He looked the way it felt inside. Like he had been left alone for some reason. They talked about trances he would find himself inside. Trances they were making fun of behind his back. His actions didn’t appear all that abnormal from my view. Possibly kind of a loner, but appearing to be kind. There was a unique style to the way he conducted himself. Arriving at our lunch table freshman year of high school. One of our friends had invited him to join. Seemingly because he didn’t have anywhere to belong. There remained distance to begin our friendship. Spending most of our time inside groups of people. Life had become a rollercoaster by that particular time. Right in the middle of, will they remain together, or was home going to fall apart. My male parent had released his desire to engage in other ways of life. But, hadn’t decided to venture out the door of my childhood home. Chaos was all around. He appeared to provide the possibility of refuge. If my world was going to end up finding me alone. Maybe, our mutual loneliness could help one another. Keep us both from being left by ourselves moving into high school. Friends would most likely be lost if my parent walked out the door. The security of a new friendship could help begin a new life.
He was on the bus that first week. The first week of sophomore year in high school. Our beginning week of a new school. As junior high school in the suburb ran from seventh grade through freshmen year. High school began with a different school starting sophomore year. The narcissistic charade had taken a step toward some resolution. While he chose to walk out the door on my first day at that new school. Leaving the door open behind him, only contributed to his view of the whole world revolving around himself. Heartbreak was running through my veins climbing onto the bus. The sun having yet to climb above the horizon. Our neighborhood reducing the number of busses servicing its streets. As more kids in high school opted to drive. Others gaining rides from friends who had cars. Bringing about the experience of different kids riding my bus. Kids who had stops deeper into the neighborhood. One of those stops, having not been part of our route the year before, was his stop. The friend who had been seen joining our lunch table periodically freshman year. When he climbed aboard the bus during that first week, I felt relief. There would be someone to visit with travelling to and from school. Providing some comfort after departing the heartbreak of my home. While also, helping the uneasiness of facing a new school building with my disability.
Going into the first week at our high school would be challenging. The school was built into the side of a hill. Meaning it was built on three floors moving upward toward the sky. Every day would be spent moving up and down flights of stairs. Providing challenges with cerebral palsy impacting balance. Like junior high school, much of the socializing happened between classes. So, the option of using the elevator instead of navigating the stairs was shied away from. It felt important to spend time between classes with friends. While also continuing to explore ways of challenging my disability. One of those ways would be challenging myself by using the stairs. Even when the staircases could be crowded. The help was found in holding on to the hand rail. Finding myself making it a point to traverse the stairs near one of those railings. Classmates with good balance often could move up and down them in the middle. Moving quickly past the crowds, though I took that risk on extremely rare occasions, it was always safer to stick along the side. Getting off the bus with this new friend also eased some of those fears. With him standing larger in statue, he wouldn’t get pushed around in the crowd. Providing me with the feeling of protection as well. The only thing I was looking to feel became physical safety. He could provide that by simply being in close proximity.
Physical safety seemed the only realistic option open. The emotional safety of myself had been violated. Torn apart by someone who was supposed to protect that most basic of needs. I didn’t believe in emotional protection anymore, didn’t think it existed. Betrayal seemed to carry that kind of impact. Being in search of any kind of protection, the physical type presented itself. In the form of this budding friendship. With the guy who lived just minutes away inside the same neighborhood. The added twist was his ability to strike some kind of fear into the hearts of others. With his apparent trances, that didn’t seem to present while in my presence. As our sophomore year continued, we grew closer. He was around during those early days of total confusion after the departure of my parent. Coming over to the house one afternoon to play billiards. He explained difficulties in his younger years. Struggles showing me he could relate to my life at that moment. I can still feel myself standing around the pool table that afternoon. Starting to realize we had this common bound forming. Centering around the hurt of betrayal. We seemed to reach an understanding. We were going to be there for one another. The uncertainty circling my life found me clinging to something unsettling. Our friendship felt uncomfortable even at its early stages. Though it felt like something I needed. Providing some kind of rescue from feeling vulnerable and alone. Because, when my father walked out the door, in the darkness of a fall morning. I no longer felt good enough for my life. Desperation and anger took the reins.
The unsettling feeling brought on by the transpiring events at home, were found in the friendship. It felt like my life had been spent walking a tight rope, navigating the years of adolescence with a disability, even prior to my parent walking out. But, the first day of sophomore year began the cracking of my effort. There was immense challenge in feeling things were worth fighting for. Though, the hope lingered for another few months. My friendship with the guy riding the bus remained pretty casual. Even while appreciating his ability to help with some of my challenges. It was amazing to have a girlfriend during that time. Someone looking beyond the challenges of cerebral palsy, seeing something inside. We continued dating for months after the unraveling of my father. When my license was gained. Quite the accomplishment for having a disability. Though, back then, it didn’t register as such a monumental achievement. Things from that moment shifted, again. As rides were given to my buddy from the bus. To and from school, sacrificing things bringing happiness to myself. Saving him from having to ride the bus. The favors, finding me falling further into the place of giving myself over. Over to securing the physical protection feeling so necessary at the time. Pulling me away from any vulnerability I was allowing myself to experience. The previous couple years had shown me, vulnerability only led to getting hurt. So, security was found in someone who didn’t require feelings.
The absence of feelings served another purpose. It took me away from emotions surrounding my disability. It became acceptable inside my mind for cerebral palsy to make me angry. Things in life were transforming from a challenge to an excuse. Life had become grossly unfair in my thought pattern. The love of people didn’t register as anything I wanted to experience. As it felt further and further from being deserved. As objectification of others emotions became the primary learning. Learning how to be controlled for acceptability and how to control through anger as my release. Blaming nearly everything on the struggles of my disability. One of the aspect of having a narcissistic father seems to be their desire to have everything be perfect. Everything reflecting well on that narcissistic person. Our family didn’t look the part for his standards. Meaning emotional abuse wouldn’t be far behind. But, during that time, emotional abuse didn’t even register as something taking place. All that registered was our family couldn’t meet his standards because he had a disabled son. So, he was only left with one option, to go make a new family. A family void of any disability appeared to be on his bucket list. If my cerebral palsy couldn’t be “fixed” by the time he walked out. Why should it be given any more effort toward improvement? Might as well just let the feelings of inferiority take over my life. This line of thinking, leading me into emotional destruction, numbness, anger, and the pursuit of toxic relationships. Healthy love was pushed out the door.
Everything became in pursuit of the unhealthy friendship. It felt the only thing I deserved. The only relationship that could be functioned within. The strings pulling me into the friendship tightened their grip over time. My buddy from the bus didn’t seem appealing to the people closest in my world. Most of them feeling uneasy when he was around. Concerned over his actions becoming scary with nothing signifying the start. It was part of his personality intriguing me at the time. He had most people in a constant state of uncertain emotion. They were on edge in his presence. Watching their movements around him. Meaning he could gain control at any point by becoming frustrated. It was a trait found in my father while growing up around him. An easy way of gaining social control, by keeping people uneasy. With all the hurt happening in my life. The control over relationships felt desired. Though the pull into that kind of life was, at first fought against. Still remaining hopeful that getting through the turmoil could be possible with my friends. But, as time passed, the fear continued grasping. Tugging me toward those emotions of isolations. Soon my anger became pointed at my girlfriend the most. Slipping into a place of uncontrollably negative thoughts and emotions. Beginning to speak out of an anger. The anger, having rooted itself in the fear taking over my life. That fear was being felt both emotionally and physically. Because, the uncertainty of life and having cerebral palsy became real. Giving way to the temptation of investing further in his friendship. It was an emotional dangerous choice to be made.
Our anger about life fed off one another. Creating a bond difficult to reason against. As the negative emotions about life grew more intense. The friendship escalated, becoming the only thing making me feel anything. It was intoxicating to experience the dysfunction being created. Lashing out at people to gain control over the environment. The actions leading to a place of ignoring the struggles of my disability. By building the reputation of being a mad person. Surrounding myself with someone who shared my desire to hurt others. Convincing ourselves, hurting others was okay in the defense of yourself or someone you cared for. When the only people I showed care for were those who didn’t seem to have genuine care for anything. However, it was my way of handling the cerebral palsy struggles in my life. Any questioning about my disability, even the insinuation of it, was met with frustrations. The threat of anger was starting to be noticed by me, as a controlling mechanism. Forcing people to stay away from certain subjects around me, for fear of an outburst. We were working as an angry team. Anything said about his trances or upset demeanor would be met with me turning away. While anything said about my disability would frustrate him. He might not have cared about me emotionally, but he did provide protection physically. At least it felt that way, while encouraging me to remain angry and numb. As I probably gave similar encouragement to him. The entire objective seemed to be voiding ourselves of any emotions. Using anger and rage, instead of drugs.
I didn’t want to experience the feelings cerebral palsy could have been invoking. It was working to ignore them from my perspective. Act like cerebral palsy had no implication in my life. Looking in the mirror didn’t appeal to me, it felt easier to make it the fault of everyone else. The people who truly cared became nothing but a threat. Painted inside my mind as simply feeling sorry for my circumstance. Who would actually want to be around me, when there was no reason to be. The way they spoke about him had to be the way they spoke about me too. So, I wanted to defend the both of us against their negative comments. They seemed to be surrounded by perfection, while projecting him as being something evil. I simply placed myself in the same category. Citing my disability as the item making me unworthy of walking in their presence. It appeared to be working out beautifully. By the end of our junior year, my high school girlfriend was all but gone, due in large part to my belittling treatment. Whatever kindness was inside me upon meeting, had been erased with anger, resentment, and numbed emotions. The divorce of my parents had become final. My cerebral palsy and its impacts were being ignored. Having given up all thoughts of improving the impact of my disability. Getting into college wasn’t going to happen, so I fell into the angry friendship even deeper. Hopefulness couldn’t be found, heard, or considered. The hate and chaos were firmly planted as my addictions.
It felt like he was rescuing me from heartbreak. If you aren’t feeling it, then it hasn’t been happening. The friendship helped me feel nothing positive. It helped my anger and rage seem to be okay in my eyes. Lumping me in with others who felt those kinds of emotions. The problem was the impact of my numb feelings. The consequences of giving up on myself. Allowing the hurt to run my life. Walking around most of the time in the fog of peer expectations. Whatever other people wanted from me, I did my best to give them. Turning against loved ones. Totally having lost touch with the feelings inside. The final couple years of high school went past in a blur of unrecognizable emotions. The only thing clear was my growing attachment to the buddy found on the bus. Helping him by participating in almost everything he wanted. Having given up so much of myself to be inside our friendship. Though, during the time it seemed the safest thing to have done. Friendships important to me earlier in life were sacrificed. Any negative word spoken about my buddy was looked upon with distain. We began bullying people who would have been called good friends just years prior. By the time high school ended I didn’t care about much of anything. The anger and raging behavior had only gotten worse. His was the only friendship worth clinging onto. Wherever he was headed, I wanted to be taken along. In many respects, the cost to myself didn’t matter. Little did I understand; the friendship was tearing apart my life.
My choices back then led into destruction. Leading me away from those who genuinely cared. Toward a world void of feeling much positivity at all. It lasted through the years of high school. Then, into the first few years after graduation. I tried following him around to most every place he turned. Continuing to remain full of anger. Unable to find the hopeful future I wanted for myself. People began finding their own path. Investing in their journey and experiencing positive momentum. My struggle was facing myself in the mirror. Cerebral palsy wasn’t being worked with. Remaining deep in denial of how to handle the future with my disability. Blaming the disability for the reasons of my struggles. The friendship and disability eventually found me in total discouragement. Experiencing things that never could have been imagined before that sophomore year of high school. Before my self-worth took a tumble not seen coming. Lacking the understanding of how to recover. The hole dug for myself felt void of any way of escape. Pushing further into desperation. Wanting to be accepted by anyone who would provide me the time. Over those years my way had been lost. The identity cultivated of courageously battle cerebral palsy vanished. All of it given away through the state of confusion and hurt. Allowing myself to befriend and become the type of person I hated. An angry and desperate bully.