I was not always who I am,
In fact, I don't even resemble my previous self.
My friends, if in fact you are reading this,
Put all your old memories on a shelf.
Do you remember the freshman who was always quiet?
The one you might have seen down the hall?
The one everyone called a friend,
But never really knew at all?
You know the one, how can you forget,
His shoes and shaggy hair?
The way he smiled to himself,
When you didn't notice that he was there?
Do you remember the timid laughter,
As he struggled to fit in?
Coming to the monstrous place,
Where not a single person knew him.
I'll bet you never knew.
No, I know you never did.
All the feelings, thoughts, words, actions,
Were all the things he ever hid.
He strut his stuff down dusty hallways,
Secretly hating the way he was.
Incapacitated by his own ignorance,
Choosing to just accept his flaws.
Do you remember the sophomore who always smiled?
The one who was called the nicest boy?
Of course you do, everyone does,
You said his presence was enjoyed.
This was the year he began to see,
The direction his life was going.
He stopped dead, shocked, in his tracks,
When he saw was he was becoming.
He hated himself to the point of breaking,
But he didn't break, he just bent.
He resigned himself, accepted his fate,
As his heart and confidence were rent.
He receded into himself and his life,
Refusing to push harder; to push on.
If only the poor idiot had known,
He could have worked to a faster dawn.
But instead he became lazy,
People only knew him as the nice guy.
And for a while he was satisfied,
Until he found the final question: Why?
Do you remember the junior who always looked high?
As though his mind was always far away?
Of course you do, everyone does.
Because that was the year he learned to play.
That was the year that people finally saw,
Another side to the quiet, nice guy.
That was the year that would change everything,
Because he decided to change what was inside.
"Why?" is such a simple question,
But one that entails the entirety of life.
It was in this search that the boy,
Found something deeper in all his strife.
This was the beginning of a new path,
One that took years to complete.
But it was one that led him higher,
A throne to replace his lowly seat.
He finally learned to love himself,
He learned to throw caution to the wind.
He learned to build and better himself,
He finally learned to love again.
These things did not come easily,
Nor were they close to instant.
The path was long and tedious,
But the boy was finally persistent.
Only a small change was noticed,
He took his seat among varsity ranks.
People noticed a personality,
Where once before had seemed so blank.
The few who he let closest,
Noticed something deep within him first.
Two helped him build and grow,
One tried taking his potential for herself.
Fighting through he found himself,
Another year had passed him by.
But what the boy finally knew,
Was that he could change who he was inside.
Do you remember that one senior boy,
Who walked the halls with a grin and hint of swagger?
Of course you do, how could you forget,
This was the year that boy became bigger.
He suddenly wasn't just the quiet or nice guy,
Everyone looked on as if he were new.
What was the confidence that was in his eyes,
Where once only weakness and fear grew?
This was the question everyone asked him,
The one that everyone wanted to know.
What had happened over that summer,
That caused this whole new person to show?
He couldn't give them an answer,
How could he describe what he had done?
How could have possibly explain,
That he had learned to let go, live, and love?
Suddenly the ones who had ignored him,
Were asking him for his advice.
It felt so good to be validated,
After a lifetime of cowardice.
Do you remember the first game of the season,
When he blew the crowd away?
The ferocity and abandon that he carried,
It was his new favorite way to play.
Do you remember the first dance of the year,
When suddenly he was dating the track star?
Nobody could believe she came onto him,
The quiet boy who had come so far.
Do you remember how he was suddenly important?
It was because he knew all the dark and ***** secrets.
The quiet boy you thought meant nothing,
Suddenly knew everyone's weakness.
Do you remember how he led the class?
He was suddenly leadership material.
You cheered him and his team,
When the trophy was hung with his orange Mercurials.
Only one person thought to ask him,
What exactly had happened, what had changed?
He smiled quietly, once again and said,
I let myself out of my cage.
It took four years for him to love himself,
To find confidence among his fears.
To build himself into a better person,
To gain the respect of all his peers.
The hardest part throughout it all,
Was not to feed on his new found pride.
To retain the innocence of his past,
And somehow keep kindness in his stride.
He was voted friends with everyone,
And indeed, he truly was.
An entire school known by name,
He graduated to thunderous applause.
Do you remember the college freshman?
No, of course you don't.
You haven't really met him yet,
Most of you probably won't.
He's doing well, the quiet boy,
He finally found a balance in good and pride.
He thanks you for teaching him about himself,
The testing grounds where he reached inside.
He thanks you for being exactly what you were,
Some kind, some not, some indifferent.
Without each and everyone one of you,
He might have remained weak and ignorant.
Now he lives his life the best he can,
Living and loving each and every day.
He lets cares pass him all by,
Only letting peace and happiness stay.
He learned to love himself,
That the most important of all that changed.
The confidence and wisdom inspired him,
To live his life unchained.
Surrounding himself with the best people,
Loving life and all its trials.
Holding those he cares about,
Almost forgetting the quiet boy in denial.
I've written here about who I was,
Because it defines who I am today.
I am no longer the weak, quiet boy,
I think the confidence is here to stay.
Learning to love myself,
Was the key to my happiness.
Everything good that has happened since,
Is a result of choosing to leave the sadness.
I write not for my own vindication,
Although in hindsight, it sounds this way.
I merely wish to express my changes,
In as few memories as I must say.
I've lost precious minutes here,
Typing out this soliloquy.
And now I fear that it must end,
There is more life for me to see.
Here I go, into the night,
Who knows what I will find.
I love to live my amazing life,
With this peaceful state of mind.
I realized that I am at an extremely happy moment in my life and I wanted to spend some time remembering how I got here. All of the toils and troubles and terrible experiences that I had have culminated to this one moment, this one day, this one year. Every choice I made, every word I said has been working towards the state of happiness I now experience. If I write with more than a hint of ego it is because I do feel pride for having come so far from the person I used to be.