Looking back, I didn’t know I’d run away with a practical stranger, get married at seventeen, or end up as a homeless street musician. I didn’t know what turn of events would bring me there or help me find myself, because before all that, I was completely lost. It seems everything turned sour at one moment. A day that started with gossip and ended in an exorcism, that one, single day is the main reason I ran far from everything; why I ran to Hawaii.
I’m not really sure how the rumors started. I couldn’t even tell you who set them in motion. All I know is that they exploded during history class. People talked as if I wasn’t there. I heard them whispering, “Did you hear about Bible Girl?”
Eager silence followed before the voices hissed louder. I didn’t want to hear their words and instead of facing my problems, I stared at the chalkboard. It blurred in my vision. The history of England changed to a mushy river as I pretended I wasn’t in the room. I couldn’t believe how callous my classmates could be. Putting my hand by my neck, I calmed my breathing. Their judgment was still there, deliberating over what I’d done. My hot eyes closed and tears split across my cheeks. I blinked, once, twice, but the chalkboard still looked blurry.
“And to think, she always talked about Jesus.”
I saw myself burning in the fires of Hell. I just knew I’d go there because of my poor choices. I’d been a good Christian and then ruined it all, my reputation, my salvation . . . everything.
I couldn’t swallow. As much as I tried, my throat wouldn’t cooperate. I sat fighting with my own nerves when one of the cutest boys in school bent down next to my desk. I wiped my eyes and glanced away to the right. My hand slid to the side of my face and blocked him from seeing my tears. And then he asked me a question that would haunt me for years.
I couldn’t breathe. The damn chalkboard looked like it was right next to my face. The ceiling and the walls pulsed closer. The cynical voices grew too loud and I wanted to scream. The cute guy next to me closed one eye and pointed at my face. I focused on his hand and told myself to calm down.
“I know why you did it,” he said, stroking his chin.
I wouldn’t let him see me cry. I wouldn’t show those kids my weakness, but I knew I was about to explode. I burst past the jerk, slammed my homework on the teacher’s desk and left.
It wasn’t that my life was bad. Far from it, really. A bunch of things had just spiraled out of control.
. . . I wanted to talk to you about the teen years. I really wonder if the those years are the hardest. Often we're trying to find ourselves as we deal with everything else. Kids can be mean. Adults can forget what it's like growing up. And it's amazing that we make it through.
Today I thought about all of this because I encountered a teen who is struggling. I took extra time to talk with them. Sometimes just knowing one person cares can make all the difference. As an adult, I forgot how hard it was being a teenager.
Although this example from my memoir Bible Girl: & the Bad Boy is vague in the beginning, I hope it will pull teens in enough to read on for answers--how I made it through.
Click HERE for more info:Is a teen in your life struggling? Do they need your love and attention today?
Additionally, do you think the teen years are the hardest? Do you have stories similar to mine?