Do you know when you grew up?
I mean, I’ve had this theory for a while that most people grow up, or mature, when they’re forced to.
I grew up in early October, 1991. I’d been out of high school for a little more than a year. I was working retail and going to school for marketing, I think (I may have changed my major a few times…).
It was a weekend, when it all changed. From what I’ve heard, my brother took the life-changing phone call. He was able to reach my parents, who were camping nearby. When I walked in the door to our house after work, I was surprised to see the three of them (my parents, and my brother) sitting in the living room. Something had to have happened.
I got the news that has literally eclipsed who I used to be. My best friend from high school had committed suicide in her college dorm room. The old me ceased existing, or maybe just the adult me immediately evolved.
We hadn’t obviously seen each other every day anymore – she was a few hours away at college. But even a few hours away, I was supposed to be her best friend. I’d let her down in the most ultimate way, and now I just deserved to be alone. She felt she had no one to turn to, so now neither did I.
Like I said, I really don’t remember a lot of who I was before that, and I just remember snippets of things around that time. I started dating an ex-boyfriend, just because he’d met her when we were dating before. I remember that work got a lot easier. Everyone knew what had happened, so they all wanted to make my life easier. I sat and stared into space for hours, while getting paid for working retail – they put me where there were the least customers, to take the pressure off me. I quit eating for a little while. And when I lost weight (from my 110 lb frame), I finally started counseling for my depression.
Counseling just taught me to get through the days. It taught me that not everyone imagines dying (did I already know this? Had I been depressed before she died? I don’t know). Anti-depressants numbed everything for a while, but numb doesn’t really fix things. I quit feeling all of it. So I wasn’t actively sad anymore, and I gained the weight back, but I wasn’t really happy either.
After counseling was done, I’d moved on to alcohol and loser boyfriends. Classic college combination. ;) And then I remember how it all started when I found a note while moving apartments. In the bottom of a dresser drawer I didn’t usually need, I found a note to myself, “I promise I will never be happy again.” It was dated in 1991. I had forbidden myself from enjoying a life my best friend was no longer an active part of.
I realized, logically, that this was a horrible choice. I deserved no penance or punishment for my best friend’s choice. I’d had enough counseling and education to know, intelligently, that I didn’t really play much of a part in it. Sometimes it can be a blessing or a curse to realize how little influence you may have on others…
So, I’ve wanted to write more of myself. I don’t really need a comment page of, ‘So sorry this happened!’
Do you agree that something forced you to grow up? Can it ever be something good, or do only bad things force people to mature? Just pondering…