Sad teen learns to have hope. Inspired by "OK to Not Be OK" by Demi Lavato & Marshmello
| Alexis sat behind the wheel for her first driver's test. She felt the heat rise in the car as she waited for the tester. The new car smell remained from her parent's purchase of it weeks before. A lump formed in her throat as the DMV employee took the passenger seat. Alexis started the car and pulled out onto the main road when a rabbit ran across. She slammed the breaks.
"You fail," said the tester.
"But I couldn't run over the rabbit!" she cried.
"The rules are automatic failure if you slam the breaks," said the tester. "You can try again in two weeks."
Alexis wiped a tear from her eye and drove back to the DMV. Upon arriving home, she tried to cry herself to sleep. Her mother knocked on the bedroom door. "Alexis, are you okay?"
"No. I'm a failure!"
"Alexis, everyone fails sometimes. One failure doesn't mean you are a failure." She sat on the pink bed, pushed aside the myriad stuffed animals and massaged her daughter's back as she looked out of the window covered in lace curtains. "You are only a failure if you stop trying. You can try again in two weeks."
"Two weeks might as well be a lifetime when you're sixteen," said Alexis.
"You have your first job interview at the local movie theater tomorrow," said her mother. "Get some rest. It will be okay." She patted her daughter on the back and turned out the light before leaving.
The next evening, Alexis came home from the interview. "How did it go?" asked her mother.
"It went alright," said Alexis. "They seemed to like me, but there were a lot of people there trying."
"Well, hope for the best but prepare for the worst," said her mother. "If you don't get it, there are plenty of other places you can try," said her mother.
"Thanks for the encouragement," said Alexis sarcastically.
"You don't need to get an attitude with me, young lady," said her mother.
"Whatever." Alexis left for her bedroom.
A few days later, a letter came for Alexis from the movie theater. She opened the letter and read,
"Thank you for your interest in our company, but we are unable to hire you at this time..."
Alexis' eyes watered. All I do is fail and get rejected. I can't do anything right. I might as well just die.The world would be better off without me.
She went to her bathroom sink and pulled out a bottle of mood-stabilizing pills. Just before she was about to down the entire bottle, she looked in the mirror and beheld a 36 year-old Alexis with greying hair looking back at her sixteen year-old self.
"Don't do it. Things will get better for you. If you go now, you will miss out on so much," said the older Alexis. She reached out her hand and pulled young Alexis into the mirror. After traveling through a vortex, the scene changed from her antique bedroom to a graduation ceremony. A football field on a sunny day with hundreds of full seats on it appeared. Young Alexis looked at the stage and regarded herself crossing it and receiving her diploma.
"You've been dreaming about this for years," said older Alexis. "If you overdose, this will never happen."
"I hadn't thought about that," said young Alexis. "All I can think about is how much pain I am in now."
"Let me show you something else," said older Alexis. Traveling through the vortex, the two arrived at a dolphin pool at a marine park on a warm, bright August afternoon. Young Alexis felt the heat of the sun and breathed in the smell of sunscreen. A salty taste filled her mouth. She then watched herself swim with dolphins, holding onto the dorsal fin of one as it pulled her across the pool. "When you turn 30, you will get to do this. It will be one of the most fun experiences of our life. You don't want to miss out on this," said older Alexis.
"I have dreamed of swimming with dolphins since I was little. It's actually going to happen?!" said young Alexis, forgetting how upset she had been.
"Several times," said older Alexis. "I have something else to show you." They returned to the vortex and arrived at a large theater with a full house watching the curtain call of a play. An energy of happiness and success permeated the theater as the actors came onstage for their bows.Young Alexis heard thunderous applause as she saw her 27 year-old self take the final bow on stage. "That's me! And they're giving me a standing ovation!" said young Alexis.
"Yes. You have a successful career as a actress ahead of you. It will be difficult, but well worth it," said older Alexis. They returned through the vortex to young Alexis's bedroom. The two sat on the side of her unmade bed.
"I realize now I have so much to live for and look forward to," said young Alexis as she wiped a tear from her eye. "But how do I escape the pain I'm in now?"
"As you get older, you will learn coping skills. I learned that sleeping it off helps. If you just go to bed when upset, you will wake up feeling a lot better. Also, it helps to do things that get your mind off of what is bothering you. Even if you don't feel like doing fun stuff, it will still help you feel better."
"What kind of fun stuff?" asked young Alexis.
"Write a story, or play your keyboard, or go shoot photos, or go for a bike ride. Those will all lift your mood." Older Alexis put her hand on young Alexis' shoulder. "Promise me, if you really feel like you're going to hurt yourself, that you will go to the hospital. It doesn't mean you're 'weak' or 'crazy'. It means you are being responsible and taking care of yourself. They will take good care of you and help you feel much better."
"I promise." They shook hands.
"Good. I have to return to the future now," said older Alexis.
"Thank you for everything," said young Alexis. The two hugged as older Alexis faded away.
Young Alexis glanced at the bottle of pills. "No!" she said to herself. She looked out the lace-covered window. "It seems like the perfect evening for a bike ride."
Alexis mounted her bike and rode around the upper-class neighborhood of stucco Southern California houses, admiring their aesthetics. She gazed upward at the pretty pink sky. I feel so free! I can go anywhere I want! Older me was right!"
In the coming years, Alexis became a peer counselor to help other teens who struggled with depression and feelings of failure. She never forgot the life-saving message from her older self and did her best to share it with other teens.