I hate high school so much right now. I’ve reached the point where, when there is free time between classes, I don’t even know where I can stand anymore. I lean against my locker and watch as groups of friends drift by, chatting and laughing. I calculate, based on who’s in a given group, whether or not I could successfully join them. Most of the time I decide that I can’t, whether it’s because I have never talked to the people in the group and won’t start now, or the people in the group know and hate me, or I actively avoid one or more of its members. So I just stand there and wish I could temporarily turn into a small vapor or a tiny bug. That way, I wouldn’t have to look for a place to stand or go hide in a classroom. I could just observe. In a way, I would be a part of every group. Universally accepted yet unnoticed.

This past weekend, our school put on a production of Grease. I auditioned back in December with the girl who people say is one of my best friends, and we both made it as chorus girls. It was going to be one of my last times onstage. It was supposed to be special. I went in expecting to feel this great sense of community and friendship; I just ended up feeling just as alone as before. I spent rehearsals talking to everyone around me, telling myself that this was theater and that I could be freeeee. Which I now know is a load of crap. All this weekend, while we were backstage, I found myself in the same position I’m always in: looking for a place to stand. No matter where I went or whom I talked to, I would get the sense that I had intruded. They’d say things like, “We’re talking about something personal, could you give us a minute?” Other times, we’d just have a few seconds of fragmented and uncomfortable conversation before one of us wriggled free. After the second performance, I stopped going to the afterparties. After the final performance, I took off as soon as I’d cleaned up my space in the dressing room. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone, and I didn’t cry with all the other seniors. I was completely numb.

I’m numb now, I’ll graduate numb, and I’ll spend the summer trying to gain back some feeling. I feel like whatever efforts I made over the past four years to get to know people I liked were for nothing. If I had friends and later changed, whether by losing my religion or by becoming more outspoken, they would tell me that I had become a different person and that I shouldn’t hang out with them anymore. If I invited someone to hang out with me, there was always a 50% chance that she would stand me up with little to no explanation. I’ve been stood up and tossed around and left alone. I feel like garbage. Except garbage always has a dumpster or trash bin in which it belongs. So I’m deciding right now that I’m sick of trying anymore. I’m just going to show up and do my work and graduate in four weeks. Meanwhile, I will try to hone my turning-into-a-vapor skills. ♦