Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Plans.

Part 2

He took me to my prom. Spring, 1993.

I forget what I told the first guy, the freshman guy. Something like, “Sorry, I met someone else”. Probably much nicer than that. It wasn't like Freshman Boy and I were in love and I broke his heart to go with someone else. We had been on one date. That's it.

The freshman boy was nice. Very nice. I hope he has had a very happy life.

We went to my prom which was at a hotel. The Holiday Inn? Maybe. I can't remember. I wore a dress that was teal green. I think I had shoes that were dyed to match. I probably did. That was the style back then, in the early 90’s. I had braces on my teeth. I had my hair up, I remember. He gave me a corsage with white roses, with teal green on the tips. It seems like there was a silver ribbon.

That, I remember.

What I also remember, and did not tell my parents, was the reason I was driving him around in the white, Plymouth Horizon I had procured with my McDonalds money, was that he had been arrested for underage drinking and was not eligible to get a drivers license.

Yep.

In case I haven’t mentioned it or you haven't figured it out by now, despite my propensity for calling everyone a douchebag? I’m pretty much a straight arrow. This to me was like…remember the movie “Grease”? Sandy the perky blond cheerleader gets together with Danny, the Bad Boy? Well, I had brown hair and a good fifty pounds on Sandy and I wouldn’t even SMILE at the freaking pep rally, but in all other ways, it was like that.

Still. Now, today, right this second? I have no idea why I went out with him the first time.

Well, that’s not fair, I guess. I went out with him because he was tall and I was very tall and I was really freaking tired of having to slouch down when I went on dates with boys. I didn’t think much about it, beyond that. What can I say? I was seventeen. Most seventeen year old people don’t make smart life-decisions.

The difference, I suppose, was that I was unaware that I was making a life-decision.

I didn’t have any plans. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my senior year of high school began. My life was an exercise in focus. Get up, get to school, get to work…make it through the day. I had no plans beyond the weekly schedule posted behind the walk-in cooler at work. Although I was a pretty good student and had good test scores I made absolutely no plans for college. I didn’t even apply to one school. Not even one. No one around me seemed concerned or alarmed by this. My parents were consumed with my mother's illness. No one was pushing me to do anything like, have a plan for the future. A number of my other family members had already said things to me like, "You aren't going to college are you? You're just going to get married and be happy, right?" As though it had to be one way or the other. As though I couldn't have both. As though being smart and making a career for myself was just ludicrous.

Maybe it was.

I believed it then, anyway.

A part of me is still angry now, all these years later, that no one in my life said to me that I needed to go to college, or that I was smart enough to do something with my life, or that I could be something more than someones wife. Don't get me wrong, I love being Jason's wife, but I also love that I have a college degree and I love that I could fully support myself and my two children absolutely on my own if I had never met Jason.

Most of all, I guess, I am angry at myself. For just letting it go and assuming it would all be okay. For having the complete inability to have a plan. Any plan.

I was skating along; not thinking, just hoping for the best. And the ice was cracking all around me.

And I? Was so desperate to have someone throw me a life-raft, that I clung to this man. This boy. This boy with whom I had nothing in common. This boy who loved himself far more than he ever loved me.

This boy that, for whatever reason, I thought was my only hope.

35 comments:

J said...

Ugh. I hate only hopes. I did that in high school, too. I didn't get 2 wonderful kids out of it, either. That? Would have made it worth it.

Everyone makes dumb mistakes, Chick. You were so young...you really can't blame yourself.

I am really happy you decided to share this all with us. It means a lot to every single one of us that you feel like you can open up like this. We are all so very proud of you.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

I hit send twice, dummy me. That was me deleting my duplicate comment. :)

Squishy Tushy said...

Thank you so sharing what are clearly some very painful memories...

That, and you can TOTALLY write a novel. I will be first in line to buy it. Should it be available in Canada. And, if not, I'll order it on Ebay.

AmyBow said...

I was also a straight arrow. And I spent 2 years of my HS life with a dirtbag who was famous for smoking pot and having ragers at his family's apartment. Before I left for college in another state (fortunately I was pushed to continue my education) we got "engaged" i.e., bought matching rings from a cart in the mall. The best thing he ever did was break up with me during Thanksgiving Break for a hootchie that would smoke up with him. It is crazy to think how different my life could have been. Small decisions - is there any such thing?

Kellie said...

You really can't blame yourself. I look at my "only hopes" and crappy decisions this way: If I hadn't done things that way, I wouldn't have what I do today.

You're awesome.

frannie said...

I have looked for many life rafts in my time... I know that feeling all too well.

Morgan Leigh said...

Wow. Reading your story makes me want to write some things of my own, although I can't write as well as you....Chick, I'm so sorry....I don't know what else to say.

I can't wait to read what happens next...

Christie said...

Hey. I came over from another blog Good Intentions. I know how you feel, though... only I never went to college. My dad married four times and we moved a lot. I was a good student for never studying but I was just a wanderer. My dad said I wouldn't be able to handle school when I started taking a college class (science which I'm horrible at but it was the only class i was taking so I could focus on it) I was so insulted and hurt that I just ran.
I feel like I've lost a big part of life, not going to college. Still, it's my goal to get a degree. Reading stories like yours gives me the strength to know that I can do it

Bethany said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. You were 17 and like you said, you didn't know you were making a life decision. What 17 year old actually thinks anything is a LIFE decision?

What are you doing now? Wallowing in a years old decision? Or changing things for the better of yourself and your family?

That is what is important.

Shar said...

Gah, I relate to this on so many levels.... So much like my own experience.

JustRandi said...

Scary how the choices we make when we are so young and completely inexperienced affect the rest of our lives.
I work every day on getting that message through to my teenage girls!

Angie said...

. . .and this is why we are so glad that you are working with the girl scouts. . . because you have wisdom and experiences that will help them in years to come.

Bravo!!

Amy W said...

Oh, I spent some time with someone in high school I really, really shouldn't have.

And! I wore a teal colored dress to prom as well!!

Dawn~a~Bon said...

Hey, don't hate on yourself for not having a life plan when you were a teenager. It was just a given in my house that we (my siblings and I) were going to go to college, and I STILL didn't have a life plan - dude, I chose my college based on proximity to my boyfriend at the time (they were giving me a scholarship, but still - I didn't even consider any other schools and that was the reason). It's not your fault that no one told you that you could have more than marrying the first loser guy who asked. And Angie makes an excellent point. Maybe your scouts don't hear at home that they can do or be whatever they want. You're that voice for them. And that's pretty freakin' awesome.

Catwoman said...

What does ANY 17-year old know?

And you are such an amazing story teller. I know this story won't have a happy ending and yet, I'm left wanting to read more.

Kimberly said...

I hope that you get a chance to...I don't know...go on public speaking tours in a bazillion high schools and talk some sense into the poor gals (and guys too, really), who like you don't have someone at home giving them that talk.

Or maybe...write a book about it.

stepmomof2 said...

Whoa, I can totally relate to this post although my problems with guys didn't come that early on.

Allie Bear said...

I think we all can relate to this in some way, you're not the only one that made dumb choices. I think we, as women, all too often don't realize we deserve more.

Edie said...

It's odd how us 'good girls' get suckedin with the bad guys. I've had my share too. Luckily, I have a great one now, as do you.

I don't think you should be angry at yourself for allowing this to happen. I think you didn't know any better. And was it your responsibility to know better all on your own? No, it was your parents and your support peoples' responsibility to encourage you to do more with your life. If you didn't have that support how would you know.

My father was always that support for me. He wanted both of his girls to be able to support themselves without a man. That was his mantra throughout our childhood. And, guess what? We did. We are the only two on either side of our extended families to get a bachelor or masters degree. The only two! And you know what? We are completely self sufficient. That says a lot.

I think, if you want to look at the positive of this, you will see that you are going to provide so much more for your children by just having this knowledge. You can encourage them to do more with their lives and you have proven to them that it can be done.

(wow, that was a book, not a comment... sorry) :)

Sarcasta-Mom said...

I can definetely relate. It took me a long time to realize I could make it on my won, that I worth something. I finally broke free and put myself through college as a single mother of two. It was only after all of that growth that I found GH and married becasue I wanted to, not becasue I felt I had to.

SJ said...

I see a lot of similarites in your story today with how my life was playing out when I think back to being 17. However for me? I had a brother who encouraged me to go to college, and I listened to him and I went. My life took a different course not too long after that. I have a feeling yours did not go along the same way. Can't wait to hear more.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I feel so badly for 17 year old you. You deserved a plan b. And, you deserved to NOT have a teal green dress with Mr Wrong for your prom date. I married my prom date.....

Sparkling Red said...

That's what severe stress does to us: reduces our field of vision down to Today and sometimes even just This Moment. Just getting through is good enough. It's not fair that you didn't have the chance to make more plans for your future, but it would have been very difficult to do so.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

I'm following you.
I'm following you.

Just biting my nails until tomorrow to see what happens next.

Blessings.

Actorgirl said...

Man, can I relate. My BIGGEST regret in life was that I went to the local university (it was just a given that you were going to college in my house-- shoot, my mom started talking about Grad School when I was a freshamn!).

I got a scholarship and early admission. It was cheap (obviously) and we didn't have much money and I knew I could get in. I didn't even apply to any other schools or try to find out about any other financial aid for other schools.

Sure, it was a decent education, but I really wish I had felt I DESERVED and COULD GET INTO and ACTUALLY MAKE IT WORK. I didn't. I felt like I had to take what was offered.

And now our kids have to make decisions in MIDDLE school that will affect what HIGH school they get into, which will affect the rest of their lives. Heck, we weren't/aren't really able to make such decisions at 17 and they expect a TWELVE year old to understand the implications? :(

Stephanie said...

Truly, what DOES any 17-year-old know? I'm glad you have a degree and the ability to support yourself and your children even if Jason never came along. That's a good thing! But I'm also glad Jason came along.

Looking forward to reading more...

Jenski said...

It makes me sad that the relationship with the jacka** in part one and the difficulty you had with future planning did not make it on some adult/mentor-type person's radar when you were a teenager. It is wonderful that you have such a positive life now that you can highlight through a tough period in your life. Glad you're sharing and hope this is making you feel relief as well! {hugs}

my4kids said...

I'm with Alpha Dude waiting for the next part to the story.

tiger lamb girl said...

I'm hooked, Chick;)....waiting for the next instalment.

It's a good thing there was a silver lining to that black cloud. I'm so happy for you that you have GC and BC despite their bio-donor.

Bunny said...

Oh Chick. I had a boy that I thought was my only hope. You put it so well. And please, maybe nt today, but someday, please forgive the 17 year old you. She was trying her best and wasn't able to stand on her own. But you were in there and have come through. You made it.

BS said...

I too, took a not so good path at 17 - we learn from our mistakes and teach our kids the values we didn't have at that young age ...even after the "bad experience" you still found the love of your life - unfortunately, I'm still looking ... Thanks for being honest and candid, I'm not ready to put my "stuff" out there yet. But you inspire me to believe that it wasn't all MY fault.

Amira said...

I'm glad you're telling your story. It helps me, and others, I'm sure.

Thanks for opening up your box of secrets to us readers...and students of life...

And I am VERY happy that you and your kids have Jason. VERY happy.

Jocelyn said...

But what this post acknowledges and you REALLY need to accept is that you can't make life decisions at 17. You can't wish you could have. You just couldn't. And I'm sorry your family wasn't in a place to shove you where you belonged: college.

EE said...

Brings me back to a certain time in my life where I thought 1 boy was my only hope:(