I Was A Disturbed Nine-Year-Old, Or, Why I Fall Asleep During Anti-Drug Sessions.

As a little girl, sometimes I sniffed silverware, when I thought no one was looking. I bit my nails, chewed on my hair, was fascinated with the opening and closing of doors, the death scene in Titanic. I wrote snippets of sentences, strange words in small notebooks tucked into my desk (i wait for/the day/lightening will strike/my eager fingertips), listened to 80’s music with morbid lyrics, took mythomania to extremes.

Strange habits, perhaps, but not especially dangerous (though certain things in that little notebook disturb me – sometimes/i feel like screaming/luckily/i know when to keep my/mouth shut and the stars/souls of unborn/children/won’t stop/watching me).

With this awkward transition, this shapeshifting from spaghetti-skinny, barrette-wearing, smallish me to morose, angry, plumper, slightly-more-observant me, I’m starting to realize what real dangers are. Or at least, what adults consider to be real dangers.

We had a lecture on drugs a few weeks ago at my high school. In my memory, this talk joins one of many, as unmemorable as its past counterparts were. A woman with no defining features. Her soft, smooth, sleepy voice. A faint scrawling of words on a chalkboard, “addiction” “narcotics” “symptoms” “poison” “death”. Pamphlets, passed out again and again by the same associations, papers we will flip idly through before tossing away. A final warning that, though meant to be friendly, sounds like a prohibiting ultimatum: don’t do it.

It’s not that we don’t know they are dangerous. It’s just that we choose to overrule that fact, because another feeling – be it a need to escape, or to rebel, or to fit in – is simply more important. It comes to a decision. And I honestly do not believe that the chats we have sat through, the lectures we have been given or the informative videos we’ve watched change what each of us feels on the subject. Either you do or you don’t, and the one thing I’ve learnt about adolescence is that we are stubborn to the point of insanity, and not you, or anyone is going to change what we want to do, if we desire it enough.

(Side note: Mother – and I know you’re reading this, even though I told you not to – you can relax because I have no immediate plans to smoke marijuana, hallucinatory mushrooms or whatever. God.)

As stated above, to avoid any confrontations with angry parental units, I am on the don’t side of the spectrum, if only because I’ve been brought up that way. Who knows what would have happened, had I been born in Harlem during the 60’s? It can happen to anyone, anytime. But it’s a long topic, and too scientific for a Monday, and I honestly don’t want to spend half an hour googling drug jargon. And you don’t want to read that, right?


  • Haha. Your emo poetry is great. Glad you got that out of you early. As for drugs, I totally agree. I don’t think adults/responsible people educating us about drugs understand just how desperate teenagers can be, and just how little rational perspective they may have. I guess that is scarier to recognize than to just believe those who make poor decisions are uninformed.

  • Very true. I’m so glad you realize that at your age. Everyone is complaining about their parents… it makes me angry and jealous. I wish my mum did half the things mums do, annoying as they are. She’s too busy being a drunk. It wasn’t always that way, but it makes me angry when people are like “I WISH MY MUM WOULD DIE!” It makes my mouth drop. I have sagely grandparents and I’m thankful for them, even if they make me angry and don’t understand me. I love them. My dad, too. I love my entire family, but it’s just… hard. To be there. You know what I’m saying.

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