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Change of Pace
The flame grew higher with every fraction of a second. Things are so slow, I see my friend by the fire holding his face, the other two are in full sprint into the remaining dark of the night. The boom echoes through the creek leaving us with a deafening ring in our ear. I feel the heat from the explosion all over my body. The fire lit up the creek and we run. My friend keeps yelling “F*** my face hurts!” and the whole time I am terrified to see what happened. We find a small hill to hide behind and rest. The smell of burnt hair radiates off me, my friend is laying down holding his face, another is looking at the cuts he got from running into a barbed wire fence and the last friend attends to them. We were hurt, scared, nervous, alive.
My name is Luis Angel Garcia, I was born on May 28th 1994 at 12:02 pm in hot Tucson Arizona. I grew up with one sister Gaby Yannete Garcia, 3 years older then me. Short girl with black hair and dark brown almost black eyes. The beginning is fuzzy, I remember a dark room with a small glass coffee table and black leather couches, a black bean bag plopped in front of the tv. As the tv flickers in the dark a shadowy figure comes and gently picks me up from the bean bag after I had fallen asleep. I never remember being put back in my bed but it always felt good to know I would end up there. Next to that I only remember a small kitchen with brown cabinets, a glass table with black chairs and a vase filled with different colors of flowers in the middle.
My dad was a short dark man. Buzzed head, two gold teeth, you could label the clothes he wore as gangster. My mom was tall, very light skin for being Mexican, and long blonde hair. My dad decided to move out of our house and build a new one in a lot we found in a neighborhood. I sort o remember the house being built, playing in the dirt pits and the giant hole where the house would be. After that, I remember sitting in my dad’s big red truck down the street from my moms, it was silent and neither one of us knew what to say, there’s was nothing really to say. I had heard yelling the night before, but I didn’t know what it was for. Then I remember my mom talking to me and my sister about him moving out. Then it was a long period of time where my dad lived in a new hotel every one or two weeks, he partied non stop for a couple months. I didn’t really know what was going on or how to deal with it. After a while he decided to settle down and find a small house. My parents found other relationships and had more kids. Delyssa my step sister that my dad has raised since she was two and a 4 year old half sister Makayla with my step mom and dad. Then with my mom and step dad 6 year old Anthony celeya.
I was a normal little boy, I was hyper, could never stop talking which ended up getting me in a lot of trouble. From pre-school all the way up until now I’ve gone to the same school district. Known the same people, I’m comfortable here. Although elementary was normal, nothing special it was still fun. I was usually shorter than everyone else, buzzed head, my dad dressed me how he wanted me to look. Gold necklace, polo button up shirts or g unit, K swiss or Jordan’s, long denim shorts, that sort of stuff. That’s who I was. I guess you could label it as a gangster, I never really liked how I was dressed but it was the clothes I was given so I just grew up with it.
In fourth grade I was sent to start my communion. I wasn’t really sure what this meant, I wasn’t that religious and honestly didn’t care much for the lord since I didn’t know that much about him but out of the slight belief and respect in my religion I went with it. After countless Sundays in a dull empty class room with a mono toned teacher and almost no personality to her, I was finally able to receive the bread and wine during church. For some reason this was not an accomplishment in my eyes, I did not see any purpose in this. Why? I’m not exactly sure but I didn’t fully understand. I had learned about my religion and god yet I still found no purpose in having to deal with all these rules god and my parents threw at me, but it was how I was brought up I had to follow it. Two years later I find myself looking back at the blue spiked gates of Walter Douglas elementary school for the last time.
In the summer, I was sitting in my room alone. I was already laying down ready to fall asleep when my mom burst in through my door. She tells me ”you stay away from the windows, do not go outside for any reason, there’s something going on outside.” As I sit in my room I hear yelling and argueing off in a distance, towards my grandma’s house a couple houses down. I try to make out what they’re saying but it’s just a blur of cursing an yelling. Out of nowhere, BANG..BANG..BANG over and over. I had never heard a gunshot, but as the sound ripped through the air I immediately knew what was going on. I ran into my mom’s room and attended to my new born baby brother Anthony. All I remember of that night is feeding my little brother, and a terrifying feeling in my stomach that things were not right. When I wake up in the morning my mom gets me and my sister together. She hesitates, and then says “those gunshots you heard last night, were down at your grandma’s house, we don’t know what happened exactly but your dad was hit in the hip.” Nervous, I interrupted
“Is he okay!?”
“yes he’s going to be okay. He’s alive and at the hospital, we have to wait to see him though.” My sister then asked,
“will he be able to walk again…?” my mom sat there, looked down for a split second,
“ it’s too soon to tell. Your uncle will be leaving tomorrow to go see him, you guys will go with him.” We had to wait a day to see him because police were investigating. That day was the longest day of my life, I was anxious to see my dad. When I saw him laying in that bed, tubes everywhere in him, I have no clue what all these machines do. I know these things are keeping him alive but for some reason I began to cry. I couldn’t take the fact that my dad was in all this pain. After calming down I realized that in time things would be okay. After sessions of physical therapy he was able to walk again. Things began to slowly go back.
As the summer comes to an end, hello jr high! I was so excited and nervous I didn’t even know what to think! Thoughts rushed through my head, screw butterflies I had butter eagles tearing up my stomach. That night I watched the clock from ten pm to 6:45 in the morning. I walk in and see grey and blue octagon buildings. I’m lost in a crowd of scared little kids, although I can’t complain, I’m with them there… as I find my way to the center of campus I am relieved to see some of my old friends. We all talk about how much bigger the jr high is and what we think it might be like. The first couple days were a little weird, of course I needed time to adjust. After awhile I started to figure out where to sit at lunch, where to meet friends during passing periods, I got comfortable again.
Just like elementary school I was simply another normal kid. Nothing special honestly, I had nothing really outstanding about me at the time. I needed something that was “me”. I started to notice kids saying how they went out and bought this shirt, and these shoe. I had had enough of my old style, being the gangster Mexican kid everyone knew me by. I told my dad to take me shopping for new clothes, and to my surprise all he said was “alright, lets go”. I thought he would reject the idea of me dressing differently than him but I guess not. I remember walking into zumiez and looking at all the clothes and not knowing what to do with it. I felt out of place in there, I was shy and felt like I shouldn’t be in there. After looking through some shirts, jeans, and new shoes I was happy with what I had picked. I was happy I was me, in the sense that I chose what I wanted to dress like.
I had some trouble in 7th grade with grades but that was simply due to laziness on my part. After catching up with my grades I finally was eligible for a trip I had been waiting for all year long. The clean crisp air, sounds of waves slowly crawling onto the shores of Catilina island then retreating back into the ocean, vines rapped down the sides of trees, every color of flowers you could imagine and trees as tall as an 80 foot building everywhere I look. It was beautiful, I immediately fell in love with this place. I couldn’t hear any cars, no noise it was just a clean, natural quiet place. We went scuba diving and saw tons of colorful fish, hiking through the most beautiful trails while eating wild berries that we picked as we walked, fishing, oh man I had the time of my life. While on this trip though there was one thing that was always in the back of my head for some reason. No matter how hard I would try to get it out of my head it just wouldn’t go away. It was a girl, yes I know I was only twelve but hey I liked this girl a lot.. When we got back to school after a couple days on the island I began to talk to her more and more. Something happened though, someone else came along. By this time I was head over heels for this girl and I thought she felt the same. As time went on turns out that someone else that came along took my girl… again I know I was young and didn’t know what true love meant but I felt something, and it wasn’t good. For some reason I moped around for the longest time, im not exactly sure why but I was just not happy anymore. I realized that she had left me behind like nothing, with no feelings back which is why I was so upset. So I decide to do the “right” thing or so I thought and move on and just find another girl. Eventually that didn’t work out either and left me in another depressing state which I wanted nothing to do with. After getting over all these stupid feelings I had a neutral life for a little bit. Nothing exciting was going on but nothing bad either so I couldn’t really complain. Everything was okay up until I got some news about some one in my family.
My favorite uncle, the smartest man I knew, the happiest man I knew, the person who had tons of life in them was about to get it sucked right out of them. He was a smoker and along with that came the cancer… I told myself that the kimo therapy would work and just like my dad he would be okay. As the days went on he got more tired, the color in his face began to fade, his words became more and more slurred. The part that scared me the most, when he would look at you, you couldn’t see that life anymore. He was gone, it wasn’t even him. He would no longer even look at you, he would simply looked through you. It was around 10:05 pm and me and my sister were getting ready for bed when the phone rang. My sister answered and immediately my heart sank when I saw her face. I knew. My mind when blank and I had no idea what to believe, I was in shock. There would no longer be that uncle to answer questions I thought impossible to answer back, no uncle to make his hand into a pretend spider that would go after me and tickle me. All that was gone.
A small yellow room had all the old pictures where people sat remembering. Off in the front people were out for a smoke to calm them selves. And off in the back room you heard the pain and sorrow of a family. I honestly have never been in such a depressing place. Maybe it was because I actually had a connection to the person. It was terrible, one by one they walked up to touch his face one last time, see him one last time. Trying to make themselves see that smile again some how but no matter how hard they tried to lie to themselves they knew that smile wouldn’t show those perfect white teeth anymore. Me and my cousin Joel who is the same age as me, skinny Mexican with short black geld hair stepped outside to get a break. He sighed and rubbed his face. “F***, this sucks.” I think for a second and all I can say is,
“What do you mean?”
“Well we’re done crying, sort of. I’m not saying completely forget about him but, how do we go about all this? Never mind, I don’t even know what I’m trying to say.”
“No I get what you mean, we just move on I guess. There’s nothing else left to do…” I thought more about what I had just said, I knew the only option left was to move on and that’s all I could do, but for some odd reason it hurt to move on. Time went on and things got better over time.
Summer came and I was excited especially for this one. I would fly out by myself to California with my aunt to hang out with my favorite cousin. We went paintballing, played video games, hung out with friends, this was exactly what I needed to get my mind off of everything. We were sitting outside just relaxing when my cousin Jr breaks the silence and asks “ Do you trust me?” confused I asked
“ Do you trust me?”
“Yeah I trust you, why?”
“ Okay, so now that we have that cleared I need to ask you something else. What do you think about smoking?”
“…. I don’t know, it’s never really came up before. Will it hurt me? And what does it do?”
“ Not at all. The only thing that will hurt is your throat and its only like a dry feeling. I wouldn’t tell you to try it if it would hurt you, and its really hard to explain. Your going to feel really happy, you might feel light. Music will be a trip haha.”
“I believe you.”
“Sweet, so you wanna try it?”
“ Hold on one more thing, will I get addicted?”
“ Oh hell no, your fine when it comes to that. I would never give you something that’s addictive that’s just messed up. My friend Victor is coming over in a little, we’ll smoke then.” Victor rang the doorbell, I immediately I got Goosebumps. A skinny Egyptian kid with long black curly hair walks through the door. We go to the back yard and I watch him break down the weed in his hands.
They taught me briefly how to suck in, when to let go of the carb, all that stuff. I can still remember how much it burned my first time, I coughed up a storm. The taste was something like nothing before, I didn’t know what to think of it. All I remember is drinking some weird carbonated water that help the ashy taste that was left as well as the terrible cotton mouth and burning throat and after that I’m not really sure what happened. I did feel really happy, the world was different though. Sounds were more distinct, everything was just positive. I understood what he meant by the light feeling. Music was my favorite. I could hear every single sound that was being used, the music just sounded so much better.
There was a side effect I guess you could say. The worst virus you could ever get. Guilt. My parent had always told me to stay away from that kind of stuff. I felt so bad I couldn’t forgive myself for what I had done. I just felt like I had done the mot terrible thing because it was so frowned upon by people I knew and cared for so I obviously cared about their feelings for me. I called my good friend Adam one day. He answers the phone “Hey man what’s up!”
“ Not much just chillen’. hey I got to talk to you about something though.”
“yeah what’s up?”
“ So yesterday… yesterday I smoked weed for my first time.” there was silence.
“ Okay? Ahaha!”
“ Why are you laughing?”
“Well is that the problem?
“ Yeah, well kinda‘. I just feel guilty I guess, so many people are against it I just feel like I let a lot of people down.”
“Hahaha bro your fine. It was only once right?”
“ Okay then there ya’ go, it was only once. Your not hurting anyone not even your self. If it was only once and there’s plenty of people that only try it.
Summer ended and I swear, this was almost like a cycle now. I was going through the same crap as last year! Stupid things like girls and so many other stupid things were getting to me, I was being dumb I guess but I was so depressed. 8th was awesome no doubt. Me and my friends had a blast, but there was always something I was sad about. I was sick and tired of it, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went on another trip to Catalina, sort of different but we went to the same island. To my surprise, the cycle continued. I ended up falling for another girl, maybe its was just something about the trip that made me want some one more I’m not sure but I hated it so much. Only because this girl ended up being the exact same as the last one. It was all the same, things were always depressing or frustrating to some extent for me and I was not enjoying it one bit. I always had something to be mad about, which needed to change badly.
Time came for eighth grade promotion. I was over all the girls and B.S for the meantime. It was weird seeing every one in formal dress but it was nice and different. There was a constant slide show of all the eighth graders during the two years we were there. I remember there was a picture of my with a piece of a squid on my tongue that I had dissected while on the 7th grade Catalina trip. It was sad, I was leaving, even though I had a lot of depressing moments I had my good ones. I told myself high school will be very different. I love how right I was.
The high school was huge! Compared to the jr high at least. Just like the jr high I was kind of nervous but just like the old cycle me and my friends found our place. It was pretty fun, we had a huge crowd going, at lunch we connected three long tables and filled them all every single day underneath the tree. There’s a part I’m forgetting about this awesome time though, my favorite part. The girls! (sarcastic if you cant tell) I ended up falling for another one and she was the exact same as the other ones. I swear they were out to get me. But after crying for no reason I was damn tired of it and I had had enough of all this nonsense coming from me. Beginning of freshman year I watched a video that I would never forget.
This video is the reason I am who I am today, why my life has completely switched around. It was a video describing the theory behind the law of attraction. This theory states that you are able to make the impossible happen, that the world actually revolves around you. Now hear me out I know it sounds ridiculous, how could any one ever control the world? One answer, energy. The law of attraction is described by the world being made up of energy as well as the universe. That negative thoughts would bring on negative energy and making your life pretty miserable. Though there’s positive energy. Energy that allows you to control your life and just be happy. Another point is that the world as you know it, is your world and no one else’s. What you see will be completely different from what some else sees. It’s your world that you are able to create so why not create a world where you are completely happy but not busy fantasizing too much on a world that will never exist.
At the time I told myself I have nothing else to lose, so I tried it. Every morning I woke up telling myself it will be a great day and nothing was going to happen. I wouldn’t let the small things get t me. What sucks about the law of attraction is its very difficult at first to actually start seeing change. Because its almost like lying to yourself its so hard to believe in, but as time went on I believed more and more each day. I slowly began to laugh more and more each day. I saw the happiness around me with all my friends, I started to actually appreciate life and the best part was, it was for no apparent reason. It just happened, I dint have to go through a near death experience. I started to do better in almost just about everything. I made so many more friends which leads me to a minor speed bump in my streak of happiness.
I had been invited to a senior party, I was told there would be ecstasy but there was no way I would touch that stuff so I would just stick to smoking. I walk in to a house with green carpet, a large open living room with tan couches and a big Tv that had crazy lights and colors to the music. I wasn’t even on drugs and that thing was tripping me out. People were playing beer pong on the long brown wooden table, a hookah circle was going on in the kitchen. And I could smell the weed coming from one of the rooms. I felt sort of uncomfortable since I felt out of place with only seniors and one other freshman but after seeing that I knew most of the people there I was fine. I walked down the hall way and as I draw closer to the end door the smell gets stronger and stronger. I open the door and see nothing but white, immediately I backed away for a bit since the smoke was so over whelming at once. Once again, I was high. The night was so strange, the looks on peoples faces I had never seen before. The ecstasy had kicked in and immediately the atmosphere changed. It was now a real party. Never before have I seen the need for people to dance. The techno blasted as people danced their hearts out. I had never actually been around hard drugs until now and I must say, it was and experience seeing these people. The way they acted, was something I had never seen before. I remember walking a girl to her car because she was scared to go alone but on the way she wouldn’t stop playing with my hair. She said it felt amazing and she couldn’t stop. I had heard about what ecstasy does to you but I dint actually believe some of it until now. The night went on and we continued to drink smoke and laugh. We played drinking games and just had fun hanging out. I remember going outside to smoke by myself and reflected on what was going on, wondering if this was for me. I didn’t think much of it so I let the idea go and got back to the party. After this, it was all just a blur.
I continued hanging out with friends and having the time of my life. We have done so much. Went on adventures to some random creek we found, making explosions in my friends back yard, making movies for no reason, we just had fun how ever we wanted. No matter what day it was we some how managed to do something amazing and memorable. Me and a few friends ended up going to a few more parties and after almost getting caught we were done for another while. I went to California again and again, had the time of my life over and over. Things kept getting better and better. I knew it was because of the law of attraction. I never questioned it too much because why ruin something that’s benefiting me personally? After much thought I almost saw it as a religion, although it actually wasn’t. it was merely a lifestyle that I lived by.
As I looked further into other religions I came across one that pretty much sums up the law of attraction. Buddhism has many forms but there was one that fit me the best. It describes that there really is no god. Buddha himself is actually not a god, simply a wise man that passed on his life teachings. This immediately sparked my interest knowing that I didn’t have to worship some one that might no even exist. Just for every one to know, this is my personal belief, I am not stating that I am correct. This is simply my personal belief. Buddhism also believes in going with the flow of life, going with the energy of the universe and of yourself. To not fight things in a way that will make your life trouble some. The best part was, the only thing you worship is your life. To me this was very similar to the law of attraction. I began more of the Buddhist practices and saw the very same results. To this day I am still a Buddhist. All these positive changes made my high school years amazing so far. I got winter formal royalty, I went on a leadership retreat which was also life changing for me, I just began to do so many more things. I began surrounding myself with more positive energy and just making my environment more positive.
A few months ago I witnessed possibly one of the happiest environments I could ever imagine. I had been planning a trip with my sister, her boyfriend and a few other old friends to go to phoenix for massive rave, the name was Colossal. So many top famous DJ’s were going to be there and we were not going to miss it. It was a two day event, the first day was okay, the DJ’s weren’t amazing but they weren’t bad either. The second day was the day we were waiting for. We woke up in the morning and a group of over 15 of us walked through the downtown streets simply enjoying the day, it was strange though every one here was different then people I had met before. They enjoyed the smallest things in life, they laughed at the littlest things, it was great. It was nice to know I had people around with a similar life style view.
As time came we all got ready for the rave, the girls put on their fuzzy leg warmers and crazy colorful outfits, the guys sat and talked while the girls took their time. I sat in the back, nervous, anxious for one thing. Before I came, they asked me if I wanted to roll for my first time (take ecstasy). They told me the pills I would have were pure, cleaner then any other pill I would get. Not mixed in with any other random drugs, and since it was so pure I wouldn’t withdraw from any of those random drugs the next day. It would leave my body almost instantly. I thought about it for days before coming, and I decided yes. I looked at the white powder inside the clear capsule, I grabbed a glass a water along with every one else, the pills were down, some dropped strips of acid. Every one cheered and yelled in celebration, we left the room and mobbed to the rave.
We walk up to the security, get patted down, and I smirk as my fake ID passes. We walk in and it is a party! There were so many more people on the second day, we rush to the stage and immediately start dancing. We were having so much fun but there was one thing, I was still sober an hour later. I didn’t feel it yet, but I waited and continued to dance. As time went on I got more and more worried. Honestly I was only worried that I wouldn’t be rolling for my favorite DJ that was here at the rave. I kept telling my sister I don’t feel it and she just kept telling me to wait, that I’m just anticipating it. After two hours I turned to my sister’s boyfriend Jake and said,
“Dude screw it, I want another pill. It hasn’t hit me.”
He grinned, looked at me and asked
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, tonight is the night for this.”
They grabbed another pill the had snuck in, they opened the capsule half way that way when swallowed it wouldn’t take extra time for the capsule to dissolve, it would just be in my stomach straight.
We walked to the second stage to go watch Felguk, my number one favorite do, I was so excited. They began their intro, the song was semi slow building anticipation, whistles and yells fill the room. The music stopped, the room went silent, and the beat dropped. We went crazy and we danced our hearts out. I looked down and see a light up ball, my eyes flutter back and forth making the light go every where, my body felt good. I was rolling, hard. The feeling was like nothing before, I could actually feeling the music inside me. The bass kicked my chest, the electro sound vibrated through my body. I couldn’t help moving my mouth constantly, my jaw was locking. I chewed on my necklace to help. I kept playing with my hair, the lights on stage were insane. They looked so amazing, I cant explain it. I specifically remember one moment, a song ended and as the new one began it started to climax. I felt the song climaxing, the song felt so good that it stopped me in my tracks, I turn to the stage and stand in awe, I look and see the silhouette of the crowd, I lean my head back and simply listen. My body feels amazing, I feel like I’m in heaven, and then the music dropped and I went crazy. The crowd jumped in unison and I see the silhouettes of hands and heads, it looks like something out of a movie. I danced non-stop, I kept telling myself to not forget to drink water. I was having the time of my life, doing all my favorite things like listening to music, raving with my finger lights. The feeling I got from every one in there was, over whelming in a good way. I just felt so alive and happy. We decide to leave and as we walk back to the hotel I feel complete. I was with the people I love the most and that alone was great. I began talking to my new friend Ben and say
“ I’m really glad I did this with all of you guys. None of my friends do these kinds of things and not only that, I really only feel comfortable doing these things with you guys.” Ben replied and said
“Man you know we got you! Haha I’m glad you had fun!” how did you like rolling?”
“Not gonna’ lie, I liked it a lot haha.”
“well that’s good that you didn’t have a bad experience with it.”
“yeah, I don’t know the only reason I did it is because hey when am I ever going to do this stuff. Never! Eventually I’m going to get too old and I realized that time wont wait for me, high school is not something to just shrug off. I might as well have as much fun while I still can.”
“good point, at least your doing something that not every one else is doing”
it was weird, but that got to me. I realized Ben was right, I was doing the one thing I loved the most out of all, living to be happy. We got to the hotel, grabbed our cars and headed to an after party. We drove for awhile and pulled up to a warehouse. I was a little scared but we stepped inside to find lights, techno, and people who wanted to party. We sat back and listened to music, talked, and smoked a lot. My favorite part of the night was sitting next to my sister and her boyfriend. We sat on the couch and we were facing a wall. The wall had tons of graffiti murals, and that was enough for my sister and her boyfriend for the night. They had taken Albert Hoffman, a type of acid. I was so interested in what they saw, I constantly asked them what they were seeing. They explained how everything was waving and changing colors, the lines of the letters would glow to the music. As the night went on we grew tired and decided to head back home to Tucson.
The ride home was and experience. As we rode home we listened to music but the music had such an effect on their trip it was awesome. I kept asking them what they saw and they would explain how the mountains in the back dance to the music, that when certain sounds went off they saw flowers spin out and bloom spitting out even more colors. I though t myself how great it is to have so much fun simply watching nature and listening to music. I smoked another bowl and thought to myself if all this was for me. The drugs, the parties, I had began smoking often. We are what society calls the druggies, the pests, the youth who destroys their lives with drugs. Society saw us as pests with our loud obnoxious music and very ways of life. The way we lived was frowned upon, smoking weed, rolling on ecstasy, getting fried on acid but here’s my take on it, we are doing what everyone else can’t do. We are feeling something no one else will feel. We are they few people that live to simply be happy and no other reason. We are the lucky people that get to say, I am alive.