On Being Human

By Michael Armijo

Ever since I was in 7th Grade I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t want to just tell a story or discuss life as it happened, but I wanted to share how I felt about things. I wanted to create emotion and somehow help someone understand that it’s okay to be human. I thought if I helped people understand certain things, then they wouldn’t have to go through all that I’ve endured (and Lord knows I’ve endured).
My family and friends have told me they like what I’ve written. They’ve appreciated how I’ve shared my life, feelings, and thoughts with them. This has given me some fulfillment, but not exactly what I had been reaching for completely. I guess throughout my life I’ve wanted to help people because I felt just a little bit different than everyone else, and when I wrote it made me feel a little bit closer to being human. Then one day, it finally happened.
In the first issue of our paper, I wrote an article entitled, “Some Things Are Forever.” It was a story about my father’s death, what had happened, and how I felt about it. It was one of the most fulfilling stories I had ever written as I spoke directly from my heart. A few days later something happened. I received a letter from someone I’ll call Agnes – because that’s her name. Agnes wrote of her father’s death, what happened, and how she felt about it. She wrote of how her father died on New Year’s Eve, and while everyone was wishing each other a Happy New Year, she just sat by a window with a heavy heart. She spoke of that one corner of your heart that will grieve forever, and that there is no replacement. She found comfort in my article, as she felt very alone.
“My hands are shaking as I write this,” Agnes wrote. “This touched me and helped me at a time I needed it the most.” I understood what she was saying, what she was feeling, and for the first time in a long time I realized that I wasn’t alone, either.
My 7th Grade dream became a reality when Agnes opened up. She shared something because I shared something. She reminded me that we all have a common thread; we need each other to survive. I felt reassured that my grief was shared by many and that I will survive after all. I also realized something that we sometimes forget: we need each other’s acceptance, each other’s care, a soft word, a short note, or a sign of acknowledgement from one another. We need to know that in this harsh, rebellious world, there are people like us who care, who survive, who have the ability to live, love, and laugh. We need to stick together, because life can be a battle. And with the help of others, I have realized that dreams can come true. The different emotions that I’ve experienced throughout my life have often been a mystery to me. I’ve told myself that I am just like everyone else; I’m not any different than anyone around me. But a little thought deep inside quite often tells me, you’re not completely like everyone else. When I look around at all the violence, pain, suffering, abuse and so on, I wonder what actually makes people human. Then I think of people like Agnes – who share their experiences, who’ve reached out to say that they care, who believe in community – and I realize that it’s all-inclusive. I realize it’s okay to be human after all.