The Big Day

June 21, 2008
My hands shook as I stood in line. The announcer calls another name. I look at the tiny slip of paper now dripping with sweat from my palms. The writing was nearly illegible. My eyes began to water. I had finally made it. I thought to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming, but thought the better of it. After all the pain and all the drama, the big day was finally here. If I had been ask a few years ago, I would have never believed I’d be standing in this line. These last few years haven’t exactly been paved with golden memories and sunshine. They were, instead, filled with pain, anger, and regrets.
High school was supposed to be the four greatest years of my life. They were supposed to be filled with new relationships, new discoveries, and new adventures. I was supposed to go on my first date and have my first boyfriend, and have my first kiss and fall in love for the first time. It didn’t exactly happen that way and it’s all because of a man named Jake Hendrix. Jake Hendrix has become a name known to most of my family and the people around me. He has become an image of loathing and disgust and his name brings anger into the hearts of many. To me, he is only a stepping a stone that took me a while to get passed, and a part of a memory I can live without. On October 12, 2006, when I was walking home from school, he grabbed me and took me to his house and raped me. It was a traumatizing time in my life. I blamed myself for what he did to me and I began to hate myself. My life became filled with anger and sadness, and slipped into a deep depression. I started cutting myself, running away from home and attempting suicide. I took pills and bathroom cleaner. I looked up ways to kill myself on the web. (I couldn’t believe how many sites on how to commit suicide there were.) I became a mere shadow of my former self and locked myself in a dark room of my mind. Nothing mattered, not even school, which had once been my reason for living. For almost two years, I stayed in that state. I was in and out of hospitals and mental clinics and psychiatrists’ offices. I wouldn’t talk to anyone and the more anyone tried, it just pushed me deeper into my mind. Then one day, when I had nothing left, I met the most incredible person. His name was B.J. Douglas and he was my choir teacher. I never liked singing and hated the fact that they had put me in choir, but his class was different. He showed how laugh again and to believe in God. He listened to me and never judged me. He became like a dad to me. I’d email him every day, and he’d always respond. He never pressured me to talk about how I felt or what was wrong with me. He was my refuge. I began trust him more than I had ever trusted anyone in my life. I lived to hear his silly jokes and his fatherly wisdom. He never held anything back and he told me all about his life and the things he had been through. So, one day I did the same. I told him about Jake and about how I blamed myself for what had happened, and to my surprised he listened to every word I said and never once changed his expression, or judged me. He helped me come to terms with what had happened and helped me talk about it to others, like my counselor Angela Hopkins, and my associate principal, Stephanie Meshell, who later became an immense proportion of my success. The pieces of my life started coming together again, and I started to come out of my shell and live again.
The announcer calls my name, “Jerryka Robinson.” I take a deep breath, lift my head up high. As I walk across the stage, I stare at the audience. Mr. Douglas sits on the side of the stage with a huge grin covering his face and a “thumbs up” and Ms. Hopkins is on the other side doing the same. I smile at them as I grab my diploma. I finally made it. We finally made. This is it. This is our big day.

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