I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately.
Growing up I was taught that I was a piece of property owned by my parents.
Heads up Mum, I am not racking on you, I am just stating how it was. I don’t really think it was a malicious idea that my parents came up with, it was traditional way of raising children, especially daughters.
I was taught there were certain ways I was to look. I couldn’t dye my hair until I was a bit older (and could pay for it myself…that makes sense) and I also wasn’t allowed to get tattoos (I did when I was 16 anyways) or piercings (which I also did at age 18).
Sex was also a super taboo no-no.
I never really had anyone to talk to about my sexual inclinations or how to protect myself. What I learned about sex was what I learned in sex-ed, TV and from what my older sisters joked about.
So, at a young age, I learned that my body was a temple, but it also wasn’t fully mine… until the day I realized I actually did have complete control.
There came a point where what my parents told me and demanded of me no longer aligned with what I wanted to be. I wanted to control my own self and I guess that came in the form of rebellion. I am also quite the polar opposite when it comes to some of the views of my parents. Piercings and tattoos can be beautiful and also reminders of life experiences. Sex is a fundamental part of life. There is no such thing as sluts.
I find the idea of basing someone’s worth solely on the amount of people they have had sex with completely absurd. As long as the sex is consensual, they aren’t sleeping with your partner, breaking up another relationship, or purposefully spreading STDs, why the fuck would you care what someone does with their body? Also, sex is (mostly) awesome… so… shaming someone for having an awesome time doesn’t make any sense to me.
So, here I am, the mother of two girls. One of my girls is almost 14 years old and the other is 2 and a half. I don’t have much to worry about with the toddler yet… besides keeping her alive and preventing her from tearing our house apart, but my teenage daughter is at that age where she needs a lot more guidance.
My ideas on these subjects could all backfire on me, but I am hoping they won’t.
What I want to instill in my daughters is that when they can fully comprehend the idea – THEY get to decide how they wish to treat their own bodies.
What? Hold the phone. I am not saying my small child knows when she should be able to get a tattoo or anything – there is definitely an age when I think it is more acceptable for them to be able to choose those things.
What is that age? Um, probably different for each of them?
The biggest factor is how the communication flows between us.
- Are we able to have an open conversation about the repercussions of some of their choices?
- Is what they are feeling a fleeting idea or a thought coming from peer pressure? Or is it something they have been thinking for a long time and know the pros and cons?
- Can I trust their judgement and can they trust my advice?
- 1 MILLION other things that I can’t list here.
I can feel when my oldest is really serious about something. She is probably more mature than most girls her age and it can be a real eye-opener for me sometimes.
So, when the idea was brought forth to me that she wanted to get her nose pierced I thought of all of these things and more. I also had the fleeting thought that my parents (her grandparents) would be pretty upset if their grandbaby visited them with a new piece of ice in her nose. But, it didn’t stop me from having an open conversation with my kid. If anyone is willing to go up to bat for her daughter making the decisions about her own body, it’s me.
The discussion about the nose piercing lasted about four weeks in our house. I had my nose pierced before and flat out told her that it hurts, mine became infected and kind of looked like a big boog on my nose. It didn’t suit me. If the idea of these things didn’t phase her, she was probably more serious than I thought. She also had to pay for it herself… or so I told her.
Then the text came one day from her Dad – we are pretty lucky that we are both pretty rad, because I don’t think my Dad would have ever have opened up this door – and the text said, “Hey what do you think of M. getting her nose pierced?” Since we had been talking about it at our house for quite some time, I told him that when it boils down to it, a piercing is just a hole. A nose piercing won’t change her in any other way besides putting a tiny hole in her face. A nose piercing doesn’t open the doors for undesirable behaviours like underage drinking or drugs or prostitution. It is just a tiny hole in her face filled with a pretty gem.
Lo’ and behold, Teenager and Her Dad were close to a reputable piercing shop – and honestly, I am not even sure I would have wanted to be there in person – so they walked in and she got her piercing. The only request I had was that I got sent a video. She took it like a champ and much better than I did when I was 18.
But, what I am really hoping she got from the experience was that she is the ruler of her own castle – her body. She get to make the decisions of what happens to it, how it is modified and how it is used. I hope with all of my heart that it gives her strength to say “NO” when she means it and “YES” when she feels it. I hope it gives her confidence that she can not be used like a toy and also that she can respect her body for what it is…
Her temple, her castle, her self.
PS) She’s a beauty inside and out!