A New Chapter
My twentieth birthday was ironically the birth of a new phase in me. I had recently left my long-term relationship. I was shifting gradually away from most of my high school acquaintances. I was in a co-op learning program at my university. Everything was changing, as was I. What a lot of people forget is that in order to change, we must make new actions, some of which blossom into mistakes. Here is why you should stop shaming your own past.
In some way or another, my birthday seemed to inspire a new shade of adventure in me. I began to chat up strangers. I began taking local drop-in classes for random things. I also began going on several dates, many of which were coordinated through a popular dating app.
Dates on Dates on Dates
I began chatting with a guy named Sven, a Swedish guy from Alberta, who had recently relocated to my city. He seemed intensely educated, yet impeccably fit. His profile intrigued me, because he seemed to have a strong life balance. We decided to meet at his house for drinks.
A bartender in his university years, he poured me a drink that stung of an abundance of whiskey. After a few minutes, when I finished it, he filled me another. I perceived this at the time as his need to make visitors feel at home in his abode, as he had mentioned that in a conversation we had been having days earlier.
Thirty minutes into our movie, he made a move on me. He used sensitive and romantic language as he coerced. It confused me, because my gut told me that this was not a safe situation. And yet I lingered by his touch given his soft, kind language choices. I wasn’t scared, but perplexed by this. A new situation. There was a bizarre mood in the room. If you were in the room with your eyes closed, the sounds spoke of romantic, light, sensitive. If you were in the room with your ears plugged, the situation looked much different. More awkward. It wasn’t that I didn’t give consent, it was more so that I gave consent so carelessly. It was as though I let him touch me to see what it felt like to be with someone else. Not because he was a good person, or because we cared about one another. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, I didn’t view this as the best choice for me.
I left a few minutes later, and never returned to his place after that. We did not have sex, but I felt embarrassed at how I had just let myself lie there for as long as I did, not saying anything. Had I been comfortable, and had there been a better connection, romantic gestures may have been more appropriate. But not thirty minutes into a movie when we had just met for the first time in person. Although thankful that I later acted defensively for my safety and left, the thought of having laid there for ten minutes in confusion as he touched me made me feel ashamed.
Why hadn’t I said something? Why hadn’t I taken the power back sooner? As a feminist, this impacted me for months, as I felt as though I had given away my power and my voice in the presence of someone acting out of strategy. I was angry.
Looking back almost a decade later, I feel better. I am a very prideful person, and the feeling of making an incorrect move can seem quite unbearable. Its funny, because when you are young, adults will tell you that you will eventually make mistakes. And you shrug, and say “Okay,” as though you won’t be as stupid as they were. This is another reason why you need to stop shaming your own past. Pride can be painful. Sometimes, it feels good to ask “But did you die?”, just to remind ourselves that some things are really not the end of the world.
In some ways, the generations that follow are advanced to their predecessors, when it comes to new ways of thinking, technology or innovation. However, anyone is prone to making mistakes in their own life. Maybe you haven’t lived through a situation like this, but maybe there is something different that you have felt embarrassed or ashamed of.
While I was mortified to have put myself in a vulnerable situation, I can be thankful that it didn’t go further than it did. I can be thankful that I eventually made sense of what was happening and pulled away. And thankful that I wasn’t killed. This doesn’t erase the fact that communicating with someone should always be a functioning factor in romantic or sexual experiences. And it doesn’t erase that his actions should not have occurred in the first place. I think exploring intimacy is a good thing, but for me, exploring it with someone who felt it was acceptable thirty minutes after meeting – well, that’s a bit different. This story might seem painful, but it’s my way of telling you to stop shaming your own past.
The focus of this story right now is to point out that yes, people occasionally mistakes that are out of character, and yes, we must live with them. But really, stop shaming your own past! Learn to forgive yourself. Regardless of age, we are all still learning. You do not have to define yourself by your mistakes. Trust me. If you have an equivalent situation for yourself. Just know that you are likely not the only one to have done that.
We hope you enjoyed reading about why you need to stop shaming your own past! You are wonderful, no matter what mistakes you have made. Wanna keep reading? Here’s a literary gem you might like.