What I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell 13-year-old Me About the Adult Man Who Pursued Me
It's okay to reach out- don't bare those secrets alone.
Everyone has heard the story about the high school senior boy taking interest in the high school freshmen girls. Well, this is also my story.
When I entered my freshman year of high school, I was thirteen years old. Sounds young, I know. My birthday just falls at a weird time in the year.
Middle school was an AWFUL experience for me. I’m pretty sure I cried just about every day of my eighth-grade year. High school started on a good note, though. I had already found my place because I joined marching band over the summer, so I went into ninth grade with my “group” already. Looking back, I am so appreciative of this. However, in marching band is where I met the soon to be eighteen-year-old boy who would take a strong interest in me.
Man? Boy? I’m not really sure which word to use. He was just about to be a man legally, but emotionally and mentally, well, let’s stick with boy.
Let’s call him Lee. Lee apparently had a reputation of pursuing younger girls. I wasn’t his first younger interest by any means. He was seventeen years old when we met but would turn eighteen halfway through our encounters.
Now I know a lot of people take issue with the legality of seventeen years old versus eighteen years old. To be honest, there’s only a difference of one day between the two. My concern is not the legality of the situation (which looking back I know there was a lot to be concerned about). My concern is the much older boy taking advantage of the barely teenage girl. And trust me, I fell prey.
What’s different about my story is that I wasn’t a victim.
By no means do I consider myself a victim. I was fully aware of the situation I was in, but I simply didn’t care. I mean, messing around with an older boy was a great distraction from what was going on at home.
In my first semester of high school, domestic violence was at an all-time high in my house. My dad is a U.S. Army Veteran who comes with the baggage that serving your country leaves you with. I love him immensely and I have forgiven him long ago, but this is relevant to the story.
The domestic violence and abuse had been going on for at least five years prior to this, but it had gotten worse around this time. It had gotten so bad that in one night in October I called the cops on my dad. This resulted in him being arrested and he wasn’t allowed to come home for a month. This took a toll on me because he blamed me for the arrest, and honestly still does. Coming from a Hispanic family, what I did was a sign of family betrayal and disrespect. Honestly, I don’t regret it. I was protecting my younger sisters and stepmom.
Anyways, I digress. With so much drama and violence in the house, I was happy to have an outlet. In my case, it was to be sneaky with an older boy. This is why I say I am not a victim. Was I taken advantage of, though? Definitely.
Lee was smooth. He knew what a younger girl wanted to hear in order to feel special. Above all, he made sure I kept our encounters a secret. Secrets were my specialty since I had already been hiding the issues at home for so long.
We didn’t even pretend we were dating. We met up during school and messed around. Eventually, my parents found out and I got in trouble. I’m pretty sure I was grounded for about two months.
So, what do I wish I could go back and tell 13-year-old me in this situation?
I wish I could go back and convince myself to find a different outlet. I gave my first kiss to Lee. He was also the first boy who ever touched me sexually. A boy who didn’t care about me. Who knew my situation and knew I was an easy target. That’s something I can never get back. I dread the day my future children ask me about my first kiss. It’ll be a good teaching moment, but I’m sad that’s all it will be.
I wish I could go back and convince myself to report what was happening at home. Keeping those incidents and secrets bottled up took a toll on me. Frankly, I can even see it taking a toll on me still, and I am twenty-one years old now. Expressing when something is wrong in my life is virtually impossible. I don’t know how to reach out for help when I’m struggling. And that’s something I’ll have to fight with for the rest of my life.
I would tell that little girl that the weight of the world wasn’t her responsibility to bare alone. That just because I was the logical person in the family who didn’t break down, I didn’t have to be everyone’s “rock.”
Finally, I’d tell myself to not waste time crying over a boy who used me for his pleasure. I had a “f**k it” mentality back then. I didn’t care what happened to me or what hurt me. I would tell myself that I am worth more. I’d give myself hope that five years later I’d meet the man I am spending my life with. Above all, I’d tell little me that the pain is temporary. That I wouldn’t feel the way I did forever, even though it felt like that at the time.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s my advice to you:
There’s nothing romantic about being with an older man when you’re that young. They don’t care about you. Enjoy your life and give your love to someone who will cherish it. To someone who will respect and protect you. It’s okay to not have had your first kiss yet. There’s no race or competition. Enjoy being young because love is a complex thing, but it is worth it with the right person.