Every day each of us comes in contact with hundreds of people (unless you're a WoW addict...in which case, please get help). Each of us hears story after story from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, peers. Some stories are interesting, some really not so much. Some are old news, others surprise us.
I was told a story, and it turned out to be a lie. I told you a story recently, and that one was 100% true. So how do we decide which stories to take seriously, and which stories to treat as just stories? Here's a story about a story.
Last night, I was working on some documents while talking to a friend. This friend asked me why I'm no longer friends with some of the people I was friends with when he and I knew each other. I explained that a lot happened and everything just spun out of control. I told him my side of the events, 100% true. I told him how Danny and Mike were...jerks. And how everyone seemed to ignore the fact that I got hurt. All of the girls wanted to believe Danny because they were/are attracted to him. I've known that, and it's hurt. But this friend of mine told me that a lot of people had told him that I had sex with Danny. He also told me that a lot of people thought I was a...brat. I got really angry really fast. I've never understood what propelled these people to hate me. But it all made sense.
Young Teen girls are really emotional, especially during puberty. I happened to hit it late, so I didn't really understand this. Teen girls get incredibly jealous over silly things. I probably would have been angry if someone had told me that Danny had sex with his girlfriend (assuming that girlfriend wasn't me). I would have flipped too! I don't deny that. But I wouldn't have treated someone like crap over it. I would have ignored them for a while, but I wouldn't treat them so terribly.
As my friend told me this story, I didn't want to believe that these friends would turn on me like that. I didn't want to believe that these people who I cared so much about would hurt me so badly. It's like I didn't matter to them at all. Despite the fact that I didn't want to believe it at all, I couldn't help but feel like there was some truth in it. Probably more than some truth.
My friends heard a story (or made one up) and they chose to believe it. They chose to believe that I would sleep around. Instead of asking for confirmation, they simply acted. It hurt. It will always hurt.
I heard this story, and I believe it. I know that stories get jumbled and screwed up over the years, so I'm not taking it too seriously, but I am going to remember it. I'm not going to hate these people, I just want them to understand something about me.
I didn't come from a perfect family, but I was never unloved. My mom and dad weren't around, but my grandma gave me more love than any child can even imagine. I am still loved. My sisters made mistakes, but, in case you haven't noticed, I am not them. Yes, I will always be hurt by the fact that my parents walked out on me. I will always remember the day my mom told me she didn't want me anymore. I will always remember how much I wanted to help my sisters, but couldn't. I will live with these things everyday. They will affect each decision I make throughout my life. But in case you haven't noticed, I wasn't affected negatively. I dedicated myself to working hard and getting someplace. I graduated with my associates. I am three years younger than any other junior in college in my degree. I took 18 credits this semester. I bought my very first car, it wasn't a gift. I got a job and had to pay, I still have to pay.
Does that honestly sound like someone who would go sleep with her boyfriend before she even hit puberty all the way? Do you really think I would sleep around? Yes, I have a lot of guy friends, because guys aren't quite as petty as girls. But having a lot of guy friends does not make me a slut.
If you have a problem with me, tell me. Don't tell someone else and wait for me to hear it three years later. That only makes you a coward. It tells me that you're lying. If you aren't telling me how you feel, I feel like you have no way of justifying those feelings.
I know that you all liked Danny. We all had crushes on him. I'm not sorry that he picked me over you, because later, he would choose all of you over me. I don't care. I'm glad he did what he did to me, and not to you. I don't mind taking one for the team. It helped him have a change of heart and now he's on his mission. That's what you all wanted, right? Well you got it. I'm not sorry that I got angry at you guys. I'm not sorry I didn't let Mike take advantage of me. I'm not sorry one bit. It's not my problem that he's a sicko. I am not sorry for pointing all of this out publicly. I know you don't listen anyway, so maybe this will help someone else in some way.
I did grow up in a "rough" situation. You guys all had two parents, happily married and you got whatever you wanted. Good for you. Where did it get you? Nowhere. You haven't grown up at all. You're all still relying on your parents. You're all still treating me like crap over something that didn't even happen three years ago! I took all of it and learned from it. I learned forgiveness. I learned that everyone makes mistakes, but actions don't define a person. I learned that working for what you deserve makes it that much more enjoyable. What did you learn? Nothing as far as I can tell. You're all still just as immature as you were when we were eight! When you lose something important to you, and you feel it was taken unjustly, remember that it's just Karma. You all left me and destroyed all of the things I believed in. For years, you treated me like trash, so I honestly thought I was trash. I still feel like that sometimes, but guess what! I know I'm not. I know that you just had to side with the guy because you wanted to be his next kiss. I have a family who loves me, I have a best friend who loves me unconditionally, I have his family who I love as much as my own, I have new friends who see me as competition, but in a good way. No one is trash talking each other. What do you have? Don't tell me, remind yourself. Remind yourself to actually take care of your relationships, because I'm no longer here for you. I was for years after what you did, but I'm not anymore.
And I'm not sorry.
I don't know whether that story I heard last night is true or not. I don't really plan on getting to the bottom of it. I know that people say things out of anger, and I know you were all just jealous. But I want you to understand something. I did not have sex with Danny. I did nothing to Michael. I had confidence enough to say no. I know that you all liked Danny and hated that I was with him, but guess what, GET OVER IT! I would have picked me over you, too. I wouldn't want to be with a girl who has to spread rumors to feel confident. I am not an object. I'm not going around having sex willy nilly! I still believe that sex is supposed to be saved for the one person you plan on spending eternity with. I have not given up my values and standards. I do forgive you for everything, but only a fool forgets. I will never forget how you've made me feel. I will never forget how many times I cried to myself because I felt inadequate in your presence. One day, probably this Sunday, I'll run into you. Ya know what will happen then? Nothing, because I can act as an adult. What will you do? How will you feel? I have nothing to hide or feel guilty about. Do you?