Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Life Story in Pieces: Now I'm Pregnant

I was unable to say goodbye to J, who was living in Philly only half an hour away, because he was in another state training for a new job as an over-the-road truck driver. My dad, siblings, and C came to get me. You see, during a previous summer, C had been booted from where he was living with family for some reason. He moved in with my family. He'd needed a place to stay and would help pay expenses. He was a nice guy and my parents took him in. He took my old bedroom.

C and I had spent the past summer together. He had dreams of having a family with me. It was all he could talk about. At this point, neither of us acknowledged the existence of J. He was already the parent to a child he was unable to see because he was 4 hours away from the kiddo. He regretted that the relationship with the kiddo's mom hadn't worked out. He'd even bought me this adorable, soft little teddy bear "to represent the babies we're going to have together someday." It was something he always talked about. He knew I'd dreamed my whole life of becoming a mother, of raising a family and being a wife...I had told him all about it when we first "met" on the phone years ago. He always said that his first dream family didn't work out, but we could have one ourselves. I didn't want that, but I never had the guts to say as much and risk hurting him.

When we would go on walks, he would sketch me drawings of houses and tell me we would have my dream house someday. One time we were sitting in the cemetery above town (the place where our relationship would eventually end up, symbolically...), talking about being together, and in a grand gesture, he built a little tiny house out of rocks and sticks, and said that we could live there. The song "Somewhere only we know" by Keane became the theme song for our alternate universe.

And now C was there again, to help pack me up and bring me home, no longer a college student.

I left that campus embarrassed, defeated, shamed. A few of those great, upstanding Christian students muttered "good riddance" as they saw me packing up the car. By the time I got home, my mom had told all my friends, church members, and family that i had "gotten kicked out of Christian college." I genuinely wanted to die but once again, didn't have the nerve or the energy.

My dad bought me a car so I could get a job until fall semester started. C was psyched to have me back. I applied to ESU's honors program, which has fantastic housing for transfer/honors students, more like a condo and less like the cinder-brick dorm rooms that freshman "lived" in. Since i'd gotten a 1200 on my SATS and had completed a certain # of credits, i was qualified for the honors program; I would find out in a few weeks if I had been accepted into one of the few slots left.

J was unreachable. It didn't matter. C was there and he was the only person in the world who wasn't ashamed of me. He was the only person who didn't think I was a heathen. I cried on him a lot those first few days, barely able to get out of bed.

After a long afternoon of me laying in bed crying and him laying there comforting me, we had sex. I cried afterward. That wasn't how it was supposed to be. Nothing was how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be halfway to a degree in college. I was supposed to have friends and good times and fun. I was supposed to be a virgin until marriage. I was supposed to be a normal 20-year-old. I was supposed to be able to look Jesus in the eye someday and say, "Yes, I did do what you wanted me to do with my life."

A few days later, my boobs started hurting. I smelled someone making a sandwich in the kitchen at the other end of the house. My ... down there area... began to hurt. I fortunately had already scheduled my annual OB-GYN appointment at the local med center, so I waited it out. Something wasn't right.

The day of my pap smear appointment, I got a letter in the mail from East Stroudsburg University. I was accepted into their honors program and my slot was reserved in a dorm for the fall.

C went with me to the appointment. They made him stay in the lobby, thinking it was a routine appointment. They asked, "Before we start the exam, is there any possibility that you might be pregnant?" I said yes. The nurse took a urine sample and came back about ten minutes later - obviously, the longest ten minutes of my life. I wanted to run out to the waiting room and get C, but I was already in a paper gown and didn't think all of town needed to see my girly bits.

The nurse came back in, plunked down onto a stool, and said matter-of-factly, "Well, you're pregnant." I don't remember what I said or what I did, but I do remember sitting there, wailing in misery. She brought Chris in and he held me while I cried. I was so distraught that the entire medical center heard me crying. I didn't know what I was going to do. College was out the window. Everyone was going to judge me. My entire life was going to change. I was going to be a mother.

I pulled back so he could wipe tears from my face and he was smiling. He was happy that we were pregnant.

We told my parents a few days later. It was your typical, cliche movie moment. "Mom, Dad, we need to talk to you." Of course they knew what I was going to say before I said it. "I'm pregnant." My mom said, "I'm going to be a grandma!"
Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Life Story in Pieces: Unceremoniously tossed out of Bible College

I have other memories of people treating me like shit on that campus...I don't care to relive them. I know I myself wasn't very nice. I made fun of the home-schooled kids (they had no social skills and were WEIRD! And not very intelligent...they were like little church zombies) and the student government kids who thought VFCC was, golly, the best-est most wonderful-est place in the darn-tootin' world. There was a guy who was unabashedly a woman-hater, who hit on anything attractive and very effeminately mocked girls who weren't as stylish as him. There were anonymous hate groups created about him online because he was such an obnoxious asshole. I myself grew a pair and decided to mock the jerk outright - well, online, not to his face. My balls weren't that big. The pretty girls made fun of me because I wore ponytails instead of The Rooster to chapel. There were the people who said they hated it there but never left...the ones who were miserable but never said so to anyone except me, it seemed.

Ever since my first day there, I had people giving me horror stories about the place, things they or their family and friends had endured that no one had spoken up about. People rolled their eyes with me at some of the ridiculous things that went on there. But when it came down to it - when I opened my mouth and (crassly) called out the college for its glaring inconsistencies, nobody stood behind me publicly. People turned me in to student life for being an abomination to VFCC and therefore to Jesus Christ Himself. A girl, Melanie Hickey, was the IT specialist on our floor. I made fun of her extremely uptight group of friends, so she used her paid position at VFCC to hack into my computer and change my password with the intent that I would fail my finals that semester. I almost did fail because of her - but I got in on time and was able to turn my papers in. A guy named Josh Sieb turned in my xanga blog to student life in an attempt to get me kicked out - FYI, I still, to this day, have NO IDEA who he is and am positive I never met him in my life. I hear he still works at a pizza shop in town and his massively obese. Glad he's doing so well for himself.

People I thought were my friends in private unfortunately never stood by me publicly. My own sister was ashamed of me. She told me to stop with my blogging, keep my head down and shut my mouth because I was embarrassing her. I skipped classes and chapel because I couldn't bring myself to wake up. Being awake was being in misery. I gained and lost weight constantly. The only person I really spoke to was C, who made me feel like the only sane person in a boat of psychos. I was still dating J, but he was MIA with a new job. When we did talk, he also didn't support me. He agreed that I should keep my head down, grow up, and stick it out. I constantly considered killing myself. My girl Jess helped me research other colleges. I made the decision mid-second semester that I would switch colleges after I finished my third semester. I decided on East Stroudsburg, a college known for its Education program and even had a concentration in my major on my dream job: administration (daycare director).

If you can see where this is going...I never got to finish my third semester. A week or two into the semester, I was called in to Student Life. The report of my blog had gotten back to them. Instead of siccing the Dean on me, it was a woman this time, not an RA but the next stage above it. She was extremely compassionate and just asked me, "If you're so happy here, why are you here?" It hadn't occurred to me that I could leave. I told her that I would think about it.

A few days later, The Big Bad Dean scheduled an appointment. I walked in to the principal's office with my tape recorder, which I never ended up turning on. As soon as he started talking, I began crying. I hate getting in trouble. I hated everything. It was like everything I wanted so badly was shattered, and here I was with one of the most-hated members of that college's faculty, and he was about to yell at me. I sat there, sobbing, unable to form a word.

He started telling me about how he had read my entire blog, and how there were members both inside and outside the VFCC community who read it and participated in it. He pulled out some printed pages and read them to me...he had them all stapled and highlighted. He said that the entire campus was ashamed of my behavior and that I was single-handedly putting a bad image on the college. "There is not a single student here dissatisfied with this institution," he told me, and he genuinely believed it. How far his head must have been up his ass to believe that.

I was livid. I wanted to shout, "Are you fucking serious!? Other than the small handful of student government and music performance team students that YOU associate with, NOBODY loves it here. We all hate the rules, we all feel trapped, and we all are acting like martyrs because we all thought this place was heaven when in reality, it's purgatory at best. The only difference is, I am the only one who has the balls to say a SINGLE WORD about it. Everyone else just wants to graduate and get the hell out because most of the credits they started here won't transfer to a real college. You want to whitewash this place and put band-aids on gaping wounds but you won't admit there's even a problem here!" But, like a bad 80's movie protagonist, I just sat there, and didn't say a word. I was just trying to hold in my boogers and tears.

With no hint of compassion, he peered at me and said, "Why are you crying?" I unloaded on him in a blubbering, sobbing mess of an answer told him how miserable I was, how this place wasn't what I thought it would be, how people were mocking me and refusing to sit near me in the cafeteria, how I'd heard whispers of threats against me throughout campus, how even the nice Christian girls wouldn't speak to or look at me. He tossed a box of tissues into my lap and leaned in, much in the fashion of a 1950's film noir police detective interviewing a hardened criminal, and told me I had two choices and two choices only:

1. I could remain at VFCC, under one condition: I would agree and sign papers stating that I would never at any point speak, write, type, text, or THINK a bad thing about that campus, its students and faculty, its policies, its appearance, or its curriculum. If any word got back to him - "And be assured, you will be monitored closely by both IT and administration" - that I wasn't 100% glowing happy about this place, then I would be instantly and without regret booted from campus without a refund.

2. I could make the choice to leave, and he would kindly refund the 3 weeks of tuition I'd accrued on the current semester. I had to be off college grounds within 48 hours.

I chose to leave. Looking back, I realize I could have a lawsuit on my hands. They kicked me out for stating honest, heartfelt opinions, in this amazing place called America. Who knows, it's a private college and they probably had every right to mind-control their students. Or maybe I could have found a lawyer who would have taken my case and embarrassed the shit out of that place. Either way, I was done. I had no fight left in me.

I packed up my entire dorm into hefty trash bags. My sister planned a GOODBYE "MOOSE" (that was my nickname, cuz i LOVED Canada) party for me and most of friends were able to come to say goodbye. We played Super-Nintendo on my SNES emulator, sat around singing, J-vo made a boob joke, and everyone laughed and hugged me goodbye. It was a nice send-off. I still have the card they all signed for me. <3

Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Life Story in Pieces: Welcome to Bible College

I went back to college, met with a surgeon, and had a lumpectomy. Being an invincible 18 year old, I wasn't scared, at all. Even when Dr. Rosa, the surgeon in Phoenixville that I still resent, viciously told me that "That thing will keep growing and growing until you look like a cyclops, if I don't go in there and cut it out of you!", I was still not scared.

I remember going into the surgery holding room on the bed. I was shaking because I was so cold in there. I couldn't get warm. I remember waiting for an hour for them to find the anesthesiologist. I sat there shaking, freezing in a bed with only a sheet as an old man snored, post-op, next to me. I remember finally being wheeled in to the operating room and being shocked that it really IS like on TV - instruments everywhere, no smell in the air whatsoever except that of cold steel, nurses and doctors high-strung on adrenaline yet somehow calm...I remember them telling me the medications they were injecting would make my arm burn only a little. I remember counting backwards from ten. Then I remember remember waking up in my dorm, and thinking that it was a day or two after my surgery, taking a percocet for the pain and falling back to sleep. Turns out I missed almost a month of classes, and had to drop two classes and come back the next semester still as a freshman. Note to self: Do NOT take narcotics ever again.

Looking back, it genuinely hurts to remember college. I was a small-town girl from a church of maybe 50 people. A lot of that time is still blurry and I don't want to pry to far for fear of what I'll remember - what I'll remember of my actions, and those of others. I know I had a handful of amazing friends who put up with my moodiness, who still made me laugh even when I was clearly depressed. I also remember 90% of the students on that campus eventually hating me with a fire that Christians usually reserved for The Gays and their sympathizer, Tony Campolo. As anyone knows, I'm extremely opinionated and very vocal. I tend to form an opinion, spout it off, and wait for interesting people to refute my points, at which point I may re-shape or change my opinion. It's very Middle School-Girl of me, but at least I'm aware that I'm doing it.

I chose to go to a Christian college because my best friend/older sister was there, it was familiar, and I thought it would be nice to go to a place that wouldn't be a party school. VFCC had no drinking/drugs/sex on campus so I figured it would be an amazing, life-changing experience; the perfect place to obtain my degree from which I would springboard and go off and change the world.

I remember walking onto that campus the first day of Freshman year for what they called Start Teams, a "team-building activity" for entering freshman that took place a week or two before classes started. The campus was beautiful - old buildings, green lawns and clean-cut Christians everywhere. I met some amazing, bubbly people who were on fire for God and ready to learn and serve the God they lived for. I myself was pretty on fire. I couldn't wait to be surrounded by like-minded people who wouldn't make fun of others the way I'd been mercilessly teased in high school. I couldn't wait to be around mature people like myself who were ready to buckle down and learn, who were responsible and forward-thinking. And, big SHOCKER here, it didn't all turn out that way.

It turns out that there were more cliques at that college than in any high school I'd ever heard of. First, there were the cliques of kids who already knew each other from church events - namely, Fine Arts, an Assembly of God worship/performance thing that all churches in the area participate in. (My small church had never had enough youth to participate, so I'd never been to the Youth Conventions that everyone else knew each other from.) I felt like the kid at sleep-away camp coming for her first year at age 17 when everyone else had gone to camp together since preschool.

You know how, in the real world, celebrities and athletes are the 'cool kids' that everyone wishes they could be? Well, at Christian College, ministry majors (namely pastors) are the guys everyone worships (how's that for irony, worshiping the guy who's supposed to direct you to you worship God? Hmmm...). I was an education major. Many times, I overheard fellow students openly mocking "non-ministry majors" for our blatant uselessness towards The Kingdom of God. (Really? I can't serve God by being there 365 days a year for a child? I can't serve God by teaching a child to read, by hugging him when he falls, by telling him God loves him every day? Hmm...I had issues with THAT mentality!) There were a ton of other cliques too, as you would expect on campus - upper-classmen, dorm cliques, and the usual hot people/dorky people/weird people cliques.

Turns out, Christian College was no different than any other college. We were all still kids, we were all still naive and headstrong, and we were all still learning who we were and what we believed. Except - and here's our great exception to differentiate us from the Secular College Students - WE had all happily signed a pledge saying that basically, we wouldn't even THINK IMPURE THOUGHTS. (Good luck enforcing that one, thought police.) I quote from their current admissions manual code of conduct:

Certain practices are forbidden in Scripture and will not be tolerated in the lives of college community members. Those practices include sexual relationships outside of marriage (promiscuity in any form) and homosexuality. The college also prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, non-medical drugs, gambling in any form and social dancing. Also prohibited are any form of theft, dishonesty (including cheating and plagiarism), and civil disobedience (except in those rare cases where civil disobedience is warranted by honestly held religious principles and informed conscience, if such action is taken after consultation with Church leaders). Sinful practices such as jealousy, pride, gossip, slander, profanity, vulgarity and greed are inconsistent with the goals of a Christian life style and are likewise to be avoided by all members of the college community.

I personally saw very soon that the place was a joke - at least, compared to what I thought it would be. I know, I know - I sound pessimistic. I should have learned early in life to have low expectations so you can't be disappointed. But I put all my eggs in one basket with VFCC. I trusted that they would be a stable, respectable, open-minded Christian institute. Naively, I thought the Christians there would act like - gasp - CHRISTIANS! Instead, the VFCC I saw contained:

-Certain students (student government, RA's, children of staff) receiving special treatment and favor

-RA's who allowed drinking, drug use, swearing and sex in the dorms they were supposed to be monitoring to prevent exactly those things. One RA is a cousin of mine who the family still thinks is a saint. Makes me laugh to this day - if they only knew.

-People rejecting others for not worshiping the way they did...I myself got made fun of in chapel for singing off key. Whoops, I didn't mean to get carried away with emotion in the middle of a worship song to a God I fully adored and wanted to praise - how dare I!?

-A female self-professed "feminist" professor who gave clear preference to female students. I don't care if you're a feminist - but it's part of your job as an educator in an institute of higher learning to show NO preferential treatment. When a friend of mine missed a week of classes due to an injury, Misandrist Professor Chick didn't let him make up a test. When I missed a month of classes due to severe bronchitis and hospitalization, she let me make up both math and homework without question. I heard scads of other stories from upper-classmen who had been a victim of her prejudice. I didn't believe it until I experienced it myself. (And blogged about it. Yeah, I called her a feminazi. And later was forced to apologize to her in a grovelling manner, required by the school's equivalent to the Dean of Students, let's call him "Marty.")

-People looking around in chapel to see if others were 'worshiping right.' Seriously. Either that, or they were checking to see if anyone was watching them raise their hands, push out a few tears, and place a passionate hand to their own chests. Who knows. All I know is, if I'm in an atmosphere where I want to be vulnerable and open such as during a worship song session, I don't want someone watching me. Back the hell off - this is between me and God, y'know? Yet it happened constantly. People were always watching. Not all people, obviously, and not every time. But frequently, and without remorse. Also, there was a worship leader there who sang above everyone and would talk and talk and talk and talk and talk during times of intense prayer. Everyone in the room would be in tears, smitten with some form of The Spirit, and he would jump in and start praying for himself in one of those Example Prayers: "Oh God, I know I'm not always perfect but you forgive me. Help me to come to you when I wrong you. Help me to worship you, openly, here in this place." Blah, blah, blah. Don't hurt yourself trying to pat yourself on the back, there, buddy - we get it, you're super holy! He certainly loved the sound of his voice...though no one else did. But, when I mocked it (in both a rude and immature fashion, admittedly) on my blog, the superb Dean once again made me apologize to the guy in order to remain at the college.

-A professor who taught that if you didn't get married, you were going against God's will for mankind

-Many professors who taught that speaking in tongues were the most important gift of the spirit

-A few professors who actually taught that if one didn't speak in tongues, one wasn't in God's favor at all

-Vicious, vicious people. I remember walking back to my dorm one time in the only clean skirt I had at the time (hey! laundry is expensive and college students are poor!) - a pencil skirt that went down past my knees. However, I was in a hurry and walking made the skirt slide up...too about two WHOLE INCHES above my knees. Granted, there were a ton of skinny girls (well, maybe a few hundred pounds of skinny girls) walking around campus wearing skirts far shorter than mine. But this guy, a fellow student who is now a proud pastor of a church and the husband to a girl he does not deserve, stopped me in front of at least 50 people and shouted, "That skirt is inappropriate and unChristian. You need to change your outfit right away. You should be ashamed of yourself!" I ran back to my dorm, humiliated and crying. A friend of mine lived in the same dorm with this guy, and had heard him talking about 'his lusts' and how many hot girls there were on campus...even though he was engaged to the girl he is now (probably still) married to. I know he was only offended by the length of my skirt because I was fat, or maybe because he didn't like me personally. This kind of thing happened regularly...the people that everyone favored and wanted to be was really just a dickbag underneath. Christians. These people were Christians. Supposedly.
Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Life Story in pieces: My First and Second Boyfriends PART TWO

I fooled myself into believing that C and I were just friends, and that two people off the opposite sex can be close, emotionally-open friends without feelings coming into play. I made myself believe that was true, every time we talked. After all, he knew I had a boyfriend - I was very clear about it from day one. Yet I didn't tell my boyfriend that I was talking to him every day. J didn't know that C existed. Eventually C became my alternate universe. All my friends were good, upstanding Christian girls.

J. was the "ideal" Christian guy - wise to a fault, and raised in private Christian school and college (including a year at the ultra-strict, ultra-conservative Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate NY), he saw everything as black and white. He helped me form my moral compass. With J, I would talk about music and friends and our beliefs. We would discuss social issues like war, abortion, homosexuality, marriage, sex, everything. I don't want to downplay my relationship with J. He was there for me when I came out of my childhood issues. He was there for me during all the family fights that I endured, and he held me or talked me through my self-esteem issues. He was the only guy I knew who unabashedly, completely and wholly thought I was the most gorgeous girl alive - every jiggly inch of me. It felt good to feel so loved. He didn't approve of my swearing habit, my issues with organized religion, or a few other things I did or thought but he did support me. Oftentimes I got frustrated because it felt like he was a parental figure instead of a boyfriend, constantly correcting me and telling me what was right and wrong, but he did it in such a gentle manner that I didn't realize or even consider that he could possibly be wrong about anything. I believed and followed him wholly. I wanted to be his quiet, well-mannered Christian girlfriend who people adored. I wanted to be the girl he stood proudly next to at church on Sundays. I wanted his mean Puerto Rican mother to like the little white girl that I was. I put so much pressure on myself.

C was, at first, so curious about my faith. He asked so many questions and I got to spout all my beliefs to him. He'd play the devil's advocate (quite literally, about foreshadowing!) and ask questions to make me re-evaluate what I believed. It was a very good lesson in not believing everything you're told...I learned a lot about myself from his questions. He sure helped shape my faith and my personality during that formative year, for better or worse. As time went on, we talked less about Jesus and more about bullshit. He became the person I vented to about my family, about school, about J. He was the only person I knew who didn't get upset when I swore (he swore himself), so I got to say the big bad "F word" around him.

Eventually there were two versions of me: the good girl, who got straight A's and went to church and had a super-sweet Christian boyfriend (J) who wrote me love letter and who all my friends liked...and then there was who I was starting to believe was "the real me," the girl who is a Christian but who swears, and doesn't believe everything she's spoon-fed, the girl who cares less about image and more about reality, the girl who didn't have to adhere to any standards or pressure, the girl who was loved by a "cool" tattooed guy. With J, I was my best self and with C, I was my worst self. I liked both selves. I had no idea I could merge the two Mes into one, that I could change my bad qualities and keep the good, that I could allow myself to be imperfect and have bad habits while still attaining toward the person I wanted to be. I had no idea that could be done.

So I began to live in an alternate universe. It just felt so nice to have someone who accepted my flawed side. The few times I'd been my "heathen" self around my family, friends, and current boyfriend, they'd either shown embarrassment, reproach or hostility. C never did any of those things. He took me just as I was, and soon I was very much like him.

As far as I knew at the time, nobody knew about C. I made sure of that. While I reveled in being That Version of Me, I couldn't let the people I knew know how I truly was inside. Looking back, I think a lot of people knew. I know my poor sister did and was burdened with the knowledge. She and I didn't get along very well during that time period.

We continued talking on the phone, every day, through my sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school. At some point, we said I Love You. I stopped talking to him about J altogether. C started making hints that he was the one for me, that J was boring and judgmental and that nobody truly knew me except him. I, of course, believed him to a point but didn't want to argue with him, but wasn't ready to give up on my Real Life. I kept my Secret Life with C just that - the "deepest, darkest secret" that we had ominously spoken of as little girls at sleepovers. He was my Dirty Little Secret, and what a regret, now.

Early in my freshman semester at a small Christian college, C and I decided it was time to meet. I made the plans and found a way to meet him. I don't remember if it was for the weekend or for a week. We spent those days together and had a magical time. He was sweet. We went on walks, stayed up late talking, went to see places from his childhood...we said "I love you" in person for the first time.

And then he got a horrible toothache (which turned out to be an abscess a few months later). I wanted to help him. I offered to get him a drink, find him medicine, but he said neither would help. I felt helpless so I put my hand on his back. He shoved my hand off and yelled at me, told me to leave him "the fuck alone. Goddamn." We sat there in pain for an hour...He was writhing in physical pain. I was crying from feeling so hurt. I didn't get why he had turned on me. I couldn't understand how this sweet man could be so mean to me. God, I was so naive.

His toothache subsided and he apologized. He dried my tears and held me until I stopped crying and shaking. He apologized profusely and promised it wouldn't happen again. I couldn't stop apologizing for bothering him, explaining that I was only trying to help. (Just writing this paragraph so far has made me roll my eyes a thousand times...I want to go back in time and sucker-punch Former Me and tell her that on that day she became nothing more than a silly cliche.)

A night or two before I was supposed to leave, I discovered a lump in my left breast. It put a dark note on the rest of our time together. It was nice, though, having someone there to comfort me in my fear. When I got home, I immediately saw a doctor and then a surgeon, and soon was scheduled for a biopsy/lumpectomy/whatever the heck it's officially called. Once again, in retrospect I can see such foreshadowing. God, what a silly twit I was...
Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Life Story in pieces: My First and Second Boyfriends PART ONE

I started dating J when I was a fifteen-year-old high school freshman, in 1999. We met online in a chat room. My friends and I were always online back then...TalkCity's WebTV chat rooms were the way for a rural kid like me to "hang out" with people. We both liked the same Christian band and dorked it up by quoting lyrics together. A few months later, I got up the nerve to give him my number. We were both so nervous and excited, and it was, admittedly, both adorable and dorky. We hit it off instantly. He asked me if I would be his girlfriend. Well, technically, he said "So are we, like, dating, or what?" I thought was cute. We exchanged pictures and he was delighted to see I was a "thick" girl. I was delighted to see he was a black guy. Silly, I know. Turns out he was also half Puerto Rican. FYI: mothers do not like it when you say "Your son is like so perfect for me. All my life I thought black and Hispanic guys were cute and he's both!"

He came to see me a few months later and we had a great time, going on walks and cuddling. My family liked him, and so did my friends. We had similar personalities and liked to banter back and forth much to the annoyance of my sister, who also became best friends with J. He was so wise, so knowledgeable about the Bible and so good to everyone. He never judged people by their looks. I was absolutely smitten with him. Just ask my poor high school friends....I talked about him constantly. I had to - he lived four hours away in Philadelphia, and I was a lonely, fat teenage girl who FINALLY had her first boyfriend. We talked on the phone every day - talked about marriage and how we would raise our children. We wondered what color they would be and whose hair they would get. We debated, fought, bantered, poked, and laughed a lot. At least at first. After awhile it became "how was your day?" and "fine, yours?" Just another boring, silly relationship. He came up every few months during those years. My sophomore year in high school, I think, he went to Valley Forge Christian College, where my sister was also a freshman. They were such close friends that people thought they were dating, much to my annoyance.

Our plan was for me to attend college in 2003, at which point he would be starting as a junior. We would get married when he graduated in 2005, and I would continue with my degree for the remaining two years. He never finished his sophomore year. He had some financial problems and couldn't afford to attend anymore. His mom was diagnosed with MS and he had to attend to a lot of her needs since she was divorced and having a lot of other personal issues. He left college and got a full-time job, living either with his mom or another family member.

Meanwhile, two weeks before The September 11th, 2001. C was the goofball in chat, making fun of people along with me. He got all my jokes and took them to a stellar new level. He and I exchanged phone numbers because I was bored that night. I guess J was busy working another double shift somewhere, or maybe I was just bored with him. Maybe he was sleeping. Who knows. C and I talked for hours.

This wasn't unusual for me. I used to talk to a ton of people on the phone, usually guys, often with my girl friends. C became one of my phone friends... We would laugh and BS. He would ask about my day, about my family, and about my beliefs. At the time, I was a church kid - and the worst kind. I thought that everyone should believe in my brand of Jesus and I felt no compunctions about pouring heaps of judgment on anyone who was even slightly different. I was also on a mission to Save Souls for Jesus. I had no idea that people can be persuaded towards Christianity by love...I thought that I could slap them in the face with Bibles and thinly-veiled hatred and they'd come running to church, ready to condemn more heathens with me.

C became my mission. I was going to show him that Jesus and a real, live person could care about him unconditionally. He had endured a very hard life - his mother had died of a horrible disease, he had seen another family member die, he had been in and out of juvenile group homes and had faked insanity to escape... All of this he told me, all of this I believed, and all of this broke my heart. I hurt for him. I wanted to help him. I wanted to save him and bring him to a happy life. I wanted to be his best friend.

I was not only his best friend - I was his only friend. He lived with a roommate who "Wasn't Quite All There Upstairs, if you know what I mean." His family was never around and had pretty much deserted him. He couldn't hold a steady job and had never been able to break out financially from where he was stuck.

We talked on the phone for two years, until I graduated high school in June of 2003 and went off to college. Throughout most of this, J and I had broken up and gotten back together repeatedly. I divided my time between both. When J would come to visit for a week here and there, I wouldn't talk to C. C agreed with the arrangement. He never asked me to be his girlfriend or to leave J, but he would get upset if I would talk about him or mention his name.

Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant