They didn't have their parents or their elders there to keep them in line or teach them how to behave as they should. And don't forget, these elephants had been traumatized as babies. They had witnessed the violent and defensive actions of their parents and other adults of the herd trying to protect the younger ones and being killed by humans! The trauma and anger that they experienced then had carried over into their adolescence. Left on their own with no adult supervision or family attention, they, in a sense, became embittered and frustrated and took those feelings out on others. Like real gangs, they took their aggressions out on smaller, weaker animals, destroyed things, and caused trouble.The first time I heard this story I thought immediately about my own life and association after my mother's second divorce.
Of all places, my naughtiness started at church camp the summer before I entered seventh grade. A group of us kids decided to sneak out of the dorm rooms and meet up by the tennis courts. Two older girls were smoking cigarettes and offered me one. I was eleven and I liked it. I liked the cigarette and I really liked the new bond I was forming with these older girls as they laughed and taught me how to smoke.
I had been a latch key kid from a very young age. I can remember being home alone at age six in the care of my nine-year-old sister. So it was nothing new for me to be home alone at age eleven. My mother was a smoker. She smoked long menthol cigarettes but would only smoke half of them. The rest she would leave in ashtrays. So I smoked the other half while she was gone.
I started seventh grade and very quickly formed friendships with other naughty girls and boys. They had divorced parents as well and were either living with single mothers or with their mother and a step father. Our pack of young elephants was large. My closest friend in the pack had been naughty a bit longer than I had. At their elementary school, fourth graders were already kissing boys. I had never kissed a boy but it wasn't long before I was "going with" one of the boys in our pack. This group of kids all lived in the same neighborhood. It was very common for me to sleep over at my friend's house on the weekends so we could hang out with the group. We'd hang out on the playground of the nearby elementary school and smoke our cigarettes. It didn't take long before I was kissing the boy I was going with.
Boyfriend and girlfriend relationships in middle school often didn't last but two weeks. It starts with a note, "Will you go with me?" and ends the same way, "I don't want to go with you anymore." Outside of this boy crazy social life, I had excellent grades and played in sports. School was very easy for me. What was difficult was the boundaries of normal boy/girl relationships. What comes next after kissing and holding hands? I know I shouldn't "go all the way" with him but how far is too far?
The group of kids I hung out with changed slightly here and there, but one thing remained consistent. We all had a lot of time on our hands with no adult supervision. We'd meet up in the park or at the mall and smoke, listen to heavy metal music, make out, fight and some smoked pot. I met an even naughtier girl than I was and was attracted to her like a moth to a flame. She knew people in high school where her older brother was. She taught me how to shop lift and go even further into this crazy naughty world.
The best times to get in trouble is when your single parent decides they need some time away. They travel out of town and leave you home alone. My mother did just this, a lot. This particular time, however, she allowed me to spend the weekend at my new, naughtier friend's house. Little did my mom know, her mom was out of town as well.
Before I go on, understand, I was still going to church on Sunday, Catechism class on Wednesday nights, church camp during the summer, and even with my new naughty friend, we spent the night at a church lock in. I was very aware of how much I was lying to my mother and hiding my bad behavior from her. I prayed every night and never denied that I was a Christian. I even wore a huge cross on a chain around my neck. It was a trendy thing to do back then, along with our big hair, crazy makeup, and brand name clothes.
This friend's brother, I would find out later, had asked her to have me sleep over. He and his buddies were having a party at a hunting shack and were going to bring us to it. While it's disgusting for me to think about while I write this, I remember being scared and exhilarated at the same time as the twelve-year-old I was then. We drank, smoked, smoked pot, and listened to heavy metal music. Some kids passed out, some threw up, and others paired off to go have sex. What would no longer ever be a beautiful gift preserved for my husband, was given that night to this friend's brother.
The next day as we hung out at their house, he was mortified to find out how young I was. Going by my looks alone, he thought I was sixteen. "Don't worry, I won't tell."
That night my friend and I got caught shoplifting. Since no parent of either of ours was to be found, we were let go into the custody of her eighteen-year-old brother. He wasn't interested in sex with me that night, he was angry. He pinned me to the floor and punched me repeatedly in the ribs between my breasts. I didn't understand. When I got away, I ran to my friend's bedroom and kept myself away from him there until I was able to go home the next day.
A couple months after this my mother's job was relocated. She was also beginning her five year battle with breast cancer. If she wanted to keep her job and her insurance, she would have to move us away from our childhood home to a new city. We did just that. It didn't take long for me to match up with a new pack of young elephants. Same behaviors, same naughtiness, more boys and more sex in disgusting places. When my mother would find out about something I'd done wrong, she'd ground me. That didn't matter in the least. She was spending a lot of time at her boyfriend's house so I was left alone to do whatever anyway. When she was home for the evening, I locked my bedroom door and went out the window. I had to meet up with my pack, there was naughtiness to be done.
And still, I received great grades, was in an advanced math course that I had to travel to the high school to do. And I found a new church that I walked to alone on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
After one summer night of having stayed out all night, my mom had enough of not being able to control me. She bought some luggage and put it on my bed. When I came home I asked, "what is this?" She said, "You're out of here, bitch!" And off I went on a Greyhound bus, at the age of thirteen, to go live with my dad and his girlfriend.
I wish I could say that changed everything. It didn't. I found packs of young elephants very quickly. I found a new church to walk to alone on Sundays, but didn't go to it long. For the first time I was scorned by the members. I didn't fit in and was told as much. I wouldn't return to a church again until my wedding day.
Same story, different location. I started working my first job and had a bus pass. I had my own money and freedom to do whatever I wished. And I continued down a path of horrible decisions mixed in with straight A's in school and some sports. I started thinking of my future when I was fourteen and decided I'd follow my passion for jets and flight. I joined Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the USAF.
My mother had since relocated to our hometown so I went to visit her and my old friends. Another fresh start was ahead. She allowed me to move back in with her. Fresh start be damned, I was still the same mess of a girl only back with my original group of friends. Same behaviors, same short relationships with boys who I freely gave sex to. I worked, had my own money, fought with my mother and moved out again, this time with my sister, at age sixteen. I considered emancipation at this point but as my mother got more and more sick, she allowed me to move back in with her and live my life without concern of her approval. I took care of our apartment when she spent a month at a time in the hospital undergoing massive chemotherapy treatments.
My mother died two weeks before I graduated high school. I had excellent grades, still, scored very high on the ACT and was accepted at our state university. My teachers told me my grades stand as is and I'd graduate with no problems. At seventeen I was on my own, completely.
My sexual behavior did not change. By the time I met RLB, I had had sex with 80 boys/men. Not once did I lie to RLB about any of this. I knew I wanted to marry him and I knew that he needed to know the truth about me.
I'm very well aware of all the names I should be called. I was the first to call myself them. I understand the anger, disgust, and judgement. This is revolting, I know. RLB and I are willing to answer any questions you may have. I have shared this, once again, so future generations understand completely who I was. Hiding it or simply not talking about it renders it ineffective to help others. There are many facets to this essay. One obviously being a pretty bad scenario that could be a reality for your children should you divorce and choose not to parent. The other is to analyze my decision making to better understand my fallen nature and perhaps other females' nature. The other is everything else I've already written and to accept that He "saved a wretch like me".