Day 8 Prompt: Memory – High School (Ages 14 – 18)
Pull a memory from the high school age range. Describe what you see, feel, hear.
So many memories – so hard to choose. Part of me says I should continue the saga with my parents and talk more about my development as a teen and another part of me wants to talk about those who were significant in these growing up years. Really, I suppose I could actually do both.
At some point in my life I started running away from home. A day or two at a time – then several days – then weeks which stretched into months. For various reasons I would come and I would go. I wanted things to be different, but I just could not stay there. Every day I was there I was constantly reminded of how awful I was and how I would never amount to anything. Threats of insane asylums and prison were pervasive. I had to go. Sometimes I tried to make it work, do the “right” thing, but it was never enough. I was never good enough. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the failing was not mine alone, and that all these things were not entirely my fault.
There were days and nights I would hold myself and cry and tell myself I was not a bad person. I don’t know where I got that strength from. Looking back, I’m amazed that thoughts of suicide didn’t really even enter my brain. I’m amazed I didn’t turn to regular drug use either. When I lived with my parents I had no one to turn to for emotional support. I had clothes on my back, a roof over my head, food in my belly – but none of it meant anything if I could not be free. And I could never be who I was when I was at home without feeling like I was the worst person on the planet. And pretending to be someone I wasn’t 24/7 was just too much. I couldn’t do it. And even if I had been able to, it was never enough. I could never stand up to their expectations. After a while, I stopped seeing a reason to try. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. It didn’t get me the love I so desperately wanted.
Still to this day, the parents that raised me never saw me for who I was and I could never really be myself with them. As an adult I learned how to live with this.
Amazingly, I did have friends during this tumultuous time who supported me, sometimes against their own parents’ wishes. These people helped me by giving me temporary housing to live in, a place to shower, and for brief amounts of time, be safe. Some of them loved me more than I knew or realized until this day. I was a hot mess and they still cared. I am deeply indebted to those individuals.