Senior Column: The Show Must Go On

Senior Column: The Show Must Go On

I’m a good actor. I can be a jock, a journalism nerd, a video production geek, a bowler, a wannabe frat guy, a musician, a hipster, the list goes on and on. Just name the part and I’ve probably played it. I’ve always known that I was different,  that I never truly fit in with any particular crowd, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t acted like I have. I’m a chameleon, I can blend in with any of my surroundings.

Throughout high school I wanted to be liked by everyone. I tend to mirror the characteristics of the people that I am around, and am very good at it. By playing all these parts, I lost touch with the real me. I had a lot of “friends” but I didn’t consider them true friends because they had no idea who I really was.

About halfway through my sophomore year I met one of my closest friends to this day: depression. It’s weird to say depression is a friend, but if you think about it, it knew the real me and never left my side; a true friend. At first, I didn’t know what was going on. Why was I feeling sad all of the time? The only thing that I knew was that nobody could know about our friendship. I pretended to be happy, even when I was broken inside. Every day at school, I was hiding behind a smile.

With depression by my side, like any good actor, I continued to perform. “The show must go on,” I told myself. The audience wasn’t just my “friends” at school, it was my family as well. For over a year, I kept this hidden from my parents, but after awhile, the mask began to slip.

I knew that I needed to change my life and figure out who I truly was if I wanted to end my friendship with depression. At the end of my junior year, I made the decision to move away. I wanted to get as far away from Kansas as I could, so I wound up 1,600 miles away in Carlsbad, Calif. I used this opportunity to start fresh, to find out who I really was. No acting, no pretending, nothing but the real me. I made new friends, actual friends that liked me for who I was and not for somebody I pretended to be for them. I changed my life and experienced something I hadn’t felt for a long time: happiness. The only thing missing was my family, which is why I came back to Kansas.

Through this crazy, amazing, and exhausting experience I call my senior year, I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve learned who I am, what’s important to me, and who my real friends are. I hated high school for three years, but this year, it’s taught me valuable life lessons. Lessons that I would have never learned if I kept on acting. There are going to be people who don’t like you in high school and in life, no matter what you do or how nice you are. The most important thing is learning who you are and being proud of it. Depression will always be lurking, but it gets easier. By taking things one step at a time, I’ve learned to handle stress better and not let things get me down. I’m happy to say that after a three year battle, I’ve turned the corner and am looking forward to what comes next, whatever that may be.