When I was in middle school there was a really popular type of necklace girls and guys would wear. It was a jumbo ball chain necklace. You know, like the chain of dog tags or venetian blinds? Well, like that, but each ball being like a centimeter big. And if you wore the necklace that meant you liked the ska style of music, but I didn't know that at the time. I just knew everyone was wearing the necklace and I liked the way it looked and I wanted to fit in so I went and bought one too. It was like $7, affordable.

Everyone mocked me when I wore it to school.

I was already suicidal. I hadn't been diagnosed with anything yet. I was suicidal for 2 years straight before I was diagnosed.

People knew I didn't know that it meant ska. People knew I didn't know what ska was. People knew I was making a pathetic attempt to fit in. I already didn't fit in. I had a backpack on wheels because normal backpacks hurt my back. And people would kick my backpack as I walked through campus. I wore leather penny loafers the first day of school because I thought middle school would be grown-up like in the Baby-Sitters Club. It wasn't.

I wear one of those ball chain necklaces now. The ska trend died out - ska is a really disgusting-sounding style of music anyway - but I still liked the way the necklace looked. My friend Kristin gave me hers to leave in my car at graduation and I never saw her again. That was in 2003. I've worn it ever since, except when I was dating Ian. I gave it to him, then, and told him to take it to Iraq and bring it back to me. That way he would have to come home. When he wasn't in uniform he wore it doubled up as a bracelet on his arm, and I wore his dog tags around my neck and his rank pins on my purse. He gave it back to me when we broke up and at this very moment I am wearing it. It's worn and rusty but it's my way of screaming defiance at those kids that made me want to kill myself in middle school.