As those days came to a close, in the end, I believe the words became my safe haven. Eager to disclose what was left of my worldly being to the paper, I rushed to produce a piece to leave behind. During those days, before and after I met a boy, I created a world that wouldn’t leave me. I wrote. I wrote about the pain, and I called it fiction, a story, and I wrote until it found a comfortable solution. I gave my fiction what I thought I could never give myself.  After those days, I continued questioning myself and the people around me. After those days, I stopped killing myself every night before bed – I told myself that if I were going to move forward, I had to leave the past behind. That progression not only meant that I had to leave behind those abysmal pieces of myself but also that I had to cut ties. So I did. The heat of the summer after our graduation blazed fiercely, and I held the lasting yet diminished ties of companionship and friendship to the fire. It was a summer spent incredibly alone, a summer spent working on building and breaking myself, a summer that led to an end of melancholy. 

After those days spent wondering if any of us would ever grow up, I felt myself changing and entering a metamorphosis of sorts. I met a friend, a girl I’d known during those days, Alex. She pulled me back in before I could get away once again. Looking back now, while I did find occasional strength alone, those forlorn and forsaken moments nearly brought the killing back. Alex forced me out of my sullen and despondent comfort zone, and she took my sorrowful demeanor and only allowed me small moments to fall apart. 

After those days, I was never sure that Alex and I would remain friends, yet we did; we created a new life complete with new friends and textbooks and adventures our parents would have hated.  

After those days, I opened myself up to people; after those days, I focused my mind on what could be rather than what would never be. After those days, I allowed myself to finally engage in this pursuit of happiness that my teenage angst constantly blocked me from seeing. That is not to say, though, after those days, that my incredible weaknesses didn’t still loom ominously over my head.  

What was once figurative suicide become literal suicidal ideation. But I was happy. I had friends, new ones, and a growing and changing life. But I was away from the cage of high school and conformity. But my life wasn’t so hard. But I was suddenly doing well and living a beautiful life. What they don’t tell you is that one moment you’ll be high on new experiences and the greater good you never thought you’d find and the next moment you’re struggling to find any sort of substantial light.  

The only difference between the during and the after about my mind was that I stopped imagining my death and started planning it; I, in that new and exciting time, felt an increasing need to off myself. I thought I had been growing, and then I thought I had been failing – a tale of two extremes always and forever.  

I met another boy. Logan drew me in like a riptide, which seems incredibly absurd when I thought of him now. A new friend connected me to this Logan, this new boy, and my enamored heart fell into his disingenuous hands all too easily. I was done trying to love myself. I simply wanted the reassurance of someone finally loving me. I spent hours of my time getting to know a person who never existed, and I let him capture my mind too quickly. It all happened so fast.  

Writing every detail and anecdote involving our relationship would result in a complicated series of chapters, each one revealing how much I didn’t deserve the love he feigned. What was worse wasn’t the false and treacherous territory we built affection on, but he segregated me from creating and maintaining other relationshuips far more than I alone had ever done to myself. It started with the few friends I managed to carry with me through those four years of disgruntled discontent. They met him, and they humored me because I was happy. In those moments, and during those days, I wish I could’ve realized and understood their friendship despite my faults. 

He tore those people away from me, and I let him do so, giving out false reasons and snarky explanations to all the people who wondered what in the world was happening to me. 

Natalie tried to save me once. Let me explain. 

I know a remarkable, inconceivably steadfast woman. She spent those long days in our personal hell with me, and even when the walls were closing in on us, we made it work. We loved the same music and shared an awful affinity for lipsticks and boys who liked to hurt us. She accepted me in leaps and bounds, and I her, and I’m not sure there are very many other human beings I will ever know and love in the way I know and love Natalie. She has left an indelible impression upon my lugubrious soul; I owe her my life because she is part of the reason I got it back.  

I almost lost her, and I almost lost myself. 

Natalie was the first person I shared a draft of my novel with. I decided to take on the project during those days; it started as a fun writing exercise during my freshman year of high school and blossomed into the graduation project I would present my junior year. It remained unfished until December of my senior year. 

When I presented the project to a panel of three teachers from our district, I thought of it as a failure. I anxiously printed out the barely finished manuscript, one for my presentation and one for myself, and I went into the computer lap with a nervous heart. Looking back to my unfinished work and poor developing demeanor, I realize that moment was not one of failure or lack of creation, it was one of incomplete depiction, a moment in the making. I was a moment in the making. I hadn’t finished the novel then, just as I hadn’t finished myself, and even now, I’m still in the making.  

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