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Friday, October 24, 2008

What happened?

I had this friend in elementary school, who I'll call Natalie (for anonymity). She was a really pretty, sweet girl that all the teachers absolutely adored. Stereotypical description? Yes, but she truly was like that. Very nice, and always cheerful.

In 3rd grade our school split into two feeders, so I didn't see her until this year in 11th grade. At first I didn't recognize her, because she had changed so much. But gradually, as she began talking about her boyfriend, we realized that we had been friends eight years ago.

She'd changed so much. About three days each week during lunch hour, she goes out of school to get stoned in her car. She's been to juvenile once, and her personality has completely changed. It's not like she grew up in some ghetto area of town - her parents, I remember, were upper middle class and I remembered them to be rather nice as well.

I'm not saying that Natalie, in any way, is a horrible person. She's still nice, though now she's extremely inclined to violence when she loses her temper. She's addicted to three kinds of drugs. This is not the kind of person I, or any of our elementary teachers, would have imagined for her. If anything, I should have been the child that grew up a stoner. I had so many behavioral problems, never listened, and was so socially inept that my first-grade teacher suggested my mom to put me in this sort of special education course at school for problematic children. My mother never did.

I turned out to be okay. I'm not a perfect student, but I actually pay attention in class, I have a lot of friends, and I'm generally regarded as some goody-two-shoes, which Natalie was before.

I'm just wondering - what happened?

Not that it's one specific event, but how did our supposed roles switch like this? In some ways, Natalie has already made it difficult for herself to succeed in later life, what with the marks on her records and her barely-passing grades. It sometimes makes me sad when I think of her (and then I feel bad for feeling sad >.>) and just how things have changed over eight years. Is it that somehow, society has failed on her? Could there have been a moment where there should have been help, but it never came?

It makes me frustrated because of this. I know I'm probably superextending the issue, but because of Natalie, I've tried to be there when my friends look upset, instead of edging away and letting them work through their own problems. I don't want the cumulative effect of not being there to eventually negatively affect the ones I love.

2 pointed finger(s): raise an eyebrow:

Draxiom said...

People change drastically when they get into high school. Sometimes I sit up and ponder about how my character has changed since 6th grade, and I notice massive differences: I don't call myself a gamer, I am basically an activist, sometimes I call myself an artist AND a writer, I'm kind of funny, and I have 350 music albums in my library as opposed to one. It's disturbing how drastically five years has warped me as a person.

You probably don't remember me from back then, though - seeing as you barely remember me from 8th and 9th grade.

[zen] said...

Well yes yes, but the first time she went to juve was in 6th grade. Fairly quick out of elementary school.

And there's a few glaring understatements you just made: You "sometimes" call yourself an artist and a writer, and you're "kind of" funny?

XD kk then.

But I DO remember you...vaguely...moreso from Mrs. Wallace's class in eighth grade. You sat behind me, I remember. And in Stuckey's we sat across from each other for a while, but I never really talked to you because back then I was a complete wimp and was intimidated by generally everybody.