him around. I’d noticed his laid back manner. He was cute, a little taller than me, with light brown colouring and an easy smile. He had a footballer build, not perfect but solid, and he had big brown eyes. His hair was short and neat. He was a good dresser and wore cologne that smelled fresh.

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When our groups converted, we stopped to talk.

Sabian came over to me.

“How are you doing?” he asked gently.

When meeting men, meeting anyone, I’ve never been one to overreact. I’m reserved.

“I’m fine,” I said softly.

As we paired off from the group and walked around the street at Oxford Street, the conversation continued. We kept it light. Something about Sabian felt right. He wasn’t pushing it. He wasn’t hitting on me. He was a little shy himself, and his words were genuine. When he ran out of things to say, he kept quiet. He wasn’t afraid of silence. Guys don’t easily impress me, yet Sabian caught my attention because he didn’t try to impress me. I didn’t like giving my out my number, I rarely did, but I gave it to Sabian. I thought about him that night and the next day. I thought about his beautiful smile. Sabian was always smiling. I thought about the sincerity of his questions. Really listen to me. The way my best friend listened, with care and concern.

He wasn’t boastful or opinionated, didn’t talk loud or long, he wasn’t trying to prove anything. He was himself, plain and simple. He said he would call me. Twenty-four hours later, he did what he said.

Sabian’s mum was an intelligent and strong black woman who treated me like family. Sabian was three years older than me. Emotionally, though, we were on the same level. We really enjoy each others company. He wasn’t a bullshitter, and neither was I. I wasn’t completely honest with Sabian’s mum. I presented myself older than I was. If you didn’t know you’d think I was eighteen, not sixteen. Sixteen seemed too young to have a serious relationship but sixteen is when I lost my virginity.

It happened in the apartment when Sabian’s mum was out teaching in a school. I didn’t exercise sexual restraint. The truth is I didn’t come close to exercising restraint. I didn’t even have any conflicts about it. The issue of do I or don’t I, was something I never would have discussed with my dad in a million years, even if we had been closer. However mum was off in her own world, and my anger at her was so strong, I couldn’t talk to her without losing my temper. Why did I consent to sex at such a young age? Part of it was curiosity. I’d heard about it, now I wanted to see what it was like. I was also sure I was in love. It wasn’t a matter of desire; and it wasn’t because Sabian was pressuring me. He wasn’t that kind of guy.

Then why didn’t I have better sense? Maybe it was lack of self-esteem, typical of most young girls. We aren’t secure enough to say no. we haven’t learned how to protect ourselves from emotional and physical harm, and many of us don’t have the advantage of parental guidance. If I was to advise anyone now I would tell them, if you think you’re ready, think again. You’re not. I thought I was ready and I was dead wrong. I needed someone to tell me, emphatically, to wait until I was grown, until I was out of the house and responsible for myself.

Life is confusing enough when you’re still living at home. Adding to that confusion by engaging in early sex is crazy. Not to mention harmful and dangerous. Physically, my first experience was a revelation. We didn’t make love we had sex. It would take me months to learn the true nature of lovemaking. I just fell into it. It was a mistake, but at the time you couldn’t have told me that.

You couldn’t have told me, because you wouldn’t have known. I didn’t tell a soul, not my friends or my mum. Sabian used condoms, so I thought I was safe, but the dangers never left my mind entirely. What if the condom broke? What about AIDS? What about getting pregnant? The fears outweighed the pleasures. My main pleasure was having a friend, not having sex.

What I didn’t know then is what most young females don’t know. That is the huge emotional distance between teen girls and teens boys. They’re in one place and we’re in another. We’re looking for romantic attachment and security; they’re looking for sex. Ninety-five percent of guys at that age particularly have no sense of loyalty. It’s not part of their makeup. They’re looking to score, score, and score. Their hormones are raging ahead of ours and it’s their hormones, not their heads, driving them on. The young girls I knew who were having sex wanted to be liked.

That was their main motivation. “if I let this guy, he’ll like me. He’ll spend all his time with me.” That’s a sad commentary on our lack of self-respect. In my own case, I lacked clarity. I didn’t know about proper boundaries. To enforce those boundaries would have taken a different person. I was too caught up in escaping my mother’s house to have healthy ideas about my own behaviour. I was dead set on doing what I wanted to do. Having sex, in appropriate and foolish as it was, seemed perfectly okay… however Sabian and I broke up later on, because he was cheating on me all this time and I never knew. But after that we stayed best friend. Even if we broke up, we still had a friendship. He was there every time I needed him and I was there every time he needed me.

This experience really affects my life. I realise that love starts with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear. I would never cry again over anyone who wouldn’t cry over you. Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget. I learned that I can only go as far as I push. Actions speak louder than words. The hardest thing to do is watch the one you love, love somebody else. I would never let the past hold my back; because I know that I’ll miss the good stuff. I learned that life is short and if I don’t look around once in a while, I might miss it.

I also realise that a best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have. I used to think that the world meant nothing, but no anymore because I might mean the world to someone else. I also learned that when it hurts to look back, and I’m scared to look ahead, I can look beside me and my best friend will be there because true friendship never ends. Friends are forever. Good friends are like stars…. I come to think that it’s not always easy to see them, but I know they are always there.

I will never frown. I learned that is hard to know who is falling in love with my smile. What do you do when the only person who can make you stop crying is the person who made you cry? Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them. (Isn’t that the truth?). Most people walk in and out of your life. But only True friends leave footprints in your heart. The most important thing to remember is… Always appreciate the friends that you have. A fight may come and go very easily, but a friendship could last forever. For every second spent in anger, a minute of happiness is wasted.

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