*A COLLECTION OF LETTERS FROM REAL 'HURT' TEENAGERS:
i wish i could tell secrets
to someone who would listen,
to someone who wouldn't tell.
i wish i could meet that special someone,
someone who loves me,
someone who cares for me.
i wish i could talk to someone,
someone who would understand,
someone who wouldn't laugh.
i wish i had a best friend,
someone i can trust,
someone i can tell secrets to.
someone who understands me,
someone who will grow with me,
someone i can talk to.
The courtyard is filled with teenagers,
fake smiles, fake friendships.
they are everywhere.
Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, jocks, preps, freaks, geeks,
there is no exception to the rule,
all desperately wanting to feel wanted,
to feel needed, included, loved.
Do you not realize this is pointless?
that all the empty phrases,
all the fake hugs and hellos are worthless?
that will never satisfy their longing.
i feel like i live life in a painting-like all these false emotions and crazy colors stroked in an insane pattern from an "image" of me and who i am. i get so frustrated because the painting of me isn't really me at all. not even my best friend, whom i confide in and depend on the most, or my boyfriend, whom i have given everything to, knows the true me. i want to wash away all these painful strokes, absurd colors, and false emotions. i want to be cleansed of all the fake things that make me. but the fear of rejection always seem to be greater, it always overcomes the yearning for change. everyday i like my life for other people and not myself. i can never rest and just be me. i have to be the cheerleader or the honor roll student or the football player's woman. i can never just be me. all the drinking, parties, football games, even a walk down the halls of my high school seem like an endless drama. don't get me wrong. i love my friends and my boyfriend and i really love high school sometimes...but sometimes i wish i could just be me!
you come into the world alone,
you go out into the world alone,
in life you have no friends.
Step into the dark where all you see is me
Step into the dark where there is suffering and pain
Step into the dark where not a single person knows your name
Step into the dark where the only color is black
Step into the dark where love is a mystery
Step into the dark where real men don't come back
Step into the dark where no one leaves tracks
Step into the dark where hell is a block away
Step into the dark where you might brighten my day
When it comes to high school life, most adults say, "I understand" or "I know, I was in high school once, "but that was once and this is now." It's much harder to live life now more than ever. You have one true friend, the one who is always there for you and the one who is there for you when you cry. All your other friends are just there. They listen and are fun to be around, but you can't always trust all your friends because some will betray you. Most of my friends are sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old and have had to go to their friend's funeral because they overdosed on drugs or alcohol. Two years ago there was a count of seventeen girls pregnant.
I can't ever find someone to talk to who knows how I am feeling. My parents always say that they know how I feel and that they have been there, but times have changed. They don't know what I'm going through. So I am forced to keep my feelings bottled up inside. Sometimes I just crack. I get onto everyone I am around. I hate it. I wish I could find someone to talk to who knows me and understands me.
FOR THE MOST PART, MY FAMILY HAS BEEN A SORT OF UNSTABLE PART OF MY LIFE. BETWEEN DIVORCES AND TEMPERS, I DON'T FEEL LIKE I CAN DEPEND ON MY FAMILY AS MY ROCK HERE ON EARTH. THAT'S WHERE MY FRIENDS COME IN. SURE, A LOT OF FRIENDS COME AND GO, BUT I'VE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO DEVELOP AMAZING RELATIONSHIPS WITH A SELECT FEW--A FEW GET INTO THINGS I SHOULDN'T BE GETTING INTO, A FEW WITH WHOM I CAN BE COMPLETELY REAL WITHOUT FEAR OF RIDICULE, FRIENDS WHO COULD SIT THERE AND LISTEN TO MY PROBLEMS FOR HOURS JUST BECAUSE THEY CARE AND KNOW THAT I WOULDN'T HESITATE TO DO THE SAME THING. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I LOVE MY BLOOD-RELATED FAMILY, BUT MY FRIENDS ARE MORE MY FAMILY THAN MY FAMILY.
I was two when my dad walked out on me and my mom. sure, i saw him a lot, but it hurt. i never saw him again after fourth grade. he stopped calling and writing. my mom remarried the summer after fifth grade. i hated him. in sixth grade i lost my virginity. i just wanted to be loved by a guy. i hated my life, but when i had sex i felt like i was cared about and loved. i slept with three guys. then in seventh i started to do drugs and drink. i would go to parties and stay out late. my mom kicked my stepdad out, so i was happy. school started. i was smoking and drinking a little here and there. i didn't really feel loved or cared about. i felt dead inside. i picked up cutting. when i saw myself bleed, i just felt so alive. to feel the pain was the best feeling i could feel. my mom found out, so i stopped because i had to see a counselor. a few months later i stopped eating. i had to be perfect. i was the worst daughter. i had bad grades. i had a bad attitude. my dad wasn't around. i felt like i was worthless. i wasn't good enough for him. i feel like my life is worthless. i just want to die half the time. i want to feel like i'm worth something, loved and cared for. where do i find that?
People think i have the "perfect life". i wear the right clothes, i hang with the "cool crowd," my family has money. but the funny thing is, they don't know that i cry myself to sleep every night because my dad's expectations are impossible. i struggle with keeping up with school work. i come from a divorced home. they never see the real me. i have to put on a mask. i deal with the struggles of beer and alcohol. they don't know.
You were right when you said we need a safe place. And I do want to be known for who I am. But I also want to know other people, and I want them to trust me so much that they could tell me anything. That's very important to me--that I can be there for my friends no matter what.
I've always been prone to episodes of extreme loneliness and longing for a place where I could feel safe enough to let down my defenses. Because I was and extremely outgoing and energetic little girl/adolescent, no one would ever guess how alone I really felt. I was the girl who was always surrounding herself with people from all "groups," as teenagers love to place people in, but something has always felt like it was missing. Every so often this "hole" pops up in the pit of my stomach, and it can stay anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days. I have never been able to pinpoint exactly where the emptiness begins, as hard as I may try. I have many friends and acquaintances, and my home life is more than I could ask for. I just wish sometimes I could find somewhere to belong.
I could stare in the mirror for hours and find no connection between my thoughts and the face staring back at me. He seems more like a poorly casted actor whose eyes show his disdain for his role. And yet he smiles. He leads an exceptional life with above average grades and social skills. I just wish my real life were more like the person radiating from his smile. Other people seem like actors and actresses in the same sick drama, almost unreal to me. I have to remind myself when I speak to them that it is the actor they see and not an image more fairly representative of my thoughts. I feel like a renegade separating myself from my intended role, and yet my misery seeks no company. I consider myself too humane to invite stable minds into my thoughts, like enticing the healthy into a leprosy colony. I therefore suffer in silence, longing to be understood but refusing to share such a nightmare with the unknowing. It is a lonely place in the mind of an unwilling actor.
Waking up and still being tired--trying to sleep and still being wired--all of the hectic time in between--portrays the mind-boggling life of a teen. being forced to make many decisions at school--wondering if our peers will consider us cool--facing the pressure of continuous stress--made of never-ending homework and responsible tests. falling in love and feeling pure bliss--only to have your heart ripped apart and someone to miss--knowing if your parents keep treating you this way--there's no way you'll make it through another day.
WHEN I REACH DOWN INTO MY INNER BEING TRYING TO GRASP HOLD OF WHO I AM, MANY TIMES I FIND MYSELF DIGGING INTO AN EMPTY ABYSS. I'M NOT SAYING I FEEL MY LIFE IS INSIGNIFICANT. RATHER, I FEEL LIFE IS A COMPETITION, ONE THAT FORCES ME TO BE SOMEONE I'M NOT. IN HIGH SCHOOL, EVERYONE HIDES BEHIND MASKS OF INSECURITY TRYING DESPERATELY TO BE COOL, LEAVING THE SEARCH FOR TRUE FRIENDS A LONG AND BUMPY ROAD.
MY PARENTS DON'T KNOW ME, MY TEACHERS DON'T KNOW ME, EVEN MY COACH DOESN'T KNOW ME. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO REALLY KNOW ME ARE MY FRIENDS.
in ninth grade, i felt that having a lot of friends and being accepted were the most important things. i even conformed to their desires and dyed my hair pink, dressed somewhat punkish, and went to parties with rock music, smoking, and other activities. after a while, i realized that this was not me. it wasn't until eleventh grade that i broke away from that destructive group of friends and chose to hang out with others.
I may seem like i would fit in, but i'm not too popular. i try to fit in as best as i can. i think that i do a pretty good job. i just don't know what i did not to fit in. it may just be a stage in my life, but i never feel in the right place. this makes me feel so depressed, but i never show it. i always come off as a happy person to those i meet.
what i have to say about being a high schooler may seem confusing or contradictory. but then again, what about high school isn't confusing and contradictory at times? first of all, i almost agree with parents when they say that their teen "knows everything." i often feel like i know more than my mom and her not letting me do something is ridiculous. teens reach a point where they will disregard what their parents say and will do what they want to do. parents try to protect us because they think we are too young to make big decisions on our own. i firmly believe that you have to make your own decisions about things and learn from your own experiences to ever truly learn and grow. there's no way that i would feel the way i do about smoking, drinking, dating, and other relationships if it hadn't been for my own experiences. now, i know i just said how i believe i know a lot, but there is so much i don't know. lately, i've realized how very much of a child i am. i have so much to learn, so much desire for consistency, and a great need for a happy, secure place i can call my home. i am not a child; i am much younger than that. so yes, this does contradict my frustration when i am spoken to as though i'm a child. this may not make much sense to you, but it doesn't even always make sense to me.
my parents divorced when i was seven years old. i live in two houses, switching every two days. my parents get mad at me when i need to go to the other house because i forgot something. i get so angry because no one ever asked me if i wanted to live in two houses. no one ever asked me if it was okay with me having to keep track of which house my schoolbooks are at. no one ever asked me if i wanted to split my life in two!
i always played sports until i blew out my ankle and had reconstructive surgery. at that point i went from jv volleyball, varsity basketball, and varsity softball to the girl with the blown ankle. the remainder of my high school career i only played volleyball, when i could fit my foot in my shoe. so everything i once identified myself with was gone. i slipped into a depression. i started doing drugs and skipping school.
i'm such a terrible kid
i only think about myself
i can never make anyone happy
--at least that's what they keep telling me--
i can't understand it, i can't see, i'm always wrong
i can't do anything right
--at least that's what they keep telling me--
i'm ungrateful and high maintenance, i'm never satisfied
always asking, i'm not good enough for anyone
--at least that's what they keep telling me--
i'm so self-centered yet i give you all i have
i love you more than i should, i always try to make you happy
i try my best, hoping you'll be satisfied but i'm your terrible kid
your sad mistake, one day maybe you'll understand the pain
the pain inflicted upon my unborn heart
don't say you want me to be happy
when you're making me cry so hard, so often.
i just finished my freshman year in high school. i'm 15 and my boyfriend is 18. we started dating in October when we were 14 and 17. a little after Christmas things started to get crazy. we pretty much let go of moral values. while we haven't (and promised each other we won't) had sex, we've done quite a lot. we've lied about it to our parents, friends, and anyone who cares to ask.
I've had to overcome many struggles with sex drive stuff and being lonely in a group of friends who are couples. it's a hard struggle. feelings of loneliness are overwhelming.
you have no one to ask you what's wrong. you can't take it anymore. there's too much pressure. so what do you do? do you find someone to talk to? the pressure is too high, choking you like a noose. so you think, what's the point of fighting it? you try to think of the old days when you were little, when life was about having fun. all you need is someone to talk to, but it can't be your parents. they're always fighting.
the pressure from athletic coaches is really bad. the pressure to be the biggest and the best pushes kids to use steroids and other supplements, play hurt, and take one for the team. the coaches don't seem to care about your well-being. they just want the trophy and the recognition that come with a championship. a perfect example is my school. no team in history has ever won three regional titles in a row. we've already won two, and the coaches are making practices longer and more strenuous to the point of dehydration and broken bones.
it's hard to have so much on your shoulders or things on your to-do list when you're busy.
funny, isn't it, how one little incident could send me straight into tears and running away like i am nine. i feel ridiculous. i am seventeen and almost an adult? why can't i handle it?
when i got to high school, i was ready to experience things. i tried weed and got pretty into it. it felt like a getaway. i began to drink and smoke as well. i lied to my parents almost every time i left the house. when i went to see my family, i would put on a big front. i felt so bad about it but would always try to give myself a reason why it was okay.
i know students cheat, or most of them, but i don't think i can do much about it. if i started pushing too hard, i would get in real hot water with parents. parents are so clueless. they think, "my johnny would never cheat. it had to be some other kid who set him up. "i am sick of the whole thing, and i have learned that the best way to handle most of the small stuff is just to look the other way. HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
EVERYONE WANTS TO FIT IN, SO THEY DO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE DOES, SUCH AS DRUGS AND DRINKING. PEOPLE HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY STRONG NOT TO GIVE IN TO THESE ACTIONS. I THINK A PERSON'S FAMILY INFLUENCES ACTIONS IN SAYING NO. BUT DRUGS, THEY ARE EXTREMELY POPULAR. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. DRINKING IS ALSO POPULAR.
before this summer i was what people would call a party animal. i was the kind of girl who would go to parties and get smashed and look for guys to hook up with. my excuse was, "oh i was drunk. i didn't mean to do it, and i didn't know what i was doing." But truth be told, when you're drunk you have a sense of what you're doing, but you think stuff you normally wouldn't do is okay. when i started high school, i was thrown into the party crowd. this happened because my brother was a senior. i was immediately made out to be the cool new freshman who must party like her brother. sad to say, i played that role for a long time, until god called my heart to be in a different place.
sometimes, i'm not who i seem to be
sometimes, i keep it all inside of me
i know i could use a friend
but how can i tell you what's in my head?
that's when i cry
i let the tears run down my face
in the darkness
where you can't see me
and you can't ask me why.
but when you're there
i keep my head held high
with a smile upon my face
so you don't know my pain or what i'm going through.
it's too late, you can't help me now
it's too late, you can't help me now.