Today would mark her eight years.
Eight years since she reached the darkest point.
Eight years since she turned around.
Eight years since she said, "No more."
Eight years since she started back down the road to a better life.
She had been bullied for as long as she could remember. Ever since she started school. It started with the little things every kid went through in elementary school. He was a tattletale or she budged in line. He would steal her cookie or she wouldn't share. All the little things but she had always been bigger than most kids her age. And the kids would always make sure she never forgot that.
When all the other kids could still go on the kiddie rides, she couldn't because she was too big. While all the other kids could wear that dress or those shoes, she couldn't because she was too big. Clothes were always too small. Not the best like everyone else. She always felt like she had to grow up faster than everyone else.
It wasn't just that. She saw the world differently. Through more than one way. Everyone else would only see the one path. She would see all the little secret passageways around it and hidden. And even though they all ended up in the same place, others would not quite understand. They couldn't see how she could see this thing in that way or why she would even want to. She wasn't 'normal.' She wasn't like everyone else. There was so much more to see when she looked through the different paths. So much more to learn. Approaching it from a different way might help her understand more. Learn more. But no one could see why.
Family bonds were not the greatest either. One of her parents blamed her for everything. Constantly accusing her of things she didn't even do. She was the cause to all the problems in the family. She was the reason the family was tearing apart. She might have been the cause to some of the problems. Not all the problems. Sometimes things became so bad, her parent would literally kick her out of the house. And her grandmother was always there to catch her and take her in. One of her good friend's mother was always there for her too. But even then, she didn't know what to do. So after a while she gave up fighting her parent and just took the blame. She let her parent beat her down. There was no use in fighting back. No use in wasting energy on her parent because she had even more problems to face in school.
Again, the other kids didn't quite understand the way she worked. Why she would do the things the way she did. She only had two good friends. They stuck by her no matter what. And a wonderful beautiful cat at home who was always there to talk to whenever her other parent or no one could. She had the support. And that's what kept her going.
She had met another person in 5th grade. Possibly another friend she could really trust and get to know. They actually became best friends. And up until she was in 7th grade, their friendship had been great. But something came up and made her busy and her friend didn't quite understand that. They didn't' speak to each other in three days. After the fourth day, she had discovered her 'friend' went around telling everybody that they were going to kill themself because she wouldn't talk to them. She couldn't go down the hallway without being stared down.
The friend had written a note to themselves from her and went around showing everybody. The letter called the friends names and said mean things. One day, one of her classmates approached her asking in a cruel tone, "Why would you call your friend that? You're such a bitch."
And she didn't even know the names she called her 'friend.'
She would report to the teachers and higher powers. They would do nothing about it. They'd give the bullies a warning and that was it. If the problems continued, they would tell her, "That's life kid. Tough." She didn't even bother reporting anymore. They wouldn't do anything about it. What was the point?
She would hurt herself. She could slap herself and knock her head against the walls. Hoping it would knock some 'normal' into her. She'd make herself throw up and sick just to hopefully avoid going to school. She went into the kitchen one night to cut herself. Hoping to bleed the 'weird' out of her. She made a little cut on her wrist before her sister walked in and made her stop. She made a deal. She would stop if her sister didn't tell their parents. The sister agreed.
Her sister stopped her many more times. Each time promising to stop if her sister didn't tell her parents.
She didn't want to live anymore. She didn't want to bug her two good friends, her good parent, her grandmother, her second mother or anyone else with her problems anymore. She never wanted to bring anyone else down with her issues. No one deserved to go through what she went through and she knew her situation wasn't as bad as others. The relationship with her one parent wasn't getting any better. She didn't want to go to school because they would sit and do nothing. She didn't want to keep making her sister keep secrets anymore. She knew it was hurting her. She didn't want to keep leaning on her cat for therapy. She figured if she went, so would all the problems. She just wanted to leave this earth. She figured they would all be better off without her.
She wanted to try many times. But something or someone would always make her stop. Perhaps it was her cat or a friend calling just when she wanted to do it. She never really knew. But there was always some sort of reminder to keep holding on just a bit longer.
But even with the reminders, the road she had been driven down was dark. Cruel. She couldn't see an end. Just a eternal trail of darkness. It only seemed to get darker the more she walked. No end. Thorns grew behind her closing her in so she couldn't turn back. Whenever she seemed to try, she'd only hurt herself even more. She'd trip and fall and everyone could step all over her and take advantage of her. And after a while, someone would finally come around to help her back up. Whether it'd be one of her good friends or her good parent and after that they'd guide her back to that little bit of light peeking through the thorns. Only to have to have it plugged up later. But there was light on the other side. Despite all the pain she felt, deep down inside there was a still a little hope. And maybe that's what prevented her from trying suicide earlier.
One day after another tough day at school, she went upstairs and listened to her music. Music had always been her own therapy. She talked to her cat about her day and then started heading downstairs. She heard her parents talking about her. Even though they didn't actually say it, she took it as, "We'd be better off without her..."
She didn't even think. She had it. Cat or no cat. Music to help her through or not. As far as she knew, she didn't have friends anymore. She had stopped believing in a God. If there was a so called God, why would he make her suffer like this? If he loved her so, why would he make her go through this? She constantly prayed and prayed. Nothing. The only person that could save her was herself and that just seemed impossible.
She went to the bathroom and pulled the pills out of the cupboard.
It was three days till her birthday. But she didn't care. She dreaded her birthday. It was only a reminder that she lived another year of harassment and would live to put up with more. She was tired of the harassment. She was tired of the bullying. She was tired constantly bringing people down with her problems. She was tired of being shamed and taunted for things she couldn't control. For being a larger girl. For being herself.
She was tired. She was so, so tired. And she wanted to sleep. She simply wanted some eternal rest.
She took a deep breath and looked to her right. Her sister was standing there. Always catching her in the act. But her sister couldn't talk her out of this one. Not this time. So she threatened her. "If you tell them, I'll take you with me." And she meant it.
Her sister didn't care. Her sister ran straight to their parents and told them what she was about to do.
Her parents rushed her to the hospital. Three days later, on her 14th birthday, she was admitted to a psych center. She spent a week in there. They didn't really do anything. They figured out her triggers and gave her time away from school and everything else for a while. But they didn't really do anything.
Getting some time away, she had time to think. Life might not be so great to her right now. But she had a few purposes to live. A few reasons to keep holding on and maybe Karma would see what she was doing and give her a chance to experience happiness.
Music. She loved music. She always had. She loved to sing and twirl around the room. She played a flute at that time. She loved her flute. She loved to listen. She felt like the music read her thoughts and she could drift away into another world. Music was always there.
And her cat. Her precious cat. The slightest hint of sadness and her cat was right there to comfort her. Always there to talk to and listen. That cat meant more to her than life itself.
She still had two very good friends and a sister who loved her dearly. She was a big sister again. She had a new baby brother to take care of and help raise.
Her one good parent and even the "bad" parent still cared. Maybe if she stuck around, she could help her "bad" parent and they could both recover together.
She had the outdoors to just walk around in and breath. It wasn't like she didn't have a place to go and just let out steam.
She wouldn't give up. Not now. Not yet.
The road on the way back was still rough. There were still many thorns to fight through. They poked her and scratched her. Reminding her of bad memories. But the more she fought, the bigger the light that poked through became. She could hear voices on the other side. She could hear the reason for living. And she gained more hope. She could get through this.
Socializing was a bit hard. The bullying continued. She soon started discovering who she liked. And it was different from everyone else and she didn't dare tell anybody that. She gained weight. She still doubted herself. But she started trying new things. Her sister gave her a second chance at life and she wasn't going to waste it. She had already abused her sister enough. She didn't want to let her down anymore.
She auditioned for the school play her junior year. She didn't know what inspired her to do it. She was part of a summer theater group when she was 12 years old. And she remembered liking it. Perhaps that's what inspired her to go and do it. Even if it meant acting alongside some of the people who picked on her.
She loved it. It helped her start to come out of her shell. Even though she was acting alongside a few people who didn't favor her, they couldn't say anything about her being weird or different because that was a requirement for this activity. It was a place where she could be herself. She promised herself she would try to do this more often.
Her senior year, she moved to a different school. She was afraid. She would have to start all over again with the new bullying and new friends. But it was quite the opposite. She met new people, just as different as her. She was able to swim again. She was able to do more. She went to perform in the Gator Bowl. She got to go to Cleveland, Ohio. She got a real experience on what it was like to be happy. To be truly happy.
She graduated with everyone else in her class, even though she had the option of graduating early. Another happy discovery from that year. She received a Regents Diploma. She decided to go out for another play. She made it. She received her first solo singing line. She got to meet more people. New friends. And the road only got better from there.
Her "bad" parent got help. Her "bad" parent got better. Her bad parent had become a good parent. And they were best friends. Which is all she ever wanted. She lost her weight. She did more plays. She met even more people and even got involved with a couple groups. Theater had become her outlet. Her time to socialize. When life brought her down, she could always count on theater and the people involved to help make her day better. Even if it was only a few hours. She worked through her problems.
About three years ago, she made it to that last layer of thorns. And she simply brushed them away. And stepped into the light. That beautiful warm light. And all the people she met along the way, all the people who called to her through the thorns, all the people who gave her hope were waiting there for her. And she smiled. She had made it. Five years later, she had finally made it.
And it was worth every step. Every cut and bruise. Every scar. She had walked out stronger than she had ever been. She had been given a second chance. And she couldn't be more thankful. For she knew not everybody got that privilege.
She still looks back once in a while. She sees that wall of thorns and remembers the hard times. But she never thinks about heading back. She always tries to live in the moment, look to the future and use the past to guide her. She still does theater. It keeps her sane (for the most part). She draws, writes and still loves her music.
One of her original warriors, her beautiful lovely cat, has passed on. But that cat did more for her than she did for herself. That cat will always hold a special place in her heart. Always and forever.
Her two friends are still around and she had two "good" parents now. She is surrounded by loving, caring, insane people who she loves and cares deeply about. And she finds herself appreciating the tiniest things and being amused by the simplest stuff. Why? Because at one point in her life, she thought she wouldn't see those things again nor would they have any meaning. They are a reminder of the privilege of Life.
Karma finally turned around and smiled down on her. She loves her life and wouldn't change it for anything. And so it's been eight years since she was given a second chance.
Eight years since she reached the darkest point.
Eight years since she turned around.
Eight years since she said, "No more."
Eight years since she started back down the road to a better life.
Eight years since those simple words started guiding her back.
"Hang on... It does get better..."
~A Note from the Author
To the reader,
I am not going to hide the fact that this story is my own personal story. On May 13th, 2006, I attempted suicide. It was the height of a very dark part of my life.
The reason why I typed this all out and am sharing it with you is because eight years ago, after being admitted into the psych center and started thinking about the good things, I sarcastically told myself, "If I live to see daylight eight years from now, I will share my story." I didn't mean it because I didn't think I'd survive that long. But anybody who knows me knows that once I say I'm going to do something, I do it.
It was hard to write this out. I've been working on it for over a month. There were times I had to step away from the computer and collect myself because I had hidden my inner demons away for so long and it was scary to face them again. But I managed to finish it this morning.
Now I ask for no pity. That time in my life may always linger and haunt me but it is past and I have come a very long way since then. As Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" once said, "I'm who and where I want to be." I provide this story to let others know they're not alone and I will always be there with an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. But I do ask that you listen to me and pay attention to the following information.
Bullying is a serious issue. I was constantly harassed for my height, my weight later on, the way I dressed, the hobbies and activities I enjoyed. I looked at things a different way and sometimes had my own way of doing things but it wasn't right so I was picked on and teased for it. I remember one incident where all the girls in the locker room after gym literally grabbed my boots and smelled them, announcing "EW!" and "You're gross!" They all laughed and threw the boots at me. I was so furious and upset that I ended throwing the boot back at the girls head. And then later on, I felt bad.
If you see someone being bullied, I urge you to please, please, PLEASE go get help. If they don't listen, get someone who will. All those commercials you see on TV about bullying and how to prevent it are true. And speaking from personal experience, provide an ear to listen. You don't necessarily have to know the person. Sometimes all they need is to vent and some sign that someone does care. I know it helped me and still does. I've heard many stories of people who were planning to kill themselves but then that one person called or asked if they were alright and they didn't go through with it.
Now don't think you're the decider between life and death. Don't feel pressured at all. You're not. You just have a heart and believe me when I say that person will appreciate it more than anything. Even if they don't realize it at the time.
Suicide is another huge issue. Something that pisses me off every time I hear it is "Suicide is the cowardly way to go." It is not. Whenever I thought about it, I didn't want to. In fact, I was scared to but at the time I also figured I would help everything else by disappearing. I'll tell you what is cowardly though. Harassing and bullying someone to the point where they do want to kill themselves. If you push someone to the point where they feel absolutely worthless and they're just a mistake to the world, that's cowardly. If they think they're going to do everybody a favor by killing themselves, then that's a scary and horrifying experience. Believe me when I say they're just as scared to do it. It's not cowardly. It's really not.
There are walks and organizations that help with suicide prevention so there are many ways you can help. I know my town has a suicide prevention walk every year and I always try to walk in that or help out in some way. There is even a hotline you can call if you suspect someone might be committing it. I would look up what is available. Sometimes the littlest act of kindness can go a long way.
So with this said, I want to thank each and every single one of my friends and family. They know who they are.
I want to thank Monkey Doodle Lynn Mistoffeles Neufer, the wonderful precious cat mentioned in this story. May you be enjoying Friskies and milk at Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again. <3
I want to thank my dear sister. I didn't chose life. My sister chose it for me and I couldn't be more thankful and grateful for what she did. She has always been one of the most beautiful and bravest people I know. I love you so much lil sis.
And to all my fellow theater people and DeviantArt people, you always make me smile whenever I see you and what you're doing. And I thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.
Love you all.