I stood on the top of the hill, watching everyone howl at the glowing stadium lights that lit up half the area code. Kids were coated in scarlet and packed tight in the stands, screaming to the music playing above on the speakers. I’ve never seen so many kids excited in my entire life.
My first football game was exactly like I imagined. If you’ve ever seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower, one of the opening scenes was almost exactly how mine played out. I nervously showed up, not even knowing where the stadium entrance was. After frantically texting a boy I met at my orientation, I showed up and he took me under his wing. I’ve never been more grateful for a teenage boy in my entire life as the moment he motioned me to come stand with him. I met a few people in his group and for once in my entire life, I felt included. They asked me questions about myself and laughed at my jokes. Even if they didn’t, it felt like they wanted me there. That was new.
I knew that my old friends would be there. I mean, they’re a clan of parasitical teens. I love them all dearly, but I didn’t belong with them and they went to all ends to make me feel that way. They were standing almost directly behind us and I didn’t notice until I got a few half-hearted taps and a “hey!” before walking away immediately after. I just wanted to flip them all off. One of them is a girl and I want to make it very clear that I think she is the bee’s knees. I was closer to her than I was to my boyfriend at the time. She came right up to me and hugged me, telling me how much she missed me. That meant the world to me. So if you’re reading this, old friends, keep her around. She’s the gem in all of you.
When I say my old friends didn’t like me. I mean they didn’t like me. I was a temporary installment to their lives and they treated me as such. My mom keeps telling me to cut them some slack, and I do, because I have to remind myself that they are teenagers. They are boys and at this age are terribly underdeveloped apes with no grasping of life beyond Fortnite and their Juul. I know that sounds bitter. It should.
Over the summer, I went through a medication shift and a severe episode of depression. I won’t sugar coat it because sugar-coating is what ruins the world and is probably why we all have sugar addictions or diabetes. I was passively suicidal and felt like every day would be my last. When you’re suicidal, the world doesn’t seem too scary because you literally could not care less about anything. You are so exhausted that each breath feels like a gasp, a silent plea for help to the universe or anyone who could hear. Nights were the worst. So were mornings. I just wrote in my journal, drove around and sang, and worked until I dropped. Anything that would get my mind off of my mind. There was one particularly bad night when I was scrolling through the contacts on my phone, searching for a name that felt comfortable. Someone I wouldn’t burden or hurt or scare. But the names all blended together. I finally called my mom’s friend, also my second mother, and the words wouldn’t even come out. All I could say was, “It’s just a bad night. Just a really bad night.” She finally picked up on it and tried to talk me through it, telling me to plan a trip to see her and get my mind off things. My parents were out of town and I could come relax for a bit. I knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t follow through on that, but once again, I’d do anything to get my mind off of itself. I had lost my friend group and even told a few of them what I was going through, just to be told that “it’s good you’re getting help” and then almost instantly being cut out of the group entirely. They said they were there sometimes, but I knew they weren’t. Frankly, I knew they didn’t want to be. I dealt with it all alone.
No one really knows how to deal with suicidal kids, no matter what the internet or medicine tells you. We’re foreign bombs wired shut and our wires are all the same color, so any direction could make or break the whole deal. For me, I just needed someone to listen. To listen, and not make me feel bad about what I was experiencing because the guilt I was feeling was heavy enough. I didn’t need that reinforced.
Teens tend to want to distance themselves from bombs (most people do, obviously), and I get that. I just wish they didn’t lie to me and tell me how much they were there for me. Life is life and in the end, you’ve only got yourself. Might as well get to know her as best I can.
At the football game, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was laughing at the sheer stupidity that everyone was rejoicing in. The band, like most high school bands, was absolutely terrible. And they should be! High school should be terrible and only a few are in tune to that fact when they’re actually going through it. I befriended a few new people who actually made me laugh and made me feel, well, not invisible. Whether that was a one time thing or a genuine series of budding friendships, I don’t know. But it was absolutely necessary for me to feel that and those boys will never know how truly grateful I am, because they’re boys and we’ve been over where they are mentally at this point (although these boys were much smarter and kinder). Now I know that I don’t have to put up with kids who tell me that I use “too big of words” and ignore me.
I wish I could end this by telling you I’m happy. I’m happier, but I’m not happy. Just like I’m better, but still not well. However, the darkness of this summer forced me to realize that I cannot live a fake life. I cannot pretend to be the girl a normal boy wants to date or the passive girl everyone wants to be friends with. It’s just not me. By pretending, we slowly kill ourselves until we are shells of people with no substance or morals. We become carbon copies of each other and adopt boring personality traits that cater to other’s needs.
A few nights ago, I attended a party and watched how teenagers actually interacted and here’s the inside scoop: they don’t. I’ll end on something I wrote down at that party.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 // 12:23 AM
What gets me through high school is telling myself “let them have it” over and over again. Because high school might be their only chance to have something. Some amount of popularity. Some amount of sexual experience. Something fun to make this damned life worth living for the moment. I’ll have my fun later. Just let them have this.