Dante Velasquez Jr.
24 years old
Photographer | Oreo-eater
Los Angeles, CA & Boston, MA
One day after school when I was in the 10th grade, I was walking down the stairs and saw one of my friends at the bottom walking towards me. I had literally just seen her two hours before in French class (shoutout to you, Ms. Valentin if you’re reading this & shoutout to that B+ you gave me that year). With a smile on her face, she called my name, “Dante!” I ran and jumped down to the base of those stairs to embrace her. Somehow, however, my landing was off, and seconds later I realized my foot was hurting. Six hours later, I found myself in the E.R. looking at a fantastic X-Ray of my left foot. The doctor pointed to my ring-finger toe (is that a thing?) and said pretty deadpan, as if he was an exhausted waiter describing that day’s lunch special, “Your left 4th metatarsal is broken.” He said it would heal by itself. However, six months later another doctor realized that it had healed incorrectly, and I had to go under the knife to get it re-broken. The less-than-glamorous healing months followed, and I was left with a rad scar on my toe and arthritis in that foot for life.
So, do I regret jumping to greet my friend that one day back in yesteryear? Absolutely not. You see, in life, you’re gonna have to make a lot of jumps. But you’re never going to make it to the other side unless you go at it with all you’ve got. With everything I do, I take a running jump. Maybe I’ll land weird again and break another toe (knock on wood). But maybe, just maybe, I’ll stick the landing and end up right where I belong.
Dante is a kid stuck in a kid’s body residing in Los Angeles. He loves anything camera related and constantly strives to be the best visual storyteller he can be.