Girls between the ages of 10 – 15 undergo physical changes that can make or break their teenage years. I was, unfortunately, one of those girls who developed fairly early. I had hips at 10 and breasts by 12. By the time I hit 14 I had a pin-up figure and long blond hair. I had a few drawbacks though. I was an honor student, confident, spoke my mind, was flirtatious and not afraid to be silly when the occasion called for it.
My Life Was Perfect – NOT!
I had lots of friends, sort of. I did not hang out with any one group. I kind of floated between a half-dozen different groups. There were the band kids sometimes, kids from a local church, kids from my church youth group and kids from different school clubs. I didn’t really have a best friend.
I remember watching “best friends” laughing, whispering, crying and doing all kinds of things together. I would listen as they talked about this activity or that adventure. Private jokes would go right over my head while the friends laughed until their sides hurt. I watched while they shared treats and snacks with each other. I felt lonely and left out most of the time.
I remember wondering why I didn’t have a best friend. I wasn’t shy. I smiled, said hello and was friendly and helpful as much as I could be. I knew a lot of people. People from all over the school would know my name even if I didn’t know theirs. Of course, I carried band aids, feminine hygiene products, safety pins, extra pens, etc. in my purse and that quickly became well-known. I was the go-to-girl for emergencies. I was also the listening ear and shoulder to cry on when people were having bad days. So why did so few of them invite me to join them when they were having fun?
Not a Total Outcast
I wasn’t a total outcast. I had a few really close friends to do things with and laugh with. I was invited to a few parties. I participated in all our church youth activities: dances, girls camp, pool parties, BBQs, etc. I enjoyed many school activities and participated in a couple of clubs.
My house was party central all through high school. We had regular parties where we played active, silly, sometimes rowdy games. The food was good, the laughter was loud and everyone stayed until the very end.
So Why Did I Feel So Separate?
Many people assumed I was popular and maybe I was. Looking back it is very possible that I was. What the difference was, I think, was the darkness that was slowly consuming me. Who could I tell my pain and fear to? So Nobody became my best friend. Nobody wanted to hear me wonder if the world would be a better place without me. Nobody wanted to sit and hold my hand while I cried for hours. Nobody wanted to hear “I don’t know!” when they asked why I was feeling angry or depressed. My peers and influential adults in my life just wanted me to “get over it” and be a regular teenager. Well, I wasn’t a regular teenager. I was a teenager with a dark and scary dragon growing within my mind.
So Few Close Friends
I had a few close friends that I could be “best friends” with. We would do things and have some private jokes. We would talk about life and what our goals were. We would complain about school, boys, our parents, and other things. I have come to really appreciate and love these sweet girls over the years. It is these memories that have sustained me during many a dark moment. Even these girls did not know the extent of my struggles, how depressed I always felt and how big the gulf was between me and the rest of the world.
Author’s Note: This is just a brief highlight of my teenage years. I will go into more depth as I write more. So many bitter-sweet memories. Today is a beautiful day. I think maybe I will go sit in the sun for a while and enjoy the Fall breeze.