[no_dropcaps type="normal" color="#010000" font_family="Merriweather" font_size="58" line_height="66" width="" font_weight="400" font_style="normal" text_align="" border_color="" background_color="" margin="0px 5px 5px 0px"]I[/no_dropcaps] am in agreement with every teenager/child/person/human/liv- ing-substance who says that starting a new school sucks, because it does. Without a doubt. I mean, you have to pull yourself out of bed and you have to make new friends and you have to try and be cool and all of that other crap and in the literal sense, it is just absolute bullshit. Lucky for me though, I have had plenty of experiences with starting at new schools (an abundance of experiences, even). One might say I’ve lost count of how many schools I’ve actually attended—I don’t actually keep count though. I mean, screw that.
Since every school practically blows, I figured that this one wouldn’t be any different - not by a lot, anyway. Once you’ve had enough experiences with enough schools you just kind of become immune to it all. It’s practically the same thing over and over again and your parents would say, “Just be yourself honey, they’re going to love you.” Except I don’t really have parents so, that doesn’t happen for me—which is totally fine, I don’t really mind, it’s just that it would be nice to have some reassurance once in a while.
I’d really like this assurance because when you’re walking into a brand new school, with brand new people, and you just know every single per- son is going to judge you - what you’re wearing, how you look, how tall you are, whether you’re lanky or beefy, it doesn’t really matter. You’re just the “new kid” and the center of attention and it’s absolutely fuck- ing daunting. And if that isn’t the worst thing, like ever, the fact it stays like that has to be. It stays like that until another new lanky and terribly dressed teen walks through those front doors. It’s at that moment whenpeople finally recognize your name, and then that other new kid with annoyingly red hair (like, actual bright cherry red, not orange) who wears shirts with bands on it that no-one has ever heard of, will be called the new kid and you would just be you. I don’t have red hair by the way. It’s just something that sounds right. Stereotypical, you know.
Anyway, after all that, you and your new friends that you have been friends with for about a year now, give or take, would hang out and you would have a great and fantastic life. It would practically be like a movie - one of those movies where you hold hands and skip through the play- ground with your lunch in a paper bag and have the Sound Of Music soundtrack playing in the background.
Despite the fact that I’ve attended pretty much every single school on the freaking universe, the one thing I have not come to perfect in all my years is making friends. In fact, I was absolutely atrocious at it, as I am with being sociable. I mean, this isn’t some story about a depressed boy who had no friends and sat and ate their lunch in the bathroom stall (although I did do that for a short period of time) so, don’t think that.
I have had friends. I had like ... one? His name was Jonathan Romonsky. I was thirteen, he was seventeen, and he was not only the world’s gayest kid who wore rainbow suspenders, but he was also the world’s most miserable human being that I’d ever heard of. I owe him a lot though, mainly because he helped me come to terms with a lot of things in my life, like:
- 1.) What I was (human, obviously)
- 2.) Who I was (Harrison Healy) and
- 3.) Where I wanted to be (not dead in a ditch).
I guess this is kind of a lot to come to terms with at the age of thirteen.
Sometimes, actually, all the time, I wish Jonathan took his own advice. Maybe he wouldn’t have ended up with a noose around his neck and a pack of pills next to his bedside table without even an apology or an explanation to his foster parents - who cared a lot but not nearly enough for him to stick around. He left one for me though, it said: keep going.
And I have, in more ways than one.
It was late in the winter of 2010 when I decided myself that I was swimming in a never-ending ocean of depression. I was practically drowning in it. I have reasons to be depressed though, I didn’t just wake up one day and go, “Oh hey, I’m sad so that means I must be depressed. Now I am going to go and be depressed for the rest of my life and do all the things that are stereotypically ruled under the list of: Things to do when I’m depressed, like, cry every single waking hour of the day and night.”
No, I didn’t do that. After a few months though, I ruled out the term depression. I drew a massive line through it and replaced it as some- thing else. I simply told myself I have a disease. Reasons being that:
1.) It sounds cooler And
2.) What else has the ability to corrupt your mind, take over your body and put you into an incoherent state, other than a disease?
I don’t have this ‘disease’ because I sucked at making friends, though.
That sounds stupid. I have this disease because when I was twelve, I got woken up in the middle of the night by two police officers. They told me that my parents were dead. It wasn’t exactly a joyous night. I remember crying. A lot.
To top all that off, no one really wanted me afterwards. Quite literally. So, my sister was ripped away from me and I spent a year being thrown into the arms of different families until they flew me from my hometown of Denver, Colorado (literally, like, put me on a plane and everything) and I was damned to live with probably the worst family to exist in the entire world.
It gets worse after that. It gets worse because I was thirteen and my parents were dead and I finally made a friend and he killed himself before I even understood what killing yourself meant. I was living with crazy people and no one liked me at school - I got taped to toilets and locked in lockers and even got the all too familiar head-in-the-toilet trick. I even sat and ate my lunch in the bathrooms until Brad (psycho dad), got a new job and we moved. And then it was the same thing. All. Over. Again. For a whole year and more it was a constant stream of never sticking around long enough to get comfortable.
So like, obviously when I finally snapped out of wallowing in my own self-pity, I wanted to start fresh. You know? Change and stuff. We moved here to Minnesota and I staggered through the gates of Willburd Nights State High School as confidant as I could be.
I put a smile on my face, wore some decent clothes that didn’t make me look like a rat that was slowly withering away from not being able to find even a crumb of food on the side of the road, and I made friends. It was euphoric, to say the least. I was, though, unquestionably terrified. I mean, what if it didn’t work? What if I would become the school’s joke again, especially after being that joke for so long?
When none of that happened, I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face for weeks. I had been blessed with five great friends (Parker, Levi, Doug, Carter and Nathan) and one completely psychotic family. It all kind of panned out.
And, although I have this undeniably shit piece of literal crap disease that I can’t seem to get rid of, at least I’m not in denial. It’s pretty simple, really. I know why people didn’t like me—it wasn’t only because I didn’t like myself (not saying I like myself now, that is definitely not the case), but it was the other massive thing. The ‘gay’ thing. It’s not like I wouldn’t change it if I had the opportunity, I absolutely would, but I don’t exactly have superpowers and I don’t have the ability to change and mould my- self into something that everybody wants, so I just keep it to myself now.
I figured it out when I was thirteen (I figured out a lot of things when I was thirteen, it seems) and it was physically and mentally traumatizing. Especially when you find yourself staring at the soccer coach dripping in sweat instead of looking at the girl with no bra on, who had her white shirt soaked through and her non-existent-boobs were just everywhere.
It was absolutely fucking awful.
So, I’m definitely not one of those joyous gay kids that like to scream it to the world and jump around with a multi-coloured flag screaming “GAY PRIDE”. I mean, I would never in a million years wear sequins and dance to Mariah Carey or some shit. I’m just gay. I just like the opposite of vaginas, and if that isn’t enough, maybe the fact I punished myself for a long time will be. I even used to sit in my room and stare at a picture of a naked girl, then of a naked boy, and I would take that stupid permanent marker, wipe the tears off my face, and draw a large, enormous cross on the boy, and then proceed to draw a tick on the girl. Then I would force myself to register it into my head.
It never really registered. I still like boys. And it’s not like I’m that gay, you know? I mean, I fucking hate Celine Dion.
I am still blessed in some cases, though. I may have had my parents drop dead, and I may live with people who get so angry and make me the victim of their own self pleasure, but I’ve never had to go through that awful phase of falling for the straight friend who loves you in every single way but the right one, and I’ve never had to go through heartache because the person I am so madly in love with just doesn’t feel the same way anymore—or just doesn’t want the same as I do.
I might be a typically depressed homosexual male, and yeah, it may have taken me a long time to accept that even though I’m only seventeen. But, at least I’m not popular or lucky enough to fall in love in high school and then have my heart broken - that would be a disaster in itself. Plus, when you’re seventeen, you really only get one identity. I can’t be the gay kid if I’m already the Loser. That’s just not how it works.
Harrison Healy is a seventeen-year-old boy with a side of depression. Not a seventeen-year-old boy with depression. With his parents dead, his sister gone and a best friend who committed suicide from an overwhelming flood of sadness - he’s doing okay. Now, he’s just stuck with two people who can’t stand the sight of him and five friends who try to make his life a little better.
While stumping through his every day average-depressed-gay-kid-teen-life in his final senior year, he discovers EVAN, a bright-eyed, bright smiled senior who is trapped in the world around him.
Over the course of his final school year, Harry experiences his first love, his first kiss; he finds the stars, loses his mind, very nearly loses himself along the way. He finds out horrific news, he sees what can’t be unseen and he is faced with the challenge of trying to find a way to be okay.
Harrison deals with the loss of everyone he has loved. As he tries to get out of his head and into the real world, he attempts to participate in life instead of watching it fly by.