Once I got to high school, I was a weirdly popular person. Not in the cheerleader popular sense, but in the sense that I had a lot of friends.
In elementary and middle school, I was totally nerdy. I always had one or two good friends, but I tended to spend my summer reading rather than playing outside. I had a much older brother so it was similar to being an only child. I did a lot with my parents and didn’t have the social skills, or sometimes lack thereof, that come with having siblings.
Add to that being an introvert in a situation where they fall through the cracks and I just wasn’t popular. I was in drama which was considered weird and played in the band, weird again, and I got good grades. For me, the best thing my parents taught me was to stay true to what I wanted.
I moved to Tucson for high school. It was a good time to reinvent myself and I did. The funny part is that I didn’t do anything different, but I was seen as different because I was new. I still got the good grades, still was in drama but I switched the band for speech and debate. So what was different?
I learned that being all of these different things gave me access to all different people. And once I had friends in all of the groups, I had my tribe. It was a social group where I could be myself and they liked me for all the quirky things that had always been why I wasn’t liked. We all could have our own interests and broaden each other without losing any of ourselves in the process.
I didn’t date a lot. Or at least, I didn’t date a lot of people. I actually dated almost consistently through high school, but each of them were pretty long term relationships for teenagers. I wasn’t in a rush to get serious because I knew I was going to college, but I had good relationships that were more friendship than sexual in general.
Yes, I had sex in high school. I was 17 the first time and it wasn’t great. I don’t regret it even if it wasn’t great and it wasn’t Snake the first time. I had two sexual relationships before we started dating.
Why don’t I regret them? They made me who I am. They made me realize that even though we were both barely 18 when we met and started dating, it was different from other relationships. And that it was worth fighting for even if everyone around us was telling us that we were too young to be serious.
Well….look how that turned out. Still going strong and proud of it.