Self Love Before Making Love

Last week I was asked to speak to a group of girls about STD's, HIV/AIDS. The ages ranged from 6 to to 15 yrs old. Most of the children are either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Being that this was my first time talking  to a group so young regarding this particular topic, I was a bit overwhelmed. However, you are never to young to contract an STD or HIV/AIDS. You all have to forgive me because this has been such a powerful two weeks so my emotions are all over the place. Though I am a Sexual Assault Advocate, I'm also an ally of the LGBT community, STD/HIV/AIDS awareness, and domestic violence. I feel that they all in some way are related to one another.

They all effect the community.

They all effect the WORLD.

And the silence needs to be BROKEN!

I went on Thursday to speak to a group of children who are a part of a not for profit organization called The Children's Place Association. I was bum-rushed, if you will, by very energetic young ladies who found my orange-blonde sophisticated mohawk to be...interesting, I guess. They greeted me, not with hugs but with  their fingers in my curls. :-)

Some of the girls were quiet and shy, others were reserved and some were mmmmm....SASSY! I informed them that we would be having a big sister to little sisters talk. They seemed to be cool with that sooo it began...

I asked how many of them like boys and majority of the hands flew up! The rest of the girls retreated in their chairs as to indicate that they were not even thinking about boys. I then asked them who they like, one girl replied, "I looooove Drake!!!!!". For those of you who don't know who Drake is, he is a rapper/singer depending  which day/song you catch him on. I asked her why she likes Drake and she replied, "Because he's sexy!" SEXY??????


I'll let you all decide that.

Anyhow, I discussed with the girls that there is nothing wrong with liking boys. At their age it's natural for them to get  googly eyed when they see a cutie. However, I did warn them that it becomes  problematic when they are "BOY CRAZY". Boy crazy is when you see a guy and you can't even function properly mentally because he is just soooo fiiiine. Being "boy crazy" effects your ability to use common sense because you are so focused on his outer appearance rather than focusing on the qualities that make him who he is. I told my newly adopted little sisters that they need to focus more on the inner beauty than the outer beauty and that they are never too young to start doing so. I also thought it was imperative to throw sexual abuse awareness in there and let them know that it is not okay for boys to touch them inappropriately and if they do, they have the right to say NO, STOP then PUNCH! (I'm kidding about the punch part.)


We also discussed self esteem and how important it is to know who you are and to love you before you can allow anyone else in to do so. These are things that were not continuously instilled in me as a child.  I was just called "fast", "busy" and "active" (that's my grandmother's way of saying "bad") but nobody sat me down and had a heart to heart with me as to the importance of self esteem.

What is self esteem?
According to Webster's Dictionary, self esteem is a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.

Growing up and still growing I had/have to define what Self Esteem means to me. To me, it means loving me and never compromising my integrity. It means never disrespecting myself therefore others are not allowed to disrespect me. It means loving and understanding my flaws and that through those flaws my true beauty is able to shine. Self-Esteem means having  so much confidence and faith in me; knowing that I can do absolutely anything I want to do because of who God is and because I am his child. Self esteem means settling for no less than the best because I am the best. Self esteem means walking in the full knowledge and  power of who the Creator destined me to be, without fear.

After discussing the topic of self esteem with the my little sisters, we talked about ::drum roll::
STD's, HIV/AIDS.

This particular topic is also one of the many that we are unable to speak about without hesitation and fear but it is something that is so prevalent  in our communities, schools and homes. I do not believe that we talk enough to our children about SEX. We just TELL them not to have it and if they do we're going to "WHIP THEIR ASS!"  Oh, don't y'all freeze up on me now just because I cursed.

REALITY: We do not discuss the importance of abstinence. We do not tell children that should they decide to have sex, have enough love and respect for themselves and their partners to put on a condom. We do not spread awareness to our children about how STD's and HIV/AIDS is effecting and killing our men and women.



I asked the little sisters to give me the names of some STD's, some of them shouted Chlamydia, others stuttered Gonorrhea because they weren't able to pronounce its' name. One young lady shouted "tuberculosis" and I had to give the blank stare...TUBERCULOSIS??? I gave her a pass because she is young and it was made obvious to me she had not been given the "sex talk".

BUT 

How many times are we going to give a pass to children who should be aware of sex and its consequences? It is our responsibility to educate but we don't do that due to fear of the child wanting to go out and experiment or because of control issues. YES! CONTROL...we want to control whether or not our kids lose their virginity but guess what?? YOU CAN'T! No matter how many threats you make, children and teens find ways to have sex. Why not talk to them about taking precaution(s) should they decide to make that choice?

HIV/AIDS is one the leading causes of death in the black community and throughout the world, yet no one wants to speak on it. We are afraid to go and get tested or we are just ignorant to the fact that we can't  contract the disease just because we only have one sex partner.

DENIAL. IGNORANCE. FEAR

That is what keeps up down and unltimately kills us. We deny the FACT that HIV/AIDS is very much real. We are ignorant to the fact that you cannot always tell whether someone has a disease from physical appearance. And we are fearful...fearful because we are ignorant and in denial.

I challenge you all TODAY, if you do not know your status, please make an appointment to find out. It may be scary to know but it's even scarier not knowing.

I also encourage you to practice abstinence...YEEEAAAH....It may be hard for some of you but it's never impossible. Besides, your health and living life is more important than having to fight to live life every day.

I challenge you to love YOU,  honor YOU and respect YOU so that no one has to come along and teach you the hard way how to do so.

I encourage you to look yourself in the mirror everyday, tell yourself:

"I love me"
"I am worthy"
"I am beautiful"
"I am intelligent"

And BELIEVE IT! I challenge you to tell yourself these affirmations because they can be true if you want them to be. And self love is better than having a so-called love that doesn't love you enough to protect, honor and respect you, your body and your health. SELF LOVE before MAKING LOVE

GET TESTED!!!! 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/

How to use a condom :http://lovecondoms.org/usethem/

Tell them if you've been exposed to an STD - send an anonymous ecard.:http://www.inspot.org/


Comments

  1. I commend you for speaking to our youth on the importance of abstinence and diseases. You're right, how many passes are we to give kids before they learn/know the truth? It should start at home. But when there's no one at home willing to teach, I'm glad to know they can still be educated. Kudos to you!

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  2. Yes, it is never to late to learn and live. Once cannot exist without the other. Thank you for reading :-)

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  3. Jacquese, what a great talk with these children. It is a discussion that needs to be had in our homes and in our schools. Thank you for being the advocate for healing that you are. I Tweeted this and posted it on my Facebook page for others to see.

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