First off let me start this post by saying Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I’m thankful to have all of you reading my blog!
In addition to today being Thanksgiving, it is also my friend Todd’s 27th birthday. But in my eyes, Todd will forever be 17.
For those of you who don’t know, Todd used to be a good friend of my sister and I. He grew up in the same town as me. Unfortunately, Todd committed suicide 10 years ago, when he was just 17. His suicide came as a complete shock to me and everyone that knew him and it was the inspiration for my novel, Escape.
I think about Todd every single day. Not just on his birthday or the anniversary of his suicide. I never stop missing him or wishing that things could have been different. It never gets easier to accept that he committed suicide,if anything, it gets harder.
I think about how his life would be now if he never made that one bad decision that cost him his life. He would be 27 today. I imagine he’d be married with at least one child, probably a son. He would have made a great husband and father. He was a very loyal, defensive kind of person. I think about what kind of job he would have had. He was both very intelligent and hard working. I know he would have been successful. For some reason I think he could have been a successful accountant for a fortune 500 country.
Or maybe he wouldn’t have been an accountant at all. He was a great soccer player back in his day. I don’t see why he couldn’t have pursued that further in college and possibly even gone pro. Hey, anything’s possible, right? Who’s to say he couldn’t have been the next David Beckham?
Being Todd’s birthday, I am a bit sad today. Sad that he cut his own life way too short. That I can only imagine and play the “what-if” game about his life. His life ended before it had a chance to begin. No one will ever get to see him be that loving husband or protective father. We’ll never watch him be a successful accountant or pro soccer player. He’ll always just be that 17 year old student at Pitman High School.
But with today being Thanksgiving, I’m also feeling thankful and blessed. I’m thankful and I feel blessed that I got to know Todd during his 17 short years of life. I only wish I had more time to get to know him even better. I have been blessed to see Todd’s smiling face and to have worked with him as a camp counselor for one summer. I’m thankful for the way he acted as a friend to my sister, a supporter, and a listener during times when she felt she had no one. Todd was one of the best friends she ever had.
I’m inspired by Todd. His story is very sad and never should have unfolded the way that it did. But now I see just how short life can be. I’m inspired to make the most of it and to never give up. I’m inspired to take action against suicide…to encourage others to talk about it. I believe that if Todd had talked about it, the way he was really feeling (which was completely hidden from everyone), he might still be here. I’m inspired to work to make sure this never happens to any of my other friends in the future. One friend dead from suicide is far more than enough.
Happy Birthday, Todd. I know you’re looking down on us from heaven today. I just hope you know how thankful and blessed we all are to have known you. You made such a strong impact in your 17 years of life and I can’t wait to see you again some day.
Image credits: Tulip Driven Life
Let’s face the facts: if you’re a writer you’re going to write about your own personal real-life experiences, even if what you are writing is fiction. It’s only natural and something that all good writers must do. Sometimes things in our life can be defined as tragedies. Tragedies are events in which have the ability to leave many permanent emotional scars on us. They change us, for better or for worse and are not things that easy to just simply “get over” or even come to terms with or make peace with. This is part of what makes tragedies great for writing inspiration. When we write about our experiences dealing with tragedies we are allowing ourselves to free our souls of things that may have been buried deep within us for some time. In a way it can be like searching for our own sense of inner peace, understanding, or acceptance of the situation. It can also be a way to solicit advice to others that may be dealing with a similar tragedy in their life, or even just a message that they are not alone.
Image Credits: izquotes.com
Unfortunately, in order to get to that point of inner peace or soliciting of advice, we must recall and un-bury the tragedies we have dealt with. This can be a very emotional and difficult task, as I saw for myself as I was working on my young adult novel dealing with themes such as teenage depression and suicide. Writing the first draft of my novel hasn’t been very difficult, until I got to chapter 9. Chapter 9 is the novel’s climax and most emotional chapter. In this chapter one of the character commits suicide.
My young adult novel is fiction, but it is largely based on real life experiences. A close friend and former classmate of mine committed suicide when I was 12 years old. Even though it happened about 9 and half year ago, it is a tragedy that has forever changed me. My goal with writing my novel is to inspire others to get help, speak up about mental illnesses, and prevent them from having to experience the same tragedy I myself have experienced.
Image Credits: Pichu318 ‘s DeviantArt
In writing chapter 9 I was forced to recall the suicide of my friend. Every little detail from what happened before his suicide, when I found out about it, and the aftermath.I procrastinated a lot while working on this chapter because at times it was just too painful to deal with. I try to block out the pain I felt when he first committed suicide, but for my novel I needed to remember it all.
One thing I did to help free me of my procrastination and to help me get chapter 9 done was I live-tweeted the events to the best of my knowledge. I recalled what my day was like at school on the day of my friend’s suicide. I tweeted about what happened after school, how I found out about his suicide,his viewing, what went on after that. I tried to write down every single detail I could remember. It took me three hours and over 100 tweets. I did it consecutively without stopping. I felt that it was the only way for me to “get it all out”. I was afraid that if I took a break I’d never finish it.
Image Credits: Press Index
I understand that some tragedies may be too deeply personal for an author to live-tweet about or post on any form of social media, but social media isn’t the important thing to worry about. The important thing is that you’re writing. Even if it’s just in a personal diary…WRITE! Write everything you remember about the tragedy. What happened before? What happened as the tragedy took place? What happened afterwards? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? Do you remember who you were with? What was said?
When you write about the tragedy try to recall every single detail as accurately as possible. This will help you to reflect on the tragedy and how you handled it along with how others handled it. You don’t have to include it all in your novel. Feel free to use bits and pieces and fictionalize it as much as your heart desires. Once you have the tragedy written out scene by scene, fictionalizing it will be easy. The hard, emotionally challenging party of writing it all out is already done with.
Don’t be afraid to write about tragedies. Many of the greatest works of literature are tragedies (Shakespeare, anyone?). If you’re writing fiction there’s no need to worry about the truth, either. Tragedies help people connect and relate not only to your story, but to each other. By writing about tragedies you will be doing someone a favor, someone who may feel alone in their situation will read your work and say, “No, I’m not alone. This person went through the exact same thing.”
Image Credits: Chasing Death: Losing A Child To Suicide
In sum, my advice to you in dealing with tragedies as a writer is this: cry. write. cry. and write some more and don’t stop until you’re finished.
Image Credits: Get Sparked
I’ve been on a pretty good writing kick as I continue on my first draft of my young adult novel about teenage depression/suicide. I usually get between 1,000-2,500 words in each day. The first four chapters seemed to come naturally to me. I had no problem with finding the inspiration and coming up with topics to discuss in my novel. However, once I hit chapter 5 writer’s block struck and I had no clue what to write. I know the general direction I want my novel to go in and how I want it to end, but I struggled to figure out where to go next or which steps to take to get to the end. I’m only about 13,500 words in…way too soon to end it! Plus there are still many questions/issues to address before reaching the final conclusion!
One thing that helped me beat my writer’s block was music. As a teenager (and even to this day) I was absorbed by music. What I listened to depended largely on what I felt. Most of my favorite musicians and songs were my favorite because of the lyrics and the messages they gave me. I feel as though their is a song for every emotion/time period of my life.
My novel centers primarily along the themes of teenage depression/suicide. The teens in my novel are bursting with tons of emotion. Music is a way they can tell each other and readers what they are feeling without having to actually say it. I was also able to incorporate music directly into the plot of my novel. One way I was able to do this was by creating two working playlists for two of my characters…my main character, Rachel, and her crush/friend James. I gave Rachel considerably more songs since she is the novel’s central character and it is told in her view where you get to see ALL of her thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a first-hand basis. I will post the playlists along with videos below, but to keep from spoiling anything I will not explain further. Feel free to post your reactions/possible predictions to the songs I choose in the comments!
1. Demi LovatoSongs
- Give Your Heart a Break
2. Selena Gomez Songs:
- Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
- Who Says
Sick Of You
3. Black Vile Brides Songs
- Perfect Weapons
We Stitch These Wounds
4. Bullet For My Valentine
- A Place Where You Belong
6. Twenty One Pilots Songs
- Kitchen Sink
1. These Hearts
Friends Don’t Let Friends Die Alone
2. Bullet For My Valentine Songs
- All These Things I Hate
- Pretty on the Outside
- The End
3. System of a Down Songs
- Chop Suey
- Lonely Day
Image Credits: AACC
I have been in the process of writing the first draft of my novel. I originally planned to call it “Escape”, but I have been debating on changing the title to “Secret Keeper” or something else entirely. The novel is young adult and focuses on teen depression and suicide.
Image Credits: Healthcare Times
I have been writing religiously. I aim to write a minimum of 1,000 words every night. I often go way over my goal. At the moment I am just over 10,000 total words. I have been writing for a little less than a week now.
As I write I realize that the more I write the more in control I feel. The first two chapters of my novel I felt were extremely shaky and I’m considering cutting them completely. I feel as though chapters 3 and 4 are where the novel really begins to take shape.
Image Credits: Urban Writers Retreat
I have posted a completely UNEDITED excerpt of my novel below featuring chapters 3 and 4. Please feel free to post any feedback you may have but do keep in mind that this is an unedited first draft and will probably undergo many changes before it is considered complete or finished.
READ CHAPTERS 3 AND 4 OF MY NOVEL HERE:
Monday. Ugh. Mondays are never any good. They signify the start of another new week that will probably be even worse than the previous one if that’s even possible. No one likes Mondays, but if you’re like me you hate every day before and after Monday, too.
Today was a particularly bad Monday. It started with a big dispute with Isabella the whore before school. I wanted to wear one of my favorite outfits: a black fishnet sweater, red plaid pants, anarchy converse, a ton of chains, a spiked collar and my new favorite accessory: a red and black plaid tie that I just bought from the local Spencers in the mall.
I knew that Isabella wouldn’t approve of my clothing choices today. Goth, punk, emo, skater, or whatever it is you would call this “style” is something Isabella wants no parts in. She just likes to wear skin tight clothes that you can see her microscopic thong through or every curve of her size DD (most likely fake) boobs in. Short skirts and low-cut or cropped tops are also her favorite. But it’s not like she doesn’t have the body for it. But even so if *I* had Isabella’s body I don’t think I’d dress like that. I’d be more modest so as not to make anyone feel jealous or insecure. Plus, I wouldn’t want to look like a complete whore unlike Isabella.
I tried to get ready quickly today so as to leave early before Isabella had the chance to wake up and yell at me for my clothes. Plan = big time FAIL!!!! Isabella was up bright and early chipper as anything. Fuck she even made breakfast. She must have had some great sex last night or even early this morning to put her in that great of a mood. Sex…yes that is it. Her Jair’s a greasy, knotted mess and she’s wearing little more than Dad’s oversized dress shirt. If that doesn’t scream sex than I don’t know what does…not that I’d really know. I never even came close to having sex.
Isabella’s chipper mood was quickly killed when she saw me. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised though. No one is ever to thrilled by my presence. I’m rarely more than a nuisance to people.
“What the heck are you wearing?” Isabella asked.
“Fishnets, plaid, spikes, chains, anarchy symbols…you know the usual” I shrugged.
“It looks like you’re wearing a funeral party. Go up to your room and get changed into something more…pleasant” she said.
“This is pleasant to me”, I pleaded, but I knew in the back of my mind I’d never win that argument.
“Well tough luck kiddo. You’re outnumbered by the world’s population today. You’re not going to school until you change into something half decent.”
“No school’s fine with me” I uttered.
“Rachel Elizabeth Mcgovern! You get changed this instant!” she demanded. I wanted to fight her words. I wanted to tell her she wasn’t my real mom and I therefore didn’t have to listen to her, but I knew it was pointless. When even your whore of a stepmother uses your middle name you know you’re fucked. Dad wasn’t awake yet, but I knew he’d agree with Isabella the whore, not me. Pretty easy thing to do when you’re getting blowjobs from a hot brazillian model on demand.
I went in my room and changed into a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans. Simple, but I thought she would approve. Everyone thinks of yellow as being a pretty happy and cheerful color. My secret? Every time I see the color yellow I’m reminded of insane asylums. I mean, don’t they keep yellow padded walls for their inmates in those things? Who knows? I guess people that are in insane asylums know, but I don’t know anyone in one of those places…yet. Another secret of mine: sometimes I think I’ll be the first person I know of to end up there. At least I’ll have a t-shirt (approved by a Brazilian whore) to match the walls, right?
Regardless of whether yellow is viewed as being the color of happiness or the color of craziness one thing I know is true: I despise it. I’m not even sure why I own a this stupid yellow t-shirt. I pretty much never wear it. It’s so ugly. There is no way I was going to wear that all day.
I packed my original outfit…plaid pants, fishnet sweater, chains, spikes, and all in my backpack. The stupid yellow shirt might have helped me out of the house, but that didn’t mean I needed it once I was at school…or so I thought.
Despite my morning showdown with Isabella I somehow managed to get to school about 10 minutes early. “Perfect”, I thought, “Now I can change into my original outfit before anyone can see me with this stupid yellow shirt.”
I went in the locker room to get changed. I thought I would be alone, but I quickly forgot that the mornings in the locker room were plagued with sporty girls organizing their equiptment and first period gym girls getting ready for gym. I didn’t understand why so many girls had to get changed for first period gym. If I had gym first period I was just wear my gym clothes to school and get changed to my regular clothes afterwards, but whatever. I guess some of them don’t want to miss the opportunity to show off their perfect half-naked bodies.
The purpose of a locker room is to get changed from or for a workout or sports event or gym class or whatever, right? At least that’s what I’m assuming the guy who created the first locker room had in mind. That’s not really how it works though.
In reality, the girls stare at their bodies in front of the floor mirror for what seems like eternity. They swivel around so they can examine their thighs, butts, and backs. They spend a great deal of time going over their front reflection too, sometimes cradling their breasts in their hands, as if to test them for size. You can always catch at least one girl staring at another’s body, comparing it to their own.
Today it was my own body on display, but definitely not by choice. As I started to get changed Carley and her posse came in. I was confused at first, wondering why they could possibly be spending time in the locker room at this hour but then quickly remembered that she was cheer captain and probably wanted to store her pom-poms and megaphone in her gym locker.
At first Carley glared at me and snarled, “Ugh what is SHE doing in here? She’s not cool enough to play any sports and she doesn’t even have gym this marking period.”
One member of her posse, Erica, whispered not-so-subtly, “Looks like she is unleashing her inner freak” as she watched me throw on my plaid pants, fishnets, chains, spikes, and anarchy converse.
“Someone needs to tell her plaid does not work in her favor. I mean, look at her thunder thighs. I can practically hear them clapping together. Doesn’t she realize that plaid just makes them look even wider?” Phoebe, posse member number 3, said.
“She looks like a baby hippo. Maybe that’s what she’s doing here…searching for food like the hippos in that game…what was it called? Hungry, Hungry Hippo?” they all laughed.
I finished tying my anarchy shoes and got up off the bench in the locker room and headed towards Carley, Erica, and Phoebe. I couldn’t take their insults anymore…enough was enough!
“Hey, got something you’d like to say?” I asked Carley, the leader of the posse.
“No, I was just wondering if you realized this is a locker room and our school doesn’t have a pool, so I’m not sure why you insist on wearing clothes that make you look like a whale.” Carley said.
“Hippo. I thought we agreed she looks like a baby hippo,” Phoebe stated.
“I like what I’m wearing. It makes me feel unique,” I said.
“Pft. All hippos must feel unique,” Erica whispered.
“I don’t have a problem with your decision to dress like marine or land animals…the school administration on the other hand may have a different opinion, though”, Carley stated matter-of-factly.
“What do you mean by that? I questioned.
“Mrs. Kingley! Mrs. Kingley! Mrs. Kingley!” Carley screamed out as she stormed into Mrs. Kingley, the high school gym teacher’s office.
“Carley, what’s wrong?” she asked.
“It’s Rachel McGovern. She just came in here wearing chains and spikes and fishnets…I’m not sure her wardrobe is entirely safe today or that it meets the school’s dress code. I’m just really worried about her safety, that’s all.” She said as I stood a few rows back in front of my gym locker.
Mrs. Kingley glanced down the hall at me. She and I have never been on the best of terms. I’m not particularly athletic. I did try soccer once…WORST TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE! I’m not much of an athlete in gym class, either. I usually don’t bother to get changed or participate. I’d rather not take part in the judgmental locker room fashion show. I prefer to skip episodes like today at all costs. On the rare occasions that I do get changed and participate (trust me it’s rare…I only do it enough to get a D- so I don’t get held back a year…) I make sure to show zero enthusiasm and I barely move at all. It is quite understandable if Mrs. Kingley hates me…
Carley on the other hand is practically Mrs. Kingley’s BFF. In addition to being a gym teacher, Mrs. Kingley is also the coach of the varsity cheerleading squad, which Carley is the captain of. Carley has Mrs. Kingley on the back of her pretty little hand. Whenever Carley needs or wants something Mrs. Kingley can’t get to it fast enough. In a showdown between Carley and I Carley is ALWAYS going to win. That is exactly what happened on this particular lousy Monday morning.
After glancing at me from the hall, Mrs. Kingley shouted, “Rachel McGovern…can you please see me in my office real quick?”
I nodded and headed down, already knowing what this was going to be about.
When I entered her office she shut her door and told me to take a seat. Then she said, “Rachel a fellow student just raised a concern about your outfit. She is worried about your safety and I think she’s right. I believe that your outfit is in violation of Stone Ridge High’s dress code policy.
What do you mean? What’s wrong with my outfit? I asked.
Mrs. Kingley pulled out her trusty copy of the Stone Ridge High student handbook from the top right drawer of her desk. She always kept a copy in her desk, usually to remind her students of the school’s gym class dress code and to warn students that refuse to participate in gym (I am becoming quite familiar with that stupid handbook…). But today Mrs. Kingley flipped right past the section about the gym dress code. She was more focused on the general school dress code.
“Page 32, second paragraph, numbers and 7. Read,” she demanded.
“Any article of clothing with a printed message, word, phrase, or image may not contain profanity, obscenity, or the promotion of any illegal activity or violence. Any article of clothing that is deemed inappropriate, offensive or a distraction to the educational environment by a staff member will be required to be changed.”
I looked up at Mrs. Kingley. I felt my jaw drop a little bit. I knew my clothes were a little…edgy…but I really didn’t think they came across as being offensive.
“Go on,” Mrs. Kingley said, “read the rest of them.”
“Students are not permitted to wear chains, excessively heavy jewelry, or jewelry that constitutes a health or safety hazard or if it is harmful to the building or equipment. Students found in violation of this policy may be asked to remove their jewelry.”
I paused to give Mrs. Kingsley a chance to speak. I wait 10 seconds, but the silence is so awkward that it feels like an eternity. To break the silence I ask, “So you want me to take off my jewelry?”
“That would certainly be a start…” she said.
“What’s wrong with the rest of my clothes?” I ask. As far as I’m aware, the only dress code violation I committed is the one about no chains.
“They are highly distracting and disruptive and you know it. Ms. Francesca just came in my office worried about your outfit. If she found your clothes to be a distraction I’m sure others would, too. Plus your anarchy sneakers promote rebellion against the government. These forms of political rebellion often cause riots and all sorts of violence. I’m not comfortable with you wearing clothes that promotes that kind of violence in an educational setting.
“There are students that wear t-shirts with our president on them and no one says anything to them,” I argued.
“Our president has always been a peaceful man,” she insisted.
I wanted to tell Mrs. Kinsley otherwise. I wanted to remind her of how our president refuses to send troops home from Afghanistan and how we are enemies with North Korea and how he can never seem to leave other countries like Libya and Syria or even Iran alone these days. But I knew that Mrs. Kinsley was a proud democrat with a poster of our current president hanging in her office, so I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut about that. Instead I simply asked, “What about Carley?”
“What do you mean ‘What about Carley?” Mrs. Kingsley questioned.
“Did you see what Carley’s wearing today?” I asked.
“Yeah, Carley is dressed appropriately as always,” she said.
“But what about her shirt? It’s skin tight and super low cut. You can look
right down it!” I screamed before backing my voice down to a whisper and repeating, “and I’m not sure she’s even wearing a bra today.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with Carley’s shirt today Ms. McGovern. I think I would know if Carley chose not wear undergarments being that this is a lockerroom and I’m sure someone would’ve informed me of that case by now.
“But what about her skirt? It doesn’t come to her knee…it’s way shorter”, I argued.
“Ms. Francesca is wearing the skirt that goes to her cheerleading uniform. It is the longest one the school has. I don’t see a problem with it. You’re the only one that seems bothered by Ms. Francesca’s clothes today.
“But don’t you see her clothes as causing a distraction?” I asked.
“No. When I look at Carley I see a normal teen girl wearing normal teen clothes. Maybe it’s your own feelings towards Carley that are causing a distraction for you. You know from my health class that if you ever need to talk about those kinds of feelings you’re having or if you’re even questioning your sexuality you can come talk to me or another trusted adult. But right now I really need you to get changed.”
I was mortified! Ms. Kingsley just accused me of being a lesbian and having feelings for Carley! That couldn’t be further from the truth. All I was doing was stating a fact! Carley’s clothes do cause distractions to EVERYONE, not just me! There were even rumors of a few boys in our class getting erections and “blue balls” in class after seeing down Carley’s shirts or up her skirts in class! If that’s not a distraction I don’t know what is.
I knew I couldn’t win the case against Carley with Mrs. Kingsley especially not when part of her outfit contained her prized cheerleading uniform. I didn’t have anything left to say so I did the only thing I knew how to do; I cried.
Mrs. Kingsley tried to comfort me the best that she could, but she’s never really been good at that kind of thing. Plus, I couldn’t really tell her what was wrong because I really didn’t know. I guess I was just so frustrated by watching Carley go off and live her perfect little life and never get in any trouble whatsoever while everything I touch, everything I do, every little part of my life constantly turns to shit.
“Rachel, there’s really no need to cry. You’re not really in trouble. This is just a warning. All I need from you is to change…do you have clothes you can change into?” Mrs. Kingsley asked.
I shook my head no in between sobs. It wasn’t entirely a lie. Sure I had that ugly yellow shirt and my blue jeans that I originally came to school wearing, but I forgot all about my anarchy shoes…I didn’t have any other shoes with me to change into and that seemed to be one of the things Mrs. Kingsley was the most concerned about.
“Ok, normally I would have to call your parents to come and pick you up so you can get changed. I’m still going to have to do that, but you seem pretty upset by all of this. Why don’t you just take the day off. Go and take some time to pull yourself together and maybe show up tomorrow in an appropriate outfit.
I nodded, but secretly I dreaded the idea of her calling home. I knew dad was at work and Isabella would be the one that would have to come and get me. Man, being 16 really sucks. If I were 18 I would be able to sign myself out and there would be no need to call Isabella the whore about all of this nonsense. Actually, if I were 18 Isabella really could be dead to me…I’d be a legal adult able to care for myself. I mean, at 16 I think I can handle caring for myself without an adult, but the government seems to think otherwise. Man, fuck the government. And people wonder why I wear anarchy sneakers…
The conversation between Mrs. Kingsley and Isabella didn’t seem to go too bad. First Mrs. Kingsley said, “Hi Mrs. McGovern I’m calling because Rachel’s outfit was found to be in violation of Stone Ridge High’s dress code policy.
I’m guessing then Isabella must have said something about that stupid yellow t-shirt and my blue jeans I left the house wearing because then Mrs. Kingsley said, “No…she’s not wearing those. She is wearing plaid pants, a fishnet sweater, chains, and a spiked collar. We find her choice of clothing to be a distraction and possibly hazardous.
Isabella must have told Mrs. Kingsley she’d pick me up to change and then send me back to school afterwards because then Mrs. Kingsley notified her that I could take the rest of the day off. “She seemed to get really upset when I asked her to change. I think a mental health day would do her good,” Mrs. Kingsley said, followed by an “Okay, good. I’ll have her wait in the locker room until you can come and pick her up”. I take it as Isabella agreed to pick me up. Not that she had much of a choice.
After Mrs. Kingsley hung up the phone she said, “Your stepmom told me this isn’t what you had on when you left for school today. Care to explain why you decided to change? I’d be curious to know since I can’t even seem to get you to change for gym class when you’re required to.”
“I didn’t like the shirt I had on originally.”
“I see. Well that shirt is appropriate. The one you have on now isn’t. You can change back to the clothes you started off wearing today.”
“Does this mean my stepmom doesn’t have to come?” I asked.
“No, she’s still coming. You’ve successfully cried your way out of school today. Plus your shoes are still inappropriate and I don’t believe you have any others to change into, am I right?”
“Yes, you are right. These are my only shoes right now.”
“Okay, well then get changed. You’re stepmom will be picking you up soon.”
I nodded and went to get changed yet again to the ugly yellow shirt. I wondered what Carley and her posse would say if they saw this outfit. It’s pretty plain, but I’m sure they’d have some smart comment. Nothing I wear will ever be good enough for them. I could wear skin tight clothes and have my boobs and ass hanging out of them like Carley does but all they’d say is something about my boobs being too small and my ass being too big. I think they’d say that even if it were all the same size as theirs. I’ll never be good enough for them no matter what.
Isabella was friendly as fuck when she walked in Stone Ridge High. They must think she’s the nicest person in the world. She talked with a soothing voice and acted like she was my bff. She said “Oh look at you. I guess I should’ve helped you pick out your outfit today. Well lets get you home and maybe take a nap and we’ll try again tomorrow” with the phoniest fucking smile. She thanked Mrs. Kingsley for calling her and promised I’d be back tomorrow.
All that quickly went to hell when we got home. She unlocked the door, slammed it behind us, and immediately screamed, “RACHEL ELIZABETH MCGOVERN WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” I shouted back. Wrong answer, I know, but I hate being yelled at…especially by Isabella.
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER DECIDED TO GO TO SCHOOL DRESSED LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A GOD DAMN FUNERAL PALOUR SO I JUST HAD TO CANCEL MY HAIR APPOINTMENT TO PICK HER ASS UP FROM SCHOOL. I MADE THAT APPOINTMENT TWO MONTHS AGO AND GOD KNOWS WHEN THEY WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ME TO BOOK ANOTHER APPOINTMENT. YOU KNEW YOUR CLOTHES WERE INAPPROPRIATE THIS MORNING BUT YOU CHOSE TO BE SNEAKY AND CHANGE THEM BEHIND MY BACK ANYWAY. SERIOUSLY, RACHEL I HAVE HAD IT WITH YOU AND YOUR ANTICS!”
“FUCK YOU. YOU’RE NOT MY FUCKING MOM AND I’M NOT YOUR DAUGHTER. I WILL WEAR WHATEVER I FUCKING WANT. I HATE YOU YOU BITCH,” I shouted back before bursting into tears. Okay, that admittedly wasn’t my best comeback. I’m not sure that was a comeback at all, more of a vent of frustration.
“Oh there you go with your fucking crying horseshit again. You’re being such a baby about this. Baby needs to cry to get out of school all because no one likes her freak show outfit. Boo-hoo-hoo. Grow the fuck up.
I didn’t respond to her last comment. It was worthless, I already lost the argument as far I was concerned anyway. I lost the ones to Carley, I lot to Mrs. Kingsley, and now I lost to Isabella. I’m living in a world where I just can’t fucking win. I’m just not good enough for this world. This world would be much better off without me.
I ran up to my room, slammed the door and locked it and proceeded to cry into my pillow. I cried myself to sleep. A nice sound, sleep of sorrow. That is my escape. It’s too bad there always comes a time when I have to wake. But maybe one day that will all change and I’ll really be able to escape forever.
I was awaken by an angry whore…erm Isabella…at around 6. She demanded I come down to eat my dinner, but I refused.
“Rachel, come down to dinner,” she said, pleasant as fuck.
“I’m not hungry. I’m just going to hang out in my room and try to see what I missed in school today so I can catch up,” I replied. It was a lie, but I thought it sounded better than the truth. Truth was I wanted to see if my crush, James, was online by any chance, and if not, I wanted to continue crying into my pillow until I fell back asleep.
“Rachel your father works his ass of all day to provide this meal for you. The least you can do is come down, eat it, and thank him for his hard work!” she yelled.
“Thank you but I’m not hungry! You can’t force me to eat!” I yelled back.
“Fine, but we’ll remember that the next time you want to go to the mall with your little friends! Maybe we’ll be tired and we won’t feel like driving you there!” she yelled.
I slammed my door shut and cried. Mall? Friends? Helloooo….when was the last time I asked to go to the mall with my friends? Like never? The only “friend” I have is Elsie and she doesn’t like the mall. She says the mall is for sell-outs (whatever that means) and she only shops at thrift stores. I don’t need Isabella or dad to drive us there. The thrift shop is right down the street so we can just walk there.
I decided to go back to my initial plan and checked Facebook to see if James was online by any chance. I was in luck! He was online and he’s already left a message for me! So did Elsie. And Sarah, a random girl from my math class. They all wanted to know why I wasn’t in school today. I answered Sarah’s message first because I figured it would be the shortest conversation.
“I tried to go in but got sick and had to go home.”
“Oh, really? Was that it? Carley said you got sent home because of your clothes.”
“Great”, I thought, “Apparently Carley and her posse have already told the whole school everything. I should’ve figured that would happen.” I wrote back to Sarah, “Yeah they were concerned about my clothes but I was also sick so I didn’t come back.” I figured I could at least attempt to go along with my made up story, right? I mean, didn’t that sound better than the truth? Besides, Carley had no way of knowing how I actually FELT and whether or not I was actually sick, right?
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear…are you feeling any better???” she asked.
“Yeah, I think I’ll be back tomorrow. What did I miss?” I asked.
“We actually had a sub today so it was basically study hall. We need to do page 45 #3-45 odd for homework.”
“Odd? Are you sure? It’s always the even ones if not all of them because everyone knows that the answers for the odd ones are always in the back of the book…” I said.
“No, she definitely said odd. Consider yourself lucky. J” she said.
“Thanks” I replied and then closed off the message window. As far as I knew the conversation was over.
Next I opened James’s message. I was most excited to see what he had to say. I figured Elsie’s message could wait.
“Hey Rachel. Missed you in health today, are you ok?” he asked.
“Yeah…I’m fine. I got sent home for my stupid clothes,” I said. I may have lied a bit to Sarah, but I couldn’t bring myself to lie to James. There’s just something about him that makes it so easy to talk to. I swear James is the only one that cares about me sometimes. It’s a shame he has to hang out with Carley and her possee so much because he’s so much better than they are. But he’s beautiful. So beautiful. Everyone wants to be around him…including Carley and her posse. And well, Carley’s beautiful too (as much as I hate to admit that). Beauty attracts beauty, right? I guess I should be thankful that he is nice to me since I am so far from being beautiful like him and Carley are…
“Yeah, I heard about it from Carley,” he said.
“FUCKING CARLEY”, I screamed in my mind. I typed back, “Yeah, sounds like she told the whole school or something.”
“Lol”was all he typed back.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity for a response. Suddenly Elsie’s chat box started blowing up. I figured I’d better take a minute to open it and see what she wanted.
“Where were u today?”
“Are u okay?”
“Jesus Christ”, I muttered to myself, “Doesn’t she have a life or something?” I typed back to Elsie “yeah, I’m fine. Mrs. Kingsley sent me home for clothes.” I typed.
I noticed James’s text box started flashing again. “FINALLY!” I screamed out loud, then looked around my room to make sure no one heard me. I forgot Gizmo was in my room. He looked up from my bed with startled eyes. I walked over to him and pat him on the head. “Sorry, Giz. I guess I got a little too excited…” I said before walking back to my desk and logging back onto Facebook.
James’s message said, “Yeah that’s Carley. She can be really nice but she tends to talk a bit too much sometimes…” he said.
I wrote back “Carley???? Nice??? On what planet?!?” I knew my comment was a bit bold, but somehow with James it all seemed perfectly okay.
“Ha…you make me laugh. J”
I make James laugh?? Was that a good thing? There was a smiley at the end of it…it had to be good!
I smiled, for the first time all day and I immediately felt my face get hot. Damn it. That’s James. He can ALWAYS make me smile even when I feel like death.
Elsie’s chat box was flashing again. Uh-oh. Better see what she wants.
“Yeah, I heard your clothes were not appropriate? I thought that was Carley’s trick?
“Psh.Carley. That bitch is the reason I got sent home. She didn’t like my chains and anarchy shoes.”
“0. Y not?”
“Because she’s Carley and she doesn’t like anything about me?”
“0 I see. But how did Carley get you sent home?”
I stopped to switch back to James. Elsie was already beginning to annoy me. James was only making me happy. He was my only source of happiness all day.
“Well I’m glad I can make you laugh!” I said, “I just hope it’s a good thing? Carley laughs at me too…but It’s never a good thing….” I said.
“Oh yeah. You’re funny but in a good way. You’re a good person. Carley’s just insecure.”
I laughed. Carley? Insecure? Yeah, right. That’s like saying Beyonce has no self-confidence.
I messaged Elsie back. “She told Mrs. Kingsley she was concerned about my clothes. You know how Mrs. Kingsley is with Carley…”
“Yeah. That’s like her bff lol”
“Well, I g2g for dinner now. Will I see u tomorrow?”
“Oh yeah, I’ll be back. Hopefully my clothes will be okay…”
“Lol. K. Bye.” She said. I closed off of her chat box. Finally got rid of her! Now I could focus all of my attention on James.
“I don’t understand how Carley could possibly be insecure?” I wrote.
“You’d be surprised. Not everyone is as happy as you think…” he said.
“Trust me. Some people are just good actors.”
“Well, I got to go. See you tomorrow?”
“Yes…but wait, before you go, what did I miss in health class?”
“Oh. Free condoms, a BS speech about how abstinence is the only real “safe sex” method but that we should take the condoms “just incase”
“So, nothing, right?”
“Only for you…”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked, assuming he just meant makeup work.
“Mrs. Kingsley wants you to dress appropriately for tomorrow’s class…no chains. That yellow shirt you hate so much is okay though… :-p”
“HAHAHAHA. I’ll try to wear something she’ll approve…but I think I’m going to set fire to that yellow shirt…”
“Be careful. I wouldn’t want you to end up burning yourself and have to miss another day of school…”he said. Woah, wait? Did he just say he missed me? I mean, he didn’t, but he kind of did? Like if you read in between the lines he totally said that, right?
I wrote back, “Lol! Don’t worry I’ll be back tomorrow burnt-free.” Burnt-free? What does that even mean? That was a really weird thing to say…Why doesn’t Facebook have an un-send option yet????
“K. See you tomorrow.”
I closed off of James’s chat box and turned off my laptop. I walked over to my bed. Gizmo left to sleep on a pile of clothes I had in the middle of my floor. He’s so weird. He’d much rather lay in a mess of dirty clothes than on my comfortable bed. But whatever. His loss. I’m glad to have my bed to myself…but if someone like James came along I sure as hell wouldn’t hesitate to share it…
I laid in bed retracing my conversation with James. What did he mean when he said not everyone is as happy as they seem? I’m not a very happy person, yeah, but I don’t think I ooze happiness or shit butterflies or anything. No, instead I try to wear chains and spikes and dark colors an anarchy shoes to school only to get sent home to change and then get told to stay home because I cried. Not exactly the portrait of the world’s happiest 16 year old, is it?
But Carley is different. She’s so beautiful and she always get everything she wants or needs handed to her on a silver Gold, diamond-encrusted platter. She clearly doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle or feel depressed or anything but happy, right?
And what did James mean when he said he wouldn’t want me to miss another day? Did he really miss me that bad? Or was he just being nice? What is “nice” anyway? I mean, James claims that Carley is “nice” so he must have a really fucked up, distorted version of what it means to be nice, right? Sigh.
I called Gizmo back up to my bed. I wanted someone to cuddle with. I really wanted James, but since he obviously wasn’t around or even mine to cuddle I figured Gizmo was the next best thing. That’s pretty sad. I’m comparing cuddling with my cat to cuddling with an actual guy that I think I may be in love with. Not that I have a chance with him…James I mean. I have a much better chance of growing up and becoming a crazy Cat lady that cuddles with Gizmo and hoards cats and stores them on multiple shelves in her room instead…
I don’t really want to grow up to be a crazy cat lady. Then again, who does? I’m sure all of those crazy cat ladies never said in their younger days, “I’d really love to grow old and collect cats and become a crazy cat lady.” It just kind of happens. But I do secretly wish I could be a cat. I mean, he doesn’t feel anything but happiness and it’s obvious that it’s real. I don’t think they fake their happiness the way that James said some people do. And they don’t lay in their bed overanalyzing everything that the love of their life just messaged them either. They just sleep and puke all over everything and wonder when they’re going to get fed again. It must be nice to be a cat.