I can’t remember exactly if I was a freshman yet in high school, but if not, it was right at the end of my middle school years.
It was a sunny day during this walk. Patterns of tree branches danced along the pavement. Birds sung sweetly. At least something was positive that day.
Heat prickled at the back of my neck. Not because of the temperature, but the words that were being spoken around me.
I was right in the middle between two girls I regarded as my best friends.
For over a decade now, I’ve been told I’m cute, bubbly, adorable, positive, and full of sunshine and rainbows.
Though now these words are just words to me
(most of the time), when I was younger they held a much higher standard. Between the ages of 12-17 I constantly strove to be a person others could look up to.
Not that I don’t want to be someone who is a positive influence. I still very much do. It’s just now I’ve lowered my measure to where it is not above my head anymore. A measure I can now grasp my fingertips along.
But then…in that moment…for a number of years that dragged on. I was stuck, already defeated and shattered.
“You should be grateful,” they’d say.
“You don’t have it as bad as we do,” they’d smile triumphantly, as if winning some invisible competition. Oh, wait…
That’s what it was.
These were the two girls in my life who made me into a rag doll. One tugged on my right arm, the other on the left. Stubborn, wanting to take charge, be first, and be heard the loudest.
Well, I couldn’t complain.
They were right. I was grateful for the family I was given. I wouldn’t call my family exactly normal, cause who truly has a “normal” family, but my family did give me more security, protection, and routine than two did have at their homes.
In their eyes, I had everything, and because in their eyes I had everything, I wasn’t allowed to feel upset with my parents. I wasn’t allowed to complain when I felt there was trouble at home, cause parents aren’t always going to get along, and that gets uncomfortable.
There were a lot of times I cried out to God with thoughts on my heart. I did not feel comfortable with telling my friends, especially those who claimed to be my best friends. I slept a lot during my high school years, and though teenagers do require a fair amount of sleep, sometimes I wonder if I was depressed.
Just because people have it worse than you does not make it a competition. It does not justify why one person can feel upset, and why you can’t.
If you have a friend who is basically telling you how you should feel, they aren’t being a good friend. If you have someone in your life downgrading how you feel, they have no right to do that. Even if you’re normally positive and bubbly, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel anything else. Sometimes the most positive people hide behind masks that are deteriorating from the inside.
Please be open with how you feel, and try to be aware of how you handle situations with your friends, and those you communicate to.
~T. R. Noble