A Day in Pursuit of Perfection: The Life of a Troubled Teen

October 3, 2007
By Sara Beckett, Boulder, CO

Look at it. It’s pathetic. Even the title makes you angry. You don’t even know how to describe yourself. So what else is new? You never have known, and you probably never will. People are always trying to fit you into a group with others almost like you, but not quite. No one is like you. You are a social outcast. Thus, you always feel left out of things. While you hang back and watch, everyone else gets on with their lives, ignoring you, forgetting you, talking about you, then forgetting about you again. What they never realize is that you’re standing right next to them—not until it’s too late, that is. The damage has been done. You walk away, dejected, depressed, wondering if things will ever get better. But it doesn’t matter that they ignore you, for if they were to take notice of you, you’d get so frightened that you wouldn’t be able to answer coherently. It’s nearly impossible to look them in the eyes. Instead, you look a little to the left, hoping, begging, praying that they would just stop talking to you and go away. But then you’d be alone again. And that’s the worst part of it all. But you wouldn’t have it any other way. When you’re not alone, you’re with people, and people talk about you. They are always talking about you when you aren’t looking. And when you do look up, they turn away and lower their voices. You go back to reading, for reading is the only sanctuary. It distracts you mind from beating itself up and plunges you into a world of fantasy instead, where once again you become just an observer, only this time, the people aren’t talking about you.
You’re interrupted once again by idiots throwing things down in front of you that—they think—deserve your attention. You’ve done this before. A thousand times before, each time exactly the same way. It never changes. The question never changes. It’s the answer that’s always different. No matter; they aren’t listening to you anyway. That’s what always happens. You try to tell them, but they don’t take you seriously. All they do is laugh, and then move on. And they wonder why you’re antisocial. Brooding, you go back to your book, and escape into—nothing. Some stupid person has just thrown their books down on the desk in front of you, and you jumped, just like you always do. People are laughing again. Then the bell rings, and it’s time to vanish once more into the crowd of lunatics, pushing, shoving, yelling, talking, running, stopping, and staring.

I get tired of being alone, with nothing but the thoughts in my head for company…

They call to me; I don’t respond. What’s the point? They just say the same old things over and over again, and I keep giving the same answers, plastering the same heartbroken smile on my face, and they forget me. They never change their opinion of me, and I keep disappointing them by not being the person they remember, the person they thing I should be. It’s I who has changed; they’re the ones who have remained the same. Yet, at the same time, they are all different than the people I remember. And now the hatred and self-loathing comes. Disconnected streams of reality invading my consciousness, intruding upon the place that is my hideout, but not my refuge. Don’t you know it’s just another day? Not trusting my own reflection, not even daring to look anymore. I was wrong to think I stood a chance, but was I wrong to stand my ground? I thought I knew them; turns out I was sadly mistaken. You see? The same old things said over and over again, just phrased a little differently. A happy, outgoing girl on the outside; a tortured, forgotten, miserable soul on the inside.
But they will never know.

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