7 Years Wiser, 7 Years Dumber

At 14, if I was told that everything I thought would last, would end….Well I would have argued. I would have used every word in the book to make you feel like a complete and total moron for even thinking that you knew my life better than me. I was 14; I knew everything. I would say that I know better than that right now, but honestly, I still wouldn’t take kindly to anyone claiming to know my life better than I do.

At 14 I had two of the best friends I could have asked for, at the time. I was a freshman in high school; thought I was so cool. Rules didn’t apply to me and I could do what ever the Hell I wanted. And I did. I made a huge mess of everything, but carried on through it. I was too proud to ask for help then, and sometimes my pride still bites me in the ass.

My Nanny was always going to be around. Back then, I never even entertained the thought that there would be a time when she wasn’t around. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel like she’s gone. I don’t know if she’d be proud of who I am now, but I know she would be happy that I started getting my shit in order. It hurts some day’s when I catch myself dialing her number in excitement only to realize that she will never be able to answer again. I may not believe in God or Heaven, even Hell, but I will always believe that Nanny is somewhere keeping an eye on us all.

My parents were never going to actually separate and divorce. It was something they discussed with us and talked to us about, but they were never going to go through with it. It had been a topic for years that just kept getting pushed off until I truly believed it was only ever going to be just talk.

I thought that I would always be living in my childhood home. I knew realistically that, that would never actually happen. It’s just the actual reality of it had never crossed my mind. Knowing something doesn’t always make it feel real until the actuality of it comes out of no where and bites you in the ass.

I knew that I never would be on good footing with my mother. And even now, it’s hit or miss most days. It was a horrible relationship. A lot of damage has been done to it over the years for it to be so easily repaired. It’ll take a lot more time for us to be okay with each other. There are too many differences in opinions, and both of us are too stubborn and firm in our own beliefs.

Back then, I truly and honestly thought I was going to be dead by the time I was 18. I had no faith in things getting better for me. I thought that I was going to end it all before I graduated and teach everyone a lesson about what their actions had caused. It was selfish and I didn’t care. I wanted to make everyone else suffer for the pain I was feeling. The truth is that some of them didn’t really do anything to me. I was just placing all my aggravation at myself on them. I was so stuck in my head that I didn’t realize how much I was hurting myself.

Being liked and having a ton of friends was so important to me. The same thing that is important to every single freshman. It makes me laugh to think of how much all of us had in common with each other, even though we all tried to deny it. We walked around with an air of self importance, pretending we were better than everyone else. We thought we were special and that made us entitled to better things. Truth is, none of us were better than anyone else. We were stupid little kids pretending to be adults.

Seven years isn’t really that long of a time. It’s such an insignificant amount of space compared to how long most of us will live for. It’s insane how much can happen in such a short time. Seven years since Cory passed away. Since most of my graduating class had their first reality check; we were young, yes, but we weren’t going to live forever. It hit some of us harder than others. And he was just the first. There were so many more of us that died way too young. It gave some of us a wake-up call, while others took it as a sign to look down the bottle and find happiness in self destruction. We were all hurting, but acted as if we were the sole persons in pain.

In seven years our entire lives have turned in directions that we probably never thought they would. My two best friends that I thought were forever…….I don’t really speak to either of them anymore. Now at 21 years old, they are both settled down with kids. April had hers junior year, and Laura had hers last year. They were great lessons to be had, and the friends I wanted at the time. I will never regret that, but they weren’t true friends. Looking back on everything I went through with them, I don’t know how I missed the obvious signs. I was 14 and I just knew that those friendships would last forever.

At 17 I lost my Nanny. She was the one person I thought would always be around. I thought that no matter what happened, no matter how much shit I caused, that she would always be there to help me get back up and fix things. I thought I was always going to have that safe space to be completely myself with no fear or judgment, with her. I trusted Nanny more than I trusted anyone, and she took my secrets with her to the grave. She was going to be around forever so I never thought to prepare for when she wouldn’t be.

My family fell apart around me. It was drama and chaos. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins moving in and out. Too many people in one house, and getting on each other’s nerves. It was bad. The fighting was intense and it caused stress on already tense relationships. It was enough to make us moving out seem like the best idea. And I have to say that it really was good for all of us.

Mama started dating this guy. He was okay. She was happy and that’s all that really mattered. I didn’t particularly care either way. Okay, that’s a lie. I pretty much pretended that he wasn’t there. I pretended things were back to the normal I wanted. It was how I dealt with it. It wasn’t that I had a problem with Mama and Dad actually being done and over, it was just Mike. There was something about him that I didn’t want to be a permanent fixture in my life. I’m still not sure what exactly that something was; I just knew he wasn’t meant to be a permanent member of my very unique family.

Things with my mother could still be better, but we have more of an understanding with each other. Actually I don’t think understanding is the right word. We still butt heads, and don’t know why we act the way we do. We have some similar tastes, but are so far different from one another. More or less, we’ve learned to adapt to each other, which is good enough for now. I don’t know if we will ever have that ideal mother-daughter relationship, but we can be civil and act like adults. It’s nice getting to see what glimpses of that ideal relationship is like.

As for believing that I would have been dead by now, sometimes I find it a miracle that I’m not. With all the deaths of my classmates, I don’t know how I managed not to be one of them. Sometimes, I think it would have been better if it were me instead of one of them. All of them had so much to live for. They could have been someone great, doing something amazing. I’m not saying that I have nothing to live for, but I have made so many mistakes and fucked up so many people’s lives out of anger and spite. If it were me instead, then how much damage wouldn’t have happened?

At 14, I never would have thought that the only four people from my class that I would still be talking to after graduation, would be the four that they turned out being. Megan became the best friend I could have ever asked for. At 21, I know what real friends are. I am extremely lucky to have such a large group of people that I can count on. I don’t know if I will still be as close with them as I am now in the future, but I’ve no doubt in my mind that most of them will still be in my life six years from now.

My friends have become the family that I never knew I wanted until I had them. They are insane and crazy. They showed me what I wish I had when I was 14. I love them all. Even when we piss each other off and we question why we put up with one another, I know that we will have each other’s backs through it all. Megan has become my sister in every sense except blood. I know that without a shadow of a doubt, that she will be in my life for the long haul. I would do anything for her, and I know she would do the same.

My mother is now going to be getting married to my soon-to-be step dad. I knew Mike wasn’t going to be a forever fixture. That spot was meant to be filled by Sean. He will never be my father, but he has been a part of my family since before I was born. Sean was meant to be with my mother. They are forever.

I have three parents that I know care about me, even if it’s in their own odd ways. I have three younger sisters, and a younger brother. I love them all so much. I would do a lot for them. We get on each other’s nerves purposely just because we can. We yell and argue over the dumbest things, but we’re sisters. An hour later, all is forgiven and we’re good again until the next time.

It’s funny how much everything can change in only 7 short years. At 14, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was positive that, that was what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. There were quite a few other ideas between then and now. At this point, I’m still not sure what I want to do or who I want to be. Seven years ago I wanted to design clothes, and be in the fashion world, but now I’m thinking of either going for culinary, or going to beauty school. The one positive thing I know is that I want to get a business degree.

At 14, if you were to tell me that I would be tattooed, pierced, and truly confident in myself, I would think you were trying to butter me up to get something from me. If you were to tell me that I would lose contact with everyone I thought I’d know forever, I’d have hit you for trying to make me mad. Back then, if you were to tell me that I was going to hit rock bottom and come out of it with a new life….. I don’t know what I would have done. I might have yelled at you for saying I was going to hit rock bottom, or I may have tried to flambé you with a vocabulary more extensive than most 14 year olds have.

At 21, I know that I made stupid choices when I was younger. I know that I had to learn from my own mistakes, and believe me, there are a lot of them. I am impulsive and don’t always think things through before acting. I don’t like asking for help, and I let my pride dictate my actions some days. There are days when all I want to do is make someone else hurt as much as I do. There are times when I just want to hurt someone for the sake of hurting someone. My temper is a bitch to reign in, and I know I have to work on it.

At 14 years old, I knew everything. I was the smartest person, and everyone else knew nothing. At 21 years old, I know one thing for certain, and that’s that I don’t really know much of anything at all.

Contributor~ Amanda Zober

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