I momentarily thought about killing myself when I was in ninth grade. My report card read 85 in algebra, but my average was in the 90s. I was beside myself. How could this happen? Mrs. Rhine had written next to the grade, “I’m disappointed in you.” I had no idea why she felt that way. My father would be hysterical, I remember thinking, as I cried in my tiny bedroom with one baby blue wall, matching Princess phone and hanging lamp made of a trillion Kelly green and royal blue pieces of glass (maybe they were Lucite.)
Walking down the short hallway to the bathroom, it occurred to me that I could take lots of aspirin and be done with the whole problem. My face was puffy, my eyes were beet red and the tears continued.
I didn’t take one aspirin. I’m simply not the type of person who could ever commit suicide. No matter how crappy things have seemed at times throughout my life, I have a wonderful ability to pick myself up, dust myself off, and you know the rest.
It turned out that Mrs. Rhine was disappointed in me because I had let Susan copy my answers on one of our Monday morning quizzes. She and I both got 0s on the test, but I didn’t think much of it. Mrs. Rhine wanted to teach me a lesson, she told me. Letting someone cheat is as bad as when you cheat, she pronounced.
I’ve learned lots of lessons when I was miserable. The most important is that it’s no fun being miserable; besides, it doesn’t solve a thing…except to make you even more miserable. I don’t walk around with a big grin on my face all day long. I still get mad and disappointed, and sometimes, even crazed. But it’s satisfying to have a certain inner peace that comes from knowing this, too, shall pass.