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  1. Well here it is. My story probably isn’t much different than a lot of girls. I guess I need to start out with a little back story so you can get an idea of what it was like to grow up in a town of 1200 people; all of them with their own opinions of you and your family. Wheeler for the most part was a wonderful place to grow up. It’s the kind of place that everybody knows who you are and they are always willing to lend a helping hand. Wheeler epitomized the stereotype of a small Texas town. If you couldn’t find your kids in a parking lot on Main Street they were out on some back road. If it was Friday night good luck finding anything open because there was a football game that night, and if your kids made it through high school without a MIP, DWI, or baby you better consider yourself one of the lucky ones. I always told people that all there was to do in Wheeler, cruise back roads, drink beer, and have sex! This is where my story begins. My parents weren’t one of the lucky ones.
    I was raised in a family that was loose with rules. I was never really one to cause all that much trouble I left that up to my two older brothers! All through elementary and junior high I was just one of the boys. I liked to get dirty and spend all day at the vet clinic with my dad helping out every chance I got. So very early on I had more guy friends in school than girl friends. So while the few girl friends I did have started getting interested in dating boys I was still that little tomboy. I was also a late bloomer which I think had a lot to do with my delayed interest in boys, but I remember being jealous of my girl friends when they started “filling out”. When I finally did start looking at the guys in my class as potential boyfriends it was already too late, I was already stuck with that dreaded label “JUST FRIENDS”. If any of you have ever fallen into this category you know how awful these words are to hear… “I only think of you as a friend”. Talk about a real blow to the ego. I never understood that, I am the most amazing person you ever met and you don’t know what you would do without me but you can’t date me??
    So here I am stuck in this awkward stage, wanting so bad to be the girl that my friends are but just not knowing where to start. While my girlfriends were changing boyfriends week to week and I was struggling to get one guy to notice that I am even female.
    By the end of our sophomore year I am the only one of my really close girlfriends that is still a virgin, and at this point I was not interested in changing that. I was extremely modest; changing out in gym class was my worst nightmare! It didn’t take me long to realize that my refusal to have sex was the reason that I couldn’t get a boyfriend not that I was just viewed as a friend.
    So now I am torn, do I go ahead and give up my innocence and purity just so I can feel like one of the girls? Well from an outsider’s prospective the answer is absolutely not, but the answer isn’t quite as clear when you are looking through the eyes of a 16 year old girl desperate to fit in. So here I am fixing to make the first of my many mistakes while in high school. Now to find the perfect guy to take my virginity, not a decision a young girl with self esteem issues should be doing.
    Well I found the guy that I was going to “go all the way with”, and he actually agreed to be my boyfriend! Let me introduce you to my first official boyfriend, Andrew. He is the 17 year old son of my high school home economics teacher and my despised 5th grade math teacher. So Andrew and I date for a while and in December of my junior year it happens.
    Ok, so that didn’t go quite like I had expected it to. Remind me to tell my daughter not to lose her virginity in the passenger seat of a pickup out in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for me his mother being a home ec teacher instilled the use of condoms in his head. We both lost our virginity that night. I thought it was suppose to be all magical and amazing, but it wasn’t. There was only silence. Talk about an awkward ride home, I was freaking out he was freaking out and neither of us were saying a thing. The bad thing about it is I realized how much I loved sex, bad news! Looking back now I don’t really think I enjoyed sex as much as I loved the attention it got me. I was thinking sex is great I love that the boys are noticing me; I am on top of the world. Back then I was too naive to realize the only reason the boys were noticing is because they knew I put out. I had convinced myself that the only reason a guy was going to give me a chance is if he was getting something in return. And here is where I begin to spiral out of control! It’s amazing when I look back now it is all so obvious, but back then I just wanted to fit in. My strategy was find a guy that I thought liked me, sleep with him, show him that I was basically willing to do whatever he wanted and then he would see what an amazing girlfriend I would make, and we would live happily ever after. Wrong again sister! No matter how many times I tested that theory it never worked. The only thing it did was make me feel worse and worse about myself.
    Attention starved was probably the best word to describe me at 16 going on 17, which seems strange now because I had so many friends and family that loved me right at my finger tips. But I knew they would always love me no matter what, I was and I think still am on a mission to make an outsider to love me. So not only am I attention starved but It seems that I am desperate for acceptance. I have always been that girl who seems on top of the world all the time. People ask me on a daily basis, “How are in a good mood every single day?” Well the truth is I am not! I am the girl that will wear a smile to brighten someone else’s day when I am crying inside. Is that a bad thing?
    So now that I am not a virgin anymore and all the boys are suddenly paying attention to me I guess I lose sight of reality all together. I break up with Andrew. I mean why would I only let one guy show me attention when I had a whole bunch of guys willing to say just what I needed to hear? I refused to blame anything on anyone but myself, when in reality these guys I was throwing myself at should have seen what I was doing. I had always grown up around older people and in many ways I was very mature for my age. Well, not mature enough to make the decisions that I was making at 16. Older guys were way better at making me feel loved and appreciated because they were smart enough to realize that all they had to do was say a few nice things to me and I was all theirs. And at that point I think I knew it was all bull****, but why fix it if it ain’t broken? I was sleeping with guys five to ten years older than me. Now the girls that I was so jealous of growing up were suddenly jealous of me, I had all these older more mature guys after me. Man to hear myself say this stuff now I realize how ridiculous it seems but it wasn’t then. I lost my conscience around this time too. I needed this fake attention so badly I compromised everything that I stood for. I have parents that have been married for 30 plus years and loyalty is very important to us and I gave up my loyalty for guys that could have cared less about my morals and what I stood for. I was sleeping with other girl’s boyfriends, women’s husbands, and kid’s fathers, who was this girl? I was using people that actually cared for me and putting them at my disposal just like all the other guys were doing to me. I had guys that would have done anything in the world for me and I would rather waste my time on these guys that I thought were cooler or better looking but treated me like crap! I was always afraid that I was settling. If I committed to this guy I might miss my chance at happiness, my Mr. Right or prince charming. I was letting these good for nothing guys use me, and then blaming myself when they kicked me to the curb. How could it possibly have been my fault when I went above and beyond what any girl should have to do for a man? I was like the perfect girlfriend. I never confronted them when they blatantly lied to me, I was at their constant beckon call, and went out of my way to make them feel the appreciation that I was so desperate to get in return. Well that never happened, I have been drug through the dirt so many times it is crazy! The bad thing about it is it had never discouraged me. I still believe that I will get that love one day. I refuse to give up my chance at a happily ever after, I will fall a million times just to be caught once.
    Well it all finally caught up with me, the summer of my senior year I take a pregnancy test and low and behold it is positive! I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but no matter how mature you are at 17 you are not ready to be a mother. Conception is a funny thing, you don’t ever think it will happen to you until it does and then you act like it is someone else’s fault. Like many of my bad decisions this one involved me, boys, and alcohol, always a recipe for disaster. Andrew and I had been broken up for a while but he always had a special place in my heart. The night I got pregnant was the first time that we didn’t use a condom. I guess I thought they were lying when the said it only takes one time, they’re not! So now I am just a statistic, another small town girl going through her senior year with morning sickness, Doctor’s appointments, and swollen ankles.
    Well let’s tally up the score, desperate, promiscuous, attention starved, and now a single mom struggling to make it through her senior year in high school. Things are not looking up for me at this point. I decide not to go to college after I graduate, so no getting out of wheeler for me. I was destine for the workforce at that point. Stuck in a rut, same people same routine, it was convenient so I didn’t change a thing.