All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Stares. Stares from eyes that could be mistaken as daggers cutting right through me. Finding my way to the back of the room, I try to ignore everyone and their judgments. They don’t know me. They think they do, but they don’t. I’m a little different: the only seventeen-year-old boy in Anchorage with long hair and lip piercings, but that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean I’ve done the things everyone thinks I have. I’m not as bad as they all thi-- what is that?! Something wet running down my back. I turn my head only to see Matt Brennen pouring his Dr. Pepper down the back of my shirt. Ugh. Of course. What would my life be without daily torments from Matt Brennen? Actually, pretty great. He’s probably the one who started the rumors. The rumors that now define every aspect of my life. The rumors that have me three steps from the edge.
Life hasn’t always been this way. Matt and I actually used to be friends. Then he joined the football team and decided I wasn’t “cool” enough to hang out with him anymore. That’s when I met my best friend Sonny. He’s different too, and for that reason we became Matt’s biggest targets. At first it was small stuff, the occasional name calling in the hallway and laughing whenever we walked by, but for some reason that wasn’t enough for Matt. He needed to tear us down piece by piece until we were socially non-existent. And for what reason? I really couldn’t tell you.
He started rumors about Sonny and I doing things we would never do like getting drunk and doing drugs. Matt would call my parents in the middle of the night and tell them he’d just seen me getting high outside of the movie theater, when I’d actually be asleep in my bed. He’d photoshop pictures of me to make it seem like I was doing really bad things. He made fake Facebook profiles and tried to add me. He would pretend to be a pretty girl and get me to say things just to embarrass myself in front of everyone. Facebook. The endless taunts of Facebook. Matt got his friends to hack my profile and say things on my status updates like “Okay guys, I admit it. I’m gay.” Now, I have nothing against gay people, I just happen to be completely straight.
The taunting didn’t seem to faze Sonny. He didn’t seem to mind at all. But it ate at me. Some days I honestly just thought I couldn’t handle it. My mom said she sensed something was going on, but I never told her the complete truth. I couldn’t explain to my mother why everyone hated her only son. To be honest, I didn’t know myself. I wanted to know why no one liked me, why they believed every lie Matt said. I could only act like it didn’t hurt me for so long before I lost it.
Snap back to present. Dr. Pepper. Down my back. But wait….I see something. No. Seriously? No. A bracelet. A large, white, rubber bracelet with bold, black letters that read “DIE COLTON” and that wasn’t the only one. His friends. They had them too. There was an entire bag full of them on Matt’s desk. There was something next to the bag. A clipboard with a small stack of papers on it. The top sheet of paper was filled with names. For what? I grabbed the clipboard as Matt smiled proudly. Written in the same big, bold type as the bracelets was “DIE COLTON.” Honestly? All of these people signed a petition for me to kill myself? They hated me that much? I had no idea what was going on. My head spun and my chest was on fire. The entire room turned into a blur as the class burst out into laughter. Run. That’s all I could do. I slammed the door open and sprinted down the hall. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew I had to get there fast. I found myself at home. In the kitchen. No one there but me. This would be the best time. Mom wouldn’t be home for hours. Surely that would be enough time… but how? Pills. That’s about the only weapon I had right now. Instantly I saw two bottles. Ambien and Prozac. I had no clue which would kill me, if either. I poured a glass of water and mixed both bottles of pills into a pile in my hand. I shoved them in my mouth and drank as much water as I could to down them. I had no idea how fast or how painful the process would be, but I knew it would be worth it….. and then I was gone.
Lights. That’s all I saw. Bright lights right in front of my eyes. I saw my mother. She was so happy. She was telling me how much she loved me. My father too. He was telling me how proud he was of me. Sonny was next. He brought up old inside jokes and reminded me of how being different is what makes me special. Then I was awake.
The lights were still there. Ceiling lights. Hospital lights. They weren’t so bright anymore. I heard someone yell, “He’s up!”
Then I saw my mom. For real this time. She had been crying; I could tell. My father trailed in right after her. They both were just telling me how much they loved me. I didn’t know what happened. I had wanted to die. Why didn’t I? I asked my mother if she knew anything. She told me Sonny had heard about the bracelets and petition and how I’d run away. He came straight to my house and found me unconscious on the floor. He called 911 and they got me to the doctor in time for the doctors to get the pills out of my system.
Sonny told my parents about all the torment., all the lies and harmful pranks. He was in the waiting room. I asked to see him. When he came in, he told me everything he’d told me in my dream. I was special because I was different, and I started to believe him. While I was unconscious, I realized how blessed I really am. My dream made me realize the actual dreams I have in real life. How precious my life is.
The doctor set me up with therapy, but I was okay with that. It didn’t make me feel crazy or anything. It was actually nice to be able to talk openly. I was released after a few days of close watch and I was excited to be back home.
I switched schools, and I was definitely ready to start fresh.
Life is too beautiful to be spent in fear. So a few people didn’t approve of me, that shouldn’t have meant anything. It doesn’t now. I know who I am, and I know there are people who love me for me. In the end, everyone’s life is worth living.