People I've Met | Teen Ink

People I've Met

March 12, 2022
By Anonymous

Author's note:

When writing this story there was a lot of things that I added from my real life experiences and what I have learned from each situation I found myself in. 

8th grade has been a time of realization for me.  I now know how much more hard work I need to put in every day if I want to be something great.  I realize who my fake friends are and who are my ride or die’s.  Some of my friends complain about the things I do and judge me for the things I like and some support me no matter what.  

I play basketball.  I’m always at team practices and training sessions.  Every weekend I’m at tournaments and on Sundays’ my dad drives me all the way to Santa Monica for practice.  I basically grew up in gyms and long days out of the house.  I’m always with my mom and dad and see my teammates, who are like my sisters more than I see my brothers.  My family has drifted from us due to the fact of never having time for them and it is ninety-nine percent of my fault.  We could never have a nice barbecue with my aunt and cousin because some sort of disagreement happens between them and my mom and dad.  This is again…my fault.  We don’t see each other enough.  My mom doesn’t call my aunt enough.  In one particular situation,  we couldn’t attend my nephew’s birthday party because I had basketball games.  My aunt sitting there with a mean look on her face.  

“ Siempre estan en los juegos.  No puede aser un dia sin yevar a Karisma a practica?”  

My mom and dad gave each other that look. 

“Karisma le justa jugar y no se lo voy a quitar.  Si eya quiere esta a y.”  

I sit there in silence waiting for an argument to break out.  I love playing basketball and I can’t imagine my life without it.  It makes me happy. Why wouldn’t my own family want me to not be happy?  How could they not?!

I have talked about all the negative things basketball has done in my life, but really it has been one of the greatest things that have happened to me.  Random girls and random parents that I met became my closest family.  We share secrets that I wouldn’t even tell my school friends.  We go to theme parks together, share drinks, and borrow each other’s shoes.  They have become the sisters I wished I had.   They make every game and practice something I will always look forward to.  We have been a team since we were 8 years old.  Although, some of my teammates join a year or two later, in a week we seem like we have known each other forever.   When we were just starting AAU basketball we sucked ass.  We would get blown out by 50-60 points.  We were a joke.  Now we have improved so much.  We get invited to big tournaments and get compliments wherever we go.  Just last week a boys basketball coach said he loved the way we play.  We get compliments like that even when we have a bad game.  The people-watching ask for our names as we walk off the court.  It is the best feeling ever.  I have become really good these past two years and I started playing at 4 years old.  Coaches from other teams have asked me to come to help their team for tournaments and have complimented me for my vision on the court.  I’m a point guard and I don’t wanna seem like I’m bragging or anything, but I have the best handles on the team.  That’s the most fun part of basketball to me.  I spent hours perfecting tricks and improving my dribbling skills.  My second older brother claims to be the best shooter in the family, but I’m the best ball handler.

My oldest brother is someone who has made me mad these past three years.  If he weren’t my brother I would hate him.  He would be my worst enemy.  He has caused my parents, especially my mom, so many headaches and bad days.  He goes out late at night and doesn’t come home till morning.  No one ever knows what he could be doing.  My brother and I are not alike at all.  We may look alike, but we have different personalities, interests, views, and different everything.  He pushes my buttons and I push his.  I like making him mad on purpose.  I do it not just because most siblings do it, but in a way to make him pay for how mad he makes me.  He makes stupid choices and has met stupid people.   

His car is filled with empty water bottles and it smells like mixed weed, perfume, and hand sanitizer all at once.   Older siblings are usually someone who a normal younger sibling would most likely look up to, but in my case, he’s an example of someone I shouldn’t be.  He says he’s gonna do something and ends up not doing it.  He isn’t consistent either.  He slacks off and is lazy.  His bed is a mess and my mom can’t stand it.  If he runs out of clean clothes he doesn’t bother to wash them.  He just buys more clothes.  He also never pays his bills on time and he gets way too many parking tickets.  He gets in car crashes like every day of the week.  I hate the fact that I could give so many reasons.  I hate how awful I make him sound, even though these things are true.  He’s like a mistake that can’t be fixed, or like a rat infestation that I could never make go away.  It’s not really him that I hate, but the things he says and does. 

My second older brother, who is the middle child is way different, I think.  To be honest, I don’t really know what he actually does away from our family, but if he does anything bad he’s good at hiding it.  He is someone who I sort of look up to.  He is a photographer who just started for the love of it.  Now he does what he loves to do and makes money from doing it.  He never gives up and if something knocks him down he just gets back up.  He gives great advice sometimes.  We are more alike and we share kinda the same humor.  We fight almost all the time, but we forget about it a minute after.  He would play basketball too.  I wish I went to go see him and my other brother play.  It would’ve been nice.  He talks about how teachers would hate him and how he would disrupt the class.  He maybe could’ve been a class clown.  Then again, I never know if he really is what he seems to be.  

I wish my brothers would talk to me more and share things with me.  I wish I could be able to tell them anything. I want to share everything that is going on, especially right now.  One of my brothers ask me a month ago if I was hiding anything.  

He said “You know you could tell me anything, right?  You don’t have to say anything right now, but I’m here and I won’t tell mom and dad.”  

Sometimes I wish I was closer in age to them.  They both already graduated high school and I’m in 8th grade.  I feel like I’m a burden to them.  They both complain when they have to give me a ride to school and a ride home.  They also complain when my mom asks for a ride somewhere.  Just yesterday they let her take the bus alone somewhere and these days it’s really dangerous being by yourself.  I feel like an only child most of the time.  My parents and I always go out alone because my brothers are at work or have better things to do.  I wish we could all go to the movies like we used to and go to the mall or maybe even go out to eat.  I hate the feeling of being like an only child.  My oldest brother says I probably enjoy it since my dad spends most of his money on me.  Something I really miss is seeing how happy they get when they used to open a Christmas present.  They wished to get the game they wanted for a long time or the shoes that every boy in school has.  Now,  everyone looks at me to see if I like my present.  My family spends most of their money on me.  I sound really ungrateful.  Don’t get me wrong, I am really grateful,  but I want to share the happy and exciting moments with my brothers.  To be honest,  I miss fighting over having to sit in the middle seat in the car.  I miss going to a nearby parking lot and riding my scooter or bike with them. I wish I was eight years old again.  

I remember rehearsing my three-year-old birthday party dance.  You know the mini quinceanera Mexican mothers throw their three-year-old daughter.   The funny thing is that we practiced so much just for three-year-old me ended up running out and not doing the dance.  There were so many people.  Most of them I didn’t even know.  They were probably there for the food.

Let’s take a trip to my 5th-grade year.  I was one of the tallest girls there.  I felt out of place in a way, but now I realize they were all just short.  I was the average height.  Some of the boys would call me a show-off just for being good at basketball.  They should see me now.  Overall most of the kids at school would compliment me and want me on their recess basketball team.  It made me feel good about myself, but those mean boys destroyed my confidence.  It affected a big part of my life.  They made me not want to try hard anymore.  I hate letting people get in my head.  Their words still replay in my head almost every day since that happened.  I am gaining back my confidence though.  It isn’t the same and it is coming back slowly.  I wish I could thank them for making me stronger and making me work harder now.  I know their words aren’t even bad compared to what other people say but 5th-grade me use to take things to heart.  So, it stuck with me since.  

Next year in 6th-grade, the first year of middle school we did a sort of an Olympic unit in PE where we could choose any sport we wanted and go to the teacher every day.  There were 6th, 7th, and 8th-graders in every sport.  Basketball was mixed with mostly 8th-graders and a couple of 7th and 6th graders.  The teams got mixed and we played against this one particular team who had this tall 8th-grade boy.  I’m not gonna lie, he was my first crush. It was like a crush like how people have crushes nowadays.  It was more like a little girl crushing on Justin Bieber type.  He complimented me a lot on my basketball skills and my ability to dominate on the court.  He boosted my confidence and I think about it a lot now that I’m in 8th-grade.  He would call me “golden”.  Best nickname I have ever received.  He made me feel really good about myself and he is someone I am really thankful that came into my life even if it was for a short period of time.

Fast forward to now–8th grade.  I am someone who 5th-grade me never thought I would be.  Not in the way you may think.  I have deeper thoughts and feelings.   I also think about the same things over and over again,  I think more about my decisions and the things I say.  I have become more social and I’m not shy anymore, so you could say I am an overthinker.  I used to be really shy in elementary school.  I don’t even know how I had friends back then.  Now, I am able to become friends with mostly anyone.  Most of the time I hang out with my friend, Kimberly.  I have been friends with her since 6th grade.  She is someone who I helped get out of her shell.  She used to be even shyer than me.  Sometimes I hang out with a group of three friends.  They aren’t shy at all.  They are the ones who are down for anything.  They like to have fun during lunch and get in trouble.  Kimberly is fun too, don’t get me wrong, but she is someone who actually keeps me in check.  I have friends for every class except my 4th period.  I mean there are people I know and I occasionally talk to, but they aren’t really my friends.  It’s history.  I’m not a big fan of history.  It is so boring all we do in class is have the teacher assign online assignments and tell us to shut up.  I have lots of other friends that I say hi to in the hallway.  Some yell my name, while others just wave.

This one friend I met in 6th grade avid and history is someone who showed me what fake friends look like, Karina.  Let me tell you how it started.  From the start she was funny and we shared the same sense of humor.  I think this is why we stayed friends for a long time.  At first, I noticed that she was really insecure and would talk about how she wanted to lose weight.  We went to Knotts Berry farm one time and her sister and her friend tagged along.  Karina all that she would talk about is how skinny her sister’s friend was.  The whole time.  

Summer was coming to an end and Karina kept saying how she was excited about the exercise at PE and not eating the gross lunch food.   She would also talk sh*t about the friends she would hang out with.  Next thing you know when school started she hung out with me and Kimberly during nutrition and lunch.  All of a sudden we would never find her at lunch and she would be hanging around the girls who she talked so badly about.  We would still wave hi to each other in the hallways, then as time goes by we stopped waving, we stopped making eye contact, and once in a while we touch shoulders, but we won’t even look at each other.  We were so close and now we’re just strangers.   Now I wonder if she talks badly about me to her friends.  I feel so stupid for defending her in conversations and keeping her name clean from other people who didn’t like her.  They were right the whole time.  They saw her negativity faster and clearer than I did.  In a way she didn’t hurt me she’s just hurting herself.  It didn’t hurt to lose her as my friend.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m glad she came into my life because she showed me what kind of friends not to rely on and who to not be near.  

High school is coming up really soon.  When I say really soon I mean less than 4 months.  I am most excited about basketball.  I love competing against older and stronger players because they make me better and I could learn a lot from them.  Older players also make me work even harder in a game to prove that I could play with them.  Those are some of my favorite kinds of games.  I am excited to stay every day after school to practice and another thing I am excited about is spending my high school years with some of my best friends (my teammates).  Our parents decided to all apply to the same school and we all got in! Hopefully, we get the same lunch schedule though because it would suck if any of us was left alone.  

My 8th-grade year is probably my best year yet.  I have met some amazing people and I hope to continue our friendship even if we might go to different schools.  In my science class, I have met three people just by being assigned seated next to them.  Their names are Brandon, Angie, and this emo-looking kid, Alan.  We got so close so fast.  We text every day. I have also made a lot of other friends.  Sophia, Adrely, Kimberly, Michelle, Shelby, Gabby, Valerie, Daniella, Cassie, Angela, Cynthia, Starla, Valeria, and Leyla. 

I have made my life sound amazing, but there were obstacles along the way, people I had to face, and more are piling up as I speak.  One thing I really want is confidence.  I want to be able to reach and show my full potential.   I know I could do so much more, but I’m always scared to mess up.  I hate making mistakes and failing.  That is something I hate most about myself.  I know what you’re thinking.  

“You aren’t ready for the real world and you will never succeed if you are scared to make mistakes.”

Well, you are absolutely right, which is exactly why I want confidence!  I should really learn from my brother.  He isn’t afraid to make mistakes.  In fact, mistakes to him mean learning experiences.  

Something that is really holding me back is my oldest brother.  Since basketball is a big part of my life, confidence is something that is very important to have, but due to my brother I “suck”.  At first, it didn’t affect me, but lately, it has been getting in my head.  It sounds mean and true when he says it.  I don’t know why I let him get to me.  He hasn’t gone to my games in a long time.  It still hurts when he says it though.  I feel no support from him at all.  

I feel like I put other people’s needs in front of mine.  It sounds nice and something that I’m supposed to do, but in reality, I need time for myself.  Instead of trying to save everybody else, I need to save myself.  I try to make everyone happy all the time, but am I happy?  I want clearance and acceptance with myself.  Then again I want the struggle, the hate, the success, everything.  Not in the way you may be thinking.  All these things will make me stronger and better.  

My dad told me I should have that kind of mindset.  He is someone I look up to the most.  He works hard and tries to give it his all in everything he does.  Even if it isn’t his thing.  He has taught me a lot of things and I will always love learning from him.  Having him as a dad is a blessing.  People complain about their dads and the things they do.  I am thankful to not be able to relate to the things they talk about.  As I said earlier, I am an overthinker.  Is my dad too good to be true?  Or is he really that good? 

My dad is someone I hate letting down, so I am trying my hardest to be better and maybe one day repay him for all he has done for me.  That is why I spend so much time on homework and basketball so all the sacrifices he makes for me don’t go to waste.  

I pray to God every night and my prayers usually sound the same each time.  God must be tired of me repeating the same sh*t every day.  I usually pray for my family,  my friends, and things I really want, like success, health, wealth, better basketball, confidence, and a better life.  Sometimes I feel like he answers, but lately, I feel like I haven’t been getting them. 

Lately, I feel like I have been letting everyone down.  I try to make it better by being funny and always being in a good mood even when I’m not.  I try to make everyone in my life happy even when I’m not at my best.   When people call me funny it is the best compliment ever.  It makes me feel good about myself.  When people laugh at my jokes it makes my day.  Yet, I still feel like I am missing something.  I know I’m young, but sometimes I feel like I am too aware of what is going on with my life.  In a way, it is a good thing, but I notice all the bad things and I get sad.  Sometimes I also feel like I am at a breaking point and I say to myself that I should quit everything and don’t think and just do things.  

I talked about the kind of people I have met and the ones that have impacted my life dramatically.  I know that without the people that I have let in have always left a mark.  In my life, there have been people who have tried to knock me down and make me fail, but they still helped me in a way.  They showed me what kind of person I should and shouldn’t be.  They make me become a better person and show me new things. They make going to school something I look forward to.  I think there are people that help you become the person that you end up being and you could be thankful for them even if they aren’t meant to be in your life forever.  That short period of time could make a huge difference in someone’s life.  I often think about what kind of person I am in somebody else’s life.  You could be the villain, a best friend, or somebody someone will miss.  What role do I play?  I know that the roles I play don’t define the kind of person I am or the kind of person I’m going to end up being but with any person, I will meet along the way  I will try my best to make a positive impact in their life because I know they will make one in mine.  

I’m not sure what kind of person I am or who I want to be, but all I know is that if you are struggling with the purpose of your story, don’t worry I’m still trying to find mine. 

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