Some people believe that no one can determine who an individual becomes except for an individual them self. I believe that the environment that in which they are a part of all affect whom a person is and will become in the future.
There is a saying that goes “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.” A few years back I had this best friend, one I had known since I was 9 and her 11. She and I used to be inseparable. We went everywhere together, had constant sleep over’s, made friendship charms, and even swapped shoes for fun. The only times we were not at one another’s side was when our parents forced us to go on vacation.
Typically, she reached her teenage years before I did and therefore reached her teenage ways before I did. Once her thirteenth birthday hit she became a completely different person to me, a person who at first I thought was cool and classy and almost an adult. I admired her new vocabulary and envied her new-coming figure. She was everything I wanted to be like and I was grateful for my best friend. It was not until I came out of my daze that I figured out that maybe some of her ways, actions, and attitudes were not the best for a thirteen year old. Since I was younger than her I never wanted to make her think that I was immature and too young to be her best friend anymore so for a while I kept my thoughts to myself.
When she got a phone and such things only went from bad to worse. It started with Sammy, then Davis, Julio, Raul, Juan, and so on. Then she got into things that to me seemed unreal, unruly, and unimaginable. It hurt me to see her changing and becoming what I despised and me not able to change her back. In the end, well… let’s just say she is 17, in trouble, in an unhealthy relationship, and expecting.
I saw what she did to herself, and I see how she regrets a lot. We used to play dolls and now she struggles to buy one for her child. It hurt me to have watched her become what she is was and it changed me. What I learned from her affected me and somehow shaped who I am today and many of the decisions I have made throughout my life. I have chosen not to follow in her path. I have chosen not to do drugs. I have chosen to learn from her experience and have become a better person because of it. I have learned that in life, people do not have a choice on whether or not they are affected by something or someone, but they do however have a choice on how they choose to use that, for better or for worse, that you have a choice in.