“I stare at the door, trapped in a dream
Held like a captive by what people see on the outside
They don't really know me
And even with you, I deny what is real
The loving truth is a painful touch, when guilt is all you feel
I want to run away, you've got to help me stay”
- Russ Taff (Healing Touch)
I used to write those lyrics on my folders and papers when I was in school. It was a song I really enjoyed, but deep down, I wanted someone to think I was depressed. Was I depressed, I suppose, to an extent. But I mainly did it for the attention. The sad thing is, I don’t remember anybody even asking about it. I suppose that’s why I wanted someone to notice me, because nobody did. Maybe deep down, that’s why I wore Christian T-shirts and carried a bible. Just to be noticed.
<<< My senior picture.
I wasn’t one of those kids who acted stupid or did crazy things for attention. I just wanted people to notice me, as in myself, who I was. But I was a quite kid with a white man’s afro and big glasses. I was taller then everyone else and probably close to the skinniest in my class as well. I was awkward. I had all the confidence in the world in my abilities, but I had no self esteem. Nobody liked me, I had very few friends and no friends from school that I hung out with.
Did I ever think about suicide? No, I can honestly say it never crossed my mind. As much as I hated my life at school, I had a good home life and I belonged to a local club that I was popular at. Those offset my school life. But why am I posting this about suicide? It all started when I was a Junior in high school. Along with that local club, I went to the church next door and got to know a lot of families. I worked a lot with the youth group so I got to know the kids. A friend of mine received letters from the younger girls all the time, they had crushes on him. And in one of those letters, a girl mentioned that another girl had thought about suicide. I knew the family pretty well but I didn’t know the girl very well. She was only in 5th or 6th grade so I hadn’t hung out with her much.
So I befriended her. I never brought up what I had heard, just became friends. She didn’t like her home life, she felt like she was lost in her own family. That she didn’t get much attention and that she couldn’t hold up to the “perfect” standards that her parents had set forth. I pretty much became her big brother, I’d take her and her younger sister out to the park or playground, we’d hang out at her house and watch TV. We used to just sit and read different books. Like I said, I became a big brother. We talked, a lot. About growing up, about her family, about school and I listened. That was really all this girl wanted was for someone to listen.
But that wasn’t how it looked on the outside. People talked about my relationship with this “kid”. Even her parents had pulled me aside and in their own way, said they were uncomfortable with me hanging out with her. Said I should hang out with kids my own age. They didn’t fear for their daughter, they knew me well enough to know she wasn’t in any danger. The family did know me pretty well. I even house sat for them and took care of their dogs when they left town so there was a level of trust. But I never told anyone why I was there.
But I got pretty close to most of the family and they let me hang out on a daily basis. But I was mainly there to keep an eye on that one kid. Because I couldn’t imagine someone that age mentioning suicide. I was with this family for over a year and did lots of different stuff with them. School functions, band concerts, had pizza with them every Sunday.
Eventually this family took in one of my friends from the same club I went to who had his own family issues and he became a big brother to her and I feel that he replaced me, I gradually drifted away from their lives. Eventually I drifted from the church and the club. While I still see these people every so often, it isn’t the same. She is on my Facebook friends list but she never posts anything. I haven’t talked to her in many years. But she’s grown up and married and I think even has a kid of her own.
Did she ever mention suicide? Not to me. Did she ever think about suicide? I don’t know. But regardless if she did or not, I want to think that I helped her through a tough time. And sometimes that’s all these people need is someone to listen to. Next time you see that loner, maybe think twice about saying hi. It really could be as simple as that.