People take what you give them

So don’t give ’em the worst.


Oliver Hinson, President -- Editor-in-chief

As far as I knew, high school was over from the second it started. In that second, and for many subsequent ones, I was a short, disgruntled child who was angry at the world — and determined to show that I was in control of it. To this day, I believe that it worked; around these halls, I’m nothing if not intelligent and dedicated to my craft. But again, I’m nothing if not that.

If that sounds like a shallow understanding, well, get used to it. It sounds rude to say, but people generally don’t have a deep understanding of other people. Honestly, if God really wanted us to know each other, he shouldn’t have made it so hard. 

People don’t have the time to fully understand the depths of the people that walk alongside them — especially if they’re too young to understand the concept of depth itself. They can only understand what’s on the surface, being given to them.

I wish I would have known that before I decided to give everyone the absolute worst side of me. I’ll freely admit it — I did not make a great first impression on many people during my time here. I was rude, arrogant, and generally angry almost all the time.

The thing is, my parents taught me all about this subject. They did their very best to raise good, respectful children, so don’t go blaming them. I just failed to grasp two extremely important concepts.

First, I couldn’t possibly understand the permanence of the images we make of others. People can look at a picture of someone from years ago and say “this person has changed,” but they can simultaneously expect that person to have the same personality he or she once did. A lesson for all underclassmen: the personality you show people today is what they will expect from you tomorrow. At some point, it will be impossible to stray from your path — even if you change yourself.

The other thing I didn’t quite understand when I entered high school was what I really wanted people to see from me — this was probably my biggest mistake. Everyone wants a good reputation, and I was similar in that regard, but I fell into the trap of forging a reputation of value: everything I wanted people to see about me had to do with a talent or a service. People had to need something from me for me to be happy, because I truly couldn’t imagine that my presence alone had value. 

That was, and still is, a dangerous notion to internalize, not only for my own mental health, but for my relationships with others. Essentially, I lost hope for my own personality, and I became obsessed with giving. I gave everything I could, whether it was money, food, answers, or the ever-valuable information contained within a Milesplit Pro subscription. I gave until I had nothing left to give because I thought that was the only possible way for people to attach value to me. That was a dangerous hole to dig, and it terrified me when I caught wind of what I was actually doing.

Even when I realized on my own end that my self-image was mistaken, I couldn’t escape from the hole — probably because I couldn’t put down the damn shovel. I knew full well that what I was doing was unhealthy, but I couldn’t possibly stop; I couldn’t give up the high. If I had stopped giving at such a fast rate, I may have healed at some point in the future, but I would have gone through a “withdrawal” of sorts, a period in which I had no value whatsoever, genuine or constructed.

So, I kept up the front. I kept giving whatever I could think to give. In fact, I did just about anything that I thought would convince people to keep me around. I felt like a gambler who knew that they would never win — and yet I kept placing bets. 

More accurately, I felt like a character. TV characters are celebrated and beloved, but only for the shallow purpose they serve. There’s a reason they’re created in a writer’s room — they don’t have the depth that constitutes humanity. I craved that depth.

Well, sorry. I crave that depth. I’ve been writing this in the past tense, but I’m not sure why. I’m certainly not fixed, that’s for sure. All I can say is that I know where I went wrong — and who knows, maybe I’m on the path towards a better life. I still give, and give, and give. I still wonder whether people like me for who I am or for the value they can extract from me. I still know that my lifestyle is unhealthy and unsustainable — but at least I’m not blind.

I’m told these “senior editorials” are supposed to be tales of growth. After all, we’re almost done here, so we’re supposed to be able to tell you what to do in order to have a good time here.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good time here —mostly because of mistakes that I made — so perhaps I should throw that notion out the window. This isn’t Oprah or Ellen. This is Scared Straight with Oliver Hinson. I’m your mean, gruff senior, and I’m telling all you scared little freshmen: people will take what you give them. Be careful with what that is — otherwise, you’ll end up in here with me.