By: Lacy Hilliard
Its not easy being a woman in todays society or societies of the past. No matter how far we progress in regards to civil rights, the workforce, our level of education, or otherwise; there is still a certain stigma associated with being a member of the fairer sex. Obstacles aside, we are also fortunate to live in a country where our freedoms allow us to choose our own path without the confines of marital status, religion, or race. However, this is not a column about womens liberation. In fact, its not a column at all. Its a letter. A letter addressed to any young woman that is actively using her body as a means to fill a void within her life.
Dear young ladies of Johnson County and the world,
Im writing to you about self-respect and what it means to be fortunate enough to carry the title member of womankind. Simply being born female isnt enough to establish membership. There will be many tests. The road to self-respect is paved with adversity and with each trial, your life will take a turn toward a new destiny.
You may think youre ready for sex simply because your body is, but puberty does little for emotional readiness. If you come from a family that lacks strong roots, it isnt unlikely that you feel alone. This feeling of loneliness can often prompt us to look for love and acceptance in other places. When you give your body to someone else, there are emotional repercussions. Often, women enter into casual sexual relationships with the hope that it will cause the man to become emotionally attached to her. This couldnt be farther from the truth. Men dont feel emotional attachments as a result of casual sex. In fact, its quite the opposite. If a mans sole motivation is sex and you oblige, the chase is over and it wont be long before he loses complete interest in you. He will never love you just because youre having sex with him. For women, however, theres no such thing as a casual encounter. Sooner or later if a woman continues a no-strings-attached sexual relationship she will eventually feel an emotional connection and when that connection isnt reciprocated, it can be painful and devastating.
Dont think for a moment that getting pregnant will keep him interested in you. The most likely scenario is that you will end up raising a child alone and without support. Motherhood may seem like its all love and joy but that isnt the reality. There are moments of joy and happiness but its also extremely challenging. Its a 24/7 up all night, social life ending commitment. And while it might gain you some extra attention in the beginning, its highly unlikely that your friends or the father will be available for midnight feedings or a colicky baby that cries night and day.
Ladies, you dont need a man or anyone else to complete you. In fact, if you dont have love for yourself, its impossible to enter into a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. No man is going to respect you if you dont respect yourself. You need to get to the root of these feelings before you can move past them. You must figure out why you feel as though you need someone else to love you before you can love yourself.
Remember that no matter what youve done in the past or what youve been through, youre worthy of love. If you dont have the support of a family, there are people within this community that care about you. If youre in need of support, perhaps you can find a church that fills your need for a sense of family. If not a church, there are plenty of ways to become integrated within the community. By finding a place that makes you feel as though youre a part of something positive, you will take a big step toward fulfilling the need for a network of supportive individuals.
Someday, when you arrive at a place in your life where you feel that you can genuinely walk with pride and hold your head high, you will meet a man that is deserving of you. He will respect you, cherish you, love you, and build a life with you. Perhaps someday youll have a daughter of your own and if you do, you will know just how important it is that she respects herself.
We live in a country where opportunity is endless regardless of your background. Its true that those of us that dont come from the most supportive families or the best financial backgrounds will have to work a lot harder. But its not impossible. I challenge each and every girl that is headed down a path of self-destruction to stop, realize her worth, and live the life she dreams. Your future is unwritten and the sky is the limit; choose to enter into womankind with the grace and success that will make others proud of you. But more importantly, do something with your future that makes you proud of yourself.
A fellow woman that cares about your future