Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Self,
From a young age, you will already understand that school is like a game of Jenga. First, they build you; then they take a piece of you one block at a time until you have no choice but to crumble. This is the year you're going to start high school. Don't get too excited (although I trust you won't). Your time at Wagner will be a series of disappointments, isolation, and silence. As a tenth grader, you are going to be segregated and corralled in the gym. Here the administration will trap you and pump you full of Wagner spirit. But don't be fooled. When they free you, you will face the reality of the decidedly dreadful institution. Through the hallways, you are going to be pushed aside like the brussel sprouts you once refused to eat. You'll be elbowed by older boys, some of whom will be two feet taller, stronger, and hairier than yourself.
Soon you, my young self, you'll discover what you have always feared: you are no one. A nobody trapped, in the hall with a bunch of somebodies. For the first time in your high school career, a Jenga block will be swiped from beneath you. Crowds of kids walk in an opposing direction to you and a few lost souls. I bet from above each of us looked like fish participating in a salmon run, struggling to swim upstream. In between each slim spaces you sneak a glance at your fellow inmate, they all look the same. They're in a trance. They walk in pairs, skin grey, eyes baggy, each readily armed with cell phones. They’re barely breathing. From a distance, you spot a beaming, stationary group of older students. Encased in their bubble of life, was a brave friend that ditched the welcome speech. He has red eyes and reeks of skunk odors. A block is taken and proudly placed on top of his tower.
Hallways will be the least of your worries because at least there you are not completely alone. Next is lunch. Just from passing the cafeteria you will comprehend the magnitude of the clic...