The Father Factor: Part 2

In my last post I mentioned the numerous studies on how an absent father has such a detrimental effect on a daughters psyche and development. I do not place any blame on my father for decisions I made in the past. I made my choices and I reaped the consequences although one life changing incident happened that I never had a chance to make a choice. It was made for me.  However, I do often wonder if I had received love, understanding, and a close relationship with my dad would it have changed anything? Maybe it would have. My maybe it would not.

All I know is that it had an effect on me. I did not consciously know this at the time. I did not know why I was reaching out for attention in all the wrong ways just to feel loved. I just wanted to find and keep it, put in a heart shaped box and lock it away. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. 

Growing up with my grandparents I was always in church (Southern Baptist), the first one to answer questions in Sunday school, and was read Bible stories nightly. My grandmother first talked to me about sex when I was 9, a little late now that I think about it. I probably knew more than she did just by what I heard from friends and on the school bus. It was awkward and short. The point was sex before marriage was a sin and that was it. However, a few years later a friend let me borrow a book about the changes a young girl faces, such as menstruation  sexual feelings, hair growing in certain areas, etc. The book had been published by American Girl and was in no way explicit or pornographic. I hid the book knowing if my grandmother found it she wouldn’t be happy. Well, she found it and burned it. Didn’t she see what that would do to a young girls mind? Was sex bad? Were the changes in my body bad? I didn’t understand.

When I was 12 my aunt gave me a purity ring. She took me into my bedroom, gave me a velvet jewelry box that held a simple ring engraved, “True Love Waits”. She then explained what it meant and how important it was to wait until marriage to have any sexual relationships. I gratefully accepted the ring, being a little embarrassed and knew that I would save myself until marriage. At least that was the plan.

The older I got the more attention I wanted from boys. I craved the attention, but still kept my purity ring on with all intentions of keeping that pact. The summer before 8th grade I was visiting the sister of my mom’s newest boyfriend. I spent the night there thinking it was going to be a fun filled girls night with movies, popcorn, and laughter. I was looking forward to getting to know them better since it seemed my moms boyfriend would end up being my step-dad pretty soon. I thought it would only be me, my soon to be step-sister and her aunt. Later on that night a cousin arrived who needed a place to stay for the night. He was 26 years old, recently out of prison and he brought his own party favors. Weed.

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