I Think I'm Okay

Flashback Friday

I am currently researching the "Satanic Panic" phenomenon that happened in the 1980's and early 1990's, and will be soon posting a series discussing the matter. In my research, I came across a video entitled "What to Do If Your Child Is Satanic." They pose a number of reasons as to why your child could be involved in the dark arts. I pose my responses from the voice of my high school self.

"No parent or teenager can be ignorant to the meteoric rise of the Satanic Occultic activity in the United States. The following signs should be used as a point of comparison along with your instinct about what is typical behavior for a youngster. You may make a judgment based on oppositional behavior—a refusal to follow the rules, running away or sneaking out of the house, a change in friends and often an unwillingness to bring new friends to the house, deterioration of school work, suicidal thoughts, behavior, or suicidal threats, sudden cheerfulness or persistent sadness, drug and alcohol abuse, change in eating patterns or sleeping patterns, low self-esteem, a fear of failure, feeling of unloved or unlovable. If your son or daughter or someone you know is exhibiting one or more of these signs, I want to encourage you to call our toll-free hotline number."

High School Michelle Responds

  • A refusal to follow the rules – I've always been this way.
  • Running away or sneaking out of the house – Let's just say I learned my lesson the first time.
  • A change in friends – I mostly had loyal ones that I loved dearly, but I've always had a tendency to have self-absorbed narcissists befriend me, so I tended to let those fizzle out.
  • Often an unwillingness to bring new friends to the house – After my parents divorced when I was in Jr. High, my mother insisted on moving every 6 months. I had no stability. As soon as I'd get really comfortable somewhere, we'd pack up everything and move. Always for petty reasons, too—the rent's $50 cheaper a month here or I want to live somewhere a little bit nicer. So no, I didn't like bringing people to my house, wherever it happened to be.
  • Deterioration of school work – I recently read in my 8th grade journal that I was failing math on purpose because my parents fought a lot over my younger brother, who was constantly in trouble, and they weren't paying any attention to me. Otherwise, I got really great grades.
  • Suicidal thoughts – This could also be read: Have you ever had a devastatingly invested crush on the most beautiful person you've ever seen in your entire life, only to find out that they don't like you back?
  • Suicidal behavior or suicidal threats – This is not the proper forum to elaborate, but yes. And guess what? I grew up to be a contributing member of society in spite of it. Who knew?
  • Sudden cheerfulness or persistent sadness – I believe it's arguable that a vast majority of teenagers experience depression at some point during their high school career. However, I feel what's being described here is bipolar disorder, which I am very familiar with, as my older brother suffers from this particular mental illness. It can be controlled with the use of medication, and I assure you, has nothing to do with Satan or his minions.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse – I stole beer from my dad's fridge once. I later found out it got blamed on my then stepsister. I never told him the truth. He'd probably laugh if I told him now.
  • Change in eating patterns or sleeping patterns – That kind of happens when your body's trying to figure out how to, you know, keep growing into an adult human being. 
  • Low self-esteem – This stops when you turn 20? No one told me.
  • A fear of failure – This used to be a huge concern. Now I just don't give a shit.
  • Feeling of unloved or unlovable – My home life as a child was pretty screwed up, so yeah, check.

The good news? I'm not a Satanist. Despite playing with a Ouija board in high school (which is very easily psychologically explained, by the way), I had no interest in Satan. The notion of such things was a legitimate fear at that time in my life, and I wasn't going to purposefully do anything to worship him. What I wanted more than anything, and what I didn't get, was attention from my parents. And I can guaran-damn-tee you that if you know of a troubled youngster of the sort mentioned above, they probably just need someone to show them some love.