First Draft for Workshop

As of recently becoming an adult in the past year, I can confidently say that I am proud of the person I’ve become and the character I display. I’ve made it an oath to myself that I should live life in a way where I never judge anyone at first glance, and never think worse of something just because something is different. Uniqueness in people and things, along with finding something worthwhile in everything, are qualities I’ve learned to adore and live for. However, ‘learned’ is the keyword. Some people are good people at heart as soon as they gain consciousness, while others need to work their way up there through self-reflection and change. I was the latter.

At the birth of the 2020s decade, it’s a recycled tale that this new decade harbored some of the hardest times for people who lived through the pandemic. Although I can share this sentiment with the rest of society, another sentiment that was often found among people who experienced the pandemic was that it was a blessing in disguise in many factors. For me, the ‘blessing’ I received from the pandemic was a long-overdue change to the way of thinking I had at the time. Prior to my significant self-reflection, I took pride in my personality being very blunt. I would tell myself at the time that the way to live was to always tell the truth no matter how harsh it was. In theory, this personal philosophy isn’t all that terrible on the surface, but that’s only what I would tell myself, and not what I would actually stand by. In reality, I would take my personal opinions and force my thoughts as facts in my mind. This led to me acting in a manner that would sometimes harm others and portray myself in a terrible way that I look back on and denounce for the way I was acting.

Throughout the pandemic I had a friend group I would talk to every day online whether it was through our group chat or through calls. It consisted of a variety of people who knew each other in middle school and got closer at the beginning of our freshman years regardless of the fact that none of us went into high school together. However, the problem with limited contact during the pandemic is that emotional understanding is limited to the confines of our devices. This leaves a barrier of judgment that would be gone if you were able to talk to someone in person. Even though we would talk constantly with one another online as if we were narrating our lives to each other, it took me a while to understand how my closest friends’ perceptions of me were shifting. Whether it was due to a joke I made that wasn’t funny at all and rather annoying to deal with on the contrary, or me ‘hating’ on something constantly. At first, my friends would call me a ‘hater’ ironically because I was rather critical of whatever the subject of conversation, but it would eventually become just an accurate description of the person I was at the time devoid of any irony the name-calling once had. 

Eventually, I would notice the shift in attitude my friends would take when talking to or about me. It would vary from the feeling of being scorned during conversations and being left out of the very few hangouts that could’ve occurred during a pandemic. I had become a friend that one wouldn’t want, and I was slowly feeling the repercussions of it. At first, I tried to justify my actions and try to victimize myself. I would tell myself that I was just ending up as the butt of the joke always and in a sense, I was the one who had to get bullied in the group. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was looking for excuses to justify the way I was acting when the actual course of action would be to look within myself for change.

It took some months leading up to the beginning of my Sophomore year to finally begin to change. It took a while to get there, but eventually, I learned that I wasn’t a victim of anyone else’s wrongdoings but myself. I made it a mission to develop myself into a more likable person. My odd, but albeit simple, method of choice to force myself into changing for the better was a routine in which I would wake up in tell myself in the morning “I need to stop”. Call it personal affirmations, manifestation, or whatever you like, but simply telling myself I will become a better person really did work. After a couple of months, I began to notice changes in myself for the better. As someone who used to be really sensitive to emotion in the prior, I had become much more serene. I used to suffer from minor anger issues on getting upset about things that were insignificant, but now I rarely find myself getting frustrated at minor things. It was as if my whole outlook on life had changed. If something didn’t directly affect or harm me, which was most things, I would never waste my energy on it. Such as getting angry because someone in front of you walks too slow, or bumps into you because they’re in a rush. Why should I be mad at them when I’m sure they have their reasons for acting like that?

The benefits of my self-reflection would quickly begin to shape. I had become significantly closer with my friends. We would hang out much more often even before all pandemic restrictions had been lifted, and the overall vibes and attitudes I would feel from them had healed and gotten uplifting. I distinctly remember a conversation with a friend about a year after I had ‘changed’. He said to me “You know that one time me and Leroy hung out during Covid and got food without anyone else? It’s kinda crazy that I remember shit-talking you because you were so annoying”. He laughed while going further to say how much nicer things are now. This further confirmed my resolve in that I had made a necessary change in myself. It has created a great lesson in me, not just for self-improvement but in other areas like problem-solving, everything starts with yourself and you can only get better when you look within yourself.

2 thoughts on “First Draft for Workshop

  1. The teachable moment for Sadman was the shift between him and his friend’s relationships.

    The lead was during the second paragraph that gives context to his change in attitude and outlook on life.

    The shape makes sense. If I have to make the shape I’ll say it’s below the middle line and it dips lower before raise higher above the middle line.

    I can identify with learning of let little things go and not let it affect me. The line “I’m sure they have their reasons for acting like that” is literally something I remind myself when dealing with people in public.

    I’ll like an example of what you’ll say or do in the group chat during 2020. Like what “jokes” would you make or what is something you’ll constantly “hate” on? An example to further explain why your friends did what they did.

  2. Hi Sadman,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    My main feedback for revision revolves around the Teachable Moment and opportunities to make it stronger:

    – From reading your piece, I saw that the teachable moment was when you realized that you needed to change for the sake of keeping your friends. I noticed a few moments where presenting the teachable moment could have been stronger. First, I noticed that when you mention that your friends had been calling you a ‘hater,’ you were sort of vague as to why. I believe that this part of your essay has an opportunity to be stronger with more specific details as to how and why this came to be.
    – You might want to expand more on how exactly you began to change your perspective. You mentioned that you would tell yourself you would change every morning, which seemed to be effective. I think you could expand more on your perspective of this choice, and why you believe it worked.
    A few minor points:
    – I would work on your word choice in some areas. I think when you say “vibes” for example, you could subsite “feelings” or something similar.
    A few questions to be clarified:
    – Why was it not upsetting to you to hear that your friends had been saying mean things about you behind your back during quarantine? (last pargraph)

    Best,
    Juan

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