Saturday, September 24, 2011

A reminder of the past. Being a teen is hard.

Not my typical happy post. This is about losing someone I loved to suicide.

Today is the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's release of the life changing album "Nevermind". This album went platinum in two months. It touched just about every teens life in north america. And it was my anthem of pre-teens to teens.

I had a best friend, well I had a few. We were sort of a group. We lived in a area where the school was a thirty minute bus drive away so we spent a lot of time talking. Billy was my go to guy though. We had one of those friendships where we could talk for hours, and if we were interrupted we would call back and talk again.

I was just a teen when we met, and had moved to a smallish town from a large city. I brought my older sisters taste of music into the mix. Nirvana quickly became our favorite band. Music is such a powerful force in a teens life. Heck I barely do anything without listening to music, even now.

We remained close and almost obsessive friends through middle school. Experimenting with things we shouldn't have and writing page long notes to each other passing them intricately folded in between classes. 

On the summer between middle school and high school on a day where we hung out for hours, we had our first kiss. It was a beautiful kiss in late summer soft grass with a warm rock as our backrest. When he looked at me after, I saw "finally" in his eyes, and realized that he had felt more for me then I had for him. That the years of friendship were a courtship for him. I felt panicked and worried that I would lose him.

Billy was a honest guy, with youthful pimples that you couldn't see after a few minutes with him. He had dark thoughts, but as a girl who was raised with girls, I associated these with boys antics.

I left on vacation soon after the kiss, and was glad for it, I wished back the time when we were best friends and he didn't think he was boyfriend.

When we started highschool, we fell back into being friends, with three middle schools merging you had to keep your friends close while you carved a new path through high school, Our crew grew. Billy seemed to distance himself from the new add ons though. It probably wasn't  noticeable to many. He seemed to really crave the old way, and I was loving the new way.

We remained close as close can be. Then one day while he was walking with my nemesis and friend of sorts James, he called me a "ditz". I shut my gaping mouth, turned and walked away.

I was so hurt. I was so embarrassed. My best friend. In front a boy who was often cruel.

He called to apologize, I didn't answer.

He tried in the halls but I looked down. I switched spots in our shared  Math class. I arrived late and left fast. I was as angry and hurt as teen could be. Or so I thought.

We hadn't talked in just over a week when I heard the news.

Billy had hung himself.

The news cut me so hard. In that moment I was forever damaged. I could fill up pages and pages with my guilt and hurt and sorrow. To this day over 15 years later I cry when I think about it. 

I ask "why was I so angry" " why couldn't I forgive" "did me pushing him away, push him over the edge"

I know the answers, "|because I was a teen" "because I was still hurt and embarrassed" "and yes it did push him over the edge"  You don't have to comment how it wasn't my fault. 

I know I didn't put the rope around his neck. His best friend who had moved away a few years before had shot himself the week we weren't talking. The boy who had dark thoughts was just shown suicide and its devastating effects. I had turned away from him. He was an only child. He probably felt alone and abandoned.

I actually know exactly how he felt. I feel like as a teen(or maybe at any age) once you know someone who has committed suicide it is immidiately an option for you.You want so bad at this age for people to know your message, see what they have done to you, and even punish them. Teendom is selfish, teendom is lonely. As a teen, life seems quite little and  the hurts long lasting. You don't have the benefit of time to know the big things of today will seem like nothing much in the future. That bumps and bruises today will shape your thoughts later in life. 

It is a very hard time. All at once you have to learn about cruelness, social acceptance, gossip. Navigating the mine field of high school is daunting. You leave behind the years of easy friendships and after school hangouts. To having a slew of frienemies and one or two who sometimes have your back... maybe.

Looking back. I remember the hurt I felt when my best friend was angry at me. It nearly pushed me over the edge as well. 

So I wrote this, not to share the pain that has being in my life, we all have pain.

I wrote this because I am a mother, who loves her children. I wrote this as reminder to my self, to talk with my girls. To do anything and I mean anything to protect them. I want to remember highschool. It wasn't glory days. 

It is hard if you are pretty and popular and it is hard if you are average and lonely.  It is hard. And teenagers are dramatic, and feel things powerfully. 

Make sure you remember how it really was. Don't forget, when your with your teen. If I seem to be losing perspective as my girls enter the bad years, someone remind me.

*On a side note. I paint James as a big meany. But he soon became a amazingly close friend. Billy was one of his best friend too, which could be why he teased me. He found me wandering through our high school halls looking as forlorn and lost as possible, he held my hand and didn't talk because he knew.  So here is just another view of teendom, someone who you might view as mean or who teases you could be really very caring and kind. They might grow to be one of your closest friends.

* If you think suicide is an option. it really isn't, whether you want to send a message or are feeling lost or want someone to hurt. If something seems insurmountable. It is really not. I'm not minimizing your hurt right now, that is real, it will soon be a moment in your past. Like a lemon drop you have to suck through the bitter and then there will be sweet stuff.  Talk to your parents, tell them it is serious. I have never met a mother or a father who wouldn't move mountains to save there child. Talk to anyone talk to me. I can make just abut anything better:)