The memory of Kimball stayed with me like a dark cloud over my head. As much as I wanted to hate my dad for bringing me there without warning, I knew it was for my own good. I didn’t think of myself as a cutter anymore. But I didn’t get rid of the piece of glass, either. I kept it there for security. I thought of it as a blanket a child cried for at night. If I were to relapse, all I needed to do was feel it within my fingers. There were times I wanted to cut, but then Kimball came to mind. I didn’t want to ever go back there. It still brings chills to my body when I think about it. But if I were to see any positivity in my life from that point on, it was because of my dad. What can I say? He seriously scared the shit out of me. I was cured.
I still wrote depressing poetry like every other teenage girl. There were nights I sat in my room crying to music just because. I was still sad. I was more anxious. I just wanted to fit in with the cool crowd (pathetic, right?). But I did a complete 360 and changed my look, my way of viewing things. I started caring less and less what people thought about me. I dyed my hair black, painted my poorly bitten nails, and wore baggy pants with chains hanging from the sides. Who the hell did I turn into? Head banger, emo loving, weird girl. Everyone in school took a triple look at me. I was always a girly girl who never thought twice about getting myself in trouble. But it was me against the world and I wanted to make sure I’d win.
I thought to myself, this is it. This is who I’m going to be for the rest of my life. Not only was my wardrobe black, everything around me was too. I just distanced myself from my surroundings, lost a few friends on the way. I remember giving speeches in front of the class and hearing people talk about the way I looked. This was middle school! I never thought kids could be so cruel. But I always kept my chin up and stood my ground. I wasn’t just the girl who wrote suicidal poetry every minute of the day. I quickly became known as someone who didn’t take shit from nobody. I got into a few fights, actually. And even though I lost, (I’ll admit it) I was proud of myself. I gained respect and that’s something I’ve never had before.
As the end of the year grew closer, contests started floating around. You know, the usual “best couple of the year” or “most intelligent.” I don’t know why administration ever started this. Talk about making kids feel bad about themselves. Anyway, something happened that I never ever expected. But in the end it truly satisfied me. I, Courtney Zummo, won “most unique.” Something that I’ve always said I was. I wasn’t different. I wasn’t unusual. I didn’t stand out from the normal crowd because I wasn’t. I was UNIQUE. I’m still UNIQUE.
And so are you.