My first semester at college was chaotic and full of many learning experiences. I learned from the fraternity guys that you could not trust those you had previously known, even as an aquaitance in a safe space in high school compared to the freedom one has in college. That just because they may look like nice guys that doesn’t mean they are.

I learned from one man that even if we had chatted online about certain things that pressure and coercion could be used to ensure those acts took place. That the guys I actually were attracted to had no intrest in me, and that perhaps I was not worthy of having a relationship with someone I was attracted to and that treated me with respect. I started to get depressed and my roommate started doing meth.

Her behavior became more erratic throughout the semester but she was attempting  to hide that she was using. I often went with her on trips to Little Rock to see my Dad and Nana and to visit her mom. One day we went to a friend of hers to visit while we were waiting on laundry to finish up at her moms. We pulled up to some apartments close to the mall and I saw this guy standing outside talking on the phone, shirtless in a pair of oversized JYNCO jeans. I thought he was the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen.

We both agreed that he was in fact gorgeous and we started laying our claims on him. We got out of my friends Camaro and made our way past our newly termed Mr. Gorgeous and into the apartment. A few minutes later Mr. Gorgeous came into the back room of the apartment where we were all sitting and we learned his name was Andy. We all hastily made introductions and everyone settled back into their conversation.

I had no idea at the time my roommate was there to get drugs, not from Andy, but from a man that worked with him. My roommate left to go with her friend and I stayed behind to study for my upcoming psychology exam the next day while Andy and some of his friends watched a movie. My roommate finally returned to get me and we said our good byes, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get Andy off my mind.

I quickly learned he had another love, the girl he was on the phone with when I saw him for the first time. I hastily  gave up hope for his intrest but my crush remained. I started spending more time with Andy and his friends throughout the semester and by the time my roommate dropped out and went home, I opted to not return to Arkansas State but instead go to a community college in Mississippi three days a week where my mom taught and worked instead. I worked at a bed and breakfast and took eighteen hours that semester, to make up for my crappy first one, and worked at a restaurant in my hometown on Thursday, Friday, and Sundays. On my days off, I went to Little Rock to see Andy and his friends.

Since I moved back to Crossett and my crush was otherwise obsessed with his lady, I had a few flings and went back and forth between my first boyfriend, who was also living back at home with his parents and attending a school close enough to commute to. One night we all decided we would go to Little Rock to a rave. We were supposed to meet up with Andy and his friends and go after they got off work. By the time we got to Little Rock and the mall my guy was furious and in a hurry to get to the rave to get some rolls. We got in a fight and he left me in the mall parking lot to fend for myself.

I was shocked, in complete disbelief that he of all people would leave me, the girl he basically lost his virginity to alone in one of the worst places in one of the biggest cities in the state. My best friends were in the car with him, and they all three were gone in the blink of an eye. I started crying and stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. I started walking toward Andy’s hoping someone I knew would be at his apartment. Thankfully everyone was home except Andy. As soon as he got in from work we prepared for the rest of the evening and made our way to the rave.
Upon entry I stayed with Andy and his group. I knew Andy was still in love with his lady so I opted to spend time with a guy with his group named Jon. I had no idea what to expect at a rave so I stayed close to Jon the entire night. We held hands, danced, and most importantly, I ignored my first boyfriend. I didn’t speak to him or leave with him, I left with Andy, Jon, and friends. I spent the next week before the semester started in Little Rock at my Dad’s and mostly at Andy’s. I thought I was in a relationship with Jon, and I was fairly smitten.

After returning to my home town to begin my new semester, and being abandoned by my first love, I started spending time with our mutal best friend’s cousin, a girl I knew from junior high and had reconnected with at the rave. She became my new best friend and my parents worst enemy.We spent all of our free time together and since I believed I was in a relationship with Jon, she decided to try to go after Andy. The next few months I went to school, worked, and learned about a completely different world and culture from any that I had ever known. We drank, smoked, raved, and generally had a blast doing the most stupid and ridiculous things imaginable. With her I was a completely different person than my parents, friends, and community members had ever known.

By March it was more than obvious that my attitude, personality, and demeanor was a hollow core shell from the fully involved honor student/band geek my parents had raised. I went from a dreamer to an exister. My grades were good, all A’s and one C in a class my mom expected me to make a C in because of the professor, but I had no affect. I was starting to realize my relationship with Jon was more of a friends with benefits type of relationship and I wanted more than that. I tried to get back with my first boyfriend a few times, but finally he left me stranded for a weekend in Little Rock when I was supposed to be house sitting my Dad’s to go to a rave that was mistakenly in Memphis instead. I continued spending time with my girlfriend more often than anyone until my parents found out.

We planned to go to Pensacola Beach for my Spring Break but I was out of the house when my Dad arrived holding a pair of pants my friend left at his house. He asked my mom if she was going and my mom freaked out. We had a huge falling out before I left town with my Dad and she forbid me from seeing her or my first boyfriend anymore. I spent the entire trip miserable that I had disappointed my parents and that I technically was not allowed to spend time with anyone I enjoyed. I met a few Navy folks that trip, including females and a new idea was hatched. I decided if I could not go to school where I wanted or have the friends I wanted that I would just take care of myself so I could have freedom.

That statement is so ironic in itself, I also want to point out the naivety in that young almost nineteen year old brain. I knew I was smart enough to make in the military from my previous failed relationship with my AT, but I was unsure of the physical requirements as I had always been horrible at anything athletic. After my return from Pensacola, I began looking back at previous research I had done when I thought about joining after my senior year. My parents were being somewhat understanding of my newly improved attitude after Spring Break but the Navy was my secret, and I was more lonely than I had ever been in my life with no friends.

I was laying on the couch in the back room staring into space while I waited on my shift to start at work one afternoon and the phone rang. I answered and it was a Navy recruiter wanting to know if I was still interested in joining. “Of course!” I replied before I could stop myself. I turned nineteen that Thursday and the next day I took the asvab and enlisted in the United States Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician (AT). My parents were stunned but immediately started treating me more like an adult and less like a child. I had lost my purpose and identity trying to please everyone else and I lost myself in the process. I spent the rest of my semester preparing for my enlistment, and spending time with as many family and friends as possible. I momentarily had my identity back.

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