Boys and Girls Ultimate: State Championships
Teams must qualify.
I think what surprised me the most was how steady the rates would be and then suddenly they would plummet. After doing certain research it was most obvious that there were drastic changes at certain points because of laws made and or important historical events. I think that it will continue to go up and down. I know that with the possibility of a new president that makes there a stronger possibility to change in how things are run. The first thing that came to our mind was keynote because it is a nice visual way to see the work that you did. I think the most challenging part of group work is making sure it is all consistent and of course that they do their part and get it done. I might try and do a more creative way of presenting the information.
The cop yelled, “CALM DOWN!” after putting the handcuffs on my sister.The events that led up to this powerful moment in time. In the morning my sister ran away for the fifth time. We were getting ready for church, and we heard the back door open. It was the sound of escape once again.
I ran downstairs to see my sister running out the backyard. It was a cold day, the air from outside rushed into the warm house.
I was angry I couldn’t believe she was putting my mom through this again!I wanted her gone forever. I'm glad I got my wish. The rest of the day didn't go as planned. Later on that night the doorbell rang I walked down the steps, with no shoes on, to answer the door. When I opened the hallway door the floor was cold on my bare feet. A boy was holding my sister by the arm tightly.
I turned back to see my mom coming into the hallway. She went outside to where my sister was being held. My mom looked surprised to see this scene. My sister pushed the boy and tried to run but my mom caught her. My sister pulled my mom to the ground and they both fell. Soon after my mom wouldn’t get up until the cops came. Shortly later a female cop arrived.The cop yelled CALM DOWN! People were gathered around us trying to see what's going on. More cops arrived. We all sat in the living room. The cops searched my sister sat her in the living room. There was at least 14 cops in my house.
The cops escorted her out of the house and took her to a placement place for kids. Five years later she came back with a Vengeance. The first time she came back she broke into our house, and stole my my other sister joy’s clothes. This went on for a while. We had to make sure all our doors and windows were locked. Me and My mom walked in the house after a warm thanksgiving dinner. My mom said “Its cold in here. Is there a window open?”
We looked to find the backyard window and screen were open. We both looked at each other and said “Donna” thats her name. We decided not to call the police since they never do anything about it. She couldn’t get in the house because bars covered the windows on the back and they were locked.We couldn’t find the cat so we thought she ran out, only later to find her upstairs sleep. Later on that summer she showed up with an elderly lady. They knocked on the door. We went to the door. Donna and the woman stood there. She said “Hey Michelle” Thats being my mom name.
My mom said “ Who the hell you calling Michelle? You're not nearly in any age group to be calling me Michelle. Call me Michelle one more time!” The elderly said “I can’t take care on Donna anymore, She said her step dad put her out” My mom said “and who is her step dad?” The elderly women said “I don’t know, thats what she told me.” My sister didn’t have a stepdad.My sister begged my mom to let her back in the house, but my mom said no. My sister was always disturbed as a child. She used to throw clothes on me and my sister and nieces. She would make the bed fall on me. She would get in trouble, and do it again that same night. She wasn’t all bad she had good grades. We used to play invisible school. She liked to clean.
Other peers around me kept asking if she was pointing at me. I told them “No I don’t know her” My mom contacted the dean and told him if she shows up there again call the police. She showed up at the school gate and I went to talk to her. She kept asking questions about the family.
I felt bad for her, but then remembered what she put us through and it was gone. I can see how she had learned her lesson. Deep inside of me I was laughing. I found her revenge amusing. I like all the conflict. I learn from all my siblings mistakes. There was only a few people in my family willing to help her but couldn’t because they were children themselves also. None of the adults were sick of her, because she called their phones cursing them out.
Will I ever understand why she wanted to run away or be on the streets? No I wouldn’t. I can tell she regrets it dearly. All we can do is wait for the next attack to come. I hope we never have to kick someone out of the family again.
On a hot sunny day, it was about 90 degrees outside. I was in the house all day lying down bored on the black, comfy sofa and with soft pillows surrounding me, flicking through channels and relaxing. I stood up tired, exhausted, and didn’t feel like getting bothered at all. I was trying to go to the bathroom, and then I heard the front door open. It was loud and noisy. I knew it was my mother by the smell of her strong perfume. So, I got up slowly and ran to the bathroom because every time she walks in the house, she starts to annoy me. I heard her footsteps from the bathroom. While I stand in the bathroom, as silent as possible, looking at the bluish wall, the smell of soup and the sound of the TV outside of the bathroom door. As I walk around the wet bathroom floor, frustrated to come out because I knew she would act like the same person I knew all my life, and that will be her always yelling. Five minutes later I heard call me. She was extremely angry.
(Khadi). She sounded like she had a bad day. I excitedly opened the door, pretending I was happy about everything, and couldn’t wait for the so call family meting. The cool air touches my skin and the bright colored pink is what my mother was wearing. This is when everything started.
She angrily give me wet five dollar bill, I didn’t even know why it was wet but okay…she asked me to go to the store, as she walk up stairs I stomp my feet and got really mad, face frowned and eyes red. I hear a footstep coming back down.
My mother with a green shirt saying “oh yea don’t take your bike with you”, and I said but mom. She goes up the stairs and slam the door while she was going back up I heard her voice but in a smaller tone saying I’m not going to repeat myself. I didn’t feel like getting dressed I threw on my pink overgarment; I then put my green sneakers with a black and white kemar. I headed on out. I didn’t listen I walked outside with the bike.
Wait let me try myself, Heart beating faster the sound of family laughter and conversations. I can barely pedal, trying my hardest not to make a fool out of myself, but in my mind that was the only thing I knew was going to happen. Teenagers disparaging me. Sounds of whispers, bubble gum, and the feeling of humiliation. I always knew that I could do whatever I put my mind to so I kept trying. Every Time I fell off I pretend I was doing it all of on purpose.
I was asked by my mother to sit down and relax for 30mins, so I watch running children’s, the sound of ice cream truck, mom yelling and boys who claims to be gang members. I waited the 30 minutes; I even counted down the last one minute. After the count down I rushed to the bike. I get on my bike and pedal slowly of the block. As I pedal passing by the police station I felt shy and somehow embarrassed. I then look down to the blackish gray concrete, was I seen Doritos, candy, and a pop eyes wrappers. I start to feel and wish I had some. As I get closer to the street I smelled chicken from the Chinese store, African food from the African restaurant close by. As the bike get slower I starts to feel my overgarment pull and I was confuse as for what was happening, I looked down and saw my overgarment stuck in the chins I tried to get up and I was stuck. I looked down and saw that the only way I could have solve the problem was to tear my garment and that’s what I did. I grandiloquently walked back home with feeling of regrets, and blaming myself was the best way to make myself feel better. Back on the block to sounds of the winds blowing the trees and kids sitting, and no ice cream truck. Everything was Calm. Until when my aunt Amina came with her precious daughter Aishah. Her Aishah started to cry, and all the other babies started crying, I was annoyed I got back on my bike and rode to the end of the block with a lot of audacity.
Babies crying, moms frustrated, and kids wearing colors that kept calm and me motivated. Green, red and grayish. Everything was good. I pit myself on the spot. I felt the need to stop the whole entire family to tell that I can ride a bike now; I had everyone’s attentions I knew I had to do something good. I felt sweat dripping, and my heart once again was my heart was beating faster and I felt like I was going to pop my tiny blood vessels in my forehead. I felt a lot of pressure. I rode to the end of the block then made a u turn on my way back down, I could see nothing but a blurry shirt running around so I knew I had to make sure, not to run the child over, trying to save the kid made me fall hard of the bike to the ground. Tears dripping, my knees were bleeding, hands all red, and my whole day became a disaster.
“What was the reason for me to buy a fresh hoagie when yet nothing was really wrong with the other one? How could I be so foolish?”
So there I was in my room on my bed, doing nothing. Just sitting there, thinking, trying to finish my homework. Right next to me sat the book “No Fear Shakespeare” on my inexpensive desktop table. In front of the book stood three weird characters. Their eyes were dotted and looked like a period while their noses looked like triangles, sharp, pointy, and simple. They all had four knives each stabbed in their backs on the same places. I thought it was pretty funny because there wasn’t any blood or gash and the characters failed to show pain. They all looked as if they were satisfied just to be with each other despite the stabbings.
My brother was yelling my name. When he yells for me, its either because he needs help with something or he believes he did a good deed. “Adam!” He yells. “Come get your hoagie! Hurry up! Get it before I eat it.” I rushed downstairs as if there was a special gift waiting for me and stormed into the kitchen. My brother begins to smile like a gremlin. I started to search for my hoagie but I couldn’t find it.
“Where is it?”
“Adam it’s next to the microwave.”
“Oh hey, you added extra mayo for me. Thanks bro!”
“No problem!” He replied full with joy.
Before I was even able to get a bit out of it, my mom yells, “ Take out that trash out first boy! What you forgot?” I then go and take out the huge bags full of old ingredients, sauces, and leftovers. As I returned back to the kitchen I saw my hoagie, but this time an object stood on top of it. It was small, black, and walking across my hoagie. I was disgusted, I began to imagine all types of images in my head, of maggots squirming around. I grabbed my hoagie and tossed it out, poof! It hit the inside of my trash can. I was still hungry and my insides were forming knots. So off I went, back to the store, and ordered another hoagie.
On my way back to the house I came across an alleyway. In that alleyway stood a homeless man who had fixed himself a very special dinner meal. He had a chicken patty, fries, soda, and a cigarette hanging on the side of his ear. Everything he had seemed to be fresh but it wasn’t, they were leftovers. On the chicken patty was two slices of bread, one was half gone, while the other had spaghetti sauce on it. The fries were wrinkled and there wasn’t much of it in the McDonald’s box. The soda had to be old and most likely was flat and the cigarette, although it was a whole cigarette, was stale. Despite the condition of his meal, he seemed to love it. Why? I was confused. I would never even eat something that may have had critters on it. I walked back into the house and sat on my table and thought, “How could I be so foolish?”
That homeless man was happy and grateful for what he had found to eat and yet I sat here with a fresh hoagie that costs four crumbly dollars. Was it really that deep for me to throw out the other fresh hoagie?
I use to think that I didn’t have anything, but I realized that what I have is what a lot of people out in the world don’t have. Like the time on a rainy wet day home from school. I was running full sprint to my house. My clothes were twice the size it they originally were suppose to be and my sneakers felt like gallons full of water. I rushed up the stairs were underneath the door stood that very special doormat that my mom had owned for so long. Instead of me using it for its purpose I decided to move it from its original position and hang it on the old rusty rail. I walked into my house without the slightest sense to take off my sneakers. As I walked into the kitchen, I left behind me huge blobs of dirt, little did I know that my mother had mopped the entire floor with pine-sol. My mom is a very hard working mom. She basically has two jobs. The first job is at work, the second job is cleaning the house and taking care of my younger siblings, so she is often tired. At the time I entered the house, I failed to notice that the floor was freshly scrubbed and that my mom was in the shower. My little sister comes running down stairs and before she took that last step down from the crackling stairs, her eyes widen and her eyebrows rose so far up her head that it looked as if it had touched her hair line.“Ooo! You are gonna be in big trouble. Mommy just got done scrubbing and mopping the floors.”
I began to feel very guilty about how ignorant and careless I was and how stupid it was of me not to use my common sense.“Always appreciate what people and things do for you!” She said.
Oh come on this can't be happening, this is suppose to be my moment. I'm suppose to be winning. Am I dreaming or is this real? How in the world did I even end up here?
I got my racquet and hopped on to a Squash court. I started to hit the ball, with my racquet, straight down the right wall and got myself ready to play squash. The ball when across the court, as I went to get it I saw my best friend. He didn’t notice that I had smiled at him. I got the ball and began to practice again. I heard the door open, I looked to see who it was, and it was him. My heart started to beat fast as I started blushing, I wondered if he noticed. He asked if he could join me, I said "Yeah". So he stepped in and closed the door.
I gave him the ball and watched as he, with great power, began to hit the ball with his left hand. He hits the ball back to me. I asked if he wants to sever, he didn’t, so I served. He hits the ball back with a great volley and ends up getting the point. Just like always I was amazed but not ready to lose. I started getting more into the game, then him, and did a few hard shots and began to get his shots.
He opened his mouth and said the words “You got way better”.
While running to hit the squash ball, I said “I know I did but I could do better”
We kept score, he was way ahead but I began to catch up. Although it wasn’t an actual game I treated it like one, we kept playing. I mistakenly took my eyes off the ball and he made his comeback, for a second I thought I was dreaming. He did his amazing power serve and I just stood there thinking, why did I do that. The game was almost finished but he was still in the lead. The game ends with me losing, we leave the court and sat down on the bench.
I was out of breath and got some water. I looked as the sweats from his hair slowly moved down his forehead, to his cheeks and then one by one dripped down to the carpet floor. “I want a rematch”.
He took a deep breath and said “Fine let's go”. I thought about how much more experienced he was and that’s probably why he won. That moment reminded me of when I won against someone less experienced than me.
We arrive to the courts, rushed to get out and get our bags.
“You're squash game starts in just a few minutes hurry up and change” my coach told me.
“Are you serious?” I dashed past my friends and others to the bathroom and got changed right away. Then I rushed to the court and found out who my opponent was. I walked into the court, as I did I felt my heart beating so fast. I didn't know if the beating was from me running or me being nervous. I mostly got nervous during match’s because I’m mostly less experienced than other squash players. I started warming up to get set on what I want to do on the match. My heart started to slow down.
My opponent walked in and we both began to warm up. We spun the racquet to see who goes first; I get the serve. All eyes were on me as they waited for my first serve, I could the pressure building up again, I missed. NO! What did i do, how could I miss the first serve? The ball goes to her and then I get the point. Okay, now its all working out, I’m back in the game and we keep playing. As we played she won the first game, I made a comeback and win the second and third.
The fourth game kicked in and we both got more serious. I could feel my heart beating fast as I took a deep breath and made a great serve. Everything was going great but then out of nowhere she won the game. With her winning this causes us to go to the fifth game.
It was about 8:45 PM and I was up since 8 AM getting things together. I was so exhausted and could really use a nap. But I had to forget about that and focus on my game and win. The game starts, she does an amazing serve but I end up getting it and win the point. The game speeds up, ties up, and then I am at the lead with the score 10, 9.
Last point, this is when my every move and shot were at risk, if I made a mistake this whole match could be hers. I got the ball, taking a deep breath I looked at where I wanted the ball to hit then at my friend, letting me know that I can do this. I looked at the ball and it felt like I was speaking to it and saying how important this point was to me. I served, she hits and on the last shot I did a drop shot and she didn’t get it.
I got the point and won the whole match. My heart wanted to scream but I waited for the right moment. In the court I shook her hand.
"Great game," I told her.
Outside the court I was welcomed with a lot of hugs from friends and coaches.
My brother said “Good job but you could have done way better”. I sat down and thought about how I was more experienced than her, which kind of gave me an advantage. Working for what you really want is better than letting it get out of reach.After a match I always look back at the court and thought of all that happened in there. I try not to let the thought of others being more experienced than me put me down. I believe the more experienced you are in something the much better you do in it. If you really want something put your mind and everything into it and it will be yours.
I’ll never forget the times I had in the Hospital during Kindergarden. I layed there not moving at all. I heard tons of monitors and sensors going off, doctors and nurses in and out of the rooms. You can smell the sterile in the air as a needle pumps fluids into my veins. I am getting worried as I wondered what’s going on.
My mother is staring down at me tears in her eyes saying, “Your going to be fine.” The room is all light blue including the walls, curtains, and even the sheets, but there’s a sense of dull that you can see. The door swings open and a large group of doctors and nurses grabbed my bed I’m on and pulled me out of the room. Before I leave I see that my mom is no full of tears as I’m just laying there oblivious to what is going on. There is flash after flash as the doctors drag my bed under the lights. The doctors but a strange mask around my mouth and tolled me to count to ten. I breathe in the air from the mask and everything went black.
I woke up confused. Wondering what was going on. I looked around a lot of things were blurry, but I could tell I was in a different room. It wasn’t the same cliché room I was in before the curtains were green. There was a pull-out bed with brown sheets on it that I assumed was for parents. I kept glancing around until I feel arms around me and realize they are my mother’s. Thats when it finally hits me. I survived, and now I could live my life how ever I see fit. A feeling of warmth spread throughout my body splashing me with a sense of happyness and relief.
I reflect on that day and constantly see it as a completly different thing now. As a kid there was a sense of accomplishment that I would get everyday I would wake, But now instead of a sense of accomplishment I feel nothing anymore. That scenario changed my life forever and now I look at it as if it was a simple childhood problem as if every kid went through it. I compare it like the problem with the clay pot I had when I was younger.
You can smell the burnt clay as all around children are laughing and having fun. While I’m nervous and worried. I sit there motionless staring at a blob of clay not knowing what to do.Time is speeding up as my brain seems to slow down thinking of ideas for the clay before me. Then in the nick of time I decided something simple, yet practical a pot to hold things that I may lose. I quickly grab the clay taking a small piece and putting it to the side, the idea already taking place in my head. I start rolling the clay in total focus as the loud sound of kids were slowly fading away as I build my sculpture. The clay feeling smoother and smoother as my desired shape was formed. I grabbed a cutting tool and carved a hole with little resistance in the now completed round piece of pale clay. I look around and saw that I was the only one with the idea of making a item to hold stuff in. I saw kids being excited as they add the their final touches. I decide thats what I need to do so I grab the little piece thats left and begin to roll it thinner and thinner. I combine both ends of the thin clay and putting them on the opposite of the top of the pot allowing it to now have an area for carrying. As time is running out i use my last minutes just carveing anything I could think of into the pot and then finally put my initials at the bottom claiming the art as mine and mine alone. The feeling or nervousness and worry has completly into happiness as I was finally done. I join the kids now with smiles on all of our faces as we had all finished are sculptures. Time runs out as my pot is taking away with me knowing that in a few days I see how my work payed off.This was a such a simple problem that I made a big deal that shouldn’t even compare to what I’ve been through. Yet I treat it just the same. My mom is haunted everyday because I what i have to do yet I treat it as all in the past never to bring it up yet I’m typeing about it right now.
The creaking steps whined under the weight of my uncertainty. My shallow breath squeezed in between the beating of my pounding heart. The ambient lighting of the stage did nothing to calm me. My stomach was shivering as I burned alive under a hundred eyes.
“You better go girl!”
“You got it Poet!”
“I like that skirt child!”, I looked down at my tie-dyed turquoise peasant skirt and I smiled. There was a folded parchment of paper with my poem on it. I looked into the audience and saw Rasheem's teeth, in the back row, big and glorious, smiling at me.
I didn’t think the words were good enough to let everyone hear them. I had the type of fearlessness that stayed inside closed doors. My tenacity was as ruthless as Old Lady Muriel's chihuahua— Yapping at everyone through the glass window, but hiding under the couch when company dared to make its way into the house.
This is it, this is your chance to show something the world something, don’t mess it up.
But I don’t even like this poem.
What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t understand it?
Its too late now,
The mic hiccuped as I lowered the stand to meet my 5 foot stature. I was stiff, but here was nothing, I was letting go.
“I can't say that sometimes....”
These were my words, I let them out into the world.
I remember learning about a girl in matter of seconds based on words that weren't hers. I was waiting for a lecture to start, so I opened my computer and went to my favorite website.
After a couple of clicks, I heard, “You have a Tumblr?”. I looked behind me to where the voice was coming from and was greeted by a smile.
32 brilliant,white teeth,were accompanied by frantic and hungry eyes. “You should follow me.”
“What’s your name?”
“Zip zip hooray.”
With a couple of clicks, I entered her world. Pictures of relationships, people wearing tank tops lined with crazy prints, cartoons, gifs, and quotes. Everything in her blog, including the layout ,spoke for what she liked or was fascinated by.
Then and there, I realized that Tumblr is an I.D. of who you are, or rather who want to be. There is something magical about it. Even when words and thoughts aren’t your own, they say so much about you. So what happens when they're your own?
Every tap-tap around me gnawed at my insides, the pitter-pattering of 32 sets of fingers on keyboards drove me crazy, this topic was too broad. My water bottle broke the monotonous daze with a loud crack as I nervously sipped. My thoughts were as dry as my throat.
The cursor on the screen was the only eye on me. Everyone else was too intent on their work to care what anyone else was doing. They were bent over, eyes focused, backs hunched as if they were unloading the heavy words from their backs onto their fingers.
My mind was blank. Okay, it was swarming with ideas, but none of them were good enough. They whizzed by as if on a conveyor belt. My brain picked through every detail of every topic, always finding something wrong with the thesis; nothing was good enough. They were all either too generic, too obvious, or too personal. My hands remained dormant on my keyboard, waiting for a command.
I stared at the closed window blinds and rested my head on the clammy wooden desk. My heart pounded along with the click clacking of the ideas flowing around me. I looked up and the poster-plastered walls showed no sympathy. The warm air in the room wrapped around my shoulders, urging me to give up and doze off for the remainder of class.
“Five more minutes for writing”, his voice tinged with expectation called out and retrieved me from my stupor.
Why was I trying so hard to reach inside of myself? It was only an English paper that my class would see. Not a poem on the stage, not a song to sing. There was hardly any room for judgement, but I sat there, racking my brain for something I cared about. This was my piece and it wasn’t that I cared what anyone thought of me, I just wanted them to have an accurate reference of which to base their judgements. I was a good good enough writer to churn out what this man was asking for in a day. It would be quality work, but it wouldn’t have been a clear representation of me.
The self-scrutinization of my work is partly because I'm OCD, but we live in a society where it isn't hard to guess what will happen next. I've always felt the pressure to push myself in writing because my words, even when I do not necessarily care where they end up, need to be my best. I want them to stand out and mean something to me because there's no need to
I always want to be ahead of the curb and make everything my own. We live in a population where with the click of a button, we can judge one another's deepest or shallow thoughts. Make what you say count.
“Amirah, Kyleel, Andrew, Deion, Inayah, Naihema, Shannon, Jeffrey..” My heart skipped at the sound of my name. I sat patiently as the other 5 students before me, went up and read their reports. I began to get impatient as Inayah lingered on her last paragraph. She came to her last sentence, and i jumped up out of my seat with my paper. I went to the head of the classroom and stood on the presenting stool.
“Lets make this switft” Ms. Conkey said not bothering to look up from her notepad. I stepped on the presenting stool, it was suppose to act as if it was a stage. All eyes were on me, those same 48 that had been on me in 3rd, then again in 4th, alittle in 5th, not so much in 6th, and now as i stood here in front of the class for the first time in 7th.
“The book i read was, Mango Shaped Space” I started being sure to take a deep breath before i started, i read slowly, to make sure i didn’t tangle my words. I hadn’t even gotten through the 2nd paragraph of my paper before Ms. Conkey interrupted, “Thank you Naihema, you can sit down now.” I stood there in awe, my face felt hot, the familiar sound of my classmates giggles filled my ears. My grip on the paper tightened crinkling, i just looked at her, unsure of what to say, unsure of what to do. Everyone else had gotten a chance to finish their essay, why not me? How was I any different. I looked down at the ground, standing there on the presenting stool. i remember feeling like i wasn’t good enough, feeling like i was incompetent. I began to doubt myself, and my ability to excel, how was i ever going to if i couldn’t get through my paper? That was the last time, i spoke in front of a crowd willingly, there was always times where the teacher had forced my to share or to read aloud. I never wanted to feel such humiliation, such disappointment in myself, i didn’t want to ever feel like i was anything less than normal. I learned to keep to myself and lay low, in the classroom. Knowing the correct moments to “sneeze”, to go in the hallways for a drink of water and when to that a quick bathroom break.
Although my mom was right, i did talk too fast, i never stuttered and i eventually grew out of it. But I could never erase the emotional toll it took on me, or the sounds of the familiar giggling of my classmates, or the feeling of having all those eyes on my, all 24 pairs of the browns, blues, greys, hazels and the greens.
Walking down the hallways of Science Leadership Academy, as a sophomore, identity is not a day to day question. At SLA there are kids who want to be artist and some who want to be astronauts. Filling the stairwells are different shades of browns and whites and every culture imaginable. It has a constant sense of acceptance and understandings. I walk down the hallways with blue walls and white tiled floors with the slight reflection of the lights shining down, talking to my friends, going on about the latest gossip, “ Omg, are you serious!” Is usually followed by a comment from a friend saying, “You are so white”, and faint giggles. I laugh along, ignoring the fact that this comment is only somewhat true. Introducing myself, the next question out of most people’s mouths are generally “Are you puerto rican? Are you white?” I stare down at my skin wondering how anyone can think these things, I then sigh I saying them my race, biracial. These questions are nothing compared to the things I’ve gone through by assumptions that people have made about the color of my skin.
I look down seeing the pools filled with people, a sea of white, yet I feel so alone. I turn to see my dad sitting behind me, eyes red filled with shame. Looking out the top of the water slide and notice the heads of the people standing behind us meer seconds ago. Now instead of impatience on their face there are smiles. To the middle of the water slide where we now sit people’s laughter carries down the slide. I look down at my now dry hands with the only water being seen is the slow drip from my hair on to the waterless slide. The vague noise of the two people before us splashing into the water. The reassuring sound of my dad’s voice saying go ahead he will meet me down there. I slowly push myself down the slide, what felt like hours turned out to be seconds as I fell into the pool of water four feet deep barely able to stand. While my dad comes up behind me carries me out of the pool as we exit the water park of people eyes on us like we are a person walking on water. We quickly picked up our blue and pink flowered towels and holding them around us as tightly as we could. My face turned red with embarrassment and confusion, but my dad’s with anger.
I am a biracial girl my mom white, my dad black, who is usually guarded by the ignorance of the world by living in Philadelphia; where people have naked bike races and tattoo’s covering their bodies. Acceptance has always given, but once taken out of my comfort zone to a place like Ireland where a water slide was turned off on my dad and I, was a whole new concept to wrap my head around. Growing up I heard stories of how my dad was not always accepted because of the fact he was African American. Never would I have thought that fifty years later there would still be this argument in our society. It is now not shown as a head on thing that people openly say, but rather expressed with snide remarks and rude comments.
However, after being a five year old and coming face to face with racism I began to notice things even more. Some hitting close to home and more often than I would like, such as at my grandmother’s beach house. As I walk down the beach with my mom, her two sisters, my brother, two uncles, two cousins and brothers I begin to feel them, the stares. I put my head down in shame as I am meant to feel like I did not belong there. I was still confused as to why I was looked at differently than my cousin with long blonde hair and fair skin.
Now it’s become part of going to the beach with my mom’s side of the family, and made a joke in my family. My brother and I constantly make smart remarks holding up a fist for “black power” every time we see an African American person at their beach house, because this has come to be such a rare occasion. My cousin smirks hesitantly, not quite understanding our small joke in order to brush off the unfamiliarity of such lack of diversity. She looks at me as if I am the same as her, she doesn’t see the difference in our skin color or hair I wonder if her ignorance is a good thing or bad. The fact that she does not notice how our differences affect our everyday lives.
AHHHHHHH!!!!! There’s people screaming everywhere. In front, in back and on both sides of me. Our ride just started and people are already screaming their lungs out. I tried to keep my mind calm as we began to slowly rise up. Higher and higher. From my point, I could see most of the park. People are as tiny as ants from here. As we reach the peak, I shut my eyes and refuse to look down. WHOOOOOOSHHH!!!!!
“Are you sure it isn’t scary?” I asked with a shaky voice. My heart is pounding rapidly and I start to feel uneasy. “Lisa, just trust me. Okay? It’s nothing. Go and sit down. I’ll sit right next to you. Do you remember what you said earlier,” said my cousin, David. I look over at my aunt, who was just getting off of the ride. I sigh. I recalled what I said earlier, “I’ll go on whatever your mom goes on!” Why did I have to act so confident? Well my aunt went on it so I have no choice.
I walked slowly over to a row of four seats and sat in one of the middle chairs. These chairs did not comfort me. They were black with yellow seatbelts that goes around our shoulders. David sits on the left side of me and my other cousin, Peng sits on my right side. As one of the workers fasten all of us into our seats, I know that it’s too late to change my mind. I looked over at David. He smiled widely and said, “I lied. This is the scariest roller coaster here.” My mouth dropped open as our ride began. I should have known better than to trust him especially when he says “trust me.” I always fall for this trick.
The strong wind pushed my small head against the rubber black seat. My head bangs into the back of my seat multiple times giving me a headache. I could feel every sharp turn and twist because with each turn my head would sway along also. I was scared but at the same time I loved the feeling. This isn’t so bad. Why was I even afraid in the beginning? I’m starting to like this. I opened my eyes slowly. We went up, down, left, right, upside down and all around. Roller coasters aren’t horrible, they just seem frightening from the outside. This was my first major roller coaster ride and now all I want to do is go on more amazing roller coasters.
After I got off of the roller coaster, I realized that this was one of the best days of my life. I had such an extraordinary time. Of course everyone has a great time at an amusement park but I have been to Dorney Park many times before. Every other time, I only went on what my family called the “baby rides”. There was a time about a couple years ago where I tried something totally crazy and at this time I loved all sorts of rides. This is how I remember it.
Oh no! We’re going to fast. We’re going to crash. Suddenly our ride came to quick stop. I wasn’t prepared for this. I shot right out of my seat and was falling....
1....2....3.... Randall gives the carpet a little push and then we are sliding down the stairs. I didn’t want to admit it, I was scared. It was going too fast. My heart is beating so rapid that I think it would burst out. Kerry is screaming loudly behind me with his arms hugging me firmly. Next thing you know, we suddenly stopped halfway through. It was too sudden. I flew over Johnny’s head and was starting to drop. Bang. I hit my head on the television and landed on the hardwood floor beneath it. I look up and saw Kerry screaming and kicking. Uh oh. This couldn’t be good. His hands out in front of him and landed right on top of me, pushing against my stomach. Ouch. I should have felt hurt or sick but I didn’t because I had such a great time and it was the most funny thing ever.
Now that I have gone on another roller coaster and I have became more mature, I realized that all of the horrible things that happened to me when I was younger was because I was never informed on how I should sit or where I should put my arms. Since I was older and learned about what to do and what not to do, I had more fun and I actually enjoyed the experience. When I gave things a second chance, I overcame my fears and I’m more willing try something else.
Full of excitement I ran down my stairs almost tripping into our christmas tree. It stood tall and green with plastic strips that acted as leaves. The red and yellow feathery streamers were draped around it like a scarf. There were little bulbs that light up only on the top, left middle, and bottom right. Large delicate ornaments dangled on the branches by little silver hooks.
Perched on the top of the tree were 4 cards with all our names printed on them. Underneath were the presents for this year and a neck pillow I bought for myself that looked like a light purple racoon. There was also a pair of socks from my godfather as well as a bike my mom got me for 50 dollars.
In the picture, there is a bulky grass green chair in the middle of the floor. Behind it stands a large Christmas tree with ornaments, bulbs, and woolly streamers everywhere. This tree is fabulous, but only a small portion can be seen as the chair takes up almost all of the picture. In this big green chair is a man dressed up as Santa Claus. That red and white outfit with the bushy cotton on the edges of his coat with those white gloves. A beard, mustache, and long white hair covers most of his face.
Behind his small glasses are squinted eyes; the eyes that are so nearly closed that the color can’t be seen. A floppy hat sits slanted on his head, tilted to the left. In his lap sits a little baby girl not even one. She is held at the hip by his large hands with her on his left leg. Her face is all scrunched up as she cries loudly wanting her daddy. Her dark brown eyes are watery and leaking tears down her face. Her hands are raised in front of her chest with those tiny fingers stretching out as she begins to motion for her daddy to come pick her up.
That’s the picture of my niece’s first Christmas. Then I start to think. Will my niece have to grow up in a family that can barely buy gifts or new clothes or even pay their bills? What will she be like when she’s older? What people will influence her? How do I help keep the horrible world we’re in from hurting her? Why can’t our world be a better place for the sake of our future generations?
One example was when I was home for New Year’s break. I was celebrating casually with my family like we do every year, watching random shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. My dad was sleeping and my mom was cooking some food. Laughing with my sister as we pull out 3 glasses to drink from until I get a call from my boyfriend. Things never go right if a person you’re with says; “We need to talk.” It can only get worse from there.
I flopped down onto the sofa and tried to calm myself quickly. I wiped my eyes so the tears wouldn’t spill over down my cheeks. My heart was racing and aching in my chest repeatedly as the sound rung in my ears loudly. Trying to wrap my brain around what just happened my hands started shaking more than usual.
I got up off the sofa wiping away the last of my tears and clearing my throat. I was trying to make my face look calm, as I walked into the kitchen to fill up three glasses with apple cider. I couldn’t let anyone notice how upset I was. I didn’t want to ruin this event for my family.
I stood with my sister and mother in the living room, we were holding our glasses. We turned up the volume on the television and smiled happily at each other.
Maybe a family can be strong without secrets. Maybe a family can bond if there’s no lies between them. A break up, a fight, a stressful project, or a hard day at work. Instead of keeping it in maybe we should just sit down and share it. If you smile no one knows your sadness and there’s always a frown behind a smile. Maybe I’ll try to communicate. Sometimes communication is the key.
The thought of leaving of leaving them behind never crossed my mind. “Alisha Rothwell”, my teacher said as I walked up to the stage to get my 8th grade graduation award. The time was here, I finally graduated just as my sister and cousin did, one and two years before I had. This is the day that everyone that was in the grade under me and everyone who watched the show “degrassi” dream for. High school was coming in fall! I could already see it, me walking into SLA the happiest kid alive. My hopes and dreams were ready for whatever high school had in store. But anyway, my middle school wasn’t like any other school. We went on trips, overnight trips, we traveled to big places. I went to college settlement camp for three days in the 5th grade, Canada three days in 6th grade, Virginia beach for 3 days in the 8th grade, and also Paris and London in the 8th grade for two weeks.
Paris and London were thus far the best places I have visited. Fourteen days away from my house my friends and my cell phone. Just me and kids that I have been going to school with for about 8 to 9 years. At the age of 14 the only thing that was going through my head was what could happen to a young child going away to somewhere far. I don’t think it was a good idea to watch the movie Taken the day before I left ... or was it? “Alisha, come on!!! the bus with not wait for anyone”, my mom yelled up the stairs as I gathered my last little bit of things for my trip. “Here I come I have to say goodbye to my things”. “But you don’t have time,the bus waits for no one” she said again, “ok here I come”. The time was finally here. A foreign country here Alisha Monet Rothwell comes. I hope they are ready for me! I can already see and hear it. French pizza, fish and chips, people saying things to me in french that I couldn’t even spell or begin to think about what It means.
“1,2,3,4,5,6,7......, So we have everyone here are you ready”? My 7th grade science teacher said out loud to herself. “I’m ready” I yelled in the back of the bus. As we drove down the 96, I kept thinking about how scared I were going to be on the plane. “P-L-A-N-E” I think I spelled it about a good million times to myself. I have never flew anywhere. I knew people did it before,that’s show my cousin came down every year of christmas. I never thought about how she felt when she were on the plane. “Take your shoes off and your belt, you can not have anything on you” the security yelled to the people in the line with me. My heart was pounding really fast, for some reason I got nerves.
It was about time face my biggest fears. This was a day I couldn't even think about without crawling up in the corner and crying. It was my time though, my time to finally get over my fear. I feel like most people who have not yet came face to face with their fears, will never feel the true feeling of success. Now the type of success you can drink a nice cold glass of ice-tea after. That kind you wanna kick your feet up and relax after you watch kids who has had have nothing but sugar all day. Yea I know what kinda feel that it is, Because this day me and my fear where about to join the curious together.
“I’m scared”, Trisha whispered to me as we stood on the side of the mountain, looking down at her brother, Josh, who was eagerly encouraging us to ride down. It was getting late. The wind was blowing, penetrating my gloves, chilling my hands to the bone, slightly harder than it was five minutes ago. “I’ll go with you” I promised, sounding just as terrified as she did. Giving eachother a look of understanding, we pushed off of the snow covered hill.
I realized that this moment was terribly beautiful. Even though I was injured and most likely would have died, fellow skiers kept passing by, simply overlooking me as if they couldn’t see the contrast between my bright blue snow jacket and orange helmet, and the white, icy ground. But at the same time I was, in a way, forced to see the world around me. This time I couldn’t get distracted and I couldn’t overlook things anymore the way that those skiers overlooked me. I had a real chance to actually see the world for what it was. I finally understood something. Terrible things happen everyday, and no one cares. The world in all it’s beauty carries on. The sun still shines and the rain still falls and people get up and get on with their lives everyday. Everything I once knew, everything I was taught since childhood was lost. I am alone. I have always been alone. It only took me up until now to realize it because I was so blinded by the ignorance of the world.It all spiraled out of control from there. It was like I was stuck in a never ending freefall, and every time I thought it was over I would fall again. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness consumed me most days. Little things started to get to me. I would cry a lot and I couldn’t take a joke anymore. I think everyone has those days where they just feel like nothing. They act like nothing and live the whole day in silence, simply consumed by their own thoughts. Terrible thoughts that eat away at your mind, telling you how worthless you are. You can’t escape. How do you outrun something that’s a part of you, something that you can’t control?
This school-day afternoon would be one of the memorable days of my life. Today taught me how to always expect the unexpected. It all started when my classmates and I had just walked into our classroom from our 11:35 lunch. Still filled with energy, we are going through a tough transition from a fun intense game of good’ole american football to a quiet learning environment. Smiles were painted on everyone’s faces, laughter filled the air and the 6th grade classroom smelled of old furniture. We all stood around chatting to our friends, waiting for the teacher to instruct us to sit down. Most of us were in the corner of the room where our small library was. No one really reads there, but it was a nice place to hang out because of the couches. Not all of us were misbehaving, there were the “goodie two-shoes” the “teacher’s pets”, Jake, Annie and Jamie, who sat diligently waiting for the teacher to arrive. We didn’t really like them much, they made everyone else in the class look terrible, even though in reality it was us who made ourselves look terrible. Our teacher June Ghondi, walked in the room. She was from Kenya and had a deep accent where she said every word deeper than normal and held on to the last syllable of the last word she said for a second too long. In her thick Kenyan accent she yelled.
“Jasir!” June yelled.
“Stop your daydreaming and get back to work!”
I looked over my shoulder and you can see the other children smirking. I don’t get it though. There are 20 plus other kids in this classroom and she only picks on me. I know that I am not the best student in the world, or the most respectful, but I don’t do anything that no one else has done. From the first week I stepped in this classroom I knew that she had it out for me. Other kids were talking, actually there are some talking right now. But of course June does nothing to them.
Ironically after I said that June began barking to some kids at the table on the west side of the room.
“You! Get out of my classroom!”
“I’m sorry I’ll-”
“No, Get out now! I told everybody to not say a word. C’mon now, get moving.” She said sarcastically.The whole classroom grew wide smiles, but did not dare to laugh out loud in fear they would be the next person being sent out. Three children began packing their bags. There were 5 clusters of desk in June’s room, and each cluster was made of 4 desk. This left Annie, one of the teacher’s “dolls” all alone. As they were exiting the room, you can hear all of them talking under their breath.
Liliana, who is also apart of the teachers pet clan, quickly sprung out of her seat and ran to the stool next to June. The rest of the class began to acquire the desire to speak with her. Twelve of us had our hands raised. June knew our hands were raised , but she didn’t turn her head, trying to give us the impression that she doesn’t recognize us and no one wanted to speak because they did not want to be sent out. My question was simple. I wanted to know when our next draft of writing was due. My arm was fatigued from football so I dropped my arm and picked my pencil up after. My friend Imani was holding her hand up the longest. You can tell she was impatient because she kept saying “Spss” and frantically waving her arms back in forth, in hope of capturing June’s attention. She began to whisper to Hoshea who was sitting on the desk across from her.“Imani! Go outside if you want to talk to Hoshea. Hoshea you join her so you can finish your conversation.*
This time people were not laughing or joking. I am not going to get kicked out. I told myself. Minute after minute someone was being kicked out of the classroom. Anand who was one of June’s favorites was even kicked out for saying thank you to someone who picked up his pencil for him when he dropped it. This kid named Rich, who was usually a troublemaker, and a person who talked during class was just as silent as me. Some kid next to him was talking, I couldn’t tell who, because I didn’t want to be falsely accused and get kicked out.
“Rich get out!” June yelled.
“THAT WAS DONAVAN!”
“That was me” Donavan said.
“Donavan get out too!”
Rich sat back down and continued his work.
“Rich I thought I told you to get out!”
“But Rich just admitted it was him?!”
“OUT! you’re talking now aren’t cha?”
“Oh my GOD!” Rich replied
Rich was silent but because of his reputation, he was also thrown out. I looked up at the clock. 2:25, ten more minutes to go then I am out of here!. I looked around the room and you would not be able to tell there was a class going on in here. Only 4 kids remained in the classroom, me, Gabby, Liana, who was still hogging the teacher and Annie. At the end of class, June walked to my desk.I thought to myself. What does this bat want now?
“Tag! You’re it!”
“No way man! You didn’t even touch me!”
“Please, I got you by the back of your shirt. Plus, I’ve been it since for - ever!”
“Fiiiiiine, I’ll be it.”
“Kennedy! I need you here for a moment.”
Hearing my name, my head turned sharply to the right and looked in front of me. There was my mom, standing in the doorway with her blue jeans and orange shirt. My breath sharpened and became quick; I wondered what I did wrong. The tone of her voice when calling me was swift and piercing. Nevertheless I quickly ran to my mother’s side, waving at my friends signaling that I was going to be back soon in order to play some more.
Once I was in the door, I followed my mom from the foyer to the living room; where the stairs were located. The sight of black carpet took me in like a hole of complete darkness. I always felt afraid when stepping on the carpet because it looked like it could suck me in at any moment. Because of that fear, I bypassed my mom and trotted quickly to the stairs on the other side of the room. My black shirt floated at the bottom while my light jean shorts stayed tight at my thighs. I hopped onto the first pale purple step and took a glance at my mom. My mom sighed at the feat and I just smiled weakly, shrugging my small shoulders. I crawled up the stairs with my mom in tow, except she walked normally. Once I reached the top of the stairs, I stood there, temporarily towering over my mother, who was still near the bottom. I felt like a king until she reached the top where I was at. Then I took a couple of steps to the left, silently questioning my mom if we were heading to her room or otherwise. She gave me a look that said ‘Duh.’ I made another weak smile and headed down the hall to her room.
Reaching the doorway, I peeked in to the right and saw my dad sitting on the side of the huge king-sized bed that covered most of the room. I slowed my pace and started to make my way through the doorway with my mom in tow. She settled into her favorite pink chair, right next to the doorway. I settled for sitting next to my dad on the bed. So I jumped up, placed my feet on the frame, and climbed up. I took a peek at each of their faces, just to see what was up. I first took a look at my dad. His face was quite solemn and very upset looking. My brows furrowed at his expression and I offered him a small smile but he just glanced away instead. I frowned and glanced at my mom who did the exact same thing. I was about to open my mouth and ask what’s wrong, but my dad suddenly interrupted me.
“Me and your mom are getting a divorce.”
Suddenly, my mom snapped back almost instantaneously “Howard! Let her down easier! She’s only ten!” My dad was about to retaliate, but he stopped himself and looked down at the carpet underneath his feet. My mom cooled herself down and then looked at me, who was shaking. Tears flooded my eyes, my vision became blurred, and my words became non-existent. I started to sob softly, which turned into a full on cry - fest. My throat felt dry and my mouth felt salty. My hands fumbled to my face to quiet my sobs, but my dad suddenly grabbed me and pulled me into a tight hug. The room was filled with silence, except for my muffled sobs against my dad’s chest. I heard a soft ‘Sorry’ from my dad, and a quiet sniff from my mom.
I never knew that one minute and eight words could affect me to the point where it changed my life forever. Just in one moment, everything can change and the worse part is feeling like you can’t do anything about it. I felt helpless and weak, like all I could do was crawl into a hole and die. Actually, that’s what I preferred to do at one point. All it took was a minute out of the millions of minutes that I’ve lived through.
What hit me the hardest was the change involved in all of this. Not only were my parents not together anymore, I had to move out my decent-sized twin house into a small row home. I wasn’t used to the tight, cramped spaces in the bathroom, or random knocking on the walls from crazy, noisy neighbors. It was a big downgrade. Money became tighter and my mom couldn’t continue the luxuries I had when I was smaller. Things became worse when my mom introduced her own spouse, who I didn’t take a liking to. It was just too much change happening at once.
Don’t get me wrong, change can be a good thing. Like changing your normal hairstyle or hanging out with a different social group than you’re used to. But in my case, it was a bad, bad thing. It took it’s toll on me significantly. Soon, more children from each side of my ‘new’ family appeared, craving and receiving more attention than I did. I was so used to being the only child and being the only thing in my parent’s eyes. I began to seep into the hole of depression, feeling like I wasn’t wanted and I was a waste of space. My parents were so into their new, separate lives that I felt neglected. I thought that nothing good could possibly come out of this. At one point, I thought that change couldn’t bring anything good with it.
Despite what I thought, change comes with opportunities. Once I got older, I realized this. I just happened to be coming home from a long day at school. It was in the middle of last year, around the third quarter of my school year. I was on the 4:02 Norristown train on my way up to my dad’s for the weekend. I sat in the two - person seat, alone and staring out the window with my earbuds in my ear, blasting some music. My cheek was rested against my loosely curled fist, with my elbow using the window seal as support. The scene the window was giving me was quite boring. It was just trees, more trees, and even more trees. It was like a family reunion of trees. I started to drift off in thought, completely ignoring my surroundings. I started my thoughts off in what to expect when I arrived at my father’s not-so-humble abode. I thought of my little step-sister, who was ridiculously annoying for being nine. Then my attention settled on the thought of my little half-brother, who only at two was being sassy and acting like a teenager. I smiled weakly at the thought and went onto my step-mom, with her thick Dominican accent, bossing me and my siblings around. I frowned a bit at the one but nevertheless, I was content.
But then my thoughts wandered to my two families as a whole.
I have no choice but to flashback to that night every time I hear that song. It was about 1 in the morning. I was in a deep slumber on my twin bed, head in the direction of the door instead of my window when I awake to that dreaded bright yellow hallway light and every curse word ever created. It was my mother’s voice. “What is happening?”, I whisper. No church-going woman would curse like that. My eyes throbbed, light seeping in from the cracks of my bedroom door and ears ached from the extreme decibels suddenly replacing the usual silence. Still, I heard the quiet whisper of water running from the bathroom. It soon disappeared. A door slowly opens. I begin to hear my mother screaming at my father. “Is this real?”, I begin to question if I am still dreaming but I quickly accept that this is all too real. I’ve never heard them have an argument like that before, but of course it was always plausible. I was too afraid and confused to open my bedroom’s door. So my mom slammed it open for me. “Get dressed, we’re leaving!” I did as I was told. My limp arms picked up a pair of jeans and slipped them on. I pulled a hoodie over my pajama tee. I dragged my feet across the hallway, my little eight year old body stumbled down the stairs, then out the front door. It was a cold October night. I felt spotlightted by the streetlights as I walked across the street to the little purple Subaru. My brothers accompanied me in the car. The look on my brother Jared’s face was irritated and confused, just like mine. When I looked at my oldest brother, Christian’s face, he looked very calm, sleepy, but calm. Like he knew something we didn’t know. And here is when the song comes in.
4 years later and things were only going to get worse. On a night in December of 2009, my dad told my brothers and me to get ready because he was going to pick us up to spend some time with us. This seemed slightly odd because my dad very rarely took us out anywhere. But he didn’t live with us at the time so I understood. We walked to the black Lexus across the street and got in. There was a woman in the passenger’s seat. “This is my friend Terri.”, my dad says to the three of us and like the programmed-polite kids we were, we responded with a “Hello” and the car took off. I listened to the two adults make small talk and my mind wandered to be more consumed by where we were going than contemplating who this lady was. My father had hundreds of friends so I literally had no suspicion. We stopped at Little Caesar's pizza restaurant and got our dinner. Then we rode to my Aunt’s house who was a friend of Terri and we ate pizza, watched some terrible TV, overall it was boring and I just wanted to go home.
“My black is beautiful” Now that I’m 15 i know that now. You think I got it easy I don't ,if you was there in second grade when they could tease me you would know exactly how I felt. This is my story.
It was 7:00 am , my mom came in my room and woke me up for the first day of school. “ Ashley , its 7 o’ clock get up its time for school!” she said. I woke up about five mins. Later walked slowly like a zombie to the bathroom. I was so sleepy ! 7 o’ clock came fast! I turned on the shower and let the water run. I grabbed my pink rag from the rack and the pink dove soap from the soap dish and hoped in the shower. After i got finshed washing up , I went to my room and started to get dress. It was the first day of second grade i was so hype and excited and of course i wanted to look nice. My mom brought my freshly ironed navy blue pants with the cress in them ,my fresh white 2 button short sleeve uniform shirt my navy blue sweater , my white uniform socks and my playless black mary janes to me. As I was getting dress I smelled this lovely aroma , it smell so good , it was my breakfast, it was about 7:45am I went down stairs to the kitchen to eat breakfast. My mom made me some waffles. As I finshed at breakfast i grabed my bratz bookbag and walked to school with my mom. It was 8:15 and I was standing in line with the other kids , waiting for our teacher to come out.
When we finally got in the class , we had assigned seats I had to sit with Marvin KC , Aarin and Miah they made my life I living hell. Who knew that 4 little second graders where this much trouble. When I first sat down Aarin whispered and said “Why is she so black” , I guess she thought I didnt hear it. I didnt pay it no mind at first but than more mean stuff keep coming , not just from the girls but from the boys too. KC said “Ashley is black as the street” everyone laughed. At first I was chillen , didnt pay it no mind but when mean things are keep coming at you what do you do? I thought to my self why am i so dark , why do i have a gap in my teeth , why am I so little , why am I so skinny everything negative rushed to my head. I didn't understand why God made me this way. I always asked myself why did God create me , did he create me to be the laughing stock of the whole class.I didnt love myself for who I really was. i wanted to be light skin because majority of my class mates was , not saying i’m a follower but I justed wanted the attacks to stop! I told my mom , what they said about me she said “ Baby , dont worry you are beautiful”. I didn't feel like it though. I felt hurt , I was confused. I use to get teased everyday , but now I know who I am. I know why god put me on this earth. I’m me ! Nobody can take it anyway from me. I live in the centry where being dark is not ugly but its beautiful! I dont have to feel like i dont belong. I feel comfortable in my own skin. Im fine how i am. So what if I’m darkskin , I rather have color than none at all! I learned alot from what Miah , Marvin ,KC and Aarin told me , back than it hurted but know I can just sit back and laugh , because I know my black is beautiful!!
Express Yourself. It may be a Madonna Song, but what does it actually mean. I tried to express myself but nothing seemed to come out. Nothing seemed to flow as swift as painting. Just the feeling of dipping a dense ½ inch paintbrush into a new ounce of Golden Acrylics in Mars Black and sliding it across a clean woven canvas. It relieves me from the stress growing inside of me, physically and emotionally. I had a bad day. I walked in my room. My paint brush and oil paints were waiting for me. A blank canvas stood in front of me, waiting to be blasted with color and frustration. I picked up a filbert brush and dipped it in red. Stroke after stroke, I felt like I was gaining freedom. The feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of having a place in the world. But I guess it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.
It was time for school. Like alway, the same routine. At 7:45 am, I arrived at my destination, Feltonville School Of Arts And Sciences. Don’t let the name fool you. It has nothing to do with the arts, but one program. I never understood why we ended up in this city. It was harder than it looked. Like thinking you had everything in the bag for a math test, but when the math test comes every single bit of smartness and knowledge was lost in the sauce. I hopped off the bus and stop as I saw the “cool kids” staring at me. I never understood why they we called the “cool kids.” They were just as normal as the other kids were. I gripped my paintings in my sweaty hands. As I started to walk closer to the building, they came closer. “Oh everybody look, there’s the faggot.” I turned and asked if they were talking to me.
“Yeah bitch, if you’re the only faggot in this yard. .” I wondered if they were actually talking to me. I’m not a faggot. Was this a joke? Was I being punked? I prayed for a “yes”. But God never answered. It was really life. I couldn’t escape. I couldn’t erase the stroke of paint disabling the painting. This was it.
“Where the fuck are you going.”
“What kind of gay shit are you painting?” Negativity and profanity was thrown back and forth until a punch flew through the air. I hit me in the stomach like a bad casserole made from your aunt. Anger flushed through my body. I wanted to leave this world as everybody thought I was. Gay. After they were done trying to make blood come out of every hole possible, I rushed home. 3 blocks of public humiliation away.
I was at home now. Words of hatred flew in and out of my mind. As soon as their faces floated in my mind, I lost it. I unlocked my bedroom door and ran straight to my bathroom. I locked the door and sat in the bathtub. Tears poured down my face. I sat there, feeling dead. Having no reason for me to be alive at this very moment. The Devil had me in his hands. I tipped my head over the bathtub edge and found a blade. I thought, “is this really worth it?” My arm reached for the blade and caught it. I glared it.
“Will this do me any good? Will it take the pain away?” I let my sorrow guide the blade to my wrist. My sorrow and despair dragged the blade across my wrist, leaving behind a trail of blood. Cut after cut after cut, I felt I was at the most glorious moment of my life. The way the “cool kids” would want me. To be in pain, to lose myself in all the negativity. After the last cut, and let my arm hand and let the blade wiggle its way out my fingertips. Blood was drawn from my body and into the puddle on the tiles.“I am complete.” I closed my eyes. In needed a canvas, now.