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#WriteRight. Chinedu: I WASN'T ALLOWED TO DATE UNTIL MY 20s




My parents were staunch jehova witnesses. 

I was literally raised in the kingdom hall of jehova witness. My name was not even sexy.
Instead of a sex talk, I was given a purity ring and taught to avoid things like R-rated movies, secular music, and feminism.

My parents made it clear that the sole purpose of dating was to find a suitable husband. When I was a teenager, they forbade me from being alone with anyone of the opposite sex. Their no-dating rule seemed reasonable because I was too young to get married, so there was no point in having a boyfriend. Somewhere out there in the world was a man who would eventually become my husband — I just needed to wait for him.

Any other boy I met along the way was someone else's future husband, so it was important to protect him from any temptation my body or behavior might create.

Keeping men from lusting after me turned out to be hard work. Every article of clothing I owned had to be approved by my father  and mother in a sort of living room fashion show. I'd parade around in my back-to-school clothes so they could be viewed from every angle while sitting or standing. Despite this preapproval, my mom constantly fussed over my shorts being too short, my dresses too tight, and my shirts too low. 

I assumed there must have been something inherently sinful about my body if men had to "guard their hearts" — as my parents said — against it. No matter what I did, I still seemed to attract a certain degree of attention from the opposite sex. I would never have admitted this, but I secretly liked it. I knew it was wrong to enjoy the feeling of being desired, but the thrill was worth the guilt.

My parents weren't the only ones telling me to be wary of men's attention. At one of our  church camp, a guest speaker passed around a long stemmed rose, telling each girl to remove a single petal. By the time we'd all handled it, there were no petals left. "Who would want a rose like this?" he asked. We all nodded our head in eager agreement, knowing the answer was "no one." That rose was our virginity and we needed to keep it intact or else no one would ever want us. 

The messages were confusing. The point of being a woman was to be wanted by a man, but only if he was the right one. At the same time, all men were hyper-sexual and couldn't resist temptation, yet still knew more about what was right for me and my life than I ever could. 

When I was 25, I got my first job working at a clothing store in the mall. It was the first time I'd spent a lot of time with people who openly talked about partying and sleeping with their boyfriends. I was smug about my moral superiority until one night when a male customer cornered me and began describing incredibly detailed sexual acts he wanted me to do with him. I didn't know what to do and was afraid of hurting his feelings. I didn't realize I could ask him to stop or walk away. I was ashamed that out of everyone who worked there, I'd somehow given him the impression I was that kind of girl.

By the time I left my parents' world, I was a girl who had never been kissed, and that status would stay that way for five more years. This delayed entrance into the dating pool caused me to miss out on formative experiences that would have helped shape my adult interactions with the opposite sex. I never developed an intuition for the types of men to avoid or the telltale signs of disingenuous or sinister intentions. Because I had  failed to learn these lessons when the stakes were lower, I paid for them through a series of poor dating choices and abusive relationships. 

My first kiss was a man who slammed my face into the side of a doorframe and left bruises all over my entire body. I waited a year before dating anyone else, only to end up with a man twice my age who eventually threatened to kill me. Both times, I assumed I had done something to deserve the way they treated me.

I had been placed in a pit of shame before I even had a chance to understand the nature of sexuality. It took years for me to stop digging myself even deeper and finally form a healthy understanding of what it means to be a woman. I can understand the motivation of parents who want to protect their children from experiencing too much too soon, but there is an even greater danger in allowing your child to enter the world without any experience at all. 

Now I am thirty and I vow to teach my daughter differently. 



***

Chinedu you sound like someone I'd like to meet. Might I also add that I find your writing very fluid and engaging...

This also makes me think about creating a platform (again; I tried before... Too many females, too few males) on the blog for single people to meet. I will work on that. 


.

Comments

  1. Wow. Speechless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think this is about religion



      Or is it

      Delete
  2. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Deep. I don't know why African parents over do it when it comes to this boy -girl ish, I remember the first time I ever saw my MP,my aunt told me "you are now a woman, do not allow any man touch you, if not its pregnancy straight "Chaiiii and I would foolishly shout at anyone who tried touching me back then. The damages the wrong lessons leave shaa or will I say the right lessons passed in the wrong way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Az in eh
      Even up till now.
      My parents are still on my case

      Delete
    2. It is well o jare

      Delete
  3. Proper sex education is crucial. Protect your kids from immortality and sexual intimidation/abuse but don't build walls around them. Walls increase desperation and curiosity, and "curiosity killed the cat".

    Lovely piece Chinedu, and best of luck with your daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol @ curiosity kills the cat

      Delete
  4. The importance of sex education can never be overemphasized!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't receive any but I read somewhere that it is in built in our database.
      Like how nobody will teach how to put dick inside pussy

      Delete
    2. Anon 10.00pm you're very right... You don't get taught that. But Sex education is way way more complex than how 'to put dick inside pussy'

      Delete
  5. hmmmmm chinedu whr do u reside. nice write up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not the parents fault at all. Same lesson could have been taught to another child and the kid would have a different adoption.

    Sometimes these strict lessons are good. They achieve the objective. I wont go that route tho..

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice write-up thoughI am not sure I agree with allowing your child have some experience before entering the world. I am not even sure I fully comprehend what this means. Having experience means you are already in the world, or no?

    There are ladies that walls were not built around them and they ended up in extremely terrible relationships.

    One lesson I've drawn from this narration is parents need to realize that children are different; they interpret instructions and advice differently. It is essential to use different styles of teaching for different types of children. Given the same upbringing and circumstance, another child could have turned out differently than the poster.

    -F

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thirded!
      A Girl

      Delete
    2. your final paragraph says it all.

      Delete
    3. Yeah I very much agree with the last paragraph too. 👍

      Delete
    4. But you guys know that some things learned at childhood can not be easily unlearned at adulthood

      Delete
  8. I'm sure u have a lot to thank ur parents for, looking at this from a different angle...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Too much of everything they say is not good. It's good to be strict, but at some point parents must learn to trust themselves that they have done a good job raising their kids and also trust their kids by giving them room to forge their own paths. It's when you give them freedom that you can guide them when they go wrong.That should start from secondary school when they are still under your roof/ monitor them.

    However there is no hard and fast rule on the level of strictness required but we must not over protect or over shield our children from a world they will eventually enter.I know this is unrelated somehow but my children will never go to a single school. J

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm really sorry about what you went through growing up, I'm a Jehovah's witness, raised by Jehovah's witness parents and I really couldn't relate with the things you said. Our Nigerian parents can be a bit extreme but my parents weren't strict on us, So it Made it easier to make what I was learning Mine. I.e. I didn't just see it as my parents religion
    From my tennage years till now (I'll be 23 on sunday) I've never felt restrained or restricted, infact i feel I've been protected from alot of things some ladies my age go through.
    At our Christian gatherings we are encouraged to live by bible principles (isn't it how christians should live?).
    I just finished my NYSC program this month which I did very far away from home. It didn't feel very different cos I had freedom at home. My parents and religion just guided me with the bible. All the decisions I've ever made since Jss1 were made by me, from the schools I attended, to when to start dating, to whether or not I wanted to remain a virgin and the list continues. I'm proud to say I've grown into a strong smart lady that knows what she wants in life.
    Yes experience is the best teacher but everyday I visit thelma's blog and sdk's blog and I read real life experiences of people, I learn, I grow..
    Your parents won't teach you everything. I know people that didnt learn how to cook from their parents, and today they're great chefs.
    That said, I'm a Nutritionist and i'm open to job opportunities in Lagos or owerri as the case may be. If you're hiring or you know someone hiring, please Hola at ya girl.. I write nutrition/health related articles for a an online company and my PPA was in a teaching hospital so I have a level of experience.
    Thelma hope advertising my self is allowed..
    I love you and what you do.
    Thanks and God bless you all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should also know that humans are wired differently

      Delete
    2. I don't know if this is really about religion ?

      Delete
    3. Yea I agree...This shouldn't be about religion

      Delete
  11. However there is no hard and fast rule on the level of strictness required but we must not over protect or over shield our children from a world they will eventually enter.I know this is unrelated somehow but my children will never go to a single school.

    I so much agree with the opinion above

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for resounding that line

      Delete
  12. Well sorry to burst your lying bubble Chinedu. You were not one of Jehovah's witnesses. No sane Witness will write jehova instead of Jehovah.Even my 5 yar old daughter spells it as Jehovah. No witness will ever mention Jehova witness as opposed to Jehovah's witnesses so that's a giveaway right there. Secondly we do not have church camps.Church is NEVER used in association Wih Jehovah's witnesses so then again I ask which type of 'jehova' witness are you? Sadly many people believe crap from apostates like you whose sole aim is to rubbish Jehovah's organisation. I got Marie at 28 years of age and I was a Virgin due to my religious beliefs. It has shaped my life and given me much joy and pride. My husband revels in the purity of my heart and body. Train up your daughter to be a whore if that will please you.

    ReplyDelete

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