You may know the story…
Little kids. Middle-class neighborhood. Summer days spent wandering from house to house, riding bikes, playing Freeze Tag, or playing King of the Hill. Eating PB&Js on Wonder Bread and washing it all down with cold, syrupy-sweet Kool-Aid. Some Moms even had pudding pops. It wouldn’t have been a suburban, white-picket-fence childhood without that heady mix of sights and tastes and sounds.
Your parents were friends, too. Her mom would drive you to school, or Girl Scouts, or Church, or wherever, and she would always make her little passengers scream with laughter by pretending she was driving on West Virginia roads. Another time, your parents would be in the kitchen laughing uproariously over one of your old knock-knock jokes — and you were all just a little too young and innocent to understand that a dash of wine makes all good knock-knock jokes infinitely better.
You grew up together. you were FRIENDS. At the time, you couldn’t imagine life without them.
And then it happens.
A new girl moves in, and suddenly your friends are gone. You are tormented for things that had never been a notion before. You are shell-shocked and terrified, and don’t have the slightest clue on how to handle this persecution at the hands of your former comrades.
One time you run and hide beneath your teacher’s desk to try and escape the onslaught of their words, and all your Teacher yells is “Get out from under there!”
When all you crave is the acceptance of your peers, you are utterly, heartbrokenly, alone.
And then — the girl whom you named your doll after, the girl with whom you made silly dances to bouncy 70s disco — disguises her voice and “asks you out” over the phone. You think it’s this blonde boy in your class, and even though you didn’t think he was all that cute, you happily accepted. You were one of the cool kids again.
The next morning at school you were in a happy daze. No longer were you an outcast: You were told that you were cute; you thought that you were wanted. The chattering flies around the class at the latest romantic development, and your head is in the clouds.
Until that boy you thought your sweetheart stands in front of you — in front of everyone — and proclaims, “I’d never go out with anyone as ugly as you.”
Your world stops spinning, and you cannot remember how to breathe.
For three more excruciating years, you must live with the shame of not being enough. Your mob of attackers grows as schools merge and circles of friends-then-enemies widen. The persecution never seems to end.
Until your parents move — for work — to the other side of the country. You are finally able to throw off the past, and face the world anew. You feel reborn.
But in the fertile soil of your broken soul, the seed of Depression lies dormant; implanted there in the midst of all your pain. In silence it bides its time to grow and shatter your heart anew.