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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Little Girl, Interrupted
After I left the dance studio yesterday morning, I went to work but couldn’t really think straight. I was pretty much operating on autopilot thinking about all of the things I wanted to say to my lost dance student. So when I got home, I called her and offered to take her to dinner to talk. I really wanted to get into her head to see what she’s been thinking about and let her know that she can come to me if she needs. I didn't tell her that I heard her conversation, but instead told her that I'm talking to each of the girls this way because I know it's a hard age for them. So I let her tell me what's going on in her own words.

Me: "If you ever have anything at all you need to talk about and you feel like you can't go to anyone else, I'm here to listen, ok. I just want you to know that"

Keisha: "Thank you. Miss Tasha, can I tell you something?"

Me: "Of course."

Keisha: "My boyfriend wants to do it but I'm scared because I know that's how you get babies and I know you can get sick"

Me: "Well that's something you shouldn't do until you feel right and ideally when you're really in love. How old is your boyfriend?"

Keisha: "In love? I don't know. But he's really cute though and I don't want him to dump me. (nervous laugh) He's 16"

I am in mourning for this poor girl's spirit after hearing what she told me, and I also understand why she has the attitude toward sex and men that she does. Not unlike many girls, she's being raised by a single mother. When I heard that, I wasn't satisfied with the answer--many people before and after her were raised by single parents and don't have those attittudes toward sex and physical love, so I knew there was something deeper. It turns out that her mother is teaching her the wrong way how to be a woman.

Keisha: "Well, my mother stays talking about how a man never loves a woman because she's a woman. He loves her because she has a pussy cat"

Me: "Let me get this straight. Your mother tells you that the only thing a man loves is a woman's genitals?"

Keisha: "Yeah. What's wrong with that? All my aunts and cousins say it's true too. And my mom says that once I do it, it'll hurt but then after that it won't anymore. But if I wait till I'm married it will hurt even more. She doesn't know that my boyfriend wants to do it now though. I think she might be mad if she knew because she would say that like I'm too young and not mature. But she's wrong. I'm mature."

I pretty much flatlined after she said that. The rest of the conversation went similarly, basically her mama is teaching her to be a hoe. Her situation is rough and she doesn't know it. I've got her in a delicate position now, and I know I have to be very careful how I deal with her. I've got her trust, and I don't want to betray that by getting all preachy on her and telling her she's wrong for carrying on with her way-too-old boyfriend the way she is. Nor do I want to tell her that her aunts, cousin, and mom are wrong right now. I'm going to wait until our trust is a little more solid. I did my best and managed to succeed in convincing her that she at least needs to think more about the decision to have sex, and she promised me that she would and told me that she won't do it this weekend. I don't know how well I can hold on to an 11 year old's promise, but if she breaks the promise, I'll still be there to hold her hand if she needs it.

This morning at around 3, she called me crying to tell me thank you, then hung up. I didn't bother calling back, because I know what she meant. I never thought being a dance teacher a few days a week would lead me to be in this position, but if I can help put this girl on a different path in her life then that's more satisfying then watching their group bring home all the first place trophies in the world.


9 Comments:

Blogger Honey-Libra said...

WOW...at least you were there to hear what was going on and even better yet that you talked to her without letting it be known that you heard the conversation. The fact that her mom is teaching her that shows that her mom doesn't know her own worth and is teaching her daughter the same...sad. All I can say is that God knew what he was doing when he placed you there in those girls lives :)

Blogger Golden Silence said...

Hearing this is so heartbreaking.
Just stay involved in this little girl's life like you are doing. She needs a positive female role model in her life, and you're doing a good job of being that.

Anonymous Q said...

Oh Goodness this just broke my heart!?? why are kids being mishappen by the very hand that is supposed to nurture them???!!... ok now im angry... why are the women in her family poisoning that young mind!!?

Anonymous Brutha Code said...

Wow.... amazing story. Kudos to you for stepping up when you didn't have to. I'm sure that girl's life will be better now, even if it's only because she now knows there are other options.... thanks to her tap teacher.

Anonymous Akilah said...

Oh my heart, what this child needs is a man, or even a boy, to pay some attention to her for the right reasons, and show her some genuine affection.

11?

11?

11?

You are amazing, kind wonderful angel. Please hang in there with her.

Please.

Blogger yummy411 said...

tasha, seriously, my stomache is in a knot! It's crazy how shocking this can be, since i've worked with young girls and have an 11 year old sister myself. i'm glad you were there for her. single parenting and being scorned by men is a vicious cycle!
i need to talk to my sister now....

Blogger jerzeygyrl said...

11 years-old? Damn. What the hell is wrong with her mother, and the rest of the female family members, in her life? That's a damn shame...

And good look for being like an older sister, Tasha.

: )

More women need to reach out to these young black girls lost out there. They just need someone to talk to and be real with them. I'm gonna pray for her that she doesn't make that bad decision.

Blogger beautyinbaltimore said...

11, are you sure. What type of man or boy wants to sleep with an 11 year old. This ish is sick, until you wrote her age I thought she was at least 16.

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