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Resilient: My Story, God's Glory

a teaser...

1/24/1998

Dear Journal,

Yesterday, I lost my virginity and sex was not as good as I thought it was going to be. All I could feel during the entire act was numb. There was no emotion or love felt like the people in the movies. On TV, they made it seem like sex was awesome, and it would be the best experience of my life. I beg to differ; it sucked. My eyes weren’t rolling in the back of my head. I felt no magic, no spark. It didn’t feel good. When Austin was done, I got up and went into the house. Blood was all over my stomach and legs. It was like I was having my period for the last time. I thought I would feel like a woman, but all I feel is shame and disgust with myself. It was nothing like I imagined it would be. Austin got more pleasure out of this horrible experience than I did. I mean, really? I’m so pissed. Not only that, I feel like I disappointed my mom. In the back of mind, she was screaming, “Don’t do it!” Or was it God? Either way, something was trying to keep me from making a mistake. Truth is, I didn’t want to, but Austin kept asking and pushing the issue. He didn’t force me, but he sure as hell got on my nerves about sex until I gave in. At first, he was like, “I wanna fuck you so bad.” When I asked him to repeat himself, he changed his tune and said, “I wanna make love to you. You’re so pure.” I should have known right then what the real deal was, but I stayed in the relationship and kept talking to him even though it made me uncomfortable.

After about a month and a half of him bringing it up, I went along with it. I almost lost my nerve yesterday. Then I asked my sister, Dionne, what I should do. She said, “I don’t know, but if you do, you need to use a condom.” I didn’t have any condoms, and neither did Austin. He said he didn’t want to use one and sex would feel better without it. When I look back on it, that should have been a red flag. How would he know when he had told me that he was still a virgin? Anyway, I agreed; we were both virgins. What’s the worst that could happen?

I went outside in a t-shirt and a pair of panties. It was dark outside so my next-door neighbor Cynthia, who also happens to be my cousin, couldn’t see me. It was between 6:00 and 6:30 in the evening. It was the perfect time; Austin was supposed to pick up Dionne and me to meet our mom at the local Pizza Hut around 7:30. Well, I got into his green mustang. As soon as I got in, he started kissing and licking on me right away. I wanted to take a moment to think, but it was like he knew I would change my mind or something. It was all going along too fast. Before I knew it, he laid me down on the backseat and was bumping and grinding away. He didn’t give my body time to adjust to him. I couldn’t feel much. I just felt pain, and then I was numb. I guess the whole act lasted a few minutes or so. It wasn’t that long.

At fifteen years old, I don’t know what making love is, but I’m almost positive it should be a little slower and more sensual, pleasurable even. He didn’t take his time with me at all. No wonder there was blood everywhere.

Anyway, I pretended to be happy and pleased in his presence, but I was really upset and thinking what the hell did I just do? I felt different, like a piece of me had just gone missing. What was it? Who am I now? Am I the same person? I got out of the car and ran into the house straight to the bathroom to look in the mirror. I looked the same, but I felt strange like something was off. Austin waited outside while I cleaned myself up. I told Dionne about my experience and the blood. All she said was, “I hope you used a condom.” When I was ready, Dionne and I went outside to get in the car to leave. Before going to Pizza Hut, we stopped by JB’s house. He’s one of Austin’s friends that lives on the other side of town. Austin had taken his t-shirt off to clean up the inside of the car while I was in the house because blood had also gotten on the backseat. He asked JB for a hot towel to finish cleaning up what the t-shirt didn’t get. JB immediately knew what had gone down by what he saw. I was completely embarrassed; that wasn’t anything I wanted anyone else to know. When we left there, we drove to Pizza Hut. The ride there was awkward for me. I didn’t have much to say. I was still drowning in my thoughts.

When we walked inside Pizza Hut, Mama was already there. We sat down with her to eat. Some of our friends from school were there, but I went to my mom instead. She kept staring at me like she knew what I had done. Then she said something really weird to me. “You look different. What’s going on?” I wanted to melt into the floor. How could she know?

I glanced up at her and said, “Nothing, just sleepy,” hoping she wouldn’t see through my lie. I knew she knew I was lying because a mother always knows. But she dropped it and changed the subject. Thank the Lord! Now all I can say is Father, please forgive me, and please don’t let me be pregnant. It seemed like all of that blood was a sign. I’m only fifteen, and I don’t want a baby. Amen.

I am the youngest of four children. I have an older brother and two older sisters. I grew up in a town called West Point, MS; the smallest of two larger towns that make up the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle consists of West Point, Columbus, and Starkville, MS. In small-town West Point during the ‘80s and ‘90s, there were smaller communities where both good and bad news spread quickly. It was a blessing and a curse. As a young child, I heard a lot of things I shouldn’t have heard. I saw a lot of things I wish I had not seen.

For the first nine years of my life, my mother was a single parent. She was in a relationship with my dad, but they weren’t married. My mom had a three-bedroom with one-bathroom apartment she was raising the four of us in. We lived in low-income subsidy housing, in a neighborhood called Dunlap Acres. My sisters and I shared one room. My brother had his room to himself. My mother had the third bedroom. Mama raised all of us to love and care for one another. She always said, “When I’m dead and gone, you’ll only have each other. So, love each other and take care of each other.” Our home was filled with a lot of love. Mama did the best that she could to take care of us. She had incredible strength.

During my early childhood, I watched my mother work to support our family and go to nursing school. She would get up at five o’clock in the morning to go to class. I remember one day when I was maybe seven or eight years old, I saw mama at the kitchen table crying. I went over to comfort her. I wanted to know what was wrong. She told me that her professor failed her. The class was one that she needed to move forward in the program to start clinical training. I felt so bad for her. Although Mama could have quit because she was discouraged, she kept going. She applied to Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS to start their nursing program. Mama had to commute about an hour to and from class on most days of the week. Mama later graduated with her nursing degree; all while raising four children on her own. That is how I learned what perseverance looked like.

My dad was raised a country boy, turned mechanic, turned carpenter. Daddy worked just as hard as Mama did. He worked while he went to college to help cover his tuition. As my grandmother’s only living son, he made sure grandma had what she needed. He was the man of the house and had been for a long time. Daddy went to college at Mississippi State University. He later got accepted into the University of Mississippi College of Pharmacy. He was as busy as Mama was; he worked on cars, school buses, houses, and various other projects all while attending college. Daddy graduated from pharmacy school in the early ‘90s.

I learned what strength, perseverance, and resilience looked like from both parents. So, failure wasn’t an option for me. I worked hard in school to make good grades. I wanted to be the best student in the class. I was competitive when it came to my grades. It was how my friends and I pushed each other to excel. By the time I got to junior high, I knew I was going to college. I also knew that I wanted to be in healthcare. I was torn between following my dad’s footsteps and going to medical school. Though I noticed boys and wanted to date a little, I was more focused on school and enjoying life.

When I was in eighth grade, Austin wanted to court me, but I wasn’t interested. There was another boy I liked. His name was Alex. I had the biggest crush on Alex. He was so cute with his black wavy hair and smooth brown skin. I didn’t think of any other boys; only Alex. By the time I was allowed to date, the crush I had on Alex was long gone. Eventually, I started dating Austin. My relationship with Austin was one that changed my life as I knew it, forever.

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