On the first day of Grade Nine, I started high school with drama class, only we didn’t talk about drama. First, we talked about this student from a few years ago who killed himself in his first year of high school. Because of his death, our school started The Breakfast Club.
With a clear reference to the legendary movie, The Breakfast Club at my high school had students in their last year at the school mentor us newbies. They helped us get used to high school. I made friends with the Breakfast Club drama kids, mainly one of them. I started high school wanting to be like the girl in my drama class who was there to help people adjust. To help them live.
The thing was, when the leaders of The Breakfast Club that I knew graduated, I stopped liking school. I no longer saw leaders of the school and I thought I was too young still to be in the Breakfast Club. I had to wait four whole years until I could help other people.
In hindsight, I probably could’ve joined the Breakfast Club as soon as I wanted to, but instead I felt excluded. I looked around me at all the other students and only saw other people having fun.
I didn’t understand how people could smile and laugh so much. How they could get drunk at parties and not care, how they could become obsessed with tv shows and wearing the right clothes at the right time. I hated them all for being so happy.
I did have friends in school, somehow. I’d fallen in with a bunch of kids that had come from a different elementary school. They were pretty awesome, but again, I felt on the outside since no one knew what I was really feeling. I wouldn’t let anyone know. I shut them out.
By the end of high school, I refused to go into the cafeteria because I was so scared of everyone looking at me and judging me. I painted my eyes black and went to the library every chance I could, reading at the back of the room with my headphones blaring. I faced the wall, watched the clock, and went everywhere I was supposed to go on time.
Except for pep rallies and other forced interaction. At those times I knew no one missed me. My guidance counselor knew how much I skipped out on supposed mandatory events, but I don’t think anyone else did. My invisibility was my cloak and my shield.
I hated everyone so no one could hate me. It worked in protecting me from others but I felt like the saddest girl on the planet.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to undo the damage of high school. I think most adults either go into work or more schooling without looking back at their high school selves. It’s too painful.
I don’t blame them. I wish I could be like them a lot of the time, because they seem happy now. I look at myself and see no pay cheque, no husband, no family. The me of today doesn’t fit in with adults. She sure as hell doesn’t fit in in high school, any more than she ever did.
The only person she fits in with is the fifteen-year-old me from Grade Nine, all the way through to the graduating 19 year old, miserable and alone. She was looking for someone to look up to. Someone who cut through the bullshit. Someone who was real, who cared about things beyond what was “hot” in magazines and what was spewed out on tv. She saw unhappy kids and unhappy adults and cut herself because at least that made her feel real. Her pain mattered in those moments.
I’m turning 30 soon. That’s grown-up, right?
Like the “crazy” one in the Breakfast Club movie, I’m aware that “When you grow up, your heart dies.”
Most of the time, it feels like I’m never going to have any adult life or security because I refuse to let my heart die. I’m stubborn as hell and every workplace I try to squeeze into makes me feel exploited. It’s a result of abuse, of all the bad things in my life, I still see enemies everywhere. Everywhere.
Except here, with you.
I can be real here. I imagine friends out there past computer screens, skipping into hungry eyes and hungrier hearts.
You are filling their shoes. Thank you.
My younger self reads this blog. She likes it. It makes her hate herself less.
I’ve always hated numbers. A birthday is just a number on a calendar designated by other people. I don’t ever want to define myself by other people’s choices unless they fit with mine.
I won’t let my heart die. I won’t.