We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

← Back to all stories
Photo ofNatalie Collins
So my story takes place over the course of the summer and there really isn't one main event that caused anything. It’s more of a slow self-realization and change. I think anyone can agree that the summer of 2020 kind of sucked, and I think we can agree that it was also a very tense and just harsh time with how America dealt with the pandemic and all the major activist movements we had going on and of course the upcoming election. I think everyone was just being very hateful and judging. I have to admit after I looked at it and I looked back I was one of those people. I was extremely rude and I couldn't recognize why people had the opinions they held or conceived the thoughts they did. I detested those people who didn't even attempt to recognize other people's point of perspective. Without recognizing it, I was one of those people.
I think one moment that really helped me realize how hypocritical I was being when I was talking to a good friend of mine. We were on our usual call. We do share almost identical political beliefs, and we love the same shows and, you know, we're into the same things. We were talking about a subject I won't say, and we never talked about it before and I thought we would just agree on it like we always did, but we didn't and when we didn't agree she lashed out on me she said some really rude and just mean things and then was very cold to me for the next couple of days. I took some time to reflect afterward because I didn't actually comprehend why she acted that way until I realized I didn't act any different. I was so blinded by my opinions and I didn't realize how hurtful I was to other people. I had never been on the receiving end of it and now that I was it didn't feel very pleasant. So for a while, I voluntarily stopped talking to my one-sided friends and abandoned the useless arguments with people who adamantly disagreed and learned to accept that different people believe in different things and to let little things go. The next time someone tried to start a political argument with me or tried to disagree and hate on me for having a different opinion, I really genuinely tried to take the time to understand their point of view and ask them questions and I wanted to understand why they thought the way they did and with some people, we ended up having great conversations because they also asked me why I thought the things I did and we agreed. We were level-headed. There were also many people who didn't and they were very rude but I know that they probably didn’t realize how they are acting. 
As I said before, 2020 sucked in almost every way possible. I'm kind of grateful for it in a way now. I'm really happy with where I am at life and myself and the change I went through and now that I really understand that compromise truly is key and for America to really be united we have to understand there are literally millions of people in our big country. We have so many different ideas and mindsets, and no one will ever agree on the same things. 

© Natalie Collins. 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.