Facing Everest This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Life is about growing. We can grow slowly, or suddenly. For me, a boy helped me grow up a lot last year without him even knowing about it. He took me on the craziest emotional roller coaster ride I had ever experienced, and I came off of it completely changed for the better.
It started right in September when I spotted him at the end of the lunch table. His tan skin and light brown hair left me at a loss for words. His face had sharp lines, but a soft mouth and soft, brown eyes. But what really struck me was his immense height. Probably six foot five, or taller. The fact that he was a year older than me, him in 9th grade and me in 8th, made him even more mysterious. Thus, I developed an enormous crush on this boy, who didn’t even know I existed. Once I had overheard his name, I then searched all social media platforms to discover everything about him, cause that’s just what girls do. After gathering all of the available information, I created the idea that we would be perfect for each other. So over christmas break, I came up with a plan to introduce myself to him in the halls after sixth hour. It was simple. All I would do was walk up behind him and say ‘hi’. I rehearsed what I would start off with and thought of all the things he could respond with and came up with responses to those too. What could go wrong?
The day came. We were back at school. All I could think about was what I was going to do. The anxiety and fear brewed inside me all day long. Once the bell rang to let us out of sixth hour, it all fell apart. I rushed out of my class to the hallway I knew he came down. I waited against a wall until him walked past. After I saw my crush float passed me, I held my breath and started after him. I walked hard with long strides until I got up to only a few steps behind him. My heart rate increased to a thousand beats per minute. I looked up and stared at the back of his head, about a foot above mine, with wide eyes. I felt like an adventurer staring up at Mt. Everest. There it was; so great and grand and terrifying.

That’s when reality came in and hit me at one hundred miles per hour. What am I doing here? Why am I doing this? How am I going to be able to do this? I CAN’T DO THIS! But no, I had to do this. I’d told all my friends I would. I told myself I would. Heck, I told my grandma I would. But looking up at Everest made my mind go numb. I was finally here, in the place I always fantasized about, but now I was unable to do anything. I was stuck at a fixed pace behind this amazing guy and I couldn’t recite the first word of the daydream that had been on my mind all day. That stupid, dumb, childish daydream. Then my opportunity was gone. His friend swooped in and got to him before I could and their socratic seminar was all that was on their minds.
In that moment, my dream was crushed. I could feel my heart in my throat. I took a deep breath in as I witnessed the situation in front of me. Swiftly, I turned around and darted away in the opposite direction before anyone could see the tears forming in my eyes. I thought I’d failed; that my whole life was over. I’d never be able to do anything ever again!
I cried lot of tears the rest of the day. Although, I wasn’t sad because my crush would never know who I was; I was upset at myself for not doing, what I thought, I was determined to do. If I couldn’t do the simple thing of introducing myself to a boy, how could I EVER find love. But the truth is, my was heart was beat up by no one other than myself. I’d created this perfect fictional reality that was all in my head with this person who was oblivious to my existence. It was something for my adolescent heart to hold onto, and it is the feelings that were attached to this childish fantasy that broke that day. I am the one who believed so hard. I am the one I let down when I realized how foolish and ridiculous these fantasies were.

That innocent 8th grader is not like me today. That girl only knew of relationships in movies and storybooks, the fantasies. She was naive and ignorant and vulnerable. The me today understands that life does not play out exactly how you wish it to. It requires real courage to take a risk and put yourself out there, especially when romance could be involved. I’m grateful for that 9th grade boy. Without him, who knows how long I could have had my nose stuck in a storybook. Now, looking up, I approach life with a brand new perspective.

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