Going On Seventeen

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

When I was sixteen…my husband was nine.

We always have such a laugh about the 80s and 90s because of our seven-year age difference.

But no, that’s not the topic at hand. 

When I was sixteen…oh. That’s the year I changed. I started out sweet and shy and studious and straight as an arrow. 

And innocent.

By the time my seventeenth birthday rolled around, I was still mostly shy. But I was also angry and apathetic and angsty. 

I was raped when I was sixteen, and that’s a pretty shit thing to happen to a girl. Or to anyone. I didn’t tell anyone; I didn’t have anyone to tell. My mother would have blamed me. She would still blame me, if I told her today. 

I was angry about that, about being raped and about how I knew I would be treated because I’d seen it happen to other girls. Even though I wore hoodies and jeans and off-brand Timberlands and not much makeup at all. I was a girl, and I went to the wrong school.

And then I didn’t care anymore for a while, but sometimes I wanted to care. 

We rolled the school once, and it was amazing. The cool kids invited me and included me and treated me like a person. I cared that day, and it felt good. I cared when we all got in trouble, because I was part of something, instead of just the quiet girl who slept in class. The principal called us all into the auditorium, because there was about thirty of us, and he saw me. I know it was because he had never seen me before.

That was a good day.

We got evicted when I was sixteen; that was my fault, indirectly. I used to be friends with a girl downstairs whose mother was friends with the apartment manager. We fought, and her mother complained about me enough, and lied about me enough, that we had to find somewhere else to live. She said I would walk up and down the street drunk.

I didn’t; it was still a few months before I started binge drinking. 

But the week of Thanksgiving we did not visit my stepfather’s family as planned; we moved. And we had Short Stop burgers for Thanksgiving dinner.

This sounds so horrible, but it wasn’t, really. Not as much as it sounds now. 

I had my little brother. He was two, and he was amazing. He was so adorable and wet-chinned. We were besties.

I spent three weeks of my summer at nerd camp, taking Expository Writing, typing up essay after essay to voluminous praise.

I don’t need sixteen back, though. Twenty-two was so much better.

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7 Comments on “Going On Seventeen”

  1. KarmenF says:

    Thank you for sharing your pain, it’s made mine a bit less of a burden tonight. I hope I can reciprocate in the near future…

  2. LRose says:

    I’m very sorry to learn you were raped and very glad to know you are honest and forthright about that tough year…and that you now have hope and some happiness.

  3. abbiosbiston says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I know it must have been really hard.


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