How is it that I let my blogging birthday go by without even noticing? Not only that, but it’s a significant birthday: my fifth. In blogging years, that’s like turning 21 and not realizing it.
I never thought I’d be a blogger, I certainly didn’t plan it, understand it or even see the point in it if I’m honest. I’d been working on my book idea for 18 months when a guy at forward thinking planning consultancy Sense Worldwide suggested I start a blog. I didn’t ‘get’ why this might be a good idea. That people might start interacting with the material, sending me their own stories and perhaps even gain something by reading other people’s stories too.
It took for my first round of submissions i.e. the process by which your book gets sent out to publishers – and rejected - to really sit up and listen. ‘I’ll show you’, I thought. ‘People like this idea and I’ll prove it’. So I started a blog. Can I just mention at this juncture that I’m the person in the office who asks questions like ‘how do I turn this computer on?’ It didn’t bode well. You cannot imagine how much my brain ached and how many questions I fired off to the long-suffering folk at Typepad in pursuit of the answers to my myriad idiotic questions. But I got there. And my patience was rewarded.
I think what really stunned me back in those early days of exploration was the warmth of the World Wide Web and more significantly, the blogging community. It is just like joining a gang of people that you may never actually meet in person, but who do want to hang out with you. People went above and beyond the call of duty to help me out. I’ve often written about Shel Israel, a man who writes a blog about social media. Pretty much no connection to teenage sexuality and virginity loss stories whatsoever but he dug my idea and posted about it. Bingo. Traffic came my way. Lots of people gave me a digital leg up, and at a time when I was sitting at home by myself, attempting a slightly lonely re-write of my book.
Quite apart from anything, blogging added a whole new dimension to my explorations because it allowed me to reach people who weren’t keen to talk to me in real life. Teenagers were impossible to pin down in real time. Writing a blog allowed them to interact with me at their own pace, to tell their stories in their own time and never have to show their face to another human being.
‘I’ll just do it for a year’ I thought. ‘I’ll prove my point and move on’. Five years later, I’m still here. I sometimes think I could run a consultancy thinking up themes for different people’s blogs because I cannot tell you the amount of times in a day that I utter the phrase ‘you could do a great blog about that’…..there isn’t enough time in the world to write all the themed blogs I would like to write. I write one here called Big Guy Small Dog Blog. And I just started another one here.
I can think of many talented, clever and creative people who write far better than I who should be blogging and creating a platform for themselves. And that’s the really beautiful thing about blogging. It’s democratic. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to wait for someone to invite you to have a go. If you’ve got something to say, you can step up to the plate and say it. You don’t need a publisher’s permission, or Amazon, or god, or your parents. You can create an identity for yourself and start talking. People have effected great change through blogging, some people have lost their lives because of it – and spread incredibly important and life changing messages in the process. We really should have an International Blogging Day and celebrate this amazing platform. A platform that allows man, woman, freedom fighter, fashionista, mother, cat lover, whatever your thing or your purpose in life is to share ideas, thoughts and ultimately, ourselves.
I feel a whole bunch of conflicting feelings as I post this. Proud and pleased that I didn’t give up on the Virginity Project, that it has spawned a book and a play. Sad that blogger Rami Al Sayed lost his life in Syria this week whilst the world sat by and let it happen. Relieved that he got to tell us what is really happening in his country. Hope that maybe we’ll sit up and listen. Awe at the modern world and its opportunities, its limitations, its beauty and its ugliness. Lucky, to be alive right now and have the freedom and liberty to do as I please. If you have something to say, and you can say it, do it now. There’s no time like the present.
Meanwhile, here is my very first story from Malaysia, reproduced as written by its author.
‘Hi Ms Kate,
I was not like other friends of the same age. I always think differently from them and this caused me to become a weirdo among my friends. They gave me a nickname: Weirdo-Lin. In my country and our culture, parents never give us any sex education and even in school. We learnt it via movies, porn sites and stories from the elder siblings. I was odd, as usual. I thought at the age of 18 and as teenager, we should know about sex properly, not via other sources but we should experience it. And I tried to find some guys to lost my virginity. It was funny as that time I thought it would be easy to find some random guys to have sex. But I was wrong.
Time flies, college life ended and I went to Tasmania for my degree. I was like an innocent girl; know nothing about sex and this kind of topic at all. Housemates are quite open-minded, they shared their experiences with me and gave me some so-called ‘lectures’ about the first time, sex positions and so on...
It was my second semester and I met him, Gavin. He is now my boyfriend. I gave him my first time. It was not a romantic night, it was not set up and it was not prepared. We did it just out of sudden. It was pain for me because his penis is large and this frightened me. I have never seen a penis in front of me before in my life. He licked my ears and suck my ear lobes, which was so sensitive. His finger never rest touching and squeezing my breast and sucking my nipple. His fingers then went down to between my legs and go into my vagina. It was so painful. He whispered in my ears to make me relax. I was sweating in chill. He put his penis in and moved it in slowly and wait for few seconds and move it out. He did this because I was really in pain and I was shivering. It was the night that I would never forget.
Now, I enjoy every love I make with him. It is a part of our life now. My housemate asked me how do I feel after I have the experience? Honestly, I don't feel any different. I feel like I have someone in my life to do something we need. And that's all. It does not change my life. I am still the girl that love sex but just with my boyfriend. Nothing's changed.
How could loosing virginity affect my life if I gave it out of my willingness?