We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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There was a quote by Dwayne Johnson that really stuck with me, “I like to use the hard times in the past to motivate me.” That little sentence describes what happens when I hit rock bottom. There were times where I wanted to just give up and run. I had so much anger built up, not knowing what to do with it,  so when I saw this quote I started to focus, put my full 100 percent on what I was doing and channel that anger into being productive and also a better person. All this started when I flunked the 3rd grade, I got held back and it was the hardest thing I've ever done; broke me into pieces. I cried knowing I was going to lose my closest friends by the time I hit the 5th grade. All my childhood friends are gone. That's where my story begins.

By the time everyone was gone It felt like I was in a museum as an artifact with no history. I was a shadow who haunted a town full of people but luckily I found people who made me whole again. I eventually got better over time. Hitting middle school was fun although I lost a few more friends. But it wasn’t all bad, since I made new friends. It made up by meeting a few more friends who I am so happy that I met. All these people made the past me happy. The me, right now, is just starting to grow. I was still upset because I lost my best friend and not just any best friend who we always hang out with. No, I'm talking about my BFF! We have been friends for nine years and counting. She moved halfway across the country, but  we meet every three years. Three years ago we met up for her birthday. Three years later, which was a couple months ago, we met up again. She's my other half and we never forget each other. Eighth grade rolled around so I lost some of my friends again after getting them back. It's like a curse but it's okay. Time moves too fast and I can’t stop or slow it down; all I can do is keep moving forward.

High school was getting closer, everyone  was guessing what high school they might get in? I was heading to Aragon high school hoping I would go to San Mateo High School but I didn’t mind either. Just when I thought everything was going to be ok, I found out I was going to Tennyson High School, the ghetto. I cried less and felt pain more, this was the worst thing that ever happened to me. My life was on repeat, going to different schools and then losing everyone. This time it was permanent. I would trade anything to go back., I didn’t have a choice or a word in this, just thrown under the bus. This school, people, and the mistakes I learned turned me into someone completely different from who I was before coming here., I can’t say I was sad or happy when I came here., One minute I'm glad, another minute I hate what became of me., I got stronger, smarter, darker, including more  eye opening; even as a Junior in high school.

The whole time in high school I have tried to give myself a name, create a legacy and go down as something big, but it was too late for that. I ran track and cross country to improve my speed and to get things out of my head from stress and school. Writing was another thing I did in my free time, writing rap was very helpful. Rap became a big part of my life in high school, putting everything onto a page then coming out as something people enjoy. The first song I ever wrote was back in middle school and it was bad, but something changed in ninth grade because my brain just snapped as my hand lost itself in the pencil writing on the book. When I told one of my classmates to  read it, they said it was really good, and on that very day I never stopped writing. So my whole life is one constant loop where I lose myself and get back up as someone new. Time to show my family and everyone who doubted me that I can be better, change the world in some kind of way in the near future. No more restarting, it's time to make my own path.

© Jason Madera. 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.