I don't belong 

September 4th, 2016, 2am

My hands open the door I had entered so many times this summer- Mary’s house. But, this time it was a bit different- I had planned on drinking tonight. Being only 17, I am not legally allowed to down this substance but due to this deep feeling of not belonging, I felt as though a few shots of some cheap liquor —the only kind teens can afford— might help subside this feeling that burns deep inside my bones. Prior to this occasion, I had only swigged a couple shots of alcohol- not enough to make me drunk or even feel its full affects.

Right as I slip into the house, Mary drags me outside and tells me to get in the car. I slid in as she begins driving to visit her friend Anna at work. She babbles on about how we need to catch up and that I was gone for oh so much. She reminisces on the events that I “missed out on”: ranging from her no longer being attracted to black guys and her not having kissed someone in a full three weeks! I pretend to act as though this new information interests me or changes my life in some peculiar way. But in reality, it just added to the sense that there is no place for me and my mind in this world- I just don’t fit in anywhere.

After driving for a few minutes, Jenny and I arrive at Anna’s work where she comes running out. Anna hops into the car and begins to rant about how evil her mom is; “My dumbass mom won’t let me take my car to sleepovers- I hate her.” I wanted to tell her how lucky she is- at least she has a car and a license and a mother who clearly cares about her very much. I, on the other hand, have none of the three- but it’s impossible to help people see what they can’t understand living without.

Back at the house, we get ready for the first football game of the year, which happened to be jersey theme. We all throw on our hockey jerseys and I watch as they cake their face with makeup and comment on how much they hate themselves: “Oh my god, I hate my brows.” “God, I wish I had a better nose.” “Oh my god someone pop these zits” It’s a sad kind of funny how true that scene from mean girls is- the one where they all stand in front of the mirror commenting on everything they hate about themselves. I wanted to sit there and tell them how truly beautiful they were but I knew that wouldn’t help anything- no one believes they’re beautiful in this society.

We all gather around for the moment we’ve been waiting for- the alcohol. We all want to drown out our regrets and be happy- even if it just for an hour, even if it does mean we’ll never remember it again. I watched as Anna took the bottle and chugged it down, coughing and gagging but still drinking it. She continued to feel that painful burning feeling scrape down her throat just to feel alive again. And Mary grabs the bottle afterwards and takes a few shots. After she finishes, Mary asks if I want some. I had only drunken once in my life- which was over a year ago and due to immense peer pressure. But feeling lonely and empty, I wanted to know what it was that I was missing out on. So, I grabbed the bottle and took a big swig.

“Doesn’t that taste bad?” Mary asked in surprise. I just shrugged my shoulders in a nonchalant way- implying that it was fine. But in reality, I hadn’t swallowed it and something inside of me wasn’t letting me. I couldn’t do it- and maybe I’m just too anxious or scared to do it but inside of me I knew there was a deeper reason. I knew it was because of my inability to relate to these people. I don’t want to end up anything like them- I’ve seen what it does too many times. And, I knew one sip of alcohol wasn’t going to turn me into them but I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t right.

Mary knew I hadn’t swallowed it and since we we’re all rushing around she discretely had me spit it out in the sink. I felt slightly guilty for not swallowing it. I felt like I let myself down and I don’t know why.

Minutes later, we’re in our ‘sober cab’ and driving to the game. I watch as their earlier facades begin tumbling down and their deepest self comes out. And maybe that’s why I’m scared to drink because I can’t open up to people. And drinking means that I will tell people stories and truths about myself that I’ve never said out loud.

“I only ate a salad today” Anna preaches happily, “It’s the first thing I’ve eaten in four days.” My head spins in dismay. I try telling her how she’s already perfect. She doesn’t need to change and how unhealthy that is. Mary tells of how guys don’t like sticks and that they like ‘thickies.’ Obviously I roll my eyes to that comment- as though her eating disorder should be stopped only to live up to the expectations of asshole high school boys. Soon the conversation is wiped from our minds.

At the game, we meet up with Sammy and Kailey- where they provide Anna and Mary with weed cookies. They both grab two handfuls and eat it. Kailey begins to freak out about how that was too much and that they’re going to regret it.

We found a spot in the football stands and I sat there feeling like a babysitter as two drunk and high girls screamed and fell around. Anna begins look for her self worth within boys. “Would you date me?” she asks Collin as she grabs him making him feel completely awkward and uncomfortable. Unable to say anything, he just stands there. Anna begins crying talking of how no boys like her and everyone thinks she’s ugly. I grab Anna back and apologize to

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