Where we left off I believe I was about 13-14 in a cycle on repeat that looked like this, “Wake up, lie at school, sneak around, get caught, get in trouble, go home, lie, get caught, get in trouble, sneak around, smoke cigarettes, listen to hard core rap, look for more trouble, go to sleep.” I was living almost exclusively with my aunt and cousin at this point. Although the chaos level was significantly lower it was too late for me to be salvaged. Maybe 3 years earlier and there’s a sliver of a chance that I could’ve turned it around on my own. My aunt gave it her best. She really did. She let me “start over” with her. Unfortunately, WAY too late for me to start over. I wanted to, I really did. Even if I had a new start with her, there was a private school full of preppy Christian rich kids who wasn’t going to let that happen and I knew it. I was already labeled and I had already done it all. There was no going back. I only really had two friends, Kori at school and Natalie across the street from my moms who went to a different school. Both also troubled with family issues and happy to go along with whatever I could think up. For reference, I was just THE WORST at not getting caught. Seriously, I carefully documented every stupid thing I did, in an explicit journal and like literally I kept an excel spreadsheet (in pencil of course so I could make adjustments) of every guy I messed around with and what we did. And what do you think exactly happened to that sheet? Of course my mother found and read that sheet, duh. Here’s a condensed run down of how ridiculous we are talking – because I know you want the juicy details:
Smoking Kori’s dads weed out of a tampon wrapper – caught. Drinking at Laura’s neighbors and shoplifting makeup from Walgreen’s – also caught. Drawing a penis face on a note I passed in class. Yes. A penis face, balls and all, you read it here first (heavy sigh) at my Christian school – caught. I got a two day in school suspension for that by the way. Skipping church and school running around – caught. Lying about where I was staying overnight – caught. Stealing money from family, also caught. Running away from my moms, on my bike and had Kori’s grandma pick me up from McDonald’s – caught at Kori’s. Doing fake acid at Natalie’s grandmas, that we bought off some older cool teenage guy, and pretending it worked because we were too embarrassed that it was CLEARLY a square piece of construction paper that we just ate (geez) – caught, by her uncle who made fun of us every time I saw him after that.
People these are just a FEW of things I was CAUGHT doing. I am almost laughing out loud as I write it (because really, go big or go home) and it’s actually funny how one person can be so incredibly stupid and very industrious about it. Nowadays you do that stuff and you end up dead. That outcome, was a real possibility for me, I am often reminded of that. I was on a mission to do as much damage as possible regardless.
As an adult now who is pretty sharp, I like to think, I am so deeply embarrassed at how completely obvious the stealing and lying had to be to the adults dealing with me at the time. Considering my current level of tolerance for obnoxious people, I cannot even imagine what dealing with me every day was like. “Nena, there was a $20 on the table a minute ago, did you take it?”, “Nope”. “Nena, are you smoking in the shower? The window is open and I can the smell smoke”, “Nope”. Laugh or cry about it, it’s ridiculous. I’m skipping some events that I’ll circle back to later that come to the surface as important but currently at this time, my dad is in jail, my mom is at her absolute breaking point, my aunt is on to me, I’m over all of you and don’t care about anything or anyone. I’m just here to have fun.
My aunt sat me down and gave me a brochure with a cross on it and a picture of some kids in a canoe, happily paddling down a river, with bright smiles on their faces. They were likely singing some church song about how God is their river of life, getting ready to go make some felt wallets. I’m just sure of it. Been there done that, made out with a kid behind the craft barn and got the T-Shirt. She said if I don’t make it through the school year and I get expelled for my shenanigans from that private school, I will go there, to that camp in Canada for the whole summer. By this point, I hope you know, I ain’t skerd folks. I am hard core. This extra post is just to get you through the week up to the next part of the story. How in fact, I was (spoiler alert), sent away to “The Program”.
I have to tell you, I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t point out that as I mocked God, challenged Him and cursed Him, He stood watching and protecting to get me through to right now. He knew everything I had done and everything I would do, and there’s much worse still to come believe it or not. I am a stubborn person and my rage stuck with me hard and long.
Here are some encouraging verses when you suddenly remember how you have messed up in the past. I say these verses as a prayer and remind myself, He can use anything for good, if you will let Him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. https://www.bible.com/111/rom.8.28.nivRomans 8:28 NIV
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. https://www.bible.com/111/psa.25.7.nivPsalm 25:7
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. https://www.bible.com/111/isa.43.25.nivIsaiah 43:25 NIV
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. https://www.bible.com/111/psa.139.2-6.nivPsalm 139:2-6 NIV