This is the second part of a six part series called Finding #Fearless. It’s the story of my life, my journey and the struggles I’ve endured that have made me who I am today. All names and places have been changed to protect the people involved. To read the rest of the series, please click below:
When you’re a teenager, there’s a lot of changes happening in your life, and most of that change comes in the form of puberty.
You’re moody, you’re anxious, you’re sad, you’re confused, and you start coming into a world of sexuality. All of this together can create quite a whirlwind of situations that may not have grown organically if you didn’t have more than the legal dose of hormones pumping through your veins.
These next few paragraphs are going to be hard for me to type, because I am shy and modest about my sexual nature. I don’t usually go all in on talking about sexual things, so if it sounds clunky or unnatural, well, blame it on my awkwardness.
So, when I got my first boyfriend in 7th grade, you can say I was young, naive and inexperienced because, well, I was. It was the first time I had ever been with someone in a non-friend way. I was kept very sheltered, and at that point I’m not even sure I had a true “sex talk” yet. This was all the perfect storm for huge mistakes to be happening, but thankfully I managed to walk away with the majority of my dignity still intact.
This boyfriend and I dated for two years, and it was my first time ever experiencing something below the waist. No, I wasn’t having sex, but there was a lot of playing around in the lower regions.
Boy this is going to be harder than I thought.
This boyfriend and I never did more than just some kissing, hand holding and below the waist play, but it paved the way for an extremely interesting high school experience. Like most kids, and probably to the surprise of my mother, I snuck out, snuck people over, and would sometimes partake in some dirty talking in AOL Chat Rooms.
But, even at a high school level, I never really knew what I was doing. I had just kind of done those things because I assumed that it was part of the normal relationship dynamic. I had plenty of bad relationships, all moments that paved the way for personal growth, and I never once had sex with those people.
I dated a girl for a brief stint of time in high school. Well, maybe it was more like friends with benefits, because we hung out a lot during the summer months and occasionally we’d make out after our parents went to bed at sleepovers.
But beyond the (minimal) sexual nature, I also struggled with self-harm during my high school years. Not because I was depressed or suicidal, but because I was in a place of chaos, and I felt very, very out of control. I’ve said this before, but I think there is a common misconception that only depressed and/or suicidal people self harm, but that’s just not true.
When you crave control, sometimes you find more productive ways to manage that, but for kids like me it took the form of self harm. I assume that if I had to resort to self harm, I probably wasn’t happy during that time, but I don’t think I ever became depressed (more than an angsty teen can be, that is).
To be honest, my self harming wasn’t severe. I don’t have rows and rows of scars, and I didn’t ever do it in super noticeable ways. In fact, I only have three or four visible scars from self harm, and one really long scar that I’m not entirely sure how it got there (I think it was a childhood rollerblading accident, actually).
All that said, I survived. I survived hormones, I survived high school, I survived all the little things that life tried to throw at me. Which, if you ask me, is pretty awesome, especially because that is by far one of the toughest times of our young lives.
I always thought my early experiences were abnormal, and made me disgusting. It wasn’t until I opened up with my husband that he told me I was normal. I don’t have to be proud of it, but I didn’t do anything that normal high schoolers didn’t do. I wasn’t over the top, I didn’t over do my sexuality. I just did what kids do, and over time I’ve come to accept that.
It’s nice when you can look back on your teenage years, and recognize that it’s not only the cringeiest moments of your life, but also the most defining time of your life. It means you’ve grown from where you were to where you are today, which is definitely something to be proud of.
If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to email@example.com. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.