My(more than) 13 reasons why

This is an old post I found in my Google Keep, written whenever 13 Reasons Why first came out:

I’m watching this show and it’s really bringing some long-buried and not so long-buried things back to the surface of my thoughts. I’ve had many episodes over the years where I’ve just gotten into a complete funk, to the most extreme for me– having a bottle of pills and a bottle of tequila sitting in front of me. I’ve cried nonstop for entire days, stayed in bed, didn’t shower or brush my teeth, didn’t go out and do anything or speak to anyone, I’ve felt hopeless. Like there was no way my life was every going to get better.

Let’s start with the earliest memories I have that made me feel different in a negative way, worthless or depressed.

When an adult jerked his gherkin standing right in front of my face when I was 7 or 8.

When a girl I thought was my best friend after starting in a new school in 2nd grade grade came out and said, “I don’t like you.” For no reason that I knew.

When my mother’s boyfriend tied our dog out to the tree in the front yard and shot it for taking off down the road with a shoe one too many times.

When I was about 12 or 13, and boys started calling me an “ugly dog”. I realized I had never been pretty. I had been called sophisticated and intellectual-looking by my dad and grandparents when I got glasses. 😛 Not so much though when I started having to wear an eyepatch (not even a cool pirate looking one – it looked like a giant bandaid) on one eye for lazy eye.

Through late middle/early high school when I could not get rid of the zits all over my face. One would disappear and three more would take its place.

A girl I had been friends with through middle school went to a different high school than me the first couple of months and then transferred and I was so excited to see her but she had changed. Suddenly she was extroverted and popular and started bullying me on the bus.

My best friend got in with a new group of girls and they didn’t like me, so she hung out with me less and less until we were no longer friends.

The former best friend called me a Pekingese because of my underbite which I was never really that aware of before. She also laughed saying I had sideburns so I became self conscious of fuzz on my face (which everyone has) and shaved it off. This was all in earshot of everyone on the bus.

A guy sat behind me in history – assigned seats- and would pull the hair clips or barrettes out of my hair whenever I’d try to wear them.

The memory has faded and I’m not even sure now what he said to me, but in English class one time when the teacher left the room, the guy at the desk in front of me, a hockey player who I saw as the a tough rich snob bully type (our desks were literally in the middle of the classroom so I was trapped) turned around and started saying mean things to me and shaking my desk and I remember being terrified, petrified in place, and think I squeaked out a “stop it”. His friend was sitting behind me egging him on. I couldn’t move and started to cry. I was terrified of him ever since. To this day if I ever cross paths with him, I will cower. Thing is, I’ve stalked his Facebook and he has little daughters and I wonder if he ever thinks about that incident and how he would feel if he knew someone did that to his daughter. Hair clip guy has a daughter too and I know he has changed. I remember having to wait on him when I worked at a store and I think he remembered me and was friendly enough. Like he didn’t see what he did as bullying or didn’t realize how it affected me or never thought about it at all. But I did. I never mentioned it though.

The vocational school was closed one day, probably for a step up day, so I didn’t have classes and had to spend the afternoon at the high school. I usually ate lunch on the voc bus and listened to music or read because I couldn’t stand listening to the loudmouthed girls who went to voc. At school, I didn’t have a usual spot so I sat at an empty round table and soon it filled up around me with the regular occupants, a group of popular girls in the grade above me. They didn’t kick me out, but talked past me and around me and I didn’t say a word, just ate my lunch. The whole lunch was awkward but also like being in the midst of celebrities I only usually watched from afar and knew from pictures in a yearbook because I knew exactly who they were, knew their names, but they likely had no clue who I was. After that, when there was a day like that, I sat on the steps or on the lobby floor to eat and read.

Pep rallys – I hid out in the bathroom, the stairs, my next classroom I needed to be in, the music room, anywhere but the gym, and I was usually reading a book. Basically because it was too awkward to be in that huge crowd of people, the entire student body, and not know where to sit/who to sit with. I stuck my nose in a book or headphones on my ears often to avoid having to be awkward and look occupied in a sea of people I didn’t know.

I swear to God I remember, and not sure what class or when, walking into a class late as the teacher doing roll call was asking if anyone had seen Laurie and someone said, “Who?” “Laurie.” “Laurie who?”

When my teachers wrote in my yearbook that I had potential I wasn’t using.

When the majority of other yearbook notes started with, “I don’t know you very well but…”

When my boyfriend broke up with me and then I heard he went out with my former best friend.

Sleeping over at my at the time best friend’s house, after I jokingly put the steps to her loft bedroom up so she couldn’t get down, she freaked out and got mad yelling at me to leave in the middle of the night so I walked home. We didnt stay very close friends after that.

When my stepfather had me alone in the car and said he needed to find a nice young thing like myself.

When my dad didn’t come to my graduation. I only sporadically saw him since about 6th grade And I never saw him again until my sister’s wedding but got a call from him to inform me about new family medical history I should know about- his heart attack. It was a very matter-of-fact-just-FYI call.

My best friend of 3 years (from high school and roommates after school) married a guy she knew for a couple of months and moved to Nova Scotia then to Florida with him. I hadn’t seen her in several months and when she came back to town for a visit, she stopped at my place just to ask if my boyfriend had any weed. That’s all I saw of her. The next time I saw her years later she was in town and invited me to come to her parents vow renewal. She had been remarried herself since last time. I don’t remember much else about this except her asking me how long I’d been with “the new one”, meaning Jamie’s dad. I remember feeling like it didn’t feel like a reunion of best friends. We both kind of halfheartedly took down each other’s addresses and phone numbers and neither ever used them. I can’t even remember her married name.

Another girl I had considered one of my best friends the one year she went to my high school got in touch with me by letter after several years just to tell me about a great opportunity with Amway.

I was with my son’s father for 6 years even though he told me over and over again over the years that he was only there for his son, he didn’t love me, and he would find someone better someday. And he constantly talked about how great his ex was.

When people around me start voicing their opinions about abortion and saying things like “It’s just wrong. It’s murder. I had a friend once who went to get one and I tried to convince her not to do it.” Even if someone just says, “I wouldn’t judge anyone else for making the decision but I could never do it myself.” I at most say I support choice. But usually I don’t say anything. I certainly would never say I made the decision myself and came out just fine and never think about it. The truth is, the only time I do think about it is when people are talking about it in such a way that I feel like I’m being shamed for having had one even though they have no idea I did. And though I support choice because I’ve been there, I believe it’s far better to not have to get to that decision which is why I feel it’s so important to start birth control early. To think of sex as something people naturally have the drive to do and will probably choose to do once they hit a certain age range after sexual maturity takes place. Fact: the majority of people all through time have had their first sexual experiences as teens. We’re mammals, ffs.

When I would seek out validation and worth through fantasy-like risks and sexual encounters. The thought of being the one someone dreams and fantasizes about and remembers into the future propelled me to do many things I shouldn’t have done. Many of these acts taught me, though, how fragile relationships are and how strong temptation is. And how powerful that can make you feel at first, but also how it feels to just be someone’s dirty little secret. Although learning that didn’t stop me. I learned I liked having my secrets too and I liked having the experiences and stories I could share someday.

When I knew leaving him was the right thing for me to do but that I left him for the wrong guy, moved too fast yet again, and stayed way too long again because it’s too hard to leave and be alone. I repeated that entire scenario too many times in my life.

When Facebook was new, it was so cool. I searched all the names of old childhood friends I could remember and friend requested a bunch of them with short notes on how I knew them/what I remembered and none of them remembered me. One or two thought my name was vaguely familiar.

When the other ladies at work went to lunch together and invited me once or twice but I declined because I hate the thought of sitting in a group eating while everyone’s talking and asking why I’m so quiet. I’d rather eat at my desk and get work done while I eat. But then on the occasion I actually felt like it, no one asked me anymore and I was too timid to ask to tag along.

Any of the million times anyone has asked me if I’m okay because I’m so quiet.

Whenever I’ve felt like I should be writing more and getting published, and like I was meant for more than being a mother.

When I found out I was having a baby with a genetic disorder and multiple medical problems.

Whenever I’ve felt like a horrible mother and my kids would be better off without me.

When I worked full time and had to drive everyone everywhere but had to leave my car downtown. Speech therapy days were drop off Ron, Jamie, Sarah (at 3 different places), go to parking garage to park car, bus to work, bus back to car when time to leave for ST, go get Sarah, go to speech therapy, take her back, go back to garage to park, bus back to work, end of the day bus to car again, pick up Sarah, pick up Ron, go home. Cook. Clean. Be a mother. That was my day. That was how it was for any appts or school or other meetings. Plus paperwork, prescriptions, housework. I’m lucky I lived through that. I was not in a good place during that entire span of time.

When Ron got put on overnights.

When Ron worked nights and weekends. Basically leaving me to care for Sarah days, nights, and weekends alone.

When Sarah wouldn’t go to sleep at night, she would be up for hours hitting and kicking her door, screaming, crying, after multiple attempts to lull her to sleep in our laps, in her bed, and then we’d have to get up for work in the morning. I would be so exhausted, upset, angry and at my wit’s end it’s a miracle I didn’t suffocate her to be perfectly honest.

When Sarah went though her “poop storm” stage and the only thing I did more than clean up poop was cry.

When I couldn’t take being with her constantly and finally reached out to UCP that summer to get help and start the process of getting section 28 for Sarah.

When I’ve felt “less than” for not finishing college and having a career.

When I finally finished a college degree and felt proud but still felt it wasn’t enough, especially when I wasn’t able to get rehired at the place where I worked before for 9 years. And I don’t know that I ever believed I would do anything with it or if I was just trying to impress.

Whenever I think about the regret I have for not being the mother I should’ve been for Jamie. I had Sarah when Jamie was four and Sarah’s special needs soon eclipsed Jamie’s regular needs. I feel like Jamie missed out on the childhood she should’ve had.

When my son was newly adult and probably took a bit to get up the courage to talk to me about a personal topic around sex and I cut him off and said something like ,”Oh, I really shouldn’t hear about this.” I really didn’t mean to do that. I closed off open communication and I don’t think it’s been the same since.

I had a friend who lives states away who I talked with constantly online and by text tell me they met a new friend who’s “like a real-life version of” me.

When I just start spontaneously crying when a thought pops into my head or for no reason at all.

When I can’t seem to get to the next step that comes after “we should get together sometime”.

Or when I do, they forget they were meeting me for lunch or they show up but are in a rush and there’s not much to talk about anyway and it’s awkward.

Or when someone actually invites me out and my social anxiety drives me to cancel at the last minute and they stop inviting.

Or when a Facebook friend 20 minutes away is always too busy make plans (ironic I wouldn’t get that it could be social anxiety).

Or when the old “friend” said “we don’t need to get together to be friends, that’s what Facebook is for.” Oh?

There are so many people I know I’ll never see again and I have a problem with just keeping in touch over Facebook, so I’ve deleted them. If I’ll never see you again in person, why on Earth would I want to keep up with your life? Yet once in awhile I’ll Facebook stalk them to check up on them. I am aware this is ironic and selfish for someone who has dealt with depression and suicidal ideation.

When I resort to a Meetup group, singing karaoke in front of a small group of strangers a couple of times and start imagining a future best friendship with one of them. Like he could totally be my perfect gay best friend. He’s so cool and quirky and we’re the same age and both have ukuleles. His daughter has the same name as me. He seems to like me. I make up a whole relationship in my head. I’ve always done this with crushes. I tried the “atheist church” once and wanted to start going. He mentioned he goes there so I decided to go a couple of times and make awkward small talk. Then the couple I don’t like so much starts going and I don’t see him again and I stop going to the meetups. Then in the church newsletter, they’re all listed as new members and I feel like I’ve been crowded out of a place where I wanted to belong. Then all of social justice crap starts showing up on FB and the couple is involved in that, all of the protests and stuff and I’m like maybe I don’t belong there anyway.

When I met Dave, he went to skating on Tuesdays and didn’t really know people there. He mostly had his college friends who all lived out of state. He has since gotten into lots of activities and made new friends and I feel needed less and a little scared I won’t fit in with his new (or old) groups. I don’t fit in with the curling people. The skating people I’ve met seem okay but it’s how they see me that I’m afraid of. I’m quiet, don’t have a lot to say, i feel so boring. Plus I can’t hear very well in a crowd so don’t have anything to contribute to group conversations. One of the curling guys was talking about all of the things there are to do in Portland and he asked me what I do up in Bangor. I said I work at St. Joe’s Hospital checking in patients in the radiology Dept. Then I realized my error and added there’s not much. No curling and the skating rink closed last summer. Less to do farther north though. Bangor is about as north as you’d want to go. Ugh I have no clue. I have only read recently -and Dave has this down to a science- that people want to find something in common to bond over then learn what makes you unique to them. Dave is able to meet someone with a common interest by getting involved in something, say skating and go on a regular basis to be around the same people repeatedly, then get invited and attend before or after party events. Then talks with them about his unique thing (does curling), Then he invites them to things with people from curling, and then curling and skating people invite him to things where he meets other people with some other common interest, say concerts, then he makes plans to go out with the people to a concert etc etc. where he might mention some other thing he does (volleyball) and get someone to join volleyball…

This is how it goes for me:

Them: Portland’s nice. It has a symphony, lots of concert venues, museums, curling, skating. What do you do up in Bangor?

Me: What do I do? Uh. I check in patients at St. Joe’s. Radiology department. And raise kids. There’s no curling. The skating rink just closed. We have the waterfront concerts though. There’s not much. Bangor’s about as north as you’d want to go.

Them: Nods, takes a couple sips of beer, turns to the conversation going on to his right.

When I was put in the group that Dave was instructing at Learn to Curl, one of the women asked if I’ve done this before and I responded, “Noooo. I’m only here because my boyfriend dragged me here. He’s teaching.” And she said something like, “Ohhh, great.” Totally shut that down. She didn’t have a name tag and never introduced herself so through the whole thing I never knew her name. Never asked and I never introduced myself, either.

I tend to say something – like the above examples- that shuts down conversation. Because I hate conversation. Or say something that makes me seem unique and that alienates people (“Luke Bryan? I don’t know who that is but I like Marilyn Manson.”) instead of trying to find common ground first and then sharing unique stuff. I avoid events and crowds, Yet I want friends and want to belong. Events and holidays where people typically get together with friends, like memorial day, depress me. I want friends without having to go through the making friends part.

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