High School

I Don’t Pay Bills but I Still Have a Reason to Be Stressed

By: Destiny Wilson

Picture yourself in a classroom. On one side of the class, there are the students who participate in the few extracurricular activities. On the other side, there are athletes who have sports as their number one priority and a social life with the whole school depending on them to bring home the gold.

Then there’s you, in the back by yourself because you can’t fit onto either side. Finally, there are two teachers who want you to socialize with the others and when you explain why you don’t, you get the question “Have you tried joining a club or sport?” and other suggestions pushing you to be someone you’re not.

Since I’m in high school, I’m still learning. I learn the subjects at school, stay up to date on social issues through social media, and try to figure out who I am as person. But one concept I can’t grasp is why adults attempt to invalidate children’s feelings. I go to a public school where athletics and extra curricular activities are the only hope for having a social life. I’m the most un-athletic person anyone could ever meet and the extra curricular activities range from religion to sign language. There’s no art related activities or ways for me to prosper.

I’ve gone to predominately black schools all my life. I was bullied in elementary school for physical reasons such as my nose, my forehead, and other parts of my body that were “too big” or “too small”. I’ve focused on education my whole life mainly because I want to go to college one day, but also to get my mind off the fact that I don’t fit in. The drug treatment center can help one get out of any kind of substance abuse due to stress.

In social situations, I’m the one who gets cut off or ignored. When I do get the chance to speak, I can’t give my commentary on the latest mixtape, rapper beef, or drama. Because I don’t fall into what’s deemed as “ratchet” or “ghetto”, my peers always tell me that I sound or act as if I was white. Not living up to my stereotypes and what’s expected of me from society always seemed to make me the odd one out.

I’ve always asked myself “What’s wrong with you?” and often wonder why I couldn’t be like the other kids and participate in average teenager activities. I know I’m not meant to average, but I wonder what it would be like if I could relate with the people my age.

I’ve always felt alone. Ever since I was younger, I never had the sense that someone was there for me no matter what or genuinely cared for what I had to say. You’re supposed to “reach out to a parent or trusted adult” when you’re going through something. In most cases, when you talk to someone older than you, they’ll give you advice from their point of view and experiences. But at the same time, they’ll belittle the situation and give you the cliché “It gets better” or “You’ll be alright”. Being older doesn’t make you wiser.

After years of isolation, random long periods of sadness, and confusion, I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12 years old. I was only in middle school and I didn’t really understand what that meant. I had adults plaguing my mind constantly with “You’ll get over it” or “You’ll understand when you get into the real world.”

Where is the real world exactly? Have I been living in an alternate universe all my life? Adults tend to tell those younger than them that “It’s harder in the real world” as if the problems young adults and children face are somewhat on another spectrum and not as important as theirs. Mental health shouldn’t be a competition no matter what age you are. That’s synonymous with “Who cares if you got hit by a bus, I was shot three times”.

Growing up in a black community, whenever I tell someone about my depression, their mind turns to ableism and they start to fade away. A usual response from everyone is “I’ll pray for you.” I’ve confided in people I shouldn’t have, so a lot of people stay away from me because they think I’m weird or because they don’t understand. A family member once told me “You don’t pay any bills, so you have no reason to be stressed”. That’s what made me feel completely worthless. If you can’t reach out to a friend, family member, or trusted adult, then what can you do?

I’m still learning to love myself and make me my number one priority. But, it’s still a little lonely not having anyone to relate to. It makes it worse when the people who are supposed to be there for you downsize the way you feel.

From dealing with a mental illness, struggling socially and not knowing my purpose in life, I have many reasons to be stressed. I’m graduating soon and I have no clue about what path to take in life. But, I know that one day I will look back and think “Why was this ever an issue?”. I’m not ashamed of myself. I’m glad that I don’t fit in because normal is boring. I have my days but we all do.

As a young black woman, I know I will face obstacles for the rest of my life. I’ll have to work twice as hard to receive half as much. I was once told, “Live life for yourself because there’s no bunk beds in a casket”. I stick to this because no matter what happens, I know I will prosper with or without a support system.

———–

Twitter: destinydavinci
Tumblr: destinydavinci
YouTube: Destiny Da Vinci

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