You've got a friend in me

August 17, 2021 12:59 PM

a crown icon and the words "rising voices award winner"
The author and their friends' sneakers in a circle together. Photo taken by the author.

The author and their friends' sneakers in a circle together. Photo taken by the author.

Rather than having an adult figure impacting my life, my friends (who I still talk to) were the ones to do so. Through thick and thin, they would always have my back and make me smile on days where it would seem impossible for me to feel positive. Not only that, they made me discover sides of myself I would have never found out on my own. My confidence is at an all-time high and now I’m not so afraid of speaking up.

Before meeting the current friends I have today, I was quite a loner throughout elementary school. I was one of those students whom nobody knew personally and those who I deemed as my only friends often treated me like a second choice if their bestie wasn’t available. I was also the type of person who couldn't say "no.”

"Hey, could you give me the answers to questions blah blah and blah? Pretty please Jazlynn with an extra fake smile on top?"

"No, get your work done by yourself," was what I imagined myself saying, but my hesitant self who wanted to not be "too mean" hesitantly said, "OK." I now realize that I was letting myself be trampled by these popular kids who didn’t even think I was cool enough to hang out with. With nobody to hang out with, I focused all my attention on my studies. Although my grades were great, my social life throughout elementary and early middle school was a disaster.

As I entered eighth grade, I was already wishing that the school year would end. I thought that my last year of middle school wouldn’t be different from my other years, but oh boy was I wrong. It all started with a single deck of UNO cards (no seriously I’m not joking). During recess, people were divided into groups through their activities. Since I wasn’t the type to gossip nor be active, I decided to simply spectate a game of UNO, but little did I know that I would find myself spectating every single recess block. 

Eventually, I was invited to play and I gladly accepted the opportunity. I will say that it was the best decision I've made. Not only did I have fun and share laughs, but I felt like I belonged to this group somehow and found myself talking to the group very casually. With people to consider as friends, I ended up hanging out outside of school with them, changing from a house gremlin to an actual civilian. I also didn’t feel as awkward as I did during lunch breaks since people I knew reserved seats for me and I ended up ending my middle school experience with a bang!

Up to this very day, I am still friends with many of the people I’ve referenced in this story and I credit all of them for helping me discover who I am as a person as well as fix unhealthy habits of mine. Without them, I wouldn’t have seen myself reaching out to others nor seen myself writing this very story! You might feel like friends are unnecessary or there isn’t anybody out there who completely understands how you feel. But I assure you, there is at least one person out there and sometimes… it doesn’t even need to be a peer. Who knows, it could be just about anybody.

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