15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger
Who were your closest friends as a teenager?
I doubt I will ever be able to pin down anyone I would consider a "closest friend" or a group of "closest friends" as a teenager. I was the kid that was on the outskirts of the average typical teen. I did not fit in with any clique, but I was friends with everyone. My school was small, so it was more of a matter of growing up with one another rather than being cliquish. I am not denying that we had our stoners and our preps, but we all, more or less, got along with one another. As you learned from before, I was very geeky. I still am.
Anyway, I had many friends that had a place in my heart. I guess, I did have close friends when I was younger, but everything changed when I was in high school. My home life was brutal, as the ongoing battle between my sister and my parents kept our household in chaos. For this reason, I pulled away from my closest friends. I still would hang out with them every now and again, but it was too embarrassing for me to be close enough to someone to let them enter my world. The one friend that I clung to the most was Priscilla, but I still do not believe that she knew and understood everything that I was going through.
Together, Prissy and I would listen to The Cure and explore our newfound 'Alternative' lifestyles. We often bought our dark depressing clothing with one another in tow. Prissy dreamed of being a clothing designer, and she would find new ways to make our clothing edgy and unique. One weekend, Prissy and I spent the entire weekend putting safety pins on a denim jacket I had bought. She taught me how to make my hair stand on end and how to make my dark eye makeup even darker.
Unfortunately, as the battles at home raged and my mother slipped into her depression, my depression began to creep in as well. I think that Prissy was the only person that knew that I cut myself on a daily basis. The darkness that invaded my life enveloped me, and I had grown numb. Night after night, I would drag the razor blade across my skin just so I could feel something, anything. When Prissy grew worried about the marks I hid under friendship bracelets, black rubber bracelets, and Swatches, I shut her out as well. Our friendship was never the same from that point.
I was still the perfect little student wearing a perfect little smile across my face in public. I was embarrassed to go around the friends I had gone to church with throughout my life because I was arrested twice for running away so that I could go to church. Mom's demands on me were painful, as I felt time and time again I was being punished for my sister's wrongdoings. Not being allowed to attend church was the final straw. My rough exterior broke, and I dove into a depression that surpassed my sister's. I do not blame my sister or my mother for my reaction to the strict rules set before me. I understand, today, that my mom did not want me to make the same mistakes my sister had made, so she set up a stiffer regiment for me than my sister.
When my sister moved out of the home, I was shielded and 'protected.' I was only allowed to attend school functions, and church was not permitted. Then, I did not understand, so the harder my mother tried, the further she pushed me away. Not long after my sister left, my father left. A few months later, my brother was gone too.
Rebellion had become my middle name. By the beginning of my Senior year, I had no friends only acquaintences. I did not trust anyone at all. My depression peaked when I learned that the school board did not want me to be drum major. I started drinking, doing drugs, and smoking pot was my number one past time. However, cocaine was my drug of choice. I dated guys that were bad influences just to piss my parents off, as well as have easy access to drugs and alcohol. Soon, I was seeing less and less of my mother, and I, pretty much, had the house to myself.
One evening, the shift at the hospital was overstaffed, and my mother was sent home to work. I had snuck my sister over to hang out with me. I watched in horror, as my mother drug her out of the home by her hair, and the two equal sized women beat the hell out of one another. Mom, eventually, stopped coming home. I thought that I was abandoned and all alone. I only was able to eat at school because I received free lunches. The house was out of food, and I often found myself going to the convenience store my aunt managed to beg for food.
The electricity was soon shut off, and I used candlelight to find my way through the house. Although I was doing drugs and drinking, I still kept up with going to school, doing my homework, and making good grades. After all, I had an image to uphold. When I was not at school, band practice, basketball practice, or a game, I was out with my boyfriend doing drugs and raising hail. I remember being chased by the police one night. I jumped from the car and scrambled down alleyways until I found myself home. My boyfriend took off in the other direction. His sister came to the house later that night to tell me that he had been arrested and was in jail.
I had not seen Mom in a few days. I was still begging my aunt for food, and eating my free breakfast and lunches at school. When I had not attended school in two days, the concerned principal, who I had become a regular visitor to, called my grandmother's house, as she was listed as my emergency contact. My sister answered the phone and was notified of my failure to attend classes, and he voiced his concern. Knowing how my geekiness drove me to strive to finish school, my sister became concerned as well.
My sister arrived at the tiny apartment I shared with my mother to find me lying on the couch with 104 degree temperature. She ran to the store where my aunt was working and had her call my father because no one had any idea where to find my mother. My aunt gave my sister Tylenol and a bag of ice. She instructed my sister to run me a cold bath with the ice and give me the pills to help bring my temperature down.
My father arrived at the house in a couple of hours and took me to the emergency room in the hospital my mother worked in. While the doctor explained to my father that I had irreparable kidney damage due to the severe infection, a patient was wheeled into the area next to mine. The nurses and doctors were working frantically to save the life on the other side of the curtain when we heard one state, "Breathe, Sandy. Dammit!" My dad pulled the curtain back and their laid my mother on the gurney.
I had not known that the stress of raising a child with mental illness had become overwhelming for my mother. I never realized how it had broken my family apart and twisted each one of us into one another's worst enemy. Mom had been battling a battle of her own, and I was so absorbed in my teenaged angst that I had failed to see it. The loss of my sister in the family home and built wedges in-between each and every one of us. My father and mother separating had added stress to my mother, and the rebellion that forced my mother to send my brother to live with Dad had taken its toll.
The last thing this woman needed was to lose me too, and lose me she had. Her nervous breakdown had forced her to make a decision to enter a stress unit where she could heal and grow strong once again. Unfortunately, the teenaged me did not understand how hard life had been for mom, and I still carried resentment toward her for abandoning me until I had children of my own.
I moved to a much larger school in a much larger town where I knew no one but my father, brother, and several much older and much older cousins. No one in the school knew me, and I was able to get a fresh start. I was very reserved and timid, and I still did not want to let anyone in. However, two of the coolest people I have ever known had become my very close friends, Michelle and Shane.
Like me, Michelle was quiet and did not like to be loud or raise hell. She reminded me a lot of my friend Prissy. We hung out together, attended dances together, and even went to the prom together. I stayed at Michelle's house on occasion, but I never allowed her to stay at my home, as I was sharing a two bedroom apartment with my father and brother and had to sleep on the couch when my father was off of work. Dad worked the night shift; so when he worked, I slept in his bed. Not having a bed of my own, a dresser of my own, and living out of boxes was embarrassing to me. We did eventually move into a house after my mother was released from the stress unit, and my family was reunited. Michelle did not know a lot about my family.
Shane, on the other hand, knew everything about me as he recognized my behaviors because they we behaviors he and I shared. We were often in 'flight or fight mode.' Shane and I grew very close because his homosexuality helped me bond with a man on a level that I did not feel threatened or at risk for sexual advances. Shane knew about my drug habit, which I kept well hidden from everyone else, and he knew about my cutting habit. He did not judge me because of the scrutiny he had fought his entire life due to his more feminine attributes.
To date, I do not think that Shane really realizes how much he means to me, but Michelle is well aware. She and I are still in contact with one another and enjoy watching one another's families grow and change via the internet. I would love, someday, to have the opportunity to spend time with Michelle once again. I would also love to be able to find and contact Prissy. I think of her often and miss being her friend. Though time has passed, I know that we would be able to re-enter our friendship. Most of the other children I grew up with are my friends on my Facebook, and we are still acquainted with one another. Several of them I hold dear as they were my first friends and companions, which I foolishly pushed away my final school years. I would love, some day, to be able to let them know how much they meant to me as a child and how I still carry them with me, but that, my darlings, is another story.