Part 3: A Graduation, A Mustang, and A Teenage Mother
I had dreams and goals. One was to join the military, and get far away. I actually finished my junior and senior year at the same time. I never said anything, but when it was slow at work, or when I was babysitting all my siblings so my parents could grocery shop for 6 hours an evening, I did homework. They never checked or looked at it. I even graded it myself, so I could be sure I was getting my answers correct. They didn’t know until the college acceptance letters started rolling in. Texas, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, California…anywhere but here. I ended up getting a full ride scholarship to a state school 3 hours away, so, I began to pack, while my mother sobbed about me being so far away. But, I was going, damn it. So, I packed, and I told anyone who would listen. Luckily, our church wasn’t super conservative, so, I was encouraged in this pursuit. I even got a senator who went to our church to write me a letter of recommendation, so, he was a big help when he talked to my parents about me. There would be no hiding this and guilting me into staying home. (Unfortunately now, that senator is a huge home schooling advocate. He often blocks anything that may change the status quo, which in this state is basically nothing.)
This is always my parents’ first response when people don’t think homeschooling is great. That Punkie got a full ride scholarship to a good school, therefore homeschooling is good, and they are amazing parents. They never mention that I flunked literally every single class that semester I was gone. That, I didn’t make any friends. That they brought me home every single weekend. But, I got into the good school, so, I am a success story.
Before I left, I got myself a boyfriend. I didn’t even really intend to. He was cute, and seemed like somebody I could get into some trouble with. We were going to college in opposite directions, and to be honest, I was tired of this burdensome “virginity” thing following me around. I was tired of modesty and acting right, because otherwise, I was a slut and men only cared about sex, and please insert your own used, dirty, useless, worthless, disgusting gum, tape, whatever analogy here. I didn’t want to get married for 15 more years, and I was not going to put up with this forever. So, I wanted to go ahead and get the first time out of the way, and move on. I never planned on a real relationship, and from what I had learned about men, he would be ok with that.
He wasn’t. And, I had been taught that love meant never standing up for yourself, it was long suffering, and if it involved pain and yelling and abuse, well, it was normal and probably your fault anyway. So, when the boy, Joe, began to fly his red flags proudly, I supported him, because he loved me, he said. And, when he reminded me, I was worthless, it hurt, but I was comfortable, I was used to this. He must REALLY love me, because that is how you treat people you love. After my first semester at college, I was put on academic probation. My parents told me if I would just come home, they would buy me a Mustang. I love cars, especially sports cars. Since I was doing so poorly at school, I agreed. I moved home, they found out about my bad grades and said I only came home because of my grades, not because I missed them, and, I never got the car. I still pine after that 1967 Royal Blue Mustang they told me I could have.
Joe began pressuring me to get married. I said yes, because I never learned to say no. I was 17 and clueless. A few months went by, and he treated me worse. I thought long and hard about it, and decided, this was not what I wanted, it would not work. As we sat in his Accord, I told him, while I loved him, I could not marry him at this point, and we needed to call off the wedding. He begged me to give him a little while to process it, before having to deal with the embarrassment. I gave it to him. A couple weeks later the pregnancy test came back positive.