My Life as a Teenage Inmate in a Virtual Penitentiary


I was browsing facebook, like most everyone does, stalking people who I knew of in high school, but never really knew.  Now, I don’t really care, but back then, these people were my world and I hated every single goddamn one of them.  I went to a private, all-girls school consisting of mostly privileged girls who hadn’t known anything different, so it might be easy for you to understand where my hatred stemmed from.  Again, though, for those four coming-of-age years, this was my world and how I had to perceive it.  Even though the world outside of those brick, asbestos-filled walls was a more normal, understanding, diverse world, as a confused, puberty-enduring fourteen-year-old, I did not know anything different.  The only thing that pushed me to survive those terrible four years in that virtual penitentiary was the promise of freedom if I just waited.

Waiting was a bitch, let me tell you.  At the time, I had lived my life in the present, seizing the day for all it was worth.  This proved difficult in high school when the only thing that could distract me from the horror of this nightmare was the promise of an eventual release.

I didn’t have any real friends.  I latched onto people I knew from middle school (a different school, thankfully), but these were people I still could not really relate to.  These people resembled drones more than actual people with real minds.  They made sure to dress in the latest fashion, and, well, since we wore uniforms, that meant pearl necklaces, large headbands, Tiffany&Co bracelets, Vera Bradley Bags, and those disgustingly horrid $200 Coach sneakers.  Not only were these objects unattractive and uninteresting, but they made these poor (lol poor is not the right word), unknowing girls look like walking advertisements.  I will always remember that dumb Vera Bradley logo.  I could probably draw it for you from memory if you wanted.  The most popular pattern was that pink one with the elephants.  It really puzzled me as to why they were not embarrassed to have the exact same things as everyone else.  Did they ever mistake their bag for someone else’s?  I’m not entirely sure since I donned a white backpack with marker art and gorilla keychains.  I never mistook my bag for another.

Anyway, the real reason I didn’t have any real friends was not only because I did not have the latest designer brands or because I drove a VW Golf to school rather than a Mercedes-Benz.  I didn’t have any real friends because I was just…different.  I couldn’t comprehend this fancy, “copy everyone” lifestyle filled with dating less-than-attractive rich boys who had multiple cars and whose best friend was their mom.  I didn’t live in a mansion in Loudonville, NY my entire life and thankfully, I will never know what that’s like.  I didn’t take ballet.  I didn’t have a personal trainer at 16-years-old.  I didn’t take professional tennis lessons, either.  Accordingly, these people did not understand my middle-class, do-it-yourself lifestyle.  They didn’t understand that I grew up doing what I loved doing and making the best of everything.  They didn’t understand the principles of working hard and putting your all into everything.  The reason we hated each other wasn’t because of money (or because they spread rumors about me), but because we just did not understand each other.  We simply could not comprehend each other’s worlds and although I led a more common life than they, I was pushed into their world, sandwiched between weird, strict, Catholic discipline and careless money-spending when I did not have any money to spend.  For some reason, mandatorily giving $15 a week for some charity made sense to them rather than actually spending their time with those who needed help.

Looking at their facebook profiles now, most of them have not changed.  They are still living their high-class lives in different parts of the world, some spending their Daddy’s money in France.  Some, in New York City.  California?  I don’t know.  Others, however, were so accustomed to that care-free lifestyle that they didn’t get into those $60,000 tuition, fancy private universities that I were accepted to but could not afford.  They had to stoop down to local community colleges or less-than-average public colleges.  They finally understand what it’s like to be thrown into a world completely unlike their own and they’ve changed for the better.  Although I really don’t care at this point, I think they deserve a mini smile and I hope someone patted them on the back.  Your grades might suck, but you will probably succeed because you’re a better person now.  Congrats, former bitch sluts.  I salute you.

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