Remember When I Was Sixteen…
…And Wrote All The Time?
To say that it all began on an ordinary day would be cliché, so I won’t tell you that’s what happened. I will let you know, however, that there was nothing exceptionally amazing to distinguish this day from any of its predecessors.
If you believe life is a roller coaster, my cart would be the one that had unfortunately broken down years ago and was stuck dangling on the edge of the peak before the plunge. At least that’s what it had felt like to me. It seemed I hadn’t gone anywhere in months, trapped in the anticipation of something more than what I was living now.
I know most consider life to be a little less eventful than a carnival ride, but up until this point, it hasn’t worked out that way for me. For whatever reason, there was never a time when there wasn’t something happening. Whether or not I was enjoying what was happening was irrelevant, at least if it sucked I was never bored. Now with everything stalled as it was, I was anything but entertained.
Now, I’m not talking about the ‘I don’t know what to do right now,’ or ‘I’ve been sitting here doing nothing for twenty minutes’ types of boredom, I’m talking about the kind that creeps up behind you and swallows you whole. The kind you can’t escape, no matter how hard you try to sleep it off. It’s the boredom that storms into your life like a scratch on a CD and causes a single phrase in your favourite song to repeat for hours without letting you hear the rest of it. In a word: horrific.
At that moment, my life could be defined by nothing more than that one looped word, a phrase that wasn’t a phrase at all but instead a day. It became the only twenty-four hours that I had lived through for the past few months. Each morning when my alarm rudely awoke me, the sickening reality of my situation would pounce on me, and I felt no desire to live the same day over again.
Just to make things clear, it’s not like I was going to sleep at 10pm on June 16th and waking up at 6am on the same day, time progressed while my world stood frozen among it. Nothing in my life moved forward, nothing changed. I could predict exactly what tomorrow would be on what yesterday had been, and it would prove to be right.
I needed something to happen, something to prove I was still alive and not some zombie living in a place frozen in time. I longed to feel again. I wanted to experience joy and happiness once more like I used to, but I would have settled for anything if it pulled me away from this lingering nothingness I was in.
I remember that at the time I explained it as being trapped in a haunted house and the only possible escape I could think of was to die. Every night I would lie in bed watching the minutes tick by, praying that when the morning arrived things would somehow be different. When I woke, to my horror, nothing ever changed.
Forced to live out the day, I felt as though I was trapped in a spiral. Soon, the only thing that brought me peace was the thought of running away. To where, I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to find a world I actually belonged in. I longed for that place over the rainbow, somewhere I could find my own adventure and discover my importance; a place that simply didn’t exist on this earth.
Such things were not possible, I would tell myself, life was not like one of the stories I would listen to as a child. There were no magical creatures trying to explain some strange powers I just happen to have, no dragons needing to be slain. Any place where these things may have been a possibility would have stayed as far away from this world as it could, knowing full well it would have been dragged down and chained like I had been.
No matter how much my heart yearned to have freedom, I had no clue as to how to get it. I tried thousands of ideas, each one proving less effective than the last. Nothing seemed able to rescue me from this prison I had found myself in, and I felt my heart slowly dying inside of me.
Still, I had to keep trying. Refusing to succumb to the darkness stretching out its hand to grab hold of me, I continued to do my best to live under its oppression. It hadn’t killed me yet, and there was no way I was going to give up without a fight. I would continue to struggle against this monster until the day I no longer had any life within me.
It was in this moment my alarm went off; waking me from the sweet liberation sleep brought me. Turning it off as fast as I could and flopping back down onto my pillow, I felt the icy fingers of dread begin drizzling down my spine as a burning poison. Closing my eyes and taking deep breaths, I did what little I could to stop the tears pooling too rapidly and breaking through the barricade my eyelids had created.
In an attempt to stay positive, I quoted some lines I had come up with sometime prier to this that always seemed to help. Take a deep breath, I whispered in my mind. Tell yourself you’re going to be okay. Try to convince yourself that you’re not going crazy even though we all know you don’t believe it. Remind yourself that you’re going to get through this. And, above all, hold on as hard as you can, because, in time, a brighter day will come.
With those words ringing in my ears and screaming through my head, I soon found myself shuffling involuntarily through the doors of my school.