Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pubertal Disquiet

By Stanley Collymore

I’d no idea at all, nor did anyone or anything either
remotely or illuminatingly, for that matter, seek to
acquaint, counsel much less informatively prepare
me for the unwittingly, in my case, looming
expectation that the seemingly sudden for me,
invasive and completely transformative
realization of the onset of puberty in my life
would be such a complex situation persistently
interposed with a serial avalanche of the most
intensive and highly unpredictable array
of physical and emotional sensations
whose only remit it seemed to me
was to keep me uncontrollably
but all the same profoundly in
a bewilderingly perpetual
state of sexual turmoil.

In tandem with which diverse and powerfully injected
erotic transfusions of unbridled and sustained lust whose
unadulterated and compellingly effective cravings,
involuntarily for the most part though not always
exclusively so, robustly unleash within my
young and compensatory nubile body a plethora
of pleasurable delights liberally laced with lascivious
wantonness that although unskilled as I evidently
am in such matters my untutored shrewdness
coupled with the protracted yearnings now
forcibly released in me inescapably none
the less convincingly persuade me
that I must pressingly and
earnestly address.

At 15 years old, an age which from a societal perspective
as well as a legally entrenched position accumulatively
and unequivocally set out then proceed to universally
with the commonality deemed characteristic of
those of my age discriminatorily label us all
the same, whereupon they then firmly and quite
arbitrarily place the likes of me in the purview of
that unchallengeably prescribed role predeterminedly
decided for me without any consultation on my
part; doing so ostensibly for my own good
and protection it’s claimed, notwithstanding what’s
patently obvious for those with eyes to see, that
for all their stated concern, genuinely expressed
or pretentiously contrived and arrived at, I’m
nevertheless and undeniably so physically
a woman, though legally categorized
as a child, with all the intrinsic
desires and foibles of my
respective gender.

And what I need therefore, and compassionately so,
is a broad understanding of, together with a full
explanation and relevant answers not only to
what’s going on in my head but crucially
also inside my body, and why? Why, for example,
the hot flushes that regularly engulf me; the wet
dreams I’m too embarrassed to talk about even if
anyone would let me; or the sleepless nights
routinely interposed with carnal yearnings
that agonizingly rock my acquiescently tense body with
their exquisitely pleasurable overtures willing me to
welcomingly entertain and avidly seek the release
which I know will eventually come either of
its own contributive accord: the resultant
effect of the churning contents of my
Poseidonian Dam having convulsively
overspilled their relentlessly buffeted
enclosure, or through the clandestine
exertions of willing and collaborative
fingers energetically conjoined in
empathetic solidarity with each
other under the safe nocturnal
privacy of my immodestly
disarranged duvet.

So stop patronizing me, will you? And desist too
because of my age from arrogantly assuming
that I’m nothing more than a gullible or
naïve child who must therefore be
oppressively cloistered for her own good from the
realities of life; or worst still the make-believe
but in your vivid imaginations where such
thoughts perennially live and have full
sway, omnipresecent dangers that
you luridly and ill-advisedly conjure up and
incredibly hoodwink yourselves into
thinking lurk around every corner
and in every sphere of my
unsupervised and young life with the explicit
purpose, it’s duplicitously pointed out, of
at best dishonouring me and at its
very worst occasioning me
grave harm, or even
the forfeiture of
my own life.

It’s all a deliberate lie, isn’t it? This supposedly united front
of yours that the lot of you deceitfully display as you
awkwardly contrive, but for all your scheming
failing miserably in that regard, to assure
me that it’s otherwise than what it really is; yet never
admitting in the process of doing so that much
of this public concern you self-righteously
exhibit has more to do with you than me.
Exemplified in your marked unwillingness coupled in
many cases with a manifest inability on your part
to honestly diagnose and grapple successfully
with your own sexuality let alone have the
capability to accept the fact and deal
realistically with its attendant recognition that
for all your dissemblance towards me I’m
no longer nor do I want to be that child
who you absurdly like to pretend,
for all the many outrageous
reasons you consistently
advocate, that I
still am.

For God’s sake grown-ups get a grip on yourselves and
stop this cursed preaching at and puritan proselytizing
towards girls like me who’re in dire need of your
help and genuine understanding; not your
attritional condemnation. And while
you’re at it lawmakers try cleaning up your
disreputable act that allows the unbridled
commercialism of sex in all its
manifestations yet disapproves of
and even criminally penalizes
lactating mothers from
breast feeding their
hungry babies
in public!

And don’t give me all that stiff upper lip we’re British
and no sex please stuff, for it doesn’t wash with me;
reality I know is much different for I live in the
real world which I also know you’re quite
familiar with, for you created it! Not a
particularly pleasant one you must admit: adulterous
vocational liaisons abroad yet coming home
afterwards as if butter wouldn’t melt in
your mouths. The cuckolding
rigmarole and much more at home where 36%
of us at least don’t even know for sure who
our biological fathers are. All adding
up to the classic hypocritical case
conveyed to us pubescent kids
by you adults of do as we
say but not as we do!

Yet you’ve the gall notwithstanding all that to censure,
belittle and even conceitedly restrict any attempt on
our part at an honest dialogue, which is all we
want with you about our sexuality and how
to sensibly manage it not only in our best
and long-term interests specifically
but also for the overall good of our society
in general, something that our mainland
European counterparts don’t have a
problem with in respect of their
parents or elders; and most
certainly not their

For all the concerned parties there both recognize and
readily accept that sexual maturity, as distinct from
an eagerness for or the demonstrable ability
of itself to have sexual intercourse, is
categorically indivisible from
mental maturity, and that these two sets of apposite
components, separate and distinct in every way
from each other, of what is undeniably the
most privately engaged in of human
interactions shouldn’t ever, they
genuinely believe, either be mistaken for
or confused with each other, as most
British people conveniently and
quite intentionally hiding
behind their mask of
moral rectitude
are prone
to do!

© Stanley V. Collymore
19 November 2013.

Several years ago when I was a comparatively newly qualified teacher and employed at a secondary institution whose name and location I shan’t mention in order to protect the personal identities of those involved even though before writing this poem I sought and readily obtained the unreserved permission of the principal characters concerned, I was allocated as part of the complement of classes that I would instruct a fourth year form which I was warned in advanced contained one of the most, shall we say, challenging pupils in her year if not the entire school.

Every one of my teacher colleagues who’d previously taught this girl, whether it was in my subject or some other, had openly voiced their satisfaction at no longer having to do so and said they didn’t envy me having to take her on. However, not one to take up without sound justification someone else’s fire rage or jump to conclusions only on the basis of other peoples’ say so, something inbred in me from childhood and which I still resolutely and passionately adhere to, I decided to formulate my own opinions of this girl based on incontrovertible facts and how I found her as an individual and not as some stereotype.

Fifteen years old at the time this girl I discovered was indeed a personal challenge but rather than falling back on what I was told about her and judge her accordingly I decided to do what I always undertake in problematical cases of any kind I’m confronted with; I opted to do some intensive investigation of my own.

In the course of this it transpired that the young lady in question had involuntarily become the product of a broken home, with her parents having divorced, dad, to whom the girl was deeply devoted and had a mutually cherished bond with, moving out of the familial home, and as so customary in Britain mom given custody of the child or children involved along with the indeterminate residence, ownership or possession of the said familial home and with an ousted father legally obligated to pick up all the financial tabs, which could include apart from spousal and child maintenance any ongoing or outstanding mortgage payments to guarantee, it’s legally explained even if disingenuously so, to keep a roof over his child or children’s head; regardless of the extent of the contributory role that the ex-wife played in the breakup of her marriage.

And it was evident from information I was made privy to from sources who knew what had gone on that the ex-wife and mother of this girl was very much the guilty party even though our divorce laws had drastically changed to introduce the factor of the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage to speed up divorces and attempt to do away with the stigma of marital adultery.

Even so this girl, no fool, knew well enough what had gone on and readily empathized with the dad she loved and who she felt had been hard done by. A deeply nagging situation that became acerbically bitter as regards her mother when the latter moved her lover into the familial home and announced to her daughter not only that she was going to marry this man but also wanted her daughter to call him dad, and with the distinct likelihood of the girl being made to assume this man’s surname as well.

Bitterly opposed to these planned but totally unwanted changes in her life the girl confided her fears and anger to her biological father whom she still did her utmost best to see as regularly as she could; pleading with him to take her away from the home she’d always known since birth to live with him. But in the ensuing court case initiated by her father the judge while blocking the adoption and name change envisaged by the girl’s mom and her new husband nevertheless refused the girl’s biological father the custody of her that he’d requested. However at the girl’s insistence the judge did increase and also formalized the amount of time that this determined young lady could spend with her father.

Replete with all this information and fully cognisant of how trying and even traumatic all this was for this girl I now earnestly looked for viable and constructive ways in which I could assist her without appearing to be a nosey parker or otherwise intentionally or inadvertently appear as if I were stepping on anyone’s toes. And fortunately as I was wracking my brains on how best to achieve this specific pursuit a God-given opportunity I’m absolutely convinced of this, even after all the intervening years that have elapsed since the, presented itself.

I’d given the class that this girl was in a creative English assignment in which the respective members could choose whatever subject matter they liked and expressively give full vent to their imaginations as it were. The response as I expected was tremendous as they all knew the criteria which I was looking for and accordingly they didn’t disappoint. The subject matter this girl selected and chose to write about was horses; and no word of exaggeration it was a brilliant piece of writing both in its eloquent and material content that estimably transported the reader in utter fascination of what the writer was depicting and saying.

Having marked and complimented the entire class on its excellent work, as a firm believer of democracy in the classroom and a staunch opponent of any dictatorial tendencies regrettably still favoured by far too many teachers in the UK even in 2013, I then allotted to the full class the responsibility of selecting in their collective opinion the three best creative pieces that they wanted me to read out to the entire class prior to my opening up for them the much anticipated task that they always eagerly looked forward to in such classes exercises of them carrying out critical appraisals of their peers’ works.

And I must admit it came as no surprise to me that this young lady’s creative offering came top of that list determined by her peers. When the lesson finished I asked the three winners to stay briefly behind so as to personally thank them for their contributions to a brilliant lesson. It also afforded me the chance to touch on and discover more of this young lady’s love for horses.

Having garnered the information I needed from her in that regard I was now able to embark on the next phase of a carefully worked out plan I had in mind. I grew up in the country and have a tremendous love for and great affinity with rural life in general and the countryside especially and unsurprisingly I have many friends and relatives who are in the same position as me. And it so happened that a longstanding friend whose husband and family are likewise close friends of mine between them owned a farm and also ran an established horsing stables.

This female friend was quite enthralled with the plan I put forward to her and promised that she would do everything she could to help. That out of the way all that was now left for me to do was to find a way to sell the idea to my 15 year old pupil which when told about it she eagerly bought into even after I’d cautioned her that the matter would have to be cleared and approved of both by her mom and dad who I needed to see and fully discuss the matter with. Once again things went swimmingly and with that likely hurdle successfully negotiated and completely out of the way we all went to see my friend and owner of the stables. That meeting was similarly a huge success.

Pragmatic Christians like me who grew up in the church, so to speak, and therefore attach great importance to their religious faith do know that faith can and certainly does move mountains, and moreover that miracles aren’t beyond the remit of God or the attainment of those who seek his help to have them realized. So it’s a massive understatement to describe the transformation that took place relative to this young lady as anything less than miraculous.

Never for once in any doubt myself about her academic ability it was the personality evolution that she underwent that was truly incredible and a joy to behold. At her home the relationship between her mother and herself dramatically improved and she even confessed to me that she no longer regarded her stepfather as the ogre she’d always seen him as and laughingly admitted that she’d even grown to like him.

In marked contrast the bond between her and her father had remained unshakable but it was to my stable owner friend whom she paid the greatest compliment of them all for unassumingly, freely and quite willingly taking her under her wings so to speak, altruistically shouldering, of her own accord, the weighty responsibility of surrogate mother to her as she tenderly, carefully and informatively, a process combined with an abundance of patience and love, enabled her to face up to, effectively deal with and eventually permanently eradicate her several and willingly acknowledged personal demons, including those of puberty. For my part I had long discern that the latter was also a significant contributory factor to this girl’s overall truculent behaviour and having candidly discussed this with my friend who concurred with me and was deeply relieved and proud that she had chosen to deal with it in the successful and engaging way she had.

At school everyone who’d taught this girl or knew her in any capacity remarked approvingly on the striking transformation she’d undergone and speculatively advanced their own theories on what had actually brought this about, with some of my teacher colleagues teasingly dubbing me the miracle worker and humorously vowing if I didn’t let on to dump their difficult charges on me as well. But those genuinely in the know not least the girl herself doggedly kept mum on the matter, and that’s how it stayed until now.

With the heavy weight of the world comprehensively lifted from her young shoulders academic success at school was naturally assured followed by a much deserved place at one of our most prestigious universities; outstanding scholastic achievements in wake of that, and the inevitable embarkation on the career that she’d always wanted to pursue.

Like many of my past pupils and former tertiary education students this young lady too often keeps in touch updating me as the others do with what’s going on in their lives and reciprocally apprised by me of what I’m doing. Eighteen months ago she contacted me and enthusiastically broke the news that the young man she’d met the previous year, had fallen madly in love with as he had with her and who I already knew of, had popped the question and asked her to marry him, revealing that she’d delightedly accepted his marriage proposal and wanted to know if I’d like to attend their wedding.

I replied that other than death nothing would keep me away, and it goes without saying that I was there as was my stables owner friend who was still quite affectionately referred to as her surrogate mum, my friend’s husband and their family, as well as many others from the past that we all knew and were absolutely delighted to see again and together after such a long time. But among the several memorable moments of that truly amazing occasion I was fortunate to be a part of one in particular comprehensively summed up the entire essence of that remarkable day.

Seated expectantly in our pews the congregation waited excitedly for the bride to arrive and we all knew she had when the stirring strains of the wedding march reverberated from the massive church organ throughout the entire edifice of that religious and historic building. In instinctive unison everyone in that packed cathedral rose immediately from their seated positions and not unnaturally necks strained intuitively in the direction of the porch from which the bride and her father began their majestically advance up the carpeted aisle that conspicuously separated the two halves of this impressive cathedral.

Along with my friend and her family we’d been allocated seats in the front pew located on the side of the church reserved for family members and close friends of the bride, and as the bride and her father drew alongside us I espied this stunningly beautiful young woman immaculately dressed in shimmering white the long train of her wedding dress meticulously held in place by her bridesmaids tilt her head almost imperceptibly in our direction, the lustre of assuredness in her sparkling eyes, the warmth of her smile radiating not only inner peace and satisfaction but also a huge thank you to those of us who in our own inimitable ways had contributed to the full realization of this glorious outcome.

None more so perhaps than her own father who despite his own imposed trials and tribulations had never given up on his daughter and was always there for her. And as he proudly escorted her to the side of the man who was about to become her husband I could feel the emotion that this occurrence had triggered begin to well up in me.

British men from infancy are conditioned that they shouldn’t publicly or even in private show their true emotions much less cry, since per the British psyche it’s not considered as macho or even masculine to do so and very much goes against the grain old boy of stalwartly preserving at all costs the purportedly British stiff upper lip. Appreciatively my cultural duopoly which is a combination of British and other negates all that in a deep and rich way and therefore I had no difficulty, or would I ever have had, in taking my handkerchief and dabbing unreservedly at the tears that had silently started to trickle down my cheeks.

A beautiful wedding finalized and a good time had by all the newlyweds said their farewells and to a clamorous send-off from the rest of us set off on an extended honeymoon to Barbados. A complimentary gesture I was informed because of my close links to that Caribbean island. An excellent choice I jovially remarked when I was initially told, as I also happen to believe as they too delightfully and most enjoyably found out in diversity of ways it’s the most beautiful country in the world.

Finally, it should be sagaciously and realistically acknowledged from the outcome of this story that puberty is none of these things: an incurable infection, mental problem or an embarrassing addiction to be talked about, if at all, in hushed tones and only then behind doors; but rather it’s an inevitable part of the process of growing up, and how it’s dealt with invariably determines the level of physical and mental maturity or otherwise, let’s face facts, that one eventually and not unusually in the majority of instances permanently acquires.

And both thankfully and remarkably to her credit my former pupil is an exemplary case of how in this regard and with the proper degree of help lovingly and understandingly applied coupled with a deep and mutual respect for all involved success will immutably triumph over adversity whether naturally occasioned or conspiratorially manufactured.

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