To my presently past self,

You were a teenager, sex was not for you, you were not ready. You made a mistake.

I had just become a teenager. There were changes in my body and emotions that I could not quite figure out. There were tingles in my vagina and weird feelings in my stomach when I saw kissing or boys. Around me, my peers were getting boyfriends, love notes and giggles characterized a day at school and I received none.

The secondary school which I attended, one of the best in the country might I add, was next to an all-boys secondary school, only a fence separated us and so lunchtimes I would see my peers collecting goodies and tokens from their boyfriends, but none of these guys wanted me.

Low self-esteem stepped in. I was too ugly, too dark, too fat, my hair was too hard, my uniform did not fit right, my teeth were bucked. I wanted a boyfriend so bad but all my efforts were unsuccessful.

I began struggling with Mathematics and I started to go to lessons. It was there that I met him. At first sight, even at that age, I could tell he was a delinquent. I mean he was at least seventeen and in the same Math class as I was. I cannot remember how we started talking but it was not long before he was my boyfriend.

I noticed that he would flirt with my friends and lessons classmates, but he was my boyfriend.

I noticed that I would only see him at certain times, but he was my boyfriend.

I noticed that he had other girls, but he was my boyfriend.

He told a lot of lies, but he was my boyfriend.

One Valentine’s Day 2006 I saved my money and got him a Hallmark card, which was a big deal on my allowance. I used my coloured gel pens to decorate and express my “love”. I gave it to him expecting to receive something in return, I am still waiting. My peers were receiving roses and chocolates. How come I did not even get a letter? But he was my boyfriend.

Secret meetings after school were the norm.

One Tuesday afternoon, it happened, in the most debasing way you can imagine. It was not planned and was not something I had given much thought to, but he was my boyfriend and I could not let him leave. I did not understand what I was doing nor did I enjoy it but he was my boyfriend.

I never enjoyed it. It hurt and was always left thinking, this is what the fuss is about? I was doing it because I thought I loved him and I wanted to believe that he loved me. Isn’t that what I was supposed to do to keep him? I had not made an informed decision. I did not consider pregnancy, diseases or even if I thought that he would be in my future. I had not considered the emotional connection that my immature emotions would make with him.

It just felt good to be wanted and being the source of someone’s pleasure can be exhilarating.

You may be living my past but the situation may not be mine.

I am not going to tell you that your boyfriend is bad or that you will not end up together in the long run. In fact, some of my friends are still with their teenaged loves, with two of them even being married to them and another close to marriage. I am not even going to tell you that you will get a Sexually Transmitted Infection or that you will get pregnant. These are possibilities but not sureties.

What I will tell you is that you are making a mistake. The love between you and boyfriend or girlfriend may be real, you may be just experimenting out of curiosity or whatever but more than likely you are not ready for all the emotions that accompany sex. You are not ready to make that decision as yet and I am not telling you that you are a child, but sex, is not for you.

At the age of fifteen, I was dealing with emotions that made my teenaged years hell. I had given a young man my virginity. A young man who did not care about me was more concerned with increasing his body count and recounting the events to his friends. The rumours of his sexual encounters with other girls became too much but normal. I became attached to someone whose only aim was to use me and dealing with that before even writing CSEC Examinations was unnecessary, to say the least.

Your boyfriend or girlfriend may actually care about you and be faithful. You all may have spoken at length about having sex. Why rush though? You all don’t even fully understand your bodies yet. Why force an act that’s meant to be enjoyed? Love, more specifically teenaged love, can wait.

I have almost always heard most of my friends, like me, say, “I should have waited.”

I cannot hold a gun to your head, but I can tell you this, where sex is concerned, right now, you aren’t missing out on anything.

Love,

Your presently future self.

This is an excerpt from Léel’s Freshman book, Letters to All. Sincerely, A Nudist. A Naked Soul. A Naked Flame.

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