Turning seventeen and entering my junior year of high school was the last time I can pinpoint being genuinely happy. I just entered my second year at a college-sponsored charter school in the state of Florida. So upon my high school graduation, I would receive an Associates In Arts Degree for General Studies.
I did not party a single day while I was a high school student. My focus was on getting the highest scores on the SATs, working after school for an insurance company located in downtown Saint Petersburg. And, finally spending the rest of my time writing my first science fiction novel, at the time I had hoped to have published it by eighteen.
Around this time in my life, my mother divorced my father, and he was removed from our lives along with his verbal abuse and overly sexualized commentary.
My happy times didn’t last long though.
During my senior year of high school, I learned going to Columbia University or even Eckerd College was out of the question. I had a little brother and a disabled mother to take care of. Besides, so many people told me don’t waste my time becoming a creative writer. I listened to those people.
I feared being seen as a failure.
So, I started my first official full-time job as an insurance agent three days after high school graduation. My workload became increasingly unbearable as my colleagues discovered that I’m really smart, yet, gullible and nice enough to USE for free.
It didn’t take very long for me to pick up habits to suppress the looming depression making its way into my heart. I started drinking wine bottles from the neck, at least three bottles of various flavors and brands a night. I looked forward to the end of the workday, especially on payday to down enough wine to keep me numb long enough until it was time to return to work.
Drinking wasn’t my only new habit. I started putting on weight faster than I was eating or drinking. I thought being sedentary in an office job was the reason for my weight problem. But, actually, I learned that my body was turning on itself and hated me more than I hated being in it. My thyroid was pretty much dead, my endocrine system weak, and my pancreas hated insulin.
But, I better not miss a day at work. Not even for a mental breakdown, like the ones I had the Sunday night before going into the office. To this day, I regret sharing my problems with HR and my manager. I received so much negative feedback regarding my own work, that I contemplated jumping off the two-story balcony and land in the lobby of the commercial building.
My happiness has yet to return. My life reminds me of a bad dream, the longer I sleep, the darker the spaces became. A dark place where smiles are now constant frowns and dreams like being a self-sufficient writer crumble to ashes.