It all started when I was born, I'm sure, but no one wants to hear about that. So for those who want the easy way out and a single person to blame, it all started with a piece of advice.
"Are you happy?" Dave the Cool Artistic Kid had asked, and I, like a fool, gave a straight answer for once.
I was in a particularly bad mood that day, and spoke my mind before I realized I was speaking to Artist Philosophy Boy, not Cute Girl with a Soft Heart and Easily Opened Legs. I spat out a heartfelt, "No! Of course I'm not happy in this stupid place."
What did the jerk respond to this with? Did he give me kind platitudes and meaningless sympathy that nonetheless would have made me feel a little better, a little bit loved? Did I get a hug or a sad look? No. Instead, he just gave me that patented 'Smug Dave' look and told me, "Then change something."
Change something. Two words that held a veritable plethora of possibility.
Useless words was my first thought.
No one ever changes things in High School. People walk through the hallways like cardboard cutouts. The jocks and pretty girls are cool and can break stereotypes without breaking a sweat, because they're still jocks, and they're still pretty, and they never break too far out of character.
The nerds and geeks form their clubs and groups where they can pretend they are superior to all.
The unique kids hold most desperately to their perfected brand of rebellious imperfection.
I am a cardboard cutout too. Maybe one of the most flat and typical, even.
I am the angry kid. You all know the one. The boy who just needs a hug. I am the boy who people can look at and categorize in an instant. They can read my unfortunate, dull, and typically atypical past stamped across my face in my expression and written in the cut of my clothes.
Occasionally that label comes in handy, when those kind hugs from nice girls turn into kisses which end up in tangled sheets in the bedroom and tears when my poor damaged self still can't turn into another invisible kid who's happy enough to ignore, but I don't do the same chick twice because that leads to expectations I could care less about.
Sarah from the girls' soccer team was one of those girls. She told me all about her parental issues over dinner, screamed like a banshee in bed, and then threw her coffee in my face the next morning when I told her she was kind of fat and laughed.
Now she's dating Mike the damaged Theater kid, and rumor has it that she cheated on him with her math tutor Josh.
Lately, I feel a bit empty watching it all. Everyone tries to shove everyone else into the crowd so they can shine just that much brighter. Yesterday, Dave the Art Kid told me to change something. Maybe his words aren't as useless as I first thought.
Today, all of their lights are about to be eclipsed by mine. The gun in my backpack will ensure that I keep shining long after the smoke settles.
It's kinda funny that I still won't change anything for real.