Rachel’s Letter

Dear Teenage Me,

If I could go back and tell myself anything it would be simply that beauty is what is inside and not the lies we see everyday plastered on the television and magazines. That sex is NOT love and that less is always more.

When I was in high school, I was considered a goody-two-shoes, which to me was embarrassing and I wanted to break that image. I was a good church girl and was terrified of disobeying my parents. In retrospect I can look back and see that naive girl had so many things going for her, but I failed to see it and bought into all of the lies.

By my senior year (don’t be too shocked) I had never been kissed! I just wasn’t ready and the two boyfriends I did have were not patient enough to wait, and quickly broke up with me. Its not as if I had boys fawning over me so I guess it wasn’t that much of an issue but it didn’t change how I felt. Being the truly romantic girl I was, I kept hoping. That year I had a “guy friend” we used to go back to his parents house and didn’t do much more than hang out and watch T.V., but on the last time we hung out he convinced me to smoke pot with him. I didn’t feel I had a choice as I didn’t want him to think I was scared so I went ahead and did it. He told me afterwards that he got me to smoke more than he does with an entire group. The next thing I knew he was all over me. I should’ve known better, he had already bragged to me that he was proud of his record of taking away girls virginity. It wasn’t about me, it was about him! It wasn’t that he loved me or even cared for me, it was about him. Somehow in my fog I was able to sit up and pull myself together enough to NOT let it happen. He drove me back to the school and proceeded to never talk to me again. Thankfully nothing happened, but I’d still lost a bit of myself.

I graduated high school and moved out of my parent’s house. This is where my life choices began to go downhill. Buying into the lies that sex (not just the physical act but also how I dressed and acted) was emotionally and possibly even physically lethal. I began to dress in tight black pants and low cut tank tops making sure I was showing as much skin as possible. I started out slow by just going up to Canada and drinking only minimally but then moved on to just having huge parties at our house and going to parties. I always drank until I was drunk and ended up having many physical interactions with men who didn’t even like me. They just saw what I was, a desperate girl looking for someone to like me, and used it to their advantage. My first kiss was some guy I didn’t even know and I was so drunk I just didn’t care. I gave away that first kiss to someone who didn’t mean anything to me. It didn’t matter to him who I was, just that I was there and willing. At this point I was still a virgin.

My life began to unravel as it revolved around partying. If I wasn’t working I was looking for the next party and the next boy to flirt with. I will spare you the details of how far I sunk, but let it suffice that because I was so sure if I had sex with a boy he would love me and stay with me I put myself into a situations that were far from beneficial. In the end I was raped by the boy my roommate was dating. My life was altered forever.

I can look back and see that it’s not my fault that he raped me. I did make bad choices and devalued myself to the point that I was willing to do anything for ‘love’. I said no many times but it didn’t matter to him.

I’d love to go back and tell that girl that she is valuable just as she is simply for being who she is. Its ok to not be ready even for something as simple as kissing and more so, sex is not the way to anyone’s heart. Sex is sacred and is meant to be shared with someone special. Someone you are ultimately committed to for life. The risks and fears are not worth it either! A year after I was raped I went in and got an HIV test, it was the worst week of my life. Thankfully, it was negative, but my decisions had not only affected me they had affected my future relationships as well. I found someone who loved me for me but he knew of my past and it ate at him. He felt I’d given things away to these other people and taken them away from him, and in fact that hurt him. It took him over a year to get over my past. I spent many years feeling dirty and used and it took a very long time to heal from all I had gone through. I think it still affects me to this day.

I must add in one small note about drinking. I drank because it was what we did, it was ‘fun’ and it was ‘cool’. I can unequivocally say that drinking is a grown up thing to do, it is not something for kids and there is a reason for that (yes, I know by law it’s illegal but that doesn’t seem to stop kids from drinking). In every bad thing that happened to me alcohol, was present. It makes you unable to make clear headed decisions and distinguish between what is right and wrong for yourself. You need to be grown up and solidly know who you are as a person before you even take your first drink.

To anyone reading this, I hope that you can learn from my letter. You ARE going to make some bad choices along the way because that is just how life is, but if you have a good foundation to work from, they are likely not to be as bad as mine. You ARE beautiful just how you are!!  Protect that beautiful person inside and help her to grow. Block out those horrid lies and pictures of what Hollywood and others say is beauty and don’t believe them! Wear clothing suitable to your age.  Keep trusted friends close and ask them to help you stay accountable to that person you are inside. Sex is something to be shared only with the person you are committed to and love. Drugs…NO! Alcohol, is for grown ups!! And if you make a bad choice and you need help don’t ever be ashamed or afraid to ask for it.

You are beautiful just how God made you, don’t ever forget that!


The Grown-up Me