I was prompted to write this during some friendly banter with a bunch of female friends. The subject turned to a laughing recollection of first kisses.
It brought back the memory of my first kiss, so many decades ago.
But mine was not an experience I could share and add to the general laughter, so I stayed silent. You see, my first kiss was not how a young girl would imagine it to be.
I was staying with family friends for a few days, away from my parents.
I was just 11. And the person on the other end of that kiss was not some young boy. No. It was a middle-aged man. Eugh, I hear you say. Eugh, indeed.
I was sitting next to my ‘uncle’, the two of us watching TV. Then he put his finger on my chin, turned my head towards him, and kissed me. I knew it was wrong of course – even then. But felt powerless to do anything about it. In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t a little peck on the lips. I’m talking a full-on kiss.
He did it twice, with no reaction from me. I think I was stunned, if anything. A few minutes later, I made some excuses and disappeared off to bed.
All night I didn’t sleep, feeling physically sick, and worrying he would come into my room to pick up where he’d stopped earlier. Thankfully, he didn’t – I really don’t know what I’d have done if he had.
Nor did I sleep much the next three nights I stayed there. And a sick, dazed feeling stayed with me the whole time – day and night.
I never told my parents. I didn’t really know how. I didn’t have the language to express myself. I doubted they would believe me, and I was scared of the potential fall-out.
Eight years later I kissed a boy (voluntarily!) for the first time. And unexpectedly, the same sick feeling returned and stayed with me for days. It took a couple of years to stop that feeling coming back each time I kissed a guy.
Now I’m in my 40s I rarely think of it. Until the subject of first kisses crops up in friendly banter.
So why am I sharing this now, after such a long time? I suppose it’s for lots of reasons.
Try not to judge
I ask you not to judge someone if it takes them decades to share their experiences. Unless you’ve been in my situation, it’s impossible to know how difficult it is to tell a ‘grown-up’ what has happened. The fallout from telling can feel enormous to a young child, even when the incident is relatively ‘small’.
This kind of thing is more prevalent than any of us would like to believe. Please give children the confidence to know what they should do from a very early age.
It’s not my fault
I’ve always known that. Even at the time I knew that, and it helped a little.
Life moves on
I put the experience into a small box many years ago, and shelved it. I don’t look into the box. Not because I’m running away, but because it serves no purpose. Its impact is mainly destructive. And he doesn’t deserve to continue to have a negative impact on my world. I’m opening that box now, with the hope that it helps give an insight into how it feels for a young child to find herself in this type of situation.
In all honesty, I don’t know. Do I go to the police? Do I want to open up a whole can of worms?