Surrounded by your peers. All working toward the same goal. Doing the same thing every day. Extracurriculars, Homework, Family time.
It was so much EASIER back then.
At the time, the only drama in your life was the friend who told someone who your crush was. Maybe she stole your boyfriend. Hell, maybe she “turned the whole school against you,” and you just wanted to bury your head in the sand.
Making friends came easy to me, it always had. I find someone I click with, we spend some time swapping secrets, gossiping, creating a false sense of security in each other. Then we move on to the next one, and the next one, and the next one.
It was so easy to find that “next best friend” when you’re growing up. You’re surrounded by people your own age who are generally going through the same things you’re going through. You see them everyday, you’re surrounded by the same things, EVERYDAY.
Even though you are individuals – your lives are almost the same.
Except for what happens at home.
I spent almost every summer at my grandparents house in the country. This was my “happy place,” where nothing could hurt me. It was this bubble from the outside world that I felt safe in.
Why did I need a “safe place”?
Everything was fine. Just fine.
At least, that’s what was drilled into my head from a young age.
I know that not every family is perfect, but the secrets and lies that turned my family against each other continued to eat at me for years.
I have always loves to write. The earliest record I have of that is a journal my parents bought me when I was in grade school. It was puffy, patent leather, pink, and had a picture of a long-haired black and white cat on it. One of my first entries in that journal was writing about being at Toys ‘R Us and my parents calling each other names.
I was 7.
Growing up in the dawn of the internet exposed me to many new things. I was curious. I was adventurous. I was a snoop. I have ALWAYS been a snoop.
I discovered an e-mail in my mother’s inbox that said something along the lines of,
“Jacob is my son, you cannot keep him from me, I want to see him.”
Uh – WTF. Seriously – WTF.
I racked my brain for a few days, trying to figure out how to approach my mom about this.
When I finally did. Her response was… predictable.
“Oh honey, I don’t know what that was all about. Probably just spam mail. Don’t worry about it.”
I trusted her and allowed it to pass. I never brought up what I had seen to my Dad. It was always in the back of my head.
Which was why when my parents finally separated when I was 14 — and my mom took Jacob with her and left the rest of us behind — I knew it wasn’t just “spam mail.” It had been a truth all along.
After my mother left, I poured myself into church. I needed community. I wanted to feel loved. I felt left behind. At 14 years old I had felt like my world had collapsed. I desperately wanted to fit in and feel included.
Instead, families pitied me. They felt sorry for me. I remember my dad dropping me off at a church activity that was scheduled as a “mom/daughter crafting night”… I had no mom to join me… I had never felt so different and alone.
Shortly after that, I began to disconnect from church. I began to look at school as a way of making friends. Unsure of how to really do that, I lied. It was so stupid. I lied hoping it would get people to like me. Obviously no one had EVER done THAT before.
(this is the part where you roll your eyes)
I had told a friend, someone I thought was my best friend, that while I was on a family vacation I had sex. On the beach.
That “best friend,” had then told everyone in our “group” about my bullshit lie.
I was at a movie night with all of these “friends,” when my lie was exposed.
I was embarrassed and continued to lie in an attempt to save myself.
I was never invited to movie night again.
I was ridiculed and shunned. I was the laughing-stock for the rest of the summer.
I was alone, again.
High school came after that. New people, new friends, “new life.”
Turns out it came with the same set of obstacles. I guess I hadn’t learned my lesson.
I continued to hope I would find that friend to have a connection with. I actually found her. I got lucky enough I found two. In fact, I got SO LUCKY that I am still friends with both of them today — after a LOT of fighting, lies, drama, and tears.
I got my FIRST boyfriend. Of course I had to look outside of school. I could never have a relationship with someone who was privy to the gossip.
I actually met him on MySpace. HA! Seriously… MySpace. Anyone remember that? I fell in love with him (or so I thought). Invited him into my home. Lost my virginity to him. Allowed him to influence my faith and push my moral limits. I BELIEVED in him.
Only to find out, he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend at Oregon State and was still seeing her…
After 1.5yrs I finally ended it. After tears, more lies, and being manipulated into believing he loved me. I walked out of his life and into the next stage of mine.
The one thing I can look back on in that relationship and be 100% grateful for was the push he gave me to pursue a relationship with my mom after 4 years of no contact.
I moved out of my Dad’s house when I was 18, into my mom’s, and from that point forward the relationship with my Dad was…. extremely complicated.
That stage was filled with temporary relationships.
- Oz – the body piercer I met in Monroe and gave my number to after he pierced my nose.
- Justin – the firefighting/EMT that I met after PBR with my “step sister” and a night fueled by drinking.
- Steve – the Irish ex-boyfriend of a girl I went to prom with.
- Kyle – the best friend of ANOTHER guy I went on a date with after meeting on MySpace.
- Nathan – the submariner I met while working a booth at Hot Import Nights.
- Trevor – the Kirkland party boy hustler.
I met Ryan at a party I was invited to by a Starbucks co-worker. I was immediately infatuated. There was something dangerous, sexy, and intense about him. We had an extremely passionate and volatile relationship. He was the first boyfriend I lived with.
Living with him was only part of my choice. My mom actually told me if I continued to pursue a relationship with him that I would have to find another place to live.
I thought I was in love with him. I lost everything I had worked so hard for because I though I love him. My best-friends questioned my judgment and no longer spoke to me. I lost job after job because I couldn’t go into work and allow them to see what was happening to me.
This was the first time I learned what cheating REALLY was, what it felt like.
This was the first time I learned what HEARTACHE really felt like.
Coming home to a girl (you obviously hate), sitting on your boyfriends lap and he calls YOU the crazy one for getting upset… that hurts.
The relationship ended when he caught me cheating, with his best friend, and proceeded to break my nose.
The girl living with us actually told me NOT to call the police because it would ruin HIS life. Obviously that was the most important thing. I needed to think of him. I needed to be there for him. Because who was I, without him?
This propelled me into a reckless depression and abandonment of myself. Including, but not limited to:
- Excessive drinking
- Excessive drug use
- Poor work ethic
Who was that girl? I could barely look in the mirror and acknowledge myself. I had started running with a crowd, once again looking for acceptance, only to be an outcast.
I had become the embarrassing drunk, homie-hopping hook-up girl. Ewwwwww.
I had lost the respect of my best friends. I had lost my self-respect. I was so lost. Lost little girl. All over again. How do I keep ending up “lost”?
Want to know the funny part? This happened to me again. You would have though I would have learned. Once again — God is really rooting for me! Hoping I’ll eventually learn something. But noooooooo. This girl just CANT PICK UP WHAT HES PUTTING DOWN.
I met the most INCREDIBLE man when I was 23. I was working at a coffee stand (back in those bikini barista hustlin days) when he pulled through in a shiny dodge diesel pick up. I was closing up for the night and he wanted my “largest white chocolate mocha.”
I was pissed. I was tired. I wanted to go home. I was closing — I had forgotten to turn that DAMN open sign off.
Little did I know this man would change my life.
He was 9 years older than me. He was handsome, charming, appeared successful and to have his shit together.
I was swept off of my feet. His fancy downtown condo. His sexy truck. He was smart!
Guess what I did? Self sabotage.
I fell back into that lifestyle of wanting to feel included and abandoned this amazing man who just wanted me to his on his team and be his partner.
- Prescription drugs
- Excessive drinking
Again. When will I learn?
For his own sanity, he broke up with me. Turns out, it wasn’t over. We got back together 6 months later after I fled to Santa Barbara, Calif. on a whim to feel… once again, rescued.
After another 1.5yrs it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t commit. I didn’t know how to be what he needed. So I left.
I moved in with a girlfriend I met while working at the veterinary clinic, she was recently divorced, and we embarked on an adventure together.
Boy, what an adventure it was.
It started off great. We were best friends. I had FINALLY found “my person.” We would go out together, cook together, attend family functions together, we were inseparable.
That ended up being our down fall.
It turns out this adventure we had embarked on was full of bad choices.
- Drug use
I had gotten myself into a situation that was completely out of control. I was putting out fires everywhere. I had a room-mate that started out being my best friend who turned into someone who manipulated me, controlled me, and abused me. I allowed myself to once again, to get involved in a nightmare.
I really started to notice it when I began dating again.
There was this… boy. I guess I can’t call him that anymore, but we have known each other since I was 16. Someone I have deep ties to and have always had a soft spot for. He had just broken up with his girlfriend of 4 years and obviously it was my opportunity to spend some time together.
She keyed my car the night he came over.
We went on a date a week later, I came home to her attempting suicide by placing 18g catheters in her arms and bleeding out in her bathtub.
I was in over my head. I had no idea how far though.
That night she over-dosed on her anti-anxiety medication, Wellbutrin.
One call to 911, a call into work to explain neither of us would be in today, it was all moving so fast.
She went to the hospital, entered a 28-day in patient treatment facility, returned to our home to pack her things and was gone.
I attempted to continue a friendship with her for several months, only to be faced with the reality that things would never be the same again.
I received a phone call from her that summer that would change my life.
“I don’t think you’re a good person, Jack. I think you’re a manipulator. I think you need help. I think you should work on yourself. I can’t be your friend anymore. *click*”
I let her go. I couldn’t subject myself to the pain she continued to inflict on me any longer. I had to move on.
Guess what happened after this?
I broke the chain.
I didn’t go to drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity to fill the void and make me feel better.
I turned to my heath. The one thing I knew I could control and could benefit from working on.
- Nutrition — eating clean, proper portions
- Personal Development
Breaking the chain. Going from self-sabotage to self-love saved me.
I still have a long way to go. I know I will come across people in my life who will hurt me, manipulate me, try to control me. I cannot change the or try to help them.
The reason I share is raw, vulnerable story is to show you I am human.
I make mistakes.
I am guilty of longing to feel loved and involved in something greater than myself — to the point of losing myself. I am worthy of feeling those things, but not at the costs I have paid in the past.
Sharing this story is exhausting and scary. You may accuse me of being a bad person. You may believe I am some “lost little girl” who needs rescuing.
I don’t expect you to learn from my mistakes. I don’t expect anything from you. Hell, I don’t even expect you to read this or even make it to the end of this post.
All I want is to reach those who feel the same way and let them know that they are no alone. When you feel like the world is against you, realize it’s temporary.
Nothing is permanent, Nothing is forever.
Until next time.