I really loathe the phrase, “losing my virginity.” It’s not a sock or a set of car keys for crying out loud.
But then I named this article that so…. lol. “Lost Innocence” sounded overly dramatic – I wasn’t feeling it. Note to self: come up with a better term for doing the deed for the first time down the road.
I was 16 years old when the whole lost virginity experience happened for me, and there was nothing loving or romantic about it. No pleasant synonyms can be attached to it. It was all about a girl wanting to impress a boy, who she thought liked her, coupled with a sense of owing. This feeling of owing a guy sex wasn’t a one-off for me, and sadly, continued for many years to follow.
But back to the first time.
There was this guy at school who was good-looking and popular, and one day he started paying attention to me. Picking me up from work, giving me rides home. Calling me. I just assumed he liked me as a friend. Reason being, in the 90s, when it was all about being a conventional beauty, I was the opposite.
I looked nothing like Kelly from Beverly Hills 90210, and the prominent bump on my nose placed me in the not-so-hot category. The amount of time I wasted dreaming of a nose job and wanting to look like someone else – it was so sad. Not until three years ago did I finally learn to accept what I looked like, bump on the nose and all.
Anyways, back in high school, when this dude started wanting to spend time with me, I was happy but also completely glib to his motivations. To me, there was no way he wanted to be anything but my friend. My non-existent self-esteem, coupled with the fact that he happened to be close friends with my good male friend wouldn’t allow the thought to enter my brain.
The fact that I referred to this male friend of mine as good is also quite sad because as I would soon find out, he was anything but. At the time and for years after what I’m about to share, I thought he was good to me when in reality, it was a deeply toxic and dysfunctional relationship based on verbal and emotional abuse that I took part in for many years. (Check out a poem I wrote about it on my Instagram.)
Back to Mr. Popular-Good-Looking, who paid a lot of attention to me for a while which I thoroughly enjoyed. I mean, what 16-year-old doesn’t like attention from someone who’s desired by other girls? In my mind, everything was going great, up until the night when I let him get what he wanted.
He had been giving me rides for quite a while, so one night after work when he made his move on me, I let him do it.
I felt like I owed him. I lacked the self-worth to say no. My need to please him and be liked overrode my need to like myself, or be comfortable.
I don’t remember a lot of the details, and wouldn’t get into them if I could. But when it was over I recall a deep sense of relief that it was done, because I wasn’t into it – At all.
Fast forward to the next day. The phone rings, and it’s that friend of mine I told you about earlier. He’s furious. Calling me a whore. Ripping me to shreds. He couldn’t believe I did what I did. Which is comical, because all I did was lay there while his buddy took what he wanted and left.
And Mr. Popular-Good looking? He went radio silent. Wouldn’t return my calls. Dismissed my attempts to chat in real life. Whatever interest he had in me vanished, and I was left contemplating the fact that I was the one who had caused all the problems, with the added bonus that I was now a whore.
I think this is about the time that I really starting owning the title “piece of shit.”
I wouldn’t go around saying that’s what I was, but the way I talked about myself and treated myself said it all.
Being self-deprecating became part of my identity. It made a lot of people uncomfortable, but it was my way of trying to take the power back.
I don’t think this scenario was the all-encapsulating moment I lost myself. I think it was a series of traumatic scenarios that helped me learn to hate myself and become the untrusting, deeply pessimistic person I was up until a few years ago.
That moment, when the guy I gave my virginity to decided I was no longer relevant and rejected me like a used toy, and when my “friend” decided I was equal parts useless and disgusting – those were scarring moments for me.
Though I used to feel all sorts of shame and anger about those events, I now feel an innate sadness and compassion for the little girl who went through them. In looking at it as an outsider, I am better able to release the intense feelings I have about what happened all those years ago.
But I’ll never forget what happened, as it will forever be a part of my journey and who I am today. The memory reminds me that I am worth more than being disposed of and being treated like a replaceable, only-good-for-my-vagina toy.
I know now that no matter what happens, I don’t have to put up with being verbally abused, and I don’t have to own a title someone else tries to give me.
Today I see myself as a victim of a madly egocentric boy, whose self-worth was tied up in how long his list of sexual conquests could get (FYI: he learned that from somewhere.)
His desires came before caring about other people’s feelings, and I was manipulated into thinking that I meant something to him. And the thing is, he probably doesn’t even realize what he did.
I saw him quite a few years back at a bar, when I was still drinking (heavily I might add), and told him that he took my virginity. I think he had a shocked look on his face, but it’s a hazy memory at best. Regardless, I don’t think he’ll ever understand how deeply the choices he made shaped and changed my life.
I don’t think many people understand the power they hold in the choices and decision they make for that matter.
We are all so much more powerful than we think, which is why it’s so important to focus on being kind.
If we get right with ourselves, we are capable of making better decisions, ones that consider the effects of our behaviors and actions on not just ourselves but on the people around us.
I could never have known back then the magnitude of the act of losing my virginity. In fact, for years I dismissed it as insignificant. But today I understand that act, along with the events that followed, created major cracks in my foundation. Cracks that, along with all the others that preceded and proceeded it, would become part of an emotional undoing and rebuilding, 20 years later.
I am who I am, right now at this moment, because of my desperation to be loved by others. That desperation told me to let a jerk take my virginity many years ago.
But because I let that happen, I am the woman I am today – someone I am so incredibly proud of.