We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofDaylon Pereira

Back in my freshman year of high school we were having a town hall in the auditorium for new students. I sat next to my friend Steven who I knew back in middle school because I still didn’t have any friends and I wasn’t really a social person. 

We were talking and I noticed this girl who was cute. She instantly grabbed my attention, and I asked Steven who she was, but he didn’t know. I moved next to her and began talking to her. I learned that she was also a new student and she didn’t really have any friends either. She was shy, and she didn’t really say much, so it was kind of awkward. She told me she was from New York and she had just moved to Boston over the summer. 

We started talking more and became friends. We started texting almost everyday and spoke on Facetime, and I learned a lot about her. She was a sophomore, and I didn’t know how she felt being friends with a freshman, but she didn’t really care.

I started to have a crush on her, and it felt weird at first because I didn’t know if she would ever feel the same way. One day, we were in school and I asked her how she felt about me and if she wanted to take things serious. She was surprised, but she said yes. I was shocked. We were doing good, learning more about each other, and trying to figure each other out. 

But after a while, things took a turn for the worse. I realized I wasn’t fully ready to commit to one person. Her trust in me died a little bit and she distanced herself. I was confused, but I didn’t pay any mind to it and didn’t care. We tried talking to each other about it, but things didn’t change. Our communication became terrible and we called it quits. 

I felt lost and angry, and I didn’t know what to do. I never wanted to lose her, but I took advantage of her love and used her. I made promises that were broken which led to a lot of misunderstandings and mental anguish on both ends. I wanted to apologize to her for everything, but I was scared that she wouldn’t care and would turn me away. 

I ended up speaking to a really trusted mentor, who encouraged me to speak to her. At first I was nervous. It was like the first time I met her. My heart was beating fast and my palms were sweaty, but I let my guard down and spoke to her. We had a good conversation, and we agreed to be friends because we realized that we weren’t as perfect as a couple as we thought we were. 

What I realized was that men of this generation are so used to hiding their feelings and emotions. We fail to realize that asking for help is the best superpower we have, and we never use it because we think it's not necessary.

But in reality, asking for help and expressing yourself is the best thing in the world. It shows a ton of maturity and is very healthy to have in your life. As I get older I’ve grown mentally. I’ve started to speak more openingly about my thoughts and emotions with people who are important to me. 

© Daylon Pereira. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.