My high school years came with a lot of hurt for me. I started at one high school in 9th grade and transferred out halfway through second semester. There was this one group of “jocks” as we called them that I had to pass every day on my way to math. There was no avoiding them. They would push me into the lockers , trip me, call me names, occasionally grabbed at me. Teachers saw, but at this school, kids like me didn’t get a second look from most of them. Until the one day I retaliated and hit out at one of them. Finally someone did something. I was sent to the office. I was threatened with suspension. That day I asked to leave that school or I would drop out. My parents obliged. I was in a new school by Monday. I made some lifelong friends very quickly.
Life felt a little more bearable for a while. I found my people. Sure,we had heartbreak, we lost a friend to a car accident at 16, and the petty fights you have at that age, but I felt a bit better about life. I met a boy who made me laugh. My parents adored him. My friends adored him. But sadly we weren’t end game. After that, I met the next person to leave a significant mark on my life.
This boy was only 1 year older. He was a nerd. He had beautiful eyes and a nice smile. He also had a bad temper. I fell head over heels for him. It was good for a while. But then the anger seeped in. That was the first time I was hit. He was always careful as to where he would leave the marks; places no one would see. I was only 17, I didn’t know how to navigate that, how to get out. I graduated high school and began college. This caused problems, as he was a high school drop out. The more he felt I was leaving him behind, the meaner he got. Although to a point, he was right. I made some new friends. I had school things I wanted to do that he either couldn’t or refused to be a part of. I consciously withdrew. I needed to find the strength to break up with him, he scared me and I didn’t want to be there when it escalated to something worse than some slaps. A friend and co worker of mine at the time knew my situation, we went out for a drive and talked about it all. Then he kissed me. Which I let him, but it was wrong. It took advantage of my vulnerability. But I don’t blame him. I let him do it. The flip side of it was that I did something wrong, it was an excuse to break up with him, one that would maybe make him never want me again.
I was wrong. This opened up months of him calling me and begging to take him back. That he would kill himself without me. I was sympathetic at first. I didn’t want him.to hurt himself. I could be his friend. But then it became a tactic to manipulate me. One night, I’d had enough. I finally said “okay, that’s fine. If you want to do it so bad then do it. It won’t be on my conscience” and he finally left me alone.
I ended up dropping out of college, I had decided accounting just wasn’t for me. I quickly jumped ship to Manitoba. At 19, I applied to photography, my family helped me pack up, and away I went on my first adventure as a grown up!
I had some of the best and worst times out there. But that is one part I wouldn’t change for the world.