Saturday, June 27, 2009

3. Sex in the Suburbs

Romeo and JulietImage via Wikipedia

But let me backtrack. I was fourteen years old when I moved to Springfield. I had only lived in one other town previously, and it was the running joke that everyone who lived in Springfield was snooty, rich and vain. Apparently, thought my old friends, that simply by moving into a nice house your personality instantly changed. Not that my original home wouldn't have been considered a nice neighborhood. On the contrary, it was very suburban. Yet Springfield had mansions, it had the doctors, the lawyers, the kids whose first cars consisted of Porches and BMW's.

It was not my first choice of places to move, but when my mother asked me if I was up for it, I jumped at the opportunity. I loved adventure, and what better adventure could I get then to reinvent myself, start completely new! Maybe this time I would be the most popular girl in school!! Ah the shallow thoughts of a fourteen year old.

So here I was, in a new town, making new friends and inventing my new self, meanwhile my old friends didn't want anything to do with me. The summer before high school started I was already told by more than one person that they could see my personality changing. I was a bit put off to say the least, and tried as convincingly as I could to explain that I was the same girl.

Then I met a boy. He was two years older then me, with a face full of pimples and a very strict christian upbringing. We dated for a few months, making out everywhere we went, and getting yelled at for public displays in more then one place. I kept a journal of every kiss, every touch, every first. He was not my first kiss, but he was a first for many other things, and I loved the experience I was getting. I think I was more in love with the learning then I was with this boy. He was like a stepping stone, if you will. It was my thinking that if i learned all I could with this one, then when I fell truly in love I would know what I was doing. This type of thinking has gotten me into trouble many, many...many... times.

So I'm sure you all know where I'm headed with this, at the age of fourteen, a freshman in high school, I had sex for the first time. It was very uneventful, and it would just be wrong to go into detail, and truly, the sex itself is not my point. Its the events that followed after.

I called my fickle friends, my best friends in the entire world, who I grew up with and trusted with my life. I called them excitedly and told them what I had done, "I am no longer a virgin!" I exclaimed. They were unimpressed, knowing my personality, they were not one bit surprised, saying that they had suspected all along that I would be the first. Actually, I was proud, thinking myself a pioneer! Perhaps I had revealed all this with an air of a bragster. Maybe that's what lead them to do what they did.

I never thought that they would do what they did.

Following a wonderful date at the roller rink, my mother and father picked me and my pimply boyfriend up. My father drove as my mother sat in the passenger seat, she smiled as we got into the car. We sat close together, holding hands and giggling. Ignorant of the events that had transpired while we were out. My mother started right in.

"I got a phone call," she said, turning to face us in the back seat. The smile had faded from her face. My father didn't say a word. "It was Susan and Liz," My best friends? Why had they called. My brain raced to try to understand what was happening. "They told me they were concerned for you, Sarah. They told me some alarming news. They informed me that you guys had sex." The word came out of her mouth in more of a spit then a sound. Uh-oh, I was in deep doo-doo.

"What? Oh my god, no we didn't!" Ah that will get me out of it! Just pretend like I'm outraged. She can't prove anything! Its their words against mine! Who will she believe, her daughter, or her daughters friends?!

"Your diary doesn't lie." My mother said. My father just drove, silently.

"You read my diary?!" I was stricken red with anger, with embarrassment. The details in that diary...had my mother read them all? Ohmygod, how much detail had I put in there. How thoroughly had she read my words. How dare she!! I was mortified, absolutely and completely. But that argument was not going to get me out of this, and neither were lies. Whether my mother was in the wrong or not, I was stuck and there was nothing I could do.

"I called your parents," my mother sternly addressed my boyfriend now, who had dropped my hand and moved away from me, as far away from me as was possible without jumping out of a moving car. His eyes were cast down, his christian background making a debut show of itself at the worst time. I think he was waiting for the wrath of God to come hurtling out of the sky, as if the wrath of our parents wasn't enough. "The four of us spoke at length about what to do," (By four, I'm sure she meant three, my father never had much to say on such matters.) "We all agreed that you two should not be allowed to see each other again." End of discussion, case closed. She turned around to look out the front window, and we drove the rest of the way to drop off my now ex boyfriend, in silence.

I cried for days, screaming about how unfair this all was, how she wasn't allowed to read my diary, how she couldn't stop me from seeing boys. I wasn't used to not getting my way, and the tantrums were outstanding. Truly, it was a work of art. Usually, my mother got mad, I got punished, and within a day she would cave in and the punishment would end. This time was different, though, and I was more frustrated then anything else.

And was I ever mad at my friends! How dare they break our trust! Susan and Liz weren't concerned about me, they were just mad that I had moved away from them! They were jealous! Well I didn't need them, I didn't need anyone!

My mother always told me to be careful what you wished for.

That car ride home was the last time I ever spoke to my first. It wasn't the last time I spoke to my friends, however. It would only be a few months later that my father chose to leave us. I mentioned previously that everyone came to the funeral. Not the best circumstances for patching up a friendship, but I suppose it was better then not making up at all.

And do not think that I came out of all of this bitter! I forgave my friends. I never retaliated. I never called their parents with my concern. When they began popping E every weekend, when they really started to change...Of course, as you can see, the thought crossed my mind. But that was never the type of person I was. Kill 'em with kindness was always my motto. I don't know, maybe I should have tattled on them, maybe a better person would have.

Maybe moving to Springfield did change me, maybe I did become more vain. After all, I was pretty when I wanted to be, I knew what I was capable of.

And now I had a whole new weapon at my disposal. A new tool. I had sex.

Friday, June 26, 2009

2. The Moment of Change

Resume the suicideImage by gfbpublez via Flickr

How do you pinpoint that moment in your life when everything is going to change. Do you think as its happening, "This is it." Does time slow down like a movie, do you see each passing second happen as if in some fatal accident? Or do you only notice later, years later, when your lying in bed at night trying to figure out what this life is for, Ahhh that was it.

Well I know, I know the moment my life changed, I knew it as it was happening. I kept a journal at my side the entire time my life was transforming. I felt my whole being shifting. I can still hear my mothers sobs as her whole body gave way under the weight of the news, "Your husband was found dead with a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head." It was an officer at our door who told us at 1am.

My father had been missing for three days, he had left no note, he had taken nothing of importance with him. At the funeral everyone told me they were sorry, but I was too angry to care and I never cried. I was angry at my father for being so selfish, I was angry at my mother for not loving him enough. I was angry at myself for being a bad daughter. Yet, my eyes remained dry. My mother sent me to shrink after shrink. I would read them poems I had written, I would talk at length about my feelings and my family. They would in turn tell me how well adjusted I was. None of them ever seemed to notice I had no tears.

It was only years later that I would sit and think about my fathers final moments. It is hard even now to see these words in print. It is hard to face what might have been his final thoughts as he sat in his car, alone. How much pain must a human endure to sacrifice...everything...? My poor father...

So yes, I know the moment when my youth was whisked away. Innocence was lost the moment that bullet left the gun. I can clearly see the before and after, it is that simple. People are sometimes asked, if they had a time machine, would they go back and change the world? Would they stop Hitler, prevent the atom bomb from detonating? I wouldn't. I would be completely selfish. I would go back and hug my father. I would tell him everything is going to be okay.

I wonder, if things had gone differently, if that bullet had missed, would I still be the person I am today?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1. To be Simply Sarah

Hello, my name is Sarah. I'm a twenty-six year old screw up. I might not look like a screw up, I have nice clothing, a winning smile, I'm smart... Yet somewhere along the way, my decision making went awry.

I have flunked out of three, count them, THREE colleges. One was right out of high school. I got into William Patterson University, and when that acceptance letter came I outright teared up. I spent one year there, floundering around picking the right major, sleeping through classes, and generally sleeping around. After that first year my mother told me it would be better for her wallet if I just found a job and finished school when I, "got my head on straight".

A few years later, and a whole lot of debt and mistakes trailing in my wake, I enrolled in a community college. At the time, I was working as an assistant Pre- K teacher, and I thought that I had finally found my calling!! I was going to get my degree and work in an elementary school! Yet once again my party life found a way to mess everything up. For some reason going to class seemed to be the biggest hassle. So my final endeavor, my last try, I was going to go to school online! I mean how could I possibly mess up online school? I could do it in my pajamas, the commercials exclaimed! And that first class was glorious! I took music appreciation, and I must say I aced it with flying colors. And then, once again, I puttered out.

Don't get me wrong, as I said, I'm smart. When I put my mind to something, I get wonderful grades. The problem is putting my mind in the right spot. I seem to go through life with this attitude of having all the time in the world. However, I'm starting to feel that time is running out.
In my twenty-six years the only thing I have to show for myself is a track record of bad grades, odd jobs that don't last for more then a year, a divorce, and a very long list of parties. I'm a twenty-six year old screw up, watching successful people get younger and younger, while I am getting older and older. I have a dream, you know, I want my wonderful husband, my white picket fence, my career that I'm proud of, my two kids. This is my last chance. I'm tired of my family seeing me as the one with all the potential and no dedication. I'm tired of telling people that I only have "some college" under my belt. I don't want to list the drugs that I've done as my only accomplishments in life. I'm don't want to be a screw up any longer.

So I'm going back to school. Four times is a charm right? Except this time I have a huge debt, I have no idea how I'm going to pay for it. I have a few months to figure all of that out, but this time mommy isn't going to bail me out. I have no husband to fall back on. Its all me.

This is my blog about my journey, about how I got here and where I'm going. If I succeed, which I hope I do, this will track my progress and help me stay focused. In the months following I'm going to allow whoever reads this blog a look into my life, my ups, my downs, and everything in between. My fingers will remain crossed that at the end of this journey I will no longer be Sarah the screw up, I will simply be Sarah.

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