2024 – Awardee – Mishelle Hernandez – Green Canyon HS

Mar 26, 2024

Who Am I?

Growing up my mom always told me that I always knew who I was from a super early age. She said that by the time I was a few months old I knew that I was Mishelle. Whenever they would call my name I would always respond to it even if it wasn’t concerning me and my name just came up in the conversation. I was always confident with who I was, I was Mishelle, it’s that simple, right. Nope.

High school. Either the best thing or worst thing for someone. I was scared, who wouldn’t be. It’s a whole new environment with a whole bunch of new people, new teachers, new topics, new everything. I thought I found myself there quickly. I didn’t think I struggled much. Everything became a daily routine to me quickly. It stayed like this up until I turned 16.

A mental battle, something everyone goes through, at different times, at different levels. I didn’t know what my “trigger” was. I just felt lost, and I lost my motivation. I wouldn’t talk to anyone at school, or home, and had to at work because it was customer service. I felt like I was spiraling at some points. And slowly it wasn’t only me who was spiraling. I didn’t know who I was.

In the beginning of 2022, I found out my father was cheating on my mother. I didn’t believe it, I pretended I never knew. I lasted long, longer than I should’ve, knowing without saying anything. It was May 1st when I found out my brother knew as well. But it was too late, he told my mom. So, I had to tell. It all just spilled. I finally understood the saying that the beans were spilled.

It all went by so fast. It started with my father apologizing over and over again. He’s my dad, how could I react to this. Did I hate him for doing it? I didn’t know. I still don’t know and it’s two years later. He then moved out. He tried fixing the relationship with me and my brother. It worked, to an extent. Things improved, things worsened, it was a cycle of good and bad. And then sooner than I thought it was going to happen, he called me telling me he was leaving back to Mexico. I didn’t believe it, but he confirmed it.

It’s now 2 years since everything happened. And 4 months since he left. I moved cities since everything happened. I’ve done better than I’ve ever seen myself. I found ways to cope with everything that was going on around me. I started a whole new high school. I connected with people I never saw myself  connecting with. I slowly started finding myself again.

I have grown to see past the things that have happened. We all have gone through rough times. And we all deal with them differently. I talk to my father at least once a week. My mother has moved on from everything. And my brother has been able to start speaking to my father again. Everything feels good. I’ve always seen TikToks about people saying that life feels like the intro to the song “Good Days,” by SZA. I get it. I finally get it. And it’s a feeling I am so happy to finally understand. I know I have to keep working on myself and my well being, everyone does. We can always improve. And I’m happy to know that I have the support of my family and my friends. And most importantly I have my own.

I can say that I have slowly found myself again. I’m Mishelle Hernandez, the girl who says that her secret talent is juggling but when she actually does it she can’t even throw the objects properly, the girl whose laugh is always the loudest in the room, the girl who says “hey” to everyone but rolls the ‘y’ for too long. I’m Mishelle, the girl who always texts her best friend good morning and good night every day. I’m Mona, the youngest daughter, the girl who loves to annoy her brother at any moment she can, and the girl who spoils her nephews with anything she can buy. I’m President, the girl who plans the in class activities, the girl who says hi to anyone and everyone she knows in the hallway, and the girl who is always picked on to volunteer in class. I am me, and I know that now.

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