At school, I don’t have many friends. Actually, I only have one. That is the only reason I haven’t created a Facebook account yet. My best (and only) friend is called Jack. Like M&M’s, we call ourselves J&J. Jack always ends the quarter in the “Headmaster’s List”, mostly because I help him get his projects and his homework done. Although I’m smarter than he is, I always end up nearly failing classes that require lots of presentations. Oral presentations, I mean.

I love going to school, it is one of my favorite places. Well, second favorite – I really enjoy my house because I get to play video games. I especially like the first person shooters, like “Call of Duty”, because I get to kill people, and the violence makes me hyper. Other than eating, drinking, sleeping, playing video games, doing homework, and going to the bathroom, I do nothing at home.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Hello, my name is John, and I live in Florida. Naples, to be exact. Things here in Naples are very similar to Rio de Janeiro. That doesn’t matter much though. Listen up and continue reading, as I tell you a story of how I overcame a huge challenge in my life.

It was the first day of school, and Jack and I were in the cafeteria eating the foods our mothers gave us. I love sharing my spinach, I mean, ideas with Jack, he said I should actually share some of them with the whole grade, but I denied that. I didn’t want to be the center of attention, I didn’t want to have all eyes on me, and I most certainly didn’t have the courage to talk to people I didn’t know well.

“Come on,” he told me.

I watched him pick up his food as he walked towards someone else’s table, and when I got to rapidly look at his face, I could see he was uncertain about that.

“Where are you going?” I asked him.

He continued walking towards them. I could see his hands were very loose and his feet were wobbling up and down. Since I didn’t want to make Jack feel very bad, and because I didn’t want to be alone, I followed him, and sat with him and a few other people.

I was just there, quiet. I didn’t know what to do, or how to react. I was afraid. I quickly said that I’d go to the bathroom, and I left as rapidly as I could without looking very weird.

I got to the bathroom, and waited. I waited for the bell. I stood there, locked inside the bathroom, the very disgusting school bathroom, that contained all kinds of nasty things. I closed the toilet seat and sat there. I continued eating my lunch, waiting for the school bell to free me. Although that wasn’t the best thing to do on your first day of school, it was necessary. I couldn’t stay out there with those people. I began to think this was too big of a step for me to take. I could feel my hands and feet shaking, as a bit of sweat dripped down my face. I was too scared.

After waiting what felt like one hour, the bell rang. I got a sensation of being freed after being held down for a long time. I unlocked the bathroom door and ran, trying to get to my house as quickly as possible. I sped through people, both big and small people, pushing them as if I were in a football game. I got past them, and ran to somewhere I knew I’d be safe. In my car. Finally, after a long day of being a wimp, I got home. As always, I began playing video games.

I stopped playing when dinner was ready. I ate it all without talking to anyone, and went straight to my room as soon as I was done. I thought to myself: “Why am I acting like this? Why am I backing out of everything that is new? I have to change.”

And so I did. The next day at school, I sat down with them at the cafeteria. I didn’t say anything unless they talked directly to me, but I still sat there. That was one of my biggest achievements. I was sitting down with other people, instead of just sitting down with Jack. I was opening up for new opportunities. I headed to class, proud, and was happy for myself for the rest of the day.

The next day, I sat down with them again, but I noticed I began commenting on the things they were saying. It was only a little, because I couldn’t say too much. I was afraid I’d say something stupid and that everyone would laugh at me. This thought stuck to my mind. I couldn’t do it any further. I headed to class, wondering if there was some way – something that could make me talk more.

One more day passed, and I sat down with them once again. This time, when I went to sit down, I felt more confident for some reason. I also felt more comfortable sitting with these people. This time around, they were telling jokes to each other. “If I say something stupid, everyone will laugh at me”, I thought. I heard them laugh again and then proceed to tell more jokes. Jack told one this time, it wasn’t new for me, as he had already told me that one, but the other guys at the table seemed to have never heard it.

It was my turn to tell a joke. I felt drips of sweat go down my face. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the temperature or because I was afraid of telling a bad joke. “Alright, here’s how it goes. Knock knock.” I blurted out barely able to talk.

“Who’s there?” Jack asked as a procedure of the joke.

“Orange.” I told him and the table.

“Orange who?” Jack responded, again as a procedure of the joke.

“Orange you going to answer the door?” I stated. Laughter began. All of the people at the table, creating raucous laughter that the whole cafeteria could probably hear. I felt good when they laughed, but it was a bit weird when tons of people started staring at me as if I did something wrong.

I looked around, and noticed a poster hanging near the entrance of the cafeteria. I could barely read what it said, but I was able to make out the words “Class president! Office!” I thought: “Should I go? Nah… I’d have to make a speech. I’m too shy for that.”

The next day was just like the others. I packed my things, went to school, had a few classes, and went to the cafeteria. I commented about the whole class president thing, trying to contribute a bit to the conversation that they were having about their grades. As soon as I said that, and said that I didn’t want to do it, I regretted it. They all said that I should totally go and that it would be awesome to have me as the class president. They also talked about how I always have great ideas and that I should totally share them with the grade. I was so shocked, that I didn’t even talk for the rest of the day.

I got home, ate dinner, finished my homework, played some games, and went to bed. Once I got there, I began thinking. “What would be so bad about it? Why can’t I just give a quick speech, leave, and hope for the best? Well, I guess I’ve got to take risks sometimes.”

I got to school the next day, and before I changed my mind about the whole class president thing, I signed up for it. I tried to think the least about it for the rest of the day, in order for me not to change my mind and get stressed over the fact that I put my name on the signup sheet for class president.

I entered the cafeteria once again, sat down next to one of the guys, and told the table that I had signed up for class president. Later on, however, Jack came to the cafeteria and said the same thing. My stomach twisted. It would be me versus Jack, my best friend, and there was no way I could back out. I thought only of how badly this could end.

I got home and began writing a speech. I didn’t feel inspired, but then a thought came through my mind. “Why should I go up to the stage and give a bad speech instead of a good one?” I then tried my hardest, using some difficult words that I knew, and just doing my best.

It was time for the speeches, and my whole grade was in an auditorium. I was the center of attention. My legs were shaking, and sweat was dripping from my back and my forehead even with the air conditioning turned on. I tried not to mind that, and gave my speech. It had a few jokes here and there, but nothing too special. I’d say it was average.

Jack’s speech, however, was great. I thought there was no way I could beat him, but I was okay with that, it didn’t really bother me. His boldness actually inspired me a bit.

The next week, the results came out. It was a tie. With that being, we would have to wait for another round of votes to see who was the real winner.

One week later, the final results came. Jack won, I lost. Pretty straight forward. I will admit that I was upset, but not too much. I was happy for his achievement, that is true, but something that made me even happier was the fact that I would be able to share my ideas with the class by simply telling Jack my ideas and then having him tell the school these ideas!

I got home on that day, full of joy, and went straight to my computer. I didn’t have that many friends, but it was something. Making friends was a great achievement for me. I quickly typed in the link: “www.facebook.com”. That’s right, I was about to create a Facebook account.

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One Comment

  1. Superb my friend! Proud of U.
    Superb my friend! Proud of U..i found this article really inspiring and I have myself have gotten a chance to just let go and take out the restrictions that I had set up in my mind since childhood..now im alot better,with lot of friends(well not many) . Cheers man.

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