No Regrets

A lot of things have happened recently that made me want to write this post, such as friends unfairly (in my opinion) judging me, supposed rumors being spread, and a recent conversation with a close friend.  This is an important issue, I think, and even though I’m not an important person, I’m going to put my two cents in.

“Love. Sex. Ladies no regrets.”~Christina Aguilera: Express

Everyone who doesn’t live in a cave has been told that women are held to unrealistic sexual standards. There’s really no way to win. If you have sex with someone out of wedlock (or out of a long-term relationship), then you’re a slut. If you don’t have sex until you’re married, you’re a prude. Even though people seem to be loosening up a bit about this, we still feel pressured and judged every day. It isn’t just men judging us either. WE are judging each other.

That pisses me off.

I used to judge people about that. I used to make character judgments based off of “how far” someone had gone. If they had sex with their boyfriend, they were obviously loose and stupid. Then I got to college, and realized that the world is so much bigger than I had imagined. There are hundreds of ways to look at a single issue, and there are thousands of different experiences out there that shape those viewpoints. I began to realize that the world wasn’t really black and white. Excuse the reference, but when it comes to sex, it’s not so much black and white as it is 50 Shades of Gray (p.s. I haven’t actually read that book, but I couldn’t resist the reference).

I’m not claiming that I’m 100% enlightened. I am no Buddha. Honestly, I don’t know too much about sex. See, I’m a virgin.

SURPRISE!

So it came as a bit of a shock to me that I was being judged by a friend about my activities with boys (and honestly, it was probably my activities with one boy that sparked this, since she didn’t approve, but I’m getting off topic here). I was chastised for “not going about things the normal way.” Well, I guess I missed that day in class when they handed out the Guidebook for Dating and Relationships, because I didn’t realize there was a procedure to be followed.

Now, especially in college, the “rules” seem to be more like “guidelines,” and everyone interprets them differently. There are various levels of commitment, from one night stand to “just hanging out” to “I think it might be something” to “exclusively hanging out” to “Dating” to “Yeah, we’re practically married.” I’m probably missing some levels, but it’s hard to navigate in this world of hanging out.

If it’s hard to define where you are in a relationship, it’s even harder to decide what the proper sexual behavior is at each level.  Also, different people seem to be able to get away with different things. I know some people who just casually have sex with people. Not randos, but just different people that they know well and are attracted to. But they are “DEFINITELY not dating.” I have had friends who were so attached at the hip that it was disgusting. I have friends who only make out with people when they are drunk, and I have known people who just flit from person to person playing the “this could be a relationship” game. Everyone is apparently doing their own thing.

But they are also judging other people for doing it differently.

See, that’s what I don’t get. None of us know what we’re doing, so who says that your way is the right way for anyone else but yourself?  Don’t get me wrong, both parties should be of legal age, in their right minds, and both parties should consent to what’s happening, but after all those requirements are met, it’s really up to you to decide what you feel like doing. Kiss him on the first date if you want to. If you are comfortable with overnight cuddling (which can be super fun, fyi) then do that.  People will try to tell you there’s a certain way to go about this, and they’re full of it.

There are a lot of different factors you’re dealing with when you’re trying to decide whether or not you should do X, Y, or Z with a person you like. You’re not only dealing with the close proximity of potential prospects (thank you college dorms. No, but really), but the raging hormones, the social pressure, religious rules, and your own feelings. It’s confusing to try to reason through them for yourself. I honestly believe that situations are different for everyone. I can’t tell you what’s right for you. The most I can do is tell you what I would do if I was in your situation.

Here’s my rule of thumb: act in such a way that you won’t regret it.

I’ve regretted some sexual interactions before, and it’s not fun, no matter what your reason is for regretting it. Probably the worst time was when I was pressured into doing something I wasn’t ready to do. I wound up curled up in a ball crying on the shower floor for an hour. Not fun.

But I learned from that experience to be more assertive, and not worry so much about making someone else happy that I ignore what I need to do.

I’m rambling, but the point is, I try now to think about my choices and see if I really want to do them before I commit to doing it. I think about how I feel about the other person, what level of a connection we have, where I see this going, etc. and I figure out if I would regret this experience if things don’t turn out the way I want it If you do that, then you know what you think about your decision, and you probably won’t care much about what other people think, because you can defend your logic (not like you should have to, but people are people). to, or if I’d always regret not giving it a try. It’s a lot of thinking, but I tend to over-think things, so I’m used to it. If you think it through, then you know what you think about your decision, and you probably won’t care much about what other people think, because you can defend your logic (not like you should have to, but people are people).

This doesn’t protect you from rumors, though. I’ve been told that a certain rumor is going around about what I’ve done with someone. Well, honestly, I just think that’s silly. No one should really be that concerned with other people, especially not enough to lie about what you’ve done with someone. And if someone is lying about the rumor, then that’s a whole other issue. What’s great, though, is that I know the people I care about know me and know the truth, so it doesn’t really affect me. Also, I’m not ashamed of being a virgin, so if it comes up, I’ll correct the misconceptions. Again, #noregrets.  I’ve given my actions some thought. So I just have to be content with my decision and tune out what other people think. Of course, it sucks to have your reputation sullied (without getting to actually partake in the fun sullying process), but there’s only so much you can do. Just make sure you’re not the one going around lying about your sexual exploits.

While telling a dear friend of mine about all of this silly drama, we got off on a tangent about how it feels to be a virgin in your twenties. Neither of us are actively trying to lose our virginity (or it would be gone by now, honestly), but we are tired of feeling like our virginities are handicapping us. She is frustrated enough that she said she just wants to “get it over with” sometimes. Yes, that’s right, she and I are so fed up with the pressures that we joke about getting it over with so that we don’t have to worry about it anymore. Hopefully, this sounds awful. Society should not push us to a point where SEX is a HASSLE. While I know neither of us will actually follow through with the threat (meaning we won’t just randomly have sex to get it over with), it still upsets me to think that people can feel that way. We shouldn’t feel ostracized for being virgins, and people shouldn’t feel bad for not being virgins. If you put thought into your decisions, be proud of what you chose. I have no issue saying I’m a virgin, and other people shouldn’t have an issue saying what they are either. Don’t apologize for being who you are and doing what you need to do for you.

Life is too short to live it according to other people’s rules. It’s WAY too short to constantly worry about what people are saying about you. Just make the decisions you need to make.

Live so that you have no regrets, and everyone else can just go… well, you know.

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[“Forget”] Valentine’s Day

I’m going to say something that seems wildly radical, verging on insane. I need you to bear with me for a little bit.

What if Valentine’s Day isn’t that important?

Forget what Hallmark says. Forget what Lindor, Dove, Hershey’s, etc. say. Forget what your mom and grandmother say. Forget what BuzzFeed articles, magazines, and romance novels say.Forget what your friends say, and definitely forget what pop culture says.  Think about it for yourself. What does Valentine’s Day really mean?

The way most people think about Valentine’s Day is as a day full of material goods or extravagant gestures made by their significant others (or recently found significant others) that validates their relationship and reminds them that they are loved. For single people, it’s a day when we are made incredibly aware of our single status and is seen more as a day of moping, mourning, and/or drinking.

Why?

Why does one day have to mean so much? It’s just fluff. Valentine’s Day is in no way the meat of a relationship. Valentine’s Day does not your importance make.

You aren’t somebody special because someone gave you a stuffed bear on this random day, and you aren’t insignificant if you weren’t given anything by someone.

This is in no way an attack on couples. I love the idea of healthy romantic relationships. In fact, I hope to be half of one one day. However, I do not think that Valentine’s Day should be such an important day.

Do I hate the act of gift giving on Valentine’s Day? No. I give the people I love and care about valentines every year. I participate in Secret Valentines and enjoy getting recognition for Valentine’s Day. However, I am sick of feeling bad for myself because none of these gifts came from the person I like. I’m tired of feeling like I have to be sad that I’m single on this day (more-so than any other day). I’m sick of getting weird looks when I say that being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t such a big deal to me. Honestly, I’m single every other day of the year too, which means I’m not getting affirmations of love/attraction/liking from a romantic partner on those days either. Why should I be pressured into believing that this day is any different than any other?

Again, don’t get me wrong. I think you should tell the person you love or like that you love/like them. I think you should find a way to do this meaningfully and often. If you express your love through gifts, then more power to you. However, I don’t think that all of this pressure should be put on one day.

Valentine’s Day isn’t the ultimate authority on your love life.

Which also means that people shouldn’t feel it is necessary to have “anti-Valentine’s Day” parties, or post those negative and sarcastic statuses, cards, etc. (I’m guilty of this). If you are fine being alone, you shouldn’t have to pretend you aren’t and go out and party, drink, or buy yourself some chocolate. If you’re not fine, you shouldn’t have to broadcast that (unless you want to. That’s a different blog). If you’re in a relationship, then celebrate that fact as you want to.

Do what you want to do on Valentine’s Day, whether that’s watch Netflix in your sweatpants, party with your friends, drink alone, or go to a fancy dinner with your person. Just don’t do it to prove something.

So, whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or not, think about why you’re doing it. Are you doing it because you think you have to, or because you want to?  Don’t let the internet, culture, or anything pressure you into participating if you don’t really want to.

 

 

Waiting, Wishing, Hoping

Two quotes come to mind when I think of this topic: “A dream is a wish the heart makes,” and “Don’t wish, don’t start. Wishing only wounds the heart.” Both are true.

I’ve been wishing for years: on falling stars, on birthday candles, on 11:11 and on clasps that fall to the front. All this time I’ve spent wishing I’ve just been building up my hopes, making myself think that life can be different than how it already is with just one well-timed (and specifically phrased) wish.

I’m a good story-teller, you see. I have a very active imagination. I can dream up some amazing things. I think of them in such detail that it’s almost like they’ve come to life. When I was little, playing “pretend” was my favorite pastime. I became a sort of expert at it, and called upon those skills to help me deal with any of the awful, upsetting things that I came across. Today, I use this as a way to explain what happens. I come up with five different possible plots for why bad things happen to the people that I love, and myself. I can rewrite people as heroes or as villains, and (most of the time) it will seem plausible. Then, I’ll wish and hope that it was true so that I can make sense of the world.

I’ve always done this. Honestly, I’ve always had a problem believing that anyone besides Hitler and Umbridge were truly evil. So, whenever someone does something particularly awful to me, I rewrite the story. I explain why they did it. I come up with a tragic reason why they might have done something so awful, and I find a way to forgive them.

That’s where I get into trouble. I explain this alternate motivation so well that it becomes hard to snap back into reality. I have amazingly wonderful dreams where everything is sunshine, rainbows, chocolate that helps you lose weight and singing animals straight from Disney. Then, I wake up, and life is normal.

I would conclude this by saying that I’m not going to dream again. That I’ll never think up different explanations (besides the obvious), and that I’ll stop hoping for the best. After all, Camus once implied that hope is our worst enemy. Hoping for a situation that’s different than the one we’re in is the best way to upset ourselves.

Well, thing is, I’m a hopeless romantic. So, whether Camus is right or not, until I go through that magical transformation that turns me from a romantic to a cynic (because I’m pretty sure that most cynics are disappointed, tired romantics) I’ll keep hoping and dreaming. I guess I’m like Anne of Green Gables that way.

I will, however, attempt to change my behavior. Maybe, instead of hoping that things will come to me, I’ll go to them. I’m not exactly sure how to track ethereal things like love, happiness, stability and trust, but I’ll learn. That way, I’ll wish with action, and maybe that will give me some more control over my life.

 

I’ll keep you updated. Sweet dreams, everyone.