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I come from a ridiculously religious family. You know, the kind who prays every night before dinner, who goes to church every Sunday? My parents even teach Sunday school classes. Everything in life is tied back to God. The pain in my leg from running, what’s on the table for dinner, my dad’s paycheck: all from God. All the rules are God’s rules. The Bible is taken literally: some crazy man got a message from God to build a boat, another man really was eaten by a whale and survived…you get the picture.
I am not like the rest of my family. I tend to break the rules set out before me. If they say I can’t do something, I will go out of my way just to prove to them that I could if I really wanted to. One of these times, it got me in big trouble and I was put through one of the hardest times of my life.
I was sixteen years old and a sophomore in high school, which is a rough time in any teenagers life. I had to deal with many stresses that year. There were my grades, my social life, and making sure the people around me were doing okay. I felt as if I were sinking, and I had nothing to grab hold of to pull me back up. At this point, I wasn’t so worried about myself and what was going on in my life.
I had a boyfriend of almost two years at the time. He was my first boyfriend, and my first love. He was a good kid. He had a good heart. He was the closest thing to a safety net that I had for the problems in my life. Since he didn’t go to the same school and lived about twenty minutes away, I only saw him about once or twice a week. We really didn’t go out much. Neither of us could drive yet, so we would just hang around. This wasn’t such a good idea with all the raging hormones present.
We would fool around and stuff. I had set my mark of where I would stop, but the longer we were together, the higher the mark would get. I always would tell myself “Just keep saying no. Mom and Dad would kill me. I’m supposed to wait until marriage.” I lived by that, but it got harder and harder as my rule breaking spirit kept wanting to break free. It didn’t help that my boyfriend would pressure me. Every time it was like “Please can we do it? I love you, it’ll be okay.” etc, etc; the typical cliché things that any boy would say to get what the wanted. Since I was naïve and insecure, I finally got sick of saying no and I couldn’t stand to lose him at the point I was in my life. So, it happened.
And then it kept happening. It was like I couldn’t avoid it. I couldn’t say no. I wanted to, more than ever, but my fear of him leaving me won out. It was my dirty little secret. I felt unclean. I felt as if I had lost a part of myself. I had given everything, and felt nothing.
Our relationship became entirely physical. There was some sort of emotional attachment, but it always came back to sex. I felt like a sailor trapped on a boat in the middle of a fierce storm. I had no way out, no one to turn to, and things just kept getting worse.
It had been almost a year since everything started going wrong. I was late. Yes, that kind of late. The type of late that stops any girls world. And did my world stop. I forgot everything else going on in my life. My grades began to slip, my friends began to fade, my family became distant, and my boyfriend kept acting like nothing was wrong when in reality it felt as if everything was falling apart. I sank into a depression.
I suffered alone in silence for close to a month until finally my mom spoke up. She had been asking me throughout that month if I had gotten my period yet and the answer kept being no. One day, she sat me down, looked me straight in the eyes, and in a tone of voice that pierced through my ears like an even colder draft in an already cold house asked “Do we have a reason to be worried?”. At that point, my eyes broke like dams and the tears began to flow. “Yes” Was all I could reply in a small voice. I was terrified of what she would do next. Pregnancy to my mom was like a one way train to Hell. But all she did was pull me close and hold me there like her little girl again.
The next week or so was another stage in my journey through this problem I had brought upon myself. Every day was the same. I would go through school clouded with a fog just to come home to my mom questioning if there was any change and if the answer was no, she would proceed to hand me one pregnancy test after another. After a week of the at home tests, my mom felt that I should go into a pregnancy clinic for one of their tests. She also insisted that I bring my boyfriend with because he had also been a part of this all. Convincing him to come with me was a lot harder than it should have been. I felt as if he was trying to abandon me. He had brought me into this mess, and he wasn’t even willing to stand by me through it.
The day of going to the clinic was another frightening day. I kept running scenarios through my head: what would I do if the test was positive, what if it were negative? What would happen if I chose abortion or adoption as my options? I was preparing myself for any possibility. My mom wanted to come with but I told her that I needed to do this with just my boyfriend. I got to the clinic and my boyfriend followed shortly. We walked in, and I was sweating and shaking like no other. I took one of the tests and we talked to a counselor while we waited for the results. She kept wanting to talk about options when all I wanted to do was sit there and focus on breathing and keeping my heart at a relatively normal level. Finally, the test was ready, and it was negative. This sent me the first rush of joy that I had had in a month. The pregnancy lady just had to ruin that by discussing the probability of a false negative. I had gotten my answer from the clinic and I went home. At two o’clock in the morning on that day, I woke up to my period. I was ecstatic. I even did a little dance and woke my mom up right away. After telling her the news, I knew that the next stage of this journey would bring another wave of conflict.
This conflict consisted of where mine and my boyfriends relationship would go from here. My parents wanted to sit us both down and have this discussion. I was willing to because I loved my boyfriend and still wanted to be with him. As it turned out, he didn’t feel the same. I waited around for him for almost another month, waiting to see if he would take the offer to come talk to my parents. He would always answer “I don’t know” and then I wouldn’t hear from him. I only talked to him on the phone maybe three times in three weeks and I hadn’t seen him in a month. I was sick of it. I was sick of feeling like I was nothing to him, that I wasn’t worth fighting for. I had gone through hell without his help and support. Sure, he was young and didn’t know how to handle the situation, but neither did I! He had no excuse for how he was treating me. And so, one day I called him up and told him that we shouldn’t see each other anymore. His response? “Okay.”
He hurt me big time, in more ways than one. But I became a stronger person through this experience. I learned to respect myself and to not let anyone push me around. I also learned how to follow “guidelines” (as they are put now, so I’m not so tempted to break the “rules”). My mom was my help through this, and she was the last one I would have ever thought to turn to. Though I am a big girl, she can still be my guardian angel. My heart beats stronger and my feet stand firmer and that would have never happened if I hadn’t made a mistake.