Arguably, my second year in high school was intolerable. Imagine being hyped up the summer before, prepared to leap into a year stuffed full of success, only to find out that you’re going to be eating your lunch alone.
On the first day of school, I was nervous but I was also determined. I would would walk into that lunchroom, sit next to a group of people and become their friend. Then, I would have no worries for the remainder of the year. But I quickly realized that life doesn’t work out that way. When I sauntered into the lunch room and tentatively sat down at the edge of a table, loneliness climbed on my back and attached itself to me. And as if I were some disease, everyone avoided me. I sat there awkwardly, surrounded my empty seats.
The next day, I tried again but no no avail. This time I was surrounded by sweaty ninth grade boys who acted as if I didn’t exist. So naturally, I got up and walked away. The smell was overwhelming.
So, rather than facing my own fears, I decided to go to the library during lunch instead. I would make my lunch the night before school, and wait till my fifth period to eat lunch in class. None of my friends asked why I ate lunch after lunch. I don’t think any of them wanted to hear my answer. So I pretended that everything was alright.
But it’s hard to hide pain. I became emotionally unavailable, constantly irritated, and sensitive to the events that would happen around me. I would ignore friends for days, isolating my self more than I already was. And before I knew it, self-hatred and anger consumed me.
Eating lunch alone in high school isn’t fun. Nor will it ever be. The days that I actually had to eat in the lunchroom were the days where I would sit on the lunchroom floor in the far corner, begging God to make me disappear. However, those were the days that I grew stronger. The days were I learnt that it was okay to be alone. Because of my experience in 10th grade, I have no fear of being alone in situations that I can’t handle, but now I have a strong aversion to “putting myself out there” and I often find myself preferring solitude. But I’m glad I went through it, because if I never did, I would have given up sooner.
Check out A Short: Deep, Dark Places No. 1. Or if you would like, you can read my most recent poem “Quicksand”. Follow me on Instagram here. If you want to scroll through all my poems or even subscribe, feel free to do so.