It was time to start high school and I had my eye on a magnet high school that was for the arts. This high school required that you not only submit samples of your school work and an essay but also audition. I could have auditioned for choir but my love of writing had never gone away. The only program that offered any type of writing program was theatre. It was a playwriting class. I knew nothing about acting but nevertheless, I auditioned and somehow I was accepted. Booker T.Washington was a very competitive school and I had little to no hope of being accepted when I met the other kids that were auditioning that day. They were professional. There were twins that had been on Barney and everyone had some type of acting experience. But nevertheless I was accepted.
When I started high school it was an amazing feeling. It felt so liberating. As if anything could happen. I had re-invented myself again. When my mom had taken me back to school shopping, I had bought a lot of “hippy” clothes and every morning I would fix my hair with braids or flowers. I was known as the hippy chic.
In October, we had a program at school called taste of the arts, it was a type of talent show with food catered from lots of different restaurants. I was going to be staying after school while I waited on the program to start and then my mom was going to pick me up afterwards. I had made arrangements with some of my friends to try smoking pot before the program. I had been a good girl all my life but for some reason pot did not seem scary to me. I had always been very anti-drugs but for one reason or the other, I wanted to try marijuana.
I met my friends at the spot we had agreed on and I took a puff. I had been practicing inhaling with cigarettes all week. When I took a drag of the joint, I felt nothing and announced to the group it didn’t work. The next thing I remember is seeing everything distorted. The trees were orange, the grass was red and I began giggling because I felt so amazing. We walked to a little mall near our school and had Chinese food. It was the best food of my life. Everything was so funny and the only thing I could think of was smoking again.
I began smoking marijuana a lot. I found a neighbor that would sell me a dime bag and leave it in my mailbox with a swisher sweet. I would pay him the night before and when I woke up for school, there it would be waiting in my mailbox. I was extremely sneaky. First of all, I had an advantage because my mom trusted me. I had always been the responsible older sister, I had always been such a good girl so even if my behavior was odd, it was never a possibility that it could be drugs.
My group of friends would meet before school to smoke, during lunch and after school. I was literally stoned every day, all day. My grades never suffered and I never got caught. But then about halfway through the school year I became sick. It took a while for the doctor’s to realize what was wrong with me and when they diagnosed me with Mono, “the kissing disease” , I knew I had got it from sharing pipes. There were 3 of us that ended up getting sick in my group. I was out the longest though, 6 weeks. My spleen was enlarged so I was on bed rest and it took forever to get better again. The thing that I remember about being sick was how much it hurt that none of my friends called to check on me. One of my friends told me later when I returned to school that she thought I was dead. My friend from kindergarten had also been accepted to the same high school for dance and had sent me some lily’s but that was the only friend that seemed to care about me.
When I was better and ready to go back to school, I was a little angry and hurt. I had a crush on my best guy friend in school and when I returned I found out he had a girlfriend. He never talked to me anymore and it only hurt more. I decided that I had to quit smoking pot because the people I shared the habit with were not true friends. I had always been required to go to church and so instead of just pretending to listen, I became a leader in my youth group and put my pot habit behind me. At least for a while.