This is the part of my story that I’m unsure how to write about. I’m not sure how to write about this portion of my life without offending anyone, without pointing fingers, without accurately describing the pain that I went through. So bear with me as I try to portray this part of my life to you.
I started junior high at a different school than all of my elementary school friends. I was switching back to my actual assigned school (and district), rather than the school district I had been attending. My mom would drop me off a friend’s house around the corner from our apartment before she went to work, and then I would finish getting ready for school there and my friend and I would walk to school together. After school I would then walk home with her, and spend the afternoon at her home until my mom came to get me when she got off work. That sweet family became like a second family to me, and they will always have a special place in my heart.
In the middle of my 7th grade year, when I was 12, my mom got re-married to a man who had 5 children from a previous marriage. I was thrilled to have siblings for the first time. At the time of the wedding they were approximately 19 (boy), 17 (girl), 15 (girl), 13 (boy), and 11 (girl). The 2 boys lived with their dad, and the 3 girls lived with their mom about 20 minutes away, but we saw them fairly often. My mom and I moved to his house, to a town about 20 minutes away from our current home. I finished off 7th grade at my current junior high, and then switched to the junior high by our house, again having to make new friends. I was in the same grade as my step-brother, but we didn’t really get along. (I did get along with my step-sisters phenomenally though. They were and are some wonderful people.)
We lived with my step-dad for about 3.5 years. Were there happy times in that home? I’m sure there were, but the bad times have overclouded them all. I know I’m lucky. I was never a victim of abuse in any form. But I witnessed intense verbal and emotional and mental abuse while living in that home. Enough so that I probably should have gone to counseling at some point to work through it. Suffice it to say that I’ve really suppressed a lot of my memories from that time period, and when they do rear their ugly heads, I push them back down again.
But those years happened. They changed me and shaped me and made me into who I am today. They also changed those closest to me, not always for the best, and that formed me as well.
One bright spot in those 3.5 years? My sweet little half-sister was born 2 months before my 14th birthday. I can’t imagine my life without her, and for her, I am grateful. My sweet, sweet Charity, who is now the same age I was when she was born. Time is truly a thief.
I also made some amazing friends during those years, who buoyed me up when I was feeling down and upset and anxious about my home life. My friends truly saved me during that time, and I cannot be more grateful for them.
My mom, half-sister (I’ll just refer to her as my sister from here on out), and I moved out of the house the summer after my sophomore year of high school. We moved into a room in my mom’s friends house, the same home we had lived in years before, when I was 7, back to the town I had lived in for the majority of my childhood. We stayed there for the summer until we moved just across town to the upstairs of a house, with 2 rooms and 1 bathroom. There we lived for my junior year of high school, until we moved to an apartment in the same complex we lived in when I was 7-12, right after my senior year started.
So, as you can imagine, I started my junior year at a new high school. I had a few friends there, because it was the same high school that most of my friends from my 7th grade year were attending, but that was a very small group of people, and of course, it had been a long time. I remember feeling so alone my first day of school, not knowing anyone in the halls or in my classes, and wishing I could go back to my old high school, where I knew just about every one.
Overtime, of course, I made friends, and by the time I graduated 2 years later, I again knew probably 90% of the student body, and had a great group of friends. But those first few months were rough, especially as I was suffering a broken heart after a break-up with my first real boyfriend. Teenage angst abounded, and I often blasted Avril Lavigne in my room, feeling just so alone.
During this time, my mom was going through a really rough and messy divorce. I got a job (at Chuck E. Cheese’s, and I LOVED it) and started becoming super involved in everything, which led to me hardly spending time at home, which was fine by me.
My senior year of school was especially insane. I was taking 2 AP classes (well, 3 for a term, but I most definitely dropped AP Calculus), I was on Dance Company and Drill Team, I was a member of Bruin Crew (a peer leadership group similar to student council), involved in NHS (National Honors Society) and French Club, plus I worked approximately 20 hours a week. A typical day for me that year looked getting up to be to school by 6 am for Drill Team practice, surviving a full day of classes, going to Dance Company practice for 1-2 hours, then going straight to work until approximately 10 pm, then going home to do homework, before going to bed. There were other days that Drill Team was switched out with a morningside for the youth of my church, and Dance Company was switched out for an NHS or French Club meeting, or I was involved in some activity for Bruin Crew that took place outside of school hours, but I was literally busy from 6 am to 10 pm (at least) each day.
Friday nights meant football games and basketball games (generally in the student section, and occasionally performing during half-time), and Saturdays meant a full 8 hour day of work, followed by doing whatever it is high schoolers do with their friends on a weekend. Plus if there was a school or church dance, I was there. I honestly don’t think I ever missed a dance. Ever. Sunday meant church, followed by doing the homework that my busy schedule hadn’t allowed for yet. I was busy, and tired, and involved and I LOVED IT. I am one of those people that loved high school. I had the time of my life and had some great, great friends and experiences.
There is more to say about those years, of course, being the formative years they were. Some of it would be petty, like the drama that all high schoolers go through, and some would be deeper and about my thoughts, feelings, and home at the time, but those are some things that I’m not completely comfortable sharing in such a public forum. I know I am truly lucky. I often feel embarrassed even mentioning my “rough” childhood, because I was never abused in any way, I never suffered from an eating disorder, I was never really bullied. But there was a lot of hard and hurt, still.
I’m not sure what else to add. My adolescence was 6 short years, in retrospect, that encompassed a lot of learning and growing up. I think I will be writing posts that break down some different parts of my life, like my friends, or dating, or dance, or the jobs I worked, so you can get a little more in depth look at those specific sections in my life, to get a real, well-rounded feeling for me, as a person.
I hope you enjoy them.