Elliot and meI tried to kill myself once.  I’m not proud of that but I think it needs to be said.  And since that day, the day that I didn’t die, things have gotten better, sometimes more slowly than surely, but incredibly better none the less.

I was on my way to a party, a party I snuck out of my bedroom window to attend.  One of my boy besties was the King of parties, and he lived just on the other side of our gated complex, only a mile or two away – in teenager speak, a doable distance.

My friends offered to pick me up as they had done so many times before.  But this time I refused.  I wanted to walk alone.  I needed to walk alone.

I had a sister who loved me.  Though we had little in common; the love of scary movies, our mother and an instinctual need to protect each other, no matter what.  My mother loved me more unconditionally than any love I’d ever experienced or watched on the big screen, no matter how epic the film.

But I felt alone.  I felt not enough.  I felt as though the person that had invested so much time, so much care and so much unrequired love, a parent that had actually adopted me, was being let down.  I knew I could do more.  I knew I should do more, but at 15, I just didn’t know how to do it.  I knew that the world was full of endless possibilities but for some strange reason I had convinced myself that those possibilities would always be just slightly too far out of reach.

I was so cocky, so completely sure that I was destined for something better that I was silently devastated when someone so close couldn’t see it.  My art teachers saw it.  My creative writing teacher saw it.  My mother saw it.  My friends saw it…

But standing there, right in front of me, my father never seemed to see me at all.

I was cute.  I was funny.  I was unexpectedly strange and fiercely loyal.  Math was my educational Achilles heel but damn it I tried.  I couldn’t commit long enough to be on a team much less remain a faithful girlfriend.  I was driven by my passionate, open-minded views but aggressive and reactionary to anyone who opposed them.  I was simply consumed by growing.

Let me be the first to say I was dramatic (was huh? Ha!). I think that I became even more dramatic to make the actual drama seem more like a caricature than my reality.  I was the consummate clown, the figurative chatty glue that held a room together and the preemptive strike when things looked like they just might spiral recklessly out of control.  Two steps ahead became three times harder.  But I did it – day in and day out.  I did it because I never wanted anyone to see what was actually hurting me.

I didn’t plan it.  I didn’t sit in my room, scribbling syrupy song lyrics and picturing my own wake.  I just started walking in the dark.  I hung my head and wished to feel OK.  I wanted some beautiful moment to wash over me, telling me that everything would be fine and that I wasn’t just enough but much more than anyone would ever expect.

I didn’t feel it.  All I felt was tired.  I was SO tired.  I never slept.  I was up till dawn every night.  I wore my pajamas to school.  My mind never silenced.  I was crawling out of my own skin with no idea how to wrangle the need to feel like I was enough.

A car was coming.  Our subdivision was so dark – no sidewalks or street lights for miles.  I looked back.  It was a truck – a really big truck.  Even better.  I vividly remember making the decision to jump.

I leapt in front of the truck.  I let go for the first time in 15 years and just jumped.  I landed in the middle of the road without even raising my arms in defense.

I heard tires screech.  I heard a door slam.  I heard my heart thump and a VERY angry man come within inches of my face.

“What’s wrong with you!?!?” He screamed “Are you crazy!!!”

“Sorry.” I squeaked never looking up.  I know it was a man.  I know nothing else.

He got back into his truck.  He peeled away.  I stood on the side of the road, disappointed and relieved – yep, both.  There is no way to describe that feeling unless, sadly, you’ve been there.

I walked on.  I made it to my friend’s house.  I sang and danced and drank.  Even tried Peach Schnapps for the very first time.  I wasn’t very impressed.  Drinking was never my problem.  I left that to my Dad.

I won’t lie.  I wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t angelic.  I broke the rules trying to put my mind to rest, at least for a night.  But that isn’t what made me see the morning without another attempt at missing it.

My friends opened their arms, their hearts and their laughter to me.  Even though I hadn’t told them what I’d done, they knew.  They always knew.  They were my champions.  They were my saviors, my confidants, my cheerleaders, my simply everything.  They could make fun of me, raise me up, hear my cries, feel my pain, and sense the difference between drama and daydreams.

I went home.  I stayed out of the road and I never tried that again.

My friends were with me that night as they still are today.  And during the worst of times, when feeling alone could easily bring endless potential to its knees, they continue to keep me from mine.