It is easy to overlook moments and their significance in the moment. Getting the opportunity to get to revisit some of my high school memories made for a nostalgic trip and a life lesson showing that every moment can shape you in different ways.
Last Name, First
I remember walking into the the cafeteria with my father the day we have to come into school in the summer to get our pictures taken. I was wearing my Daisy (by Marc Jacobs, classy, I know) perfume and a white blouse that is still my favorite to this day. I remember seeing my ex boyfriend Luis there and him trying to talk to me. That made for an interesting conversation with my father later that evening. They asked for my last name at the table where we get our schedule and I said Miguel they said “No, last name”. Do I look like a Miguel? I mean yes I’m Mexican but I also have boobs and Miguel is not an “any gender” type of name. My four years of high school would be riddled with teachers thinking my name was Miguel on the first day of school and me having to raise my embarrassed hand to say, “Well I mean my last name’s Miguel but I’m Nayeli”. I think a little bit of attitude can be accepted and appreciated because after all, the formating has never changed. Last Name, First.
In today’s day and age it is very difficult for people to find a place where they feel safe and in control, both quite literally and symbolically. Like refugees seeking shelter from war I sought refuge from a war within myself and, what I found was more complex and more beautiful than i could ever ask for. Escaping through other people’s problems is something that I never thought I would consider to be a good thing but, stepping on to the stage and morphing into someone else was a blissful experience. To get to forget about one owns problems for that moment and instead take on someone else’s is such an escape. It’s weird how playing different characters and getting to be someone else brought me closer to who I really am. I have no fear of showing who I really am most of the time. Theatre will always be my home where I can kick off my shoes, lay back and, watch TV. It filled me up with new concepts and views on the world. It helped me view the world in shades of pink sometimes and, blue other times. What some people are afraid of I loved doing most and I will never forget the different experiences theatre gave me.
I remember the first thought I had about mrs. stewart was that she was “too nice”. Her exuberance seemed to fill the air and my lungs but it never suffocated you. She would write little quotes every day and then moved on to doing it every week. Or she wrote them every week and then moved on to do it every month. Either way, she returned to doing the part that was more often in the end. She stopped doing it so often because she thought no one saw them. What she didn’t know was that those little quotes were what motivated me and kept me up every single day. I was glad that she later realized how much those quotes helped people even if it was only a handful of people. My friend Emily and I would copy each quote down to remember and I don’t know where I have those quotes but I hope I still do. One of my favorite moments to this day was whenever I shared a quote with her and she later told me that she kept the quote and that she looked at it whenever she was feeling down. The quote read, “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you down with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and, keep aiming’’.
Heaven Help a Fool Who Falls in Love With Their Best Friend
One of the biggest mistakes I made in High School was dating my best friend. I should’ve known when he tried to hold my hand and I interpreted it as him wanting to shake hands. Sometimes people should date their best friends but Jack and I were only ever meant to be best friends. It wasn’t anything tragic but I did feel dumb afterwards. Realizing I might have lost a friend. We didn’t talk for a long time and then I decided to approach him again, as a friend. I remember the days leading up to me asking him if he thought we should try to be friends again because he was my best friend before anything after all. I was scared, nervous for the response. Scared he’d changed into a whole new person. Nervous he wouldn’t want to be friends. I realized that he was still the same guy I’d always loved and will always love. A change like the one he’s created can not go unnoticed. Interactions with him made me a braver person when it came to expressing my feelings.
A bridge, a connection, with old friends as well as new people I’d never talk to afterwards. Grace introduced me to this bridge that felt eerie at first maybe because it was nighttime and it was desolate. We met a new friend the first time we went there. It was truly out of a movie scene and it was inspiring how open he was to sharing his story with us. His name was James and he was on his way home from his parole meeting. Shortly afterwards I’d introduce my best friend Maggie to the bridge. We go there sometimes after work to talk. Those talks that are hard to remember because of how miscellaneous they are. I hope to keep coming to this place in the future. To make the air easier to breathe in and connect even more with the friends I visit this bridge with. It’s weird how standing even a little bit off the ground gives you a feeling like you’re on top of the world. It doesn’t matter because in that moment when you’re so open and can talk about anything you are on top of the world. You’re unstoppable.
How I Learned to Love The Sky
I have to thank my good friend Maggie for awakening my deep admiration for the sky and all of the marvelous colors and shapes it has to offer. I learned to love the sky more than ever during the summer leading up to senior year. Maggie and I would watch the sunset from wherever we could. The best moment during a sunset is the seconds right before the sun goes down and all of the light makes everything warm for the last time until the next day. That’s the type of warmth I felt whenever I was with Maggie. I’d never seen anything more beautiful than the pink skies summer had to offer. Once I realized the beauty the sky had to offer I’d be able to translate it into anything. It’s always pink skies with Maggie and for that I’m forever grateful. I don’t know if I love the sky as much as I love Maggie or if I love Maggie as much as I do the sky. Maybe she’s a part of the sky that I’ve been allowed to have here on earth with me.
It’s Not a Metaphor I was Actually Really Tired
My most boring class during my high school years was psychology taught by Mr.Armas. I ALWAYS FELL ASLEEP IN THAT CLASS. It was so dark and boring. It didn’t help that it was warm either. The warmth of the classroom made me cozy up and my eyes would lull themselves shut as if I had bricks on my eyelids and I couldn’t find the strength to lift the bricks. I have restless leg syndrome and I found that not moving my legs kind of helped me stay awake. Keeping my legs still made me get cramps which made me stay in pain and, in return made me stay awake. I felt guilty for always feeling so tired but junior year was wearin me down and having that class at the end of the day also didn’t help. Junior year taught me to get sleep in wherever and whenever I could even if it meant sleeping through lectures.
The Different Loves of Our Lives and Where to Find Them
It is amazing to see your friends do what they love and be good at what they do. I spent most of my high school years hanging out with people who would never shut the heck up. They never stopped singing show tunes or songs they had written or whatever was on the radio. They never stopped bringing music into my world. I spent most of my time with people who stayed true to themselves no matter what and, for that I’m eternally thankful. I drew inspiration from their constant desire to play music to follow my dreams. High school really did enhance my love for things I already loved. I also found new things to love.
High school was something I was scared of in my younger years. I was scared of the person it would turn me into. After four years I realize that I haven’t changed much on the inside but rather everything I am gets to show through my skin more. I’m not scared to talk about what I love, I’m not scared to dress how I desire, I’m not scared to show who I am here. I still am scared of the outside world because it is riddled with hate and unacceptance. I’m now more than ever more honest with myself and with others. I’m wiser and I realize that there is much more wisdom to gain, more passions to find, more dreams to chase. I learned that change comes from within and, how are you suppose to change the world if you’re not living in it? That’s why it’s important to know what’s going on in our community and globally because if you don’t like how something is you do have the chance to evoke change.