Here is one of many teenage girl stories: I have always had good morals and have tried to make the right choices in life. About a year and a half ago, the summer before my ninth-grade year, I started hanging out with Stefanie, the most popular girl in my grade at my school. She was pretty, outgoing, and every boy at school had a crush on her. She was everything I thought I wanted to be. We were both cheerleaders and got to know one another at cheer camp that summer. We hit it off right away and started spending every day together. There where a couple of other girls in our clique that we hung out with, too.
In order to be friends with these girls, I had to break up with my boyfriend who was my first love. They told me that no one was allowed to have a boyfriend, but we could hook up with anyone and everyone. I should have backed away at this point in the relationship, but I was determined I was going to be friends with them and become popular.
At the beginning of our friendship, nothing serious happened. We just hung out like normal teenagers do. About mid-way through my freshman year, things started becoming risky and more serious. Stefanie and the two other girls in our clique, Sarah and Lydia, started doing things that I only thought girls did in movies. They began drinking, using drugs, and experimenting with sex. Every day was a party to them.
I had made a promise to myself several years earlier that I would not drink alcohol until I was at least out of high school, and that I would never experiment with drugs. I wanted to be a virgin until I was married. My promises were becoming harder and harder to keep while I was hanging out with the popular girls. I began to drink a little, but sex and drugs were out of the question.
It wasn't until the end of the summer that I realized how hanging out with those girls affected my reputation.
Right before school started, we went on a camping trip with four guys they liked hanging out with. My friends were doing things with these guys that I wanted no part of. The guy that I was with kept insisting that we should have sex, and I did it even though I didn't want to.
The night of the camping trip, I realized the person I was becoming was not the person I wanted to be. I was losing the respect that I had for myself. Even though I knew that what happened that night was not my fault, I still felt that I could have prevented it somehow. I began to blame myself for getting into a position where something like that could happen. I decided that if I really wanted to be the person that I respected and wanted to be, I needed to change my direction. I stopped hanging with these girls and went back to being the person I was before I met them.
My old group of friends accepted me back, and I know now what true friendship feels like. My mom knows everything and we talk about it when I need to. I have learned many lessons about the value of true friends, and that your parents can help you even when you are scared you are disappointing them.
I have had a couple of real low points through all of this, but I have matured and grown from what I have been through. I believe what I went through was my test and I passed. I made it through these struggles and am a better person who isn't quite so naive. It takes a lot of strength to do the right thing, but I feel so much better about being me.
The advice I have for girls who are feeling pressured about drinking, drugs, and sex is to stay away from those things, even if it means you don't have plans for the weekend. Anyone who is pressuring you to do things you know are wrong doesn't have your best interest at heart. I have become active in a local youth program and now go to parties where everyone has the same values as me.
I like who I see when I look in the mirror now.