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
Knock Knock. Who's There? Nobody
Death, death, death. The only thing on my mind that summer of ’09. I could never escape from it. The only moments when I could hide were listening to the harsh vocals and fast-paced guitar work of my new favorite genre, post-hardcore, or when I felt the cool, chilling razor slide effortlessly across my arms. The gentle sting and slow release of blood was intoxicating, and my coping mechanism. I feebly attempted suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning. I obsessively imagined running my car full speed into a tree, granting me release from this baneful existence. Death was the one refuge I so desperately sought but couldn’t grant myself, yet some small shred of hope kept me alive.
If you’re wondering how or why I became so depressed and suicidal, it’s quite simple really. I was heading down an ominous road the previous two years, not caring where I was going. Flashback to the end of April, same year. The road came to a crashing halt. My cocky, sometimes arrogant friend, with his clothes disheveled, and I, liquid courage coursing and pulsating through our veins, decided to enact revenge on a teacher’s classroom. A teacher that gave us a bad grade and one whom we both hated.
I still remember it now, although some details are unclear thanks to my drunken demeanor. Smash! The windows were broken in. The clatter of a Busch Light can as it hit the ground. Not a single drop of that toxic substance left. The deafening thuds as I flipped over desks. My friend’s blood, spilled on the windowsill from scraping against shards of glass, illuminated by the moon. My blood as it dripped off my homemade weapon, a broken off desk leg. The air was crisp, and the night was fairly light out. The skies were clear and the wind was motionless. No insects or animals could be heard within miles. Almost as if they were hiding away, hoping not to bear witness to a crime. There I was at 16 years of age doing a stupid childish antic. I used to believe I was pretty mature back then. I wasn’t. That night in April everything changed.
That night I committed felony vandalism. I was a criminal. The school easily found out who did it and I was quickly brought up on charges. I had my court date set. July 14th.
When my mother, a short, friendly, and caring woman, first heard what I did it wasn’t a pretty sight. She stormed into my room and burst into tears. She collapsed on my bed and asked, “What’s wrong with you?” I don’t know. “How could you be so stupid?” I don’t know mom I’m sorry. “Am I going to have to lock you away until you’re 18?” I don’t know. I didn’t know anything at this point. The crying and the questions seemed to drag on for hours when in reality it couldn’t have been more than five minutes. The most heart-wrenching blow was when she verbally expressed how disappointed she was. Her shoulders were hunched over and her eyes were puffy and red, exhausted from all the crying. That image will be forever burned into my brain. It hurt. It hurt so much that I started crying uncontrollably, as if I was a sobbing infant again.
This is where death comes in. This incident wreaked havoc on my psyche. I was no longer the same person I used to be. To actually want to die rather than live is an absurd thought, but when faced with not knowing where to go and having nobody to turn to, the thought of a dreamless slumber sounds heavenly. The only things I cared about were that razor, and constantly, compulsively downloading hardcore music. I found a small fraction of solace in them.
I thought, what’s the point of living? I’d probably be sentenced to juvie until I was an adult. I even half-formulated a plan to run away. I stayed up to the late hours of the night 3, 4, 5 am thinking about everything and nothing. I slept all day until 2, 3, 4 pm so I could avoid talking to my family. I was locked in a dark, desolate place, and I couldn’t find the key to get out.
Then it happened. July 14th, 2009, my long awaited and dreaded court date. It was an unusually bright, sunny day. On the drive to the court house I had my ears plugged with headphones listening to Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers Pt.1”. I looked ghostly pale and felt nauseous. I wanted it all to be over. The room was very small with only four chairs, a desk, a small bench backed along the wall, a small area for a typist, and the judge’s platform. There sat the judge that I was becoming all too familiar with, this being my second time seeing him. (I was indicted for a DUI that I luckily got off on two months prior. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson.) He elegantly wore a black robe, the color of midnight, and was enthroned behind a raised desk. His face was worn and tired, with many wrinkles. The first words out of his mouth were, “I am to understand this is the case of Benjamin James B., being tried for felony vandalism and misdemeanor underage alcohol consumption.” He then read the maximum punishments that I could receive and my stomach sank all the way to hell where I figured I might as well be going. The verdict, 5½ months probation, 30 hours community service, and an alcohol assessment test.
My crime was the single greatest event to happen to me. The assessment test led me to counseling sessions. These sessions proved invaluable. I got my act together and vowed to never drink again. My counselor, Bill, was a man of a tall stature with white hair and a friendly, welcoming look. “Good morning Ben, how are you today?” were the words I heard him warmly ask. I wasn’t used to people asking me how I felt, and it felt great. The sessions consisted of Bill asking me why I drank, family problems, emotional problems, and internal struggles I was going through. He prescribed me Zoloft, an anti-depressant, and that helped me finally overcome my longing for death. Therapy and pills were the key that allowed me to leave the darkness and enter the sunlight.
This awful experience was merely a blessing in disguise. From the months of September and onward my life has been almost perfect. My grades have never been better. I’m at peace with myself. I found an unlikely friend. I even have a girlfriend. The teacher whose room I trashed? Well, we get along better than ever before, and I have a great deal of respect for her now. That alcohol induced crime turned out to be the best action I’ve done. It enabled me to find out who the real is, and to view the world in a different light. I always tell people that are going though a rough period that when everything seems like it's going to hell and absolutely nothing is going right in life you have to keep hope and stay strong. You have to believe that things will get better, because they will, they always do. It's the awful times in our lives that make us realize and appreciate a good thing when it somehow falls into our lap. Keep that hope alive and believe in it.
I’ve always heard people say, “If I could only go back in time and change it I would.” I used to think the same thing, but if I went back to that momentous April night? I wouldn’t change a single damn thing.