By Kaloyan Tsvetkov
I am Kiko. I am Nick. I am Jeff and Harry, Michael and Larry. I am all those people, yet I am still me.
I have moved schools more times than I can remember, and each time I surprise myself. I am me, yet somehow I am not. Somehow I am a new person in the same body. A new name. Steve, no Max. Who am I?
Who am I? Do you know who I am? Do you know who you are?
I know myself, or at least I think I do. But why does my name change when I move schools? Why does this new school define who I am in the moment? I don’t want to be this new person, yet it seems like I don’t have a choice. People always say “you have a choice”, but does that quote include my personality? Or is that a “choice” I don’t have?
I remember moving that first time. I had been at the school for many years. I was terrified. I was leaving my friends, the only people I had known for more than six years. Then all of a sudden, they were gone. And I had to move on to a new school with new teachers, new classmates, new friends, and a new name.
We all want more friends, but deep down no one wants to make new friends. Deep down you just want to stay with your group of friends for the rest of your life. No school would get in your way. No job and no fight. You would be unstoppable together. Why doesn’t it work that way?
That first day of school I remember being welcomed by these two boys. They were everything I liked in people. Or so I thought.
See, you don’t know a person until you’ve seen their dark side. They’re angry side. They’re sad side. Until then you’re just a passenger on the orient express, waiting for someone to die.
They were the nicest people at this new school of mine. They shared their food and discussed topics I liked. I had made new friends without really trying. It’s not that I didn’t want new friends. I just didn’t want to say “we aren’t friends anymore”. Every friendship movie makes it seem so easy. “We’ve been friends for twenty years and nothing has gotten between us”, yet every time I move schools, my name changes and no one knows my old name. No one remembers my old name.
My new friends didn’t know my old name. Why? I don’t know. Was I protecting my past self? Was I trying to close that door? Or was I just scared that if I showed them who Mike was; they would laugh in my face and leave me? Was that why I changed my name each time? So that Mike and Harry and Jonathan and Sam didn’t get hurt?
I didn’t tell them about Mike, yet they still left me. I had been nothing but nice to them, I was Charlie now, and at the end they still left me. Laughed in my face, bullied me and left me there to be a lonesome wolf. I didn’t have a pack anymore. I didn’t have Charlie anymore either. I hated this new school. I had to say goodbye to Mike and now Charlie because of it. It was
ruining my life. And then one day we had a new student; a lonesome wolf roaming the forest, looking for a pack. We clicked. We were best friends and no one would get between us.
No one would get between us.
No one would get between us.
Life got between us.
I had to switch schools again. I had to say goodbye to this new name and this new friend I made. Again. I was broken. Was I ever fully fixed? Or had I just come with a malfunctioning part?
I closed my eyes and when I opened them I was alone again. My best friend was gone. My name was gone. Everything was gone. Everything kept going away and I couldn’t do anything against it. I didn’t have the “choice” everyone says I do. And so began the long quest to find a new name. Who was this new person? Jack? John? Jose? I didn’t know. No one else did either.
I have come to believe in a magic called faith. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that after I lost Charlie, this new person was sent to me. Sent to fill the pack. It was faith. And very narcissistic. Why would faith have her own folder for me? I wasn’t special. I was nothing; a broken piece of glass on the sidewalk that everyone would walk over without even noticing. So why would faith be so charitable and give me a new name and new friends right when I needed them the most? What did I do to deserve such charity?
They were incredible. They were funny and crazy and energetic and loving. They were everything you wanted in a friend group. They were everything I wanted and nothing more. I didn’t care about the new converse sneakers I got. Or the new American Eagle jeans that fit me perfectly. All I wanted to do was be with them. I was functioning again. We did everything together. We join every single club in school. We went to every single party and ate every slice of pizza until there were no more slices left to be eaten. We were unstoppable.
Until we were stopped.
Goodbye Peter and Peter’s friends. You will all be missed.
Faith was somehow unfaithful. She gave me everything and took it away in seconds like it was the last piece of cake at the birthday party. What gave her the right to do that? What gave her the right to play mind games with me? My whole life I’ve been nothing but nice to people. I have changed names to suit everyone and I’ve tried to make people happy. So what gave Faith the right to take these precious things away from me? What gave her the right to ruin my life? They say that people blame others so that they don’t have to face the truth; so that they don’t have to come to terms with it. I never wanted to. Leaving the people you love most is the hardest task to ever do.
Walking into a new country was the second hardest journey. I had no friends and I couldn’t speak the language. I was thrown in a lion’s den to survive on my own without a way out. But to be a survivor you have to be strong, brave, courageous even. I was none of those things. My body never gave up. But my mind did.
I was sent to a language course with other students. And of course, Faith flew her way in and made things better. I wasn’t completely happy, but we all felt the same way, so we supported each other. We made plans to leave the hell whole we were in; we made plans to share an apartment when we went to college. We wanted to go to parties, but we never did. We planned and planned, and yet we never did anything. We were temporary friends. When the time came to move back to our original schools, we had a group hug and went our own ways.
We changed our names ones again.
The year to come was the worst year of my life. I was not accepted. I was hated on and ignored. I was a ghost. I wanted to appear, but it never worked. I had turned into Casper. My name was Casper. I was sad and depressed. I had suicidal thoughts, but just thoughts. I hated that people disliked me. I hated that no one wanted to talk to me. I hated that I was alone.
I was alone.
Suicide is never the answer, and I knew that, but my thoughts didn’t. They had no idea what was wrong and what was right, because if they did, they wouldn’t make me think of doing it. They wouldn’t make me say “I want to die”. I couldn’t let my thoughts get the best of me. So I took matters into my own hands. Without hesitation, I walked into the principal’s office and told them I wanted to move to a different school. I told them how terrible it has been and that I could not continue living like that. Surely, they were no help; because if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. So I went to the one person that was always there for me, even though I had been pushing her away. My mom was the only person that could help me. She was the only one that could banish Casper. She was the only one that could free me.
And she did.
About Kaloyan Tsvetkov
Kaloyan Tsvetkov, explains that this essay was very hard to write and very personal, but it opened his eyes and made him come to terms with certain parts of himself that he never understood. The essay addresses not just the different personalities we as people have, but whether faith exists and whether that ties into our personalities.
You can follow Kaloyan on Instagram @kiko_222_kiko