Giving In

By Joy Lynn Clark

January 5, 2022

After meeting my new friends that helped me open up my locker, I also met a boy. He helped me with my locker from time to time and we grew close fast. When I wasn’t with my girls, I hung out with this boy.

At home I had a cable box and a landline with my own phone number. I talked to this dude all the time.

For some reason, everything seems so hard. The guy and I went to the fall dance. It was pretty cool. We just stuck with each other though. It seemed as if I didn’t even know the other kids. Some of my closest friends from middle school seemed 1,000,000 miles away. I asked for a ride to my friends house from the old neighborhood and the answer was, “no”.

I stayed grounded for just about everything. I just couldn’t do anything right.

I got lonelier, sadder, and more forgetful. I called my guy friend and complained about my folks for hours. I wasn’t getting along well with my mom either.

I started sneaking out. I didn’t really go anywhere, I mostly walked around the neighborhood. I was also angry about money. I was a high school student with only $10 every two weeks. I wanted to go out and do things when I wasn’t grounded but I was always so broke. I was also too young to get a job.

In choir it seemed as if all of the altos were singing right in my ear and I couldn’t hear a thing. I move the second soprano. After I realize that I can hold those notes, I also noticed that I am by myself again. I then moved to first soprano which is more chill. I have a couple of friends there but, they aren’t singing in my ears so loudly that I can’t hear myself.

I also struggle with music theory. The lessons always look like some simple math but whenever it was time to do the assignments, my mind just goes blank.

I start crying all the time now. I’m crying in the hallway on the way to journalism. With all of my locker issues, my teacher starts warning me about my tardies I and I am afraid that I’m going to be on probation. To top it off, my locker was on the other side of the building and I always had writing assignments due.

I was seriously depressed. All I could think about was how I just couldn’t seem to do anything right. My parents put me in the hospital for three weeks. At first, I didn’t eat much because of all of my allergies and my vegetarianism.

My roommate was funny and skinny as hell. For some reason, the doctors accused us of having bulimia and anorexia. Now I can’t eat in the cafeteria. I have to eat at a desk in the hallway and sit there for a period of time after we finish eating. Then, I was followed into the bathroom if I had to go.

Eventually, I behaved well enough and I ate on schedule and was released.

When I got home there were all of these crazy rules and I was even more agitated. Mom and dad thought that I was into some hard-core stuff. My biggest issue was that I wanted to go out with my friends more but, I was too broke and my problems were now too serious.

I decided to run away downtown this time. I spent the day in the city. We took the metra downtown and then the train to Belmont or Fullerton. Boy is this area ghetto! Even the train platform was tore down looking. I felt really bad about my day slumming but my two guy friends told me that they were gay and somehow my troubles didn’t seem so tough around them.

I was also trying not to talk to that other boy from school because my guy friends said that he is, “possessive” and they told me stories about possessive people. I agreed and we took our long trip home.

I got put into these, “after care” sessions at school. I was surprised to see all of the kids who have been hospitalized like me. Soon after, I got sent back to the hospital. I was mad at my stepmom and was now arguing with her on a regular. Also, one of my guy friends passed away.

I was only there a short time. I followed the rules and they sent me home quickly.

I still hated it at home and all of my restrictions. I was constantly in therapy and it seemed like a complaining about my parents session, mostly.

I am also pissed about food. I told my parents that I am a vegetarian and they just don’t give me enough options. I am willing to eat cheese pizza, mac & cheese, and salad. There was never enough of any of it. Why can’t I just have that?

Secretly, I thought that my parents were not well because of food and I spent a lot of my time complaining about their eating habits and hunger striking (Not because I don’t want to eat of course, but I am serious about being vegetarian and they are always giving me meat).

My step mom offers me a vitamin drink, It’s gross. I get cheese deli sandwiches at lunch and now my whole budget is spent.

I am sent back to the hospital. This time, I meet a nutritionist. She explains the different types of vegetarians. I fill out a questionnaire about my likes and dislikes and this time, meals are going much better.

This new hospital is much nicer and I sort of, out of the corner of my window can see the lake.

I start seeing a tutor and I have a ton of phone time. I called all of my friends as often as possible.

The doctors approach me about being released. I say, “hell no, I will just run away.” So they let me stay longer.I don’t keep many roommates they come and go. I spend most of my time in tutoring, therapy, I write, talk on the phone, and play board games with the other kids. This was the Adolescent floor so we are all in high school. Eventually, I agreed to be sent home.

Back home, I am just in time for indoor track. I still felt those bricks on my feet and I decided that I would do something different. Eventually, I met some more cool girls but I just didn’t feel like working out.

I went to therapy and after care outside of school where I met more kids.

When spring finally arrived I decided to go with one of my aftercare friends to play softball. It was at a church and my step mom couldn’t refuse. My step brother even came. Nearly every day after school we played softball, and sometimes games inside on rainy days. They also served us dinner.

I also started going to hip-hop concerts in the city with a couple of track friends because their older brother could drive. I still hated my parents because the concerts always ran late and I had to be home by curfew. I felt like I always spoiled things by making everyone leave early.

I finally figured things out and slept over their house on concert nights.

One day after school I saw one of my oldest friends walking across to the church. I live so close that I followed her. She told me she had choir practice and invited me. I went and ended up joining this church and singing in the soprano section.

I also still hung out with the hip-hop kids from the city. And I start to feel like I have a cool group and eventually the sun shines, and I noticed. By the start of sophomore year, I no longer needed therapy.

Joy Clark is a writer, producer, vocalist, and publisher. Lexington, KY

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