When I was a young boy my father always did his best to instill the mindset of “being a man” and “facing the music”. The meaning of the saying is to face the repercussions of your actions or to take charge in a difficult situation. My father did this by never letting me quit anything I showed interest in, for example writing. When I was in first grade my handwriting was not very legible so my father decided to buy a tracing book and told me to sit down and write sentences until he was able to distinguish every letter. This never back down attitude led me to many positive situations as well as bad ones. In any sport I participated in I eventually got an injury while playing. Which led me to hurt myself even more because I did not let it take me out of the game. Although the practicality of my fathers lessons may not yet seem as a big deal to you, the major role it plays in my life has only gotten amplified year after year.

       When I was in the third grade life got very hard for me. I was bouncing around houses, schools, and even my parents. At one point I even encountered my first and last bully. All I felt safe doing was playing sports and video games, but because of the ever changing environment I dropped sports for a while because I had no friends to play them with and my family was too busy to play with me. In the midst of these sad times I made some bad decisions. I decided to take some games that I shared with my cousin from my father’s house and play them at my moms, in other words stealing. After some time my father found out and confronted me about it. I was not allowed to play games for a while but on top of that he made me apologize and give a reason as to why I took the games, and why I would never do something like that again.

       After some careful thought and time though, me and my cousin confronted the bully and demanded a stop to his constant malicious actions. That day turned my life around and made me realize that “facing the music” and embracing a complicated and difficult situation was not only for use when being punished. As I aged my demeanor and attitude matured perhaps more than necessary, I was applying my logic so often to simple things that I began having less fun, as well as becoming sort of a dick. I had turned the sad and angry times in my life into fuel that was used to distance myself from people that perhaps could have been great friends. But like a chain, I was only as strong my weakest link, which happened to be compassion. I opened up and offered help to people who looked like I did when my tank was on “E”. This turned out to be one of my biggest downfalls, but also a tool that began to strengthen me in the long run. Many of these people I helped out became at most acquaintances but every once in awhile a person would turn on me, and it broke me. Emotions would take turns leading a dance that was severely unchoreographed. But I felt human again, I wasn’t just a rock who went with the flow anymore.

       Girls approached me more often, and boys were no longer intimidated by me and wanted to play sports with me. My parents saw a change in my everyday actions and were very proud that I was a “normal” kid. I had begun learning to properly juggle seriousness and fun. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but not me.When you need a person to even up the teams on a court I’m all in, when you need someone to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on I’m here. All of these characteristics that I had built up over the years would be put to the test one night in the fall of 2012. A night I am likely never to forget due to the importance it plays in my life even now.

       I fell asleep on the way home like every other time my brother and I were being traded in custody from my father to my mother. The rhythmic sound of the engine and song on the radio were completely overshadowed by a huge popping noise and my mother’s voice yelling out “shit”. My momentum was thrown onto the passenger side door as the car flipped several times on the freeway along with my brother, mother, and I were inside of it. After coming to, I realized the car was on its side. My mother’s hair draped over me blocking me from completely seeing my brother but I heard him screaming in panic so I knew he was alive. I managed to crawl out the front windshield and walk out onto the dirt patch the car left us on, meeting my little brother who was rightfully still panicking. My instincts told me to grab him and tell him everything was going to be okay. This of course was not true, for all I knew my mother was just a corpse in the car and I would never speak to her again. I stood positive for my little brother but as help came I saw the reality of what could have happened. Tears ran down my face as I cried pleading for my mother to be alive, some stranger from a restaurant hugged me and took the role of “being a man” and “facing the music off” of my shoulders. My mom survived but ended up breaking her neck, so everything turned out to be relatively fine considering what happened that night but it led to a problem I face now.

       Every time I get into my car to drive I “face the music”. There is a slight fear that stares me right in the eyes but I refuse to back down. After lessons from both my mother and father on how to drive, I muster up my courage and do what I have to do to accomplish chores and what not. If not for the lessons and constant teachings from my father, I know for certain that after the night of the crash I would refuse to get behind the wheel. I have a lot to thank my father for, but I feel that “facing the music” will stay with me until the day I die. I hope that one day I will get the opportunity to teach children of my own this very same lesson.