Vanessa

Everyone goes through shit. Mine, I always felt like it was the movie Prom Night. This girl’s teacher falls in love with her and kills all her friends on the night of the prom. Thankfully, it wasn’t that intense.

Going back to elementary school, everyone made fun of me. I was the girl you picked on. I never had self-love because people would tell me I needed to get a sex change, I looked like a boy, no one will love me, etc, and I believed it all.

I had no self-worth. So I stuck with school and studied.

Sophomore year I entered a new high school. Everyone was rich and vain. They targeted me again, just like elementary school. This year I developed depression. It was always in my head, a plan to kill myself. I kept a knife underneath my bed.

I self-harmed from fifth grade to senior year of high school.

Moving on to junior year, I would say it was the lowest I’ve ever been. I’d been going to therapy, but I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t focus on anything besides my depression and how trapped I felt. I never resorted to drugs because I couldn’t leave my house, so I cut instead.

That year I had a teacher who I depended on a lot. He was my mentor, my friend. He convinced me to go into environmental science and geology, which was my passion in high school. He saw my cuts, he knew my back story.

Junior year, 2011, May. I had a plan and was going to commit suicide. For some reason my friends had a suspicion and they called that teacher for help. He sent the police and they arrived moments later, but my cuts were started. My dad was so affected when they called him. He cried and it made me feel so shitty. I couldn’t believe I let myself become like this and affect other people.

After, I tried my best to be strong for those who needed it.

Everyone the next day at school knew because people talk. I was taken to the counselors office instead of class. They asked me about my relationship with that teacher, but I didn’t know why.

Earlier, my friend talked with the teacher and she found him crying at the end of school. He told her, “I’m in love with her and I never want anything to happen to her.” 

He’s about 50 years old. She felt uncomfortable and vulnerable and didn’t know what to do. She did the right thing, going to her mom, and he went under investigation.

When I got back to school a week later, the police interviewed me. Have I ever been to his house, did I accept anything from him, and so on.

Always in my life I was the teacher’s pet so getting presents wasn’t unusual, but when they put it that way, it felt like this was all my fault.

They brought my dad in again and questioned him, asking if I ever snuck out. My dad was really vulnerable. He disciplined me, never let me leave the house. He raised his hand to me. But I don’t hold this all against him, he wasn’t used to what was happening. He didn’t know how to handle it.

The police were questioning both of us constantly. Trying to see what information I knew about my teacher. I was told I provoked him, that it’s my fault.

He was fired.

All the other teachers knew the situation and treated me differently. They were giving me chances to make thing up. Favoring the situation, not the person. Trying to be nice.

I wish it had just all blown away.

Apparently the teachers and my friends heard him saying he wished he was younger so he could be with me. But I didn’t know any of this. No one told me till later.

I felt really vulnerable and became more suicidal. My parents and the school put me in therapy. I was going two times a week, but it wasn’t really helping because I always believed I needed to deal with the emotions on my own.

Pretty much I don’t really know how I dealt with it. It still affects me.

It’s amazing all that shit happened.

The person you value, the mentor you want to become. It lead me to not go into environmental science because I didn’t want to be reminded of him.

I kept going to therapy. I became more reserved. Everyone assumed I did something, but I didn’t tell them otherwise. They can believe what they want.

He moved back to his home town, I don’t know if he still teaches. There’s part of me that absolutely hates him, there’s part of me that doesn’t want to hate him because I feel like there’s always a second chance for everyone, but sometimes, I don’t know, for me, I wouldn’t wish anything bad on him, but I don’t want to see him. I can’t forgive him.

To this day I would say I have pretty bad episodes of depression, but it’s been getting better. I have an amazing boyfriend that puts up with this all, he has helped me tremendously.

What I’m thankful for is my camera in the sense that photography allows me to express myself, new Toms because they are the comfiest shoes ever, hair dye because I always make impulsive decisions on my hair – it lets me change into a new person, cherry blossom flowers that pop up before spring, freshly cut grass, swimming even though I don’t really know how to swim, Lake Tahoe, jungle gyms because even though I hated elementary school the jungle gym was my favorite place, embroidery, and the color orange.

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