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A letter addressed to the young ladies of Johnson County and beyond

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Contributor/Photographer

It’s not easy being a woman in today’s 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 women’s liberation. In fact, it’s not a column at all. It’s 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,
I’m 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 isn’t 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 you’re 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 isn’t 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 couldn’t be farther from the truth. Men don’t feel emotional attachments as a result of casual sex. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If a man’s sole motivation is sex and you oblige, the chase is over and it won’t be long before he loses complete interest in you. He will never love you just because you’re having sex with him. For women, however, there’s 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 isn’t reciprocated, it can be painful and devastating.
Don’t 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 it’s all love and joy but that isn’t the reality. There are moments of joy and happiness but it’s also extremely challenging. It’s a 24/7 up all night, social life ending commitment. And while it might gain you some extra attention in the beginning, it’s 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 don’t need a man or anyone else to complete you. In fact, if you don’t have love for yourself, it’s impossible to enter into a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. No man is going to respect you if you don’t 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 you’ve done in the past or what you’ve been through, you’re worthy of love. If you don’t have the support of a family, there are people within this community that care about you. If you’re 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 you’re 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 you’ll 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. It’s true that those of us that don’t come from the most supportive families or the best financial backgrounds will have to work a lot harder. But it’s 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.

Sincerely,
A fellow woman that cares about your future