“Things I Would Want to Tell My Past Self”
Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.
I’ve always been a really quiet person. Whether it was in school, at birthday parties, or even around my family, it’s just a part of my natural disposition to keep to myself. Because of this, it took me a long time to find a solid group of friends that I felt totally comfortable being around. In second grade, I had not yet discovered that group so I was hanging around a few troublemakers just to make it seem like I was not a complete loner on the playground. The ringleader was a girl named Denver and she was a pretty intimidating seven-year-old. I knew that if I wanted to hang around this crowd, I couldn’t let Denver think I was anything less than a rebel. I made sure to laugh at her jokes, follow her orders, and stay as loyal as possible.
One day at recess, something changed. I guess Denver began to see through my false image of being a misfit and she now wanted proof of my devotion to her squad. She suggested to me that it would be fun to steal Alison Thompson’s diary when she wasn’t looking. Alison had never done anything to me or anyone else that would make her a suitable target of Denver’s. I didn’t at all understand why that seemed like a “fun” idea. When I told Denver that I didn’t want to do that, it quickly went from a suggestion to an order. I was extremely worried about losing my place in this friend group if I didn’t do exactly what Denver said, so I eventually caved and told her I would do it. I had very little time to find the amount of courage I knew it would take to pull something like this off. I spotted Alison sitting on the sidewalk with her diary placed right beside her. I took one last deep breath and made my way towards her. I sat next down next to Alison, trying not to make eye contact. After about five seconds had passed, I snatched the diary and made a run for it. I didn’t waste any time by checking to see if I would find Alison chasing me, I just ran until I got back to Denver. I had this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, it was a feeling I had hardly experienced before. I now know that the feeling was guilt mixed with a lot of regret. Eventually recess came to an end, and it was not long before my teacher sent me to the principal’s office along with Denver. Alison had told on me and a part of me knew that she would. I knew that what I had done was wrong and that Alison didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I wasn’t forced to apologize to Alison, but I did so anyway. I told her that I was so sorry for taking her diary and that I wish I hadn’t done it in the first place. I no longer wanted to be Denver’s friend after that day. I realized that if being your true self isn’t a good enough reason for someone to want to be your friend, then the only real solution is to find better people to surround yourself with.
Siblings are great friends to have.
Over the years, some of the best memories I’ve formed have been with my siblings. I’m a middle child of four, so I get the best of both worlds by having two older sisters and a younger brother. I’ve idolized my sisters for as long as I can remember, but when it comes to my brother things haven’t always been as easy. I don’t know if it was because he stole my spotlight as the youngest child in our family or what, but for a long time I just didn’t particularly like Will. I thought he was annoying and immature. I hated the way he always smelled bad and how he could somehow convince my mom that he was an angel sent straight from heaven. He lived to bother me. He enjoyed watching me get furious at him for the most ridiculous things. However, when he turned fifteen years old everything changed. It was as if someone who looked just like Will swapped lives with him or something. He was no longer this obnoxious, unpleasant creature living across the hall from me. He matured and suddenly became someone I could actually talk to. He quickly became one of my closest friends. We now hangout not because we have to but because we both want to, we cover for each other whenever our parents start acting suspicious of our schemes, and we treat one another with respect the way siblings should. On his first day of high school, he looked at me and asked what he should do if he didn’t make a friend that day. I told him that he shouldn’t even worry about not making a friend that day because he’d still have at least ONE friend he could count on; me.
Doing your own thing is totally fine.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone tries to be something or someone that they’re not during their freshman year of high school. For me, I spent my ninth grade year trying to impress people who I had no real interest in being long term friends with.
I like reading. I’m never not in the middle of reading a book. When I started high school, I had come from a small private school and I didn’t have many friends who were going to Marquette. I didn’t know where I was supposed to fit in or who I was supposed to hang out with. I decided to just go with the flow and figure it out as I went. I found myself in a random group of people who didn’t actually know one another very well. I thought that it was fine and that as long as I had friends, nothing bad would happen. I soon began to feel like my new group of friends were not very similar to myself. I didn’t see very many qualities in them that matched mine. My ideas on right and wrong were different from theirs. I felt like an outcast because I liked to set aside actual time of mine read actual books. They would jokingly mock me for it, except it wasn’t funny to me. It was hurtful that people could really think I was “lame” just because I wasn’t constantly on my cell phone. It took almost the entire year to come to terms with the fact that these were not people I needed in my life. I decided to distance myself from them for a while and see how it would make me feel. It made me feel like myself again. I got back into my old habit of doing things for myself and by myself. There is nothing wrong with being alone, in fact I think being by myself sometimes is the only way I can reenergize myself. Now that I am a little older, I understand how valuable feeling comfortable with being alone actually is and will continue to be throughout my life.