Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts doing the “10 years ago photo challenge.” While I could easily find pictures of myself from ten years ago, I figured I would try something different. Plus, I value my privacy. It makes it so much easier to put out sincere candor if no one knows who I really am.
I’ve seen a writing prompt that was a variant of this involving telling the younger or older version of yourself things from that particular age’s perspective. I do enough talking to myself as it is, so let’s do something different.
The following will be from the perspective of me at 13, 23, and 33 respectively, describing my physical appearance and thoughts about sex at the time.
Warning: it gets a bit weird and it was uncomfortable to write. So if you’re uncomfortable about a thirteen year old kid coming to grips with sexuality, you might want to leave.
Awkward. That would be my one-word description of me at 13.
I was starting to get to the point where I would stop growing any taller, so my parents preparing for that contingency by buying me clothing three sizes too big became all the more conspicuous that I wasn’t one of the rich kids that could get a new wardrobe at the beginning of every school year. I also had enormous, round owl eyeglasses, which I didn’t mind because it meant that my parents finally believed me when I said that I couldn’t read the chalkboard and I would stop getting headaches from trying to squint hard enough to make out the letters and take notes. I was not a good looking kid.
My mother also cut my hair, which is to say, just trimmed it at the end so it would remain long and braidable down my back. It was the first time I asked if I could get a “grown-up” haircut, which proved to be a complete disaster. I wasn’t sure what to tell the hairdresser other than I wanted it short. The result was a rather terrible chin-length bob that made my round face look even rounder and I could no longer hide the occasional pimple under it. This could have been avoided if I just knew what I wanted and communicated that clearly.
This tendency haunted me for years. Even now, I still have trouble sometimes expressing that I’m either not ok with something or that I would like something to be a certain way instead.
Which leads me to sex. Yes. Thirteen-year-old, honor rolling, spelling bee runner-upping, concert band playing me had sexual thoughts and urges. Surprisingly, it wasn’t over the usual boy bands or heartthrob actors. Most of these thoughts involved a tenor sax player that I had a bit of a friendship with the year prior and he had given me his phone number in one of the coded notes we handed to each other to try to break. We apparently had cryptography ambitions back then. But sadly, I figured out what the code was too late; the school year ended and a summer passed and he completely forgot me.
The fantasy I remember the most, if I remember anything else from that time, involved handcuffs. I don’t know where I had seen it, but it was some show where two people get handcuffed together and they always had a bickering, “will they, or won’t they?” dynamic prior to that. So, early teen me saw that and thus started a fascination with restraints. I would imagine him and me handcuffed together at the wrist, the chain looped in a space in the headboard, pinning us to a bed.
The strangest part of that was that I still didn’t know what a penis looked like (and wouldn’t until I was sixteen years old giving my first awkward handjob, but I’m skipping ahead) and I thought that sex involved the penis rubbing between the thighs. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with intercrural sex or frottage, but I didn’t know anything about basic penetrative sex, let alone either of those things. Thanks a lot, woefully-inadequate public school sex education. That made me an idiot about sex, but also resulted in a significant number of teen pregnancies when I got to high school.
I still didn’t know what a penis looked like (and wouldn’t until I was sixteen years old giving my first awkward handjob, but I’m skipping ahead) and I thought that sex involved the penis rubbing between the thighs. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with intercrural sex or frottage, but I didn’t know anything about basic penetrative sex, let alone either of those things. Thanks a lot, woefully-inadequate public school sex education. That made me an idiot about sex, but also resulted in a significant number of teen pregnancies when I got to high school.
So, looking back, my fantasies mostly involved heavy making out, but with handcuffs involved. I had no understanding at all of any of these things, but I knew that I wanted them. I had learned about desire, longing, doing things that would make me feel good. I’m pretty sure I discovered masturbation at around fourteen or fifteen.
This is the part where I feel it’s necessary to emphasize that anyone who justifies getting involved with a minor by saying that “she seemed/acted older than her age,” is a scummy predator. Just because I had those thoughts at an early age, it didn’t mean that it would have been ok for me to act on those impulses and especially not ok for someone older than me to coax me into acting on that.
Thirteen was also the year I first got my period. I tried to hide it from my parents. Mom only found out because I had started to get horrific, doubled over in pain, cramps and I figured getting a painkiller of some sort would be worth the embarrassment. That was when I developed an on again, off again relationship with a hot water bottle and as much ibuprofen as my body could take without my stomach hurting, thus defeating the purpose of me taking it for cramps. I experienced no reprieve from this monthly nightmare until I went on the birth control pill in college.
Which segues us to twenty-three year old me, but that will have to wait until next entry.