Saturday, August 12, 2017

Graduation, Smaduation

Yay for Senior Year!

Way back in Freshman Year, I wanted to graduate early. Had I gone through with it, I would have bypassed a ton of crap in High School, but I’m glad I didn’t. In fact, I think had I graduated early life would have been worse. I had Layla and Page as friends instead of my being a total social outcast because I was so ahead in school.

Anyways. Senior Year!

Page had gone to online school Junior Year, but had come back for orchestra—thank the stars.

This year I also dropped out of orchestra. No longer was it a safe haven. My teacher had started going a bit crazy and on the cranky side. The Robot had followed us (my orchestra peeps) to the highest level of orchestra. What sealed the deal was if I didn’t take orchestra, I could have a half day all year long.

Half days were the best! I only had four classes and seminary, then I was done for the day.

Mom often took my out to lunch. It was seriously a blast.

Yet…Senior Year was the year our English Teachers had us apply to colleges.

I had planned on going to ASU. Dad really wanted me to go, and if I did I could live at home.

Then I looked at tuition and changed my mind.

So where should I attend college?

I had decided I wanted to go into Physical Therapy my junior year, so it was when I found BYU-Idaho had a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program, I finally made my decision. At the time, making the choice was fine. It wasn’t real in my head just yet…

College applications were done in the first semester. I didn’t think about them until I got letters at the end of senior year.

So here’s what happens in between:

Remember how I told you about the surprise I had about The Robot Senior Year?

I had the unfortunate experience our having Anatomy and Physiology together.

And other Junior Jerk Wad (JJW) who fueled her hateful fire.

What I write next wasn’t directed toward me, but it’s an experience which will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

And empower my life long mantra too: “Always be kind and never treat others as most have treated me.”

This year I saw the true colors of The Robot.

My teacher stepped out of the classroom for who remembers why, and JJW and The Robot took this as the opportunity to spew their poison.

Those two imbeciles talked about how there wasn’t an option for an Honors Anatomy class. Then expanded on how this class was too easy for them, and anyone not in Honors were idiots and wouldn’t, in fact, get anywhere in life. That they should just give up now—for they would be the ones living on the streets or flipping burgers.

My teacher walked in at this last part and laid it on them.

Man, it felt awesome to watch them endure the rage of my teacher.

The whole class had been physically cringing at their conversation.

And for the rest of that semester, JJW and The Robot were pariahs to the rest of the class. Why shouldn’t they be? With the tone of voice they were using, and the base words, they were basically telling everyone who wasn’t in Honors to kill themselves because their life wouldn’t have any substance in the future. (One of them said something along the lines about how they would kill themselves had they not been as smart as they were).

I think The Robot saw me smiling at her while the teacher yelled. We were put together in a group once, and I remember saying something about what her and JJW had said, basically reinforcing what my teacher said. Needless to say, The Robot was never disrespectful to me again.

The rest of Senior Year went relatively well. I was in a sort of a daze, refusing to believe my adolescent life was about to end. That soon, I would have to be an adult all on my own and move two states away.

I was decently social. I only hung out with Layla and our friend group about once a month, and did what I wanted at home—which was mostly writing and hanging out with family.

Then Prom came.

Despite how I had done my best to talk to more people at school and put myself out there, even asking my long time crush to Morp—a girl ask guy dance—no one cared to help me get a date for Prom.

Worst thing is?

There were two.

If you haven’t guessed, I am LDS (aka Mormon). There was the school Prom and a Mormon Prom.

All the girls talked with each other about getting dates for one another. When I was around, I mentioned I how I wanted to go. I don’t remember the name of the kid I wanted to go with, but…apparently I went unheard. (I am also, to this day, of mind where the man should traditionally ask the girl out, unless it’s explicitly a girl ask guy dance; and I was not going to appear desperate enough for a date to ask a guy).

All of my “friends” went to both Proms.



Without even thinking about trying to help me get a date.

The Sunday after school Prom, all my friends wore their gorgeous, princess dresses to church. Dresses I always wanted to wear and have, but would never get the chance because no one saw me.

I was invisible despite my efforts to be visible that year.

Mom took me home because I couldn’t stop crying. I hated how weak I was. Hated how much I was affected by this.

I told myself I wouldn’t be. The night of both dances I told myself I was happy I didn’t get asked; that I rather be home alone and doing my own thing—which was writing and balling my eyes out.

I am really awesome at lying to myself.

Until now, I never felt anger toward my friends for leaving me out of things. For deciding because sometimes I chose to hang out with my cousins instead, it meant I never wanted to hang out with them so they stopped inviting and paying attention to me.

I never realize how much it hurt until I saw them laughing, in their dream dresses reminiscing about an experience I would never have.

My entire body shook from the pain of being unseen and unloved.

My breaths racked through my ribs, my lungs fighting for oxygen. My head pounded and my mind screamed at me how worthless and ugly I was. Because why else did I not get asked out?

When I got asked to the Homecoming dance that year, I thought someone was playing a joke on me. Thankfully, he wasn’t.

But shouldn’t that tell somebody something?

I went home and slept.

I had finally figured out why I loved to write.

I could control every aspect of the world I created, and since I infused myself into the main character, I could be myself. I could be social, seen, and loved by those outside my family.

The first version of the first book I ever wrote is an intense demonstration of how alone I felt at school. It’s printed and stored away in my memory box in congratulations of completing my first book ever, but thinking back on it…now I’m not sure I want to keep it.

The rest of Senior Year, I put on a face. I smiled and laughed with my friends, pretending I was happy and wasn’t hurting.

I had gone numb.

I don’t think I seriously considered suicide that year, but it certainly crossed my mind, especially after the Prom incident. The fact I thought about killing myself over something so stupid as to being left out of Prom made me so mad I shoved the thoughts deep down into the recesses of my mind and promised myself I would become visible in my college years and never have to suffer the pain of high school. I would make a life for myself where no one would forget me.

In a moment of weakness, I wrote Layla a letter begging her not to forget me.

I fear people forgetting me. So long had I been invisible, I didn’t want my one friend who stayed true to me since kindergarten to forget my existence completely.

I went to one graduation party. It was a pool party. It was fun, I guess, but…*shrug* at this point it was clear to me they didn’t care whether I was there or not. I’m sure it was just the prompting of their parents to not make me a complete exile.

So long I had been screaming for people to see me, but because I never explicitly told anyone they never knew. How could they know?

But didn’t they see me? Didn’t they see the agony in my eyes? The false stretch of my smile?

No, because I was—am—really good at pretending I’m okay when I’m not, and no one tried to see beyond the fa├žade.

At graduation itself I was ecstatic. When I was called and sat back down, freedom washed over me. I would never have to interact with anyone from high school ever again. Although I was sad I was losing Layla, she had more fun with her other friends than she ever had with me. I no longer had to feel left out, because I was the one leaving everyone behind.

I was the one leaving.

I was the one in control.

I was the one shutting them out from my life forever.

And it felt powerful to finally feel like I was in control of something.

The minute everyone threw their caps into the air was the moment I made my escape. I basically ran in my sexy, strappy heels and in my red shiny dress (I looked GOOD) from the premises. In my attempt to locate my family I walked around in circles. I smiled and said congratulations to others but quickly left to find my family. I gave Amanda a hug, because even though we grew apart after my sophomore year, at least she continued to see me.

When I finally found my family, it was like I finally entered a safe haven, and freedom became a reality.

Always and Forever,
Natalie Carroll


  1. Sometimes you make it sound like your life sucked.

    1. I realize that. My life didn't suck, there were just really hard aspects of it. I try to make a point to say I love and loved my life. But in all honesty, I was miserable in basically all social situations that senior year. I didn't feel welcome or wanted with school friends. It was so nice to finally be free of that feeling.


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