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Changed For the Better
’d never given a thought about how I could lose everything, everything that was important to me. People say that loss is something that just naturally comes to life…but is losing everyone at one time…fair to me? To anyone?
I heard the ambulances roar from miles away. I’ll always remember that sound; the sound of the city heroes trying to rescue my father. I watched the baseball make contact with the bat, straight to where my dad was standing. He was Coach Mattison, coach of the Camden County Stars. The zinging baseball sent my dad into cardiac arrest.
The large crowd was shocked as they witnessed my dad go down onto the dirt field. My boyfriend, Jonas, gasped as he saw his role model fade into the afterlife. The players surrounded my father. The bunch of baseball fans could see how much Coach Mattison was loved. When the ambulances got to the field, the emergency responders yelled “Everyone get away! We need to see him right now!”
The paramedics quickly checked my father’s pulse. You could tell by the look on their face that the news was not going to be what I wanted to hear.
“I’m sorry, but he’s gone.”
Those are the worst words anyone could hear. My father was gone forever. I would never get to be my daddy’s little girl again.
The next few days were rough. My relationship with Jonas continued to decline. It almost seemed as if he were only dating me to become closer to his coach. Of course, I still loved him more than anything. He was the best thing that had come into my life for a while. I felt a yearning for attention, and he always gave it to me. My father never did. His calling in life was not to be a father to me, but to father the adolescent baseball players. I used to think that maybe if I became a bit less feminine, the one and only Coach Mattison would love me as his own. Instead of making me feel special and loved, he cared about his players. They were the most important thing. Jonas was honestly my dad’s favorite.
My dad never realized how much I truly loved him. He didn’t know I was striving to earn his love and attention. I really don’t think he saw that the players were put before me. He was a great dad, and I’ll never forget that. All my life, I’ve been searching for temporary attention and love. Jonas is my temporary basic need.
“Honey, I can’t hang out with you…I have baseball.”
“We need to take some time apart so I can concentrate on baseball.”
“Sorry…busy with baseball.”
“I’d honestly rather play baseball than hang out with you.”
See? Baseball has always been put before me. Jonas always says these things to me. Sure makes me feel important, huh?
“Jonas. I love you. I need you right now. Please, I beg of you, do not leave me right now.”
“Tara…don’t you understand? I’m the one that smashed the ball. It killed your father. It’s all my fault. I can’t possibly tell you that it’s going to be okay. It might not be. I really think we should take some time apart from each other.”
I couldn’t believe it. What did I do to deserve this?
“Jonas, please don’t do this! Don’t you see that I need you? You’re the only sane part of my life and now you think you can just leave me? Jonas. You promised. How can you do this?” I sobbed and sobbed for hours, begging for him to come back.
He finally left my house, and left me with feelings of desperation and loneliness. I needed him more than he realized.
That night, I couldn’t sleep.
That week, I couldn’t eat.
No one felt sympathy for me. They only felt sorrow for the precious little baseball players. One day after school, I was feeling abnormally depressed. My eyes dropped as my intoxicated body walked into the cluttered kitchen of my empty house. My mind went blank as my vision became unclear. Tears slowly seeped from my blood shot eyes. The room was dark and dusty, almost seeming like a maze. Suddenly, I spotted a shiny and sparkly item.
“No, Tara. Don’t do this. You’ll regret it,” I heard myself say in my thoughts.
I grabbed the knife and slowly slit my wrist. I watched the red blood ooze out of my arm. It seemed as if I had no troubles in the world.
I started to cut more and more. I got new friends, changed my style, and became a new person. My depression worsened as I became isolated from my real friends. I started using K2, a type of marijuana. Every day I would see Jonas in the hallway. He’d give me this dirty look; almost as if I were disgusting.
“What the hell are you looking at? F***ing look somewhere else Jonas,” I screamed loudly across the hall.
“Oh, just looking at little miss emo walking down the hall,” Jonas nastily replied.
I completely had to ignore that comment. It almost felt as if the whole world was crashing down on me. I was just wanted to slip away; be gone forever.
School went by fast on January 14, 2002. It was such a significant day.
I grabbed a knife and slowly cut words onto my body. The words “useless, unworthy, ugly, invisible, and lazy” covered my skin. Finally, I stabbed the knife through my stomach.
I fell unconscious to the ground, and miraculously I awoke the next day. I was in so much pain.
I remember waking up to the sound of someone’s voice telling me to wake up. I realized that it was my aunt. She had been so worried about me since the day my father died. She instantly took me to the hospital. I got a few stitches, but I was going to be okay.
I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore. I just wanted love and acceptance from other people. After explaining this to my aunt, she took me to a local church.
Everyone welcomed me into the church as if I were family. I felt overjoyed.
I walked into the head pastor’s office.
“Hello, Tara. It’s great to have you here!” the pastor exclaimed.
“Wow, thank you. It’s awesome to see that the people here are so accepting!”
“Well, is there anything you’d like to talk to me about?”
I instantly told him my whole story. Everything about Jonas, my dad, and my depression.
“Tara, don’t you realize you have a Father who loves and cares for you? He’s just waiting for you to reach out to Him!”
WHAT?! Who could this person be. . . someone I’ve been searching for.
“Pastor, who is his person? You don’t understand how much I need love.”
“This man is Jesus. He is your Heavenly Father. He waits for you with arms wide open and He will listen to anything you have to say.”
That day, I fell in love with Jesus. I wanted everyone to know about my true Father. He cares for me, He gives me hope. He is all that I need. All of my yearnings for acceptance and love have been fulfilled. God is love. He is strong, pure, love.
After I accepted Christ, my depression completely went away. I started loving others again, and I received new friends who love and support me. I no longer needed Jonas for anything. I only needed, Jesus, and I can only hope that the whole world knows about their Creator.
“There’s a girl in the corner, with tear stains on her eyes from the places she’s wandered, and the shame she can’t hide. She says, ‘How did I get here, I’m not who I once was. And I’m crippled by the fear that I’ve fallen too far to love.’ But don’t you know who you are, what has been done for you? Don’t you know who you are? You are more than the choices that you’ve made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You’ve been remade. Well she tries to believe it, that she’s been given new life, but she can’t shake the feeling that it’s not true tonight. She knows all the answers, and she’s rehearsed all the lines. She’ll try to do better, but then she’s too weak to try. But don’t you know who you are, what has been done for you? Don’t you know who you are? You are more than the choices that you’ve made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You’ve been remade. This is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you. This is not about where you’ve been, but where you brokenness brings you to. This is not about what you feel, but what He felt to forgive you, and what He felt to make you loved. You’ve been remade.” –Tenth Avenue North