The year 1989 (7th Grade)
Location: Serrano Middle School (Bathroom)
In my life, there have been a handful of people who have influenced my travels. Some of these individuals directly affected the way I went about relationships, careers, and friendships. Some of these people did not understand the effect they had on me. Some of these people’s hold on me took years to shed the negative impressions.
However, many had a positive and influential impact. I still face some issues, but I use these issues to help others, by giving speeches on hard life topics, such as adolescent love and insecurities.
When I think of impact, I refer directly to emotional and physical properties. Early in life, I knew I differed from other kids. Not that I was better than those around me, but I stood out like a sore thumb in groups.
I spent a lot of time in my head. Some would refer this to overthinking, creative introvert, however, sports changed me, but that’s for another story. I worked hard to solve my problems without my parents or friends. Answering my questions gave me power and resilience.
Most kids went through times of feeling socially insecure and emotionally vulnerable in the Middle School and even into High School. I was in-between those, but weirdly I could perceive things better and break down situations rapidly. I wasn’t always right at what I saw or analyzing information correctly, but my brain was working overtime and fast. This differs from being smart in school because I had trouble in math and science and things that required brainpower.
I was the worst at submitting to being one way or to hang out with a specific group. I knew that who I hung out with would come at a cost. I remember having a conversation with a young boy at lunch in junior high, and I didn’t know him, but I thought he was entertaining. He was in a group of what one would refer to as a school gang, and I swear he was a recruiter.
I was very open to exploring new things and experiencing what I wouldn’t ordinarily do. I was inquisitive, so I asked this young boy to share with me what gang or group he was in and what they did. I wanted to understand his path or what made him so eager to recruit the worst dressed and the awkward kid in the school, I just wanted to know why I was special for his group.
He quickly got up from the seat, and he told me to follow him. I remember looking over at the table across from me, and everyone was looking right at us. It was awkward, and the bells in my head went off, but I ignored them. I was so confused, but wholly enthralled in this adventure; it inclined me to find out what in the world was so outstanding. As we walked up the stairs, I notice my P.E teacher and coach standing by the office. He locked eyes with me and with a disdained look, shook his head no. I ignored the signs of this episode.
I continued walking and quickly glanced back. Mr. Munson was still looking at me; I wondered if he was trying to tell me something. I kept walking with the mysterious boy, and we ended up in the bathroom. That would be the third ignoring signs of directional change or path.
As we all know nothing ever happens well in the bathroom, according to every teen movie. We stopped, and he turned around and looked at me in the eyes. In a shallow creepy voice said, “Do you want to be like us?”
It was at the moment I felt uncomfortable and a little weirded out. I stepped back to get my distance because I wasn’t sure what was happening or going to happen. The boy looked possessed. I swear his eyes turned black. His disposition was intense.
What I didn’t see, my coach could foresee. I just wanted to understand and see this young boy’s perspective. The question is, would I have possibly gone down this road, most likely not, I had set my goals high, and everyone knew from elementary I was a kid-focused on being kind and always clean.
Influencing people can have enormous consequences or rewards. Mr. Munson, on that day, changed me and possibly my path. He encouraged me to stop or pause and think things out. This also taught me it’s okay to hit reverse. Sometimes we don’t get a redo, but I did with some help!
Have you gone down and path only to find out that the road back is the best path forward?