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Initiation of a 1980's Teen/ Surviving the Dark Ages

Updated on March 29, 2010

The Maiden

Artwork by Greg Spalenka
Artwork by Greg Spalenka

A Maiden’s Initiation

I was a youth long ago, and I am finally coming out of the forest, stronger, but dazed nevertheless. I was fourteen in the middle 1980’s. This is when the youth war began. We could say that the hippies dropped the ball or dropped the peace pipe. They were only pretending anyway, a bunch of white wanna-be Native Americans. The sad thing is that this was 100 times better than now, and that is a pathetic statement. I say it was a war because youth were fighting something unknown. It was like a riot of fools making their own rules. And the front lines were about the ones who did not fit vs. the populars, the groups.

I moved from Northern California which had small town- Walton’s kind of ethic to Mesa, Arizona. Mesa was the new and improved modern desert city. I took a train down to the underworld, and arrived at a barren alienated town full of the dead. The descent began when I began my female blood cycle. All things changed after this event. I had to cut the magical cord of childhood and find my way to adulthood, with no landmarks, no gurus, only jesters and fools who were the same ages as me.

I felt like Kore the maiden, who was kidnapped by Hades, and I could not find my mother, I was abducted. I did not become Persephone until I was 28 years old. I, the naïve-medium-looks-more-flesh-than-bone-fanatically-introverted-gracefully-athletic-mountain girl-outsider who was open to everything accept the despair that would eat me alive.

The school was new. The school was the war, the front lines, the place of value now. The parents are like the military that trained you. They were ignorant to what the youth war was like, but they sent you just the same, because it was the norm. It was like I was trained with a special unit, I got extra weird training not from the manual, but sometimes you got put in the wrong platoon.

So there are the bright new walls or the school shining with expectations that I could not meet. The adults were good spewing out meaningless rules and requirements. There were other rules not spoken or written. These were created by the youth and all youth seemed to instinctively know each commandment. These commandments were valued at all cost by the students.

· Groups are sacred.

· Drinking is the initiation to be popular.

· Have a boyfriend or girlfriend or die.

· You are a mutant if you do not try to impress someone.

· If you do not wear the right designer clothes you are a freak.

It was thick like a heavy humid day in the south. It weighed on me. I wanted to cut through it, but I did not know how and so it began to swallow me up. It began to seep into every pore of my being, it was a dark falseness.

I sat on the edge of the cage. The adults threw us all in a fenced yard for lunch like animals that were ready to tear them apart. I sat on the outside, not far enough away to escape the consciousness of the groups, surfers, stoners, jocks and ultimately the populars. The language was known by all of us, even though nothing was formally written or spoken. The unspoken rule about an outsider is that she must be initiated in and if she is not chosen – she will never have a friend. Not all could talk the talk and walk the walk. I was not dysfunctional nor a misfit. I was not fat, too tall, too smart or too ugly. I played ball on the first string basketball team, I was more attractive than some. You could not put your finger on it. I was talented, but too quiet and proud. It was like being an Indian amongst the Cowboys. The Indian was the original cowboy, the original mountain man, the original plain spoken warrior, that did not talk unless he had something to say. So here you have an Indian who is worthy to be initiated into the group, but the cowboys are hesitant. The Indian’s silence is uncomfortable, it makes the cowboys nervous. They just don’t say anything. So there is a chasm of space that keeps getting wider. The Indian is extremely proud and will not join those he despises, but knows he must join to survive this day and this world.

So here is where the stairway descends into the dark underworld. I am a side show. Every day I take another step down. I sit alone at lunch. They are ignoring me. And it is not just the populars who ignore me, everyone in the cage take their actions to be sacred and final, so no one steps forward, not one soul notices me. So as they act, so do I become more devout in my pride, and slowly I rip my own soul into tiny pieces as if I am a killer chopping my soul into tiny to pieces. As I descend, the populars are handing out program guides, for the activities or rules of the Lunch Hour Festival.






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The dragons are the groups so involved with themselves but aware enough to observe outsiders like me. I am so obvious in my inadequate ability to join my peers, even though they are pathetically false. It was as if they sucked energy out of me and used it to become more powerful in their purpose.

For six months I endured a land of nothingness and no one could reach me. I was without friends. I might as well be dead. I was a ghost. This world was all about friends, it was breathing, and it was everything. I feel I failed. Parents are just shadows. They can’t help you in the outside world where the values are made by young fools. I became depressed and it did not really go away until I graduated out of high school. I went to other high schools. I moved back to my home town for one semester met up with all my old friends- was normal and it was beautiful, but then we moved to Florida- which was another wet wasteland.

Those six months of desperation made me angry and sad. I could not let it go until I left and returned to my sacred place, California. For a long time I thought I was psychotic, but a teen in America is faced with an amazing amount of negative influence. It is amazing that more people don’t have psychological issues after enduring such a false world.

It was not until I read a lot of psychology books and wrote all kinds of words that I finally healed from these tragic moments. Teenage life is a wasteland without rituals, rites of passage and initiations to move from one stage of life to another. In Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell explains that our modern world is void of rituals and rites of passage, and thus we have a very confused young population. He explains it is only in sport, music and art that there is form and so everyone in our society gravitates to these mediums in a desperate attempt to find meaning. Ultimately, when a society does not have rituals or rites to mark one’s journey then psychological issues manifest. People experience trauma and confusion and either use their dreams and or finds symbolic figures to help them through dark times. Our present position is one of extending ourselves out into the vast emptiness of space which will hopefully be a new dawn of a mythology that fits our present place in the universe.

I am a teacher, ironically and I chose freshman to teach, the very age that I became the most wounded. Maybe I feel that I can be some kind of light in the darkness for the youth in our public high schools. I am healing little my little giving at least one young girl another path rather than to descend into the dark abyss that wants to eat her alive.

© 2009 Kori Fitch


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