The older I get the more I realize that one of my responsibilities in this world is to do my part to better the community around me. Some days it is through mentoring, some days it is through cleaning parks and some days it is by being a big sister to a young girl that clearly needs one.
One evening as I was returning home I passed two teen girls having a little girl talk. As I waited for the elevator I couldn’t help but chuckle at their girly banter about whose hair was a mess and other normal teenage drama (my how times have stayed the same!), until I heard one of the girls say “Yea girl he said we don’t need to use condoms. He said he loves me … so, and I love him, so we don’t have to.”
Not only were these girls barely into their teens (14 to be exact) and having sex, but the fact that ‘love’ was enough to risk her health and life over, in this day and age, shocked me. The elevator came, but I couldn’t get in, these girls were out here talking and living reckless and clearly whatever their parents did or didn’t say, hadn’t gone through and someone had to school them to the truth.
I walked over to them and told them that I couldn’t help but overhear that little piece of their convo and woman to woman (well woman to beginning woman, but you know we all thought we were grown at that age), they needed to be put on to the truth. I invited them up to my apartment for a little private chat because as I also explained, a lady never puts her business in the streets and the lobby was no place to talk this kind of talk. Surprisingly they didn’t give me any of the “To hell with you old lady! Mind your business b*$ch!” back talk I was expecting and agreed to come with me.
When we got inside I had a real heart to heart with them about what they know, told them what they didn’t know, Googled some stats and facts to inform them, told them that ‘love’ can still burn you, just ask Janet Jackson’s character in For Colored Girls (had to make it relatable) and gave them my copy of the Lifetime movie She’s Too Young, a movie I bought for my little sister years ago, so they could understand that oral sex is sex too and just as deadly.
I schooled these girls for nearly two hours on all I learned on my life journey so far and filled their heads with as much info as I could find. The amount of sexual knowledge they didn’t have was amazing. One girl said past telling her about her period and that the sperm meets the egg to make babies, her mother didn’t really talk to her about sex. She learned a little more info at school, some from friends and the rest from experience.
While listening to both of them everything in me wanted to scream “Keep your damn legs closed and stop giving away your fantastics! You’re not ready for this!! Hell I’m older than you and I’m not ready for this!!” But instead I listened and I informed because the reality is, while I did encourage abstinence to a degree, the sexual train had already left the station and hormones were charging full speed ahead.
Instead of being another adult in their life that wanted to ignore what was happening and what’s to come, or wanted to just threaten them and tell them what they shouldn’t do, I wanted to be the one to give them a non judgmental ear and I wanted to be the one to give them the knowledge they clearly weren’t getting at home. There are enough women my age dying, and they get younger and younger every day.
These girls weren’t my family, but they are a part of my village and if I can keep them from learning their sex ed lessons the hard way and keep them alive long enough to hopefully reach their dreams, then that’s what I’m going to do.
Let’s just hope they listened.