When I was sixteen, I had a huge crush on a boy in my English class. Our first kiss was in the front seat of his Jeep in the high school parking lot. It was late at night, and we were the last ones to leave rehearsal. He was so out of my league. So when he started to feel me up and pressure me into doing more than I was comfortable with, I almost didn't say no. I wanted to be good enough for him. He ended things with me a week later by telling me I wasn't pretty enough for him.
When I was seventeen, a boy in my choir class groped my chest while we were doing warm-ups. Someone caught him and reported it, so we were both sent to the guidance office. I let him get away with a half-assed apology because I was too embarrassed to do anything else.
When I was eighteen, I briefly dated my crush's best friend because I stupidly and selfishly thought jealousy was the only way I could get him to take notice of me. It didn't work.
When I was nineteen, I told a boy I loved him, and he kicked me out of his house.
I'm only twenty. I'm exhausted. This endless treatment has made me hate everything about myself.
I am a woman, and I am an object. I am something to look at, something to play with. Wear your hair this way, be skinny but not too thin, learn how to contour, dress to inspire jealousy, walk with your hips. I'm embarrassed to say that I've bought into it all.
We all need love. It's a human necessity. When you don't love yourself enough, you find that love elsewhere. It's so wrong to say that I need validation. It's so embarrassing to say that I need the compliments, that I need the praise, that I need the attention because without it I am nothing. I'm not good enough. Not worth anything.
The past few years have been difficult. I'm surrounded by boys who see that I wear my hair this way, that I'm skinny but not too thin, that I've learned how to contour, that I dress to inspire jealousy, that I walk with my hips. They talk to me and flirt with me. It makes me feel good like I'm worth paying attention to. They kiss me and say they want me. It makes me feel like this is something I need to do in order for them to like me. So I give them what they want. And it's just so funny because I thought they were actually interested in me as a human being, but it turns out they were only interested in the things I try so hard to keep up with to get them to notice me in the first place. And then I'm alone again.
I'm so tired of being okay with situations that don't align with what I really want. I can pretend all I want that I'm ok with guys not wanting to date me, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't planning on using my body to get them to fall in love with me. You would think I would have learned by now that it never works. I hate that there isn't a guy who likes me enough to invest time and effort into being with me truly. But casual flings aren't going to change that.
I owe it to myself to take back my own power. It's time I remind myself that I am worth loving before hooking up, that a hookup may feel like everything in the moment, but afterward I feel like nothing.
It's time for a change. I need this change. It's time I learn to love myself and know without a doubt that I'm good enough. I need to know I'm worth it.