A-Z Suicides: Fay Anne-Marie Branhurst

Today, I decided to delve into a different aspect of depression: the voices in your head that you never seem able to escape. From what I’ve seen, everyone assumes that people who attempt or commit suicide have some sort of horrible life or an outside source that is directly causing their problems. And, many times, that’s completely true. But other times, it’s just the right mixture of low self-esteem and a few off-hand remarks that stuck a little more than they were meant to. Even when a person has the best support system possible, the voices in their head that tell them they’re being lied to or that they’re not worth the worry and care the people around them are giving them. And some sort of bad past, such as bullying or a less-than-supportive family member can be the catalyst, but there are plenty of times when the source is to far away from the current time to be traced with any accuracy. The voices, however, are still there, always bringing up the dirty laundry that you tried so hard to bury under happier memories and good intentions.

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A-Z Suicides: Erica Williams

Today’s story is a little more interesting, because it’s from the point of view of one of the main characters, rather than a bit character that I was just trying to develop a back story for. It was a bit difficult to start, since I didn’t really have a plan for it when I began,but it seemed to fly out as I continued. Because of this, it really helped me develop an understanding of her, so that I’ll be able to understand her better when I introduce her. Getting into her head was really interesting, because I discovered just how much pain an loneliness she was trying to hide behind her tough exterior. I hope you enjoy it! Well, as much as you can enjoy a story about self-injury and suicide.

As always, this story contains possible triggers for suicide, depression, and cutting. It also contains some strong language, coming from the mouth of an angry teenage girl.

 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl would was the best archer in the world. She could hit any type of target from any distance, even moving targets. And she was proud of herself for this, because being an excellent archer didn’t just come naturally. All her life, she had to practice and practice and learn just how to hold the bow steady, pull back the string, and let it snap forward just right. It was hard work, and her arms hurt at first, but she enjoyed it so much. It was the most important think in the world to her.

The little girl lived with her mother and father in a big house on a hill. Her parents were always running in and out of the house, going here and there and everywhere else, never paying attention to the little girl’s talent. They had bought her the bow and arrow, thinking that she would get bored and outgrow in quickly, and paid for the lessons to prevent her from accidentally hurting herself when she was using them. But, to them, it was just like buying her any other toy: they had the money for it, so they didn’t care what happened to it after their daughter didn’t want it anymore.

The little girl wanted so much to show her parents how much she loved archery, and how good she had gotten at it! But, no. They were too busy with work to do that. They couldn’t take the day off to just spend time as a family. They had to keep their business running, or meet with clients, or go to fancy dinners to maintain their professional contacts. They barely even looked at their daughter. They just left her with a stupid fucking maid who followed her around going “Oh! Miss Erika! I don’t think your parents would like you getting all dirty! Come inside and doing your math homework!” What the fuck would they care if I got my pants a little dirty? They could just buy me a new pair if I messed them up. And no, I won’t do my math homework! I hate math! Why the fuck would I need to know the cosine of a fucking circle?

As she got older, archery became more of a way to escape how angry it made her that her parents never talked to her. She would become lost in the repetitive motions of drawing back and releasing the arrows, one after the other. Eventually, however, even that wasn’t enough. The hours she spent out on the archery range just became a constant reminder of how she would rather spend those hours talking to her mom and dad. It was just so annoying! Couldn’t they spare just one hour a day to sit down and eat with her, and talk to her about her day? It made her so angry that she felt like she could punch someone!

One day, however, the problem seemed as if it had fixed itself. At least, it seemed that way for the time being. It was during one of her usual archery practices. She was thinking about a bunch of things as she shot, and accidentally got her finger too close to the arrow, and pulled it back too far. As she released, the tip of the arrow cut into her finger, causing her to miss the target as her hands flinched from the pain.

She hissed through her teeth as she carefully placed her bow on the ground and held her finger, waiting for it to stop hurting, stop bleeding. She stared at it as the droplets swelled on her fingertip and then dripped over the side. It wasn’t a horrible injury. It would only require a quick disinfection and a Band-Aid to fix.

As she turned to go inside and fix it up, she smiled slightly. For a short time, she realized, she hadn’t been worrying about her parents or how alone and angry she felt. All she could think about was the pain and watching the blood. She knew what she would do.

Over the following weeks, cuts and scratched appeared all over her arms. Whenever people would ask her about them, she would just shrug and say she hurt herself doing archery. Everyone knew she liked it, so they didn’t think too much of the fact that the formerly flawless archer was suddenly injuring herself every day. Then, she could do home and, while everything though she was out shooting, she would hole herself up in the shed and cut her arms with a little pocket knife she had found in her father’s desk drawer. The pain filled her with a sense of ecstasy. It was like a drug to her. Then, when it lost its edge, she would go out and shoot off a few arrows, her head still spinning.

A few weeks into it, the moment she had been waiting for finally came. Her father asked her to come speak with him and her mother in the dining room. On her way there, she skipped like a small child. Her parents finally set some time to speak with her, just them.

Everything fell to pieces, however, once she sat down.

“Erika, we don’t want you to use your bow anymore.” her mother said. “You’ve been hurting yourself a lot recently. We believe it’s too dangerous.”

“But Mama-“ she began, but her mother shook her head.

“No buts. Look at your arms; they’re covered in cuts! I’ve never seen you with so many injuries. We’re getting rid of the equipment, so you can focus on your schoolwork and find a hobby that is less dangerous.”

The little girl stood up in her chair, hands clenched. “Gee, I’ve never gotten hurt this much before, have I? I wonder why I suddenly suck so much? I mean, it can’t have anything to do with the fact that you don’t pay any fucking attention to me, or how good I am at it, unless I’m getting hurt by it. No, that’s impossible. Every girl loves to my totally fucking ignored by her parents, right?” She stormed out of the room before her parents could respond, just like they wouldn’t let her respond when they said they wanted to “talk to her.”

When she got home from school the next day, movers were loading up the targets and hay bales she used for targets and drove them away. Angry, she stomped up to her room and stared at the ceiling for a while, then took out the knife and made a nice, big, noticeable cut right over the top of her wrist. Maybe if the injuries didn’t stop, they would get the picture.

Without the archery to keep her calm, however, school became more and more difficult. All she could think about was how much she hated her parents, how much she wanted to do archery, and how she could make her cuts more obvious to someone, anyone. So, she hurt herself more often. In the school bathroom, changing for gym, on the bus on the way home. It was when she tried to burn herself during science class that the school called her parents, and they were forced to realize that their daughter wasn’t a fucking doll that they could create and then leave to fend for herself without interaction for the rest of her life.

*sigh*

They pulled her out of school, and took a few weeks off from their endless business lives to make sure she was “recovering” properly. This means they shut her up in her room with a tutor while they sat in their offices making phone calls all day to make sure people knew that they were all more important than the pair’s daughter, and they would never think forget about them while their daughter was trying to cut her hands off in an attempt to at least make eye contact with her parents once in a while.

During dinner, they asked her in bored voices if she was still hurting herself while they picked at their dinner. With a sneer, the little girl always held up her arms to them, making sure any new cuts were always in full view. They sighed and lectured her about why cutting herself the wrong, which she ignore. She tried to make conversation after they had winded themselves, but they always gave her short, useless answers before going off to make another phone call.

Seeing no point and no end to this useless attempt to attract her mother and father’s attention, the little girl gave up. She didn’t stop cutting herself, of course. Although she still wished her parents would talk to her more, the cuts had made an improvement in their relationship. But, it was beginning to become less of a distraction and more of a chore. So, she decided to up the ante a bit. Going out into the shed, she careful took a rope out and tied it around her neck, then got up in a ladder to tie the other end to the roof beam. Then, pleased with her work, the little girl began to tip the ladder over.

Let’s see what they think of their stupid business now. I’ll find my own happy fucking ending, even if it kills me…

A-Z Suicides: Daniel Vincente

Welcome back to A-Z suicides, which is probably the most depressing take on the A-Z blogging challenge out there. As with the prior 3 days, I advise against reading my blog this month if you are sensitive to the topic of suicide.

Today, I went with free-form parallelism poetry, since I’m going on a trip and needed something quick to set up to be posted at a later time. I thought it would work well with this character, since swimming is a very repetitive motion, and would be a good way to take your mind off things as you succumb to the habit of your strokes. So, I tried to mimic that mechanical movement and seductive rhythm in the poem. And, the discussion we had in class on The Awakening may have also played a part in my dicision to write this character on this day. Regardless of my inspiration, though, I hope you enjoy.

 

Swim away

Swim away from the shore
Swim away from the heat
Swim away from the rough sand
Swim away from the oppressing weight of gravity

Swim away from the wall
Swim away from the start line
Swim away from the competitors
Swim away from the cheering

Swim away from the yelling
Swim away from the screaming
Swim away from the fighting
Swim away from the hurting

Swim away from the stares
Swim away from the whispers
Swim away from the questions
Swim away from everyone’s egotistical worry

Swim away from the loneliness
Swim away frolm the crying
Swim away from the sleepless nights
Swim away from the voices in my head

Swim away from the suffering
Swim away from the pain
Swim away from the shore
Swim away from this endless life

And breath
Deeply
In the cool
Unforgiving
Water

And float away

A-Z Suicides: Chastity Smith

Of all the suicides I have planned for this month so far, it’s this one that I’m most unsure of its reception. In addition to the usual warning of suicide and depression that will blanket this month, I also wish to warn you that this story will be unfavorable to anyone who does not like to see religion portrayed in a negative light.

I just want to give a disclaimer that I do not condone any of the behavior, narrator’s or her parents’, in this story. I also do not believe that religion, Christianity specifically, is always like that. I am, however, aware that there are some individuals out there who would take their beliefs to this level, and beyond, because that is what their interpretation of the Bible tell them to. This story was more inspired by the dark side of religious orders, and the catch-22 of suffering from depression under such an order (God’s love should be enough to cure you! You can’t admit you’re feeling these feelings, or be seen in a light of shame, but the only other escape is also a sin. You’re trapped, and will lose your bid for heaven either way). I do not personally believe it should be like this, but I’ve met many people who do see it this way, and for that I am sad.

Anyway, if you don’t find the content of this short story an off-put, then I hope you enjoy it, and will stick around for my continuing journey through the heart and mind of the suicidal teen!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for I have sinned. I have ended the life of one of Your precious creations prematurely.

I am sorry for my transgressions, but I am sure You will understand my reasons. It was a creature who is made better through her death. A pitiful creatures who was already withering under the blinding light of Your glory. Therefore, please see that I was not doing so out of malice. I did so out of pity. Because of this, I pray that You will give reprise to her poor soul once she is in Your arms.

I am sure You know all about the pain she has suffered in this world. She tried to be a good girl, she really did. But, Your plan for her just did not seem to include giving her a break. Her prayers always got jumbled at dinner. Her gown tangled underfoot as she tried to acolyte. She spilled the wine on her pretty new dresses during communion. And, I am sure You did not see it as and big issue, in Your infinite knowledge and glory. Your children, however, are not always so knowledgeable.

The poor creature could find no peace from her suffering. Could they not see that her embarrassment was punishment enough? Could they not see that she was sorry, that it was an accident? That she was only human, and therefore made mistakes? No, they could only see how imperfect she was, how ungodly an image she portrayed in her posture. They yelled at her, sent her to bed without dinner. They made her feel so small. So worthless. So unworthy of the love she was told you held for all…

But, she tried, Father. Oh, she tried. She did everything she was told. She didn’t stay after school with the children her parents considered heathen. She held fast to the teachings her family gave her, even when she knew they were wrong. She tried to be a good Christian…a good daughter…a good girl… And, she was alone. But, she smiled through the pain. As long as she had God and Jesus by her side, what use were friends? What use was happiness…

But it was never enough. No matter what good she did on her own, she always managed to make some mistake in their eyes. She was never good enough. She would never be good enough. No, not ever, not to them. She began to wonder, what use was it to them to have a daughter when she was such a disappointment to behold? Perhaps…perhaps if she could not do anything right, she would do one final wrong, in order to free them from their disappointment forever. She would commit one final sin, in order to end her own suffering.

Father, I ask that You forgive me, as I slip this rope around my neck. I did my best to be good in Your eyes, but I guess that is not enough in this world. If you cannot be perfect, what use are you to the world at all? I pray that You will welcome me into Your arms as I pass through Your glorious gates. But, I do not blame you if you turn me away. I am sure my hideous soul will have already decided that long before this final mistake manifested in my head.

Amen…

A-Z Suicides: Brandilynn Carter

Day 2 of my series of teen suicides. Yesterday was a summarized medical log, and today is the diary of an aspiring start. What could possibly do wrong? (Yeah, I realize this one is kind of stereotypical. It happens often enough to get a pass though, right?) I’m going to try to use different formats for different ones, though I’m not sure how long that’ll last. I hope you enjoy this one, and the rest of the month!

As with yesterday, a month-long trigger warning for suicide and it’s related topics. This one also has eating disorders in it, if that’ll trigger you. I don’t think the portrayal is that bad, but I also don’t know the exact anatomy of a trigger.

 

Dear Diary,

I’m so excited! Mom agreed to let my audition for Song Starz! We’re going to New York next week so I can participate in the primary judging. I already have my clothing and song picked out. It’s going to be so awesome! I mean, I’m a little scared of performing in from of the judges, but I’m sure I’ll be okay. If I don’t get it this time…I can always try again next year, right?

Derek’s being an asshole, as usual. He’s saying that I’m going to get in front of the judges and bomb it. It’s practically brothers’ jobs to be dweebs and say mean things, though, especially when there sisters are excited about something. With all I’ve been practicing, though, I’m sure I’ll be great. Positive thinking!

Wish me luck, Diary!

 

Dear Diary,

I made it past the primaries! Next stop, LA to audition again, so see if I’m material for TV. Mom’s going to help me pack tomorrow morning, and then drive me to the airport to catch my plane on Friday. I’m a little bummed she can’t come with me, but I’m practically an adult, and I’ll have to get used to being own if I’m going to be *famous*!

Derek came into my room when we got back and congratulated me. His exact words were “Good job. Maybe you don’t suck that bad.” I’m taking it as his own personal form of complimenting me.

 

Dear Diary,

The hotel is beautiful! Each room is bigger than all the bedrooms at home combined, practically. I do have to share it with another girl, but it’s not that bad. My roommate’s a girl from Kentucky who’s even younger than I am named Rebecca. She’s really sweet, and likes a lot of the same shows I do. We stayed up until almost midnight talking about it and trying to figure out if we would be free to watch them all together.

The other women here are so pretty! And the guys are really handsome. Most of the older people don’t really pay much attention to us, but the other teens are really nice. A bunch of us when down to the pool to play Marco Polo and go down the slides. It was great! There are a few snobby girls who follow the adults around and don’t mind being ignored, but we just ignore them. Why would they want to stalk a bunch of snuck-up bitches when there’s tons of cool people there age around?

I have to get to sleep now. We’re doing auditions again bright and early!

 

Dear Diary,

Guess who’s going to be one TV? Me and Becca both made it through. A bunch of the older girls glared at us, and I heard a few of them whispering about how they only kept us on because we were cute, and we wouldn’t last a week on Song Starz. I just ignore them and went back to my room, though. Why would they do that? Of course we’re going to be awesome. They’re probably just jealous that not all of them made it through while we did.

Right?

 

Dear Diary,

The first week was brutal. I don’t think I saw Becca at all this week, except for at night and when we were going to and from different places. Almost every hour we were awake was devoted to practicing, costume fittings, and a few brief meals in between. We both came back at the end of every day exhausted and just went to sleep. We didn’t even get the chance to catch up with the shows we like online. Oh well. Maybe after a few weeks pass, and things aren’t quite so stressful, we can hang out a bit.

By the way, I’m thinking about losing some weight. A bunch of the older contestants were staring at me during dinner and whispering. It was cheeseburger night, but most of them ate salads instead. When I want to get some mayo, I overheard one of them say “They do realize nobody wants an ugly whale for a pop star, right?” I tried not to think about it, but I do have a few fat rolls I could stand to lose. Besides, it won’t hurt to just think about what I eat a bit more.

 

Dear Diary,

Becca and I were both safe this week. Some girl dropped out because of a family emergency, and they haven’t had the chance to contact one of the runners-up, so they’re just going to vote out two girls next week.

I lost a few pounds, though my stomach still hangs over a bit. Another week probably won’t hurt. I’m a little hungry, but I’ve always eaten a ton, so I doubt it’s anything to worry about. Maybe, if I do really good, I’ll add some chocolate chips to my salad. I hear the restaurant downstairs also has really good watermelon sherbet. Hm…maybe I’ll use that as a reward if I make it through voting next week. Sherbet isn’t that fattening, right?

 

Dear Diary,

It’s horrible! Becca got voted off this week. I tried to tell her that it wasn’t her fault, and that she did great, but I’m not sure if she believes me. She tried to sound cheerful, and say it was just because she froze up and forgot her lyrics this week, but it didn’t sound convincing. I hope she’s okay. We agreed to send emails, and she said she’ll vote for me every week so I’ll win. I’m getting really scared, though. What if I’m the next one who’ll leave? I decided to forgo the sherbert, since I shouldn’t really be celebrating my best friend here leaving.

I got moved into another room, one with the roommate of the other woman that got voted off. We haven’t really spoke, but she’s a lot older than me. The other women are always talking about how horrible us younger contestants are, so I’m afraid she’ll want to talk about how crappy I perform and remind me how fat I am. So, I’m going to try to avoid her as long as I can. Positive energy, right?

 

Dear Diary,

I skipped lunch today. My trainer was really mad, but I wasn’t hungry, anyway. I really needed the extra time to practice. I don’t want to be voted off yet! I didn’t really eat much dinner, either, because I was really nervous about the performance. I think I did okay, though we won’t know until tomorrow.

 

Dear Diary,

Continuing until next week. Gotta sleep. Good night.

 

Dear Diary,

I’m not losing weight fast enough! All the other girls are so pretty and skinny, and I’m still a fat lard. I have to find something that works better…

 

Going on to next week.

 

Mom and Derek are visiting to watch the performance this week, since it’s Childhood week. They say I’m getting really skinny, and should eat more. When mom was in the bathroom, Derek said he’d beat up anyone who was saying mean things to me. I just told him I was fine, and to relax. They just don’t understand what you need to do to be famous.

 

Was in the bottom 3. Have to do better next week.

 

My new roommate, Jessica, stopped me in the hall today and told me I looked scary thin. She tried to make me eat more at dinner, but I told her I wasn’t hungry. She just wants me to get fat again, so I’ll get voted off.

 

Fainted during practice. My trainer watched me while I ate, to make sure I did. I’ll have to be more careful, so I don’t pass out during a performance.

 

Bottom 3 again. So tired, I almost don’t care anymore. I’m obviously not going to win, so why am I even still trying?

 

Dear Diary,

I woke up in the hospital this morning. I was late for rehearsals, so Jessica went to look for me and couldn’t wake me up. They said I’m malnourished. I’m not going to recover in time for performance, so they told me I was off for the season. If I’m healthier next year, I’ll be allowed back on, but I doubt I’ll be any good after just a year. I’m getting sent home to “recover and get my life back together.” Jessica came to visit me and told me it’s too bad I was “sick” because I had “potential.” She’s probably just glad the girls are getting a free ride this week.

 

Dear Diary,

Mom and Derek asked me if I wanted to watch Song Starz with them, but I just wanted to stay in my room. I skipped dinner again, since that’s when it’s on. I can’t stand to watch it, since I know all the girls that are left are a bunch of stuck up bitches. I’ll write more tomorrow to tell you who got voted off. I’m getting kind of tired.

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A-Z Suicides: Andrew Carmichael

I’m doing my A-Z blogging a little differently this year. Since my April Camp NaNoWriMo novel deals heavily with suicide, and has many bit characters who require more back story planning than they do actual screen time, I decided to use their back stories for my blog post. Therefore, if you are sensitive to suicide, abuse, depression, anything like that, then it may be best to avoid my blog for the month. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy, and feel free to post constructive criticism. Most of these stories age going to be written on the fly, so I wouldn’t doubt a few of them will be kind of crappy. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Heartbreak Telephone (slight trigger warnings)

This is a bit of an odd piece, I will admit. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, but I;m open to comments and criticism. I found  the song “Dead Hearts” by Stars today, and felt inspired. While I’mm quite aware that this story isn’t of the exact same message as the song, the feeling is similar, at least to me, and I hope you can call pick out the influence it played in the story.

Before I share it, though, I just wanted to point out that I do not share or agree with the opinions and thoughts of the characters. I am simply trying to tell a story with a group of trouble characters, and while I don’t like what some of them say or do, I recognize the essential part it plays in the finished story. That being said, if you are easily upset, proceed with caution. This story contains both physical and mental abuse in varying levels, depression and suicide, and some very strong emotions. While I don’t think I go into any of it in enough detail to be a major issue, better safe than sorry. Hopefully, nothing I;ve written will trigger anyone, but if it does, you have been warned.

Now, if you wish, feel free to listen to the song I mentioned earlier while you read:

 

You are a young girl.

You are proud of yourself, for the most part. After all, you earn all sorts of rewards in school. You’re smart, your pretty, and you have tons of friends. Everyone looks at you and can’t help but think your perfect. How could you not be? You’re a shoe-in to graduate top of your class, and probably be able to do whatever you want with your life afterwards.

But, then you come home. At home, you’re not smart or pretty. You’re the mistake. The kid that should have never been born. The girl whose fault it is that your mother as to work overtime and your dad’s doing a job he hates. They have to put food on the table, and buy you stuff, all while keeping the house running.

So, you’ve always done your best to impress them. You study hard, so that you never have to worry about summer school, and so that they won’t have to worry so much about getting money to send you to college. You enter every contest you can and do your best to win them, so that you can save up money to pay for what the colleges themselves won’t. And, people flock to you, hoping a little bit of that success will run off on them.

But, when you try to tell your parents, they just push you away. Can’t you see they’re busy? They have to buy you all kinds of school supplies and clothes, and pay to take care of you, all while trying to keep the light on and the water running. They don’t hate time for your worthless chatter.

Slowly, your heart begins to die. Tons of people may talk to you, but you still feel alone. You ruin everything. Maybe, if you hadn’t been born, your parents would have more money to do what they want. Maybe they would be happier together. Maybe, they would have had a child later on, a planned one, who wasn’t such a nuisance, and who was happy just being good at things without shoving it in their faces all the time. Maybe, without you, their lives would be perfect.

Then, you begin to notice that your best friend, a girl you’ve talked to since kindergarten, always seems to be smiling. What right does she have to be happy when you are so much better than her, but still miserable? She doesn’t get perfect grades. Sure, they’re enough that she’s passing, and teachers are always saying she “has potential”, but she’ll be no valedictorian. If she gets scholarships, they probably won’t be too good. She’s earned no rewards, and she’s always wasting her time on dumb hobbies that will never get her anywhere. She’s stupid, and she doesn’t even realize it.

Not to mention, she’s so plain looking! I mean, jeez, would it kill her to get some better clothes, or stop acting like a little kid, or worse, a puppy who needs constant attention from anyone who will give it to her? And, as her friend, you feel like it’s your job to tell her. Give her a little wake-up call about how the world isn’t all sunshine and unicorns…

You’re a teenage girl.

You’ve had a fairly good life. Your parents raised you and your little brother well, and did their best to do whatever they could to make you happy as a kid. You’ve never really had problems with anyone in your family. You love them all, and don’t mind going on trips with them or just hanging out. You can be independent, but it’s not like you have to totally abandon your family, right? You only live with then so long, after all. Might as well have fun with them now, while you are still young and can do so without having to worry about working and paying the bills and caring for a family of your own.

Your grades aren’t perfect, but you’re getting by, and doing your best. You’re not in danger of failing, and your parents understand you don’t really have time to study much, so they’re not on your back too much, as long as you try. You also have to make due with secondhand clothing, because money’s a bit tight. When you were in seventh grade, your mom got really sick, and has been in and out of the hospital ever since. This meant she couldn’t work a real steady job, since she would often miss a few weeks of work without any warning ahead of time. To make ends meet, Dad had to get a second job, so watching your brother fell to you. You do your best to study whenever he’s engrossed in a TV show, but he’s at the age when you can’t go too long before he gets bored and starts to make trouble. It’s a nit hard at time, but it’s fine. You know that, when Mom get better, things will get better. Until then, you have to do your part to help out.

Through all this, you’ve depended on your best friend. Though you don’t tell her about what’s going on, since you don’t want to feel like you’re bothering her, it’s still nice to have some normality, to help you forget for a little while that things are less-than-perfect at the moment. You’ve always looked up to her, the way she’s always winning awards and getting such good grades. Maybe, when your brother had a play date, you can see if she wants to study together, and maybe improve on the C- you got on the last science test? You also try to be friendly with everyone at school, since you never know who else might be going through hard time, like you are. You’re nowhere near as popular as she it, though.

It started with a little comment one morning. Just pointing out that your shirt was a bit too small, and maybe you should buy a new one. Then, a week later, she oversees a score you got on a homework packet. A B? What are you, stupid? She would never let herself get a grade that low! Suddenly, asking her to study with you doesn’t seem like such a good idea…

Things just escalate from there. It goes from your clothes and your grades, to commenting about how frizzy your hair is, and how you could stand to lose a few pounds, and pointing out that everyone is just pretending to be your friend because you hang out with her. It upset you, but you can’t exactly do anything about it. After all, everyone things she’s so nice! You must just be too sensitive about what she’s saying if you feel this way. And…what if she’s right? What if everyone else is just pretending to life you?

Your mom starts to get better again, and even finds a job that is willing to make a few adjustments, should she get sick again. You’re happy for her, and that your family might be a bit more financially stable again, but it just doesn’t carry over to your actual emotions. Despite having more time to study, now that you don’t need to babysit, your grades still continue to drop. You just can’t seem to get the concepts down! Maybe you really are stupid… Slowly, your heart begins to die.

Beginning of sophomore year, a boy you knew vaguely asks you to be his partner on a class project, and the two of you eventually start to go out. Things look better for a while, but it just leads to more pain. Your friend starts to worry about you, asking tons of questions about you two. If you tell her about how scared you are of having your first kiss, she calls you a baby. If you tell her how you sometimes think about…someday…not right now, but maybe in a few years…making your relationship a bit more serious, she can’t believe how much a whore you suddenly are! You’re afraid to talk to him about it, because you don’t want to give him reason to hate you, but you still feel like you’re dragging him down…

You’re a teenage boy.

You have an average life. Your family life is decent. There are a few problems, but nothing outside the normal familial bickering. You don’t like spending a lot of time at home, but you don’t dread it either. When your older brother has a disagreement with your dad, you just roll your eyes, turn up your music, and go up to your room. By dinnertime, they’ve usually reached some level of compromise, and it’s all good.

There’s this girl in your class that you like. She’s pretty, but not in the way her one friend is. Still, you like her better. While her friend has this air of superiority as she talks (and why shouldn’t she? She’s a fucking genius, from what you’ve heard!), this girl…she is nice to people simply for the sake of being nice. But, lately, she seems more distant that usual. She walks with her head down, and her head seems to be thinking about other things. You think maybe she had a fight with her friend, but they’re still hanging out, so maybe not? Whatever it is, she hasn’t been talking to people as much. It isn’t that she’s being rude to them, because she still is fairly nice when people do talk to her, but she just seems less outgoing.

In class one day, everyone’s pairing up for a project, but she’s just sitting by herself, staring out the window, and you’re not even sure if she knows what’s going on. Swallowing, you ask her if she wants to be your partner. She accepts. Then, while you’re working on the project at her house, you ask if she wants to go out for ice cream after school after you present the project, as kind of a celebration, and she accepts again. Then, after you pay for her strawberry cone, you finally work up the courage to ask her out. And, one more time, she accepts! You lean forward and want to kiss her, but instead just taste her ice cream, and then offer her a bite of your own. Not yet. You’re not sure if she’s ready. You’re not sure if you’re ready.

Things go great for a while, until…they don’t. She slowly falls back into her old gloomy state, and you can’t figure out why. You ask and ask, but she says it’s nothing. You hug her, you kiss her, you swear that you’ll do anything to help her, but she doesn’t give you any information.

It’s her that breaks up with you. She says she’s tired of hurting you because she can’t seem to get her shit together. You insist that you have no problems with the way she is, and that you’ll always be there if she needs you, but she just shakes her head and walks away. Then, you sigh and walk away, too. You still love her, but there’s nothing you can do. You have no idea what’s wrong, and even if you did, you have no idea how you would go about fixing it. All you can do is wait it out until she gets better, then see if she wants to try again after she feels a bit better about herself.

Then, she doesn’t come to school. Rumor is that she tried to kill herself, but her parents called an ambulance on her. They say she’s getting help for it, but nobody’s quite sure what “it” is. And, in that moment, you feel the world drop from beneath you. You should have been there for her. You should have tried harder to help. What if whatever help she’s getting doesn’t work? What if she tries again? Slowly, your heart begins to die. You’re horrible. You should never have abandoned her. If she dies, it’ll be your fault. You can’t believe yourself. You can’t live with yourself. You can’t live. You can’t continue to live, when you almost let the girl of your dreams die…

You’re a young man.

You have an average home life. Yeah, you fight with your parents a lot, but who doesn’t? You’re working your way through college, but you still need a place to stay in the meantime. You find all kind of things to clash with your dad about, but it’s no big deal. You can usually work something out, even if it means giving in a bit to your dad’s demands. You’re not perfect, but you try to put up a good face in front of your brother, so he’ll follow your good influence, and not know about the bad stuff you do in your free time occasionally.

You’re brother’s awesome. Or…he was, at least. You just found out that, on his way home from school, he walked in front of a car. It had killed him instantly. They think it was an accident, but you can’t forget how gloomy he looked recently. Gloomy, like that girl he was going out with before…

A few months later, you see your brother’s gloomy girlfriend walk by the house. Only, she’s not gloomy anymore. This is the first time you’ve seen her since your brother’s funeral. She was sad then, but who wasn’t? And, the funeral was the first time you’d seen her since her and your brother broke up. You don’t want to place blame on anyone, but you can’t deny how strange it is that he seemed to get sad after they were done with one another.

The image of her, walking down the street and smiling as she talked with friends replays in your head for a while. And, slowly, it begins to infuriate you. You don’t want to think your brother killed himself. Of course he didn’t. But, if he did, it’s probably that girl’s fault. She broke your little brother’s heart. And, after his life ended and a major part of yours was ripped away forever, she has the nerve to laugh. Has she no shame? Doesn’t she ever consider what her actions can do? What they may have already done?

Slowly, the rage kills your heart. Your fights with your parents get worse, and many times don’t end with any sort of agreement, like they use to. Now, they end with slammed doors and hurt feelings. You love into a friend’s apartment to get away from them, but the anger follows you.

For a few months, you’ve been dating this girl. It hasn’t gotten real serious yet, but you weren’t rushing things. And, as everyone does, you’ve gotten into a few fights, but nothing too serious. That is, not until your first fight with her after moving out. You’re getting into a shouting match when, before you even realize what you’re doing, you draw your hand back and slap her. She looks up at you in shock afterwards. You look down at your hand and realize you need help. Now.

You’re a young woman.

While your home life wasn’t horrible, you still prefer living in the dorms when you go to college than having to stat with your parents any more than you have to. At school you are doing pretty good. You’re passing, you’re in a couple of clubs, and you have a great boyfriend. You’d do anything to stay with him.

And, that statement is put to the test one night when, during a fight, he slaps you. After you get over the shock, you realize that something isn’t right. Yeah, he shouldn’t have slapped you, but it was only one time. It isn’t like he throws you around all the time. The two of you make up, and you put it in the back of your mind, not thinking much of it.

Then, he starts to spend less time with you. You try to make plans, but he always says he’s busy. You try to figure out what he’s busy doing but he just looks embarrassed and says it’s nothing. Afraid to anger him again, you don’t press, but start to fear that he may be cheating on you. What else might he be doing? If you want to keep him, you need to show him you’re willing to be the best girlfriend ever.

One afternoon, you’re making out on a mutual friend’s couch, and things start to get steamy. Your friend is out, and your boyfriend starts getting a little extra grabby. Right before he’s about to go all the way, he pauses and looks at you, as if asking for permission. You don’t feel ready yet, but at the same time, you don’t want him to leave you! So, you let him. It feels good, but you still don’t feel right. You just push it away, though. You have to make a couple of sacrifices if you want to stay with him.

Then, one time turns to two, then three. Soon, you’re sleeping together at least every other week. And, no matter how many times it happens, you don’t feel any more comfortable, but you don’t refuse, either. You can’t just leave him on, and then all of a sudden cut him off! You kill your heart slowly, in favor or his happiness and a lasting relationship.

Then, strange this start happening with your body. You take a home pregnancy test, then go to the doctor. Sure enough, you’re pregnant. Fearfully, you tell your boyfriend. After much discussion, you decide to keep the baby. Your boyfriend had just lost his brother a year ago, so he’s looking forward to having someone younger than him that will look up to him again one day, that he can hang out with and be a mentor towards. You plan to get married, and you’re going to stay in college as long as you can, but you know that, once the due date draws closer, you’ll have to quite to take care of the baby. Your boyfriend – now fiancé – is staying in until he graduates, though, so he can support his child. Until then, though, you both have to work whatever jobs you can find, and you’ll probably still have to work after it is born, anyway.

The first year or so of the baby’s life is fine, but then things begin to sour. You both still care deeply about your baby, but your love for each other is beginning to fizzle. Plus, paying for a baby is harder than you thought. You both work your asses off and come home tired to a screaming baby. You don’t want to break up, because you can barely keep your finances under control combined, and know neither of you could ever make it alone. But, is staying with someone you don’t love for the sake of the baby you creating together really such a good idea?

You’re a newborn baby.

You were conceived by accident, and though your parents are doing their best for you, they are young and naïve. No matter how much they try to make things great for you, there’s always going to be something missing, if not financially, than emotionally. After all, you’re expensive and only going to become more so as you get older, and you’ll also desire their attention more and more. They’ll have to either work to ensure you have everything you need or want, or sacrifice a few bills or a few essential school supplies to spend time with you before the collapse from exhaustion,

Hopefully, you’ll break the chain. Hopefully, they will choose right, and you’ll grow up happy. You may have to make a few sacrifices, such as not having the best clothing, or navigating a divorce that leaves you with two homes, but it will be for the best in the long run. Or, if not that, hopefully you’ll find a way to fulfill those needs in a healthy and acceptable way. It may not be the same, but you’ll be a smart kid. You’ll know right from wrong. Whether you pick the right one is up to you.

But, in the long run, we all play a part. We all see someone who could use a hug, or a shoulder to cry on. But, will we provide it? Or, will we heed the calling of the heartbreak telephone, and just pass the message of sadness on to yet another unfortunate soul.

Ring Ring

Hello? …It’s for you.