I left high school in the tenth grade.
If you know me; really know me, you know that this statement is true, but what you don't know, is the story.
From the time that I entered high school, left, and went on my trip to Ecuador is unknown to anyone other than me and my mother. There were a lot of people in my story at that point, but no one else knows the extent of what really happened in that time period.
Last year, my mother was leading a Christian weekend retreat, and I was asked to do a talk for the people who would be going on that particular walk. I decided to tell a major part of this story. Most of this story is that talk, and it took me weeks to even recollect everything that had happened.
Believe me when I say, that what I have been through, is not the worst set of events a person could go through. I have an amazing, loving, supportive family. I have run into the loving arms of Jesus Christ during this time, and I have some of the best memories of my life in this time.. But it was also very bad. There was a lot of pain, self-hatred, and refusal to see a light in any of my circumstances. My story is not perfect, and I have neglected to tell this part of it, because it was so painful, I repressed it. I often forget how bad it really was until I look at my memories and see journals, pictures, and relics that remind me of how dark my past could be.
So this is my story, the part no one really knows..
I can't quite remember my first day of high school. But I remember that time in general.. I had a wonderful best friend that I'd known since Kindergarten, and a new best friend named Sam that I met freshman year of high school. I was beautiful in the way that a flower is before its opened. I held onto my innocence even though I didn't think I did. I dressed somewhat slutty but in all honesty, dressed how everyone dressed. Mainly, because my mother told me not to and she was public enemy number one then, so I did whatever she told me not to. I was beautiful; but I wasn't pretty..
I had one boyfriend in the seventh grade, but we all know those aren't real relationships. I was much too focused on volleyball. Freshman year, I really liked to look at boys (still do) but whenever I really got to know a boy, he reminded me of my brother, my father, or he was just an idiot. I was too involved in trying to make my friends back that I had lost touch with when I transferred to Belen for middle school.When I came back to Los Lunas High, I found myself quickly outcasted from the friend group I had left behind before middle school. They all were very serious about sports, scholarships, and college. I, having decided to transfer back two weeks before classes started, was in a world wind of emotions, hormones, and trying to fit back into what had seemed like a distant world that I had left behind. My first day, many of my old "friends" called me a traitor for going to play volleyball for the rival district (really, it was middle school). Nonetheless, I started to have feelings of being an outcast. The time I had spent on volleyball, the rest of the girls my age had been getting to know boys, going on dates, and in my first few days in high school I quickly realized that boys were where I could find some sort of friendships. Besides, all of the girls who had boys hanging around them had girls wanting to be their friends simply because they were being noticed.
Without noticing, I had physically developed a body in middle school. My stomach chub had traveled north to my tatas (for lack of a better word; I feel uncomfortable with the word breasts), and south to my butt. I was always on the bigger side, and boys in my grade have never really noticed me, but older guys were. Juniors and seniors started messaging me on MySpace and Facebook saying how I was beautiful and I should show more of me off. So I did. It did not progress. One day, I was a 15 year old girl, the next day, I had full makeup, hair done, ripped jeans, and a way too low top for anyone but an escort. Of course I kept those clothes out of sight from my mother. I was popular, I thought. So many guys friend requested me and a few girls. None of the girls wanted to be friends, they just seemed to be there, always noticing what I was doing with who, but never saying anything.. Soon, I was turning guys down simply because I now could have unrealistic standards of guys and I could turn it back on them how women have been treated for years (sorry, that's a rant). I was picking and choosing who I would like and I had a friend request from a junior who, for the lack of a better term, I will refer to him as Destruction (not to give anything away)..
Destruction was tall, very muscular, and had a smile that seemed to physically warm me up. I had seen him around school and he seemed to always have some guys, but more girls surrounding him. For the longest time he seemed like he was a contact high. Anyone who was near him seemed to be in a certain state of joy and I was no exception. We started talking, then texting and everything was great. He had a car, he was funny, smart, and I wanted to be his girl. I wanted all of the girls to not only be my friend, but to see me as they saw him. I wanted everyone to get high off of seeing me and have joy, simply because I walked into the room.. At first it was empowering to talk to him. He questioned everything and made me want to be smart like that, and wonder about everything, not just accept things. For a long time actually it was perfect. It was some of the best conversation I have ever had, with someone I practically worshiped, and I felt like I was achieving the world. After a few months of perfect, I had started to hear about this thing "emo" kids were doing. I refer to it as the monster, because it is.. When classmates would do it, they were proud. There were groups in the hallways that would all hang out and pull up their sleeves and show them as if they were badges of honor.. The first experience I had with cutting, was in 6th grade. There was a girl in my class who started to wear wrist braces, and pretty soon she was meeting with the counselor. One day she pulled off the braces and there were so many little lines that I could not figure out why someone would do that to themselves. Back in high school, I didn't necessarily think the cutting was weird, but why they were showing it off, where were the counselors? Where was someone to stop them from accidentally killing themselves? Nonetheless, it didn't really distract me. I was set on Destruction.. Pretty soon, our conversations went more into more explicit content; actually, almost immediately it became explicit. I knew what talking dirty was but he made me nervous. I really liked him but I did stall hanging out at his house because I knew what he wanted. I knew my stalling would not work forever, but after about two days of saying I was busy after school he started to get mad. It was extremely subtle at first, in fact, you wouldn't hear it if you weren't listening for it, and I wasn't..
At first, when I would bring up a topic of thought I had been working on, it was like it was a shallow topic, or I had not put enough thought into it to bring it to him. I had stopped bringing up topics to discuss in hopes that it would draw out a conversation from him, but nothing. I had started to wonder if I wasn't as smart, or as good as making conversation, or worst of all; I wasn't beautiful anymore..
Out of every sin, I relate to vanity the most. I have not been prideful because through all of this, I had felt there was nothing in me to be proud of. Vanity though, I identified with vanity. I always took great care of my appearance because once I started, I had friends. Sure, they were only boys who wanted to hang out after school, but those counted. And sure, most girls had grown to hate me because I was the girl they didn't want their boyfriends being around. I felt like I had friends though. I might not have been happy, but I had long big hair (thanks to extensions), lots of makeup, and clothes that made me look older, and got heads turned. To me, the happiness was on its way. I just had to wait, I guess..
After the conversations with Destruction had lingered a lot, my defenses were weakening, and I knew I had to come up with something to keep him busy. I knew girls who when they didn't want to do anything with a guy, they would send pictures (I'll let you use your imagination). I needed to come with a new distraction, and I thought hey, this will buy me some more time. So, yeah.. At the time, I called it "doing what you have to do.." I started to feel cheap, and not only because of the pictures, but I knew his friends were seeing them. He was the serpent to me.. I look back and I would not put myself in that situation ever again, but I did. His friends would text me saying its okay with him if we were to do stuff too. He started to say things like "we're not married, you can do what you want, just like I can." What?! I didn't want anyone else, didn't he know that?? I was so confused, but something about him kept drawing me back in. I don't even think it was him, I think it was me, I was my own serpent. Maybe it was me, maybe it was Satan in my life. I don't know. I just could not turn away from the guy. I had started talking to other guys and sometimes, his friends. I think I wanted to make him jealous, so I would hang myself all over his friends, so he would fight for me and get me back, but I was wrong. It was like a marketing tactic. He pushed me to the point where I was stepping out of the unofficial relationship we had created, so he was free to as well, since I had done it first. I felt like a mouse always cornered or running from a huge cat that somehow, never seemed to eat me. I slowly started to become depressed in the mix of Destruction, other boys, trying to live my life at home somewhat, and trying to stay okay in school. The second semester of my freshman year I started out okay grade wise, I had some friends that took Tylenol because they said it helped them sleep and between my body needing at least 6 Pamperin before I can get cramp relief and my inability to fall asleep, I worked my way up to taking between 8-18 Tylenol a night most nights. I was unable to focus in class because I had grown so tired of not sleeping so I started sleeping or just going into a state of almost comatose in my classes. Needless to say, my grades plummeted. I was carrying around a container of about 200 Tylenol at all times and yet none of my teachers seemed to have any idea as to why I was unable to not fail my classes. Soon my parents were getting called to meetings where it was my teachers, my mom, me, and a counselor. I was forced to stay awake so I would inevitably end up on a cussing streak about how f*****g stupid it was that I was in this b******t meeting. They should just f*****g fail my f*****g looser a*s out of school because even my friends know how I could just go strip and I would make more f******g money than staying in a f*****g b******t wack a*s backwards place like Los f*****g Lunas High..
I know Destruction didn't care about my education. I know he probably never cared about me at all. But for some reason, when I had out of the blue rebelled against my education in a school system that we both thought was b******t, it wasn't okay. I guess it was too much noise or something and soon, he was noticeably mean to me. There is something known as gas lighting which basically, someone turns on the light in the room, and when you ask if they did it, they say the light didn't turn on. It is a way to make someone feel, and eventually go crazy. That was what I did. Destruction made backhanded comments like "maybe you would feel better if you were dead." Somewhere along the line, I thought of the kids proud of their cuts, and there I was on my bathroom floor, with a pink bandanna wrapped around my arm because I thought I was going to bleed out. You know how they say people do a drug once and then they're hooked, well that's psychological. At least for me cutting was a drug. It hurt and stung and lingered, but it was sweet. Somehow, walking through school with arms covered felt like I had a secret.. Showing your body, weather through pictures or in person, you start to feel like you have no secrets. Like everyone sees your life and where you once saw fun time with family, it had been scribbled over and on the slate of who you are people had written "lame" and it suddenly felt like a bad thing and like everything that had made me smile was now worthless.. It wasn't long until I had somehow exposed that I had been cutting myself to Destruction.. I was stupid, he called me stupid. He asked why I wanted to die but never listened to me saying I didn't. He had decided that I was worthless, and for some reason, he still stuck around.. At this point it was summer and I had started to get away from people from school and had started to feel like maybe hope was real, though I was still cutting daily through the summer. Often, on particularly bad days, I would carve certain things into my arms.. "F**K UP," "WHORE." Some days I would heat up a bobby pin and burn my arms if I wanted to feel an exponential amount of pain. The pain was always worse the next few days. Some times I regretted it, but I always went back for more. I had decided that I was going to die before 18. There was no way I would live past 18, there just wasn't. I had become a party girl. I didn't really like to drink, but when I did drink, guys liked me. I'm not naive enough to think they really liked me, but it did fill a void I was feeling. Once school started again, my parents had an idea that I was harming myself, but they didn't know how bad it had gotten. I had become so secretive that no one was allowed to know everything about me. No one was allowed to know most things about me. At the end of that summer I went on a youth group mission trip to the Navajo Nation and for those 8 days, I did not cut myself. 8 days. A stream popped up in the wilderness..
Once sophomore year started, the Tylenol was worse than ever. I started off the semester failing, and a week before Thanksgiving, that was how I left school. My parents had finally pulled me out. I was so happy to sleep. I don't remember the first two days of being out of school. But I remember when I finally came to, I arose to a panic attack. Destruction was going to leave me if I wasn't there. I would be alone. I couldn't think of the last time I'd been alone. I would kill myself. I didn't want to, but everyone said I was so messed up that I would kill myself because I was that bad off.. I spent the next weeks crying, panicking, cutting, throwing up, not eating, trying to ensure Destruction would not leave me, and every now and then, sleeping. My mother had been taking me to several counselors and everyone of them was nice. But I hated them. You see, things had happened to me when I was younger. I went to a couple parties in middle school and at one particular party, I had been sexually assaulted. It was violent, and mean, and I still have trouble saying it out loud sometimes. I spoke of that. I told them everything in school and they al told me that they were so sorry. "F***k your sorry." Was always my reply. I had never lost my moral respect for my elders, but really; I don't care if someone is sorry. I can't do anything with a sorry. If they said they were sorry, I would not see them again. Finally, we found a lady in Belen who never said she was sorry. She had fancy terms like depression, obsessive and compulsive, self-harm, bulimia, treatment, recovery, future.
I had never met someone who could lump those words with future and have it make sense, but she did. I didn't necessarily believe her in the beginning, but it still made sense. She told me I didn't have to stop cutting, I just needed to make sure I didn't cut too deep. She didn't tell me I had to eat with my parents, she said I could eat peas with soy sauce because it was the only thing that made me not want to throw up (seriously, every meal, for like 8 months was peas and soy sauce). She didn't make me leave Destruction, she simply pointed out the negatives in him almost as fast as he was pointing out the negatives in me. I've never been possessed (praise Jesus) however, I felt like that was what it was feeling like. I felt like the 12 year old girl, lying there before the sexual assault happened. I was innocent and I could still hold my mom without feeling dirty. I was inside of myself, but the bad in me, the bad I felt like I couldn't fight was always trying to pull my under. Destruction lived up to his name. After about another year of treatment, he left me for good. I thought about killing myself, but I didn't. I started reading through the bible and I felt the need to actually do something so I went to Ecuador to orphanages and held babies who knew no mother. Who knew nothing of a family. I was their family for a while. When I turned 18 I cut, cried, and slept for about 2 weeks. I was sure I would be dead and I wanted to equal parts shove it in Destruction's face, and die. But I didn't. Old friends have said I am a cockroach. I do not die. I am not a cockroach, but I am a survivor. I have lived to tell my tale and I am telling it through scarred wrists, a million broken hearts, and a life of recovery. I have lived and died what feels like a thousand times. I am still here. I didn't go under. Satan did not win my soul.
Peace to you friends,