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Don't Judge Me
High schooler Joe Vargas admits he's mean and manipulative. But don't judge him before you know his story.

By Joe Vargas

I am rude, mean and I control people by lying to them. I have difficulty listening to people and doing what they tell me. Getting along with teachers is a challenge. I talk back and give them attitude over the simplest things. But what teachers and others don't know is that at 16, I have been through more than they can imagine.

I have lived in fear because I got beat up every day by my sister's dad. I got hit with a metal stick so hard I could not sit down and got kicked with metal boots, all just for being a kid. I have never met my real father because he sold drugs and used to beat up my mom. My mom got a restraining order against him and his family because my dad said if he found my mom he would kill her. She had no choice but to go into witness protection. She came to Oakland and met my sister's dad, the man who beat me. The sadness continued.

When I was 11, my mom passed away from an aneurysm in her brain. That day I cried like I have never cried.

So for those who don't like me, I say, none of you were there when that man beat me every single day. None of you have been through that kind of trauma every day. I don't care if I hurt people's feelings because of what I went through. After all that, I told myself that I would never trust people. There is so much pain and hurt there. I don't have a good relationship with my brothers or sisters because I resent them. I have a hurt soul. 

I have a hard time trusting people, but I hope I can be nice to people one day. I'd like to get along with others and fix my relationship with my brothers and sisters. I hope one day to move forward, but for today I want to say to everyone I have been mean to: do not judge me. I am rude, mean and controlling.

With a Perspective, I am Joe Vargas.

Joe Vargas is 16 and attends the Life Academy for Health and Biosciences High School in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.  
 

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