The Day He Saved My Life.
Created by backup1 6 years ago
When I first entered Shorewood High School everything was a labyrinth. Being a very shy and introverted person it was very isolating to say the least. Freshman year was one of, if not the most traumatic year of my life. Within a few weeks I realized I had no friends. Everyone was growing apart from one another. Widespread apathy. Isolation. It was contradicting to feel so alone in a place full of people.
During this period of my life I felt physically and emotionally abused at home by my parents. Mostly my father who also abused my mother. There was no one to talk to.
Very rarely were there any visible marks of physical abuse by them but the emotional scars were deeper than any of my peers or teachers could comprehend. It was so easy to hide everything.
Sometimes I would walk into class literally just after fighting with one my parents. On many occasions I would be in class trying desperately to sit and listen but simply couldn't because my face was still hot and swelled from crying and my skin was stinging from being struck before I arrived. Imagine sitting at your desk listening to your health teacher talk about domestic abuse after your father just had his hand wrapped around your throat screaming in your face.
I fell behind in school often because I was constantly trying to channel this pain in the only way I could which was art. It was all I could ever focus on. Art was my main priority because it was the only thing keeping me alive.
It was not and never will be just a career path.
Doodling in class was the only way to distract. I couldn't sit still and focus on the teacher. I was too busy trying to maintain life and sanity.
This was the year I almost took my life.
Hopelessness consumed me. But after I survived my suicide attempt I new something was telling me I had to overcome this obstacle. There was a way to cope I just needed to find it.
I remember the day I finally realized enough was enough.
I had stormed out of my father's car after he hit me and screamed at me for lying about being at a house with my sister and her friends he didn't want me to be at.
I walked into the administration building and found my sister's friend who asked me what was wrong. After opening up to her she gave me the strength to finally come forward and tell someone what was going on.
I sat down in Mr. Harris' office across from his desk. I'll always remember the deep and sincere stare he had on his face. All of a sudden I felt safe.
I told him everything. He was the first person to know the truth about my life and my pain. At that moment he felt like more of a father figure than anyone else had ever been in my life because I finally felt protected.
After opening up to him the police became involved followed by questioning with my parents. Not to my surprise they told the police and Mr. Harris that I was lying. I had been exaggerating and they were only disciplining me for my own good.
Anyone who has been abused and accused of lying knows how traumatizing it feels to be told none of the pain you experienced happened.
But Mr. Harris always believed me. He was the first person I opened up to and the first person to believe me and give me hope. He was the first person to confront my father. The first person to stand up for me at my side and fight against what was happening. He told me if anything ever happened again to come to him. He helped me escape. After that day it felt like he gave me the power to protect myself. From then on, I always felt like he was there to protect me.
I now understand why he always brought me into his office to check on me and ask about my truancy.
I was at the time a very angry and troubled person and I resented him for making me feel like I was a "bad" kid but I realize now he was watching over me.
He made me feel like I did matter and that I did have the potential to bring something good into this world.
He always encouraged my art- my life source.
He never asked me what I was going to do with art in my life, he just told me to keep it up.
To be honest, when I found out he passed I thought "Wow, I've only had bad experiences with him he probably thought I was such a punk ass and was always trying to get me in trouble all the time."
But then I remembered why he had felt so overbearing at times...because that man truly did care about me. And every single student at Shorewood High School for that matter.
He treated everyone like they were his own. He had the capacity to make anyone feel cared for and loved even when they didn't have the capacity to love themselves.
I am eternally grateful for Mr. Harris and the strength he gave me that day. I will always remember him as the man who saved my life.