2012-2013 were the worst years of my life so far.
I was a freshman in high school. Two of my best friends turned there back on me out of the blue and tormented me. A few of my other peers hated me for reasons I will never know. The school didn’t take my complaints about what was going on seriously, nor my mother’s emails (but yet a few years later when I tried to end my life they were shocked irony?). I was in a highly academic environment and struggled to understand the lessons as I have a learning disability and have a difficult time processing instructions. I failed algebra and barely passed everything else. My father wasn’t present/involved. And I had my first “boyfriend.” This was the kid that when my parents found out that our relationship wasn’t 100% pure, my mom made steps to enforce purity lessons in my life.
I had quite a bit going on that year. Despite everything, I had a few close friends that stuck by my side. I was president of the 4-H club for the first time. I started singing lessons with the most fun coach ever, I became close with my mother in that year. And I joined the boy’s golf team because well, I could and it was my way of being a baby feminist.
That year and the following several years, I had a long fight with my mental health. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy, learning how to cope and retraining my brain about how to see the world healthily. This past week, I tried to pinpoint where exactly I started going downhill. I can’t say with 100% confidence that it was just one aspect that was overwhelming to my brain. I had so much going on.
What was unique about my situation, was for awhile I left the drama at school, well at school. I dredged going to the bus stop every morning, and I looked forward to my evening activities. I had two close friends, and I was set. I was able to recognize that there was so much to life than school. Yeah, I had to go every day and it wasn’t the slightest bit pleasant but after 4:30, I got to go to violin or dog training.
I had a major shift the week after my parents caught me in a sexually impure relationship. My mom handled things the best she knew how. I was grounded and was sent to talk or listen to older and wiser women about the importance of sexual purity. Out love, my friends enforced purity culture on me and before I knew it, I was deemed as the troubled child. I let someone chew the infamous candy bar, the most precious thing I possed. I was surrounded by messages about how virgins are what the good guys desire, and I’ll be lucky if I get married one day. I was given these lessons my entire life, but it was never directed towards me. It felt as if because of my decision to explore, I was no good.
Around this time, is when I started getting a-sleep-all-day kind of tired. I could handle bullies because I knew they didn’t have my best interest in mind, it was when the church organizations implemented purity culture is when I started feeling shame. I would pray every day asking God to forgive me, but it somehow felt as if I could never posses value again. The majority of the purity talks I endured, came from the perspective of everyone in the room being a virgin. I was always uncomfortable, lonely, and felt too far gone.
Nobody ever told me, that desiring sex was NORMAL.
Nobody told me that I wasn’t a messed up teenager.
Nobody told me the right partner, won’t care about my past but will focus on my future.
Nobody told me not to have regret, but to accept my actions.
Nobody told me that it was okay that it felt good! And if it didn’t something was wrong.
Nobody asked if my experiences were consensual.
Nobody explained to me even what consent was.
Nobody asked me if I was doing okay.
Nobody told me that the metaphor of being a chewed up piece of gum didn’t define me.
2012-2013 was a terrible year for several reasons. It was a busy, sad, and confusing season. I allowed others to give me value, instead of seeing that I hold value for simply being a human. Now I know that nobody can take away who I am, or whose I am. I’ve learned how to manage my mental health through diet and change of thought. Most importantly, I know in my heart that my worth is not in what the mean girls thought of me, what the teachers thought, that I failed algebra, or who I give my body too.
As always, feel free to reach out.