The last time I was in Blanco, I could not step into a building without someone whispering behind my back. Every time I made a step, people would look at me, wondering what I was planning next, as if I was planning to do something horrible. While I was raised my whole life in the town, it had become somewhere I wanted to get out of. I never thought I would be able to escape the misery I felt while I lived in the town, because it seemed as if I could never catch a break. No matter what I did, it never got me anywhere, because someone was always fighting me back the whole way. I finally came to the conclusion that I would never make it if I didn’t walk away, which is exactly what I did.
Since I moved from Blanco, I’ve entered college in Tennessee to obtain a teaching license. It was a struggle in itself to get into school, as I had no money or help from anyone, but I made it. I’ve been able to pay for all my expenses, even though the job market has been horrible. While the semester comes near its end, I’ve rethought a lot about my past, particularly on how different this year has been compared to the fourteen years I spent in Blanco.
To those who remember what I was like when I was growing up, you’ll probably remember that I was a troubled child. I asked for help from many people, but all I got back from the majority was the feeling of being ignored. Hardly anyone in the town bothered to try to understand me (not to say there weren’t a few people who did), and I rebelled. I rebelled because I was tired of being stamped on, whether it be a certain high school principal whose sole mission was to have me expelled (as was told to my parents), or simply my peers, who took the time to pour urine in my school locker. I acted out in ways I know now I could have handled better, and for that, I’m sorry. Admittedly, a lot of the flack I received wasn’t warranted or deserved, but some of it was.
The reason I’m writing this letter is because I’ve realized something very important that I feel needs to be said, not only to the citizens of Blanco, but to everyone in the country. Not everyone who struggles to conform to society is simply a delinquent. While I couldn’t even graduate from high school because I went against the grain on practically everything, I’m now in a respectable college making decent grades. I work with the Democracy Foundation in reforming government, and I have just been made a County Executive where I live for the Democratic Party. Even though I was repressed, I did make something of myself. Everyone, regardless of the problems they may have, has the potential to do something great, and people should take the time to try to encourage the growth of that potential, rather than crush it simply because of a personality clash.
I mean this from the bottom of my heart: please do not dismiss someone for their problems, but recognize them for what they have to offer.