This student used the assignment to cope with and work through emotions resulting significant childhood trauma and the struggle to find a place to fit in. Every now and then you're going to get a story that just makes you want to hug the kid's neck and tell them it will be alright. Thankfully the student's family took care of that when all this happened.
I Am Empty
I live in a masquerade of happiness as I drown out the voices in my head. “Just make it through the day,” I tell myself, like I do everyday. I walk down the hall with my head down and books dangling in my arms. I am invisible as long as I have nothing to hide. But the slashes underneath my sleeves whisper otherwise. The pain is the only thing that distracts me enough to keep me from falling to pieces; it makes me forget how much I hate myself and how much I hate seventh grade.
Every day is a struggle when surrounded by people made of plastic. They judge every breath I take with fake smiles on their faces. The kind of fake smile that shows deception and the lies that linger on every word. The conceited shells of everyone around me brings me back to the day when my mom told my dad she was sorry for hurting his children and leaving my brother and me. She would wear that fake smile when she gave me a bath and made me squirm and cry by putting the soap in my eyes. She would traumatize me just to have a reason to comfort me. She would drink and do drugs with my brother while I was locked up in my room. Sometimes she’d even come upstairs in a drunken rage and scream at me for no reason at all. My mom would leave me by myself outside for hours at a time while I was alone on my bike. She would send me off to friends’ houses who were strangers to me. She even left me alone with a “friend” that had an ex-convict for a father who would act so sweet on the surface, but would be a little more than nice to me once I was alone with him. She surrounded me with everything that could potentially destroy me, and it was all to get back at my dad. I was a little girl trapped in a battle that was not my own. Sadly, no one won this war, but everyone ended up with scars.
The scars on my heart slowly started to show up on my skin as I realized more and more that I would never be good enough for my mom. I would never be good enough for anyone.
I hate school and everyone in it. In the girls locker room, I try to evanesce into the shadows so no one sees my secrets carved all over me. Today, I’m running late and I don’t have time to cower in corners. Changing in front of the other girls, I try to cover up the cuts on my side the best I could. It wasn’t long before I heard someone yell out,
“What’s wrong with your side?!”
“Nothing,” I replied.
I pulled my shirt over my head, and covered my mangled sides. I turned around and the girl’s face was a mix of false concern plastered onto her judgemental assumptions. A girl who used to be my best friend gives me a sincere look of disappointment as I slink into the crowd of girls, trying to fade among the faces.
Slowly, people start finding out more about my cutting. Some people try to intervene, but their motives are never to help me. Their curiosity just got the best of them. Everyone else could care less about the downward spiral I had thrown myself into, and I don’t blame them. How could anyone care about someone like me?
My dad and stepmom have no idea what to do with me. I come home depressed everyday, but they don’t see the tracks of tears that stream down my face in the darkness. I lay in bed and feel like I’m being watched. In the silence, I begin to hear the voices beckon once again. All at once, but never in sync, the insults pour out in my brain. “Look at yourself. You are ugly and stupid. Everyone hates you. Not even your own mom wanted to stick around to see what your outcome would be. Why do you even try to be happy? Why don’t you just kill yourself right now and save some trouble for everyone else?” I lay there, paralyzed. I try to ignore them but they keep screaming at me: “Just do it! Can’t you see that you’re hated?!” I sit up and place my feet on the floor. The steady stream of tears flow in ribbons across my cheek bones. I grab a thin razor blade from my cabinet, hidden behind the pages of books. The only way to get the voices to shut up is to cut them out of my skin. I’ll finally be able to sleep, and wake up to another day of hating myself. Another day of whispered rumours behind my back. Another day of not being good enough. Another day in this abyssal void of destruction.
The days begin to blur together, and the second semester is just as dismal as the last. Time slips away when I am in confined solitude: an asylum of my own mind. Days turn to weeks as I try to climb out of this hole. I texted my few friends from my iPod as an attempt for another distraction; a way to stop me from obliterating my body. When my dad found out I had been texting people, he took it away. He took away my one attempt of trying to fix myself, so I ran. I ran out the door and down the street and into the bush of someones front yard. Sitting under the branches, I came to the conclusion that I was dreaming. This wasn’t really happening and I needed to go back to my bedroom. The overdose of adrenaline caused my rational thinking to be overridden by impulse. I trace the newest cuts on my side, thankful for the distraction of pain. I see red and blue lights going up and down the street. There are several voices calling my name into the night air. I thought I had been gone 15 minutes but I guess time speeds up when lost in this miserable world of no return. After three hours, I drag myself across the spongy grass and stagger down the sidewalk to my house. I thought to myself, “this is such a strange dream.” I walk to the garage and nonchalantly pass my screaming stepmother. In my house, I finally see the light from my bedroom. I crawl into bed, and try to change the plot of this dream. Helen, my stepmom, had followed me into my room and inhibited any option of a new dream. I said to her, “Well since this is a dream, I might as well tell you everything.” I confessed everything in that moment. I told her about the cutting and my depression. My dad made his way into the scene at some point, and his rage slowly turned to pain and disappointment. In my head, this was a horrible dream I’d wake up from shortly, but in reality this was the beginning of a very real nightmare.
The isolation I had before was a paradise I longed for when I woke up to find that the occurrences of that night had been real. I was shut off from contact with anyone. I had all my sharp things taken away; except for my scissors. They were dull enough to make the pain more intense, yet sharp enough to make me bleed in beads of crimson. I was a recluse. The only people I talked to at school were those I saw as resources. I wanted drugs. I wanted more than the pain now. I tried so hard to convince my friends to let me try pot or anything they had really, but they didn’t trust me. I was too volatile, and no one wanted to waste their precious drugs on a hopeless case.
My friends were people who had it worse than me. A drug addict here, an alcoholic whore there, a mixture of pain and need in all of them. We were all lost in some way. We were all trying to find ourselves, but none of us knew how. The friends who knew the old me didn’t even acknowledge me now. I had never done drugs, yet everyone saw me as a druggie. I had never done more than kiss a boy, but now I was considered a slut. I had never tried to hurt anyone except myself, but suddenly I had a disease that no one wanted to catch. I was thrown into the menagerie of freaks, and then fed to the wolves. Rumours followed my every step. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. The truth about me was hidden somewhere in all those lies.
I had one friend who actually talked to me. Katherine was more screwed up than anyone I had met at this age, and that was why I loved her. She made me seem normal. She entertained me with horrible stories of her crazy partying and intense drug habits. She was the only person who never judged me. I never judged Katherine for what she had done, although everyone else did. She would be gone when summer came. And with her absence, I thought my one connection to feeling wanted was severed. Until I found Chandler.
Toward the end of the year, I was washing dishes in my home economics class after school, and one of my other group members was forced to “help” me, by standing there while I did all the work. He was best friends with my ex-boyfriend and conveniently my ex actually did show up. Chandler and I had dated for six months last year, and I broke his heart. He was so innocent at the time but after I crushed him, he fell off the deep end. Chandler would never climb back up from how far he fell, but I loved him nevertheless. During that moment, splashing water on each other, laughing, and falling for him again, we almost rekindled what we once had.
We talked on my home phone all the time, and I tried to convince my dad we were just friends. I thought we actually were, until we made out when he came over with Katherine one day. I slowly had someone to live for, and he was teaching me to love myself as much as he loved me. His cutting habit was worse than mine, and we were sucking the life out of each other more and more everyday.
Our phone calls didn’t necessarily have the best content either and one day my dad decided to listen in. I was laughing about something Chan had said when I hear my dad say, “Get off the phone. Now.” I did what he said, and I tried to explain myself. My efforts were useless. In a firm tone, all he said was, “I never want you to talk to that boy again. Oh, and you’re grounded from the phone.” He left, and the remains of my soul left with him. I was once again a hollow shell, numb to the pain I was about to feel. Tears started to pool in my eyes, and I heard those infamous voices once again. This time I gave in. Not just to releasing them, but to fulfilling what they wanted. I grabbed my scissors out of my drawer, then ambled my way to the bathroom and cracked the door. I found an empty space on my side and dug the edge into my skin. The blood starts bubbling up, and I watch as it drips down my side. I can’t get enough pain to make me feel something other than the hate I have for myself. If Chan can’t love me, and if I’m incapable of loving me then what’s the point? There is no such thing as love, as I carve into myself deeper and deeper.
In this moment a flood gate of trapped memories unleashes itself. I remember all the parties at my moms house and the vicious fights between my mom and my brother. I remember being so alone all the time, playing only by myself because no one wanted to play with me. The memories of my friends’ stepdad that would kiss me then touch me and tell me to lie about it, came tumbling forth. Then came memories of breaking into people’s houses with a group of kids at the mere age of six. I remember my mom having sex with some stranger, unaware that I was even there until it was too late. I remember her drugged body unable to do anything but sit there on several occasions. Where was her love for me? Her only love was a love that was imbedded into being high. Memories of this past I had lived were starting to define me.
The blood was pouring out of me and suddenly the pain just wasn’t enough. I hated everything about myself from the bags under my eyes to my body that could never be skinny enough. I hated my life and everything that made me who I was. I hated my mom for leaving and my dad for letting her. There was no love left for me and I had no love left to give. I am the only one who can’t escape me, but I know how to set myself free.
I go into the medicine cabinet and grab every bottle and mixture of pills I can take: 30 tylenols mixed with half a bottle of cough syrup, on top of some old prescription pills, and maybe a few other things just for fun.
Everything was blurry and I needed something to drink. My water was all gone from washing down
the plethora of pills. One swig of windex burns its way down my esophagus. Two more swigs and I’m
staggering my way to my bed. I feel nothing. No pain. No love. I am just a broken piece of glass that
couldn’t be glued back together. I slowly start to drift away completely. I think of what I could’ve been if I
would’ve tried to get better. I think of a life I might’ve had. I couldn’t even try to save myself. Regretting this
waste of life I have been, I drift farther and farther away. I do regret this now. I tell myself to wake up, but
my mind and body are separated right now. No, wait! There has to be someone out there who loves me!
There has to be something more than this! Drifting. Away. From. Here. My. Thoughts. Slow. Down. My.
Mind. Goes. Numb. I. Am. Truly. Empty.