In high school, I volunteered with a program, giving presentations to kids my age about abstinence until marriage. We had all these illustrations to help explain why having sex before marriage could have negative affects on people. It was a way to try to make talking about sex seem less awkward, I guess, and to open up conversation.
The illustration that sticks out to me is the one where we had two construction paper hearts glued together. When things went wrong in the relationship and it ended, the hearts were pulled apart - but pieces of each other remained. Each time the hearts were glued to someone new, they lost parts of themselves.
I commend that organization for what they tried to do with teens. I hope that they helped a lot of people. Halfway through high school, I stopped volunteering. I felt like a hypocrite. Every time I kissed my boyfriend, I thought about the chocolate illustration - how you can't put a piece of chocolate in your mouth and not want to chew, or taste, or swallow. When he tried to persuade me that we would surely get married some day, so we might as well have sex now, I could only think about the box with the lovely tissue paper and beautiful gold ring inside, and next to it, the box with nothing but torn up trash.
The images didn't stop me from doing very much. They just made me feel guilty. So without explanation, I found reasons to be busy when I normally volunteered and gradually faded out.
There are things you can only learn with time. Older, wiser people will share their experiences with you and you still just need to learn for yourself. It doesn't mean you need to make all the same mistakes, but you do need your own time and experience to understand the lessons.
I understand now about the paper hearts. How years go by and there are always pieces of those people with you, and always pieces of you with them. You can reconstruct a new heart, and two broken hearts can patch each other and become one. But there is a lot of sadness and darkness and memories that I can't erase because of the decisions I made.
I've glued my heart to too many construction paper cutouts. There's no taking that back.