|Copyright Slytherin-Prince (DeviantArt Profile)|
It's fabulous that our schools teach these messages, and the idea of my younger sister participating in any of those activities is certainly disturbing to me. But that's not really what I want to talk about. When you get older, sex and alcohol aren't crazy, scary ideas anymore. And they shouldn't be. But my goodness, no matter how old you are, where you are, who you're with, or what you're "expected" to be doing, remember that you always have the right to say no.
When you're riding in a friend's car and they're driving too fast, you have the right to demand that they slow down. I know it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing -- you're not supposed to reprimand your friends, right? That's for parents. But parents and standards aside, your friend driving that car has your life in his or her hands. It's your life to protect, and you need to protect it. A boyfriend of mine was going eighty down an empty highway once and I told him to cool it. He laughed at me and said it was perfectly safe; no one was around. So I told him that if he didn't slow down, the first thing I'd do when we got out of that car was break up with him. He slowed down, and we got home safe and sound. I don't know if anything bad would have happened had we continued driving eighty, but I'm glad I didn't take a chance to find out.
I've been in situations before where I felt uncomfortable. Like the people around me weren't making smart decisions and I wasn't entirely safe with them. But rather than risk being uncool, I kept my mouth shut or went along with them anyway. It didn't feel right, but I did it. Here's the big secret I hope everybody can be in on: you don't have to do something if it doesn't feel right. If you're uncomfortable, you don't have to stay put and endure. You have the right to leave, to say no, and to protect yourself. And the amazing part is, after you stick up for yourself like that, you'll feel really, really good. I know that sounds lame, but it's true. I've experienced it.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, you can say NO, and you can say it loud and proud. That's what's golden, not silence, but the ability to use your voice. Don't let it go to waste, and for goodness sake, don't be ashamed of it. You are important, integral to this world. Take care of yourself.
Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation where you felt like you needed to leave but didn't think you could? Talk about it in the comments.