Memoirs of a Broken Youth
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
I hated Monroe-Woodbury. I still do. That experience will forever be a prison sentence that finally, finally came to its end. I never thought that I was going to make it. I was being eaten alive in school and at home. I hated my life. I hated myself. All I wanted was for all of it to end.
My family moved me here right before the fourth grade. My life did not belong here, and these people did not know me. They never gave me the chance. I was an outsider, and the popular kids wanted no part of me. The friends that I began to make wore the plastic, bright smiles of friendship, but some held razor sharp knives of betrayal behind their backs. I would never know real friendship until middle school, but by then, I was already broken.
I don’t know why I was targeted. I don’t know why they wanted to hurt me, but the bus rides to school and home were torturous. My hair was pulled. Elbows struck my ribs. Horrible name calling and insults stung my ears. I was surrounded not by my peers but by my enemies, who were unrelentless until the day I graduated. I never did anything to them. Not one damn thing. All I wanted was to be left alone.
My parents thought that I was acting out. Our relationship deteriorated throughout the years. As I approached high school, we stopped talking. They didn’t know me. They didn’t understand me, and we couldn’t hold one conversation. We would try to talk, but then it would become a screaming match. This was one of the reasons why I later left home.
I used to pour my heart out into the darkest of poetry. Nobody was listening to me. Nobody cared. I would fold pieces of notebook paper up and stuff them into an envelope, sending these poems to my grandmother back on Long Island. Once she received them and read them, she would call my mother, begging her to hear them. Instead, my mother would hang up the phone, chase me around the house, and demand that I stop sending these poems. All I was doing was upsetting them, upsetting my grandmother, but what about me? Didn’t anyone care, but my grandmother did. She later saved my life, giving me a second chance.
I was fading away. I was waging war with teachers. I hated the one that told me that I would never amount to anything when she threw me out of her art class and denied me from trying out for the drama club. I battled my peers, collecting wounds that still twitch today. I hated going home, where the bullying would continue by my oldest brother. He tormented me until the day, where I stood up to him, but I was still broken.
I needed to escape. My best friend was the music blaring from my stereo. Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Guns n’ Roses, Metallica were on the top of my favorites list. My pain melted with their words. I drowned in their song. Only when I had them on the stereo, I was finally free, but the broken pieces of my life still waited for me, razor sharp as the day, where I became the enemy.
I started to eat. Food began to comfort me. By my junior year of high school, I began to gain weight, but I didn’t care. When I was eating, it didn’t hurt as bad, and when I wasn’t eating, I was still writing that dark poetry. There’s hardly pictures of that time in my life, but I became heavy, a hundred pounds more than today. I don’t know what broke that habit. Maybe I finally took a good look in the mirror and saw what my depression was doing to me. I let the bullies win. I was destroyed, and I was destroying me. It had to end. This misery had to end.
Taking back my life was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. My grandmother had made a plan behind my parents’ back to get me to stay with her and go to community college out there on Long Island. She died before the plan could happen, but my aunt informed me of what she intended. She gave me that second chance, and I took it. I left home. I left Monroe-Woodbury behind, and I didn’t look back. I didn’t want to be reminded of what I became because of those bullies, those kids that never gave me the chance to live, but I survived. Somehow, someway, I survived.
I still remember. I wish that I could forget, but I can’t. When I look back on my life, I get cut up by those razor sharp shards of a broken youth. I am who I am because of those moments, but I am not that shy girl anymore with her hair hanging down in front of her face. I’m stronger now. I’m someone not some nothing that was trampled over each and every day, and if I was this person that I am now, things would have been a lot different then. But you can’t go back in time. You just remember. You just hear the stories on the news about kids walking in your shoes, but it’s worse today in this technologic world, trying to survive. But somehow, someway, you have to find a way. You have to find a way to live through it. If you throw it all away, you let them win. You let the bullies win, and why should they get to decide your fate? Why should we let them ruin our lives? This is our life, and we only live it once. So, somehow, someway, we have to hang on. We have to survive.