What I Gave Up

My name is Savannah.

When I first started high school, everyone loved this one junior, let’s call him Mark, and thought he was so hot.

Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year, and I had still never hooked up with anyone. All my friends either had boyfriends or had hooked up with someone. I didn’t care because it didn’t seem important to me.

My best friend, let’s call her Noel, was in the same school club as me, but in a different section. Mark was in the same section as her and she started to get to know him. One night after staying late for a club meeting, we were sitting on the curb and she got a snapchat from him saying, “OMG Savannah is such a babe.” I automatically felt butterflies rush to my stomach. I was so excited but so nervous. One night he snapchatted me drunk, and we just started talking. Usually, when things start to happen between a guy and me, I am quick to run away and get uncomfortable, however in this situation I was different. I was outgoing and just wanted to see what would happen. I was constantly warned about how shitty he was and that I was making a mistake. I didn’t listen. Stupid decision. We started talking about what we wanted out of our relationship and what we were going to do. We agreed that whatever happens, happens and that we would see where things would go. It was exciting to me, him being a senior and this being the first actual thing I had had with anyone.

I was invited to a senior’s birthday party and Mark was too. All my friends warned me that this was the night I was going to have my first hook up. The night of the party I went to my friend’s house to get ready, I was nervous and didn’t know what expect. We arrived at the party and he was already there, I didn’t know how to act or even say hi. We kept making eye contact for about an hour until he came up behind me and grabbed my waist. We started talking and dancing together. He was quite drunk and could barely stand still, it was pretty funny. That night I was sleeping over at another friends house, Alana, because my parents were out of town. I ended up walking around Central with Mark and a few friends until Alana told me we had to leave. Honestly, I didn’t want to go because I thought I would never talk to Mark again. I told him I had to leave and that’s when he kissed me for the first time. I didn’t know what to do, I was scared that I was bad or didn’t do it right. I didn’t know what to think. As I was leaving, he grabbed my hand tight and told me he would take all of us home in a cab. My four friends and I all hopped into a taxi to go home.

Once we arrived at Alana’s house, it was 1 am. He asked, “Alana can I please hang with Savannah for a little bit?” Alana was fine with it and just went upstairs. We went outside of her apartment complex to a playground to hang out. We talked for hours about everything, and it was the first time I had ever really opened up to a guy. We joked around and hooked up throughout the night until Alana texted me, at around 4am, saying that her dad had just come home from a business trip and was asking where I was (her dad and my dad are pretty close).

I got so nervous, but I kissed Mark and told him to text me. I ran to the complex waiting for the lift until Alana’s dad walked out of the elevator. It was the most awkward moment I have ever had. He asked if I was okay and I said everything was fine and that I was going up to bed. I finally got upstairs and told Alana everything with all of the juicy details. I was so excited for things to happen between Mark and I but was worried about getting hurt.

We started talking and hanging out more and I realized I was catching feelings. I’d let him do things to me even though I didn’t feel ready for them. I told all my friends, and myself, that I was ready, but deep down I knew I wasn’t.

I went to his house one day because I knew he was leaving soon for college. I really wanted to talk to him about it but he kept avoiding the subject. I’d tell him, “Mark, no, we should talk about this, it’s important to me.” He would respond, “I thought we were done talking, can we please just do something else…” I’d keep refusing but he always got his way. At the time I didn’t feel as though I had been taken advantage of but, looking back at it now, I know I was.

By the end of the night, we had agreed that catching feelings was fine, but we just couldn’t get attached. We agreed that we would end our relationship before summer.

The next day at school he pulled me aside and said we needed to talk. I immediately said, “Mark, no. I’m nervous. What is it about? Is it bad?” He responded, “No, don’t worry, it’s not bad.”

He told me that I had to choose between being friends with benefits or just being friends. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stand the idea of being friends with benefits because I felt like he would be using me when he knew I had feelings for him. I also couldn’t just be friends with him either because I knew I would get angry if he got with anyone else even if I didn’t have the right to. I wanted both, but it would never work.

He told me he wanted to end things if I couldn’t pick because he didn’t want to have to say goodbye to another person before he left for college. It hit me really hard; it was the first time I had ever gotten hurt by a guy. Sounds corny, but I don’t know another way to put it. He was the first guy I had opened up to about everything and had also been the first person I had done a lot of other things with.

While I was seeing him, I would sacrifice everything. I didn’t care about school or my other commitments like sports, tests, or even family. I started fighting with my family a lot more to the point where my parents started to take my phone and look through my photos and messages. Once things ended with Mark, everything went from my life being mysterious and fun to a shit show.

I lost my friendship with Alana because she was angry that I had sacrificed our friendship to hang out with Mark. She was furious that I had been so hypocritical because I would steam with frustration when she would hang out with her boyfriend over our friend group. It was the worst time of my entire life.

I didn’t want to be at home because I would constantly get screamed at and then end up crying. I didn’t want to be at school because I had lost my best friend and Mark would be there. I’d cry every morning. To be honest, in two words, I was just emotionally DRAINED.

I lost all my friends and I didn’t know who I was anymore. I would refuse to get out of bed; I couldn’t speak to my parents without crying. My parents wouldn’t let me go anywhere because they found out I had been lying to them about Mark and hiding other things from them.

I lost my relationships with everyone that I was close to except Noel. I understood why everyone was so angry with me but I am so thankful for Noel. I have no idea what I would have done without her during that period: I would come to her crying and she would tell me that everything would be okay, she stayed with me when I needed her, I could call her when I needed someone to talk to. I honestly don’t think I could’ve survived without her.

I started getting closer to another girl named Kim. We hadn’t been close before, but when I got to school early and had nowhere to go or anyone to sit with, I would text her and she’d meet me and let me get out all of my emotions. She didn’t have to take care of me, or care about what I was going through, but she still did. Little did I know she would become one of my best friends.

I wasn’t sad about the fact Mark and I were over, it was more that I was upset I had lost everything because of him. I risked so much for him to only get hurt in the process. It was not worth it.

We haven’t spoken in a long time and I just cut him out of my life. Things did get better but I realized I should’ve listened to my friends. I’m usually quick to think that people are out to get me, because I’ve had shitty history with friends, but they were really just looking out for me. However, I think I’ve grown up a lot because of this experience.

I often struggle with caring too much about other people and I can’t seem to let them go, even when they’re horrible to me. Right now, let’s just say, Mark isn’t making the best choices. But I honestly want what’s best for him and I hope he succeeds. I get texts from him once in awhile talking about how he is concerned about his drug addiction due to his depression, and I always reply telling him not to go down that hole and that drugs aren’t the answer to solving his problems. He agrees and thanks me, but then I never hear from him again. To be honest, I have no idea what he is doing right now, but I hope he figures his shit out because it’s never too late.

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