We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofSaydie Arcique

One of the most impactful aspects of my life is my relationship with my dad. He has taught me that you must love yourself more than anyone else in this world. It started with a phone call. I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was just like any other day after school. I was tired, hungry, and eager to get home, but the minute I got into the car, the phone rang. I can still remember the echo of the ringer. My brother answered and said, "Hello, who is this?," and a man's voice responded back, "It's me mijo, I'm out." I was so caught off guard, and a million thoughts raced through my mind.

My palms were sweating, and my heart was aching. I felt a massive wave of emotions hit me at once. To hear a familiar voice who destroyed me and broke me down to pieces millions of times before. I then listened to the man's voice say my name, "Saydie?". The loud and stern voice continued to call my name. I froze in fear and pain. It was hard for me to bring myself to pick up the phone and make my brain and mouth work collaboratively to form the word "hello." I built up the courage to say hello in a shaky voice. After one phone call, I started talking to my dad more. Months would go by before I would finally see him in person. He had promised me he would come to visit and we would have a day together for the first time in six years. Even though my eyes yearned to see my dad, I knew it was too good to be true. I got a call saying he couldn't make it. It wasn't that I was hurt or surprised, it had happened many times before. 

When he finally came around, he brought his new girlfriend and her kids. It was almost as if he created a new family and forgot all about the one he had. I was confused because he had only been out of jail for less than six months. I was bitter and jealous. I played my role knowing my relationship with my dad was more important than what I felt. Time went on, and he went from being a good father to letting me down time and time again. I thought it was different this time, and it was, for a while. But you can't teach old dogs new tricks. 

From that point forward, he taught me that the most important person in my life was me. I needed to love myself. Had I continued to choose him over myself, I'd still be dealing with a large amount of pain. But I finally took control of my situation, and I decided to love myself more than anything and anyone else in the world. When I learned to love myself, I learned to be happy. To this day, I will never allow myself to be knocked back down by another individual again.

© Saydie Arcique. 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.