This is likely going to be a very long post, but one that is necessary to capture an entire lifetime of lessons. The story starts more than 10 years ago. This is about to get pretty personal. If you know me personally, you may or may not know some of the details I am about to share.
I originally started to write this to get to the part where I met K 10 years ago and we fell in love, but to get there, the road is a lot more complicated that I expected! So, I will break it up into parts and hopefully we can all get through this together in one piece.
My story is a long one, but it has a good lesson and a nice ending, so hold on tight and ride with me through memory lane. The bumps are rough and the twists and turns are brutal, but we will come out on the other side with smooth sailing.
Meet 17 year old me.
At the time, I was very, very straight. I actually didn’t even know that being anything but straight was an option. I didn’t know any gay people (they later came out) and I had no idea what being gay really meant.
I am from a very small town, where everyone knows everyone else. This picture was taken shortly after my heart was broken by my very first long term boyfriend. We had been together for a year and a half. My first … well, my first everything. When we broke up, my life spiraled out of control and I started my wild, dangerous path of bad choices and even worse consequences.
I started drinking and by the looks of this picture, you can tell I started smoking. This picture was taken the summer after my junior year of high school. By the time I started school, my senior year (summer is only 3 months, let’s just be reminded) I had racked up sexual partners in the near double digits. Male partners. I didn’t care who they were, I didn’t care how old they were.
Looking back, I was on a mission to find someone to love me. At the time, I thought that sex meant love. I thought that if someone wanted to have sex with me, well, they loved me. I was burned a lot, taken advantage of, I had a lot of trips to the free health clinic and frankly, I had quite a few pregnancy scares. In the end, I was drunk a lot, I was high a lot and I had a lot of sex.
I wore clothes that were too small and too revealing. I partied hard enough to black out sometimes and there are parts of my crazy ride that I don’t fully remember. I was almost raped by three guys in a bathroom, I was out until the full morning light was coming up, I was gone from my house for weeks on end and no one really noticed.
At the end of my very wild three months of summer, I decided that I just needed to quit school and do my own thing. I was 17 and I didn’t need to be told what to do anymore. I almost dropped out of high school, my senior year no less. I had a very good friend to talked me out of it. He told me that it would be the worst mistake I would ever make in my life. So, I started my senior year.
My self-esteem was shot. My reputation was shot. My place in the town I grew up in was at the bottom. The slut, the town whore. I was less than the dirt on the bottom of someone’s shoes. Of course, I only heard the rumors about me. The elaborations. Believe me, the real story was enough – the rumors were worse. I had made enemies, I was the mean girl in high school. I regret that. I regret being the mean girl. I regret being the whore.
Needless to say, I couldn’t stay where I was. I moved out of town in the middle of my senior year of high school. I moved to a town where I knew no one. I said no goodbyes to my friends and I had no one to hold me there. In fact, most of them didn’t even know I moved away until I had been gone for quite some time.
I moved to a place where no one knew me. Where the entire senior class had grown up together. I had no social life to speak of. I had 1 friend. She forced herself on me and we became great friends. Otherwise, I spent my days at the library reading, studying, doing my homework and acing my classes. I didn’t concern myself with boys, I didn’t concern myself with drugs or alcohol or sex.
Meet nearly 18, fully changed, almost graduated me.
Moving in the middle of my senior year, changed my life. It also helped me to remember my worth. It put lifted my self esteem and I decided to make something of myself. I made the most of this new life that was handed to me and I did something different. I turned myself around. I went from an almost high school drop out to a high school graduate, bound for university life in the fall.
After I graduated, I moved back home. I worked and kept to myself. I saved the money I needed to buy my textbooks and then when the three months were up, I headed off to college. My first year of college was full of making new friends, re-inventing myself and becoming a better person.
To Be Continued ….. (This story is a lot longer than I expected!!)