This is really weird to write. I don’t know how to say any of this, but it’s been on my mind for some time. With that being said I want to say what has been on my mind for months. Before anyone tries to change my mind, please read this through in its entirety.
I love this program so much. It takes a lot to say good-bye to such an important and influential program. I’ve only been in this program for a year but it’s changed me so much. I’ve learned to speak in front of hundreds of people without flinching. I’ve learned to state my opinion and defend it; it’s completely 100% okay to disagree and even better to do so because that’s how change is made. I’ve learned that you’re never too young to make a change. I’ve learned that friendships know no bounds or how difficult distance makes wanting to hug someone be. I’ve learned how to be a listener, not just a leader. This program is amazing. It defines you as a youth and it just amazing. If I could, I would never leave this program and I would continue with it forever. Heck at one point, I even thought about running for governor this year. I even ordered 300+ “Vote Nam for Gov” pins (but deleted the order last minute).
I don’t know how to start or where to start, but this program isn’t the same for me this year. The people are just as loving (if not more), the program has improved and is even more fun, but for me, it feels foreign. My best friend talked me into attending pre-leg 1 after a lot of debate and I had so much fun. But it wasn’t the same. Just not the same at all.
My gosh, this sounds dramatic. I simply don’t feel comfortable anymore. I feel alone in a sea of people, judged by those who usually love, and simply unwanted. I guess you could say bullied to a degree.
I don’t want to divulge on details of how, why, or what led up to this. Mainly because I don’t want to relive the past because just writing this is making me shake. But since joining YiG, I’ve either felt extremely happy/content or extremely outlawed, ostracized and depressed. My god, I’ve been so depressed. My anxiety levels have spiked. I cry on a daily basis (just ask any of my close friends). I’m so stressed. My grades have dipped an all time low. My teachers have even noticed that I’m not myself this year as I was last year. I’ve run out of class crying at least 3 times this year from random panic attacks. I have all these horrible thoughts. I question everything, even myself. My depression, my self-esteem, my confidence, my own being – it’s all being compromised with my partaking of this program. So I think it’s come to the time, where I move on.
Don’t get me wrong, YiG is such a wonderful and beautiful program. Ask anyone and they will tell you Youth in Government is life-changing, breath-taking, would give both arms and legs, amazing. I agree to every point. However, my happiness, physical, and mental well-being should and always will come before any of my hobbies. So with that being said, it’s time to take my leave from this.
Please don’t try to talk me out of this decision. Please respect me when I say I don’t feel comfortable within YiG anymore and that I need to recover from my mental break before I could even consider joining again. I feel so guilty for being unable to tell this to my friends personally. To make it worse, some of you have even said that I’m “the embodiment of YiG and CONA”. I’m so sorry I’m letting you guys down. I would love to continue to share these experiences with you, but I hate crying so much. I think I’ve cried almost every night since September if not every week. Please understand that right now, I need to be my number 1 priority.
Thank you to everyone who befriended me in this program. Thank you to everyone that supported me. Thank you to everyone that continues to support and encourage me. Thank you so much for playing apart in my experience and showing me a new world of love and support at the YMCA. I will always be apart of the Y, always living life by the Y-Core values. Thank you for allowing me to go to CONA and showing me that there is a world of leaders scattered across the country from all of America’s nooks and crannies. My god, thank you so much for bringing me to where I am. I would never give up anything to change the past.
CONA was amazing as well. I can’t even thank the program enough for allowing me to attend the Conference on National Affairs. It was an amazing experience and I met so many wonderful soul mates. My friend Cole S. once said that all these people we meet give us parts of their soul and we give them parts of ours. At the end of our life, our soul and hearts are these beautiful mosaics of all the souls, hearts, and people we’ve collected in our lives. I’ve soul-swapped with over hundreds of people thanks to this program. I’ve gained so many wonderful qualities that I would have never learned if it weren’t for them. I’ve met some of my best friends because of it.
I love you all and I will always support all of my YMCA/CONA/Youth in Government friends. Thank you for the love over the past year.