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People our age


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Jacob never seemed right in the head. Or at least that’s what it seemed like. Middle school moments of awkward strange behavior tend to give a person that kind of connotation. Well we’re all weird in middle school aren’t we? I looked like I was half boy with my black sweatpants and blue sweatshirt zipped all the way to the top. Yes, all the way, I never felt open. With my hair pulled down straight in a ponytail glued to my neck with a hair tie to keep in all my worries. That hair never got washed. Those dreadful days each month when my mom sat me down on the edge of her bed and ripped and yanked the rats’ nests out of my hair, she was convinced my knots were alive, or at least hoarding some dehumanizing creature. Nevertheless, I had not yet discovered the fact that I was a girl, and how great that gift was. Under all those sweatshirts and demon hair was me waiting to open up like the lines between these words.

Meeting someone your first year of middle school can leave an impression for LIFE. I’m sure that demon child I was is how some who’d rather not got to know me still think of me, if you can relate to that. And that’s what I thought of Jacob. That kid who would beep at you in the hallway and hit you with his books if you were walking too slowly. He was always kind of shy; never spoke his mind in a crowd, a little rude to some people. He gave off the vibe that he was weird, hence stubborn, hence mean, hence strange. So no one really tried to associate themselves with him. But on that day where fate in the form of a new student, kicked me out of my chair and made me move to an open table, I sat in the shadow of the almighty, all powerful, Jacob.

I was tense, as any kid would be after 7 years of not speaking to someone because they’re “strange”.

I take whatever opportunity I can these days to speak to whoever is around me. I’ve found that everyone is so complexly different. Every single person has a point of view that you will never have, even if you do somehow get their shoes and step in them. Each person you meet is a new story waiting to be told, with an intro, a body, a climax, a downfall, and a resolution. The problem is getting that story out of the author. No one wants to open up. Everyone is afraid of embarrassment or “What will they think of me? Is this too much? Do they even care? Am I whining?” There are many people out there in the world who are still working on themselves that they don’t have time for someone else. Being uptight and selfish roots deeply in being insecure and unsure. Blocking people out through superiority is the most ingenious way to create a chain of unsure, nervous people, who never think or know if they’re good enough to be listened to.

Jacob was good enough to listen to.

Asking a simple question, “So Jacob what colleges are you looking at?” can lead you on a segue to a life you never thought you’d live, a world of knowledge and experience that can only be bestowed as a gift. The ideas and thoughts running through Jacob’s mind are undoubtedly one of a person’s I haven’t met until this moment.

“Most of the time I feel like my mind is so scrambled with ideas and thoughts and conspiracies that I can’t figure it all out and it’s so hard.”

This honest sentence was spoken to me after I asked what he put on his senior bio. He said he left it blank. For anyone else that answer would’ve struck me as a lazy, uninvolved, or just plain old stubborn and “I hate you all anyway” mentality. But the fact that he has so many thoughts and beliefs that he can’t contain them in a minuscule 100 characters blew me away.

Each new day after this Jacob was an open book. He had even resorted to whispering to me what he thought about the lesson. Which in his world is what he thought was wrong about the lesson. I’d focus on the theory constructed by the teacher, and then have an alternative whispered into my right ear. I’m all for thinking differently and challenging adults’ ideas, because that’s what people our age do. And I use the term “people” strictly. I never respected the label of a “teen” or “kid” when spoken by an adult. So many connotations come to mind when you’re labeled so degradingly. You’ll never get the respect of a “person” that you deserve. People our age are the new generation. We’re the future caretakers of our slowly aging adult “superiors”. In a few decades we’re in charge of the world. To me, that means our theories and beliefs should be respected just as much. It’s an honor to be trusted with the ideas and thoughts of a visionary like Jacob. People our age aren’t too quick to speak aloud. Our minds are our award-winning novels. We believe in what we think about, but sometimes don’t have the strength to share it. I swear, having someone trust you with their thoughts is one of the most valuable gifts you could ever be given.




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