Dear Maria #1

Dear Maria...

Dear Maria, 

First, allow me to take it all in. I cannot believe it has been sixteen years. I always say you were sent to wipe away my tears. You were born two months after my mother died. I named you after her. And you look like her. You love cooking just like she did. And you are good at it. Though sometimes you burn the rice. (I believe this is on purpose!) 

The other day I asked you if you had a boyfriend. You said yes. I really appreciate your honesty. It means we are doing something right. I am pretty sure you think I have superpowers. How would I know to ask if you have a boyfriend just when you got one? Well, my superpower is snooping. And watching. There is almost nothing that goes on at home that I do not know about. I snoop, I go through your clothes, your bags, your books, my dear, I go through everything. It is my house so I can. It is for your own good. (My mother did it too. That justifies my actions. Ha!) I also watch you guys and of late you have a twinkle in your eye. You think you are in love. I recognise that look. 

Believe it or not, I was sixteen once.(Shocking I know!) I thought I was in love many, many, many times! I thought my heart would break many more times. Yet, here I am. With a whole heart. Remember I had the talk with you about sex. When we agreed not to have sex at least until we were over twenty? I was serious about that. The risks involved are many. You are not equipped to deal with those risks. 

First off there is the risk of contracting HIV. Yes, you may both be virgins, but there are children in your generation who were born HIV positive. Many have lived a relatively healthy life. They take medication. Many do not know why they take medication. Many have not been told their status. So you might be two virgins yet, one is HIV positive. 

You may also get pregnant. Apart from the fact that I am too young to be a grandmother, having a baby now will slow you down. It is not the end of life I know, life is already complicated. Why put speed bumps in your own road? I know I threatened to take you to the village to live with your grandmother if you started having sex. At that time, I was being a bit emotional. The threat still stands. Only now it is also a promise.  

The third thing that people do not mention is the emotional aspect of having sex when you are young. These days I know you think you know everything about having protected sex. You might have even come into contact with a condom. Someone may have even told you where you can have a safe abortion. Listen to me Maria, sex now will rob you of your childhood, your innocence. Sex is too much responsibility. At this stage, you should be enjoying yourself. Date many boys. Commit to none. What do you know about commitment? What are you committing too? The only things that should matter to you now are your education, your growth, your spirituality and your family. Be selfish with yourself. 

When I was your age I was obsessed with growing to be old enough to have sex. I fantasized about having sex. A lot. But I could not dare have sex. I could not because I was so sure my mother Mary, would find out and break my legs. I needed my legs to find the man I would have sex with so I tried to be patient. But in my trying to be patient I filled my head with the most stupid things. I was reading all 'sex stories'- novels. Listening to all the music about how sex would be. It was silly. In the process, I put pressure on myself. I had to look 'sex worthy'. This is where low self-esteem starts. You start picking yourself apart. Picking all the things you think are not beautiful and sexy about you. You compare yourself to the characters in the novels with breasts like mountains and hips like some bottle or the other. These characters are not real. It is unnecessary drama really. I forgot to enjoy being young and carefree. Because I wanted to have sex, I had to be responsible for boys' feelings even when I thought they were stupid. Trying to have them hang around till when I could have sex without the danger of having my legs broken. What a waste of time. 

I wish for you to enjoy this time. Be busy with things you like. I know you think you love this boy, (you wrote 'love you boo', do not look at me that way (I can see you!). You do not. You will think you love many more. So, do not waste your great personality on this one boy, date many boys. Watch many movies with them (in the movie theatre). Go on hikes, in a crowd. Watch games. Go for milkshakes. Hug and even kiss (without tongue and in public) But leave sex for now. Fill your mind with more useful things. Read widely. (You can read a few sex stories so that you know what goes where. I can also tell you. Just give me advance warning so I drink that juice of mine). Play a sport seriously. Take your cooking to the next level. Sex will come. And when it is the right time, there will be no shortage of men to have it with. For now, my Maria, let life be just about you. 

Love you always, through anything, 


News Reporter

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