Who is Jonathan Mera?   Part 2 of 4   by   Jonathan Mera

I remember later that summer starting third grade at an elementary school called Jennie Reed in Tacoma WA. I felt like such an outcast . I did not have any family here, no friends, and I couldn’t communicate with anyone because I didn’t speak a word of English!! By the end of the school year I was communicating with a couple of classmates on very limited bases, I remember getting weird looks, and confused faces, maybe my English wasn’t as good as I thought back then. This led me to feel like a bigger outcast and my insecurities began to grow.

At the age of nine I had finally grasped the English language, but continued to feel unaccepted by my peers. This continued for about two years. At around eleven I found a group of kids that I related to more, but these kids did things that I knew were wrong, so in my longing to be accepted, I smoked weed for the first time. Me and my new “friends” continued to hang out and gradually continue to do things I didn’t agree with, but I felt like if I wanted to keep my only friends, I had to go along with everything. I didn’t want to become the outcast again.

Then at age fourteen I made a decision that would determine my entire future. I joined a gang. Can you imagine making a life changing decision at fourteen? Well I can’t either, but the sense of belonging was so beautiful that I was willing to do anything for it. That same year I bought my first car with proceeds from car prowling. At fifteen I moved out of my moms house, not only because I wanted to be independent, but I couldn’t keep hiding this secret life of mine from my mom, and I secretly felt terrible for all the shame I was bringing my mother.


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