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High School - The Worst and Best Years of my Life

Updated on March 14, 2014

Why The Hell Am I Here Anyway?

If you were to ask me what my high school years were like back then, I'd probably tell you that it was hell. It was full of regrets, heartaches and disappointments. Of course that is if you'd asked me that question when I was 16.

For the longest time, I dodged any conversation that had anything to do with high school. The years leading up to high school was spent in confusion and depression with many days feeling angry. Most days, I felt as if I were drowning and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get myself out of the deep end.

Many people say that high school was one of the best times of their lives and I used to envy them. Good times for me were too few to remember and happiness was like a foreign language. I always felt as if I was immune to happiness and the harder I tried, the more it seemed to be out of reach.

When I was 14, I attempted suicide twice but the grim reaper wasn't ready to take me just yet. Family life was hard and home life was, well...unbearable. At school I always felt like a freak and at home, I didn't know what to feel. I never thought that I'd make it this far in life, but amazingly I survived.

*Photo credit : Shinichi Mine

From bottom left - My cousin Lisa, my sister, my cousin Akichan and me ( guy with "new wave" hair with popsicle in mouth. )

Let's Be Honest.

Have you ever attempted suicide?

See results

Something Inside of Me Snapped!

I might as well admit that, like any teenage kid, I didn't much care for school. However it wasn't always that way. Until middle school, I actually liked going to school. I've always enjoyed learning and most of my teachers were pretty cool. It wasn't all that fun staying home, so being at school was definitely the better option. It's hard to say exactly when or why I started to dislike school, but looking back, I can now see with extreme clarity in my mind's eyes, the exact moment that something inside of me just "snapped"!

My life at home was unbearable to say the least. Sure, I had a home to go back to and a bed to sleep in. I had more than enough to eat, so what was the problem? Why was I being such an ungrateful bastard of a son? I probably didn't know it back then, but I think I just wanted to be loved - in any way and any form, it didn't matter. Perhaps a supportive hug from my mother, or a call from my dad. I must have been desperate for love.

With love being absent from the home, I unconsciously looked for it at school, where I realized that my feelings for boys were anything but natural, according to popular consensus. Nobody had to tell me that it was wrong and as everyone knows, gays went to hell. My mother, my class mates and society would label me a freak if they were to know the truth.

It was hard trying to figure out these feelings for myself. Those were days before internet and instant access to information so it was hard to know where to look. My mother was busy with work while my father was in Japan busy with his own life. My sister got into her own problems, including drugs. I started dating a girl just to feel "normal" but it only made things worse. I eventually rebelled and started hating everything and everyone around me, including school, my family and myself. I eventually dropped out of school at the age of 16. After a huge fight with my mother I ran away from home.

For the next year, I would roam the streets for no reason at all, or hanging out with drug dealers ( who let me stay with them in exchange for sexual favors ) and although I was often in extreme circumstances, I continued to learn more about life but especially, and more importantly, more about myself. I knew I had no intention or desire to live a life of crime or becoming the lover of a drug dealer. I knew that much, even at my young age.

So in my free time, I would often spend hours at the local library, where I would lose myself in the world of books. It was possible for me to escape to a different world, where anything was possible! But it wasn't all about escaping. Books taught me that there was a whole world out there waiting for me to explore. If I wanted to, all I had to do was let myself. Without books, I probably would have never learned the most important lesson, which was learning to love myself.

*Photo : Me and my sister in 1984

The Novel That Changed My Life

Tales of the City: A Novel
Tales of the City: A Novel

What started out as a newspaper serial that ended up as a novel, this is the book that opened my eyes to a whole new world. A great book that reads like a TV series, and can be enjoyed by everyone. The first book in the Tales of the City series.

 
The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City)
The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City)

The ninth and final book in the Tales of the City series, this book focuses on Anna Madrigal, now ninety-two. who embarks on a journey with the help of Brian Hawkins, to attend to unfinished business she has long avoided.

 

Finding Myself in Many Ways

When I turned 17, there were major events that shaped my life. I came to the realization that without a high school diploma, it was difficult to get the job I desired. So I got one through the GED ( General Education Development ) program so that I could enroll myself into cosmetology school. Yes, at one point in my life, becoming a successful makeup artist was my dream job.

Going through cosmetology school was a completely different experience from high school. With people from all walks of life, it was certainly an interesting experience. Among the varied group of foreign immigrants, transsexuals and housewives, barriers became non-existent and for the first time in my life, I felt as though I was in my element. As the days passed, I started to feel better about myself and about life in general. Life was starting to actually become fun and I no longer felt like a freak.

To get me through school, I found a part-time job working for a sushi shop and shortly thereafter, forced myself to audition for an "aerobics instructor" position at a local fitness club, just so that I could get over my fear of talking to people in public. It wasn't easy, but hey what did I have to lose? I was getting used to taking chances by now, and every time I did, I surprised myself. This was about the time I learned that fear was mostly imagined and all in my head. Once I went past the feeling of fear and doubt, I always found myself asking, " Why was I so scared in the first place?"

A year later, I would audition for a job that would take me away from the place called Honolulu.

*Photo : Hair, nails and makeup competition. Our team wins 2nd place. 1984

Howard Takes Me Under His Wings

At one time in my life, I had a friend named Howard and he taught me what was important in life. He was one of my first gay friends who took me by the hand to guide me through the wilderness called life. I would go as far to say that he was probably THE biggest influence in my life as a gay man. He literally took me under his wings to teach me a thing or two about life. He basically taught me this fundamental truth : It was OK to be myself and there is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of.

My mother still hadn't accepted me as being gay so I was still going back and forth - temporarily going home for a few weeks but mostly room sharing with friends. Every time trouble ensued, I would run to Howard's place, where he would always let me crash for a couple of nights, or for as long as I wanted. Some of my best "high school" years were during this time, with weekend parties, beach picnics and just getting to know people, including myself. A few months later, I left Hawaii, against my mother's wishes, to work in Japan.

Working in Japan was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I was having a blast! Not only was I getting reacquainted with my Japanese heritage, but by this time, I was finally getting the hang of just having fun. But, halfway through my one-year contract, I was to get some news that would devastate me for months. I got a call from a friend in Hawaii informing me that my dear friend Howard, was dying. He was suffering from a new disease that no one had heard of before and it shocked me to the core.

He was dying from AIDS.

*Photo : Having a good time in Osaka. 1985

High School Ends

The year in Japan went by in a flash and looking back, so much has happened to me during my "high school" years. When I was 16, my life was one of despair. By the time, I was 18, I was practically a different person. I felt that I had lived a lifetime by then, but I knew that life was just beginning.

Howard's passing made a huge impact on my life. Since his passing, more than a dozen friends have passed away. These became shocking reminders that life is fleeting and there really is no day but today. If we don't take charge of our lives now, there may never be another chance.

"Live each day as if it's your last. I love you. " Those were the last words Howard said to me.

It would take me many many years to evolve into the person I am today, but it sure has been an adventure. I don't regret a single thing in my life and it's true because my experiences, bad or good, has all helped me become who I am today. And believe me, it certainly has been an adventure!

My "high school" years is far from the norm but perhaps, not so unique after all. There are many people, even today, that suffer through their teen years. But take it from me when I say that things do get better. They really do!

So if you would to ask me what high school was like for me, I'd say it was one hell of a journey and I sure as hell enjoyed every minute of it!

Love yourself starting today and always, always...believe in yourself.

*Photo : I am ready to take on life! 1985

High School Poll

How would you describe your high school years?

See results

How was your high school experience? Would you say that they were some of the best times in your life? Or your worse? Perhaps somewhere in between? Please feel free to leave any comments you may have.

Thank You For Reading!

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I went to a different school every one of my four years in high school, and in two of them, I started classes a couple of weeks late, so I had catching up to do. As a shy kid, I did not blend in well or make friends easily, so my high school years were difficult. I was also smart, which was not a popular thing to be back then. I think I dumbed down in some of my classes just so I would not earn straight As, in hopes people would stop calling me a "brain," but I was always secretly ashamed of any B I got on my report card.

      Today, I would tell my then teenage self, and any kid who feels he or she doesn't fit in, that there are more kids who feel like you do than there are kids who feel like high school is the best time of their lives. Find healthy activities you love, find other people who like to do them too, and make a decision to love every minute of your life. Smile every time you see another face, no matter whose it is, even your own in the mirror. That simple act, repeated hundreds of times a day, will change your life forever.

      Once again, smine, I am grateful for your candor, your willingness to expose your deep feelings and extraordinary life experiences, and the fact you are gay. That takes enormous courage and strength of will, not to mention faith in your fellow human beings. May you ever be blessed.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 3 years ago

      My husband does not have a good teen years either due to bad relationships with his father. He's been hurt for a long time until he discover that he can forgive his Dad by the help of God, who forgive him also of his sins. That Jesus died on the cross to forgive him, when he started to have a relationship with Jesus, he started to have compassion on his father and forgive him. God changed his attitude and helped healed his pain. You are a great writer.

    • Radgrl profile image

      Radgrl 3 years ago

      My heart goes out to you, and I would give you a hug if I could.

      I have a strained relationship with my dad for a different reason. He has untreated mental illness.

      You are great writer. You really should write a book about your struggles and success.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      Thank you for writing this candid story. For some, terrible times help create a resolve to be different. In those cases, all the pain was a teacher.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I can say this, Thank God the grim reaper wasn't ready for you, because I would have never had a chance to read all of your beautiful work here on Squidoo, Stay strong :) thanks for sharing such a powerful and personal story.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      so so sorry you had such a hard time growing up - and to the point that you attempted suicide means you must have really been at the bottom during that period - It sounds like you've worked through life much better since then and I must say, the results of the poll asking the question about suicide are shocking to me (very sad indeed) - My high school years were some of the best years of my life; I see that now - my parents were wonderful and I didn't want for anything including love - blessings to you

    • profile image

      sybil watson 3 years ago

      I'm so very sorry that you had such a difficult time growing up. I was living in San Francisco when "Tales of the City" was in the S.F. Chronicle - the characters were hilarious but very true to life. I vividly remember when the AIDS epidemic hit and how hard gay men in S.F. fought for the research to find a cure. High school wasn't the best for me - my mom died after battling different forms of cancer for three years. I attended three different schools, but in the last one I met two great friends who I still see and keep in touch with to this day.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 3 years ago

      I am so glad you were able to survive your teen years and find yourself. You are quite brave to share your story. I am sure it will help many others. I felt very insecure throughout my childhood and early adulthood but finally found myself, too, although my experiences were not nearly as challenging as yours.

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      My high school wasn't the worst I guess, but it was a painful growing experience. I think the rest of my life was SO much better. I have great memories of living in New York City and San Francisco. I am so happy with my family life now. I enjoyed reading your story, I'll have to look into that book series.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 3 years ago

      I was felt very insecure in grade 8, was picked on relentlessly throughout grade 9 and in grade 11 I developed this wonderful "I don't care what you think of me" attitude and had a great bunch of friends that I hung out with constantly. So the beginning years weren't the best, but they ended great!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      We all need the kind of friend who teaches us that it is okay to be who we are. I'm glad you had that friend when you needed him most. I am also thankful that you lived when you felt like you wanted to die.

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Your story is amazing. You've found your way through some ever confusing times.High school is different for everyone. Mine was spent attending a strict Christian Academy but I learned alot there. Im glad your still here is the world. Thanks for sharing you story. I love your recipes and journeys you write about. Hugs!!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I am so happy you "found yourself." It is something most people think is easy, but it's actually very hard to do. We try so much to be what is expected of us, we lose sight of who we are. Then we wonder why we are so unhappy! I also left high school when I was 16, later got my GED and went on to take classes in college. My home life wasn't a positive atmosphere, and I married a man when I was 19 to get away. But then I found myself in the same kind of problems, only more complicated by the fact I had children. I was in my 30s before I realized who I was. I am so glad that you're still here and able to share your story. I always love reading your work. I think someday you will write a book about your life.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      Amazing story. I love your life stories/life lessons lenses. My high school years were hell also, and for me things started to change during my first year of college. I've had some challenges as an adult that are very similar to what I went through in high school, although I've gotten through them and look forward to life more than I ever have. It can be difficult to have this perspective during severe adversity, although it will eventually pass and things will get better.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for sharing your story. You really did find your way through the hurdles of confusion to emerge as a positive assertive productive adult. I am so glad that your suicide attempts were unsuccessful and am very happy to have you here and to get to know you now. I left home at sixteen so my time in high school was limited as well. I returned to school as an adult to complete my education.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I sure don't think of high school as the best times of my life! Being a teen is hard to begin with, then trying to fit in and find our place in high school (and life!) complicates it even more. This is such a great lens, Smine27. I, for one, am very glad you decided to write it. It makes me appreciate your travels and your other lenses even more. Thank you.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      High school days are some of the toughest to get through. I enjoyed the learning part of high school, but not so much the social part. I was like a butterfly, never really hooking up with a group of friends. Oh, I had friends, lots of them, but none that I could really open up with.......it was tough!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Elsie Hagley: Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I truly appreciate it.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I don't remember much of my high school days. The day I turned 15, my parents sent me to work to earn a living, to save them spending money on me. At eighteen I left home never to return again.