Turning fourteen was always an exciting thought, as I was prepared to start physically developing and be treated as more of a woman. Although, once the day came it was not as ecstatic as I’d hope it’d be. I started dating a boy a year older than me close to my birthday and things went great for the first five months of our relationship. We had a lot of fun and we had a ton in common with one another. As the relationship progressed, and we became more comfortable with each other, he began to become extremely possessive. I loved having someone care for me and be jealous, as I had never had that before, but eventually it got to the extreme.
It started off with him not wanting me to be around my friends anymore, because he felt threatened, and progressed to him not wanting to be around my family. I would show up to school in a polo and khakis, but he did not want me in these clothes as he said the polo was “too tight”. In August, almost 85 degrees, he would force me to wear his hoodie to hide my body. I was told to go home one day because “I looked too nice and nobody should see my like this”, and being naive I did so. I would get hurtful comments daily that included, “You’re only wearing your hair like that to show off”, “You look slutty so you need to change your clothes”, and “Why do you have to wear such tight khakis and be such a whore”. Each day that went by continued to be like this, and I started defy my parents because they did not want me to be with him. I tried to talk to my mom about his controlling habits, but quickly defended his actions when she told me to leave him. I was so naive and prone to justifying his actions that I did not understand the problem with being controlled.
I got grounded for two years as a result of sneaking around to be with him. When I had my phone he would make me delete every guy’s number and delete them off of social media, along with some family members. I did not see this as a problem, because he was my first boyfriend and I did not know the difference between normal and controlling. I woke up one morning and decided to wear usual daily makeup, and was told that I was not allowed to do so any longer. My mother noticed that I would no longer wear makeup, I would to wear baggy clothing, and that I would not get out of bed most days. I felt my self-esteem lowering when my mother made comments like, “Are you really going out in those clothes?”, “You should probably put on makeup.”, and “Why don’t you do something with yourself?”. I was at conflict with myself because I was deeply in love with this boy, but I felt like something in my life was not normal. I would get screamed at if I looked at another boy and it seemed anything I did was wrong.
When I did attempt to leave the relationship, I got pushed against the wall and he shook me like I was in the wrong for wanting to be happy again. I had gotten dragged from his car when we argued, and that scared me the most. Granted I was not afraid to leave this relationship, I was just hopelessly in love. When I did leave him, I became severely depressed and started to self-harm. My life did not feel complete without him, being as he was the only friend I had left. I would revert into the habit of being with him, and it made me even more depressed. My life with and without him was not the way I expected it to be when I was younger. All I wanted was to find that happiness inside of me and be myself for once. Although, things did not play out the way I wanted and I did not find happiness in any decision I made.
Once I turned sixteen, I began to engage in bad habits such as smoking and found myself merely addicted to the feeling of not being in my usual state of mind. I would do so on a day to day basis and soon began to lose my appetite. I starved myself for the beginning months of my junior year, resulting in losing forty-five pounds and feeling drained. Each day was a struggle to do much of anything, all of my ambition got thrown away, and I could feel myself slipping from reality. I decided that I did not want to live anymore, and attempted suicide by taking pills. Luckily I puked them up and only suffered a stomach ache for a few days. I tried to get back on my feet and stupidly decided to talk to him again. Once we got back together, after he promised he’d change, I quickly realized he hadn’t and I fell back into my depression. I did not want to leave him again because I knew that I could not handle being without him, so I stayed in the relationship until he decided he did not love me anymore and wanted to be with someone new. After we broke up for the final time, I began to fight with my mom and not have any desire to speak to anyone. I wanted to drive into a wall to end it all before school one day, but decided to go talk to the counselor instead. When I did so, I got sent to a mental health facility due to cuts on my arm. Being there I realized that it is in fact not normal to control someone to this extent, and that I needed to get on the right track to finding myself.
Being controlled affected my life for the four years that it occurred, and still affects me to this day. Although he is no longer the primary cause for my depression, these events still trigger emotions that affect my life every day. It has made my anxiety and depression worsen, which results in me giving up on the little things in life that matter most. Although, I would never in a million years go back into that relationship because I know in my heart that I deserve better. I deserve to be treated like a person, rather than a personal object. I deserve to not be used for sex and I deserve to be happy. Although I am continuing to struggle in finding happiness; I know that as long as I focus on myself, rather than risking my life to make someone happy, I will consider myself successful for not retreating into these bad habits. Unfortunately there are millions of girls who endure this each and every day, even worse than I did, and it is not fair that girls have to feel this way. A boy should not have the power to make a girl feel completely worthless and make them feel as if they have no place in this world. Feminism is a huge part of my life, because I believe that I am of equal value to those of men. Every female should feel as wanted and as equal as men are, and I would have never learned this lesson without this experience.