Monday, April 23, 2007

Hollywood and the Important Conversation

Hollywood and I were talking on the way home from her track meet last week and she mentioned that one of her classmates is already sexually active. I had to give myself a second to recover from the shock of this statement before I asked her what she thought of this girl, who I'll call Jane.

"Jane's just stupid. And she has a bad reputation." Hollywood explained.

I took the opportunity to tell her that some girls have sex too early because they are lonely, or unsure of themselves, or trying to get attention from someone. I explained to her that maybe Jane was sexually active, or maybe she was just saying she was to seem cool. We talked about that for a while. Because Hollywood is self confident and happy with who she is, I'm not sure that she understands the point of view of someone like Jane, who might say or do things to gain popularity or attention. I explained that I'm glad that she thinks Jane's actions are stupid, but that treating her like an outcast isn't right either. We continued to talk a bit more about why it's best to wait until you're an adult in a stable, loving relationship to have sex.

The talk taught me two things: 1. Hollywood thinks she's way too young to have sex. (Thank GOD!) and 2. She feels comfortable talking to me about these issues, which are likely very confusing to her. I'm glad I can be there to help her through some of these things.

It makes me remember the time she first kissed a boy. She was almost 10, it was August or September of 2003. We had the whole family over for a party at the house we'd recently moved into. Earlier that day she had been hanging out with the neighbors. When she came inside, she was very quiet, and said she didn't feel well. Throughout the night, she seemed to get worse. After everyone left, as I was tucking her into bed, she told me that she wasn't sick, but that she had done something 'really bad.' A neighbor's cousin, who was Hollywood's age, asked her to kiss him. She said she didn't really think it was right to kiss the boy, but she did it anyway, and it made her feel sick to her stomach all day. She was afraid I'd be angry, and might have been surprised when I wasn't. I tried my best to explain that waiting until you feel totally ready for something makes for a much nicer experience than jumping in without giving it much thought. As crazy as it may seem, I think that experience helped her see the importance of making the right decisions, and I think it will shape the decisions she'll make in the future.

I'm not deluding myself into thinking she'll always tell me everything or that she'll be a virgin on her wedding night. But I'm going to make the best of these kinds of opportunities to have two-way conversations about important topics like sex, drug and alcohol use, etc. She's a smart, head-strong, independent girl, and while that makes for some heated arguments, I think those traits will serve her well when it comes to big time decisions that are coming her way sooner than I'd like to believe.

1 comment:

Say_Anything said...

You should feel so proud! Hollywood has it right-on. I don't think most girls that age can understand how confidence and attention play into making very important sexual decisions. I hope I can have an open relationship with my future kids like you have with her. Hope it continues through all the crazy rebel teen years!!