Numb Until Now

By Jemma Clarke, age 13
Numb Until Now Jemma likes to draw, write, and cook. She recently won a silver key at the Scholastic Awards for poetry.

“If you asked anyone, they would say I was happy or always laughing. No one saw, and no one asked. I don’t blame them. I didn’t realize I was such a good actor.”

Nothing seemed real.

T.V. shows didn’t matter. Holidays seemed fake. Happiness seemed unobtainable. There were those joyful moments, they were tiny, but still there.

I fell.

I fell hard.

I fell into my head, into the deepest part of my mind, for a long time it passed in a blur. It lasted the entirety of sixth grade, and left me in a tough position. I can’t remember that year. It was nothing. Memories didn’t stick. I just remember that feeling, the crippling feeling of nothing. Just numbness. I had lost my brother, and myself. I lost them to other people, substances, and materials; I was not good enough for them. I don’t think anything was.

If you asked anyone, they would say I was happy or always laughing. No one saw, and no one asked. I don’t blame them. I didn’t realize I was such a good actor.

Those who did,

I lied to.

My mind would scream help, but my tongue would tie and say, “I’m fine.”

Fine became my favorite word. I walked a long and lonely road. I folded up and only walked by myself. It was dark and lonely and I was always prodded with thoughts… dark thoughts.

“Are you sure people will like that?” They would ask, judgmental eyes sizing me up.

“Yeah, I like it,” I would answer.

“All the more reason to change,” they would snicker back.

They always won. They didn’t care. Their goal was to hurt me. At first I believed they couldn’t be stopped and no one would help to stop them. They would judge my jokes, how I talk and dress. I’ve built a fence, big enough to keep them out. Although, they find a way in. They do come back. They climb up my brain and stick their sharp fangs into my mind and begin to suck the hope, happiness, and confidence I had found. Now I have defenders, people I trust, and myself. When I ask them questions the always give me a positive answer.

“Is that okay?” I would ask, waiting for them to beat me down.

“Of course. That’s great,” they would answer.

It was a new attitude. Something I was trying, and I decided that those monsters that came back were worth fighting. That sickening feeling they gave me didn’t have to be permanent. The girl who felt lost and sad, who needed someone but that one person was gone, didn’t have to be me.

That person came back.

My brother had come back, as well as his new girlfriend. With them they brought the monsters.

They came back telling me I had lost my brother to yet another thing. I built a relationship with that girl and she also gave me those positive words.

“Jemma, it’s perfect.” She would smile.

The monsters were shocked; they didn’t believe I had broken my shell and grown. There I was suddenly, armed with a sword and shield ready to fend for myself. The monsters fled and I was given more confidence. Now I walk the road with my new attitude and my new tools.

I’m ready to take on the world.

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