Sunday, June 27, 2010

Teenage me explains a lot

Reading a fellow blogger's recent post about her teenage daughter got me thinking a lot about my upbringing. Got me thinking alot about what the hell I am going to do with 3 teenage daughters myself one day. I look around and I see some of the greatest people I could ever know. I know they weren't perfect kids, and aren't perfect now, but what really affects the way people "turn out?"

By society's standards, I should be a single mother, working at a fast food chain and/or retail establishment, on welfare, living with someone else because I can't make it on my own. I would not know Christ for I would never have been introduced to Him. I would not have many friends that amounted to anything, I never did. My social anxiety would take care of that anyway. I would still smoke, drink, and probably be high as I typed. - Instead, I somehow made it out alive. Out from under the vicious cycle of being exactly like your parents. So did they raise me well? Probably in the years that matter cognitively they did. In the years where you learn to be responsible, not so much.

I got high for the first time when I was 14 years old. 14 YEARS OLD! I had also already had sex, been drunk, and was smoking a pack a day. At 14! When no one is parenting you, well, you do what you want. What you think is cool, or at least what your friends think is cool. I began running the streets and liking boys when I was 12. To even say that out loud basically makes me nauseous. At 14 I had my first real boyfriend. Finally, someone who wanted me. Someone who took care of me, and loved me. I still don't doubt those feelings. Maybe not true love in the sense that I know it now, but feelings of acceptance and a bond of friendship that was despretely needed by me at the time. Of course you don't live happily ever after with your boyfriend at 14. You break up and humiliate yourself for the next 2 years looking like a complete and utter psycho. Well, maybe that's not what you would do, but it's what I did. I didn't know how to handle my emotions, I had never really had to before. A feeling of betrayal and a feeling like no one was ever going to want me. We had been through so much together and I was left by the waste paper basket in 3rd period. A lot of this, combined with deaths in the family and a general feeling of being unwanted led to a bout with depression and anxiety that still creeps it's ugly little head up today. I am sure I am predisposed to this "condition." If it wasn't the tragic heartbreak of high school romance that set it off, I am sure it would have been something else.
I matured a lot in high school. I had to, I was going at it alone. I spent a whole year trying to be sure no one would talk to me, and as Jake would say, I "painted little things by my eyes." I guess that's his translation of being gothic. I started seeing a therapist through school and kept a journal, writing every single day. I found something to love, that would never leave me - music. I drowned myself that year in activities like JROTC, wrestling, and the all-school musical. I found friends that were more true than anything I had ever experienced. I found mentors (Mrs. G, Mrs. Dollinger, Mrs. Brown, and Ms. H, and Maj. Minner and 1SGT Ridenour) that took care of me, and always loved me unconditionally. There is so much about my teenage years that I feel like just happened yesterday and so much that I would never trade for anything, no matter what. By senior year I was proud of what I had accomplished. I had a lead in the musical that year, I had a best friend to die for, and other friends that I can't even still imagine life without, I gave up my ban on boys and began dating a pretty ok guy, I wasn't popular, but I was truely loved. All of the things that are important to you at 17, I had them. Had I continued to do stupid things? Of course. Was life at home perfect? Nope. Did I always feel like things could fall apart at any given moment? You Bet. Confidence is not my strong suit. But I made it through alive. Without the help of anyone who was legally responsible for me. How sad. I know my personal experiences will help me raise my kids. I hope in a way that isn't overbearing and suffocating, but in a way that they won't have to seek their only guidance in other people.

Stay tuned for more to come on why I am so screwed up and how dating that pretty ok guy turned out to be pretty awesome.

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