The Pathway To Happiness

May 6, 2011
A little girl with curly-ish brown hair and small dimples with little hands and feet sits while the grownups talk. My name is Jenny Reyes I am 17 years old and my life has been changing from year to year. When I was a young girl I didn’t really bother my mom much. I was simply a young little girl who sat next to her mommy and listened as all the grown-ups would chatter about all the nonsense kids never understand. I remember very vividly putting on my little backpack when I was around 4 or 5 years of age. Parading around my house with my grandma and mom along to cheer me on. I thought I acted like a grown child. Those memories with my mom and grandma will never go away. I know you may be asking why I haven’t mentioned anything about my dad. Well I was raised by a single mother with the help of my grandma. I never met my dad and to be honest I don’t think I ever do want to. The only thing I know is that he and my mom got divorced a little before I was born. When I first heard this it made me angry that I wanted nothing to do with him. I never wanted to hear his voice or see pictures of him at all. Eventually I saw a picture of him but honestly I look nothing like him. I’m glad I look like my mom; she has a very beautiful complexion with big brown eyes that will make you do anything and very pretty curly dark brown hair. She’s taken care of me since I was a little girl and I know she would never leave me.
My grandma had a great part in raising me as well. When my mom went to work I either stayed with my grandma or she took me to head start. Later in the years I got older and that’s when people realized I was going to be a different child then all the rest of my cousins. You see unlike my other relatives I seem to be very hard working and I push myself. The only thing that was kind of missing in my life was sibling. I honestly don’t remember much of my little brother being born; I can’t even remember what hospital he was born in. What I can remember is having a little boy with rosy cheeks and small eyes and tiny nose coming through the door. My mom held him in her arms like if she were a lion protecting her new born cub. I remember his little tiny fingers clenched as if he were a boxer ready to hit his opponent. My mom sat on the couch and I remember her telling me “you’re a big sister”. I knew I had a little baby brother but I never realized I was gunna be a huge part of his life. As the years went by people paid more attention to him then me but I really didn’t mind. I wasn’t a kid who wanted all the attention on her all the time and it definitely showed when I went to school.
Everything was going well in the beginning of elementary school. Then things started to change once I got to fourth grade. My mom got remarried to the step dad I now have. It was different for me and my brother which didn’t really seem to matter at the time because he was a nice guy and I guess you can say he made my mom act like a high school girl with a crush again. After that he took the time to bond with us as his new step kids. It was sorta strange for me not being with my grandma all the time. The reason for this was because we had moved out of my grandma’s house; I remember that I was really upset. My grandma was like my second mom and nobody really seemed to understand that.
When we had left I remember crying every single night for a couple of months because I wanted to go back to my grandma’s house. I loved her so much and leaving her was like if I had left a part of me somewhere I could never return without getting my hopes of staying again. The pain of not having her there with me was unbearable and I couldn’t handle it. I missed her and nobody seemed to understand that maybe I didn’t want a new dad in my life. That maybe I just wanted things to go back to normal even though I looked at my mom and seemed as happy as ever. I couldn’t tell anyone this because I didn’t want to be the person who sabotaged a marriage. Not me, not this girl, I didn’t wanna change the reputation I had of being a good child. I left it alone for the rest of the time.
Once I got to middle school I didn’t really mind it anymore. I had friends and people who loved me for who I was. I played sports and was a bit of a tomboy but I didn’t seem to mind who I was. I was still a good child and knew right from wrong. Once I finished middle school I was going to high school and I was determined to do more outgoing things and be OUT THERE! I was a little shy…ok I was a lot shy but that was my way of showing people that I was insecure. I didn’t really want people to know but they still took it as that. The reason for my shyness was because when I was in elementary school I was picked on a lot and it made me very upset and closed off. Once I got to high school I wanted to do something that I have never ever done before. My cousin would talk a lot about dance and I remember thinking to myself “maybe I should do dance” which made me happy because I knew I would get more friends while I did something that might be very enjoyable. I remember the first day of my freshman year. Before I went to one of my ex best friend’s house. We got ready at her house and we were very nervous.

“I’m kind of scared to go to school” said Maria I tried not to show that I was really nervous but in fact I was.
“Me too what if we don’t have any classes with people that we know”, said Jonika.
I remember walking across the crosswalk having all the people in the car gaze at us while we were strolling along the long endless piece of road. Finally we had gotten to the other side and I seemed to be very pleased with how far I had made it. There was no time to go back anymore and once I entered I had entered the world that I call HIGH SCHOOL. We walked through the school as we asked people if they knew where each class was. I don’t remember much of that first year except for something that would change my high school life and my friendship. The group of friends I had that year weren’t particularly nice but I felt like I couldn’t leave them because if I did I would have no other place to go. I would be a lost little goldfish swimming in a group of sharks. Not knowing where I would go or who I would become. One day it was a very normal day until the “thing” happened.
My so called friends didn’t like this other girl because she was dating a guy my friend liked. Well I didn’t wanna fall in the crowd of bad people. I actually liked that girl and I had absolutely no problem with her she was a nice friend to me and I was nice to her. She was a short girl and was very smart and had brown curly hair. Oh I had wished that they didn’t hate her because they didn’t even know her. At lunch time our group had gotten in an argument because I didn’t want to hate that girl! I mean how ridiculous is that, hating a friend because she didn’t wanna be like the others and hate someone they actually didn’t hate. I shared a locker at the time with three of them. The funny thing about this whole story is that I was one of the three girls that didn’t mind that girl yet I got “punished” for something that I wasn’t alone in. I finally stood up for myself and I detached myself from the group of friends. I think that I had made I very good choice, it was like when you knew you were doing something bad but then you decided not to do it because you knew that in the end you would be the one getting in huge trouble. Well ya that’s the kind of feeling that I had. It was like I was carrying a humungous jug of water and it was straining my back and shoulders and I finally got tired of it and threw the water on the floor. That’s how amazing it was I felt a huge weight off my shoulder! A relief of some sort I guess you can say.
I hadn’t talked to them for a while but I k new that they were eventually talking about me and making up something to get me back since they were mean people. I had remembered I had left a pretty green undershirt that I had bought at the mall in the locker I shared with them. I couldn’t get it out though because those being as sneaky as they thought they seemed had changed the lock. So one day at lunch my friend had to go to her locker which was just on the other side. We get to her locker and we were actually really happy since we weren’t getting controlled by the group. We get to her locker and guess what we find hung along the handle of the locker! A piece of my green shirt…. What the heck is going on! I had so much anger in me that I wanted to go up to them and just start screaming at them! How could people be so mean that they would actually ruin someone else’s property? Wow I couldn’t believe this, they tried to make it seem like it wasn’t them either but I knew that it was them I mean who else had the same exact shirt and would put it on my friends locker? This hurt me so much that I would go in dance class crying but I wouldn’t tell anyone anything. Until one day I told my dance teacher Ms. Duke. She was a very nice teacher and she actually wanted to help.
“I don’t get why they can’t just leave me alone! I’m not doing anything to be mean top them,” I told her.
“Go to the lockers and try and see if they left any evidence. If you do come back and I’ll send it to the office and tell them what happened,” she said.
”What are they gunna do to them?” I asked.
“She can get suspended and maybe even arrested for ruining property.”
I went back hoping there would be a piece of evidence. My heart was beating soo fast I thought it was going to pop out of my chest. My lips were getting dry and I could feel my eyes water up. I didn’t wanna look weak but when it came to these things I actually was really weak. I looked around my friend’s locker…nothing. Maybe there would be something in the trash can...still was as empty as ever. Just when I had lost all hope I turned over to where their locker was and there was the answer to my prayers. There was a piece of shirt laying there on the ground right underneath their locker. I was so happy! I wanted to cry because they were actually going to feel some sort of pain. Hopefully something stronger than what they had put me through. I was sort of scared to see what the punishment they were going to get since of course they would know I was the one who told. But I couldn’t take it anymore they deserved it and I didn’t deserve anything they gave to me. I’m sorry I was being a good friend and not hating someone that didn’t do anything to me. I eventually started relaxing more because I knew that after that they would definitely leave me alone.
The year after that I went into my sophomore year thinking that it was going to be great. I actually ended up having not one but two classes with the girl that did the worst damage to me. I ignored her at first but then she started being nice to me and so I figured that she felt bad and regretted the whole thing. The year went by and we became good friends again. I couldn’t wait till next year though, that was definitely going to be the highlight year of high school for me. You see when I was a freshman I had tried out for a dance team called Orchesis Dance Company.
I made it and that was my team my sophomore year. I loved that team but there were ups and downs and I felt like I could do better if they actually showed me. So at the end of the year I wanted to try out for another dance team called Pulse Dance Company. I thought this team was so amazing; I looked up to them because even though they had a very hard coach, Mrs. Naasz, they never seemed to give up and complain. They loved dance and that’s all that mattered to them. I was at the point of high school where I had finally found a place to fit in. A place where I knew that I could be my total self and people wouldn’t judge because they would act the same way. So I decided to try out for the team and I was excited, I mean we’re talking about a dance team that went to competitions…in Florida! I was really excited but I was definitely concerned about what the other team mates would think of me switching teams. They talked about me but I really didn’t seem to care, I was going to be happy with what I was going to hopefully have.
The day of the auditions I was terrified, standing in front of the judges felt like I was a slave being auctioned off to people I actually wanted to go with in other words I was really terrified that I wasn’t going to get picked for anything. The auditions actually went really well, but I waited the next day to see the list that would hopefully have my name on it. I remember going to school the next day and walking into the dance room and seeing the entire new Orchesis team. I was very upset and surprised and I knew that I had to ask question. But not then and there what if others thought I was being a little baby? I went into the locker room and there were pulse members there sitting and they all hugged me as if they were congratulating me for something.
I was confused and asked my dance teacher “did I not make the team?”
She looked at me and smiled and said “No but I can’t tell you if you made the other team either.”
At that moment my face was getting really hot and I felt my eyes tear up. I didn’t want to cry but I was so emotional and kind of mad at the same time. I knew I had a possible chance of making the other team. The team that I had prayed and hoped I’d be on but I never really knew. The other members came in surprised me telling me that I had made it! I was so happy I kept crying, at that point I remember my old dance coach hugging me saying congratulations and that she was proud of me. Everyone else eventually joined in the hug. I was happy and I was also very proud of myself. I knew this was going to be a very great experience for me and possibly take me out of my shyness.
The year went by real fast after that soon it was summer and we had practice, very hard practice. Or so I thought knowing I was a new comer, I had never done any of those things these people were doing. Turning on one leg, jumping while doing your splits, I didn’t even know it was possible to have your leg stretch all the way up to your head. The summer was coming and I knew I was in it for good. We practiced every single week and we kept our endurance up by doing abs and different things like that. We had made a routine that we would be taking to UDA camp which was stationed at NAU in flagstaff. This wasn’t any ordinary camp though it was to determine whether or not we would go to nationals on Florida. Camp wasn’t all so sweet though we had to wake up super early in the morning and end up going to sleep late. We would wake up in the morning and head straight to the cafeteria. After we had our delicious breakfast we would go to the gym where our first dance lesson would start. This would be the first day of a tremendous week.
It was time to perform our first routine performed as a team and I was so nervous. Thinking of all the changes we made the day before thrilled me until I saw one of the judges staring straight at me. I suddenly had a knot in my stomach but I didn’t let it get to me. As she stared at me I gave her sassy attitude showing her that I knew the dance and I wouldn’t let her intimidate me. I was doing perfectly fine, pointing my feet at the appropriate time when all of a sudden I forgot a roll on the floor! Oh no I felt my face get real hot; I felt the blood rushing through my body. What if I didn’t get a blue ribbon because of this little mistake I had made? Those ribbons symbolized something! Points!! I was embarrassed but I didn’t let it get to me too much. I smiled big for the judges while I felt myself wanting to cry, I had never felt this way about something so important in my life. The judges walked behind us giving us the ribbons that would determine our destination... Florida in February or back to Tucson. She was close to me and I felt myself shaking. I tried to focus and concentrate on not crying on the event that was about to take place. We slowly put our hands in front of our face and to our surprise we all had blue ribbons!! I knew that we were on a good path and I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to make our goal and dream come true. We gave each other hugs and we cried a little after we had found out that we made it to nationals. Okay I’ll admit it we cried a lot but I mean you had found out that you made it to the biggest even ever you would cry too! We had gone to camp as new teams with a brand new coach not really knowing what he was going to go through. We worked so hard during that week at camp at NAU in Flagstaff to actually receive the honor to show people what we had to bring to nationals.
My junior year had finally arrived and I was ready for anything that was coming my way. Even if I didn’t seem ready I would take the challenge, after all I had a new team, new friends and new surprises that were coming my way. The beginning of junior year was interesting. It was mostly me and my team that hung out since first of all I had no boyfriend and second I had lost pretty much all my close friends to dance. Which I didn’t necessarily mind since my best friends and second family was my team. Many exciting things happened at the beginning of the year, some stuff not so much.
But one day I will never forget is the day I met my boyfriend Andres Castel De Oro. It was a day after school; the birds were chirping the annoying kids were being dumb at the tables around us, we were surrounded by many people but it only seemed like it was me and him. He was a very nice guy and I had recognized him since his little sister was in our youth class program. We talked for a while and I remember thinking he was a very good looking guy and didn’t seem to be the guy who would be mean to a girl. I couldn’t say I like him yet since it was the first time we actually had talked. He had smiled at me a couple times every time he picked up his sister from class but we never had a conversation. I was doing my homework at the time and so was he, until it was time for me to leave. I grabbed my things and said my goodbye to him, thinking to myself if I would ever talk to him again or if he even thought I was cute.
Just as I was leaving he turned around and he got up and said “do any of you guys have a pen I can borrow?” I was the only one with a backpack so I figured I’d give him one.

I smiled with my mouth full of braces and said, “I do!”

“Thanks I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” he has said.

“Okay yea that sounds good,” I replied.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” he has said as he smiled at me.

At that point I made sure to walk away without making a complete fool of myself. We were almost away from the commons when I decided to look back at him. I was having those little butterflies in my stomach. The kind you get when you’re really nervous but you can’t help but get. Well those are exactly the ones that I had, and I looked like a total mess when I was talking to him too! I thought to myself, “I doubt that he was attracted to me in any way.”

“Who was that guy sitting in the commons talking to me?” I asked my friend Margaret.

“That’s CDO,” she replied.

“That’s his name?”

“Well his name is Andres but they call him that because of his last name.”

“I think he’s really nice and he’s really cute too.”

We kept walking, and from that day on I remember that I was really happy. I had gotten out of a terrible relationship a couple months before and I sure wasn’t expecting to find someone who was really nice and aware of things that he was saying. The next day I sure didn’t expect to see him. He had my pen at hand and he was on a mission to give It back to me. I was getting those silly butterflies in my tummy again and I didn’t know If I should go talk to him or not. I just walked around and he walked up to me and seemed very excited.

“Here is you’re pen, it died on me in English class today and I was going to throw it away but then thought that maybe you were like emotionally attached to this pen so I decided to give it back to you. Maybe you would want to bury it you know?” he smiled.

“I’m not emotionally attached to the pen,” I laughed.

“But I appreciate that you decided to give it back to me,” I smiled back.

“Well I’ll see you later, yea?” he looked at me.

“Yea of course you will.”

As I started walking away I heard him yell my name and I turned around. He still had my pen!

“I kind of forgot to give this back to you.”

I laughed a nervous laugh making myself seem like a dork, “Throw it to me I’ll catch it!”

He threw the pen like a quarter-back throwing the football to the receiver in a very intense game. Of course the pen wasn’t going to last long in the air, as it was flying in the air it landed right in between us.

“I’ll get it don’t worry.”

He looked back and smiled “Sorry! Thanks again for letting me use your pen!”

I smiled and said, “No problem, see you later!”

My friend and I walked and at that moment I knew that wasn’t going to be the last time I would see him or talk to him, and I was okay with that.

Later that day I needed a writing utensil and the only thing that I had with me was the pen that Andres said had died on him. I had no other choice but to use and right when I put the pen on the paper it worked! WOW! What had just happened right now? Did he intentionally do this so he can talk to me again? A lot of things were going through my mind at the time. I actually didn’t care what had happened, that pen was going to be a symbol now and was never going to forget it. Who knew that eventually that pen would bring us both together?

We kept talking after that and we began to feel really comfortable with each other. We had our first date and it was one of the most amazing nights of my life. I remember every little thing about it from the clothes he was wearing to the words he texted me after he left. The thing that I remember the most though is our first kiss. We were sitting and watching a movie when all of a sudden he leaned in and grabbed my face. I slowly turned to him while my heart is pounding so fast I feel like I can’t breathe. He kisses me and I close my eyes taking a mental picture of this beautiful moment. I was really nervous but I didn’t seem to care, it was a fairy tale moment and I was the princess with him as my prince charming. His soft lips touching mine, not knowing what to do but embrace the moment. I liked this guy and that single moment he had leaned in and done it made me realize how I truly felt for him. All that was missing was fireworks but it wasn’t important because the whole moment was beautiful. He took his lips off mine and I looked at him and gave him a shy look and smile. That day will always be engraved in my memory because from that day on my life seemed to put itself back together.

On November 8, 2010 was when it all happened. He had asked me to be his girlfriend and I was really happy. Finally someone who liked me and treated me with respect and was a gentleman actually liked me. It put happiness in my life and made me look at things in a better way. Every single day up to now has been amazing and we’ve made it so far that its very easy for us to be ourselves. I can say that I love him!

My team was very happy to hear my news and they noticed I was way happier. My life has been going great ever since and that’s because of the things that I’ve been through. I guess my point of all this is to say that I’ve been through a lot but the things you go through are the things that make you who you are today. All things that I have gone through whether they were good or bad have made me a more independent and strong person. It’s made me realize that you and only you can control your life. Pull through and show people you can push yourself and become successful. You can’t look back to the things in the past you just have to live in the present and future and take them in a something that makes you better.

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