Explain Yourself

How far would you go to explain your side of a difficult story to those who choose not to understand?

I was nine when I first experienced him. Recess, the worst part of my 4th grade school days. I always hated how my “friends” kept telling me how bad I was at kickball. I was short and scrawny. Didn’t they understand that? Sports wasn’t my thing; it never was, and it never will be. And then there were the popular ones, the teacher’s pets, the “you’ll never catch me getting in trouble” guys. The bullies. Not only did I tell my teacher about the numerous and unbearable, physical and verbal beatings I received daily, but the fact that my teacher gave me the most untruthful, unforgivable, unforgettable quote ever created in the history of terrible statements made me feel like there was no hope left for me. “Sticks and stones may break my bones…” she waited for me to finish the quote. “But words will never hurt me,” I mumbled.

And then, he just appeared. Suddenly, he was just…here. He was astonishingly beautiful. I had never seen anything like him before. He told me that he had been here to comfort me, he told me he was waiting for me to finally see him. I can only describe him as dark, for that is what surrounded me when he approached me. I was entering another world, full of nothingness. There was no fear here. No pain, no misery, no tears. There was only he and I. Oblivion, he called it. This was my home now. Don’t you see? He gave me a home. I wanted to tell my teacher all about what I was experiencing, but he told me not to tell anyone about his existence. “She won’t understand,” he whispered. “No one will.” His voice sent reoccurring waves of frozen icicles that slowly sunk into my skin. His touch was present and absent at the same time, and it filled my mind with words and pictures and movies that ended in me…dying. I loved every moment of it. It was going to be us against the world, he said. Depression and I.

Fast forward to 6th grade. I am writing a poem about the worst experience I’ve ever had and the best experience I’ve ever had. A simple assignment the substitute teacher had given us, yet it was also the day that my monster first became public. My friend Joshua looked over my shoulder to see what I was writing. He stood up, grabbed my notebook, pulled me to a corner and whispered, “What the hell is this, dude?” I saw no shame in my writing. I actually thought it was pretty good. I looked down at my paper and saw the words “dying doesn’t sound so bad” copied thirty-four times. I couldn’t speak.

Fast forward to 8th grade. Two questionable human beings were sitting and talking near my chair in math class. I asked them why they were in my spot, but they turned their heads, looked up at my face, looked down at my shoes, and looked up at my face again. “Where’s your dad?” one asked. They must not have known. “He passed away three weeks ago,” I replied. All of a sudden, the two filled the room with their laughter, and as more and more started to join in the fun, my soul was slowly being drained.

Fast forward to 9th grade. “I’m not failing because I’m stupid. I’m failing because of my depression!” “You don’t have depression, Shout! You just choose not to follow rules, not to do your schoolwork, not to be happy!” My mom was convinced. There was nothing I could do. His work was finished.

Fast forward to…now. The beauty that I saw within him has vanished. I’ve tried so hard to show people the truth, and the truth is that…the truth is that…I don’t know how to win. I’m bound to him, he is a part of me and that makes me so sick. It’s kinda funny though. It took me a while, but I finally noticed the shackles on my hands and feet a few months ago. He was right, you know, about no one understanding. And realizing how right he was…it killed me. I’ve tried things, horrible things, to ease that pain. But nothing ever worked. No one got it. Why didn’t they get it? I just…(sigh)…So, how far would I go to explain my side of a difficult story to those who choose not to understand? As far as I possibly can.