Science Leadership Academy Learn · Create · Lead

Blog Feed

Advanced Essay #1 Emotions

My goals with this paper were to convey the idea I had been thinking about for a while, I had just never had the proper essay to do so until this one. Another goal of mine was to make my scenes have a balance of description and flow. I feel like I accomplished both of these goals very well. I also think that I got my point across very well. I would like to improve my vocabulary so I wouldn't have to use such basic words.





Advanced Essay #1 Griffin Gallagher


It was hot out and we had been on the water for hours, with no results. My little sister was getting impatient, just like any four year old would. Finally one of the lines took, and a fish was on. It was small so we let my sister reel it in. When the fish was finally landed my sister’s eyes light up with excitement. Many things make people happy. Happiness is an emotion that we experience very often, because we like the feeling so we try to make ourselves feel like that all the time. Just because something makes one person happy does not mean that the same thing will make a different person happy. For example, John Doe goes on a roller coaster, and he enjoys it, he has fun. On the same day at the same amusement park Jane Doe goes on the same roller coaster and it makes her feel fearful, or scared. There are certain things in the world that cause different people to feel Different emotions.


We walked onto the wooden pier that had been here for years. The loud sounds of metal gears grinding and clanking was only outshined by the high pitched shrieks of people on the rides that seemed terrifying. It was my first time ever going on a roller coaster, I was terrified. But all my friends were excited, they loved going on rides. They had been on every ride, and rode the scariest ones twice. I on the other hand never rode any rides. I prefered to sit back and watch the flashing lights of one of the game stands. Many years later on the same pier I was the first person in line for “the great white.” If you have never been to wildwood, the great white is a wooden roller coaster. It is large and it moves quite fast, faster than the average car drives on the streets. This ride is my favorite out of all rides down the shore. This shows another face of how we experience events. When I was younger I was scared of all the big rides, but when I got older the fears disappeared and excitement took their place. This type of event causes a rush of adrenaline which when we are younger triggers fear, but when we can control this adrenaline, it can be used as a form of happiness. This shows me that over time people change, possibly even into a whole nother person. What we like at one time in our life may become a view of disgust later on in life. But the same can also happen, something that we hate we can grow and learn to love. A few examples of this is me, when I was younger I loved pickled beets, now i can't stand the look of them. This also works in reverse, when I was younger I hated kale, now I eat kale salads at least three times a week because I love kale.


When we change, the changes are seamless. We do not realize our emotions change they just do. there is nothing we can do about it. If we try to hide our emotions, we bottle them up and this is not healthy, because we become an unstable time bomb of emotion. When that bomb goes off things tend to be quite ugly. Emotions are meant to change and mold who we are as we grow up.





Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Family Interpretations

My essay is about the meaning of family and how it is viewed nowadays. My goals was to show to my audience another way to interpret the word, family, through my own experiences. In many ways, I feel like I did well on pulling examples from my life and pasting it into my writing because I did have a hard time doing that from the start. Something that I would like to improve on is, my grammar. I wish I had the reminder and time to go to someone to help me specifically on my grammar.


The weather was beautiful on that day where my friends invited me out to clear my feelings. I’ve been listening to J Cole’s mixtape for a long time now. They all knew what happened, that’s why they invited me out. J Cole’s music just calms me down at times when I want to be by myself, but also don’t want to be lonely. No human beings like to be lonely in this world. It’s a scary emotion.


“Hey, what’s up Jun-Jie,” I heard. “Still living,” I replied. There they go, my cousins and my friends. They’ve been in my life for a long time now, always been there, always there when I needed them, they’re just always there. They heard about the breakup that happened between me and this girl. They just wanted to make sure I’m okay, but at times, I just want to be alone. I just want to go home and sleep because when you’re asleep, you can’t feel anything, but the sensation of feeling nothing. No harm, no sadness, no depression, no suicidal thoughts, no nothing, and you have the blanket acting like a shield to protect you. What more can you ask for?


I regret what I did that day, but I felt like it was what’s best for me. There are people I go to to vent, but I know for a fact that that time was the wrong time. After greeting them and walking them to a restaurant, I plugged in my headphones, with J Cole playing, and left the restaurant to catch the train home.


As we grow older, we learn the importance of family and how it affect us day by day. They say you are able to obtain a lot more as you grow older; you become more understanding about things and start to have your own interpretation. Family is a big word to have just one meaning, and often, that meaning are referencing to your parents and siblings. We grow hearing other opinions about things whether we agree with it or not. Let me show you another way family can be interpreted.


I know for sure that I’m not the only one in this world that don’t like being lonely, and thankfully, I have really close friends that cares for me and no matter how loud my yelling is or how annoying my rants can be, they are always there to listen to me. Because of this closeness I have with my friends, I feel like that’s probably why I’m so hesitant to meet new people. I never like meeting new people. If I have a program meeting to go to, I’m not nervous because of all the strangers that going to be there, I’m nervous about meeting them. One of my fears in this world is the fear of losing somebody. So I always thought to myself, the less friends I have, the less I will have to lose. At time, that state of mind can be really wrong. As a matter of fact, most of the time, it is really wrong, but at times, I don’t realize I’m making new friends, but I am,


A lot of my friends really like going to parties, but they all don’t like going alone. There was one time where my friend asked me to go to a birthday party with him. I told him I have no idea who any of his friends are, so I would be feeling left out. We went on for days arguing about me not going to that party.

I ended up going to that party because he fooled me into thinking that his friend is really rich, so J.Cole might be invited to that party. As dumb as I am believing that, I went to his friend’s party that night. I’m not going to lie, that party was pretty fun and loud.


When I first stepped inside, I noticed the blasting music coming out of the speakers. I usually don’t like loud music playing, but I noticed that J.Cole was playing from the computer, so I was fine with that. There was so many people at the party. Some of them actually tried to convince me to drink or smoke, but I knew better than that.


We finished the night off with a cookout in the yard. We had burgers, steak, ribs, chicken, etc. Before you know it, my friend’s mom was here to pick us up. I went home, took a shower, and went to bed. It’s been a long and unpredictable day.


As fun as that day was, there were a lot of behind the scenes. It is true that I am not a party person, but the main reason why I did not wanted to go that day was because I know I might need to meet new people. The day didn’t turn out that bad, and I made a lot of friends. That was also the day where I realize that meeting new people might be okay for me now. I’m still hesitant to meet new people, but I don’t feel strongly about it anymore.


As much as I talked about how important family is, I also mentioned J. Cole a lot. J. Cole have been my role model for a really long time. At times, when I don’t have my love ones around, I listen to his music because helps me relax and clear my mind. He is an important person in my life. As much as I want to know him in real life, I still feel like he acts like my friend who is always there for me.


Family isn’t a word to just describe your sisters, brothers and parents. I use family to also describe my really close friends because, like my actual family, they have been there from the start, failed with me, and most importantly, have succeeded with me.
Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: You Can Win The Battle But Never The War of Your Mind

My goal with this paper was to juts honestly get it done and stick tone topic. I think I did well with shrinking my words and connecting everything to one theme. I would like to improve going into a depth with such limited words.


“I just feel so numb.”

I lay in my bed, body clenched from mixtures of emotions. Anger, Sadness, Frustration. Why is this happening. I was happy! I was finally happy for once. Truly happy. I swallow my anger and tried to calm down.

I text back.

Me: Ok

A bubble pops up. She begins to type.

Her: How do you feel?

I pause. How do I feel? She is someone I was always able to fully express myself with. An “idk” isn't an answer with her. I start typing. For once, I’m not going to hold back my feelings.

Me: Life is all about the seconds, not the minutes, not the hours, not the days, not the years. It's about just 1 second. One second is all it takes for your life to change. It takes 5 seconds to read a winning lottery ticket and match it to the winning numbers. It takes 3 seconds for a break up to begin. It took one second for me to snap into a reality with you. Then it took another for me to snap out of that reality into one that's realistic.

The bubble pops back up. She responds.

Her: Oh

When I’m overloaded with more than two emotions, in the end I speak everything that's on my mind. I continued to speak more fully in that conversation. I just kept texting paragraph after paragraph of just every word that entered my mind. Eventually she stopped answering and waited until I was done. For once I felt at peace with myself. She was surprised to finally know how I completely felt.

Not everyone knows how I feel all the time. Usually people get a half story of my emotions during a certain time. One of my biggest weakness that makes me cower into a corner and become completely quiet of how I feel is my father. No matter what the conversation, I’m always hesitate and stumble on every word I say. With him, I have to battle my mind who just wants to let everything out but could cost me a lot of trouble, whether its clever comebacks or outburst from anger. So 99%, I keep everything to myself in fear that one of those two scenarios happen.

“I don't know."

All the the terrible events that could take place in the future fill my mind. I can feel all the stress and anxiety, the blood boiling. Why is he asking me this? What is he trying to accomplish?

His stern voice begins to rumble in my ears with his reply.

"What do you mean you don't know?! How bout next time you ask me for something instead of thinking about I'm just gonna say 'I don't know.' How you like them apples?"

His frustration was like a slap in face when his question threw me in the corner and ambushed me.

I wanted to respond with "I like apples." It's enough that if he doesn't see it as getting smart with him, he can see it as me being "stupid and simple minded" like he always seen me as. I just stand there in silence with my confused face. I sink my head into my coat. The lights just seem too bright, they feel like a thousand infernos against my face. I think about this situation with my clouded head of his random question.

Every once in awhile, everyone has a battle with themselves. Whether it's pushing yourself to go the extra mile in a work out, that extra step to achieve a higher grade on a project, or fighting your subconscious on what to say in a current situation. These battles may be common for some people and for others it may just occur few times in their life. For me however, I usually have a battle like this everyday. There are times where I don't speak a word and just listen and other times, everything in my mind is spoken. The variable that helps me decide this, is usually based on the person, place, and subject. With certain people, when I speak out my mind of certain subject they begin to see me as a different person. Others see something wrong if I’m quiet. I have to constantly fight myself by knowing when to speak and when not to. I can win most of the fights but I’ll never win the battle against my subconscious mind.

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Winter

My goal when writing this paper was to allow the reader to read mu thoughts and grasp a deeper understanding of what was happening. I wanted the reader to experience the same emotion that I did. I wanted to display the struggles that many student athletes in high school face and some ways others deal with them. I was able to get my ideas and feelings across pretty well. I was able to use enough detail to explain the basics of what I felt the reader needed to understand. I could improve on making it even more relatable and more captivating. 


Every week it’s the same routine. Monday through Friday I have school, Tuesday to Saturday I have practice. Some days I’m happy to go to practice and it’s all I wait for throughout the school day. Other times I wish school wouldn’t end so that I would not have practice. It’s part of being an athlete and part of making a commitment. The real challenge with being apart of a sport such as rowing is that the weather decides what you will do that day. We cannot finish winter practice at any time we feel like. 

“I say next week. It’s supposed to be warm.” says Kat, my neighbor.


“Yeah let’s hope. Although they said we’d be back on the water this week.” Darya, my sister replies.


“I just don’t see it happening.” I say as we walk down our block. It is March and the trees are leafless and the air is cold. Our hands are stuffed into our pockets for warmth (even though our gloves are on) and our jackets are lined with fur. We have been in winter training since December. It should have ended in February. But the weather decided it did not like us yet again. This was just another repeat of last year. The river is frozen and there is no way for us to go back to the only reason we enjoy this sport. Only two days ago we had ran down by the river and seen the white shell that trapped the brown murky water of the schuylkill river. Boy did we miss that brown murky water. We were losing hope. It would be winter forever.   


For rowers winter is the time where the ones not as committed are weeded out. It is the time when we all second guess why we have even joined such a sport. The school day consists of us worrying about what torture awaits us at 4:15 on Girard Avenue. The bus ride there is filled with voices that complain about the workout and threaten to quit. These threats are something rowers are used to. We hear them everyday and we say it practically every week.


It’s a sport based on mentality. Without it it is very difficult to stay motivated and push yourself further. Yes, there is a motivation based off teammates by not wanting to let them down. But there is also a point in which you must push yourself. You have to keep going for you. That is what is so unique about this sport. You must find the balance between pulling for the people in your boat and pulling for yourself. Winter is the worst season because you are alone. Pushing for you and only you. It’s so hard to stay motivated, so hard to keep going through the same motions.


The worst year in any high school sport is junior year. You’re stressing out over your school work and studying for the SAT’s. Sports is the last thing you want stressing you out. With rowing the only thing you do is stress. You wonder what boat you will be in that day- will it be the top boat or have you been pushed to the bottom boat- you wonder what seat you will be. You get home at 7 or later from practice, shower, eat, and do homework while half asleep. By the time you have finished there is no time to study.


As I sit here at my desk writing this paper I looked up at the painting on the wall. I flash back to mercer lake. It was a crisp morning, the sun was shining as I walked towards the pale blue trailer. I could see the other girls sitting there, getting ready for the race. The morning raced by and soon it was our turn to get ready to go out on the water.


“Alright Ladies, it’s our turn to go. Let’s get hands on!” says Tatiana (our coxswain).


As we held the boat we looked at each other with excited yet nervous eyes. Smiles were big as we walked to the dock. We could barely wait. Our last practice had gone smoothly and we were confident. This was the biggest race of the season and we’d worked hard to even make it into this boat.


“I’m freaking out guys. Like I’m super nervous.” Calla says shakily (3 seat).


“We are gonna do great! No worries.” Emma replies (2 seat).


“Tatiana did you bring the water?” asks Kai (1 seat).


“I already have to pee again!” I say (4 seat).


As all rowers we rely on our coxswains so much. They hold a great deal of power over the boat. Once a coxswain loses hope the entire boat stops functioning correctly. These 4 girls have been everything these past few days. We keep pushing for each other when we are tired and desperately want to stop.


In the last few moments before we put the boat in the water and get ready to head up to the race we remember all the hard work that we have put in. All the times we pushed through. All the times we finished practice at 6:30. All the half done homework. It has all lead up to this moment.


Below the painting there is a quote “Coming Together Is a Beginning, Keeping Together Is Progress, Working Together is Success.” I  often think about this quote when I am the one threatening to quit or when I just need a little more motivation. Without those girls I would not be who I am today.



Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Invisible Iron Dome

The goal of this essay was to give a short story of biased news and information. I compared the mindsets of the world to on going crisis to a invisible iron dome. From there I argued that we had a necessity to become open minded with how we view the world's people around us. I believe this essay was very powerful and gave room for self reflection as human beings. There are areas where I believe I could have extended my thesis, yet I only had a specific timeline to complete this essay. Enjoy. 



Hope, broke, killed, died. A peace deal was a possibility. Soon afterwards, human right laws were broken. One war began and armies were killed. More than one person died, more than one dream of hope ended. Soon after, the cycle begins again. Never stopping to the end. The whole world has lived through one, a war between Palestine and Israel. A conflict that has raged for years and probably many more to come.


In my lifetime, there have been too many wars. Too many people dead, too many people's hopes lost. Yet, giving a blind eye to the hope for a peaceful solution is what too many across the region and across the world have brought upon themselves. I still see a future of change in a peaceful manner for this ongoing challenge that has faced generations for decades.

July 8th, 2014. The middle of the summer and 10 days before Madiba Day, the internationally recognized day of service celebrating the life and fight for human rights that the iconic leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela gave our world. That was the day Israel began one of their many military invasions on Palestinian land. Later on, the world would hear of despicable numbers detailing the people that were murdered by the apartheid government. 2,000 plus Palestinian men, women and children would die in the weeks that followed. To this day, families continue to suffer from the war, the war that highlighted the inhumane actions that Israel took on their supposed “enemy”.


“Israel isn’t the enemy,” say Fox News.

“They are the heroes for peace,” say half our country.

Then why does a hero carry hundreds of deadly weapons, including the most dangerous weapons known to men and women, in their backyard? Why have they threatened to use them (and have indeed used other deadly weapons) on millions of people? What does a enemy or a hero mean to us as a nation? Were we heroes when we sent the nuclear bomb to Japan? Were we enemies when we formally recognized Nelson Mandela as a leader and not a ‘terrorist’?


Days before the official military intervention by the Israeli government led by all around war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, my family and I had followed the news consequently. It was like running a marathon for us, the pictures brought pain but at the same time (strangely) optimism. Even though each news agency took the war in a different perspective and sometimes bias view, we looked over each news program carefully to understand their hidden statement. Yet, there was less bias on news agencies compared to wars in the past. There was a small hole of openness to all sides of the conflicted that wasn’t real a year before. 


Now, it was July 8th and I was set to leave to Germany the day that followed. We stood around looking at the live images on MSNBC. Israel had invaded Palestine. Israel began to harm, to break and to kill. All our personal worries ended, for the worries, the pain, the struggle of the Palestinians was real. And it was not going to end.


There’s this dome, a dome that hides the world’s people from the true story, the complete story. For this dome is made of iron, it seems to never be able to break. It’s so tough and sturdy, that to everybody it feels like human nature, it’s just a simple fact. Like Christopher Columbus being a exploring hero or George Washington being the most perfect President in history, nearly everyone takes it as fact, without digging for the utterly, complete truth. Not the biased truth but the real truth. We go into the lazy category there, when we have the curiosity to learn so much more. For the dome we live under, however, everything we hear isn’t necessarily fact. What’s outside the dome isn’t completely told. For this dome seems unbreakable, for now.


This dome is invisible. To more than half this world, no one can see it being formed over their mindset and heart as they grow and accomplish. But there are few with the superpower to escape outside the dome and see the perspective view. Those superheroes don’t have bias, they encounter the truth of a conflict that has too many opinions and to much passion, that it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy with your very own view. There’s more than that invisible, iron dome and we can all break it from ourselves. We have that power. and we should use it.


Israel and Palestine is not the only conflict with so much complexity that no one really understands it and see no use for a peaceful resolution. There’s a huge refugee crisis affecting Europe. The refugees come from two continents, Asia and Africa (and some from Europe itself). For not all news agencies cover it in detail, due to not seeing interest in the refugees and instead in an election that is over a year away. There is an intense murder rate swooping Central and South American countries that has frightened human rights activists across the world. We only hear about what’s going on down there when Donald Trump opens his mouth and the reaction that follows. Why do we not want to challenge ourselves to care?


There are people dying while the rest of the world just stares in with half a care. We all have a deep curiosity on the fabulous and usually crazy lives of rich celebrities. Yet when it comes to painful truth on our fellow global citizens living under terrible conditions within their borders, we don’t care. If we can care about Kim Kardashian’s “dresses” and Kanye’s fashion show, why can’t we care about the women who has lost her entire wardrobe, entire home, entire life due to bombing or due to lack of basic necessities? If we can care about the birth of Princess Charlotte, where hundreds camped outside for a family that has no real power, why can’t we care about the babies born without an officially approved nation or for a baby that is a refugee within her first second of birth? We need to care about the conflicts surrounding our world. We need to leave the invincible, iron dome and find the truth.

Be the first to comment

Reasons


Misery. The bright sun turned scorching and cruel inside those cinder block walls. The owner of this cramped apartment lay shirtless on the tarted blankets of his twin bed, as one by one 10 strangers packed the room so tight that not one more could enter. His story matched the desperate environment that surrounded him, from the bamboo stalks cut to funnel into  rain barrel, to hi sister hiding under the table pressed flat against the far wall. He told his story through the words of a translator, explaining his sisters shyness was due to the recent death of their mother to his bedridden state from abdominal pain. We our filed out as my mom and translator remained for a diagnosis. The thought that nearly had to be on everyone's mind is, How does he bear it? The easy conclusion is he has no other choice.
This idea defined my opinion on perseverance long before my time in Guatemala.  I would look forward and decide if the pain would be worth the reward. Then proceed to persevere or falter based on that original decision. The orphaned teenager must have looked forward to something in life even if it was just the act of living, that was why he was willing to endure so much suffering. This was truly defined by my brief stint on the cross country team. When one of the new runners in the group would falter, panting the classic words “I can’t go any farther,” the couch would respond with the mixture of wisdom and cruelty movies often bestow upon drill sergeants and football coaches. “Really you can’t? If your best friend just over there, wouldn't you go and help them?”. They would mumble a reluctant yes already seeing the un, “ You wanted to stop, that’s fine and I understand.  But remember you wanted to.” The runner had decided that the rewards of running were not worth the costs of continuing.
The event that ended my running career is what would have brought about a change in how I viewed perseverance. The awkwardness of it was what got to me. As I hobbled forward lifting one stiff leg sideways and forcing it forward, then  switching quickly to my good leg. All I  had done was jump into the air, but I could not put weight on it. The second pressure was applied it would painfully buckle. I pushed onward refusing to fail where my siblings would succeed. The five miles around the lake passed with slowly. Every step asking why I decided to go, and every step deciding not to quit. A few days later I learned my leg had a small fracture just below the knee. Reflecting on this event currently I came to the lack perspective. I knew from the teenager in Guatemala that so much could be endured, I just assumed as the cross country coach illustrated, you stop when you can not go any farther. Had I known my leg was “broken” I would have quit. I realized that so often I gave reasons why I could not continue instead of trying to push past them. 
Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Discussion of Silence

Intro: My idea/goal of this essay was to explain how keeping helpful ideas to oneself instead of contributing them can prevent deep connection making between two people or communities. I feel like I did well on explaining my theme for the essay, but I think I could have improved on the background information on the choirs and what the cultural meetings meant.


It happened just last week. I heard two of my peers bring up the debate on who should really have ownership to the Modern day land of Israel. “Yea that’s true but it was ours first.” I’m not a very religious or spiritual person. Which may be a large part of the reason why I find the dispute over who should be in control of the modern day land of Israel to be silly. I see no reason why that today Palestinians and Israelis cannot live equally together in the same state without constant attacks on each other's cultures. I don’t necessarily enjoy talking about the disputes in the Middle East, specifically in Israel, but hearing my friends bring it up reminded me of a time where I witnessed young Israelis, Palestinians and Christians, all peers of mine, come together briefly bond with a mutual interest and non-hostile discuss the events of tension they witness in their daily lives and how it upsets and affects them. The Jerusalem Youth Choir, a choir made up of “Palestinian” and “Israeli” teens, had come to visit Philadelphia and the Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir would be hosting them. I remember how I wasn’t looking forward to the discussion workshop we were going to have about race issues in America and Israel, I didn’t think much would come out of it.

I’m entering the church I’ve seen a dozen times before but this time there’s something different. I can hear what sounds like mumbles and the clearing of throats move past my ears. I awkwardly lean against one of the walls in the hallway as I search for my Jerusalem Youth Choir buddy. I couldn't see Muhammad, no, I saw Mohammad but not the one I was looking for. The wave of kids from the three choirs somehow molded into one at the double doors of the church. The idea of ditching Muhammad slipped into my mind and left in the blink of an eye as it occurred to me that my mom would kill me if I was not glued to Muhammad. The large mass of children had all entered the church and I decided it would be best for me to simply join and blend in with the amoeba of my peers that was heading to the dining hall, perhaps I could find Muhammad there. The amoeba was making it’s way into the dining hall of the church, but I had managed to get just a bit ahead of the group. Before me were seven cream colored tables surrounded by metal folding chairs and a few other fellow singers who also managed to get ahead of the group. When the rest of the amoeba fully entered the room I had already found somewhere to sit down at. I began looking for Muhammad as the crowd dispersed. Then I saw him heading towards a far away table and then I noticed he saw me to. One… two… for two seconds we made eye contact and he continued to walk towards the table 40 feet away from mine. At that moment one of the chaperones called out and said that each table should have a mix of kids from each choir and all JYC singers should be with their assigned PG or KSB singer. I moved over to Muhammad's table. I thought about asking him how he is enjoying Philadelphia, but his lack of knowledge of english and my lack of knowledge of Arabic and Hebrew would have made our conversation too short.



The Jerusalem Youth Choir holds cultural workshops after every concert and rehearsal they have. These "workshops" were just discussions and sharing sessions on what the Israeli and Palestinian singers wanted say about local conflicts they may have witnessed or been a part of in their communities. While the Pennsylvania Youth Choirs were hosting JYC in their first tour in America, a select group of singers from the Pennsylvania Youth Choirs would take part in a cultural workshop. The singers from Philly would use strategies JYC uses in their discussions to help discuss the problems of racial discrimination and hate crimes in the United States.


The twelve of us sat down in the small plastic chairs. Around me, 13 other people gathered in a circle. Five other of the Philly singers, six JYC singers and one adult monitoring the discussion. The adult began to present a discussion for us to talk about. “What issues have you noticed in your community between people.” None, as far as I knew, I don’t have much to say. I looked down at my feet. I began to zone out as all objects within my peripheral vision became a eye-straining blur of colors. Then time went so fast, what was feeling like one minute was actually ten. Suddenly my field of was disinterest was broken. One of the JYC singers had brought up how she always found that more conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians come up in less diverse neighborhoods than in neighborhoods than neighborhoods that are more diverse with Israelis and Palestinians. At that moment I was able to connect in my mind how Philadelphia has a similar type of problem, not with daily race based attacks but with the separation of of race through neighborhoods and how some are predominantly black while others are predominately white and with a few in between. It wasn't much to contribute to the discussion but it was something, something to show I was engaged and that even though the conflicts in Israel my not be connected to me that they mean something to me. I looked up from my shoes, but I stayed silent. I sit there looking up and the discussion slows down to a point where the subject is dropped and a new one is brought up.

After the culture workshop ended, I felt like I had not learned much and the mixed feelings of apathy and concern for the people in conflict in Israel were still at conflict with each other, I just wish that I had said something in the meeting.

Be the first to comment

A New Enviroment

When I begun writing my advanced essay my goal was to develop the idea of community.  Writing my first memory piece I was clueless as to what my larger idea was.  Yet once I finished my second and third memory piece I realized I had produced something that had potential.  From there on out it was easy for me to convert my ideas into fluid writing.  I feel like up to that point in the process I was very successful.  Developing my larger idea was difficult.  In the end I had an epiphany but I still feel like I could contribute more to the conclusion.

Being the new kid is overwhelming.  Regardless of the many times I have begun at a new school, it is still difficult for me to comfortably adapt.  The thing is, it’s impossible to magically fit the mold of a new group; I’ve concluded that there will always be an adjustment period, no matter how big or small.  I myself tend to asses the new situation I am entering, occasionally for longer intervals of time. Currently observing the people around me I notice how harmonious they appear, leaving me longing for community. 

When I was asked to think of a memory piece, something interesting, my mind kept circling back to a meaningful moment I experienced last year with my peers from my previous school.  I was in my 7th period class, Theater, and my classmates and I were discussing the events of the day.  My head snaps to the front of the room when the door opens, all conversation ceasing.  Ms.MA calmly walks in and starts collecting her belongings, her face set in determination.  I sit, momentarily dumbfounded, trying to comprehend why my teacher is preparing to go an hour before school ends.  Then Jade asks “Ms.MA, are you ok?” “I’m fine, just everybody grab your stuff you need to leave for the day.” she says in a steady voice.  As I slowly start to pack up, I feel my heartbeat quicken.  What had been said in the meeting she had just arrived from?  Feeling frantic at the scenario coming to mind, I scurry to shove the rest of my books in my bag.  A few minutes later I stand at the head of the room with my classmates, all of us sharing the same expression of concern, whispering quietly.  “Was she fired?” India asks, broadcasting the fear running through my mind.  Before we have time to further discuss Ms.MA cuts off all conversation, “Do we have everyone?” she asks.  I feel myself nod, and we shuffle out the door. The elevator ride is quiet.  Then I notice tears are silently rolling down my teacher’s cheeks.  We crowd around, wrapping her into a big hug.  Choruses of “Are you ok?” and “We will beat up whoever did this!” fill the elevator but she is quiet, muffled by our embrace.   

The emotion of that day lives on in my mind, with the recognition that everything was intensified with my classmates there.  I come to find that I am mourning the community I lost when I transferred.  Yet I must remind myself that though I think of my past family of classmates fondly, the community was not perfect.   There were times prior when I was not proud to be a part of that society.  Being included in a huge community does not make it a healthy community and you can’t always choose the people you wind up with.  However when the right individuals come together to form a group it can be a miracle.  I experienced this kind of connection on a friday in an earlier week of June.  It was about 5:40 when I got out of the car, my stomach in a twist.  Hearing the driver door slam, I turn.  “I’m coming in with you.” my mom says.  I groan but don’t argue seeing as she has already made her way around the car and is holding the gym door open for me.  Hesitantly, I take a step in.  “Come on!” mom says herding me past the threshold. As we make our way further into the gym, I see a few girls using the exercise machines and my nerves heighten.  “I just need to finalize some details with the instructor and then I’ll be out.” my mom is saying as a blonde woman exits a room just ahead, stopping in her tracks when she spots us.  “You must be Anastasia!” she exclaims, delighted.  “That's me.” I manage anxiously, stepping out from behind my mom. “I’m Erin, come on in!” she gestures leading us back into the room from which she had just exited.  While Erin explains some ground rules multiple girls file in and out of the room, introducing themselves as they go and I begin to relax.  Erin is finishing up introductions when a new girl enters the room.  “Ah, here’s Sheila, she’s new as well!” she exclaims.  I face Sheila as Erin goes to greet her mom. “Hi, I’m Anastasia, this is my first time here too.” I offer with a smile. “I’m Sheila” she says shyly, returning the gesture. “I’m going to go.” my mom says, turning toward the door. “Ok, bye.” I say, “I’ll be fine.” And once I say it, I know it’s true.

Connecting the way I did made me realize that the people which you are surrounded by truly make an impact on how you feel about a situation.  Upon joining Kickboxing the people I met were open and welcoming, allowing me to feel comfortable to be myself.  Situations in new communities are not always as rewarding.  When people think of a community, most often they relate the word to a huge group of people.  In actuality a community can be a family of two, a relative, a best friend, a cat or a friendly acquaintance.  Entering a new community it’s hard not to have huge expectations about creating a huge family of friends, but sometimes it can take one companion for someone to feel support and that is all that matters.

 




Be the first to comment

First Things Firsts

My goal with writing this paper was to write something that I was proud of. I wanted to really enjoy my writing and connect with the topic that I decided to write about so that it could be the strongest piece of writing possible. I also really wanted my essay to have a nice flow. I think that I was really descriptive in the situations I was describing and how I was feeling. My conclusion was strong and tied everything together. I think that I could’ve really gone in to make sure everything worked well and it would make sense to people who aren’t just me.


There is always a first for everything. Each thing that you have done, riding a bike, playing an instrument, there was always that first time you experienced it. Because we have all had so many firsts it seems that the majority of them are pushed under the carpet so that only what is considered to be the most important firsts are what is shared. When you’re a child it’s your first words and steps. Although these are exciting for yourself, it seems to bring more joy to your parents. As we age, the firsts that are considered important become our first day of school and first time riding a bike and from there to first kisses and part time jobs. These are the firsts that most people remember, the ones that are kept on a shelf rather than under the bed. But why were these the memories that have been chosen for us to recall? What if they were swapped out for the first picture you took or the first real meal you ever cooked? Shouldn’t the memories of firsts depend on the person rather than all of us who have a version of the same story? It could show what is important enough to that person to remember the first time it happened.


“Come on Indee, we’re going to be late,” my dad called from the stairs. I started to put on my other sneaker. I sprinted down the stairs where my parents and Aunt and Uncle were waiting. We all piled into the car and drove through the night. When we got to the Electric Factory it was already full of people and buzzing with conversation. “Over 21, come and get a stamp,” a man with a chubby face called. We all entered into the building. It was hot, and smelled of stale beer, perspiration, and fifty different perfumes. Everyone's bodies were so close together and there was no room for personal space. As I stood, wide eyed, I realized how amazing this was. So many people here for the same reason, to listen to some good, live music. I had never seen anything like it. When the band went on everyone went wild. Arms flew up, heads and hips bobbed from side to side. You could tell what everyone's favorite song was because when it came on they would sing along like they were the one performing. Something about this type of connection felt so powerful. I couldn’t get enough of the bass blaring through the speakers, the beating of my heart matching its pace to that of the drums. “So, what did you think of your first concert?” my aunt asked as we were slowly being pushed out by the mob of bodies. It was exhilarating and beautiful. It filled me with an energy that pulsed through my fingers and toes.


Like everything in life, there are positives and negatives. So of course there are positive firsts and negative firsts. Like first love and first heartbreak. The majority of firsts that I mentioned were more joyous and I find that a lot of the time we accentuate the joy and pretend as if the sadder things do not exist. However it is those melancholy firsts that so greatly help shape who we are. Our first experience with loss, first breakdown, or heartbreak. Without these first, which at the time seem like the worst and only thing that matters, we would never be able to grow and learn, to understand and change so that the second or even third time we don’t make the same mistake. It’s sometimes good to follow the branches grow from your roots, to see how your firsts have affected the you of today.


If I were to choose three firsts that make me, who I am, I wouldn’t be able to. I know that this is not true for all but I feel that I have not lived enough years to decide exactly who I am or who I might be. I know the firsts that are not on the list. The first time I rode a bike, baked a cake, and stubbed my toe. But that doesn’t take the importance out of them. It’s just that I know what has left its mark on me and what has slowly faded to the background. In times when I need to lighten up I can think back to those firsts that make my eyes glimmer and when I need to remember a lesson I learned I can recall the times that dulled the bright glow. Maybe we should all stop focusing so intently on the future full of hundredths and thousandths  and just take a second to close our eyes and remember the firsts.



Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Fall Leaves

Descriptive writing is not always easy. You're basically trying to create a mental image in the readers mind. I wanted to approach this assignment with an open mind. I wanted to create a mental image that every reader from every background could see. I also wanted to make my reader feel every word and leave lasting impression on the idea of growing up. The scary reality of growing up and how age doesn't play a part in it. I feel very accomplished, I'm very amazed of how much I've grown as a writer. 


Fall Leaves

by Ona Brown



I always looked forward to Summer when I was younger, it was the most highly anticipated season for a young 12 yearold girl. Time for long days at the beach that leave you two shades darker than the shade you had when you came. Numerous visits to amusement parks. Having so much fun that you put your summer reading off, to do two weeks before school starts. Summer break felt so long, halfway through I would start to miss school. As I got older what felt like a year was gone in a blink of an eye. As I got older I started to anticipate the fall in summer. It’s something about Fall that makes everything feel more homey and close. It’s Not too cold and not too hot. Not too many rain showers to wash your worries away, just a silent wind that speaks to you with no words. It’s something about the warm orange, yellow and brown colors and the way the trees let us know it’s okay to change. It’s something about how the trees aren’t scared to be naked and how they don’t fear Winter coming soon. Fall made me see things so much clearer at a young age. It help me to realize that my age had nothing to do with maturity, rather it was my experiences.


My mom and I used to go to Linvilla orchards every year around October. But this particular time we decided to bring a couple of friends to tag along and share in the Fall activities. I loved getting on the Hayrides. It was the first thing my mind was focused on upon arriving at the Orchard. I made my way to line full of anxious faces, while using my right hand to guide my mom. I used all my weight anchoring my feet into the ground and pulling her arm with my upper body. She hated when I did that. She scream “Stop or we won’t go until it’s time to leave!” I stopped immediately, although every step she took I couldn’t help but wish she was running. I tried to focus on something else, like looking at all the small faces that looked just like the bigger faces they were with. Finally we made it to the line which was so long. After one minute of waiting I became anxious. A stern look from my mother reminded me to be patient. As we walked up the steps to enter the tractor, the corners of my mouth rose. We would sit close making it easy to see each others breath. We breathed in unison, small white clouds formed as we exhaled then they disappeared into the air, never to be seen again. As the farmer made his way through the field maze, taking different twist and turns he pointed out the earth's cultivation. From the small apples to the tall stalks of corn. I never understood how the small insecure seeds could become the big confident crops that laid before my eyes. I wondered if it was how long it took them to grow or their environment that made them ripe?


After the Hayride we picked sweet ruby red apples that showed the reflection of our little brown faces when we looked into them. Later we bought popsicle sticks and make candy apples that I lost my tooth to that night. But Every sweet bite made it worth it. The tooth fairy confiscated my tooth and replaced it with five dollars just to remind me change was okay that night. Soon a new adult tooth would be growing in the narrow empty space.


I know for a fact Fall was forcing me to grow up. The leaves pointed to the things I didn’t see before. The cold wind shook my body and told me to stay awake to not miss a thing. I truly started to understand why knowledge is pain and why it hurts to know. Why did knowing more have to mean you were growing up? I felt like I was out growing my friends. We were around that same age but our mindsets were totally different. The things I knew, they were just starting to understand and some weren't even starting. I hated when my mom told me to act my age. I wasn’t fresh, she just said I “worried about things I couldn’t control and I needed to just be a kid.” But can you really act your age? In my opinion, you can act like your experiences. People’s lives and what they are taught and see vary. I wanted her to see that you could be 40 years old and still haven’t grown up.


I remember that fall when I taught my brother that age had no correlation with growing up. The October air kissed my cheek passionately. My brown hoodie held my body snug. My heart was beating fast. Confusion and suspense filled my tiny mind as I held his rough callused hands. We walked down the steps at a fast pace. As we reached the bottom, he said “I’ll race you to the end of the block.”

I took off running, letting the wind caress my soft brown hair. I’m losing my     breath but I’m almost at the corner. Don’t give up *pant Don’t *pant. You can win this! I made it to the corner and came to an abrupt stop. I turned around and seen a frown plastered upon his face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked

“You cheated, ” He said.

For some odd reason instead of arguing how I won fair and square, I said

“No, what’s really wrong?”

He looked at me, like he didn’t expect me to utter those words out my small  mouth. I knew there was something else going on. I looked back at our house that was in the distance, now that we were at the corner. I heard a high pitch voice that sounded similar to my moms.

As soon as he caught my eyes and see how I was paying too much attention to the noise coming from the house, he said “Come on, we’re going to the park.”

As we crossed the street I couldn’t help but think about the noises.

*Ring *Ring. His phone was ringing. He stop walking and let me get a little ways in front of him. I was trying my best to block out all the extra noise so I could listen to his responses to figure out who he could be talking to.

“Yes”

“Are You Okay?”

“Yes, We’re fine”

“I took her to the park”

“Okay, call me if you need me.”

*Click

“Ona what’s wrong?” he said.

“Was that mommy?” I replied

He looked up then replied, “Yes.”

“What’s going on Brendon?” I asked

“You’re too young to understand lil sis.”

“Am I too young to understand that you’re trying distract me from whatever is going on at the house ?”

He smirked, “You think you’re so smart.”

It was his turn to be distracted.

“Look there goes a ball, First to 10!” I shouted.
He said, “You’re going to lose.”

I gripped the ball in my hands and threw it up in the air surprisingly making it into the net. “Who’s going to lose again?” I said with a grin resting on my face.  

He smiled so big that even the sun was no match for its shine.  

Life told me to grow up. I used to tell life, “I was too young that It wasn’t time.” But then life finally convinced me that age was just a number.


Be the first to comment

Advanced essay by Luke W-S Nothing

Intro:


My goals while writing this was to write something clean and to make it crisp and grasping. I feel for the first thing I did well was time management because I had almost everything done a full day ahead at least for each due date. I feel as well my ability to broaden the topic like nothing helped me write a good essay. I'd like to improve on describing because things such as describing, grammar is something to always improve one


My picture is a picture I carry everywhere. It’s a photo of me, my twin brother Aaron and my older brother Dessler. We at this time are hiking I am like 4, and so is Aaron. Dessler is about six. My twin brother and I are wearing red shirts. I honestly do not know which one is which in this picture. Until we were 6 every picture we look the exact same. My older brother has a white shirt on. Not plain, it has a picture on it consisting of other smaller pictures. We are on a trail at this moment. We were almost on the way back to the car as we take this picture. As we take this my older brother and one of us have our arms over each other’s shoulders. While Aaron and I lock elbows and 1 of us point at ourselves. All three of us have black basketball shorts on. We also all look extremely similar almost like triplets. As we take this there is a lot of shade in the background from trees. These trees make it a good spot for a picture with a fair balance of sunlight. The ground is a pavement. Gray and smooth so when we used to ride our bikes along this trail as a kid when we went hiking. I believe that we are a fair height and are extremely happy in the photo. Sadly I do not remember well as I was young. Finally, my brothers and I had fun this day and as a token to our friendship I carry this in my wallet.  


Dubois- Good description of articles of clothes

Declan- Talk about trees


Part 2:


As we walk this trail we always begin walking by the creek. We continued down past the bridges to do our echos. As a kid making huge echos was fun. But as we finished our echos we saw a trail we never saw before. So we decided to walk down it. As we walked down it we soon realized we have no idea how to get back. As my brother panicked we tried to work our way back onto known ground. We were surrounded by so many plants and felt isolated into the forest. As kids we were afraid we’d become like the kids in lord of the flies. But after a while we saw a deer. Uncommon in philly even for a common hiking area sent us running like rabbits. We didn’t know that deers were not dangerous so the idea of one freaked us out. So we eventually ran into a place we knew. A commonly known rock that was known because of its unnecesary size. So we climbed the rock and found the trail we needed so we wouldn’t be lost anymore. So that day we learned things such as deers are scared of us and that when you are lost don’t panic and manage your surroundings.


Memory 2:

As a kid I would go to camp every year. It was an overnight wilderness camp and we every year played the best game ever. One that is very hard to play if you have no athletic skill, critical thinking and self awareness. Usually this made my team lose every single year(misunderstood the game). So this game is mission impossible. Like the movie you are given a task to find the pieces in 4 different parts of the camp. You have 60 minutes in the middle of the night to get as many as you can and to return to the base. So a few years ago we started and five minutes later many people screwed up on my team. They were afraid of all the trees and the surroundings. This was frustrating. So early in the match the people who search for you and if caught twice you lose we were caught because another team was too loud. So here is the relation we ended up after two objects getting lost. A few of our teammates were unaware of what to do and the surroundings scared them so we had to turn in ourselves so those kids would leave the group. After the third object we were almost found again. At this time we hid in bushes and I kicked a beehive. Stinging me a dozen times along with my teammates. So when we returned I had cuts and stings everywhere and by being handed every single year bad teams I lost every single time. But through the cuts and stings I had a lot of fun playing the best game ever.


Memory 3- I remember this game as if it was yesterday. The 2008 world series brought joy to all Philadelphians. Brad Lidge exits the bullpen to try and earn a save so the Phillies will win the world series. First up to bat is Evan Longoria 3B for tampa bay. After two pitches he gets to a 0-2 count, leading to a foul and an end result being a popout to Chase Utley leading the Phillies to their first out. We are a third of the way to being champs. Dioner Navarro comes up to bat. Lidge takes him to an early 0-2 count. Navarro anticipates and takes the ball to shallow right field for a single. Next the second basemen for Tampa Bay comes up to the plate. Ben Zobrist. After the 1-1 count the pinch runner steals second base putting a runner in scoring position for tampa bay. Zobrist on the 1-2 count lines it to right field making the phillies only one more out from being world champions. The next batter earlier in the matchup hit a homerun to center field. The first pitch results in a foul ball making an 0-1 count. The next pitch is a check swing by the batter. But the umps say that he went around the plate. The 0-2 count put the longest time between pitches for phillies fans. “The 0-2 pitch swing and a miss, struck em out the phillies are the 2008 world champions of baseball”.- Harry Kalas. At this moment my brothers and I dogpiled celebrating the win. One of the best nights ever, happening with the people in the artwork above my brothers.




Frustrating- Indee

Awareness- Lukas

Surroundings, cuts- Xavier

Relation- Jake

Kicked, Misunderstood- Zeshawn


Nothing by Luke Watson­Sharer Nothing sings, talks, walks and sleeps. Nothing has the ability to persuade. Nothing has skills and concepts. Nothing has been here forever. Nothing tells us everything we know as nothing but everything as well. Nothing is our freedom as well as our dictator. Nothing is action; it is idleness. Nothing has power to give and take life. Part 1: Action and Idleness The sun, poised above the zinc roof, fried the wilting branches of mango and avocado trees. Both trees gently cried for rain. Together, roof and trees, sheltered an elderly, blind woman relaxing on the veranda. With each gentle push with her worn, calloused feet, she moved the rocking chair against the cement. It was another afternoon waiting for another evening. She would wait for her great­grandchildren to walk the dusty path home from school. She would wait for rain to quench the dirt’s thirst. She would wait for the night’s news of the day’s events. She would wait for the sun to quickly disappear and for her The elderly woman would spend the afternoon anticipating the wealth of family and food. Her movements were slight. Her gestures were nearly invisible. Her memories were wrapped into her lap blanket. She counted the tassel of thread, worn with her thumbs. Then, tapped her feet to a tune no one could hear. Nothing”,” but still air waiting for a splash of rain. The elderly blind woman did nothing while remembering Part 2: Idleness and Action As they load the panga at the docks, they lose count. One, two, three, four.... the count fades with the thump of another load. Ah, nothing. The driver signals. There’s room. Climb down. Steady. Feed bags piled on heads to fill the panga. Sit on top of feed bags of corn. Shift. Move the cobs to form a They need to get on the panga. The sun is here but then there will be nothing. No light on the river. No full moon. Just the still, damp slap of the water on the river’s bed. Soon the boat will remain idle. Another day lost. Tomorrow to gain. Where will they go? Anywhere. Nowhere. Escaping no food. Escaping threats of breathing. Forced travelers from all paths meander to the river. Dying for prosperity as blind as a bat sleeping in the sun. The travelers walk the path, which leads to a boat. The boat, covered in rust brown as bark; or it is red? The bark of mahogany draped before the river. The bark of a mutt snug against the first woman apparently in her second trimester. Or, it nothing but a lump of air. A deep breath? Then, she exhales relief; next Inhales fear. Nothing to fear but caring for a child she will soon bare. Behind her is a man missing an ear. Does he hear? The hole, instead of an ear, is formed from his head. It’s flat as a mid day horizon. His two eyes that peer at the boat piled with what could be nothing. As he bends, his white ripped shirt covers ribbs. His frame as long and thin as the first woman’s is short and round. They stand, lean and move toward the boat with nothing but their hope for a seat on cobs of corn. More people move toward the boat. Just one more seat. Finally, the driver holds up his hand: STOP. He nods and then shakes his head. The boat is full. 20 pounds could cost a life. Ah, but 20 pounds are nothing! The driver says in a low, hoarse tone: “The owner will kick everyone off if nobody follows.” Huh? Everyone is quick to throw something. A small, knit bag, a pair of holy socks or even a new blanket. With the toss of each item, the sky turn grey. The stillness turns to twists of wind. The clouds quickly fill with rain. Then, splat and With no dusk, the sun is gone and the driver becomes skeptical. Why chance the nothingness of night on a river? Why risk the sacks of corn? Why expose the travelers to a watery grave? The boat driver’s eyes suddenly fill with blood. His veins drained of hope. Hopelessness is nothingness. Surprised, the rain subsides. The remaining raindrops play a game of tag with the dust along the river’s banks. They are the center of civilization. One hundred kilometers from nowhere. If only the boat could float and carry the woman in her second trimester, the long man needing a shirt, the old couple smug in their hugs along with the line of humanity clinging to the hope of surviving tonight. Nothing else left of hope. The driver makes the call. His head tells him the river will be their guide. The river will coddle them with sweet waves and sounds of nothingness under a dark, moonless sky. He carefully reaches for the travelers, guiding them, assisting them, helping them sit between the cobs of corn. Then, out of nowhere, the boat becomes unbalanced. The long, lean man tips to the right. A streak of lightning brightens the sky. The water splurges into the back of the boat as the lean man dives into the river’s waves. Head first. Feet last. Disappear into the nothingness of river. Everyone gasps. The rain is no longer tapping the river’s waves. It is churning in anger. The sacks of corn begin to sway. Next, the woman in her second trimester loses her grip. She rolls off the sack of corn and into the river’s waves. Her body bounces against the boat. She grabs the side pulling a sack, and then young child, into the waves. Where is the moon? Where is the lightning? The sky has nothing to offer. Only the clouds give. They give rain and more rain. The only light is the corn. The boat quietly melts into the river. The motor attempting to fight. The driver treads water. There are a few other bouncing heads. Will any one remember? Is it too much to forget? Is there nothing left? The sun rose at 5 AM. Bright, round, and licking the gentle waves of the river. Cobs of corn were caught in a mango grove. Nothing left to reveal the graves of longing for everything. Receiving nothing. Their loss may seem like nothing in the midst of war but it was everything no one hoped for. Idling. Similar to those boys in the woods, knowing none of their locations, scared of what is to come and if they’d find a way back to the trail, waiting for a tomorrow. Waiting for nothing.

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1

Timely Mind
By Sherell Messing

With this paper my goals are to elaborate on the fact that everyone eventually grows up. When you grow up you will have responsibilities and you will not have the same kind of freedom that you were once use to. ​Despite the fact of it all, you must take time for yourself to me worry free, stress free, and let your mind be free. Without your sanity it would be hard to be yourself, or even to find yourself. In this paper I feel as though a did well when I gave detailed visuals so readers could see my words come to life. One thing I would like to improve is my way of blending, going from one topic to another.

This tiny piece of rainbow printed artwork slowly made its way into my hands all the way from Japan. No, I have never been to Japan. I have never even left the United States. Just like most teens and young adults of this generation I have been introduced and taken hostage of the wonderful person, place and thing we call the internet. I received this in the mail as a bonus item/thank you card. This was for buying from a specific company online that sells cool, fun and useful things from Japan that can not be found here in America. Right before I open the package I look at how smooth the cardboard edges feel. I wonder how it made it across the world and still look so untouched. The sweet, but yet strong, fresh scent of cardboard still lingered upon it.

I grab the small box and spun it upside down, left and right, examining each side just like people do to dice. Instead of searching for dots that represent numbers I was searching for the end of the piece of tape that kept presents inside and locked away from me. My fingers are the keys. I scratch at the edge of the tape with my red colored nails until I could grip it in between my index finger and my thumb. I slightly pull the tape back not trying to damage the perfected texture of cardboard. As I listen to the ripping and tearing I feel like I am doing something bad. Maybe I feel bad because I should not be wasting my time. I should be doing something like chores or homework. I choose to do something I want instead. Finally, I have the box open and a neatly folded sheet of bubble wrap is mirrored in my eyes.

I close my eyes and slide the wrap in my hands rubbing my nails against the soft plastic then piercing the paper with force repeatedly. POP! POP! POP! I sit back with satisfaction and think about all the air that touched this piece of plastic. It must have been on a plane. Or maybe a boat. Or maybe it traveled from car to car. Maybe it was all three. Was it a big truck or a small van that it was carried in? Was this package on the top of other packages? It must have been on the top. As I touch each bubble I imagine touching the ground of states in and out of the country. I wish I could travel just like bubble wrap.

This is one of the many times I feel like I have a free and childish mind. I am a high school student daydreaming on the tiny complexities of bubble wrap. I no longer have time to waste on such things. So, I steal time. I steal time on my way to and from school, while I eat dinner, and when I wash in the shower. I steal time because time was stolen from me. Life goes by way too quickly. If I do not have time to think of new thoughts then I think of the thoughts I had when I was allowed to have thoughts. Responsibility has made it hard to think for myself. As I sit in the crowded hallway on the third floor near the shiny silver elevators, up in a hard to reach window, I dose off from my work and think about when I was younger as my eyes stretch above the city building rooftops into the clouds of balloon animals. 

If the sky can paint itself with colors then I can too. I see right through the rainbow but I can never see through me. I wonder why that is if we both contain color. Sometimes if I stare at my hand too long I can see right through, until I realized I had closed the eye that was in front of my hand the whole time. But I like to believe that I can see through anything, even the darkest of colors.

I run on the steaming hot pavement without shoes like I always do, even if i’m not suppose to. I pick up my chalk and replicate what I see around me. Trees with birds, soil with worms, and a cookie on a plate. I like to draw what is real. I like to image what is not. Maybe that is why I can understand the darkest of colors. The pavement is made of black tar and it burns the bottom of my toes and the flip flops are pink which protect them. But I still decide not to wear them. The trees in the back yard have brown bark and give me splinters when I peel it and I have yellow garden gloves to protect me. But I use my bare hands anyway. Directions when cooking sweets like cakes and cookies state to bake until golden brown. They are full of sugar and I am not suppose to eat them all the time but I still love the taste.

So many things are invented to protect the world from the most natural of things. I like to take the world as it is. If I start to draw the things that I imagine then somebody out there, somewhere, will invent something to stop my thoughts. I continue to draw the things I can see like flowers and bugs so people will not change the world. The sky is even more beautiful to me when the stars are out and the moon is bright inside a navy blue spread. I may not be able to see through my hand but I can surely made a cookie disappear.

If I could steal time I would spend it being young. 

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1 It's Worth the Wait

My goals with this paper​ were to illustrate my first memorable experience with soccer. And to emphasize the importance of patients. I also wanted to show how teamwork and friendship is quite powerful, and can be thought of as a family or community. I felt that I did a good job with my descriptions of my experience and I feel proud of my writing. I still feel as if there are some things that I could improve upon. Sometimes my writing isn't up to par and I am still trying to paint pictures with my words, but I feel as if this is a challenge for me.

We ride up to the field on our bikes, my dad and I, as I feel a breeze wash over me like a welcoming. My eyes glance from one thing to another as I see the soccer field, my mom, and her team. “Stay focused! Look where you’re going!” My brain screams at me. I look up startled, but find no reason to be alarmed. “It’s just grass and a few trees here and there,” I tell myself. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I think. I hop off my bike and search for a tree to rest it against. “Where should I put it?” I ask myself, “Should I put it next to my dad’s bike or will that be inconvenient? Naw, I’ll just put it next to his.” I gently lean my bike down against his, making sure it doesn’t fall, then I look up and follow him as he heads toward the field. I jog a little to catch up, his huge legs giving him an advantage. He walks fast. I look back at the field where my mom is playing with her team. This is where they usually have practice at Edgely Field, and my dad and I often come watch her play.

The game pauses for a bit. She comes over to say hi. It looks like they’re just taking a break. She talks with her team about something I don’t register, and after about five minutes they walk back on to the field. Just then an idea springs into my mom’s head, and she walks back towards us. Now usually this wouldn’t happen, but on this one particular occasion, my mom thought that I would like the opportunity to play. I was only seven at the time, and had played soccer with the Fairmount Association for a few years, but these women were definitely bigger than I was, and had played soccer for several more years than I had. Because of this, my mom decides that it would be safest for me to play goalie. I had played goalie before and was pretty good.

I think about it. My mind races for an answer, searching for pros and cons of this situation. “Sure they are big and tall, and I am very small, but I will only be playing in goal. Maybe I could make some decent saves, and if I said no I’d be passing up an exciting opportunity.” Since that was the position I liked to play and that is what I wanted to play, my final answer was yes. Everyone on the field is waiting as I build up the courage to walk on to that field and join the team. I could feel the excitement in me bubbling, rising through my body and I step over the side line of the field. I jog across, the blood pumping through my veins. My heart starts beating just a little bit faster as my feet lead me closer to my position. I stop on the goal line right between two red flags. We unfortunately did not have full sized goals. The game begins. I am ready, I am hopeful, I am going to do well, but nothing happens. The ball doesn’t come anywhere near me, and to be honest I am bored. This is definitely something that goalkeepers have to deal with, standing in front of the goal and just watching the field is what you have to do.

All of the sudden, the other team stole possession of the ball. I feel a surge of energy and excitement rush through me this was going to be my big moment. I was not sure what would happen and I was definitely nervous, but there was no way I was going to let this breakaway frighten me. This is what I trained for. The player advances on me and I was ready to block the shot. My eyes were training on her like a hawk hunting for it’s next meal. Every little move of her body was a hint to me of what would happen to the ball when she kicks it. I see the shot coming and I jump into position, my bare hands extend out ready to block the shot no matter how much pain they would feel. Out of nowhere, I saw my teammate charge. Her only objective was to get herself between the shot and me. She raced for the attacking player about to shoot. She fought for the ball trying to get possession and I glimpsed my teammate trying to clear the ball, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

Without warning, I felt the ball slam hard into my face. I felt as if my face was permanently dented. I was thrown down on to my back by the force of the ball. The pain surged through my body and my injured head. I felt myself about to let out a scream that could not be contained any longer. I cried out desperately in pain. I couldn’t see, in fact I didn’t want to try, for fear that it might hurt my head even more. I decided just to lay down and cry for help. I heard voices, people worrying if I was okay. And I heard my own teammate keep saying “I’m so sorry I’m so so sorry!” Turns out, instead of actually clearing it, like she wanted to do, she accidentally booted the ball right into my face. It took quite a lot of coaxing and care to actually get me up and standing again. I slowly start to walk off the field with help. I feel drowsy. I was sure that without help, I wasn’t going to be able to stand up by myself. I would have fallen down without the team's support. They help me walk off the field and sit me down. I need rest. I need sleep, I need to lie down. My mom decides I should probably not play with the team until I was older. Showing up to their games and cheering them on their games, we agreed, was the best thing I could do to support them.

I will have to wait nine years before I can officially join their soccer club, and I don’t mind waiting. Now nine years later, joining the soccer club that my parents have been apart of since I was six months, is something that I was ready for. This summer I played with some of the same women in Summer League, as back then. But now, I’m a lot taller than them. I can certainly say it was worth the wait.
Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: What You See, I Don't

One of my goals writing this paper was to develop a story that many could relate to. I've struggled with many things as a child and I wanted to let the audience know where I come from and the person I am because of that struggle. Not only that, I also wanted to write something from the heart. My struggle may be cliche, though it is truly something that I was always insecure about. Just writing about something that I've experienced before is always easier, though it was difficult letting it out and showing it to the world. 
One thing that I think I did well in was going back and adding in memory scenes. I would make it seem as if that scene was actually happening, but then snap back out of it and jump into the reality of it. I could maybe improve it by making it more clear if it was not clear enough, but overall, hopefully it made sense. My essay is below and I hope you enjoy. 


New York city was where it was at. Bright lights, upbeat music, and a crowd full of people. I was backstage, peeping through the white curtains. It was like watching Gabrielle on High School Musical preparing for her duet with Troy. Only this time it was me, alone- getting ready to step out into the spotlight of thousands of people who had came out to see my show. The backstage organizer, who was dressed in all black wearing a black headpiece on his head, placed his hand on my back and lead me to the center of the stage. There infront of me, just about 3 inches from my eyes, I stare at a creamy, white, clean curtain. My mind goes blank and my eyes shut. All I can think about is how does my hair look? My outfit? What if I trip walking on these five inch heels? Next thing you know, a microphone is placed into my hand and my eyes open wide. All I hear and see is a man standing on the left side of me, just about ten feet away counting down with his fingers. “..3..2..and…” Suddenly the “..1..” disappears into the air and the curtains start to spread apart, allowing the bright lights to beam into my eyes.

But that was just all a dream. It was six-thirty in the early fall morning and my mother had just walked into my room. She spread the curtains wide apart allowing the sunlight to beam onto my eyelids, trying to annoy me so I would get out of bed. My alarm was still ringing I had not remembered or rather heard it going off. I squint my eyes shut and quickly rolled over to the right where it was much darker and less awakening. I stretch out my arms and legs, moaning. “Wake up, it’s time to go to school!” My mother exclaims. She picks up a few of my clothes on the floor and places them into the white basket in her other hand. Then she leaves the room with the door wide open and alarm still ringing. I eventually force myself out of bed and hit the alarm button off.

As I am brushing my teeth, I realize that my eyes are still shut; struggling to retain open. Then suddenly, I remembered it was picture day! I quickly rinsed my mouth and washed my face. I ran back into the room and slid my closet doors open; banging to the sound of frustration. I knew I should've woken up earlier. After I quickly picked out my outfit, black high waisted skinny jeans with a nude-pink blouse, I rushed over to my vanity. I then remembered that I left my makeup bag in my bookbag, so I rush down to the living room and quickly scrambled through my things. I grabbed the petite black bag and immediately ran for the stairs back to my room, but everything falls out. “Really?” I screamed aloud. This day could not get any worse! As I quickly shoved everything back into the bag, I look up. My grandmother’s photo comes across my attention and I stop.

I’ve never really paid attention to the photo. It was her alone, sitting in a stool, posing for the camera. It reminded me of exactly what I will be doing today. As I quickly examined the photo, I noticed her perfectly lined lips and smooth skin. She looked absolutely beautiful and flawless.

I ran back upstairs and unzipped my makeup bag. I spreaded everything out and stopped. I stared at myself in the mirror, wishing I looked just as beautiful as my grandmother. But as I quickly did my makeup, my mother calls me down. She tells me to hurry it up and leaves, grabbing her keys. I grab my black knee-high boots and sit on the couch. I slipped them on and stood up. The picture grabs ahold of my attention again and I smile. I grab my bag and I am out the door, hoping I look okay.

I’ve made it to school on time, exactly at 8:15. I run up the stairs, hoping I would not be late for Morning Meeting. But as I am making my way down the hall, I hear my classroom number being called on the loudspeaker. “Room 500, please report to the office to take your pictures. Room 500, please report to the office. It’s picture day!” I enter my classroom and everybody is in line. I had not expected to be taking pictures this early in the morning. I place my belongings down and I step into line. Oh lord, I think. Why today?

As we are aligned outside of the office, Teacher Andy instructs us to get into alphabetical order, starting from last names. That means I am the fourth person in line. My heart begins to pound and all I can think about is how do I look.

As a kid, picture day was always the worst day. I think to myself, this is just a replay of second grade. I close my eyes and for a second, I blank out.

I am sixth in line, waiting to be called. I look in front of me, noticing every girl nicely dressed with their dresses perfectly pressed and hair perfectly curled. I turn around with my head tilt down and eyes closed as I think, “Let this be over. Please.”

But that was all just a memory of second grade. Today, I stand fourth in line; surprisingly ready. My heart beat starts to slow down and I question why. What is this feeling?

Teacher Liz makes her way over and unexpectedly says, “Ashlye. You look really stunning today! I love the mature look.” I say, “Really? Thank you.” She smiles and enters the office.

I look around, a little embarrassed but relieved. Embarrassed because I was put onto the spotlight and relieved because I thought I looked absolutely awful.

Taking pictures was always an insecurity of mine. I was never comfortable in my own skin and I felt as if I always needed to look presentable everywhere I went. Standing in line, I realized that today was not a very special 8day. Picture day comes every year and I shouldn’t be focused on how I look. Although I wish to look just like my grandmother in the photo back at home, I have to accept my flaws to see the true beauty in me.

Stepping out into the spotlight, constantly concerned of the way I look, I know the world will always judge. But it’s the thought of accepting the judgements and turning them into my own beauty.

As the line continues to get shorter, I stand there, calm and collected. The first that I’ve ever felt confident.  

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: The Connection We Make

​My goal with this paper is to be able to successfully get my point across in this topic that is very important to me which is music. I feel that I did very well with my examples that I had with my topic. I also feel that my analysis was really strong throughout the paper. I would have liked to have improved on my concluding paragraph. I just felt that it could have been stronger as well as my grammar check 

When I was little, one of my favorite parts of the summer would be the family cookouts we would have. My Dad and my uncles would gather around the grill, drinking and catching up with each other while my mom and aunts would be helping to serve the food. All of the kids would be running around back and forth annoying all of their parents. One of the most memorable parts of these get togethers would be the dancing and the music. Whether it had to do with watching the dance moves of my parents, and sometimes joining in or just singing along, Music was one one of the constant points in my childhood that has connected me with many people. Especially my family members.

   Music has been and always will be, in my opinion, one of the ways for people to connect with one another. Music has the ability to tell one’s story and it’s through that story the musician tells, you have people who will relate to it or learn from it. Meaning, you either relate to the experience or you relate to the feeling, or at least the basic theme, that the musician is talking about. Or when you are just on the learning side of the connection spectrum, you are taught a story that will open up a new world to you. Either way, you’ll see a connection with people that probably never would have happened if both parties never would have sat down and pressed play.

For instance, take into account the song "Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst" by Kendrick Lamar. In this song Kendrick takes the point of view of two people that he had known while growing up as well as adding his own commentary in the end. Throughout this song, Kendrick tells the story of Dave's brother and Keisha's sister. Starting with the brother of Dave, Kendrick explains through his story the bloody, destructive cycle of ghetto that the people take part in. This especially takes a toll on the children, since the destructive cycle leaves them without any proper guidance. Which explains the verse "this orphanage we call a ghetto is quite a routine". Later on, Dave's brother expressed his views on gang affiliation and how in the verse "it's a trip how we trip off of colors" explains how blood is senselessly spilled over pointless matter, like wearing the wrong color that associates with another rival gang.

Next Kendrick brings up the story of Keisha's sister. She starts talking about Kendrick putting her sister "on blast...judging her past" in his previous song talking about Keisha's being a prostitute . She criticizes him for doing that especially its states in the song "well it's completely my future". She sees that kind of life in her future which indirectly makes her feel like she is being judged as well. Towards the end of the song come again at Kendrick stating "you lying to these motherfuckers, talking about you can help'em with my story". She has lost all hope for change from that kind of lifestyle. She firmly believes that telling her story won't make the slightest difference. The prostitution world will still keep going long after this song has lost its popular appeal.

The song then ends in Kendrick point of view. He starts to express how he doesn't want to be forgotten. This is the common that is repeated throughout the song. That's trying not to be forgotten. Even in the in chorus where it says " promise that you will sing about me" he wants to leave his mark. He wants to make sure that he meant something that why he ends his part with " Am I worth it? Did I put enough work in?". He wants his mark on the world to be more than a passing inconvenience.

It’s at this point in the song that you come to see the connection that many people can relate to this artist on. And that is the main theme throughout this entire song which not wanting to be forgotten. No wants to be forgotten, and it is a fear that mostly everyone can relate to. No one likes to be forgotten because we want to feel like they are more than just filling space, that what they are doing will make a difference in the future and they will be remember. People want someone to sing about them when their gone . He conveys all of this through his song which is amazing, and why I love music and the connections it makes.



Be the first to comment

Egnlish Advance Essay #1: Through back

My goal was to go back in time and talk about how I feel about almost everything starting by seeing one picture to my experience of everything. I feels like I did well when I describe how scared I was before my first day of school, and I want to improve lots of my grammar. 

Every Time when i’m looking for  things on my phone, I  always end up seeing the same old picture, and it seems like it is calling me to click on it. Oh man, this picture reminds me of everything back then, remember the person who took this picture for me? He is still in my class now, and his name is Zeshawn, he is the longest friend I have. Four years ago, when I first came to America, I barely have friend, but now I made a lot of friends. I was so excited that I will be coming to America, things are so going to be better than my country, but I was wrong, things didn’t get better till my high school year.


What do America look like? What do American look like? Are they nice? Are they mean? Is it a lot different than here? When I’m on my way to America from my country Taiwan, I was keep asking myself those questions. I will no longer being lonely, I can finally have friends. I was so so happy when I finally have a chance to move to America. At the very first moment when I stepped on America’s land, I feel very special, this is what America feels like, the air that I breath, the view that I see, the ground that I stand, everything are different than my country, this is just too unexpected wonderful.


Two weeks until school starts, my nerves is being weird, my brain are all blank, my whole body are shaking like crazy, this is going to be my very first day of America’s school, I don’t speak English, and I don’t know their rules, i’m afraid that I will mess something up. I need to relax, I need to chill, I keep trying to calm myself down, but it doesn’t seem to be working.


Finally this day have come, my very first day of school in America, I come into classroom and say “Hi my name is Cano Chen” and this is all I know, “ where are you from?” “What is your favorite color?” “Do you have any pets?”, my answer for all of them are the same, “ Sorry I don’t understand English this much”. I think because of that, body wants to be my friend, because I am too boring to talk with.


The very first friend I’ve ever made in America is a boy named Marcus, he is so nice to me, and he always help me out when I got stuck, and always talk to me when I feel lonely, he is just amazing. Everything here are different than my country, my language, my look, my lifestyle, my culture, and everything, and this is one of the biggest reason that everybody will ask me, “Do you like America so far?” “Can I hear you speak your language?” “What kind of music do you listen to?” and every question that’s related to a person who’s new to this country.


When I was in eighth grade, I finally made my very first best friend in my whole life, he is the very first and only person who always hang out with me, since we live next to each other, we will always go to school and go home together, his name is Patryk, he is a Polish, and he is new to this country too! He just came to America the summer before I turn into eighth grade, and he is one year younger than be, but we were in the same English second language class, it was boring to be honest, but at least I can have class with him for just this little bit. He is just like a brother that I always wanted, we always celebrate every holiday together, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc. He will always invite me to every holiday, and his parents are both really nice to me too. I wanted this for my whole life, and who knows a Polish boy who live next to me will be my best friend?


At the middle of eighth grade, I moved, now I live a little far from him, but even so, I still wake up one hour earlier just to walk with him, so I go all the way to his house, and then go back to school, and I will still go home with him too. So distance doesn’t mean everything, it can’t stop us from being best friend.

After all of those memrise, when I look back at this picture again, I feels like it is really worthed to keep staring at this picture, because all of my emotion, my feelings, and my history are all in this one simple picture.

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay bu Luke W-S Nothing

Intro:


My goals while writing this was to write something clean and to make it crisp and grasping. I feel for the first thing I did well was time management because I had almost everything done a full day ahead at least for each due date. I feel as well my ability to broaden the topic like nothing helped me write a good essay. I'd like to improve on describing because things such as describing, grammar is something to always improve one

Description of artwork:

My picture is a picture I carry everywhere. It’s a photo of me, my twin brother Aaron and my older brother Dessler. We at this time are hiking I am like 4, and so is Aaron. Dessler is about six. My twin brother and I are wearing red shirts. I honestly do not know which one is which in this picture. Until we were 6 every picture we look the exact same. My older brother has a white shirt on. Not plain, it has a picture on it consisting of other smaller pictures. We are on a trail at this moment. We were almost on the way back to the car as we take this picture. As we take this my older brother and one of us have our arms over each other’s shoulders. While Aaron and I lock elbows and 1 of us point at ourselves. All three of us have black basketball shorts on. We also all look extremely similar almost like triplets. As we take this there is a lot of shade in the background from trees. These trees make it a good spot for a picture with a fair balance of sunlight. The ground is a pavement. Gray and smooth so when we used to ride our bikes along this trail as a kid when we went hiking. I believe that we are a fair height and are extremely happy in the photo. Sadly I do not remember well as I was young. Finally, my brothers and I had fun this day and as a token to our friendship I carry this in my wallet.  


Dubois- Good description of articles of clothes

Declan- Talk about trees


Memory 1:


As we walk this trail we always begin walking by the creek. We continued down past the bridges to do our echos. As a kid making huge echos was fun. But as we finished our echos we saw a trail we never saw before. So we decided to walk down it. As we walked down it we soon realized we have no idea how to get back. As my brother panicked we tried to work our way back onto known ground. We were surrounded by so many plants and felt isolated into the forest. As kids we were afraid we’d become like the kids in lord of the flies. But after a while we saw a deer. Uncommon in philly even for a common hiking area sent us running like rabbits. We didn’t know that deers were not dangerous so the idea of one freaked us out. So we eventually ran into a place we knew. A commonly known rock that was known because of its unnecesary size. So we climbed the rock and found the trail we needed so we wouldn’t be lost anymore. So that day we learned things such as deers are scared of us and that when you are lost don’t panic and manage your surroundings.


Memory 2:

As a kid I would go to camp every year. It was an overnight wilderness camp and we every year played the best game ever. One that is very hard to play if you have no athletic skill, critical thinking and self awareness. Usually this made my team lose every single year(misunderstood the game). So this game is mission impossible. Like the movie you are given a task to find the pieces in 4 different parts of the camp. You have 60 minutes in the middle of the night to get as many as you can and to return to the base. So a few years ago we started and five minutes later many people screwed up on my team. They were afraid of all the trees and the surroundings. This was frustrating. So early in the match the people who search for you and if caught twice you lose we were caught because another team was too loud. So here is the relation we ended up after two objects getting lost. A few of our teammates were unaware of what to do and the surroundings scared them so we had to turn in ourselves so those kids would leave the group. After the third object we were almost found again. At this time we hid in bushes and I kicked a beehive. Stinging me a dozen times along with my teammates. So when we returned I had cuts and stings everywhere and by being handed every single year bad teams I lost every single time. But through the cuts and stings I had a lot of fun playing the best game ever.


Frustrating- Indee

Awareness- Lukas

Surroundings, cuts- Xavier

Relation- Jake

Kicked, Misunderstood- Zeshawn


Memory 3- I remember this game as if it was yesterday. The 2008 world series brought joy to all Philadelphians. Brad Lidge exits the bullpen to try and earn a save so the Phillies will win the world series. First up to bat is Evan Longoria 3B for tampa bay. After two pitches he gets to a 0-2 count, leading to a foul and an end result being a popout to Chase Utley leading the Phillies to their first out. We are a third of the way to being champs. Dioner Navarro comes up to bat. Lidge takes him to an early 0-2 count. Navarro anticipates and takes the ball to shallow right field for a single. Next the second basemen for Tampa Bay comes up to the plate. Ben Zobrist. After the 1-1 count the pinch runner steals second base putting a runner in scoring position for tampa bay. Zobrist on the 1-2 count lines it to right field making the phillies only one more out from being world champions. The next batter earlier in the matchup hit a homerun to center field. The first pitch results in a foul ball making an 0-1 count. The next pitch is a check swing by the batter. But the umps say that he went around the plate. The 0-2 count put the longest time between pitches for phillies fans. “The 0-2 pitch swing and a miss, struck em out the phillies are the 2008 world champions of baseball”.- Harry Kalas. At this moment my brothers and I dogpiled celebrating the win. One of the best nights ever, happening with the people in the artwork above my brothers.




Nothing

by Luke Watson-Sharer


Nothing sings, talks, walks and sleeps. Nothing has the ability to persuade.  Nothing has skills and concepts. Nothing has been here forever. Nothing tells us everything we know as nothing but everything as well. Nothing is our freedom as well as our dictator. Nothing is action; it is idleness. Nothing has power to give and take life.


Part 1: Action and Idleness


The sun, poised above the zinc roof, fried the wilting branches of mango and avocado trees.  Both trees gently cried for rain. Together, roof and trees, sheltered an elderly, blind woman relaxing on the veranda.  With each gentle push with her worn, calloused feet, she moved the rocking chair against the cement.  It was another afternoon waiting for another evening.  


She would wait for her great-grandchildren to walk the dusty path home from school. She would wait for  rain to quench the dirt’s thirst.  She would wait for the night’s news of the day’s events.  She would wait for the sun to quickly disappear and for her bed to plead for her presence.


The elderly woman would spend the afternoon anticipating the wealth of family and food.  Her movements were slight.  Her gestures were nearly invisible.  Her memories were wrapped into her lap blanket.  She counted the tassel of thread, worn with her thumbs.  Then, tapped her feet to a tune no one could hear.  Nothing”,” but still air waiting for a splash of rain.  The elderly blind woman did nothing while remembering and foreseeing everything.

Part 2:  Idleness and Action


As they load the panga at the docks, they lose count.  One, two, three, four…. the count fades with the thump of another load.  Ah, nothing.

The driver signals.  There’s room.  Climb down.  Steady.  Feed bags piled on heads to fill the panga.  Sit on top of feed bags of corn.  Shift.  Move the cobs to form a cushion.

They need to get on the panga.  The sun is here but then there will be nothing.  No light on the river.  No full moon.  Just the still, damp slap of the water on the river’s bed.  Soon the boat will remain idle.  Another day lost.  Tomorrow to gain.

Where will they go?  Anywhere.  Nowhere.   Escaping no food.  Escaping threats of breathing.  Forced travelers from all paths meander to the river.  Dying for prosperity as blind as a bat sleeping in the sun.  

The travelers walk the path, which leads to a boat.  The boat, covered in rust brown as bark; or it is red? The bark of mahogany draped before the river. The bark of a mutt snug against the first woman apparently in her second trimester.  Or, it nothing but a lump of air. A deep breath?  Then, she exhales relief; next Inhales fear.  Nothing to fear but caring for a child she will soon bare.

Behind her is a man missing an ear.  Does he hear?  The hole, instead of an ear, is formed from his head. It’s flat as a mid day horizon.  His two eyes that peer at the boat piled with what could be nothing.  As he bends, his white ripped shirt covers ribbs.  His frame as long and thin as the first woman’s is short and round.  They stand, lean and move toward the boat with nothing but their hope for a seat on cobs of corn. Nothing but full sacks.

More people move toward the boat. Just one more seat. Finally, the driver holds up his hand:  STOP.  He nods and then shakes his head. The boat is full.  20 pounds could cost a life.  Ah, but 20 pounds are nothing!  

The driver says in a low, hoarse tone:  “The owner will kick everyone off if nobody follows.” Huh?  Everyone is quick to throw something. A small, knit bag, a pair of holy socks or even a new blanket. With the toss of each item, the sky turn grey. The stillness turns to twists of wind.   The clouds quickly fill with rain.  Then, splat and splash.

With no dusk, the sun is gone and the driver becomes skeptical. Why chance the nothingness of night on a river?  Why risk the sacks of corn?  Why expose the travelers to a watery grave?  The boat driver’s eyes suddenly fill with blood.  His veins drained of hope.  Hopelessness is nothingness.  

Surprised, the rain subsides. The remaining raindrops play a game of tag with the dust along the river’s banks. They are the center of civilization.  One hundred kilometers from nowhere. If only the boat could float and carry the woman in her second trimester, the long man needing a shirt, the old couple smug in their hugs along with the line of humanity clinging to the hope of surviving tonight.  Nothing else left of hope.

The driver makes the call.  His head tells him the river will be their guide.  The river will coddle them with sweet waves and sounds of nothingness under a dark, moonless sky.  He carefully reaches for the travelers, guiding them, assisting them, helping them sit between the cobs of corn.  Then, out of nowhere, the boat becomes unbalanced. The long, lean man tips to the right.  A streak of lightning brightens the sky.

The water splurges into the back of the boat as the lean man dives into the river’s waves.  Head first.  Feet last.  Disappear into the nothingness of river. Everyone gasps.  Who is next?  

 The rain is no longer tapping the river’s waves.  It is churning in anger.  The sacks of corn begin to sway.  Next, the woman in her second trimester loses her grip. She rolls off the sack of corn and into the river’s waves.  Her body bounces against the boat.  She grabs the side pulling a sack, and then young child, into the waves.

Where is the moon?  Where is the lightning? The sky has nothing to offer.  Only the clouds give.  They give rain and more rain.  The only light is the corn.

The boat quietly melts into the river.  The motor attempting to fight.  The driver treads water.  There are a few other bouncing heads.  Will any one remember?  Is it too much to forget?  Is there nothing left?    

The sun rose at 5 AM.  Bright, round, and licking the gentle waves of the river.  Cobs of corn were caught in a mango grove.   Nothing left to reveal the graves of longing for everything.  Receiving nothing. Their loss may seem like nothing in the midst of war but it was everything no one hoped for. Idling. Similar to those boys in the woods, knowing none of their locations, scared of what is to come and if they’d find a way back to the trail, waiting for a tomorrow.  Waiting for nothing.


Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Not A Forever Thing



In this essay I wanted it to somewhat be a new introduction for the type of writing that I want to be able to do in 11th grade.  I wanted to get out of my old writing habits and make it my goal to try something new this year. I think that I did a pretty good job in my first few paragraphs. I got my points across and used different descriptive techniques. Yet, I feel like I could’ve possibly carried that technique throughout the body of my paper more.



I don't want to write like this forever


   The ideas run through my head constantly, but I don't  know where to go from there. I can get a few sentences here and there and try to put them together but 50 percent of the time it's not simple for me.


   Sometimes it seems as if I have all the ideas in the world and can find a topic to write about in a heartbeat. Other times I feel as though my brain is like a math scatter plot. One point is way up in the positives and the other is low down in the negatives. While looking at all of my points on the scatter plot, I begin searching around trying to find a way for them to connect.


   I feel like when I have nothing to write about and my brain seems empty, I always resort back to a certain topic. I find myself not knowing and deciding to write about my Grandma. Specifically her death. I don't want to be that "writer" who only writes about the most sad and depressing moments that they've experienced.  I want to show that  I've experienced more than that. I don't want all of my writing to be about times that I've dealt with loss. There has been infinit of times when I've had the exact opposite of a loss and have gained and found like no other. Yet it feels like those bad times stay with you day in and day out. I seem to remember a loss 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.


   Yesterday's writing assignment felt like one of those days for me. I wrote a journal entry style excerpt. As much as I wanted to pick the most fun or the funniest memory possible, I couldn’t gather myself to do it. Instead the entry said,



   “They say April showers bring May flowers and I am more than ready for these flowers to bloom. I’m tired of the rain. I’m tired of the dreariness. I’m tired of the gloomy days. Can this last day of showers be over already. Tomorrow is the first day of May I hope for the sun to shine and the birds to chirp like all of the cliche things that you hear about in the stories. But I know it won’t be that simple. Today’s my last day here at my grandma's house before the new owner comes to pick up the keys later tonight. After 15 years of spending most of my days here and it being the family house for the last 40 years I’m distraught. It’s all going to be over. Everything is moved out ready for the new owners to move in. Yesterday we took the final pieces out of the house and all I remembered was my mom putting my grandma's silver antique tea set into the trunk of her car.


   The memories began to pour in. Always wanting to use it and have a tea party with my grandma. Wondering why it didn’t sing or dance like the tea set from Beauty & The Beast. Or even the times when I use to sneak and open the china closet door to pretend to pour tea but finding money hidden in the tea pot.


   Those memories led me to even more memories of when I didn’t mind the April showers. The memories that all took place before July 17, 2011. Before my grandma passed away. Back when when everything was ok. When everyday was a good day. Oh how much I pray for those days again to bloom like the flowers in May”.   


I don't want to write like this forever


   I was explaining a time when I felt sad, vulnerable, and confused. It was like a trip down memory lane. A time when change wasn’t something that I wanted to get used to. Everything that I became accustomed to was suddenly turning into the opposite. I believe that change is good, but when it hits you full speed while you're not paying attention, it become hard to adjust.



 But I want to grow as a writer and find a way to write like I haven't before. I want to dig deep into my memories and pick out the old fun ones that I can't help but smile about when I think of them. The memories that aren't so clear and I have to get the rest of the details from my friends and family. The memories that are so positive and will eventually surpass all the ones that involve any type of loss.


I don't want to write like this forever


  Maybe this is one of those moments. The writing assignments are being thrown at me left and right and that proves that it’s time for me to progress as a writer. With each essay I want to strive and create new ideas. Although all authors occasionally have trouble brainstorming ideas, no one wants to be a redundant writer. I want to take time out to think of the most unique things possible I don't want to be the writer who struggles with getting in touch with their writing and finding ways to be good at it. I want my writing to be able to flow out of me and onto my paper. I want my papers to be full of alliteration and the reader to not be able to hold back their anticipation of reading the rest. I want my writing to sound like lovely music to a trained ear.



    I'd like my writing to be great for me. I want to show myself that I've improved over the years. I'd like to prove to myself that poems are more than rhyming words and that my analytical essays are more than online facts. Not only do I want my writing to be remembered by others, but for me to love and remember it too.
Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Unprecedented Paths

This paper was written to show how much power friendship can really have in shaping all of our lives. I feel that through this essay, I was able to describe my experience very well, and show just how important friendship is to me. I think that I could improve making the larger idea just a little stronger​, even though I think I did a good job strengthening it in the revision process. I could also improve the overall flow of the essay. Overall, friendship can mean something different for all of us, but there will always come a time when we will need the support of others in our lives.

I entered the doors on the ground level of the school theater. As I walked across the blue vinyl flooring, I took in all of my surroundings. The cushioned seats, the soundboard on the mezzanine level, and above me to my right, the stage. I watched as my band instructor, who also happened to be in charge of soundcrew for the play, walked down the carpeted stairs from the mezzanine. Smiling from ear to ear, he instructed me to get on the stage and help the blonde haired girl he called Cosette untangle the wires. “Jules, this is Cosette. Cosette, this is Juliana.” The small blonde girl had a friendly smile, one that told me I was safe, and I waved my hand smiling back to greet her. I have a feeling that she could tell I was nervous; this was my first sound crew rehearsal, and my social skills back in eighth grade weren’t anywhere close to where they are now. I still had yet to feel the importance of a true friendship in my life.

As I studied her and gathered my first impressions, it began to feel as if I were staring into a mirror. Her eyes weren’t coated in black eyeliner as mine were, and her slightly blonder hair wasn’t flattened down by a straight iron; it was still straight, but had a little wave to it. Even our facial features were strikingly similar. It didn’t take long for our band instructor to notice this similarity between us, and thus I was soon given the nickname “Baby Cosette.” In the duration of the three other years we had been attending the same middle/high school, with a population of only five hundred kids, it was hard to believe that I had never once seen her in my life before. Somehow, everything was meant to align in this moment, and it was finally time for her to be introduced into my life, and me into her’s.

It’s been a little over two years since that first interaction occurred. I put down the eyeliner and the flat iron, and my hair is a little shorter now. After deciding she needed change in her life, Cosette’s hair is now red (and she’s grown fond of wearing a fedora nowadays). I can’t imagine the paths I could have taken if the one that led me to her had never existed. My life was sailing towards treacherous seas, and this ship would not have stayed grounded if it wasn’t for her anchor. I would have gotten a lot more hours of sleep, but sometimes the best conversations happen at three in the morning. If we didn’t have each other, our greatest secrets would stay trapped inside our heads, bouncing off of each part of our brains and begging for a way out through our mouths. There comes a time when everyone needs the support of someone else. We weren’t built to bear all of the weight of the world on our shoulders alone, or keep every good moment to ourselves. Humans share ideas and become stronger through friendship, as we gain a new perspective in which to look at the world around us.

For someone who has been to hell and back, Cosette is filled with so much life. Pain, sorrow, emptiness, happiness, wonder, amazement, and even pure joy- she has seen the whole spectrum. Her resilience is like none other than I’ve seen. Everyday she fights to stay alive in a world that has wanted her dead. She is my inspiration and all that I strive to be as as a person. We all need that one person to look to in our lives.

A lot can happen in two years, let alone one year. You meet new people, and two friends become a group of four. New memories are made. Sometimes it’s staying up until the sun rises just to change the lyrics to some song in hopes that it’ll give us all a good laugh. Other times it’s dancing around in separate rooms to celebrate an important event in our lives. You all wind up growing together, and ultimately become stronger people. With friends like mine, you never know what you’re in for when you wake up the next day. You could be hearing the best or the worse news of your life, and there’s nothing that you can do to prepare yourself. So you hope for the best, and move through life with as many laughs as you can. That’s what friendship is all about.

I’ve never had much of a history of being terrified of change. To some extent, change brings out a fear in us all, no matter how small. We are creatures of habit, we can’t help it. This being said, I’m quite terrified of losing my close friends. Everybody seems to have some sort of plan for their future, or at least have some idea of the road they’re going to travel down. I feel as though I may be left in the dust, as I have no sense of direction. I’m is just another lost soul trying to make her way through this complicated world. However, I’m sure a lot of people feel this way too. As long as I’ve got my friends by my side though, the world shouldn’t be as much of a scary place.

Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1- The Get Back

​After writing this essay, I learned things about myself that I didn't realize. I learned in order for me to fully move on with my life and no longer hold a grudge, I have to forgive people who hurt and let go. I was really able to connect with this writing piece because having my best friend and boyfriend kiss was heartbreaking, but made the writing even stronger. I could have improved on my larger idea though, and reflected more descriptively. Overall, I am very pleased with my work. Enjoy!



Have you ever been betrayed so unpleasantly by someone you would have never expected to do so? The feeling of your heart crumbling into a million pieces, scurrying to your stomach and turning into butterflies. Knowing that the person never had good intentions since you two first met. A sweat breaks out like a disease and you just want to run far away from that person and the world. Personally, I have experienced these feelings more than once. Not only was it by someone I loved, but also by people I considered to be my best friend.


The only way one can be betrayed is if someone trusts or opens up to another person. Having someone you trust throw everything away like a useless piece of trash is hurtful, especially if it’s a person who you’d thought never leave your side. The feeling of a loss is distressful- regardless of family member, friend, etc. The main way to cope with a loss of someone you thought was your friend is to remember whoever you encounter in life is either there for a reason or a season, but you must be open to this and remember not everyone is meant to be in your life.


I was in the eighth grade. There were 7 other girls whom I considered best friends of mine, we called ourselves “The Crew”. Each of our parents knew the other’s. Everyone was close and no one could break our bond, which was as strong and sturdy as a leather belt. At least I thought it could not be broken. We told each other everything, and could open up about the worst and best experiences that we have been through. Those seven girls meant everything to me, and I could not bear the thought of losing them as friends.


I had a crush on this guy, Dom, since my eyes were first placed on his round cocoa brown face, which was in the sixth grade. He never paid me any mind at first, though, which was pretty embarrassing. After a while I began to lose interest because “spitting game” was getting played out like a repetitive song on the radio. Right when I was over him, at the start of eighth grade, he started to begin liking me. How coincidental. Me, being the weak, insecure, and naive person I was, jumped right back into liking him because I was finally getting the attention I had desired for so long.

Months passed after talking and we had finally decided to make our relationship official. This day, November 13, 2012, meant everything to me. Simply because that was the day that had started the small, yet noticeable, crack in the Crew’s bond.


One dreary winter day, I received a phone call from my boyfriend. His voice was quivering and I could tell something was bothering him.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, nervously.

“I need to tell you something.” he said, voice shaking like a massive earthquake

Those six words can either be the best news one could receive or the worst. In my case, it was the worst.

“Suzie and I kissed….” he said blandly.

After he said that, the rest of the words that followed were completely shut out. It kept replaying in my head like a scratched record. Those emotions began seeping in. Heart crumbling, evil butterflies, realization, breaking out of a sweat. Before I could even think about what to say, tears began strolling down my face, they were unstoppable. Not only was he supposed to be my boyfriend, but Suzie was supposed to be my best friend in the Crew!

A very wise man, known by Drake, once said “Tables turn, bridges burn, you live and learn.” Tables turning and bridges burning is exactly what happened in this situation. The tables had unexpectedly flipped on me with no warning by either my best friend nor my boyfriend. They both burned the solid, loyal bridge with me by going behind my back and plunging a 16 inch knife in it. The pain felt was both physical, emotional, and intellectual. Although this happened, life is about learning lessons. These lessons won’t always be learned the easiest way, there will be different trials that will break you down and build you back up. Yet, the key to succeeding in life is learning from the lessons and not making the same decisions that have no benefit to you.

Which brings me to the other question, what exactly had I done so bad to Suzie for her to do this to me? What motivates people to selectively decide on which knife they’ll plunge into their loved one’s back? Is it jealousy, envy, or even hatred? Then I thought, maybe she’s had a problem with me all along but placed these issues behind a mask just to get close to me. They say “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” for a reason. I finally realized that the reason people betray is because their intentions were never pure from the start, which accurate in Suzie’s situation. In conclusion, going through the many lessons I learned from fraudulent friendships has honestly made me stronger as a friend and person.


Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay#1: The Larger Idea on Relationships

My goals with this paper was to show that  that what you attribute to a relationship should be more than just a title and occasional conversations. Relationships should be cherished just as the memories you make are. With this goal in mind, I believe that I did well on my whole paper overall. I found my essential idea and enlarged it to what the foundation of relationships are. In addition, to how they should mean more of a deeper connection to the other person than just words. I don't think I would want to improve anything. This is the first English 3 piece that I have published this school year and I feel very proud about it.
---

It was the evening before my mother’s surgery and I had just got home from a hard day of volleyball, school and homework. Entering into my house I first spotted the lime green walls popping out at my eyes with its clean white border assets.  Then on the largest wall in the room, on the left is my favorite painting in the whole home. Placed delicately in a white, 8x11 picture frame is an African-American mother and daughter. They are sitting on a oak hardwood living room floor. The child sits in a pure white leotard in contrast to her mother’s much darker and rich burgundy v-neck leotard. Neither of them are wearing dance tights. They even have one incurably small fragment of their hair in the same spot that is short. It curls over just enough on the mother to touch her forehead. My mother was sitting underneath it on the largest of our 3-piece chocolate furniture set. With her black hair pulled back slickly into a ponytail, and a black tracksuit on she called me over.

“Hey, how was your day?”

“Pretty tiring but I’ll be alright. ” I replied. Then my eyes rolled their way up to the painting above her head and I smiled.


Whenever I see it, I instantly think of myself and my mom. As if I was looking straight into a puddle and saw my reflection. It reminds me of us because the two in the photo provides an instant story to your eyes. Appealing at your senses, showing you to have integrity, to be strong and providing a much deeper connection into their relationship than what small words and sentences could provide. Its description is deep but a picture is worth more than a thousand words. In my case, this picture to me was worth more than just words but it truly gave me the sense of what a relationship should be about. I sat down and listened to my mom talk about her day. Yet, running hastily in my thoughts were questions like

“What key components attribute to a healthy relationship and strong bond?”

I answered that question with the simple thought of how having similarities and common interests lead to connections. The vitality of it though it how it’s delivered--communication. Whether it’s father to son, boyfriend to girlfriend or mother to daughter. Filling in the blank scenario, I used my mom and I. Her eyelids has the same almond-hooded shaped as mine, with dark brown eyes to compliment the fold of brown skin above the socket line. We even smile with the curves of our lips making a similar up parabola shape.  With her round face she would draw a smile with her pearly whites and then give me a large warm hug.

Our relationship is like a key and lock. Our bond is close enough some would consider not only do we look like twins, with our similar eye and lip features, but we act like them too. She’s my best friend, finishing my sentences and knowing spectacle of a detail about myself. Supposedly because I am, nonetheless her daughter but our relationship was more than an overbearing mama bear and chubby cub. Hard situations can make or break people, I was once told. So when I was told on our dark-brown sofa that starry evening about her diagnosis with stage zero cancer, I was terrified. My body felt paralyzed for seconds. Minutes flew by and she still was talking, using descriptive words and providing facts but my mind had muted her tongue. It was like being in front of a television with open ears yet there was no sound. Images appear on the screen and my eyes are open just reading the subtitles. My tear ducts filled with buckets of salty tears ready to stream down my fat cheeks. The first tear was for strength. Such as the woman in the picture, I knew my mother was strong. Her bare feet also touched the ground such as the painting, clenching on to the dark green berber carpet. She couldn’t bear to tell me that no more than I could hear it. My finger lingered over her hair. Touching the smallest fragment that curved over onto her forehead, homogeneously to the picture above the crown of our heads.


I knew she was strong but when she went into surgery a first time I was panicking. Praying constantly to God, I was reassured that she would be fine and she was. Yet not all of this black heavy mass was removed so she chose to have breast reconstruction. I know in my heart that mom is strong like the barefoot woman in the painting on my vivid green living room wall. While, this memory taught me that what you attribute to a relationship should be more than just a title and occasional conversations. Instead, It should have a sensational euphoria no matter what the situation is, but who it’s connected with. This moment happened like lightning struck the evening sky just as I looked up at it. Rather it would be a  sight that I would see into the sky even after it was gone.  

FIN.


Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: Strange Skeptic


Homoskepticism is much like homophobia. It damages families and destroys friendships.


It was the end of middle school. We had about three days left before graduation. Nikki and I had been officially dating for about two months now. Charlie, Nikki’s ex and my friend,  had begrudgingly accepted defeat. As for the rumors he spread, the ones about me being the Antichrist, had done whatever damage they could.  I was in math and Brian, a Caucasian, lackadaisical, stoner type, was doing that thing again. He stares at me from across the room. When I turn my head, we made eye contact. He doesn’t break it. His eyes are a turquoise green color. I usually break and try to focus on anything else, but comforted by the knowledge that I would never see him again, I decided to maintain eye contact. He leaned in, resting his head on one hand. I felt hot in the face. I was actively fighting the urge to look away. In waves I started to see him in a new light. His facial structure became striking. The unknowing dullness in his eyes looked happy and bashful. The urge to look away ceased. For the first time he broke eye contact. I should’ve felt good, successful, but I didn’t. I felt cheated. I should’ve felt victorious, but instead I was left with this feeling I can only describe as taboo.

The summer commenced, and I started my quasi experimentation. Later that year my grandfather passed. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disorder. His wife, my grandmother, had died from leukemia  two years earlier.

My grandmother never knew about my sexuality. This is partially because I didn’t know until two years after her death. I suspect that she wouldn’t have accepted it if she had known and I wouldn’t blame her. She grew up in the backwoods of Mississippi. Her parents were devout catholic farmers. Even though she worked to leave her old ways behind her, some things just stuck. She wasn’t necessarily homophobic but rather a homoskeptic.

When I was a child, my grandmother would take me to church. It was one of those big TV churches with the celebrity preachers. The preacher was a handsome man with California tan skin and shiny black hair.  There is one sermon that remains vivid in my memory.  Obviously the topic was marriage and homosexuality. My grandmother was apathetic  during his sermon. I thought back to her wedding and what that must of been like.

There’s a picture of my grandmother hanging above the staircase. In the picture she’s wearing her wedding dress, a white flowing gown with an equally white veil. The veil I s made of lace and forms flowers around the crown of her head.She stands before a decaying chicken wire fence covered in vines. A tall tree stands in the foreground, casting a magnificent shadow that gives the picture depth. Freshly cut grass covers her feet so her shoes aren’t visible. But based on her height I can Behind the chicken wire a glimpse of a sunny field can be found. The picture is originally black and white, but was eventually color tinted. Her lips are colored a baby pink, her skin a coffee creamer brown. Her smile seems painted on too. Her back is artificially arched. Her hands seemed calculated. they lie at her sides and meet between her hips where a banquet of white and pink roses is being tightly gripped. Her elbows seem dainty compared to her shoulder, broad from years of farm work . Even though her legs are covered you can tell her knees are buckled by the way she stands. The picture was taken by her young nephew, Tony.

My mother speculates that he too is gay. The rest of the family suspects the same, but chose to say nothing. They call Tony the lonely bachelor. He lives far away from the entire family, nuclear or otherwise. I’ve been told That his house is heavily populated with cats, but nothing else, no roommates or pictures even though he’s a natural photographer. Although I’ve never met the man and he doesn’t know I exist, I have some theories about him. I think he’s still in denial about his sexuality or maybe he doesn’t understand it. Growing up in Mississippi in the 60’s he was probably surrounded by homophobic and homoskeptic influences. That mixed with devout  catholic   influences could only result in self hatred and shame. He spent much of his time attempting to “pass”.  When he met his limit he ran away.

Although I live a very different life than him, I sympathize with him. If I wasn’t taught to be proud or strong, could I be reliving his life. Yes, I could have been just like him. Skepticism can be just as harmful as hatred.  



Be the first to comment

Lost in Life

​My goals with this paper were to write about a personal topic and control my use of descriptive language. I wanted to describe the details of the scenes without confusing the reader on what was happening. I would like to improve on "exploring the larger idea". A couple of people suggested that I expand on my larger idea but I don 't know how to do that without including a lot of irrelevant language. Writing my scenes went well. 

One, three, five, six. I count my steps slowly and press my toes into the carpet, avoiding making noise. My mother’s room is dimly lit with the door slightly cracked. Sharp rays of burgundy sunlight peep through the curtains. She takes place on the left side of the bed with her elbows on top of her crisis-crossed thighs. The palms of her hands are pressed together and gently covering her face. Murmured speech is what causes my feet to stop, wait, and listen. “I come to you today Lord to thank you. Thank you for my children and to ask you to strengthen my health. I try to..to trust that everything will work out but it’s hard. I ask that you teach me the meaning of life and my purpose in it. God I ask that you be with me every moment and strengthen my health. I need to be here for my children and family. Please God.”

I sit on the steps, listening to my heart break. She’s praying for her health as if she isn’t going to make it. I contemplate any signs of sickness that I have seen her show but, I don’t really know exactly what is going on with her. In the blink of an eye I questioned my priorities. It is so easy to forget what matters and get trapped in the valleys and peaks of life. Slowly, I sit down on the step, careful not to let her know that I am listening. As I sit down I can see more of her burgundy and white mixed covers. It is now visible that her hand is pressed against her Bible. Her silky nightgown falls over her body and puffs up at the shoulders. Her hair tightly wrapped, tied, and covered for bed. I began to deeply worry for my mother.

This is the moment I realize that I am truly getting older and so is she. Thoughts of my future, life without my mother, and death run marathons through my head.

The weeks following flew by and somehow we ended up meeting a doctor. Even as I walk off the doctor’s elevator those same thoughts run marathons through my head. The hairs on my arms spike up with each step I take. One, two, three, four. Trying to suppress the loud beats of my nervous heart, I open the doctor’s doors. Light wisps of cool air push me to the front counter. “Hi, I’m here to see Dr. Bashira” my mother says, so calm it scares me. She rummages through the paperwork signing her name away. I drag my feet to the seating area, sit down, and wait. Soon, she sits next to me and sighs. "We're gonna be okay...you hear me?" she suggests. I couldn't hear her. The comfort I always feel when around my mother was so far away. She was just as nervous as me if not more and trying to reassure me didn't work. For a couple of minutes, all that speaks is the guest tv. “Ameena for Dr. Bashira" an assistant says cheerfully. God be with me. God be with me, is all I can say.

Forty minutes seemed like eternity. She appears in front of me smiling as if life was perfect. As if the same thoughts running through my head simply skipped over her’s. Strength is plastered all over her face. We return to the front counter then float out of the office. Blessed we are.

My mother’s health has led me to question life a lot more. I think about what I should be doing, what I’m going to do in the future, and how easy it is to stay tucked in the wrapping paper called life. I do not think that all of us purposely get comfortable, but we do. Some of us want to avoid troubles like this, so we let ourselves drown in life’s harsh and rough sea. It is sad that such alarming and heartbreaking wake up calls, such as my mother’s health, are what wake us up from our self induced coma. A self induced coma let’s your life live on without you. It distracts you from the people that mean the most to you. It distracts you from fulfilling what you want to do with your life, whatever that may be. It distracts you from truly enjoying life. Don’t wait for a wake up call to realize what’s important in life.


Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: A Rainbow of Chocolate

I feel I did well at capturing a topic that I could honestly right about, I had a hard

time coming up with a topic but once I did I was sure about it and excited to write. 

The goal of my paper was to express the struggles that I have had personally and to 

communicate the larger message of tolerance and self acceptance. If I could improve 

one thing about my paper I would get to the point a little quicker, but all in all I don't 

think I did too bad with that. I am very happy with the final copy of my essay. 

too bad with that. 

It was a lengthy sweltering summer, prolonged by the delayed school year. We were members at a new pool in Flourtown, it was okay, there were two pools on the property and they were never cold, the back pool was filled with salt water which really exfoliated your skin. The main pool had two slides and a diving board. All in all, the pool was a nice retreat from the scorching sun. There was only one problem-the pool was half an hour away from our house and we didn't know anyone there. I was a fidgety 9 year old and my brother was a busy 6 year old,  but very shy, once we got bored playing with each other we’d just sit on the deck. My mom got tired of entertaining us, so we visited a pool that my best friend was a member of. It was a temperate day in August and I was so ready to spend the day with my best friend, my whole family was ready to have a nice relaxing day at the pool. Wherever the pool was it was at least an hour away, but I knew it would be worth it. We finally arrived and walked through the threshold, immediately my eyes started to wonder. As I carefully examined the pool I was confused.

“Where are all the white people?” I asked aloud

“There aren’t any” Olivia, my best friend responded. We shuffled over to our spot on the lawn.

“Well what do you mean?”

“This is a black pool” I didn’t understand, but I decided to leave it alone, my parents were looking at me like I was crazy, and I could tell that no one else seemed to have a problem with it. Olivia dragged me to the diving board so we could wait in line for our turn, I was less than excited to jump when I saw dirt at the bottom of the pool. As I continued to analyze the rest of the pool I noticed that it was basically falling apart. The tiles were covered in scum and falling into the pool. The floor was rusted and some spots had caked on algae. I couldn’t help but attribute that to the only difference that I’d noticed between my pool and that one, the black people. I know how harsh that must sound, but let me give you some background.


The elementary school I went to separated each grade into two sections: Enhanced and Immersion, kids who would be taught in Spanish. The students in the enhanced program were predominantly black, while the kids in the immersion program were predominantly white, I ended up in the immersion program with the white kids. I don’t know why my parents put me in the program, they just did, and I was happy there. Olivia was in the same class as me and I was making lots of friends, white ones.


It didn’t matter to me what race my friends were because my school always advocated for diversity. I was used to being around a rainbow of people, white, asian, black, hispanic, it didn’t matter to me. Until I got to middle school and realized how different I was from the other black kids. Fifth grade is when we started mixing the classes, I wasn’t excited. The reputation the enhanced kids had wasn’t good, they were always getting in trouble, the teachers never stopped yelling at them, kids were always getting kicked out of class, and the majority of the class basically lived in the dean's office. I knew they were troublemakers and I didn’t really want them disrupting my learning.


Once the merger happened everyone was less than enthused, enhanced kids thought we were know it alls and we thought they were awful. Although somehow we ended up getting along, no one switched friend groups perse but we could now talk to each other without judgement. The more I got to know everyone, the more I wanted to befriend everyone, I mean those kids looked like me and grew up with similar experiences. The more we interacted the more I realized that I should want to expand my friend group. I was always taught to have a diverse group of friends but somehow I had ended up with mostly white girls, which was great but there were some things that they didn’t understand about me or vice versa. Like, why did I wear my hair a certain way? Why didn't I get sunburned? Why couldn’t I blush? So I decided to start trying to hang out with a new group of people, people similar to me, I wanted to be apart of their rainbow of mochas, cocos, milk, and white chocolates.


Quickly I realize that I hadn’t made the best decision, yeah it was true that these people looked like me but they weren't like me. The friendship that I tried to develop with them didn’t fulfill me anymore than my other white friends. They were just as intrigued with my blackness as I was with theirs, so I no  longer forced myself to hangout with them and turn into their version of blackness.


Being black is more than just following the status quo, wherever I go and try to fit in I just don’t and that’s okay. My “black experience” has been shaped by so many people and places, I guess that makes me a melting pot. But I realize that it doesn’t matter if I go to an HBCU like Hampton or if I move to a black neighborhood, I may never be accepted into the conventional stereotypical world of blackness that I was conditioned into thinking was better. After a long and traveled road I am finally okay with the black woman that I am. Okay with the black and not so black features that I have, I’m okay melanin, okay with the nose, okay with the lack of rhythm, and okay with the global community of black people that I help represent.


Be the first to comment

Advanced Essay #1: You'll see them again

For this essay I wanted to talk about losing people close to you. It's something that happens to us all because it's about of life. You tend to feel as though it's unfair, like it shouldn't happen, but you can't control it. It's a sad thing honestly, but as time goes you must know that they are never lost. If you have them in your memories they'll be with you forever. For the essay I guess I used my scenes of memory to show how people feel when this situation happens to them, and that is a general overview of what would happen. To improve I would like to have more details within the seems (to really immerse you), and be able to let it all flow better so it seems smoother. Also, I would try to show my opinion a bit more for this. I kind of tell you but I don't think it was clear enough.


Have you ever felt like you have left reality. Like reality has completely lifted off from your body, your mind wandering to a dark place all because you hear a siren. I’m frozen in place, my heart accelerated, my mind blanked, and as the seconds slowly ticked by the door opens. I utter the words, “Hey Grandma” and she replies with her tears. Ideas flooded my mind of what was to come, but I wouldn’t have expected to hear “Fox was gone.” I had no idea how to react to the news. I didn’t know what to do or even what to say. The rage slowly consumed what was once “Kareem’s body”, the air seemed to flow around what emotions seeped out of my draining self control. The world became quiet as I stood there pondering if that was the truth, wondering how could he just leave like that. It was close to my mom’s birthday and we went out to get this new necklace, a diamond heart with a gold strip around it, and now he’s gone. I leave from my grandma's house with an emotionless face. As I start to walk home, a single tear glides down from my eye, trying to hug my cheek but only taken away by my humanity, and then I hear the words, “It’ll be okay.” It was like a surprise presents that you never want, but the twist was that this had no return policy.


It can’t be escaped. Time moves on whether you like it or not. Life has ups and downs for you to juggle with. A constant tug-and-pull, a test of your strength to see if you can keep fighting on. It’s  never easy. Those may put on a mask to show what they want to, but on the inside it gets to them too. Whether or not you’re capable of taking the lost, eventually it’ll hit you that it’s the reality. It’s sad but apart of it all.


A little comfort can’t hurt for the short term, but in the long run it hits you hard. Knowing those you love, those who may have shaped your life will just be gone one day. You can’t stop the future from coming, but as they go, may others take their place to fill that void. Holding on to the past will only slow down the time it takes for you to move forward. Just know you’ll see them again. One day you will, but until then, just silence.


It happens to us all. Whether it’s us personally or it’s someone close to us. I remember this one day it was me and one of friends. One day after school we decided to just walk around center city. Everything was calm, we were at peace, the world just seemed to move around us, but then she get a phone call. I didn’t have to hear anything. The only thing I needed was her clenching my hand and it was clear. She had told me that she knew that their time was coming to an end. Her mother, just barely holding a graps to reality, has seen the light. I never asked for the details but I knew she was sick. For the past few weeks she had been getting worst, and now it’s official. She had lost someone close to her as I had lost someone merely 1 month ago. I knew I couldn’t have the sympathy of losing my mother, but I still had it at the level of losing my uncle.


You never know what will happen in this reality called life. It’s full of surprises, full of twists, fulls of unforeseen events that come together to create your life. There is no real way to have full control of it all, but what you can do is just live your life the best that you can. Living in the past will not prepare you for the future, but understanding that those who once was has never left. Though you do not see them doesn’t mean that they aren’t still there. You don’t see them, but they still are real, they still live in your memories. That’s the best thing that we as humans can have. Our memories keep dreams, hopes, and our lives forever alive. Those who have an impact never leave if they will just stay there until you are freed. Until you see the world that’s unseen to the eye. The world where your life comes together and you can look back and hopefully accept your fate.


Throughout my life I had learned to accept the twist to my reality. You have to or else you can never live your life. LIfe is unpredictable, it has something for all of us, and we just have to live each day the best that we can. I wish that I didn’t have to lose that I loved, those you were taken from me, and even those that decided themselves. I just know that I will see them again one day so I just keep on living. My only regret is that I wish I could say, “...see you later.”


Be the first to comment