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But I Know; It's My Secret
I awoke from unconsciousness unsure of what had happened; was happening. Something was tied tightly on my wrists. Looking up from where I laid on my bed, I realized my wrists were tied to the bedposts. I shivered at a cool breeze as it passed over my body. Looking down I took in the image of my naked body. Now even more confused I began to cry. Through the blurry film of tears I spotted a familiar face, Jake. The next thing I knew, his heavy, sweaty body was on top of me; inside me. I was yelling, screaming for him to stop.
I woke up screaming at the top of my lungs, breathing heavily, panicking. Every night since that day it’s been the same dream. I try to convince myself it was only a dream but I know it happened. I can’t even sleep in my room on my bed anymore for fear of waking up to his face again. Now scared to go back to sleep I walk across the room to the wall and flip the light switch. The light illuminates the flower wallpaper covering the entire room; peeling in some places and missing in others, revealing the ugly puke yellow behind it. I lie back on the couch, pull out my diary and begin to write.
This is the longest I’ve slept in 3 weeks-3 hours. It’s always the same nightmare. The question “Why?” haunts my thoughts. Is it my fault? I shouldn’t have stayed with him. Sure he’s hurt me before but never like this. Yes it’s my fault; it has to be. Maybe he didn’t mean to do it. I should have never made him mad.
At school the next day I remained unsociable, avoiding all eye-contact and possible conversation. I used to be an Honor Roll student but within the past few weeks my grades had dropped to Ds and Fs. I quit the newspaper, school play, and drama club. Jake no longer talks to me but gives me threatening looks when I pass by.
During Geometry, my mind wandered off about Jake; how happy we once were. There was one time in the teacher’s lounge…I could feel his hand in the small of my back. His warm lips were pushed against mine. My mind was in a trance, oblivious of everything but the impression of Jake’s six-pack on my chest. “I love you,” Jake whispered, his voice drunk and deprived of emotion. The startling sound of the school bell interrupted our moment. “See ya babe,” I said as we-
“Jess? Jess?” My teacher’s voice brought me back to the realization I was in math class.
“Yes Mr. Moore?”
“Pay attention. Now as I was saying…” I tuned him out and returned to my thoughts. A new dejection came over me as my mind compared then to now. On my notebook I drew a stick figure with a noose around is neck; I named it Jess after me.
The bus ride home was depressing. I thought about me and Jake’s last fight. The radio was blasting in my ears. I asked Jake to turn it down but he ignored me. He gave me a ride home to make up for missing lunch with me. He “forgot” a lot so he was often my ride home. I loved him a lot and he loved me too-or so I thought. My mom didn’t think so.
“Jake, we need to talk.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw him roll his eyes out of annoyance. I continued.
“I think you should meet my mom-“
“Hold up. I’ve already told you I ain’t gonna meet the s*** so drop it,” he rudely interrupted. Tears rushed down my face just as a grim grin appeared on his. I felt empty inside. What little esteem I had crash landed. Silence occupied the car the rest of the way. When we finally arrived at my house, I broke the still silence with a timid “bye” and got out slamming the car door.
I thought about all the times Jake became angry. When he was furious he became violent, punching my face and arms, pushing me into walls, beating me with whatever was available. I’ve been to the hospital so much the nurses know me by name. I guess I stayed through it all because he gave me the love my absent father and drunk mother never even offered.
My mother was lying on the couch when I got home. She was asleep (probably drunk), snoring so loud the North Pole could hear her loud and clear.
“I’m hungry!” my stomach growled. I hadn’t eaten a real breakfast or lunch; just a few sips of water and a bite of toast. I walked over to the fridge only to find it empty. Again. What mother forgets for 2 weeks to buy food? If she wasn’t so into her guy friends then maybe she’d remember that she has a daughter, but it’s okay; I wasn’t in the mood to eat. I went to my mom’s room and lay on the bed. I started thinking about life, love, Jake and wishing it was all better.
The next day was an exact replica of the past few weeks. First period was lame like always. Our teacher was like 70 years old and always fell asleep. I often took my morning nap in her class. Math, second period, was a bit livelier. Mr. Moore gave me a lecture about not turning in my homework and how disappointed he was in me. What’s new, I thought. After promising to do my homework he finally shut up.
Lunch was lonely as always. Each clique-geek, rich and snooty, athlete-had its own table. I guess you could say my clique was exclusive. Members? Me. I sat down at a table and toyed with my food. The thought of eating alone made me gag. You don’t need it, I tell myself. You’re fat enough already. (The t-shirt I wore that day was a size small.) So I sat there pushing my rice back and forth, ignoring my growling stomach, all alone.
That day I walk home. I decide to take a shortcut through the park, watching the children so innocent in their youth. I join them on the swings, swinging as high as my legs will take me. In the air I lean back, feel the wind rush in my face. For the first time I feel like a kid; like nothing ever happened. All the stress is blown away and all is well with me. In this moment I feel free. If only this feeling would last.
I hate fighting with my mom, especially when she is sober.
“You’re never even home!” I yell, anger building up inside me.
“You are ungrateful for all I do for you! I’m the one who puts food on the table!” Her voice was rough and hard to understand, but after living with her for 16 years you understand perfectly. I stomp over to the fridge and open it as wide as it would go.
“Do you see any food in here? No! It’s been empty for a while now and what have you done? Nothing! That’s what!”
“Well I’ve been out with a friend. You could’ve walked your sorry butt down to Wal-Mart.” My anger was slowly starting to ooze out.
“You’re such a s***!”
“And you’re just mad ‘cuz your daddy left us.” That was it.
“You b****!” I yelled as my right fist came up and punched her right eye. She staggered back catching her balance. I just caught the glimmer of a tear as she retreated to her room. I stood there for minutes after she left in awe and amazed at what I’d done. My emotions were torn; part of me felt a bit relieved, another part was angry I was still angry, and yet another part felt bad for my mother.
That night I dreamt of dying; hanging myself in my closet. I dreamt my mother found me and didn’t care. She didn’t even bother to call 911. My stiff body just hung there until one of her friends with benefits came over and noticed, calling the police. It was the first night I’d slept over 3 hours. When I woke up, I wrote in my diary.
Nights have been plagued by dreams of dying. Days are ruled by an unmerciful anger and a sadness that has brought depression along with it. I’ve vowed never to love again. Love got my mother nowhere and has gotten me here. I’ve brought this upon myself. It is my entire fault, my mom and Jake. He did this because of me. I’m the problem that can’t be fixed.
It’s been almost a month since I punched my mom. She’s been out more often and sometimes doesn’t come home for days. We’ve fought before but never like this. The anger I’ve had at the world has ceased to go away. Nothing has gotten better. The dreams still come every night and I still sleep on the couch. That horrifying day is still in vivid color in my mind. The thought of food still makes me gag. Everything is still the same except one thing. I’ve taken up cutting.
The first few times were weird but now I carry a safety pin with me everywhere. Safety pins hurt more, but knives bring more blood. The pain keeps my mind off life and the blood is the only thing that has taste anymore. At school I hide the cuts from sympathetic teachers. I don’t need anyone feeling sorry for me; it was my fault in the first place anyways. If I die then it’ll be my dream-come-true.
At night when I awaken from a nightmare, I write poetry. My favorite poem is called “But I Know; It’s My Secret”:
Drowning in depression
Barely making it through the week
Invisible, living life desperately longing to be seen
The world passes by in slow motion while I have timeout in a corner
The question “Why Me?” haunts me every way I turn
Tears come and go, breaking through walls meant to hold them back
Emotions go haywire; they blame it on puberty
But I know; it’s my secret
Begin to feel better, self-esteem rises
Then I remember I’m invisible again
Will cycle ever stop?
Longing to fit in, trying to belong
Or maybe be an outsider
Whatever feels right
I have no friends to help me through
No one knows of this
But I know; it’s my secret
Nothing works, nothing helps
Trust is gone, confidence went with it
Leaving a void that has yet to be filled
“Am I worth it?”
Promises to never hit rock bottom are broken each day
“Why am I here?”
The thought only makes me angrier
No control, cutting is my only way “out”
Merely a stress reliever
More tears nothing solved
Silence, no answers
Mirrors only reflect and spotlight my imperfections
Never telling a soul
But I know; it’s my secret
I wrote it last night after having only one hour of sleep. I thought about showing it to my one of my teachers but I don’t like them so I decided against it. How could they help anyway; by giving me sympathy? A bunch of teachers feeling sorry for me is the last thing that I need right now.
Today in Health, we learned about teen pregnancy. They act as if we don’t know what sex is. At the end of class they gave each girl a home pregnancy test, one of those fancy ones from Wal-Mart, so “we can be sure.” Afterwards, I hid in the bathroom to ditch math. I was afraid of what I might do to Mr. Moore if he made me promise again to do my homework which I hadn’t done in almost two months.
Bored out of my mind, I decided to take the pregnancy test. I had nothing better to do but sit on the bathroom floor and keep hating the world. I read and followed the instructions and waited. I waited for what seemed like forever, too nervous to look. This could mean nothing at all or the beginning of the rest of my life. About twenty minutes had passed and the nervousness was starting to turn into grief. Finally I mustered up the courage to look at the result. Slowly looking down-afraid of the worst-I saw what I had dreaded most, my worst nightmare: +.