My teenage years are ones where I discovered myself. I was thirteen when I first knew and understood that I was a woman. At fourteen, for the first time, a boy told me I was beautiful; that whenever he saw me his heart beat faster. I was fourteen when I started fantasizing the idea of becoming an author. I was sixteen when I created my Goodreads account, which I didn’t use until later. I was eighteen when I started making fiber crafts and crocheting. I was nineteen when I decided I should start a business.
When you are a girl in your teens, you have many things running in your mind. If you are lucky to be in a good school, your problems are of keeping up with school, parties, movies and the likes. If all your family can afford is government schools where the only fee that’s paid is your lunch, then your worries will be of keeping up with school, surviving everyday errands of home, helping parents and the likes. The education and raising of teenagers differ from families but for girls there are commonalities like teaching them how to cook, to respect elders, to be clean always, to not have opinions, to beware of boys and men…
As you grow up there are things you can’t escape and if you can, they require much self-discipline; such as men and elder boys who see girls as nothing but sex materials. Today I won’t talk about educating young boys on how to treat women. I won’t remind you that when a girl gets pregnant, the one to blame is the sperm donor not her. I won’t remind you that there is no place where a girl is safe. Just listen to your radios or watch TV news and you will be told of a 6 year old raped by her father. Today I won’t mention the hundreds of women who are beaten everyday by their husbands because they suspect that they’re not respected as they earn less than their wives. No… I won’t talk about it.
This is for you teen mama. I want to tell you that you are not a failure. You are not a sex-crazed maniac who finally got what she deserved. It breaks my heart when parents set you as a warning example to other teens. I can’t imagine how hard it is to bear bad words flown at you or feeling those judgmental stares. At some point you have wanted to give up the baby. You have regretted to not have aborted. You probably spend most nights crying. You are losing focus and sleep because not only do you still have school, you have work and your baby to take care of. And probably you never even wanted this to happen; maybe you wanted to have kids but certainly not at your age. But here you are.
You are being responsible. You are raising your kid the best way you can. You are smiling and giving strength everywhere. You are sacrificing your teen years so that your baby may have a great childhood. You are fighting those hateful and pity stares. You are combining studying and parenting and probably working. You are the noblest person I know. Today I’m writing to tell you that what people say to you or about you or what they throw at, does not define you. You made a mistake but you are not one. It will get better and you will make it, even with a baby in your arms.
I look forward the day we won’t hear news about teen pregnancies. I look forward the day girls will be safe to have dreams and pursue them.