When I was in middle school I met a boy (or should I say man) named Ian Michaels. I was in the 8th grade and I was 14 years old, but of course he thought I was 17. Ian was 19 years old and he had no idea I was in middle school. This relationship was at the beginning of my Internet exposure. I was on AIM, Myspace and every website I shouldn’t have been on. I broke through the parental controls my parents had set up and the rest was history.  I had met Ian on Myspace and we quickly started spending time together. He lived in Oakland and I lived in San Leandro, so it was nothing for him to come swoop me after school. 

Everything was so good with Ian and I at first. We would go on dates, he would buy me food and we would talk 24/7. Ian was a manager at Macy’s, he drove a white Buick Lesabre and he lived with his mom. Even though he lived with his mom, I didn’t care. The swag he had made up for it. He was really funny and he was super into the Hyphy Movement, which was a big thing at the time. He would rap all the E-40 and Mac Dre lyrics and he would ghost ride the whip, while racing his friends down the streets of Oakland. He had a white best friend similar to Cheddar Bomb in 8 Mile and we would all just have a good time. At 14 years of age, I was feeling like I finally had someone in my life who cared about me! After being teased by guys all throughout elementary school and middle school, I had come to the conclusion that I would never develop (I was super skinny and flat chested) or be seen as beautiful.

People were talking about sex and going on dates and I was just trying to pass Algebra 1 and convince my mom to let me get long braids like Brandy.

Ian and I were hanging out for like a month and then he completely changed up on me. Suddenly he was trying to convince me to have sex and skip school. He got me to skip school multiple times, but luckily I kept my virginity. No matter how much he tried to manipulate me and convince me that we needed to “take our relationship to the next level” and that I “owed him” I knew better than to give it up. I stood my ground until I finally ended up leaving him. It got to the point to where we would argue and argue, because he wasn’t getting his way. He then started to verbally abuse me and tell me “I wasn’t that cute” and I was “lucky to have him.” I was crying every night and wondering what I did to deserve this. The first dude who actually “cared” about me was now causing me pain and bringing my self esteem right back to where it was before.

The last straw was when I ran away from home. I ran away, because my mom and I had got into it. I was with him and fine until I started to feel bad and called Granny. I called her so at least one person would know where I was. Subsequently, my dad found the number (Ian’s cell phone number) on Granny’s caller ID and he called and said he’d have the police track the phone if I didn’t go back home. After arguing with Ian about going back home, he finally took me.

Once I got back home I started evaluating my life. I had completely transformed after I met Ian; I started skipping school, I was angry all the time and I was disrespecting my parents. However, the biggest thing that made me come to my senses was how my relationship affected my education. I was always a nerd who cared about school, but I literally stopped doing my homework when we were together. The once obedient and studious Michaela had turned into a rebellious angry teenager. I did not like this, so I knew I had to separate myself from him ASAP.

For months Ian begged me to get back with him. He told me he loved me and he wanted to make it work. However, the damage had already been done. The insults and things he said to me played over and over in my head and I knew if I ever wanted to get any of my self esteem back I had to be done with him.

I don’t remember how long I dated Ian, but it was definitely long enough to have an impact on my life. Even today (well before I changed my number recently) he has texted me asking to hangout. I have seen him a couple times in my adult life, but it was really just because of curiosity. He would bring up how we are older now and should try again, but I was like boy BYE. I am 24 now and he is 29, but I will never forget the unhealthy relationship we had. The last text I got from him was a “Happy Easter” text this year. However, I don’t have him on any social media and he does not (and will not) have my new number, so good riddance to him. I know ten years ago was a long time ago, but because that was the first legit boyfriend I had, there is no way I will ever forget the affect it had on me. The biggest lesson I learned from this relationship was don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Even though I stood my ground on some things he tried to manipulate me to do, he convinced me to do a whole lot of other things. I said I was going to have higher standards and never be manipulated again, but of course right after I graduated from middle school I met Tyree Brown…