Yes, I was a typical teenage girl. Loved being around my friend (maybe a little too much), listening to music (I felt like the lyrics had the answers to all my “problems”.) I was extremely self-conscience, never felt thin enough or tall enough. Looking back at pictures, who knows why I thought that I just always saw myself differently than others saw me and it was always in a negative way. I was beyond boy crazy but hey, what teenager isn’t at that age. My age at the time was 14 I came from a very religious family and went to church every Sunday. I had answers to all the questions in Sunday school and had a testimony that God lives and loved me. So then what would you say went wrong?? If I could describe it to you it would be something like the sun setting in the horizon. The light was there but slowly started to disappear. When I turned 13 and went from elementary to Jr. High my friends started to change and started to experiment with negative things. The good up beat music I used to listen to became Music filled with vulgar lyrics, my friends and I would make fun of the lyrics but the beats were so catchy that they would consume my thoughts. The social media started to make me believe being immoral was normal and acceptable. Shows like “The real world” on MTV would put groups of women and men together that were complete strangers in the same house and show immoral scenes that looked appealing and fun. I can remember being around a bunch of guys at a super bowl party when at half time (The only part of the super bowl I watched other than the commercials) When the unpredicted scene happened with Justin Timberlake, my N’Sync crush and Madonna. I remember feeling horrified and embarrassed but the boys I considered my “friends” thought it was hilarious and talked about it the rest of the night.
Because of my low self-esteem I sought for that attention and approval.
I had my first boyfriend before the age of 16 (looking back this was one of many mistakes) Instead of clinging to the gospel which once was my happiness my boyfriend became my source for “happiness.” We were young and I loved feeling loved. Kissing was the “The THING to do” when you start experimenting with things at a young age the small things get boring fast and you feel the urge to try newer things. The bright sunrise I had once known was now starting to fade quickly…. I would go to churchon Sunday but no longer answered questions just sat mesmerized by my phone and the boy I thought I “loved” on the other end of it. That boy soon broke up with me for another girl. My self Esteem was shot to the ground! I felt worthless and ignored the lessons in church when they would tell me “your worth is great in the site of God.”
My best friend and I would play this game where we would text random numbers stupid things and see how many people would respond back.(brilliant, I know…) The things we would say turned into inappropriate things one kid messaged me back something really flattering and because of my vulnerable state I clung to it… I wanted more. Oh boy was he a real sweet talker and I needed that attention like I needed air to breathe. We texted back and forth all day long and that day turned into a month of texting each other he told me he was cousins with a kid I knew so I felt more comfortable talking with him even if he was 17 me being only 14 at the time. We would exchange pictures back and forth and he would tell me how beautiful I was. What once was sweet talking turned to more inappropriate texting. It bothered me at first but I went along with it because I sought after his approval. He wanted to sneak out and meet up multiple times but I would always get too nervous until one night I got the courage (I know what you all are thinking… Are you CRAZY he could be some old creepy guy… To be honest, the scary thing is this thought NEVER crossed my young 14 year old mind…I heard stories about Elizabeth Smart getting abducted but still never thought things like that could happen to me.)
The night I decided to sneak out my family was all watching a movie down stairs I had told them I was too tired and would just sleep down there. I had planned it all out my hair was curled, I got a cute outfit that I would change into, I knew the window I would sneak out of and gave the boy my address….He was on his way when a feeling came over me. It hit me harder than I have ever felt it before… I knew who it was it was my companion … my true friend that promised to stay with me and warn me of danger.. The Holy Ghost was definitely trying to warn me. I ignored him. I didn’t want to look stupid for having this boy drive all that way for nothing. I proceeded to climb out the window and walk towards the front of the house. This time the feeling hit my WHOLE body a “VOICE” yelled at me to STOP. I stopped because it was so loud I didn’t think it was only inside my head. I ignored my true friend again… and walked slowly to the car… I ignored him and he was gone. The 17 year old boy in the car seemed nice and my worries disappeared until…
Bad things happened.
Afterwards, I sat in my basement and the light I once knew was now total darkness. I felt alone. If I had been that “type” of girl none of this would have ever happened. I didn’t let the darkness consume me instead after a little bit of time, my “friend” came back to me and I sought for help and strived to be that virtuous girl I once was. It wasn’t easy I felt disgusting like I didn’t deserve to get help. I pushed away those thoughts from the adversary and sought after true repentance. The opposite happened the sunset had turned into darkness but now I could see the sunrise and it was more beautiful than ever.
The savior said, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you” John14:18. He came to me and I know he will come to you.
I know VOICES for virtue has the power to help youth all over the world and by being a VOICE and sharing OUR STORY or even being a VOICE for virtue amongst our friends we can help those that are in the uttermost darkness see the sunrise and seek for help. We need the strength of the youth uniting together to live more virtuously in a world that is not. Let’s make a difference even if it is only to one girl or boy.