High School: Finding Yourself 101

Freshman year was right around the corner, and I couldn’t wait. I was finally going to be in High School! My weekends would consist of out of control parties with friends, and during the weekdays we would dance on lunch tables just like in the movies. It was going to be the best four years of my life…or at least that’s what I thought.

Going from being the top dog in Middle School to the bottom of the food chain Freshman year was a big change. Not only was I disliked by upper class men just for being a Freshman, but I was also in the International Baccalaureate program. Which was considered to be nerd central by the rest of the school. It didn’t bother me any though, because I didn’t care if I was liked or not, I just wanted to be accepted. But we don’t always get what we want in life now do we?

At first I wasn’t worried because I was in a program with a bunch of people who were like me. We were all considered the teachers pet at some point in our lives, and spent more time reading books instead of playing sports like the average kids. We were all nerds, geeks, dorks, and whatever name you could possibly think of. But it didn’t matter because we were all alike. For a little while at least.

But eventually overtime everybody got sucked into the peer pressure of High School. All of my friends that I had known for years became strangers to me as they tried to fit in with the popular crowd. We went from walking and talking to each other in the hallways to completely avoiding eye contact as we passed each other by. But in the process of everybody changing, I stayed true to myself, and in doing so it made me an outcast to a group of people I once knew so well. It was crazy to think that we were all a part of a program because of our shared intellectual abilities, and yet all that was noticeable now was the things that made us different.

I remember just sitting back and watching as everyone would be so friendly and kind to somebody that they called their best friend, and then turn around five seconds later and talk shit about them. It was unbelievable honestly, I never thought someone could be so hateful and fake. It got to the point that I didn’t know who I could trust, or who my real friends were, so I just slowly distanced myself from everyone. From that point on things only got worse.

I still talked to a lot of people in my classes, but it didn’t mean anything. It was just pointless conversations that made time go by faster. I didn’t have anyone I could count on, or go to when I needed help. I was completely alone. I grew to become a daily conversation piece among my peers. It was as if they saw me as a circus act traveling the halls. They would point and call me names as if I was a caged animal. I honestly wish it was all an act, and that I could just make all of my problems disappear and pull a new beginning out of a hat. But it wasn’t an act at all, it was me. It was my life, and it was falling apart.

Everything they said broke me down and made me feel unwanted. I gradually fell into a stage of depression where I didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning, let alone go to school and face whatever I had coming for me that day. But I still did it, day after day, and it was beyond hard but I pushed through it. However it got to a point that I couldn’t take it anymore, I knew that I had to do something about it.

I started standing up for myself and not letting people bring me down. I made the most out of my shitty situations, and lived my life in the best way I could. I got comfortable being by myself, and learned how to change being lonely into being independent. I started putting myself first and making decisions that would benefit me and my happiness. I realized that it was okay not to belong to a group or a click, and that you don’t need supporters. It’s okay to be your own cheerleader sometimes.

Through the process of building my life back up I found out a few new things about myself. I realized that I know hated the colors garnet and gold. I realized that being a brain surgeon was my parent’s dream not mine. Oh yeah, I also realized that I was gay. Not going to lie, that last one made things a little difficult for a while. It was if I had just taken one step forward and two steps back. I had just gotten to a point in my life where I was happy, only to retreat into my closet for hiding. I was ashamed of it for a while. I was worried about whether or not my friends and family would except me. Overtime I grew the courage to tell people and there were quite a few that dropped me because of it. But the ones who stayed were the only ones that I needed.

Looking back I learned a lot from High School, and all though a lot of it was rough, I am grateful for every part of it. It taught me to always be true to yourself no matter what others think, and that it is okay to be different. The obstacles that I faced while in High School made me the person I am today, and to be honest I couldn’t be prouder.

(4:25)
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