To the boys in the park,

I’m sorry I flipped you off. I’m the adult and I didn’t act that way. I’m sorry.

I jogged back to the park to apologize in person, which is kind of a big deal because adding a mile to my run was torture, but you weren’t there.

You have to understand that what you did made me mad. I know you thought when you whistled at me while I was running that you were flattering me. Or being harmless goofballs. Or affirming my beauty.

But you see, when you whistle at a girl you are seeing her as a body and that’s just not okay.

I didn’t know that at your age. But I do now.

I’ve had scary things happen to me by men who were once boys like you, whistling at girls in parks. Men who should know better by now, but don’t. Men who should have been told what I’m telling you now, but weren’t. They have followed me for aisles in stores. They have looked at me like I was naked. They have stuck their hands in their pants while I walked by.

I know. It’s nasty and foul and seems like what you did was so innocent compared to what they did. But your whistles made me feel the same way. Like tits and an ass. Like Ciara the body and not Ciara person.  

I know it gets confusing, because women ARE beautiful. We spend time almost every day in front of a mirror applying creams and powders, curling hair, and finding the perfect outfit to emphasize that very fact.

But truthfully, we NEVER want to be seen or defined by just our bodies. Because we are SO MUCH MORE. We are passions, and immense talent, and achievements, and ripply laughs, and rich memories, and pulsing love, and overwhelming courage - for starters.   

Even though you are only young boys, surely you must know by now that it’s so freaking hard being a human in this world. For boys and girls alike, the world screams at us every morning that we are defined by our bodies. Not our passions. Not our courage. Not our pulsing love.  When you whistled at me, you became a part of that chorus.

Please, please, please, fight to be the boys and eventually men who see girls and  women as more than their bodies. Please, please, please see our passion, our courage, our love.

I'm sorry my anger got in the way of telling this to you in person.

I hope you accept my apology,