Learning How To Swim This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 21, 2010
By , Woodbury, CT
I was thirteen. It seems so long ago, and it hasn’t even been a year. Finals were coming at me fast, my grades weren’t wonderful, and one of my best friends was preparing to leave my school. I think I knew our friendship would leave with him. One especially bad day, full of school, crew practice, triathlon training, and a grueling lecture from my parents about keeping my grades up sent me over the edge. I went to bed crying, and fell asleep with a cut on the side of my arm.

It didn’t stop there. My best friend began to do as I had done, but in a much more dangerous way. I was smart about it. My cuts looked like simple ones that could have come from anything. I don’t remember how many stupid little excuses I used for having them. My friend, however, was not. Simple slashes ran across his wrist, open for the world to see. It hurt me to see him the way he was, and I cut more. Neither of us wanted the other to hurt themselves, and yet we both kept on with it.

One other person knew about my problem. She was one of my other best friends. She didn’t care. I didn’t realize how much that hurt until after the fact. We’re still friends, and it hurts to think that she really cared that little.

Eventually, someone found out about my friend. He was sent to a camp for troubled kids across the country, ripped from my life a lot sooner than I expected. When I found out, I cut one last time, crying my eyes out. I was so dependent on him back then, I didn’t know how I was going to be okay without him. But that night, with the pain burning in my arm, I knew I had to change. I knew that if I kept going the way I was, I’d be dead by the time he came home. So I did. May 31st, 2009. The day I saved my own life. By myself, with no one knowing or caring.

It was hard. People have given me shit for having gone through that, which hurts so much. I’ve been treated like scum a few times, solely for having gone through a time in my life when I didn’t know how to deal with all the problems I had bottled up inside of me. But I refuse to bend down to that level again. I keep my friends close, and I know that I have several I can turn to when I need them. But I also know that I can stay above it all on my own. I know that I’m a lot stronger than I used to be because of what happened. I learned that even though I need the people around me, they aren’t the factors separating my life and my death. They’re the floaties for someone who is learning how to swim. They’re Gatorade for someone who’s been working out. They’re the motivational quotes for someone who is getting their life in order. They’re the people who help me out, who teach me to stand on my own.

Seven little scars, only four of them still clearly visible. A friendship lost among the scars. Another miscalculated. One day that turned it all around. And I haven’t turned back.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Cheychey39 said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm
You're strong...
 
maybeme595 replied...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm
thanks :) i've been told otherwise plenty of times
 
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