Late Blooms
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Health and Wellness

Late Blooms

We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

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Late Blooms
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I'm what you would call a late bloomer. While most adolescents dreaded the awkward stages of puberty, I welcomed it with open arms. I was anxious to embark on the transition from girl to teenager to woman. Before I actually entered into my phase of growth and development, like many other young girls, I too would stuff my bra and wear my mom’s high heels. I embraced the idea of getting my first period and had prepared myself for the symptoms of PMS. I begged my mother to buy me a real bra with straps and hooks instead of the pull-over sports bras that were probably better suited to my needs at the time. It was around the time I was in the fifth or sixth grade that I recall many of the girls in my class who seemed to be going through puberty. I was secretly jealous. Aside from the hair growing on my legs and in some other unwanted areas, I didn’t exhibit any signs of puberty whatsoever. And I desperately wanted to. I was four-feet tall, scrawny and as flat as a board. I remember reading the pamphlets from cover to cover, trying to see if I displayed any of the characteristics, physical or emotional, that would indicate the onset of adolescence.

It wasn’t until I was 14, a “rookie” in junior high that I got my first period. By that time, I’d already had a false alarm and revealed (prematurely) to my mother that the time had come so I couldn’t celebrate in this moment when it actually and finally did happen. I simply asked one of my girlfriend’s for a maxi pad to get through the day until I could get home to the supply that was already in the bathroom. And while I couldn’t celebrate the way my mom did when she originally thought I had my period, I did find gratification in knowing that I had officially made the transition into womanhood. I always remembered how excited my mom was the day I told her that I got my period. She probably told everybody that called the house that night. It was perhaps, in part, her reaction that convinced me even more that this journey was an incredible milestone or a right of passage, at the least.

With regard to sex, I was no different. While I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 17 (and yes that was considered late in my day), many of my friends were already “experienced” in that aspect, also. I can recall one night at a sleepover with two of my close friends from junior high school; we were having a conversation about boys when my then best friend proclaimed that it was “boring after the first time” because you “already know what he’s gonna do.” Naively chiming in, I offered “well, no because there are different things that you can do to spice it up,” suggesting biting on his lip or giving slow, soft pecks with little or no tongue, as I assumed we were talking about kissing. It wasn’t until the other girl asked her how long it usually lasted that I realized they were talking about sex, as she described how the first time lasted about an hour and the second time about 20 minutes. Feeling yet again awkward and inexperienced, I retreated to just listening, as I had nothing authentic to add to this conversation. Soon after, the pressures of puberty that were once strictly physical plagued me again, but this time, it was emotional. The fact that all of my friends were having sex and seemed to have obtained a certain level of maturity was something that I was now intrigued by as well. At the same time, I was terrified to lose my virginity. Aside from the risks of getting pregnant or an STD, I was so rooted in my faith that I believed that if I had sex that I’d somehow be sent to hell instantaneously. So instead of doing that, I kinda allowed my reputation to proceed me. By that I mean that the girls that I hung out with had sort of a reputation. And while I certainly didn’t enjoy being on the “ho list” in high school, at least I didn’t have to be known as a virgin. #HadIKnownThenWhatIKnowNow

I remember a close encounter that I had, with the guy who ultimately took my virginity. I had snuck over to his house one night, climbing through a window no less, simply to go and make out. In the process, the hormones of this teenage jock overtook him, and in the midst of me stopping him from getting to third base, he asked me “what’s wrong, are you a virgin or something?” To which I vehemently responded, “No." “Well you sure act like it,” he concluded. Almost a year later when it did happen between the two of us, I imagined that it would be way more... something than it actually was. I thought that if not in the moment, then surely soon after the moment, I would feel like a real woman. Ten minutes after the seven minutes that it lasted, still nothing. *Sidebar: This is just one reason why I don’t personally factor him into my number (of partners), although you can suffice it to say that he is the holder of my (and perhaps a host of other girls’) virginity. End sidebar.*

And at 33 years old, I’m still a late bloomer. Although I’ve got the curves and the symptoms of PMS mastered to a science, I’m still behind the line of scrimmage when compared to my fellow 30 somethings in other areas. I’ve never been married or even proposed to (like, with a ring). I’ve never been or even thought I may be pregnant. I’ve never, not once, had a live in boyfriend. And yes, I’ve been in love and had long term meaningful relationships. I even look forward to falling in love again and having a family of my own. But what I’ve come to realize is this: “As long as we are persistent we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

#TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw

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