Part Four–High School
Around ninth grade, all hell broke loose. It seemed that the restraints that had held me down for so long were broken. I was a full-blown rebel according to my school and around the same time, the pastor at my church resigned. The church had long been going downhill, but the pastor’s son was a good friend of mine and I did not want to leave. But when the pastor resigned and took a church in Greensboro, the reason not to leave was removed and I told my mom that I was ready to look for another church. My mom agreed and our search began. Retrospect is 20/20 and as I look back I realize that at that time, I realized that there was a genuine holiness out there somewhere. I knew that my school did not have it and that is why I did everything I could to destroy it. I even became passionate about it. I knew that my church did not have it and I wanted to find it somewhere. After a brief search, we landed at Tri-City Baptist Church, a then one-year old church that had began with 42 members and had jumped to 200 in just over a year. I sat under passionate, evangelistic preaching and it seemed to meet my need for holiness, or at least, what I thought was holiness.
Tenth grade brought with it a lot of changes at my school including a new pastor for the church and a new principal for the school. His name was Mr. Hicks and I did not like him and he, apparently, did not like me. During one incident during the school year, after I showed a lack of respect for a teacher, he suspended me for a day. My rebellion against my school grew and I continued my strange dichotomy of my life: attempted holiness at church and constant rebel against everything at school. It was also about this time that I got drunk for the first time. It was in the back of van with a few friends. I was only fifteen and it only took three beers.
In eleventh grade, the peak of my high school rebellion hit. I did not care about anything or anyone. Even my pseudo-holiness at church slipped and I became a genuine concern to my mother. After racking up 200 demerits at school during the last two months, Mr. Hicks called me to a conference and my mother was there. I was told that I was not going to be expelled that year, but I was not going to be allowed to attend my school for my senior year. I was somewhat upset by this, but it just meant to me at that time that I would no longer have to pretend to be something I wasn’t. I hated that school. That summer, I partied hard. I drank a lot and on my eighteenth birthday, I tried marijuana for the first and only time in my life. Ironically, I met a girl at church and we began to date. She was very experienced sexually despite her age and that summer I lost my virginity. I always thought that the term “lost my virginity” was wrong. I didn’t lose it. I willfully gave it up.
The partying caught up to me and the guilt began to set in. I knew that my mother did not know about my heavy drinking and partying, but she suspected something. My girlfriend and I broke up. School began my senior year and I went to a public high school for the first time in my life. Horribly, the day before, my ex-girlfriend had told me that she thought she was pregnant and she was going to the doctor on my first day of public high school. The whole day was overwhelming. Thankfully, the pregnancy scare was just that, only a scare and life at my public high school continued woefully. To put it mildly, I hated it. Here I was, a senior, and I knew no one in the school save but a few. I had the prep thing going on from my old school, but I was a grunge-puppy too. I was hurt one time when a guy in my drama class called me a “preppy granola.” I was upset and the cycle kicked in again. At a tent revival, I got “saved” again. I formally asked my school to take me back and after appearing before a discipline committee, I was granted the ok. After only four weeks at a public high school, I returned to my Christian school. It wasn’t long before the rebellion began again. I graduated June 3, 1994 by the skin of my teeth.