*This story was originally published on teensinprint.com. Teens in Print is an inclusive WriteBoston program created to amplify the marginalized voices of eighth to twelfth grade Boston students.
Hey, this is Albin, I know this is supposed to feel like an essay but…this is just a story.
If there was one type to describe me, I would self implicate myself as a goofy kid. I wasn’t the best at school and I was fine with that; I knew my own capabilities and I knew that if I put in more effort I could be a better student. I met some of the most amazing people throughout middle school that also helped in keeping my persona up. Lifelong friends that I will cherish forever.
Set the scene; we were a bunch of hooligans wreaking havoc around school, yet we were always one of the best groups to be around(some of the smartest if I say so myself). Those people still mean a lot to me and I’ll always have them in my heart. It felt like a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
The tall squad Enrique and Adria, the smart oldie Crystal, the funny yet awkward Emmanuel, Jose Anderson dubbed the quiet one, and then there was me, the balanced Albin. Those guys were always there for me whenever I needed them, rapid to act and back me up. I will always love them, but with great beginnings come even greater endings; and in the summer of 2018, we parted ways as we all went into high school.
Being by myself for the first time in a long time, going into a new school with new people. Excited but reminiscent because I missed my friends. It was like having to leave my dream world to enter this new nightmare, one that I tried to run away from for so long; having to leave my dream world to enter this new nightmare.
Regardless of this fact, it was a new environment for me. When I first started high school in the Dominican Republic, my cousin went to school with me. Luckily, he and I were in the same class. He had been in the school for a few years so he already knew a lot of people there. He introduced me to his group of friends, at first it was weird but that was to be expected.
After some time, I warmed up to everyone. I’ve always been able to make friends with everyone because of how contagious people tend to find my personality. And it happened again, I met people who I hold dear to my heart still. We had our differences but everyone came together when it was needed. Class 3A will forever be some of the greatest people I met, specifically the “7k” group. 7k symbolized union, peace, and love. Everyone always argues but we always manage to stay together. It was a great story, people who seemed to be always in internal problems, always managed to be united through anything. Braylin [or Bra for short], Tomas, Daniela, Beroli, Leynin, Derick, Marinel, Luis Angel, Mia, Ashley and some others will always have some of my best memories. I was a bit older so we got to things that I’ve never done before. Although we all did eventually separate and did different things, they’ll forever be a part of who I am.
[Interlude: in life, we face great and not-so-great moments. We’ve all faced challenges and at one point, we all feel like it was hopeless. But it is not, the challenges we face will always affect us, not always in a negative way. Challenges in life can be learning experiences and moments to share out once you’re doing better. The rest of this essay will face some serious topics that have affected me personally.]
After some time, I moved to the United States. And there I was, alone again in an environment where I didn’t know what could happen. The dream that my family had of living together overtook my own and turned it into the worst coming of my life.
This time around, a lot more happened, and throughout it, I felt all alone. Being in a new country was hard but the fact that I didn’t have many people around me like I once did affected me a lot more than I thought. The fantasy life I had all this time was being taken from me. It was a dark time, I had people around me, but it always felt as if I was walking alone. Throughout my first year here, I thought about death a lot of times. I would take long bus rides home with the intent to get lost. During that time, the thought of me leaving was constantly in my head. It all felt overwhelming, and it was taking a toll on my mental health. The constant feeling of loneliness created intense ideas I had never faced before, I felt trapped in a cage. This cage felt tight and breaking me apart, all I wanted was for the pain to end, I wanted the things affecting me to fly away and leave me forever.
I asked myself “Why me? What did I do to deserve this? What is the point of staying in pain?” I assumed everything was my fault, I blamed myself for the effects the environment had on me. I put myself through hell because of what was happening, I gained weight, lost sight of myself, and forgot who I was and what was important to me. With this came the thought, “What would happen if I wasn’t here?” The thought of losing what I had wasn’t a far off option anymore.
It was a horrible moment in my life. At one point, I felt like the end for me was near. I felt like I didn’t need to stay around, I needed everything to be peaceful. I thought that I could reach “my dream life” by leaving this nightmare. Never once did I think that having people care and actually look for help would be the answer to it all. I gave myself another chance, I gave life a chance to change by reaching out. I found people, friends who related to my pain, and people who didn’t. My best friends helped me through a lot. They mean the world to me, and I’ll forever be grateful for their presence and their influence. There are so many memories I can tell but it would make this so long it would take a day to read. My mom and brother, Jafet, Jaslyn, Jelissa, Siva, Michael, Maximo, Sam, Marck, Jahira, Ashley, Nilson, Victor, Jarmani, Zachary, Julissa, and some others I can’t mention because I would run out of work, they all mean a lot to me.
They have all taught me something that I’ll forever carry in my heart, having people around who care will push you through any situation you’re facing. One of the lessons I learned from all of them is that I need them. I always thought I needed them. I never thought I needed to be with people, but it was enjoyable. In this instance, I learned that they were probably the biggest part of my life. I’ve been weak, silly, immature, and many other negative adjectives, but they managed to accept me as I was and help me change in forms that I otherwise couldn’t have by myself. They’re all part of my support system in some way, some more than others but they all matter to me. And through my friends, I found something else I needed during that moment, therapy.
Therapy was one of the biggest things to help me. Before I even started therapy, I thought “Nah, they’ll think I’m crazy. That’s for weak people. I don’t need that.” Looking back on it, the weak one was me. Therapy helped me manage the output of the way I felt. It taught me to trust and talk to people, deal with them and be able to understand them. Most importantly, therapy gave me a sense of unity. It all came to an end when my therapist needed to move away, and there I was again, alone. However, this time I had a spark of hope, the “dream” wasn’t fully over. My hope was to be with my friends and the people I love.
To this day, I still struggle with my emotions. I don’t have as many of those thoughts as I once did, but I still struggle to manage. It takes a lot of energy but I’ve learned to try my best to understand that I do matter and that I can find things I love within this world. I read, write, watch anime, and play basketball in order to be able to maintain. It gets overwhelming to manage but I know that these things will push me through it and whenever I can’t manage, I know I have people who love and care for me. I know people want me and need me around, I have to take care of myself to be able to provide for them. I am able to understand myself better and I know regardless of what goes through my mind, I matter and I rather my people cry of happiness for my achievements rather than cry for my memory.
Now I speak to you, my reader. If you have similar thoughts as I once did, please try to seek out help. You are valuable, you’re an amazing person, people love you and nobody wants to see you go. I was once a silly kid who ran havoc amongst his peers, now I am a young adult who knows what pain is but manages to pull through the situations he faces. I can’t say where I want to be but I am better than I once was.
Surround yourself with people who are going to care about you and people who genuinely want to see you do good. Never forget the good things in your life because of the bad happening. Always remember that you are doing good by even feeling something. If you’re trying to get better, that is already great progress. Don’t let the thoughts get the best of you, your mind may tell you something but the fact of the matter is YOU matter. Never forget that.