I sit on the faded woden dock reaching over Mascoma lake, I feel my cheeks getting flushed as the late April wind blows across the water. As the deep orange sets behind the trees, and a shade of blue violet sets in, I start to replay this day from ten years ago. I fix my eyes in the distance and it all comes back. It was the end of April when we got the call. I was sitting on the couch waiting for the school bus. The phone rang, my father was in the living room holding my sleeping newborn sister. My mom answered the phone. I couldn't tell what was going on or the tone of the conversation. My mom's face changed, drained of color. I sat on the couch with my backpack, shoes, and rain coat on. My father was repeatedly telling me to get my feet off the couch. Oblivious to what was coming. She looked at my father, as she mumbled into the phone. There was a weird vibe in the house now. Everything seemed normal, whatever complication that was going on was just a typical day to day dilemma.
I believe the Afterlife is bigger than Heaven and Hell. It’s a Beyond. Hell is a myth made up to scare people into being good. In the Afterlife you restart, you get a second chance to be a different person. You shouldn’t have to be defined by your past life. If there were a Heaven and Hell, who gets to decide that anyway? Who gets to decide whether you’ll suffer in an unbearable Afterlife, or a perfect one. The Afterlife should be good for all. I hope, that when I die, my life isn’t over-that there’s more to come. Why would we be born to just live and die.
I don't know how I've never seen it before. I've heard about it, everyone has, but for some reason, whenever we went over that in class, we saw only pictures of smoke rising over the once clear New York skyline. Only heard numbers, quickly recited before moving on to the normal topic of discussion.
But today, I saw the planes.
I've always thought of them as graceful, soaring above and through the clouds and taking people to far off, distant lands. There was nothing graceful about these planes. Or maybe there was, and that's even worse.
I have family in Canada and my mother, sister, father, and I were on our way to visit them. It was my father's birthday and he had greeted us with a smile that only birthdays could give. We hummed back because we were still half asleep. It was 9:00 AM, but my father and I had stayed up late. I was revising a story I had written a year ago and decided that it was alright to submit since I was too exhausted to truly critique it. I had gone to sleep at around 12:30 AM, but I've always had trouble falling asleep at night, so I didn't sleep until around 1:30 AM. We packed our bags and climbed into the car. My sister was driving, my father was in the passenger seat, and my mother and I sat in the back. It was a rainy and foggy day and the smell of petrichor had already settled into the morning air. We were taking our three and a half hour journey and were going to head onto the north highway soon. As the car rumbled on, we passed a cemetary that seemed ominous amongst the fog and shadows.
Close to two years ago, I wrote a piece called "What is going on?" which is a poem where I didn't feel the same way about relationships as most people my age. I started the poem by saying "With the thought of having a partner I shiver." Honestly, I can't tell you what I was thinking when I was writing that line. When I consider myself as being a romantic, I said that because I truly believed that I adored anything and everything relating to romanticism. Now, after graduating high school, I have come to consider myself a "junior therapist" for anyone who is trying to make their way through a relationship or wants to start one. Funnily, when I use to be that "therapist" for people, I would've had no idea about what I was talking about. I would give my friends suggestions and they would have to chose from the suggestions that I gave them.
Parkinson’s disease can be caused by a variety of genetic mutations. One damages PINK1, a protein that sticks to the tops of damaged mitochondria, tagging them to be broken down. Spring of my sophomore year bio class I had the opportunity to dig into the genetic and biochemical mechanisms behind Parkinson’s disease. Armed with a school-issued Chromebook, a world of scientific papers lay at my hands. With the gifted of hours of free class time, I had the space to dissect the text, taking full advantage of Google and control find. Pencil sketches and teacher-scrawled questions guided me along the mind-blowing path of biology and my questions popped up like branches on a tree. For the first time, I had the freedom to follow those questions, self-designing research to fit my interests. I had stuck my feet into the river of personalized learning and was prepared to let it sweep me onward.
I'm a cryer. I'm just gonna get it out of the way. It's said that on average, women cry twice a month and men once a month, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that those numbers don't apply to me. I used to always think that in the seconds after something drastic happens, you have a choice; cry or hold it in. A few times, I surrendered to twin waterfalls on my face, and other times, I let a stone expression mask my inner feelings. It feels good to let loose sometimes, to just unleash pent-up emotions, some you may not even know you had. It's a way of deeply expressing yourself, putting clear visuals center stage and letting the waterworks take you down the river. Of course, it depends on the severity of the cause that will affect the level of reaction. Had a rough day? Shed a tear. Had a small fight? Hyperventilate. Was just at the wrong place at the wrong time? Suck it up! Had the worst day of your life and wish you could change what you did?
Once upon a time, I lost my grip on reality. I spent years with my head in the clouds, dreaming of a life I could not have. I fell in love with people I'd never met, became attached to places I'd never been. I waited for the impossible to happen- for those dreams to become a reality. One day I realized I would be waiting forever. What had started off as daydreams became so real to me, and I wondered every day when my "real" life would start. I accepted that if this continued I would live a dismal, unfulfilled, life, unable to become attached to anyone or really live. I couldn't go on like this.
Don't you just love it when a furry friend comes to you when you're feeling down? Ah, me too! Well, I guess we'll talk about that... if you want to, at least.... Come on, who can't resist talking about dogs?
Well, why do I love dogs? Why would we not be alive without them? How do they stress us out but help us with life? Y'all need to remember that dogs aren't fluffy creatures that we boss around, no, no, NO! I remember that when I felt like nothing, my aunt's dog came and cuddled with me. I felt like something again. If a cat saw me upset, I think it would just run away from me and be careless (Uh.... no offence cat lovers, just thinking that's what a cat would do to me).
I'm talking, what would YOU do if you saw your dog upset? Just kill 'em.... with kindness, that is!
I'd be scared if I got along well with my best friend, only to find that they're an AI. What if they were tailored to suit me, to get close? I'd be afraid they did so because someone wanted me dead. I read Willful Machines by Tim Floreens and that's what the premise for the book is. Great story by the way, I hope the sequel comes out soon.
If an AI was my best friend, I'd be scared but also intrigued - how long had someone worked to make a machine to befriend me? Am I that important? I'd think the world would be threatened if it became possible to lower someone's guard with an AI. THey could be used to take out high-profile targets. Espionage. Suicide bombers. Amazing idea, but every coin has two sides. I'd love a friend that I can't help but adore, but at the threat of being murdered should my friend be hacked? No thank you.
My idea of justice is equal opportunities for all. No one person is different than the next, and everyone should be treated as such. A man and a woman are equal and should always be considered so. Regardless of race, creed, or sex, everyone is entitled to being treated like they are a human being. That should not be an object of contention. The only place it should be is in the court of law for crimes against humanity. If you sink lower than low, prove you're not worthy to be called a human being, again and again, then only mercy can save you if you've hit rock bottom and kept digging.
As I read the paper this assignment was on, I felt a rush of excitement. This would be the chance for me to tell my story. Snippets of half-formed ideas were playing through my head and I felt that the pieces of a fully coherent essay were beginning to slowly weave themselves into a tapestry that would give the viewer a glimpse into my life. I could write about how language creates greater difficulties for Chinese-American girls than Chinese-American boys. I could write about growing up with Chinese as my first language but now checking the “English is my first language” box on official forms. Needless to say, I left class feeling ready to tackle the assignment.
So, it was sometime around 9:00 or so in the morning, in February. I was sitting in bed, on my phone (like always), and while I’m on my phone. I get a notification.
So, me being me, I open up “Discord,” (an app on a phone or computer for talking to others), and one of my friends, had told me something..
So, I’m the “supportive” type of person, and I ask “What’s wrong,” or something along the lines of that, and I waited for an answer… Nothing. Yet. Nothing had been said yet, so, I go back to watching YouTube. While I’m waiting, a message notification pops up. So, of course, I look at it. Not from her, so I go back to waiting.
Then, I get a message from her, I read it, and she told me that she had depression, and I couldn’t form words, I was just too shocked, I was so shocked, it was like I was hit by lighting. Being supportive, I asked if there is anything that I could do to try and help...
It was sometime around 8:30, and Grace had just woken up. And something seemed off..
Something was missing…
Now, Grace didn’t know what was missing, but something was missing. Could it be a pet? A person? An object? Who knows? But when she had gotten up to “investigate”, what was really missing, shocked her to the point where it was like she was shocked by lighting.
One of her hamsters had died. But how? Her hamster had been cared for, the hamster had food and water. Grace didn’t know how or why he/she had died. So, once her parents had woken up, she had decided to talk to them about getting a mouse, or a guinea pig. And when she had asked for a mouse, the answer was a; “Maybe.”
A little bit later, they had gotten ready to go and get Grace her new pet. After they had gotten ready, they had went to PetSmart. Once they had gotten to PetSmart, Grace had been super excited.
There are so many words I can use to describe the Hugh O'Brian Youth leadership seminar.
But the one word that I think sums all of it up is enlightening. I have the drive to help. The drive to make change. HOBY lit my candle of hope and now I am on the mission to light others candles. I want to teach people to lead not just lead them. I want to inspire a voice of reason. At the start of the seminar they told me I would not be the same person when I left. They were completely right. I am stronger and wiser. I am no longer afraid of the future. I am ready to take it by the horns and guide it MY way. This will stick with me forever.
Sometimes I just want everyone to just shut up They all just make excuses to make themselves feel better To make sure they are better than you in every aspect. You keep quite cause its hard to fight back And when you do, you seem to lose value But you still try to speak up.
Eventually speaking up starts to become useless Because people stop caring, People stop listening. Then you listen. But that becomes painful. You want to scream but your voice has been forgotten
I used to think that I would never lose my closest friends, But now they seem to find new, better ones And the worst part is You have to fit into a certain group. When you are an all-around person you seem to miss things that happen in the groups, And those things start to push you away from the rest You start to feel lost and forgotten