Chapter 1: An unjust Scarlet Letter
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
My journey to where I am today is not a seamless and perfect one. Many hardships have shaped and molded me. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t had beautiful moments interspersed between the hardships, but the struggles and trials are what show you what you can take and your ability to overcome. The pressure that forges the diamond. For the next couple weeks, I will be sharing chapters of my story in my Thursday posts. My first Chapter starts now.
Growing up, I hit the normal road blocks and had drama like any other girl. Boys were gross or fascinating, girls were mean and selfish. I was a competitive gymnast who spent the majority of my life in the gym. Seriously… 40 hours a week in the gym training as a gymnast.
I woke up, went to school, went to gym, did homework, ate dinner and went to bed. That was my weekday 5 days a week. I had most weekends, where I wasn't competing at meets, for friends and I had incredible ones in my neighborhood. The memories we made are long lasting. After Elementary school my world started to change. People changed. The world opened up. I hit puberty early and I was well developed beyond my years.. As a 7th grader I was a full B cup who was a fit gymnast at 4’11”. A tiny hour-glassed package with giant boobs. This told girls I was a threat, boys I was easy and parents I was someone to be wary of. That’s a ton to put on an 11 year old girl. In hindsight, I wish I was smarter and didn’t “date”. But I caved to the peer pressure of having boyfriends. They were simple and innocent relationships…. hugs in the hall, slow dances and sitting really close to each other at movie nights. The longer the relationship was, things got added…. holding hands, cuddling during movies… But I was raised in the LDS church and I was not looking for more than that. I knew physical relationships would lead to sex, and I was taught that sex before marriage is wrong.
After a 7th grade dance one Friday in 2001, my current boyfriend was getting ready to walk home - and I will never forget what happened next. Like a scene from Grease, the girls broke off to one side and the boys to another. Our own music-less “Summer Lovin” began. All my gal pals told me I should kiss him. The boys were shouting to me to come and kiss him goodbye. Guys my heart panicked. I was NOT ready to kiss a boy yet. It felt like a whole lifetime went by in slow motion as I continued to tell my friends I was not gonna kiss him and yes I really liked him, but that was a big step.
A boy yelled, “He has to go so you could at least come say goodbye!” I skipped out of the circle (excited for this awkward moment to be over) to HUG my boyfriend, who towered over me by like 2 whole feet, goodbye. As I pulled away from his embrace he leaned his face in and kissed me. Like an explosion all the friends around us were jumping and yelling and hooting and cat calling… I was mortified and confused and unsure how to process… I smiled weakly with bright red cheeks and he left with his friends….like it was nothing. But it wasn't nothing, it was a BIG somethig.
The next Monday at school, my boyfriend dumped me and none of our friends would talk to me.
Boys I’d never met coughed the word “Slut” at me in the halls as I passed. I was at a complete loss and had no idea why this was happening. Little did I know, one of the parents of the boys in the circle the Friday before, worked at the school and happened to walk by and saw the kiss. Just the kiss. She knew nothing of my mental battle and emotional torment and my strong stance against said kiss. Nothing of the pressure and nagging of other kids. She had gone to the parents of most of those kids and told them what a horrible influence I was and that their kids didn’t need to be spending time with a Jr high Harlot. ALL of my friends were ordered to quit hanging out with me by their parents as a collective. Not one of my "friends" protected me or told their parents that it was not my idea or that I desperately did not want to kiss him. That I fought against it and it was a sneak attack.
Just like that- one of the most popular girls in the 7th grade was now friendless, alone and someone had pasted a scarlet letter on my chest. Now I know the Scarlet Letter is for adulterers. I understand it's not the same thing, but there was a PUBLIC decree of my immoral influence and seduction out there for the world to judge and comment. Jr high continued to be a horrific experience for me. Boys I was interested in from other schools weren’t allowed to see me, either. I LITERALLY had one kid’s parents sit me down in a quiet and super white, clean living room and tell me I was “too physically mature to be friends or anything else” with their son. No, I am dead serious.… I found solace in the Theatre classes and plays at school and had my theatre nerd pals. They saved me. I quit gymnastics, joined the cheer squad and was able to be a cheer captain, which again came with it’s own set of drama. I had some great "cheer friends". What I mean by that is we were only friends while we cheered, but once we were out of practice or uniform, I was ostracized again. The only group of girls that would eat lunch with me and hangout with me were a group of unlikely friends with varying backgrounds. We were close, but we also didn’t share too much with one another, as most secrets were confided then shared with anyone who would listen. Myself included. It was a survival of the fittest coping technique we all used.
Now, that kind of wraps up chapter one, but what a downer....I generally like to end my posts with some positivity and tips- So I guess I will say... I'm still standing and I have some amazing kids, and a phenomenal husband who loves me. What I learned from these experiences in my first chapter of hardships, is that you truly cant judge a person by their appearance or a situation you
only know a piece of. As your kids grow and go through life, take time to get to know their friends and the people they hang around. If you have a problem with one of them, reach out privately and get the whole story first. You often don’t know everything. This doesn’t have to apply to just your kid's lives… in your own life as well. Open your heart, don’t shut people out before you know it all. Life is too short and hard to have tension and hurt feelings. If you have a problem, calmly discuss it with the person you have a grievance with. Then make your decisions on how to feel about them. Why? Because mama, YOU are worth it! Together we can rise above and conquer the world! Tune in next Thursday for the next chapter.
Disclaimer: Next week’s post contains graphic and detailed retellings that may trigger or bring discomfort to readers whom are sensitive to sexual encounters and emotional/physical abuse.