I believe in believing in people.
In my nineteen years of life, I’ve seen what happens to people who have no one believing in them. When I met Jason on a casual night downtown with mutual friends, I was 17 and he had just turned 20. I didn’t think I’d talk to him anymore after that. I had seen him around for the past three years and I had heard stories. He was a drinker, a smoker, and a player. He was just one of those guys who seemed like they would be more trouble than they’d be worth.
We started hanging out and I soon started to see that there was a lot more to him than there appeared to be. I learned that he was adopted, his best friend had left for Iraq and the last girl he had truly cared for screwed him over. He had started hanging out with “the wrong crowd” and became wrapped up in their world of smoking pot and wasting away on the couch.
All I wanted was to be someone he could lean on, to be someone to pull him out of the hole he was in and the hell that he felt. All I had to do was listen. I told him how I felt about the choices he had made for himself and I gave him advice when he asked, and even when he didn’t. As soon as we would start to get close, he would push me away. Then he would text me, feeling depressed and hating his life, wanting to die. He just needed someone to care. I did. We started dating shortly after that. He went back and forth from smoking pot to being with me. We broke up and got back together several times. He would get weak and I would get frustrated. He would push me away so hard, just as he had done to everyone else in his life. The only difference was that I pushed back. I couldn’t stand to see him so lost and going downhill and I loved him too much to give up on him.
It was nearly three years of an emotional roller coaster and looking back, it was all worth it. Currently, he’s off drugs and doesn’t even smoke cigarettes anymore. He went back to school before joining the National Guard. He is strong, winning awards, pushing himself and succeeding. Now I’m the strength behind the strong. From time to time he brings up where he believes he would be if I had given up on him. If he wasn’t still on that couch, he’d be dead. I got him to see that he had to make the changes for himself, just by believing that he could do it. I believe that believing in people gives them the strength to believe in themselves. Just when you think someone’s a lost cause, look deeper to see who they could be and believe that they can do it.
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