Why I Wish I Was Still A Virgin

jill and me at 15 I wish I were still a virgin. The more I date, the more I think this. When I was younger I was a naïve fool who wanted to wait until I fell madly in love with a man to give it all away. Though I did date men, none of them were my loves and by age 22, my hormones couldn’t take it any longer and I lost my one and only v-card to a guy who didn’t even know how inexperienced I was. We were barley dating and whenever we saw it each other it was only behind closed doors. I liked him, he liked my bed, and when I finally threw up my arms and sighed, “Fine, let’s get this over with,” he delivered the most awkward five minutes of my life. Thankfully all my sexual conquests since him have been much much better and he and I no longer talk. Even though I have seen the light, I know how great it can be and I have had some fantastic moments between the sheets, I do still wish it never happened. I’ve never been in love and I’ve never been in a relationship. Being in my mid twenties, I can’t help but feel like a complete freak and as if I’m missing out on something. The past three years I have been on a downward spiral, my bitter bone has been gaining strength and I’m starting to see how living a full life, as a spinster might not be the worse thing ever. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind trying out this love business and see if it’s as great as everyone says it is, and if all those romantic comedies aren’t totally full of shit.  With this in mind, I have, once again, opened myself to the great world of dating, though not completely. Actually, if I’m being honest, I have barley opened the door to even whisper “Hello world of men, it’s Shelby!” I have been taking baby steps, each more terrifying than the last and with each step I lose more and more hope that everything and everyone isn’t awful. The main reason for this is that I can’t help that most men just expect sex, immediately. I know we all get horny every now and then, but a bit of respect and courting will never go out of style. Also, it’s terrifying to sleep with someone new. Part of the reason why I stopped dating was because I wanted to stop hating myself. Getting turned down just because I wouldn’t have sex on the first date or sleeping with a man only to get the cold shoulder afterwards and eventually never hear from him again. A person can only take so many beatings before they cave in, have enough and curl into a ball, cutting off the world. This is why, lately I can’t help but think if I never had that awful first time with some guy who wasn’t even worth my time to begin with, then how much bullshit would I have saved myself from? If today I were still a virgin, still waiting to be in love, then I wouldn’t be hurt by the guys who never called after we were “together,” I might not even have been hurt by the guys who turned me down when I turned down sex. If I said I were a virgin they might have just left without getting mad. Then again so many people tell me that the pain is part of the process and we’ve all been there. All I know if this lady is getting worn down by the process and sick of the expectations. Though no virgin today will believe me when I say this, but the world was a lot less complicated before I gave it all a way. Shelby Monita is a freelance writer living in Toronto. Her writing mainly focuses on music, more specifically underground and punk rock. She welcomes the travel bug with open arms and loves to share her stories. You can read more of her work on her site casamonita.com.

Stop Complaining About Your Life, Our Little Sisters Need Us

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The system is fucked. I’m not going to dance around this subject or take too much of your time painting some kind of abstract picture to make this easier to read. This is it. The system is fucked. In fact, many, many systems all around the world are fucked. Let us just focus on this one for now. You have a busy life, I have a busy life (not really); everyone wants to care about an issue as long as it involves no real effort or time. If this article is a reasonable length, my message will be heard. If this article is a paragraph or two too long, half the people will stop reading it before the end. Therefore in order to keep your attention, again, I’m getting right to the point which is, we – and the system we have created – are fucked.

Growing up I wasn’t the pretty girl, my older sister was. She got better grades than me, she was thinner than me, she had better hair and she was better at sports. She was the golden child and I was the ugly duckling, always feeling left behind and as if no one had a good reason to care about me, when they could care about her. In high school a boy I grew up with said to me, “Your sister is so hot, what happened to you?” Once, my older brother’s friends called, when I picked up they asked me if I was “The hot sister.” It sucked, for many, obvious reasons. Though I can’t hold it against her, she just got the better genes. It happens. I am happy to report in the past ten years I have been able to get over the fact that she is perfect, and I had to take a longer, harder road than her, but as I sit here writing this, I am a beautiful woman. I figured some stuff out, went on a few adventures and I’m looking pretty good these days. I actually am a smart lady and I’m happy for that longer, harder road because it turned me into a strong, interesting person who has their shit (for the most part) together.

Though this road that I went down had some pretty traitorous times. When I was 15, I thought things would never get better. I hated myself. I hated my life. My social anxiety was so bad that for my sweet 16 I was prescribed Valium just so I could have a conversation without a panic attack. I, on many occasions, had thoughts of suicide and felt completely alone. Sure, those boys in high school might have said some mean things, but I was my own worst enemy. It didn’t help that I had a challenging home situation, one that not many kids face. Having to cook for myself because my Mom was in the hospital, recovering from cancer just after my Dad decided he no longer wanted to live with us. As well, I was attending an unusual amount of funerals. This, along with my self-confidence so non-existent I had to be medicated in order to fake it for the public, it’s easy to see, my teen years sucked.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine lost a young girl she considered to be a sister. This girl was only 15 when she decided to take her own life. She didn’t leave a note, only a video saying sorry to her family. Afterwards my friend went through her diary and found entry after entry explaining her hatred for her body, how ugly she was and hated that she was “chubby.”

When my friend was in her weakened state was able to tell me this story, she opened up to notify me of something she never divulged to me before. My friend explained that she knows a few girls (including the one she just lost), who hated themselves because they thought a few extra pounds were so disgusting that no one would ever find them to be beautiful. When these girls would share their pain with my friend, she would show them my Facebook page. She would go through all my photos with them. Since I’m a size 10 and only 5’4”, I’m not an ideal thin girl either, this is why she used me as an example. She would show them my photos, with my style and love for life and asked them if they thought I was pretty even though I’m not a size two.  When they replied “yes” she would ask, then why can’t you be pretty and curvy? She would explain if they thought I was pretty with a few extra pounds, then they too are pretty.

I had no idea my friend was doing this, and doing this for years. Then I thought about the disturbed girl who felt the need to go to such lengths as to end her own life over this. I thought about all those diary entries my friend read after she had passed and all the writing this girl put her energy into to describe how much she hated herself. Then I thought what she wrote probably isn’t far from what I wrote when I was her age. Even worse, what she wrote probably wasn’t much different from what I wrote a few months ago, a few weeks ago, a few days ago. I mentioned earlier how far I’ve come from my high school years. In reality that’s just what I show the world, but when I’m at home, alone with my thoughts, and I dwell over everything. I dwell over how hard it has been for me to find a job, how I will never be a good writer, how it has been three years since I’ve had a boyfriend and how many men have used me and treated me like shit. I think about all these things and wonder why and my conclusion is I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough and I hate myself. How the fuck, why the fuck have I not been able to grow up and move on from this?  It is because this stage of arrested development in my mid twenties is far too comfortable and the future is too scary. Growing up, settling down, these responsibilities are terrifying, so I stick to what I know.

The system is fucked. These girls who are literally killing themselves over shit we have all gone through don’t need soap ads telling them they’re pretty. Corporations selling self-esteem through their products and disguising it as a revolution is the exact same as the media telling us we’re never going to be perfect, but still we should sink all our money into the hope that we might be the exception. We might be the one ideal woman who if we can pay enough money and if we really, truly believe the revolution is here because a dollar driven devil is telling us so. What these teenage girls need is for us, the women who have been through the battles and have come out alive is to tell them, “yes, what you are going through is real and it sucks, but it’s not forever.”

We need to grow out of our comfort zone and be the role models these struggling young girls are searching for. Show them our bruises and scars, let them know our wounds have healed just like theirs will. We have all felt the fucked up pain and insecurities and it’s not the end. I know I still have my struggles, but I also know if the 15-year-old suicidal girl I was could see me now, she would be over-the-moon, happy and proud.

These girls have a future. We know that and we need to be the ones to show them. Like I said, they don’t need to be told they are beautiful over and over since the media has played that line into a broken record. They will get there, and they will see that, but first they need to see that there is a life after this pain. So, all my fellow twenty something ladies afraid of growing up, this is no longer about you. You have no choice. Grow the fuck up. Our little sisters need us now more than ever.

Shelby Monita is a freelance writer living in Toronto. Her writing mainly focuses on music, more specifically underground and punk rock. She welcomes the travel bug with open arms and loves to share her stories. You can read more of her work on her site casamonita.com.

Photography: By Unnamed photographer for Bain News Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Now You Know… No You Don’t

Shelby-Blonde

How do you deal with a friend’s suicide? How do you move on when a person that you have slept with, have been your most intimate self with, decides it’s no longer worth it? You could do what I did and run away, again and again and again. In the span of a year, I ran away to Barbados, the other side of Canada, Montreal, Antigua, and took a five-week train trip across the USA alone. This week marks a year since his death. Here I am, back where I was when he kissed me, sleeping in the bed where we watched movies from and sipping coffee on the balcony where we would gaze down to stare at the drunks walking by.

I’m just as stuck now as I was then, or possibly more so. Beating myself for walking on that plane in San Francisco where I ended my USA adventure instead of staying in a place that filled my lungs and allowed me to breathe. Coming back from my last trip to the USA, I never expected how painful it would be to come home again. There is nothing for me here. When you’re away from home you sometimes feel that way, but deep down you know it’s just the vacation talking. When you come home, no longer on vacation and still feel there’s nothing for you, that’s when depression sinks in. No job, no boyfriend, at times feeling like not even a friend in the world since everyone is all caught up in their own lives. Everyone is out spending their well earned money and you’re left alone, at home, because you don’t have a job, you don’t have a man… why are you here. Then you think about him. That friend who saw it was no longer worth it and you’re at home, looking at nothing, feeling nothing and you just don’t know what to do.

After I came home from my five weeks on the road, everyone has been asking me how it was, wanting to see photos and expected me to tell all. It was amazing, it was perfect, I will say that. It was also an immense healing process, one that I don’t want to share. My trip was a personal journey and not something for me to make light of or present with a slideshow. You don’t know how depressed you are until you leave your comfy bed and face the world head on. I was depressed before I left (my counselors could tell you that), and I can say I am doing better now that I’m back. While I was gone though, I was never so happy. It felt like that’s how my life should be, a lone wanderer. Since I was a kid I could never keep long nails; I have a nervous nail biting habit. On my travels my nails have never been so long in my life. Back home, it would be impossible for them to be any shorter.

How do you deal with the suicide of a friend? I have no idea. I know sex is now more terrifying than it was when I was a virgin. It will probably remain terrifying until I find the answer to my question. I keep pushing away any man that tries to touch me, since I have no idea what that touch means anymore. Eric wasn’t the first man I had been with and we weren’t romantic when we were together, but he left me with so many unfinished conversations. I’m left not wanting another man, not trusting another man, though still longing for another man. Why did I ever come back? How do you deal with the suicide of a friend? I don’t know. I don’t even know if we’re all in this together anymore. I do know suicide can’t be the answer. If you have ever been left behind and know how this feels, then you know also, it can’t be the answer. Apparently the strong prevail. I’ll let you know if that’s truth or bull shit.

Shelby Monita is a freelance writer living in Toronto. Her writing mainly focuses on music, more specifically underground and punk rock. She welcomes the travel bug with open arms and loves to share her stories. You can read more of her work on her site casamonita.com.