Choose Wisely

Yes, do whatever you want with your own body. You’re fully in control of it and any decisions you make regarding it are your own. But just be aware of the fact that you’re not always making the choice that you think you are. People are going to judge and exploit you in ways that you won’t even be able to imagine until it happens. So, yes, do whatever you want with your own body. But just be ready for the fallout because, hey, people suck sometimes.

~my mom

My mother gave me this piece of advice roughly a month ago, when my boyfriend and I got caught making out in the hallway so the entirety of my school administration subtly slut-shamed me. Seriously, my administration, for as long as anyone can remember, has been happily oblivious to people making out, smoking pot, beating the shit out of each other, and literally actually having sexual intercourse in the hallways. But the one time, the one fuckin time that I do something bad, it’s caught on tape for the world to see. If that isn’t bad luck then I don’t know what is.

It’s not like everyone started bullying me and calling me a slut to my face. In honesty, the incident wasn’t even on the radar of the majority of the airheads in my grade. I’m not very well-known and I managed to keep the whole incident quiet (at least I think I did). But my teachers, the security guards, and my freaking principals all knew. I sure as hell felt like a slut.

My “decision”? It wasn’t really a decision at all.

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2 comments

  1. I know this is a short post and there may be some information left out, but what is here is such an example what gets foisted on us in so many places. You claim the administration ‘slut-shamed’ you, but the information in the post indicates more that you did it to yourself. You don’t give examples of anything anyone did or said, only that you knew that they knew and you subsequently allowed yourself to feel ashamed in their presence. Sad, understandable and most definitely not slut-shaming. It is simply you realizing that you had done something shameful (I’m not saying it was shameful, I’m saying you feel shame about people knowing you did it so you seem to think it is shameful) and you internalized that shame.

    Your last line is something that really resonates with me. What many people fail to see is there is a delicate balance between freedom, choice and responsibility. They all have to fit together to work and if any part of that triad is out of balance or missing, the whole thing fails to work. True freedom needs to include limits. Without limits we are not free as we become slaves to our impulses. It is only when limits are imposed and we are forced to make choices that we are truly free. This demands, though, that we then take the time to use our freedom and make actual choices rather then follow our impulses straight into the inevitable consequences that ensue. Here is the hard part-responsibility. When we understand our limits, we see in advance the consequences of our choices. We are willing to take responsibility for whatever comes. When we follow our instincts and don’t stop to consider the consequences (don’t use our freedom to choose) we still face the same consequences, but they come as a surprise and feel like (undeserved) punishment. This is where your shame enters the picture. You didn’t expect this result, but you now accept (at least subconsciously) that you did something shameful and it makes you uncomfortable in the presence of those who you know are aware of your shameful act. What is even worse that what I have described is when a person does make an honest choice, for whatever reason saying they don’t care about the consequences, and then blame others for the consequences.

    I’m not sure where you truly are in this. Did you think ahead of your making out with your boyfriend about why it was against the rules and why you shouldn’t do it in the school hallway or did you follow your instinct/passion and not give it any thought? Whether it was a decision/choice depends on your answer to that question. Neither answer can be used to absolve yourself from the inevitable responsibility, however. My advice would be twofold. First, be sure to make choices in the future. Use the freedom that you have to make wise choices for which you are willing to accept responsibility. Secondly, be strong. Don’t be weak enough to let others dictate your feelings and don’t try to weasel out of the consequences of your actions by blaming those around you.

    I don’t mean to preach. This is something that I feel strongly about and it seemed to fit the situation you described. You seem like a thoughtful, intelligent young woman and it seemed you might be willing to consider this idea.

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this!

      The post which details my poor decision making was actually posted on another blog. I linked to it at the top but if you missed it, here it is: http://thebigblogofknowledge.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/guest-post-now-is-not-the-time-for-feminism/

      I had a momentary panic episode upon starting to write this post—what if my administration found it? what if they EXPELLED ME?!–so I decided it’d be easier to post it on that blog instead. I also owed BBK a guest post and I saw that as an opportunity.

      For the record, I didn’t want to be making out in the hallways at all, and I told Chris as much. However, he is not allowed to date white girls—I learned this long after we broke up—and if he was seen in public with me by any member of his family, his dad would beat the living shit out of him. Also, he was a manipulative bastard and I just sort of went along with whatever he wanted. He somehow managed to convince me we wouldn’t get caught. Hah.

      Please don’t think it’s preachy at all. I really appreciate your interest in the topic and in my general wellbeing. Thank you for your advice 🙂

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