To the boy who expected more


(Trigger Warning: sex, rape, domestic violence, etc.)

I am taking a Women’s Studies course on Sexual Violence this semester, and after our class today, I have been thinking a lot about past relationships and interactions with intimacy, romance and sex.

So to the boy who talked to me at the bar

until I told him I wouldn’t go home with him

and then walked away

– I don’t owe you that for buying me a drink.

To the guy who messaged me on Tinder

until I told him I don’t like hooking up with people

and immediately unmatched me

– that doesn’t always have to be the end game.

To the boy I did everything for

and just wanted to impress,

I didn’t think I was allowed to say no.

I thought there were other ways to show love,

but it seemed all focused on one thing

that I didn’t really want to give.

To the friend who told me,

“But you guys were dating so it was fine”

– It was not fine.

To all of the above that I encounter in the future

  • I know that I love really easily

But I don’t owe you anything because I love you.

I don’t owe you anything because we’re dating.

I will expect a lot from you as a person

But you should not expect sex from me

 

In this class, we learn a lot about rape, sexual assault and harassment in the country and specifically on college campuses. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will experience non-penetrative sexual assault at some point in their lives, and the majority of assaults of women occur within a romantic relationship from their partner (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey).

Sexual assault is an incredibly real issue on college campuses, and we need to be aware of the effects it is having n our generation. So remember that it’s okay to talk about sex, violence and intimacy – it’s healthy, even. It’s one thousand billion times okay to say no to someone even if you’re committed to them. You don’t owe anyone sexual favors for anything they do for you, and it’s time we all start realizing that. It’s time I started realizing that.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, please contact your local rape crisis center or contact the police or call 911 if you feel you or someone you know is in danger. If you are a student at UofM, you can confidentially call the SAPAC Crisis Line at (734)936-3333. 

 

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On Love and Learning


There’s something interesting about the word ‘LOVE.’ It’s something that’s developed and changed over time. We learn more about it as we learn and grow in other ways. When I was younger, I always said “I love you” back to my parents, and I heard about love from storybooks and movies. That was always the sort of love that I knew I would find when I was older. That was always something I was certain would just happen once I hit a certain age. I was sure of it.

Well, obviously, I was wrong. I went through high school too occupied with myself and the future to be focused on love (and boy did that bite me in the butt mentally and emotionally). I got to college – in a new place and absolutely terrified – and was still too invested in other things to think too much about love. I zombie-walked through my freshman year hoping desperately that someone would spot me across the room and fall in love with me just like the movies. That’s how it happens, right?

No, it’s not. And I learned that very quickly and in a very not-fun way. Fast forward to sophomore year – I think it can be dubbed as the year I learned how to love, how to not love, but, more importantly, when to love and not love. Really vague and daunting, I know. Let me explain (or try to).

I was swept off my feet by a boy – absolutely stunned that someone finally actually liked me (like like-liked me, you know?). So blah, blah, blah lots of stuff happened and anything that went wrong or didn’t feel right, I just brushed it off. Eventually, this relationship that I had pretended was so perfect came to an end. I was crushed – not only because it was over, but because it taught me too much about myself. [Not that I don’t want to learn about myself, merely because it all sort of hit me at once].

For one: Love isn’t like it is in the movies. The boy doesn’t always fall for the girl – (sometimes a girl falls for a girl or a boy falls for a boy, but that’s a completely different story). Don’t expect to actually be swept off your feet. Don’t expect the picture perfect relationship from all the romance novels – it’s not going to happen that way and you’re just going to be disappointed.

Second: I love a lot – sometimes too much. I easily love and I very easily give love. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I consider it one of my redeeming qualities. BUT this relationship made me realize that sometimes I give way too much of myself to other people and that can sometimes lead to me being stressed, overwhelmed and worn out. For too many months, I gave a lot of myself and always felt let down when it wasn’t reciprocated.

Finally: Love isn’t just something simple. It’s complex and tricky and you don’t just figure it out immediately. It has so many different facets and you feel/express it in so many different ways. It can be for your mom, for your dog, your best friend or a romantic partner. Love is complicated and you’re not going to figure it out on the first try.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” 
― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

On Heartbreak and Media Pressures


I told you I would be honest with you on this blog. I told you I would not only talk about my successes and joys, but also my failures and heartbreaks. More importantly, I promised to write about what I learned from these experiences. So here I go.

This past fall, I met a boy. We became really good friends and then more than that and blah, blah, blah, all of that middle school sleepover stuff and everything. I won’t go into any details about any of that. 

Anyway, as these months progressed, we both slowly started to realize that this wasn’t going to ever really work out between us. We both kept ignoring that and pushing it aside, continuing with whatever it was we were doing. We were so captivated by the idea of having each other there that we didn’t care if we were ignoring obvious signs of it not working.

Finally, after several months of this, it all had to come to an end somehow. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to an end in a way that I would have really preferred, but it happened, and I can’t change how it happened. We decided to agree that it was not going to work between us. This being a new concept to me – having a relationship – I didn’t really know where to go from there. How does one just know how to move on from something like that? I guess you don’t, because I surely didn’t.

So as I was spending nights not knowing whether to be happy or cry myself to sleep, I began to analyze advice and suggestions I was being given. I had all of my friends telling me to forget him, that I “didn’t need a guy in my life.” I appreciated this, even though forgetting someone is a lot easier said than done. 

Then I began to think about the contradicting advice/suggestions I was receiving from other outlets – mainly the media. I happened to glance over at a copy of Seventeen magazine that my grandma had just sent me (because I am clearly still 17 years old). The cover included phrases like “How to Make Your Crush Like You!” and “Perfect Valentines Dates for you and your Boyfriend!” Well, that helped.

A week or so ago, we had just hired some new employees at my job. I was working with a new employee on her first day. We started chatting and one of the first things she asked me was, “So what are you and your boyfriend doing for Valentine’s Day?” and I had to give the awkward “Uh, I don’t have one” response. Why was that so important? Why is that so important? In one ear, I had my friends telling me “You don’t need a man to feel okay” and in the other ear society shouting “Why aren’t you turning boys away left and right?! Something must be wrong with YOU.”

I can’t say that I’ve figured out what I am doing in this situation. I’m still lost and in a process of “moving on” and returning to a state of being okay with not having him in my life constantly. I can say that this entire thing has been such a great learning experience. It is difficult to use the word “great” to describe it, since it consisted of a lot of anger, frustration and heartache, but I hope that a few years from now, I can look back and say that I learned to take the advice from my friends and not from society.

courageous