“Mature For Your Age”
Society has a culture of making little girls, especially little black girls, from broken homes grow up quicker than they should. I didn’t grow up witnessing a lot of healthy love and affection in my households and I was forced to emotionally raise myself. So I took, “you’re mature for your age” as the biggest compliment in the world.
I was the girl who prided herself in being “older” I listened to old school music, I’m big on hip hop and RNB so I’d blast Aaliyah before I even thought to touch the radio. I had a more developed shape & a vuluptious body at the age of 15 that always brought me attention from every angle. From the stares of older men who looked like they wanted to devour me, to older women who would make comments that sounded like envy such as, “I wish I had your boobs” I thought it made me feel superior in a sense. I wasn’t like the other girls, I was different, curvy, easier to relate to. Little did I know that in a way i was more immature, and child minded.
I was 14 and a freshman in high school at the time. A friend of mine introduced me to this boy who was 18 and a senior. We started kicking it, we would talk all day every day, he started telling me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. And me being young and impressionable? Believed him. But those
“I love yous,
You’re so different,
& you’re so mature for your age” quickly turned into
“But if you love me then you would
Its just one picture
Let me come over
You don’t trust me?
If you don’t someone else will”
I felt disgusting engaging in the things he guilted me into doing. But I felt like I had to. That this is what people who are in love do and this is how you have to compromise to save your relationship. Fast forward, he ended up finding someone else, his OWN age. My little heart was broken but who do I tell? My mom? My dad? LMFAOOO yeah ok.
Freshman year of college. New beginnings yet the same mistakes. I met a guy who was 24 and I was 18 at that point so I’m thinking I’m grown and legal so this is normal, right? He never pressured me into doing anything sexual with him, so I believed him when he said his intentions are truly to get to know me. We went out on dates and he took me around the city of Atlanta. He had his own crib and 2 stable jobs so I’m bragging to my friends like, “Biiitch he got 2 jobs, his own space, and he got me lobster AGAIN! Okayy!” I’m thinking I’m on some grown woman shit now.
I remember one day I over heard him tell someone that I was 20.. Red flag. I waited til we were in private to ask if he had a problem with my age, like that wasn’t the first question that was asked in the first place. “Nah my parents are like 10 years a part I just don’t want everyone in our business” He was embarrassed. He knew that it wasn’t right but he continued the chase anyway.
To make a long story short, that didn’t work out either. “Grown men” can be just as childish as teenage boys.
It wasn’t until “Surviving R Kelly” came out that it really resonated with me that I was being preyed on. Hearing stories of women being groomed and gaslighted at such a young age was so triggering.
I wasn’t necessarily immature but I wasn’t equipped to identify the abuse and manipulation that fell into my lap along with hungry eyes that looked at me like meat.
I still have my days where I would be disgusted for allowing myself to stoop that low. I was so insecure. I don’t know how I thought a man almost twice my age could love me for me.. I truly believed that me engaging with older men was normal because they were the only ones who showed interest in me.
I still feel like throwing up when I get intense stares or extra firm hugs from older men.
“Look at you, all grown up now” with the right tone will cause me to want to hide forever. Being looked at as “grown” since the tender age of 10 causes so much internalized damage.
Your childhood/teenage years are vital in finding yourself. Your youth and innocence is to be cherished, and when you are filled with sweet nothings and forced to skip that stage, it can cause disasters and blows to self esteem.
To the young girls that will read this: I get it. All of the boys your age are dumb. You feel like no one can understand you. It’s discouraging and lonely. But that loneliness is better than years of feeling that you have to catch up to someone 8 years older than you to truly feel loved.
Healthy age gaps are something like 26/31, 40/50, not 13/18 and not 18/25.. You are not in the same stage of life.
We need to stop sexualizing and exploiting these girls. Stop calling them “fast”, when they’re being forced to grow up. Stop feeding into their minds that in order to feel worthy they need validation from their older counterparts. Start holding these men accountable. These aren’t men that look like 6 eyed monsters. They are teachers, family friends, and “mentors”. Let little girls be little girls.
You are not mature for your age, you are being taken advantage of, and I promise it is not your fault.