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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Daliyah Valdez: Finding Freedom

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Photo by Tori Greene
Sophomore Daliyah Valdez shares her goals of moving to El Paso.

Sophomore Daliyah Valdez sees Legacy as one of the many places that has held her hostage. Valdez plans to move to El Paso to write more music and start a new life.

“Late at night, you’re just driving through the mountains,” Valdez said. “[El Paso] sounds like a dream. It doesn’t sound realistic.”

Her dream of moving to El Paso started forming in the year leading up to the 6th grade. In this time, her parents’ relationship turned shaky, and music became pivotal in her life. As life became repetitive, she drew closer to her love for singing as a way to cope. Her choir class became an outlet for all of the insecurities that dwelled beneath the surface of her life.  

“Any chance I got to sing, I would take,” Valdez said. “It brought me genuine happiness.”

Sixth grade ended, summer faded away, seventh grade went by quickly and another summer swept by her eyes. Valdez entered her last year of middle school, and she became ready for changes in her life. Going into the eighth grade, Valdez wanted to find a new identity.

“I started looking at bad kids. There was so much thrill, and I liked it,” Valdez said. “Everything with them was new and exciting. And I really miss that.”

Late nights, dancing and reckless living seemed good for a while. She used that precious time with those friends to cope with her family problems, but those efforts became futile when Valdez’s parents split up. Her household and life itself seemed to fall apart. Every inch of her hope faded away, so she delved deeper into the toxic relationships in her life.

“We would talk about the worst things we could do, and how fun it would be. They started separating me from God,” Valdez said. “I stopped being friends with them because I wanted to be closer to God. I took matters into my own hands and started drifting from them.”

Now separated from that group, Valdez feels as if she’s outgrown the students of Legacy, her classes and Mansfield itself.

“I feel misunderstood at school,” Valdez said. “I feel uncomfortable. I need the overwhelming feeling of getting out of my comfort zone.”

To Valdez, Mansfield feels vibrant, colorful, and nostalgic- filled with the memories of thousands of teens, parents and families. Also, just like any 21st-century suburb, everything looks the same. The people, the houses, the schools. Everyone feels uniform. Society resorts to social media to document their fake lives for the world to see. Everyone virtual. Valdez yearns to seek something or someone who wants to become real. Someone who has not lost sight of the grand scheme of the things. She hopes to find all of these things in El Paso.

“I want to make songs about love and my life experiences,” Valdez said. “What I need is change and I have that opportunity.”

She remembers being in El Paso with her dad: driving around in the mountains, gazing up at the stars, immersing herself in an inky sky and sticking her hand out of the car to hold the wind for one moment. Valdez looks forward to what El Paso will bring to her life.

“It makes me feel alive and free when I drive up the mountains,” Valdez said. “When you’re cruising with someone you love, time stops. You appreciate every moment.”

All of her decisions, memories and dreams have led her to one conclusion: she will not live without meaning. Life waits for her- something real waits for her.

“[I want to] meet new people, have new experiences and escape from what I’m so used to,” Valdez said. “I’m tired of feeling unsatisfied.”

About the Contributors
Tori Greene
Tori Greene, The Arena Photo Editor
My name is Tori Greene, I'm a senior at Legacy and I'm the photo editor for The Arena.
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