Best Years of My Life

>> Saturday, July 31, 2010

I would like to talk to you about a little pet peeve of mine. Actually, it's quite possibly my number one pet peeve, and has been for over ten years. I hate it when people say that high school is the best years of your life. Hate it.

I remember being thirteen, and adults would laugh at me and tell me that these would be the best years of my life. And I would shudder, and tell them, "No way."
They'd say "Just wait. You'll see."
Well, I've waited. And I've seen. And I will tell you, as someone whose been out of my teens for 6 years now, high school was definitely not the best time of my life. Definitely not.

I was not carefree. I moved out at 17 to get away from my abusive father. I spend my pre-teen and teen years listening to my parents scream at each other for hours on end, and since I was a child I've witnessed domestic violence.

I battled debilitating depression. Depression so bad that each night I thought I would not wake up the next morning. I was in a hole so deep that I tried to cut out the darkness with a razor. I was in a hole so deep that I alternately tried eating my way out, and then starving out the pain. I was in a hole so deep that I spent a year in a pot-induced fog by day, and an alcohol induced one by night. High school for me represents despair. And I had parents who were too damaged and self-absorbed to notice.

I had parents who thought that my depression was the result of demon posession one moment, and was merely an attitude problem the next. I had parents who thought that the best way to get rid of my depression was to scream "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?" at me. I had parents who hit me when I questioned my sexual identity, yet called me a whore the first time I kissed a boy.

High school was not the best years of my life. Not by a long shot.

When I went away to college, clear across the country, I could breathe for the first time. I had to pay bills. I had to buy food. I had to wake myself up in the morning, put myself to sleep at night, and nagivate a new city all on my own. I didn't feel trapped. I felt free. The depression my parents were never competent enough to make sure got treated? I found a doctor who helped me find the right medication, and I've been doing so much better ever since.

Wanting to kill myself is a distant memory. Being too sad to go to work is a distant memory. Living with roomates was the sweet calm I needed after living in a house full of tension and rage. Living with my husband was even better. The freedom to choose happiness, to choose to surround myself with people who are positive and loving, to define my own household and my own future has been invaluable.

I would much rather deal with the stress of having to pay the bills, than deal with what I dealt with growing up. My childhood and adolescence were birthing pains, and when I left I was born into a new life full of possibility and hope.



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