Confessions Of A So-Called Slut

Most people think I’ve slept with like, a billion people, when in reality I’ve only slept with three.
It all started with a vindictive ex-boyfriend and a long ride home on the bus during the beginning of my junior year.

“All you do is play games,” Joseph (name changed) said to me on the way home. “Posting those thirst traps on instagram and sh*t, you’re such a hoe.”
I shook it off, as I always shook it off. It was my opinion that he was still bitter over the breakup, and there was nothing I could do for him any longer. I got off the bus at my stop, rolling my eyes, and walking into my apartment complex. I knew what was and wasn’t true about me, and his words didn’t phase me; it was just the rantings of a teenaged boy who was in his feelings because he failed to get in my pants. Then the rantings became lies, and the lies became rumor, and the rumor became believed.
“I heard she let James and Brian **** in her ***.”
“Well, I heard she let Connor **** her in her ****.”
“F***** slut.”
“Whore.”
“Did you hear?”
“I could tell from her pics on Instagram.”
My reputation crumbled before my eyes, and for every pair of skinny jeans, miniskirt or V-neck I wore, the lies got twenty times worse. For every lipstick I bought, the stares got more and more hostile, and for every lie that was heard secondhand from a random man, I became more and more indifferent.

I tried so hard to keep it that way, and I don’t even know why.
If you are a young woman in high school, you are destined to be one of a few things; a bitch, a slut, or invisible and irrelevant. For all of my freshman year I was unattractive, invisible, and irrelevant, and the attention being placed on my body, the shock of someone thinking my body was worth paying attention to was new, and unexpected, and...I don’t know. I just decided to roll with it, let people say what they wanted, because it was all rumor, all opinionated statement, mostly by people who didn't even know me. So my miniskirts got shorter, my eye makeup got thicker,my V-necks got lower and my lipsticks became more and more vampy.
I never used to dress to play a part; I was never much into acting to fit a role; but I became one hell of an actress.
I never was a slut; never much into appearing trashy for anybody else’s expectations; but I became an attention-whore. 

I’m more vulnerable than people think.
When you think of your average slut, you probably think she’s straight badass. She doesn’t feel for anybody, she’s able to use her body just for casual sex, unadulterated lust, no-name encounters. She  
might be fearless, she probably smokes or drinks, heavily.  
I never did that.I was never her. 
Trust me when I say I never involved myself with anyone I didn’t feel for, anybody I could just forget by the end of the night. Trust me when I say that I never forgot a face, or a name, or a place, or how it felt to think they loved me.
Trust me when I say that this ‘slut’ is vulnerable.

I didn’t mean to be.
Really I didn’t. Didn’t mean to be so easily hurt. I didn’t  mean to fall in love so easily. I didn’t mean to be as vulnerable as I am.  When he dropped the L-word, (‘love’) I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe it so bad, so desperately. I didn't mean to be so easily deceived. I didn’t mean to be so needy. I try so hard to not be. I just...I needed to be wanted. 

I knew he was no good.
I knew my body would come first, and my name would come secondary. I knew that there would by no conversation afterwards, that I would not get a call the next day, and that what actually happened would vary from what he told his friends. I knew all of this, but I didn’t care too much. 
Everybody’s truth is different.

I want to move on.
I messed up my own reputation, but as a consequence to such, I also messed up my GPA. Nonetheless,I graduated, and was accepted into a small private university close to my hometown. I chose my school (William Peace University) because it was new, but familiar. I knew the area fairly well, but I didn’t know anybody from the area. It was a plan for redemption.
When I got to Peace I only recognized two people from my high school. This offered some solace, because out of 2200, only two knew my reputation. Less than .1% of the students at Peace were aware of my background. I could be whoever I wanted to be, create myself the way I wanted to, and fix my reputation with no lies, but complete candor. 
I started going by a different nickname; I deleted all my old social media accounts; and I changed my number.
Because the thing about being a ‘slut’ is that you can’t just shake that reputation without shaking who you used to be entirely. You have to give up who you are, give up things about you that you didn’t really like in the first place, but you got used to. The pics, the comments, the friends, and the frienemies, you have to quit it all. 
I was willing to do that, to have a fresh start.

I am not a slut. 
This is my truth. I am not a whore, a slut, harlot, tart, or thot. I am a girl with a past. I am a young woman with the strength to get past it. I am a student at a school she loves, surrounded by positive people, with a boyfriend who adores her and doesn’t care about her past.
I am not a slut. I am just Ely.