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Rebecca Lambert, 05 Sep '12

Kate and I are sitting on a bench at the edge of the school car park. We’re tucked under the shade of a large oak tree, which blocks out the bright sunlight that all the other kids are playing in.

“So, what did Matron say?” Kate asks.

“It’s just the blues she said. Mum, Dad and the doctor agree,” I say. How could this be just the blues? People get over the blues – it’s just a low and there are plenty of highs where that came from.

The blues is that feeling you get when you think you have nothing. No one. You think you’re all alone but your not. You’ve still got everything. You just need a reason to hate life. You listen to sad music and you sob about everything that you don’t like about yourself. Maybe your boyfriend left you, you got a bad mark in a test, you fell out with your best friend or maybe someone said something mean about the way you look. So what? You had a bad day. Join the club. You take a nap, have a nice hot bath and you’ll be right as rain.

But what do you call it when you have nothing? I’ve never had a boyfriend to break up with, a true best friend to hold my hand and make me laugh or even to argue with, I’m not a skinny blonde girl and bad marks are the least of my worries. That’s what I call nothing.

Kate just nods and raises her eyebrows, telling me to go on.

“I guess I’ve got the reds or the blacks – not the blues,” I spat as though the blues were a made up thing that only little kids get.

I suppose I did used to have the blues, when I was younger. I was naïve and dreaming about happily ever afters and having a perfect life as a teenager. It makes me laugh now to think that being a teenager could ever be perfect. Nothing about life is perfect. So I became cynical and bitter. My blues became darker and darker until they were pure black.

The only blues I’ve got now are bruises – on my body and on my mind. The physical ones are deep blue with browning patches but the ones I can’t see are the ones that hurt most. It doesn’t feel the same anymore. The tears don’t sting like they used to and I don’t even feel the cuts. Do the blues make you feel this numb?

“What about bullies? They get blue, don’t they? They’re lonely and everyone is scared of them and they probably have messed up families too,” Kate suggests.

“Are you calling me a bully?” I ask, knowing I couldn’t possibly be a bully because I hardly talk to anyone. I shrug it off. “If I could switch places with them, would I?” I wonder out loud before turning to her, “Would you if you were me? Then again, if you were me, would you feel the same as I do? You’d probably see the silver lining and tell me to be happy with life and try to bring me up to a vibrant shade of yellow,” I scoff. It’s the truth.

Kate is a friend but she doesn’t understand. She just listens. “You should,” she insists. “You’re perfect the way you are.” Kate will say anything to try to make me feel better but her lies only make me feel worse.

“I don’t want help and I don’t want to be happy with what I have. I refuse to be one of those girls who pretend that everything is okay and that they’re fine – because I’m not. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want to be cured.” Kate doesn’t understand that changing my body isn’t going to change how I feel about myself. “Would being skinny and blonde and popular make me any happier? I don’t think so,” I say very matter-of-factly.

“I know what you mean,” she murmurs.

I know she’s only trying to make me feel better but that makes me mad. “You know, do you? You get what I’m going through? You know nothing!” I yell, pushing her away from me. “None of you know anything! You just want to find out what’s wrong with me so you can label me as depressed or angry. You want to make me go see doctor after doctor and force anti-depressants don’t my throat. You’re just like Mum and Dad.”

Mum and Dad only recently noticed the cuts and bruises. I used to be careful and hide them. I always thought they’d notice. I wished they did. I started getting desperate for their help. I cut further down my arms. The cuts became bigger and deeper and more obvious until everyone at school stared every time I walked by – even when I wore a jumper. I’m certain, had they noticed earlier, they could have stopped it before it was too late.

But now I don’t think I’ll ever get back to blue. I can only hope that someday navy will be enough.

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