Too troubled to trouble

I was just remembering when I was a teenager.

I grew up in an abusive household, my father and his friends beat me and abused me verbally on a daily basis.

My friends were all criminals and druggies.

I skipped school most of my Freshman year and spent most of my free time at drug dens and orgies supplied by stolen booze.

Yet, I had never thought of myself as a “troubled kid”.  I was quiet and bookish; allowed my friends to peer-pressure me into criminal behavior but never hurt anyone; drank my way through plenty an orgy but never got involved; had no respect for authority but had never met an authority figure who’d earned it.

Then, one day I’m called into the Counselor’s office for my monthly lecture – for something that had been pinned on me by a teacher who didn’t like my attitude.  It was not uncommon – most of the teachers were bullies on power trips and if you didn’t bend over for them, they wielded that power to remind you who was in charge.

That day, we had a new Counselor – a young, upbeat woman, who was clearly fresh from college and eager to help.  It was she who used the words “troubled kid” for the first time in my hearing and it was strange to hear myself referred to that way.  Even stranger, she offered to help.  She was willing to listen to me, to hear my pleas for help and do something about it – for, probably, the first time in my entire school career.  I had known several counselors but, unlike all the others, this was one who cared.

She told me to wait, and went to gather my file from the main office – enthusiastic in the way only a new college grad can be.  Then she returned …

She was not amused.

While in the main office, the other teachers had told her that I was conning her.  That I was lying and trying to make a fool of her.  That she was wasting her time.  Worse – they had convinced her of it.

So when she returned, she accused me.  When I denied it she refused to listen – the look on her face made it clear she wasn’t willing to even open her ears and hear my protests.  The staff had convinced her that I wasn’t worth helping.

“Troubled kid”?  Apparently, too much trouble.  Too much trouble to save.

I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been.

I wonder if it would have been better.

Probably couldn’t have been worse.


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September 14, 2023

The past has too much for us to really, truly contemplate. It can be overwhelming. The “What if’s” are staggering.