In 5th grade, I started crying myself to sleep. I’m not exactly sure why, to this day, that I developed a habit of that. Needless to say, I conjured up the guts to tell my Mom something was up. Now, if you knew who my mother was today, you would have read that last sentences at the time and begged and pleated, kneeling on a pile of grits that I would save myself the pain. I told her I’d been crying at night and I didn’t really know why. She asked me to think really hard because there had to be a reason. I started crying again and then everything hits me. I miss my cousins and my old house and the way things used to be. What does that mean? Well, I used to live with my cousins in a two family house, but after my Dad found a better job in the city, our families spilt up. Years later I learn that in the midst of selling the house, my Dad and my Aunt’s husband get in a fight. They move to Florida, and we move to the city.
Then, sitting on my bed–in a room with no door, but thats a whole ‘nother conversation–with my mother by my side, crying and looking for any type of consolation my Mom tells me to stop crying and that I’ll get over it. Although she doesn’t say these things in a cruel way, I realized that she was shrugging away the situation and assuming it was some tween bullshit episode that I would get over. Little did she know that this incident would stay with me for what I am assuming will be the rest of my life.
Fast forward 6 years, and you’ll find me trying to muster up the confidence to attempt, yet again, at confiding in my mother. No ladies and gentlemen, I had yet to learn my lesson. I’d been going through the works; problems with body image, drugs, grades were dropping, a new found relief in bodily harm began to arise. I’d hit a low I never knew existed. Every morning when the sun would rise–not to mention I couldn’t actually see it, since the window in my room is precisely 1×2 and always locked and covered with a curtain since my Mom was afraid someone would try to break in. Don’t ask me how they’d attempt getting through without making noises that wouldn’t wake me up–I thought that a new day wouldn’t end in utter blackness. But sure enough, the night would come and I’d hit the bottom again.
I read books about cutters who were accused of being desperate attention seekers, and I always thought that it was true. I mean, why else would you cut yourself on obvious places like the wrist. Of course someone would see it. Then, I started growing tired of hiding the marks all the time. After a while, it just became a chore to hide my wrists all the time. Bracelets would irritate the wounds in the middle of class, and wearing long sleeve’s 24/7 just wasn’t an option. But then, there were drugs.
Bud doesn’t show on the skin. It was the best way out. A dime could last weeks, if I kept it all to myself. Now, this didn’t last very long, but it became an obsession for a couple of weeks. I remember one specific time when I asked my Mom if she had something I needed–I don’t even remember what it was. On my way out the door, I took inventor of my new best friends: Lighter, the little light o’ mine. Bowl, my sacred vessel. And last, but most certainly not least, the magical herb that takes me back to the happy days.
I can’t remember if it was hot or cold outside. But my best guess says it was a warm night. I can’t recall because frankly, it didn’t matter. I had adrenaline coursing through my veins like water bursting through a broken pipe. I turned the corner towards the park and wondered if I’d run into an cops. This made me really nervous, but I kept on walking. I get to the park and its pitch black, the light busted. I go toward a short tunnel providing a dim light. I consider this for a moment, it will either spot me out for prospective psychos or police, or it will help me see them first, giving me time to run. The deciding factor was this: I couldn’t use both my hands to put bud in the bowl while holding the lighter and not having sufficient light. So, I stayed at the edge of the tunnel. After I was done getting my fix, I put away my tools and headed home.
It took me a while to realize that weed wasn’t helping, at all. But I didn’t notice it because things were bad already. I’m pretty sure there reached a point where, if it got worse, I didn’t even notice. It was just bad, horribly bad, all the time. So I approached my Mom about it. It was really late at night, probably around midnight–late for her–when I decided it was time to talk to her because I was sick and tired of feeling like shit all the time. I bawled and hiccuped all over the place, trying to explain to her that I wanted a therapist and that I needed someone to talk to. She got extremely angry and told me to stop being so ridiculous and self-centered. She told me I was a brat for implying that all this was was a cry for unnecessary attention. I considered this for about a second and quickly came to the conclusion that my Mom was a complete bitch.
I can’t quite remember when, either the next day or sometime during that week, I faked being sick. I stuck my hand down my throat and gagged a couple minutes, claiming to have an upset stomach and an intense headache. After much pleading, she let me stay home and made a doctor’s appointment for me. I stripped down to my underwear and put on the paper dress, not knowing how to tell the doctor that she didn’t really need to take my temperature and check my vitals. She finally asked me if there was anything else I needed and thats when I started to break down, crying.
There I sat, talking to a complete stranger–since my regular doctor wasn’t in–explaining that I needed to talk to someone because I was unbearably so miserable. She proceeded in telling me that I should talk to my mother. “I tried,” I managed to get through, “but she wouldn’t listen.”
“Well, I’m not a psychologist,” she hesitated, “I’ve never had a patient come to me like this before.”
I felt myself turning bright red. Here I was, almost naked, initiating my second attempt at finding help from the one person I thought could help me. I had no idea what to do. The doctor then suggested that maybe my Mom just needed from coaxing from a profesional. I told her that she can try her luck, but it wasn’t likely. After the talk with my Mom, I was called back into the room. I see my Mom on the way out of the room, and she didn’t seem pissed so I figured things weren’t completely hopeless. I’m also fully clothed now, so I feel much more comfortable.
“I see what you mean.”
And my heart sinks. Not even my doctor can get through to her? Shit. Then my doctor starts to write numbers on the back of her card, explain instruction for me to follow to get in touch with a psychologist for my medical plan. I ask her how its possible since I’m only 16 and she tells me that I don’t need a parent to do the calling. Suddenly, I feel relieved. Now my doctor is helping me lie to my parents and go behind their backs.
Outside, my Mom asks me about the little stunt I pulled. I remind her that I asked for her help, and she was unwilling, so I had to try something else. She proceeded in telling me that the reason she refuses that I have a therapist is because it makes her look like an incompetent parent. In a fit of anger, I confess to her that I can get a therapist on my own. I can tell she’s fighting the urge to slap me right in the middle of the sidewalk. Instead, she guilts me by explaining that my Dad has worked so hard and paid so much money to have the “great life” we have now. For some reason, I dismiss the whole secret psychologist plan and look forward to the fast approaching summer.
I worked so hard all summer to try and flip my life around on my own, and some how I did it. I didn’t have much to do except read and watch TV. I managed to climb out the dark abyss and focus on things that weren’t so depressing. Life still sucks a lot of the time, but I’ve near the bottom. Theres no telling that it was the actual bottom, but I’m not interested in finding out if it was.
The reason I chose this as my topic is because today, after turning off the shower, I hear my Mom and brother fighting in another room. Some of it I couldn’t quite make out, but heres what I recall:
“This paper doesn’t mean anything!”
“This is important! Your teacher said so!”
“It isn’t actually going to Obama! Its just a rough draft!”
“You can’t write like that! Its not professional! Even rough drafts should look presentable. Now stop writing like a 3rd grader and make the letters smaller!”
“What are you doing?! Don’t throw that piece of paper away!”
“Its garbage, you’re starting over.”
“You know, throwing a good piece of paper away is actually bad for the environment. You’re wasting paper. And by wasting paper, you’re wasting trees and that kills the earth. So you’re just killing yourself. Its suicide.”
Now, one piece of paper isn’t going to kill us, but my brother can be overdramatic sometimes. But I bet you can guess where he gets it from.
“Don’t ever. Use that word. In this house.”
The thing about my Mom is that she thinks if things are never said, she won’t have to deal with them. This is why I’ve never had a sex talk or a drug talk. This is why she thought not addressing my obvious depression would make it all just go away.
The thing about most kids is that they seek out what is forbidden. My mother never let me hang out with friends, she never wanted to have a real talk with me, she never wanted me to know. I couldn’t hang out with friends because she was afraid something bad would happen to me. In fact, she was sure something bad would happen. Yet, I bet there have been over a hundred times I’ve hung out with friends and claimed that I was in school, doing an after school program or participating in an after school club. Surprise, surprise, I’m alive and well. We never talked, so I had to find things out on my own. I began to search because it wasn’t accessible to me at home. I wanted what I couldn’t have, so I sought it out. And thats what makes me scared for my brother. I don’t want him getting into the same things I did. I don’t want him to feel what I felt in 11th grade, because he isn’t me, and I don’t know if he could turn his life around like I managed to do. Not because I don’t believe in him, but because we aren’t the same person, so I have no idea what he would do.
I vowed a long time ago that I would be nothing like my parents. After experiencing things they’ve put me through and seeing it happen again with my brother, I couldn’t stand to be apart of such a destructive family, yet again.