In my mind, I walk the halls of Northern Nash and see rows of lockers and I can smell high school. It’s hairspray and old books, and cigarette smoke from the bathrooms. It’s sweat from the weight room, old carpet, and Taco Bell tacos.
I sit on my sofa and close my eyes and I feel like I am 17 again.
I am happy and on the brink of college. I am crazy in love with some boy who just wants to be friends because I’m the kind of girl you marry, not date. I love football games because the half-time show rocks and I go to every basketball game because, well, I shamelessly love basketball.
My locker is decorated for my birthday and I feel loved and special and I feel like I don’t know who I am, all at the same time.
With my eyes closed, I walk through my past and at the core of it all, I feel lost.
I have friends from all walks of life and all kinds of circles and I always put a smile on my face and I speak a chipper hello to everyone I pass in the hall, and on the inside, I feel like a fraud.
At 17, I have no idea who I am.
My closest friends begin to pair off with boys and I am still hanging on to the boy who has so much potential. I date a few boys and kiss more than I date and the hole in me gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
I go to class and slide by with average grades because I love being average.
Women grow up to be mamas and housewives, right? Right?? Who needs Spanish 1 when I plan on marrying an English speaking white guy, right?
Right??? Can somebody please give me an amen???
I go to youth group and I serve on the puppet team and my best friend serves with me. I move the puppet’s mouth and he moves the puppet’s hands and we laugh and whisper about writing a book together.
The Destruction of a Youth. Five small words never spoke so much truth.
It’s our made up title for our imaginary book and we spend hours on the phone each night. He is my safe place and we go to different schools, but we are bathed in the blood of Christ together and we speak the same language.
He knows me and I begin to learn who I am in the thick of our flirting and talking and Jesus seeking. He knows me-the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I know him.
We complete each other, over the phone and in the middle of backyard Bible clubs, and somehow, I feel found.
I feel whole and loved and forgiven.
I feel like me.
And this feeling lasts for a year and a few months and then, I have a crisis of belief.
If God is Who He says He is, then why did He allow this to happen?