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Tough Love

Over the past 2 years I’ve been consumed with this desire to help the people coming behind me to go further in life than I have. In order to do this I cannot turn a blind eye to their mistakes. I’m a pretty sensitive soul so I try my best not to hurt people’s feelings but there are some behavior that just grinds my gears, especially when it’s being displayed by those whose future I am invested in. I feel like I”m always trying to save young people from themselves and usually they end up hating me for it. Telling a young person not to give into the temptation of a wild and reckless lifestyle because of its long term consequences sounds to them like I’m trying to stop their fun while I’ve already had mine. Reporting the dangerous online behavior of a teenage to their parent or guardian immediately makes me public enemy No. 1. I won’t say that I don’t care when a youth that I”m trying to help guide ends up hating or resenting me…it hurts. I know that my intentions are good. I simply want them to have the very best life they could have, not one that’s  marred with abuse, addictions, stolen innocence and purity, defiled and compromised minds or ravaged bodies. My methods are not always the most tactile or comfortable for those I’m attempting to help but usually it’s because I see immediate danger ahead. When I have the time to teach, I like to lay out the reasons why a life of purity and holiness is ultimatelyin their own best interests. When I don’t have the time to teach then I have to go with a “prevention is better than cure” method and get them out of immediate danger. Imagine watching a 15 year old girl step in front of a speeding 18 wheeler that’s just a few minutes away from hitting her. Should I stand on the the sidewalk and explain to her how injured she could get? Should I go over the odds of this 18-wheeler fatally crushing her body? Am I going to tell her how many deaths per year result from auto accidents involving trucks of this kind? NO! I’m going to get her out of the way! Even if it means catching her in a running tackle and rolling her to safety, scrapes and all. In the same likeness, I see a lot of behavior by our young people that could result in their immediate destruction. When I see it, I go for the running tackle. Their feelings may get scraped and hurt in the process; I myself may get bruised and battered by doing it but if we both come out alive with no life-changing/threatening injuries, it’s worth it.

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Lasting impact on the next generation

One of my passions in life is impacting the lives of young girls before they start making the mistakes that plague grown women today. Our culture sends youth aged/teenage girls a lot of mixed signals that can be destructive to their development. Personally, as a preteen of 11 years old, my desire to be desired was overpowering every other aspect of my life. I wanted nothing more than to look like Cindy Crawford or Tyra Banks (curvy, tall, boobs out to here, tiny waist, flawless skin, the whole shebang). I languished about my short and waif like figure (I was about 75 pounds from 10-12 years old at almost 5 foot tall). I fretted about my dark skin, my short hair, and anything else I could pick on. This made me extra sensitive to how others perceived me. Whether they were compliments or insults, I drank in the opinion of others like rain on a thirsty ground. When someone complimented any part of me, I would begin to vigilantly accentuate it. When someone made a disparaging comment about any part of me, I fell to pieces, often spending hours or days in tears (especially if it was something I couldn’t change. Example – “You are so dark! I bet when you get a tan you turn purple!”).

This lack of self-esteem and self-assurance caused me to engage in reckless activities to feed my ego. I encouraged boys my age and even those out of my age group (i.e. – the 18 year old senior I dated when I was 13)  to view me in a sexually appealing way by dressing provocatively and engaging in pre-sexual activities with guy friends. From this dangerous behavior came the emotional consequences of shame, guilt and feelings of worthlessness. Those feelings led to more destructive behavior in college as I upped the ante in an effort to be accepted (see “underage drinking, destructive social activities, questionable “friendships” with guys”). Eventually as an adult (over the age of 21) I decided to stop all of my self-destructive behavior. I also (wrongly) concluded that the acceptance I needed would come from experiencing a great love from a man who was worthy of me. I poured myself into one relationship after another in hopes that this one would be “the one”. All you have to do is look back at my posts from October 2005 to January 2006 to see how well that worked out.

With each new heartbreak, I changed for the worse. Convinced that my relationships were falling apart because I was somehow not good enough, I tried to be more to each new guy, giving up more and more of myself, my beliefs, my faith and my standards until I couldn’t recognize me anymore. Hindsight is 20/20 so I see clearly how the lies I believed as a teenager contributed to the mistakes I made as an adult. I want to save our young girls from the same heartbreak. Experience is an expensive teacher. A lot of women who traveled the same part that I took to get here don’t make it. They break along the way. I would hate for any young woman that I had the opportunity to help, mentor or teach to walk the same destructive path that I took. It’s not worth it to make your own mistakes when you can learn from others. I hope to impact the next generation by being transparent about my mistakes and generous with the lessons that I have learned and now live by.