It all started with a fluorescent orange condom. Actually, it started about 10 years prior to that when I met my longest lasting crush. Was he cute? Kind of. Nice? Barely. But he made me laugh and had a badass edge that possessed me to invite his presence. After a steamy MSN conversation that soon made its way to Facebook messenger, we decided to go for it. I longed for attention and he was willing to satisfy my craving. An insecure, rebellious, high school freshman, convinced I was in love. What the actual fuck was I thinking?
I got away with a lot of things in my early teen years. God bless my mother (the hardest working person I know,) who was preoccupied with night shifts at the hospital, and therefore unable to know about the mischievous things I did while she was gone (she found out about most of it. Moms always find out.)
My best friend and I left the house around midnight and walked over to his place. His brother offered us drugs, we kindly declined. Sitting across the room from him, I received a text message: "Hey, let's go do it." He was eager. He was ready. He had every intention to stick to the plan and do exactly what I went there to do. I was goofy, and awkward, and sweaty. I stood up wearing the slightest bit of confidence- enough to almost make it look like I've done this before- and followed him down the hall. We went into his racist mothers bed and let the weirdness begin. He pulled out the infamous orange condom and looked surprised to find out this was a first for me. We went right to it. We did "it," whatever "it" was. It was safe, it was consensual, but it certainly wasn't enjoyable. It had nothing to do with either one of us being shitty in bed, and everything to do with the fact that we were two inexperienced kids, with porn as our only guideline.
I walked out of his house with my best friend giving me the "bitch, what'd you just do?" look. I remember it being late, roughly 2:00a.m, or maybe just before that. We walked far enough down the street and away from his house that he couldn't hear us before we said a word. She asked me what we did. I stopped in the middle of the road, looked her in the eyes, and said "girl...we had sex." She jumped back with her eyes nearly bulging out of her face, and started speaking quickly and loudly in Portuguese.
We did a little dance in the street. I think we even high-fived. I stretched my legs, squatted up and down, pointed to my vagina and yelled out "I feel so free!" She asked me how it was. Obviously I lied and said "so good!" Walking around with my head held high as if it was everything I imagined it would be. In reality, all I could think was "so, what now?"
I have no hard feelings towards him. We were young, dumb and uncontrollably horny. In some odd way, I'm glad that he was the one I shared that experience with. Through his actions he taught me valuable lessons about self-love, sex, and sexuality at a young age. He even helped me familiarize myself with concerns regarding race and racism. I can never forget his mother telling him to "get that jungle bunny out of my house," or him telling his friends he "gained his black belt" with me. He forced me to ask myself questions that desperately needed to be addressed.
I racked my brain looking for so many answers. Like why I was only good enough to be his late night fuck, but never worthy of a label. I couldn’t understand why I was only the awkward Black girl and never good enough to be the girlfriend. When someone treats you like a secret, it’s easy to internalize feelings of unworthiness. Even as an adult I’ve had to reteach myself that I do deserve to be shown off, respected, and admired. Fifteen year old Lydia couldn't conceptualize why these hateful attacks on my identity were problematic, but I get it now. And never again would I allow someone like him to even step foot in my presence, let alone in my pants.
Reflecting back on it now, I don't regret it in the slightest. I do, however, want to stress that there's nothing wrong with waiting (and honestly there's nothing wrong with not waiting, too.) Just remember that it might not live up to the hype. It won't be perfect. It might not be with someone you love or are in love with. It might not last long. It might confirm thoughts you had about your sexuality. You very likely won't experience orgasm. You might wish it was somewhere different, or nicer. You might have imagined it with candles and fancy wine, but end up doing it in the local park. It might be great. It might not be. It might end badly. You might cry after. It might end with you falling in or out of love with that person. Or who knows, maybe it'll end with a fluorescent orange condom, and your underwear left on the floor of their racist mother's bedroom.