"They're the best years of your life"
If this is what being young feels like,
I don't know what all the hype is about.
If this is what being young feels like,
I don't know what all the hype is about.
There was nothing Li'esco Worgana loved more than being a hero.
The people of his kingdom often called him Hercules and Li'esco didn't plan on disappointing them anytime soon. Which is exactly how he found himself standing in front of the single most revolting creature he had ever known to exist, tightly gripping the handle of his father's mightiest sword.
In all honestly, Li'esco didn't know how to fight monsters. He had no idea how to skillfully mix hand-eye coordination with agility, precision, and strength to save the all the onlooking peasants his family ruled. What he did know how to mix was luck, reputation, and greed to make people think he was responsible for all the greatness brought to the nation. And because they would be executed otherwise, no one ever questioned him.
It wasn't like his father didn't try with him. Everyone in their family lineage had been a hero, but no matter the lesson, the instructor, or the weapon, Li'esco was hopeless. He couldn't strategize, he couldn't fight, he couldn't lead. The one thing his father wished more than anything was that their country would never go to war. That way, they could keep saying the heir was just a private person who didn't like to flaunt his abilities.
But now, that wasn't an option. At this point, Li'esco's brain was in full fight of flight mode, and every single part of him was screaming flight! Except even in the heat of the moment, he knew he would have no chance against the nine-foot monster.
The monster's skin was tinged red and was covered in boils that grew and shifted on the surface of its body. It looked like a body builder but multiplied by ten. Li'esco could spot each one of the muscles and tendons bulging outwards. The thing possessed a countless amount of solid yellow eyes that were packed tightly on the top half of the creature's face. The mouth took up the rest of the face with foam dripping out of its lips and a set of jagged, uneven teeth. And if that wasn't bad enough, while Li'esco had one blade, the creature had twenty in the place where its fingers should've been.
The handle of Li'esco's sword was covered in sweat to the point where he predicted the weapon would slip right out of his hand in a matter of seconds. The monster swiped a lethal claw down sloppily, no doubt testing whether Li'esco was a worthy opponent or not. It got its answer very quickly. It was a no. Li'esco just barely dodged the blades, surprising even himself, since he accepted that his feet were firmly planted in the ground. Well, even 'dodged' was a generous word. He flung his body to the side, face-planting into the dirt, a blood-curling scream escaping his lips on the way down.
He scrambled back to his feet because even if he was a useless fighter, he remembered the one lesson that was drilled into him more than anything. Wounds on the front would mean he died fighting. Wounds on the back would mean he died a coward.
He tried swinging his sword, surprised by the immense weight of it. The weapon slipped from his hand at last on the way to hitting the monster and hit with the flat of the blade. If he thought he had hit rock bottom then this was where he drilled his own way past rock bottom to center earth where the magma of the earth's core was hitting him in the face. This was Li'esco Worgana's ultimate 'oh crap' moment.
As the monster's claws came down on him once again he didn't even try to move away. He couldn't. In a slow-motion moment, he accepted his death. In an out of body moment, he witnessed himself standing weaponless in front of this monster, eyes open and ready. He imagined his own bloody body sprawled on the gravel.
You'd think it would be fun, wouldn't you? Waking up one day and realizing that not a single person in the whole world is as smart as you are. But it's not. It's not fun because it's not for the day, or the week, it's forever. And forever I will have to live with this power, this burden that I never wanted. That I never asked for.
And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm selfish, that how could I ever possibly see this blessing as a curse. And trust me, I would've thought the same thing if it had been just ten hours ago. But this isn't ten hours ago, this is now. And now I've been faced with something I would have never expected.
I've been faced with a power. And I don't deserve it.
Someone else should have woken up today and discovered that they were the smartest person in the world because I don't deserve it. A person who knows, not everything, but more than any other human in the world has a duty, a power, a voice. And with this voice, this person should be changing the world. Finding cures, eradicating crises, making outer-space discoveries, and educating others to create a better future generation. I know this, and yet I can't do it.
Just because I'm smart now, doesn't mean I'm good. Just because I'm smart now doesn't mean I have the answers to the questions that actually matter. Just because I'm smart now doesn't mean I want to do anything.
If this gift was miraculously given to me out of all the seven billion, four hundred and eighty-six million, five hundred and thirty-four thousand, nine hundred and ninety and counting people in the world then please, please it needs to go to someone else. I didn't even search up that number, it just came to my brain when I needed it to and that should not be happening.
I don't want to save the world. I don't want to look at the people around me and see every little detail in their personal life. I don't want to be overwhelmed with the endless information every time I look anywhere or at anything. I do it and I can't breathe because I can't shut it down, the numbers and facts, they just keep coming and coming and it's making my head hurt and my brain hurt and I know this is a run-on sentence and now it's bugging me and I don't want it to bug me and yesterday it would have been so useful to know on my essay but I didn't know it yesterday, I know it today and I hate it I hate it I hate it.
And school, I can't go back to school where I know everything I could possibly be taught and I notice every mistake a teacher makes. I won't be able to talk to my friends anymore because I'll just always be, not one, but one hundred steps ahead. I'll hate them for the ignorance that isn't their fault, and they'll hate me for the knowledge that isn't mine.
I never understood the saying "ignorance is bliss" but now I can't stop thinking about it. Oh, what I would give to live in complete ignorance, in complete bliss, never realizing my thoughts weren't my own and my perceptions were all twisted. I want to watch useless TV shows until it fries my brain, I want to live young and have no worries, I want to be reckless and laugh about it the next day, I want to feel the satisfaction of solving a problem I had wracked my brain on.
Life is meaningless if there is not more opportunity to be challenged.
In a world that is a chess game, my only path is the path to victory, and yet I don't want the game to end.
When bread crumbles, it
Can't be restored.
You can't meld the pieces
Of broken wheat and
Back into the fluffy and
Carefully kneaded rolls it
Once was. You can try
All you want
To add more yeast, but
The bread won't ever rise again.
Are better anyway.
There's always a way to find something to appreciate.
The whole world could be screwing you over, playing with your emotions, testing you to the brink of your sanity just to see how much you can take until you break. It could push you off the edge and kick you when you're down, but I promise you there is always happiness hidden where you least expect it.
It could be an inside joke you share with your mom, a special curly fry mixed in with your regular fries, or the discovery of an old piece of artwork. Compile the little things that make every day special and suddenly life might not seem so boring anymore.
Kindness spreads but so does sadness and hate and resent. This isn't to say that you're not allowed to complain because you are. You're allowed to be mad and sad and frustrated, but you also must know that these emotions aren't your only options. When one bad thing happens, we tend to add it onto another bad thing that happened which reminds us of yet another bad thing that happened and suddenly we feel overwhelmed with all the bad. But if we learn to see the tiny little good things as collections of good things, suddenly we may come to realize how much good is in the world.
I learned this lesson a few months back when I was at a debate competition. And let me make this clear: I am not good at debate competitions. But my debate teacher had decided I would go and for months I practiced every single day. I wore myself thin just memorizing speeches and researching important topics. I couldn't wait to get to the competition and show off everything that I had learned.
It was a new experience for me, but when I got there it seemed that I was the only person who was in that situation. Everyone around me had been debating for years and I couldn't help but feel terribly intimidated and like all their smiles must've been fake.
This wasn't only with the competitors, even the judges certainly didn't seem to like me very much, giving me grades of "very poor" and "needs improvement". I felt like I had failed my debate teacher and every time I went up to share my speeches and debates I was utterly embarrassed by every stutter and stumble.
I felt down, I was self-conscious, and I didn't know how I was going could continue the competition for two more days.
But then, between rounds, I went to the bathroom. A couple other girls were also in the bathroom, but they had left soon after I entered, leaving just me and the cleaning lady facing each other not head-on but through the mirror.
I washed my hands and met her eyes in the mirror and she smiled at me, at which point I, of course, smiled back. This is when I thought that it couldn't have been easy, what she did, working at possibly the most prestigious private high school I've ever seen in my life, watching people go by without a moment of appreciation for all the work she did. It must not have been easy to live as if you are a ghost. To see teenagers make terrible messes and not realize how they are suddenly gone within the hour.
But this didn't show on this janitor's face. She could have so easily been resentful. Towards me and my uniform and tie, looking like the world had gotten me down even though the world had done nothing of the sort. She simply asked me how my day was going in which I gave my automatic, mindless reply of, "Good, how about yours?"
She nodded and told me genuinely that she was doing very well. She wondered out loud what we were all doing here, seeing as we were students who weren't wearing the uniform she was used to seeing. And I explained it to her.
I told her we were at a debate competition, while simultaneously enjoying the fabulous city it was held in. I explained how there were many different categories in which students from all over the world came and displayed their talents for everyone to watch excitedly. I even told her how much fun I was having being able to speak with people from different walks of earth, from countries I have always wanted to visit, and how exciting it was that we had all gathered together at this incredible event because of something as simple as public speaking.
She looked to be in awe and she smiled widely the most beautiful smile. She told me how amazing what I was doing was and how fun it must be. She said that this all seemed to be a magnificent opportunity and that she was jealous of us young people.
And it was this moment that I realized that I had spoken the truth when I spoke and she had been right when she spoke. The opportunity was something I was to treasure and though I made a fool of myself on stage, I was able to watch so many amazing speeches, sight-see in a beautiful town, and step far out of my comfort zone.
The cleaning lady, though I never knew her name, was the nicest, sweetest, most wholesome person I met at the competition and she didn't let the fact that she was cleaning a high school bathroom get in the way of appreciating life and spreading kindness to others like me.
Now, whenever I feel sad or lost I remember the janitor friend I had for five minutes in a random high school bathroom and how she was so kind to me. And I tell myself to be that cleaning lady and just smile because there's always something worth smiling about.
the world is an ocean
and currents are society;
masking themselves as
luring people in,
telling them lies about,
who they should be,
and where they belong.
"swim with your eyes closed," they say,
"just a bit closer."
only they know the darkness
that hides in crystal waters.
and when it's too late,
they make their final move.
and people never know
to swim down,
and not up.
they pull people in.
and at first,
being 'in' is good,
it feels good, feels like
the only thing worth caring about.
but as soon as the spinning stops,
you're just drowning,
and drowning doesn't feel so good
you try to escape, try to
fight the grip of the water.
but you're fate had long been decided.
when you swim into the current,
you live there, and
you die there.
I have a complicated relationship with the beach.
I have never liked slathering my skin in suntan lotion and sitting under the hot sun while it's at its highest point in the sky. The people at the beach are too loud and they move too fast; and there are far too many of them, all with unnaturally perfect bodies. The water is unpredictable, cold, and not nearly transparent enough. And the sand, my god the sand, it's everywhere, sticking to your skin, taking shelter under your fingernails, in your bag, and on your towel, just to remain there forever.
But sometimes I do love the beach; it was three years ago when I first realized this.
The night had settled, we just finished dinner, and we were laughing. Laughing, laughing, laughing. I don't remember what we were talking about or if anything was funny, but what does it matter? We sat, outside, at a restaurant on the beach.
I left the table with my cousins but as I walked, they were forgotten behind me. I took off my shoes, held them in my hand. I walked across the beach, feet swallowed by the sand with every step. Water hit the shore steadily washing over my bare toes.
I walked farther than I could see. The sounds of waves and the faded sound of an acoustic guitar drowned out the world. I felt small, looking out onto the endless water and endless beach, but at the same time, I felt present and important. It was just me, the waves, the sand, the music, and my thoughts.
The fresh smell, blown at me by the strong winds of the sea, cannot be even close to replicated. At the end of the beach, it was a cluster of large, jagged rocks. There the water was even more intense and beautiful, especially when it turned white against the rocks. I found a flat slab and climbed my way on top to sit on it with my legs dangling above the crashing waves.
I looked out and found that I couldn't see where the water ended and the sky began, it was all a black abyss. When travellers used to think the world was flat I suspected that this was what they expected to see.
There was no distance, but somehow it was all distance.
I was nothing, but I was also everything.
I thought time ceased to exist. But, of course, that was a mere illusion painted by the beach when it was dark and void of people. I hadn't forgotten about the people, they were just in the distance, where I couldn't hear what they were saying, just see their heads thrown back in laughter.
Eventually, my name was called and I cursed having to return to reality. But I decided that, yes, I loved the beach.
Author's note: Worth mentioning that I wrote this for my mom on her birthday.
you reach out your hand.
you ask for another.
it’s your third night like this
your family can’t be bothered
you reach out your hand.
on a table,
before you tumble forward.
you reach out your hand.
trying to tell them,
to stay back,
you can’t take it anymore,
“please stop,” you say, “stop hurting me”
they don’t stop,
you reach out your hand.
for a cab.
asks where you’re going,
you don’t know.
you reach out your hand.
and wish someone would take it.
the only light
comes from her
silly shoes, blinking
pink, purple, blue
with every step
Author's note: I felt like I had to write something to counter-act the previous post.
You don’t know what it feels like to be unappreciated unless you’re a dandelion. Not like the dandelions with seeds that people make wishes upon, but like the boring flowers with thin yellow pedals sticking outwards and jagged leaves like arrows.
It’s not like I’m a rare and beautiful flower like a chrysanthemum or a wild berry bush that lost travellers can sustain themselves off of. I’m not, not beautiful, I’m a dandelion in a field of dandelions. A single one of us alone is a splash of colour in an otherwise green landscape, and a field of us together makes for a hopeful summer day, but a single flower in a field of flowers the same as itself is insignificant.
It makes me claustrophobic, constantly being crowded by others that are just like me. Even having a bee land on me and pollinate is like being chosen to participate in a magic show. Too bad I’m eternally stuck in the back seat.
It happened to me once and the bee’s furry exterior and foreign eyes were the only things different in a world that was all the same. It was different than when I saw it happen to some of the flowers around me. When it came towards me I thought for sure it would fly right past like they always have, but it descended upon me, coming closer and its features becoming more defined.
The first thing I felt was the warmth, not like that of a sun 150 million kilometres away, but like something present, like blanket enveloping me, like my first well-deserved hug. The next was its feet, a prickling pressure that pushed into my exterior but never cracked the surface. Its weight gave me a whole new meaning to gravity, and it’s gentle mouth tickled my petals. When if flew away too quickly, I wanted to fly with it, and I felt that if I wasn’t tied to the ground by my stem I could have.
A couple walked through the field. I could tell they were a couple by the way they were holding each other's hands like they were scared of letting go, and by the shy looks of new exhilarating love that they gave each other. They sat near the edge of the field, near me.
They spoke in a soft tone, that I think must have meant they were sharing private, beautiful secrets. Laughter rang through the field and there was no one there to hear the enchanting sound but for me and some other objects, known as inanimate.
Suddenly, as if by magic, I rose. It didn’t feel like I was being ripped out of the ground, but that’s what was happening. I rose higher, and saw more than I ever had before, and I felt a warm breeze that the other flowers had always blocked from me. It felt exactly as I thought it would when I wished to fly after that bee, except I was still being held down, by one of the people’s fingers.
The person held me with his textured forefinger and thumb and used his other hand to brush curly brown locks behind the girl’s ear. He placed me there in her hair and it was nothing like sitting day after day in the grass. Her hair was a shimmering brown, softer than any bee, and smelt like a far away place I would never have the chance to go.
Her sing-song laughter travelled again through the field, and she threw her head back, jostling me from my place in her hair. I fell back into the grass, discarded. I thought they would forget about me, or maybe choose another flower to be a hair accessory, but the boy picked me right back up into the air and placed me back where I had just been.
I guess as far as flowers go, being a dandelion in a young girl’s hair really isn’t that bad.