Monday, October 6, 2014

NWJH part 2

(If you're just joining us, the beginning of the series starts here. Thanks for reading!)

I have so many more pictures beginning this year, and not as many words maybe. Ninth grade was my hardest year up till that point in my life.

But I won't get ahead of myself.

I was student council president, I had made drill team, I had a boyfriend, and I had a fantastic group of friends. The beginning of ninth grade was any 14 year old's dream.

I finally learned to fix my hair and put on make up. I actually felt "pretty" for probably the first time in my life. AND my braces were off.

We went to drill team camp over the summer before 9th grade and I worked harder than I ever had before. It was exhausting and so fun. I remember Alicia coming to my house and teaching me and our friend Casey how to do a certain cheer that required us to "roll" our body. It took me forever but I finally figured it out.
Roll your body and uh stomp your feet!
Show everybody you got that
Northwood beat!

Drill team was so fun. We had really good dancers and we enjoyed performing. There was some drama but nothing too major. We also learned how to "stomp" that year and I have never forgotten it. 

Our crew gained a few people this year: Casey and Tangie. It was good to have more girls since the boys had overpowered us for a while. We continued to have wrestling parties and it was hilarious. We also had parties at our friend Casey's house a lot. Casey would make us chocolate chip cookies from scratch and the best cheese dip you've ever had. 

At one of our parties at Casey's. Alicia has always been very animated. Love that about her.

 The boys, with blow dart guns. That was painful because we were the targets.

 My sunflower room

At school in front of our lockers: Tangie, Casey, Alicia

We spent time at Casey's pool the summer between 8th and 9th grade and I remember that this was when my relationship with D became physical. We made out a lot. He had no problem kissing me in front of our friends. I remember him kissing me once at school and us getting caught and sent to the principal's office and I was horrified that my parents would find out. My dad would have killed both of us. Fortunately the principal knew he put the fear of God in us and it wouldn't happen again. He and the coach that caught us were actually laughing as I walked out crying. I remember that summer D coming over to our house a lot and two big things happened. Once we were making out in the pool and had been doing it for a while and my mom started beating on the window and told us to stop. But that was it. There was no "You're too young," or "This is inappropriate," or anything like that. Also one day we were making out on my bed and our little brothers busted in. They ran out telling my mom that we were having sex (we were completely clothed) and then my dad found out. And dad called a meeting with D's parents. And we were scared to death. Basically we didn't stop doing that, we just changed the places we were doing it.

I should stop here and say that I had been taught in church about sexual purity and I even wore a purity ring that my parents had given me. I had committed myself to "True Love Waits" but I honestly had no idea what boundaries were. I mean I knew it was not okay to have sex, but everything up till that point? No idea. In my mind I would wonder if it was wrong, and thought it probably was, but no adult ever told me explicitly that it was. I always got the impression that adults were afraid to talk details about sex and I was too embarrassed to ask the burning questions in my mind, so I just continued to proceed with lots of kissing.

Unfortunately for me I was falling head over heels in love with D. I think he had been in love with me for a while but I finally saw him as this amazing guy who genuinely loved Jesus, who was handsome, and he loved and doted on me. And he had pursued me for years! I had been so blind to him before, but I was determined not to mess it up now. I felt protected and admired by him. I felt like the apple of his eye, so to speak, and had never felt more special. We were constantly on the phone till late, writing love notes, and spending time together. We even began to talk about our future after high school, marriage, kids. We dreamed together. It was around this time that the movie My Best Friend's Wedding came out. D and I made a similar pact that if we were 25 and still not married, we would marry each other. I think we did this mostly because we were afraid to say we would inevitably get married because we knew how young we were. We watched the show Friends together and decided we were Ross and Rachel. We rooted for them all the way through. We were completely obsessed with each other. He was my best friend and I'm pretty sure I was his. We did things with other people but our thoughts revolved around each other. I was in WAY over my head. Even our friends would say things like "Ya'll belong together" and we were like the mom and dad of our crew.

D was very formative for me in my relationship with Jesus. He read the Word and he listened to Christian music and he would call me and others out (usually pretty lovingly) about our sin. I learned to love and pursue Jesus in a really authentic way because of him. I know it probably started out as me being in love with him and wanting to do what he did, but it later became me taking ownership of something that was very personal and I was glad to have a partner and friends who were chasing Jesus, too. It wasn't a perfect picture, but it was the first picture I had of doing life with "the church."

At some point during the year, I think maybe it was January, D went on a weekend youth retreat. When he left, everything between us was perfectly normal. When he came back, he called me and told me we needed to talk. I expected him to tell me all about his trip. Instead I heard the words: I really feel like the Lord is telling me I need to break up with you. I think we're getting too serious.

I did not understand. At all. I didn't have the capacity to understand. I asked him if I had done something wrong? What was I missing? How could we be fine on a Friday and on a Sunday night, suddenly this boy who I thought I really might spend the rest of my life with, didn't want me anymore? I cried myself to sleep that night. And unfortunately many nights after.

I remember clearly waking up the next morning and having no words for my family. I don't remember if they prodded information out of me or not but I was numb. I walked into the school and realized that my world was suddenly new. I couldn't face him. I couldn't look at him. The boy I loved with all my heart had crushed that  heart into a million pieces. And because I knew where he would be, with our crew, I couldn't be with them either. And they weren't waiting for me. Even the girls. So I began to pace the hall. I literally walked as slowly as I could down the really long hallway, and then all the way back until the bell rang. I remember seeing them and they all looked so happy and normal. I had never felt more alone or broken in my entire life. I entered into depression. I don't think anyone really knew, but I was just going through the motions. I remember my dad telling me it would be okay, but I think my parents never realized how serious we were and therefore had no idea how broken I was on the other side. I felt like all my hopes for the year, and sadly for the rest of my life were dashed to the ground. My world had been centered around D, and now I didn't know who it was centered around anymore. My friends were obviously not going to stop hanging out with him to comfort me, so I had to suck it up and be with all of them, and that was excruciating.

Alicia had this Mariah Carey album. I remember one day we (including D) were all laying around in her room listening to it, and I asked if I could change the song and put it on this one. This was the song of my heart at that point.

To make matters worse, after the speech about us being too serious and the implication that he needed to focus on the Lord, he immediately started flirting with other girls. Girls he had never hung out with before. Popular girls. Pretty girls. So then the lie came in.

You aren't enough. 
You aren't pretty enough. 
You aren't desirable enough. 
You can't be enough to keep me here.

I had been looking forward to our ninth grade prom for a long time. It was sort of a preview of senior prom and people went all out with tuxes and gowns and limos. We had been planning our event for a while and the assumption was always that D would be my date. But then he wasn't. I kept hoping one of my other guy friends would ask me but they didn't, which only fed the lies. So I went to prom dateless. My girlfriends, and their dates, and I all took a limo together and went out to eat together (and D and his new girlfriend and their friends were there), but I was solo. It was awesome (dripping with sarcasm).

Casey, me, Tangie, and Alicia

I will say that my girlfriends did try. I know they didn't fully understand what I was going through, but they were there for me. Casey in particular really walked with me through everything that year.

 Part of our crew. I remember being proud that I was the only one with my braces off in this picture.

I still hadn't learned to fix my eyebrows. God bless those Ivey genes! I had man brows.

Towards the end of the year a couple of important things happened. First, I had been having major menstrual issues for a long time. It was to the point that I would miss school because of pain and major bleeding/anemia. I think I actually started taking birth control pills at age 13 or 14 to try to regulate my period and help my issues, but it didn't help. So at 15, I had laparoscopic surgery to see what might be going on and discovered I had endometriosis. This was super hard because I knew it affected my fertility and I was super scared for what the future held. Also my friends did not get this at all. I couldn't even talk about being on birth control because people immediately thought that meant I was having sex and I most definitely wasn't.

Finally I decided that I was going to go to a different high school than my friends. There was a university studies program at Mills High School that was in my same school district but was considered a magnet school. I had been recruited to go there and when I toured the school a lot appealed to me: I would be challenged academically, I would be set up well for scholarships and college, and I would get to be far away from D. My parents agreed to let me go and we registered.

And then I found out D was going there too...


  1. And you leave off with a cliffhanger,.......ahhhh!!!! But another great post, nonetheless! But seriously, can't wait to hear the rest.

  2. Me too...can't wait to hear the rest. I was just telling Kyle this is bringing up so many memories. Memories I had forgotten about. It is interesting to hear these memories from your point of view. Not that I remember them differently, but from the outside looking in, my perception was different. Great job---can't wait for tomorrow!

    1. Maybe you need to tell your story? ;) I love reading things from others' perspective because it's always interesting how two people perceive the same thing.

  3. Wel geez! Way to leave us hanging! Lol! Shana, you were beautiful. You still are beautiful. Truly, truly beautiful.

    1. Oh Kayla, thank you! That is so uplifting. Love you girl!

  4. Pictures here are how I remember you. Can't wait til the next post because that will be the time I actually knew you!

    1. It's there! I feel like I look older between 9th and 10th grade. It's funny looking back at pictures from that time.

  5. This was a really hard year for me and when my life fell apart, with the divorce of my parents and I was never the same. BUT, we also had some great times! We have some awesome memories!

    1. Alicia, I know it was. My heart aches that you had to go through that as a teenager. I'm going through it now as an adult and it has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I grieve for kids and teenagers that have a lot of "life" hanging over them and are trying to process through divorce too. :(

      I'm so glad you read it. I love you and am SO very thankful for your friendship. You are part of my most cherished memories. <3

    2. PS-We all did the very best we could at that time. You needed me to help you through your hard stuff and I couldn't, and I needed you to help me through mine and you couldn't. We were never meant to be everything for each other. We just needed Jesus and someone to point us to Him. I'm sorry I couldn't be what you needed me to be. It was a crappy year all the way around. I will absolutely own any hurt I caused you back then. You call me and you have my word that I will make amends if needed. LOVE you, mean it.

    3. Oh, girl, we all were to blame. Everyone was going through their own personal issues. I will never forget all our good times all together!!! I am trying to avoid going backwards in life. Moving forward is best!!! :)

  6. Yes, the good times. Sweet, sweet memories. Love you sister.


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