In order for this story to make sense you have to step into your time machine and head back to the late 90s. It was most likely around 1999 or maybe even into 2000. Hard to say.
During that time in my life my friend and I were spending most of our days sitting around listening to hard core gangsta rap. Mostly 2Pac but we dabbled in Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, N.W.A., and others. My friend had gotten himself into a crime ring. I won’t go into the specifics but he got caught and I kind of stood up for him. This wasn’t the first time I stuck my neck out to keep a good friend out of trouble. It won’t be the last.
There was a young girl he kind of had a crush on. I was about four years older than he, he was about 2 years older then her, so I was beyond crushing on a child. But he did a job for her step-dad. Nothing major like fixing a bike or mowing the lawn, kids stuff. He ended up not getting paid for the job and the girl talked some trash or something. In the end my friend ended up taking a knife from a tool box laying in the alley. He wasn’t 100 percent who’s knife it was but he took it and gave it to me not so much for safe keeping but as a token of our friendship or something along those lines.
I don’t want to dig too deep into the power I felt holding that knife in my hands. My lust for power mostly centered on my desire to not be bullied or pushed around anymore. I wasn’t a gun person but that knife gave me an edge. I took it with me everywhere. It was more or less a hunting knife I told myself. I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about knives. Honestly it was just a thing a friend gave me. But there always lingered in the back of mind, partly because the origin of the knife, partly well other things. I always feared if I lost it and it was used for I don’t know something bad, I would get blamed, or at the very least questioned.
I chose to ignore it. I put it my pocket where it lived. I would take it with me everywhere I went. Sometimes I would flip it out if I thought doing so would back up my claim of please don’t mess with me I am not stable. I was always perfectly stable but I had some anguish over things from my childhood. There was also me dropping out of high school and going right into the work force unprepared. I struggled to find my bliss.
Let’s get to the point. Now that you have the background let’s discuss the events leading up to the darkest days of my life. In 2010 I had basically been kicked out of truck driving school. With no education beyond a GED which I fumbled my way through and mostly experience bouncing around from job to job, town to town, I wasn’t on a solid path in this world. I kept my faith in God but I was losing my faith in myself. God forgives us for our sins, I was beginning to rely more on the forgiveness part less on the stay away from it altogether.
In 2011 I got my life turned around. I was accepted into a university where I studied Broadcasting. My dream, or one of them, had been to get into television production or film making. I figured I would major in broadcasting and minor in theater. I changed minors basically every semester but things started to finally look up in my life. The days of me losing my temper over stupid things were gone. I held onto the skeletons from my past but they were safely tucked away in the closet where they belonged. That is until one day.
I woke up from a dream. I was back in 6th grade. For the first time in my life I was looking at my 6th grade self from the eyes of an adult. I no longer saw this innocent child who had his spirit beat down by kids who thought they were better than him or whatever it was. I saw a dirty kid who didn’t follow the rules, swore way too much, pushed people out of his way and wore torn clothes despite his parents buying him better things than that. In other words I saw the mangled, troubled youth I was pretending not to be for the first time. This prompted me to seek counseling. I was tired of not knowing how to talk to people, especially females. If you have ever seen that TV show The Big Bang Theory, I was Raj. That was me. If two or more people were in the same space as I, my voice turned off and I sat there, a wallflower wishing I could connect with people.
At first the therapy was going well. I was on a new medication and I was talking to people. I was making friends, using my social skills not relying on close proximity in class or leeching on my sister’s friends. I was finally getting my life in order. Everything felt good. Until that fateful day.
I literally, truly, 100 percent honestly cannot revisit in my mind exactly the chain of events. Somehow I either blocked part of it out or it happened so fast I never processed it properly. Here is how I do remember it.
Monday I call the counselor, who always told me in our sessions going was optional, I was feeling better. I didn’t need the visits anymore I was going to wing myself off the medication and go back to normal. We talked about the side effects and I figured I had improved. I was happy. I didn’t, nor did I ever actually want the pills.
What ended up happen next I can’t be too certain. Somehow it escalated into them searching my apartment. Then going to my mom asking her invasive questions she didn’t care to answer. They threatened both of us, my mom was also attending school. I don’t know how she talked me into it but the counselor got me to turn my friends knife over to campus police. They cited some no tolerance policy or whatever. I had never threatened anyone and explained it was a damn souvenir it didn’t have any sinister meaning. Still they wanted it for evidence or whatever. Then someone in the faculty, they never told me who, accused me of lying and making threats. I got defensive and scared. I was being kicked out of school and my campus apartment. I was being told I would be homeless and unemployed without a proper education. I was having flash backs to the life I was saved from. College was supposed to prepare me for the real world and all it did was send me back to the life I was escaping. Fine but the story takes a nasty twist.
I don’t know who it was or how it happened but the police were called. I was asked, not court ordered but asked by the school if I checked myself into a mental health clinic for 24 hour evaluation if I was cleared I could go back to school and stay in my apartment and it would all be over. I did as I was asked.
Day one was a nightmare. I paced the walls of my, they called it a room I called it a cell. I had a room mate who sat on his bed crying the whole time. I couldn’t leave the room. I had a bathroom I could use but that was it. We had designated social sessions, group therapy and individual visits with their therapist. My parents visited me late at night when they were allowed. I had nothing, no phone, no watch nothing to occupy my mind. By the end of the first day it felt like I had been in there fore days. I was resisting. I wanted out but I knew I did nothing wrong. Nobody, not my college, not the state, not my parents had a right to deny me my personal freedom without just cause. I didn’t even have a proper accuser. I just kept following suit. Do what they tell you. Eat breakfast, do chores, sit in group, ask questions, socialize. It sucked. There were people in there that NEEDED to be. People who were fighting real demons. I was a kid from Kansas who moved around a lot. I didn’t have real struggles. I never did drugs. I was a Dean’s list student. You know any problems I had I knew were internal. Still I was there and there was nothing I could do to get out.
I keep pacing the floor. I tried reading the books on the shelf. I was allowed to bring one from home, a school book from my film class. My film class I was failing because I couldn’t attend. I was saddened, and angered by this. Frustration. Fear. Despair. These began to compound. I went in knowing I had to get out. By the end of the second day I was afraid I was saying the wrong things. I had seen enough horror movies to know you can get stuck in these places if you don’t learn to say the right things.
The therapist asked me a thousand and one questions. I answered honestly. He asked me if I was lying. I said I had no motive to do so. I said I want out. I have no reason to be here. I explained how my life was going good, counseling school they were all the tings I needed. I asked why they were taking this away from me?
He said he didn’t have any reason to keep me but the deal with the school went from 24 hours to three days. It was only day 2.
This man, I never knew his name, I never cared. He told me I needed to stop pacing the floor. Not reading the books. He said socialize more. He said if I wanted to be released I had to prove I was sociable. He said if I did that it would look better. So I did. But the problem was those people. They were damaged. They were broken. They belonged there. I was normal. I had trouble talking to females but other than that I had no voices in my head. I had no drugs in my blood. I had no thoughts of ending my life. Not the first or second day.
I am getting really irritated. Why does it take so long to meet with the therapist? Why do they drag their damn feet? How much longer is this going to take? They said I could check myself out anytime I wanted. Finally the man came to me and pulled me into the private room. I have been there before I knew something was wrong. He told me point blank their staff didn’t see anything wrong with me. He said the school has something else going on but he couldn’t say what. He could say, he told me, they were NOT going to honor their agreement and if I wanted out I needed to start the process or they were going to put me past the voluntary watch and keep me there another week just to be safe. I pulled myself out and went home.
As I sat here putting these words down I realized I wasn’t able to go into all of my details that I thought. I realized there was no chance in hell I was going to open that scar and share my actual inner thoughts. Not if I am to put this dark past where it belongs. In the past. I knew someday I would need to work through it. I know someday further I will probably even find myself completely healed from it. Still, there is the small part of me that wants to scream on top of my lungs until they flatten like a tire with a nail in it. I don’t suppose that day will be today but I imagine it is coming.
The story has a somewhat happy ending in that it pushed me to be a better person. However, I can honestly say it also put the fear in me. I now know to be far more careful the things you say and who you say it to.
Every word of this is true to the best of my recollection. Of course there are details I am leaving out. But I can also say it is not intentional it is how my fuzzy brain remembers it. Stay Cool.