2018 senior columns | The view from here | Maria Perez


Regan Peterson

This is Perez’s third year on staff where she serves as a reporter for the Hub. One word to describe her: independent. Perez is involved in tennis, E2Y2, and NHS at Eureka. She also enjoys listening to music, drawing, and doing makeup. Conversation she wants to have with the world: “We need to listen to marginalized groups when they are in need and we need to work together towards a world that promotes equity for everyone.” Dream job: “International journalist/UN Ambassador/Human Rights Lawyer/Activist.”

I’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Not just in terms of dealing with adults and adult situations or in terms of having an awkward personality but also in terms of realizing my place in society.

Though I am beyond grateful for all the educational experiences I have received, I also acknowledge that I live in an environment where I have been bullied and harassed my whole life. I realize now that hostility affected me more than I chose to acknowledge.

I tuned this trauma out until I arrived at EHS where my environment forced me to look in the mirror and realize how my surroundings had changed me into something I wasn’t.

The people and environments that I chose to surround myself with influenced me to change my hair, fashion, music taste and overall perception of life.  

I ignored the things that mattered, like my self-esteem and my understanding of the world’s issues, in exchange for a false sense of belonging to a group of people that would never truly like me.

Around junior year, I decided that it wasn’t worth it.

I changed my hair back to its natural state, left toxic friend groups and became more open about my opinions. Those opinions created tensions with some. I clashed with some friends, acquaintances or classmates.

This tension created discomfort that stemmed from the balance between trying to be my true self and living in an environment that didn’t necessarily agree with my ideas.

Behind my typically bubbly and easy-going personality were nights filled with tears hoping that I could one day live more confidently. This torment became my new normal, which concerned and scared me.

This column isn’t a pity party about some of my more unfortunate high school experiences but rather an assessment of what I perceive as the status quo.

I don’t know why I have compromised myself to accommodate others.

I don’t know why my instinct is to stay silent in times when I am pushed up against the wall.

I don’t know why my voice shakes when I decide to speak up.

But I can’t live this way anymore.

If it weren’t for organizations like the EHS-hub and Eureka Equity that helped me to realize the unique story I have to tell, I would not have had the tools to fight through the next stage of my life: adulthood.

I have made sure to use my platform with the EHS-hub to highlight causes that I care about and to help others become informed citizens about things they wouldn’t normally take a first–let alone a second–look.

I have also taken measures outside of this classroom to spread my message whether through social media posts or through taking part in a walkout or marches.

I will be the first to admit that I do not know everything and I still have a lot of things to learn about the world and about activism. However, I now know what I can do when there’s nothing holding me back.

The best lesson I could have possibly learned from these last four years:

High school was not a pretty picture for me. The next stage of my life won’t be a pretty picture either. But I’m ready.