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
How to be Normal
It’s been 3 months, 21 days and a few hours since I have felt normal. I remember that day in late August almost perfectly. I could be like every other person in the world and describe the weather of this particular day, but I’m not normal, so I have decided against being cheesy for the millionth time in my life. It was a day like any other August day; I was with Cindy, the only person who could make living feel real. But of course, like all good things in my life she had to go too.
Doctors and therapists would say that I don’t express emotion and that I bottle up all my feelings. I can admit it though, I miss her more than anything. I miss the way she looked with her crooked nose and greasy hair. Her dark clothes and the multiple fake piercings she had. I miss the way her voice stuttered every time she talked about her past to anyone else, but the way her voice sounded beautiful when talking to me. I miss the way she smelled of old books. I miss the way her eyes held so much mystery and you could stare into them for hours, and it seemed as if she was trapped inside them. I miss Cindy, and everything that came with her.
I had to start seeing a different social worker after she left. I have new foster parents too, it’s as if they are trying to give me a new life, and I don’t want any of it. I want everything back, even though I never seemed to care for any of it.
It’s like Cindy and I were the same people, trapped in different bodies, with different personalities and different stories. At least Cindy had an excuse as to why she was so messed up, I’m just like this because it’s the way I am. I pushed everyone out of my life, and I never seemed to care. I guess, deep down I do care, and it hurts when everyone leaves. But I’m used to it now. I have regrets too, like normal people do. I guess I regret not pulling Cindy back, but I never pushed her away. I regret never saying goodbye, when I leave a room, I do it silently. I do most things silently. Silence is good, it helps me listen, but also to ignore. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe everything.
The day Cindy left I walked into the empty social worker’s office. I hadn’t really been fortunate with any of my past fake parents, or should I say, they hadn’t been lucky with me, so she would always put me in rundown homes, always with Cindy. As I walked into the room thoughts of Cindy came into my head. The sweet scent of air freshener that erased the smell of the reject children like us, brought memories of her and I trying to wash the strong sweetness off after every visit. A picture Cindy had drawn when she was younger, before she became all messed up from bad memories, hang on a wall. And I remembered her always pleading to take it down, but she always would smile as she looked at it. A picture of us trying to hide from the camera, we thought photos were childish, sat on a silver frame on her busy desk, with many other photos of children who had come and gone. Seeing all this, I tensed up, I froze. As the social worker walked in, a fake smile on her worn- out face, I remembered all the nicknames we had given her. And I calmly walked out, refusing to come back in, or even look at her exhausted face.
After that experience with the social worker, the same thing happened at the home. We shared a bedroom, and I refused to go in it. I didn’t look at the annoying kids we had made fun of. I didn’t eat the food we had slipped under the table and traded. I wouldn’t do anything. I denied the fact that the reason I was acting even stranger than usual was because of Cindy. Even though, deep down even I knew that it was. I tried to cover up any thoughts of her by distracting myself, with loud music that I hated, but wouldn’t remind me of her. I would shout at the little kids for no reason. Bury my head in books that I would soon forget. Write random words and scribbles and poems, that would soon get lost in a mess of papers. Nothing to do with me, or Cindy.
I remember when she first came into the foster home. We were both twelve, it was five years ago. I remember all the carers being worried, and hearing stories of it being ‘one of the worst cases of child abuse’ that they had seen. She came in, and wouldn’t speak a word. She would stay silent and by herself, but for some reason, something about her intrigued me. Her eyes were deep, and mysterious, and they made me wonder about this small, silent preteen girl. They showed so much sadness, and hurt, and betrayal. I would get lost in her eyes sometimes, no matter how happy she seemed I would look into them and feel the same longing she did. Deep blue eyes, they were, but they were so empty and yet astonishingly beautiful. She was beautiful. Because of those eyes, and because of Cindy, I didn’t feel lonely all these years.
Cindy and I, we became inseparable. We didn’t have one of those cheesy relationships you read about in books and see in films. But we found each other, when it seemed like no one else was there. There was something about her, something that was so comforting, trustworthy, when the only other people were phony social workers, and messed up children. She told me things that she wouldn’t tell anyone else, and she didn’t get the fake pity or repetitive questions from me. I could be myself and she wouldn’t try to change my ways, and make me normal. And in return we both received a genuine friendship from each other.
I left a month after she did. I had stopped talking almost completely. When I was asked about Cindy, I would say our relationship didn’t mean that much and I had almost forgotten her entirely but I could still remember each scar, each crease, and each freckle across her waken, yet beautiful skin. I couldn’t see anything that reminded me of her, and was wishing desperately to leave. I guess that they sensed this, no matter how hard I tried to cover it up, and were prepared to move me to some other troubled teen institution. I was dreading this, even though I thought anything would be better than to be stuck in a place with these memories. For some reason, I got lucky, about a week before I was to leave to some other hellhole, a couple decided to take me in. Even though I knew they wouldn’t want to keep me for long, and would pass me on to some other hopeful people or trashy institution, I was glad, although I didn’t realize it.
Before I left, I would hear some of the children ask about Cindy. Even though the older children knew what happened, the younger ones were still innocent and had no idea.
“Where is Cindy?” They would ask “Lena’s all alone”
“She went on a little trip. We won’t be seeing her for long” They would reply, emotionless.
“Like a vacation? Will I go on one too?”
“One day you will.”
They had no knowledge of death, let alone suicide at this point. They were so young, and so happy, like I was once. I remembered being so naïve at their age, believing that my parents really did love me.
I often feel that I was the cause of her death; it was my fault that she died. I may have deprived her from a normal life, and I didn’t listen to her or give her the right advice. I also often think of how it was selfish of her, she wasn’t considering me at all. She knew that she was all I had. And did she even think of how it would make me feel, going into the bedroom. I can vividly remember what it felt like to walk into our bedroom, to see her hanging there. No expression on her face. Her eyes wide open. I can picture the moment, looking into them and seeing that the sadness, the hurt, the loneliness, they were all gone. I just stared, feeling the anger build up inside of me, until someone passed by and screamed, except I didn’t hear it, I didn’t hear anything.
They took me to see this therapist after I moved in with the new foster parents. I thought that she was going to be like all of the other adults, asking me useless questions. But after our first few sessions, of me not talking, at all, I finally started to speak, and wouldn’t stop. The words came out of my mouth, I didn’t know what I was saying, but I didn’t care at all. When I was out of breath and didn’t have anything words left, she didn’t ask questions, she didn’t say that she ‘understood’, she didn’t take any notes, she just calmly sat there, and smiled. I decided that I liked her.
I made a lot of progress with that therapist. She told me that having emotions, and having feelings weren’t bad. She said that it was normal to feel guilty, and to feel angry, and to feel alone. Most of all, she said that we all felt sad at times, and that it was good to do so. I opened up about my parents and my childhood for the first time. And even though she couldn’t relate to me, and she didn’t understand, she could find a way to help me feel comfortable, like I did with Cindy. She told me that it was okay to make new relationships, and that it wouldn’t be betraying Cindy. And like everyone had told me, she said that she would have wanted me to feel happy, and I believed her. After our last session, I came back to the family I was staying with and started crying, for the first time since her death. For the first time since my mom dropped me off at the entrance of a big, colorful home. All the emotions I had kept inside came spilling out, and I didn’t try to hold them in. I cried for days straight, and no one told me to stop.
The therapist has told me to write about my feelings, and I guess I have here. I have been writing every day now, writing my emotions, my feelings. I am trying to remember Cindy, and how she helped me, how she changed me as a person. I don’t feel normal yet, and I probably never will. Moving away has opened my eyes to a whole different world. I am not saying that Cindy’s death was a good thing, it wasn’t at all. I miss her more and more each day still. But it helped me to move on from my past, and I am starting to become a new person. I am trying to find what I lost all those years, and I still have a whole life ahead of me to do so. I just wish I had Cindy here to do it with me.