The following three pieces all relate to the complex relationship between a teenager and his/her parents. These three operate well together because the wisdom that is passed is not always from the top down….

Untitled-junior South Lyon High School

 

“Dad, I’ve heard a lot on the news and in school about Mexico”’

…. I know it is the truth…. Dangerous, unforgiving, scary. A drug ridden country full of violence and hate. Everyone’s out to get you and if you’re not careful you could end up dead at the hands of one of the many cartels.There’s nothing but trouble in Mexico, Why even go? What’s the point anyway; you’re just risking your life to go to a place that has nothing to provide. Nothing to show. Just run down old towns with drug dealers and danger. Everyone’s scared for their own lives. Why risk yours? That’s what I know. But is it more than that? I had to know.

So I asked my dad,  “What’s it really like, is it really as I’ve heard?”

I know it is.

“Son, Let me tell you how right you are. Imagine this… It’s dark out but the first buyer is coming soon, so I have to make sure I have all of the product ready when he arrives. I have to walk a bit to go to the warehouse, being very careful because one wrong move and anything could go wrong. Once I arrive all of my workers are already there and have started packing the product into bags being careful they don’t ruin any of it. Once each small bag has been done it gets passed on to another worker where they place the bags into boxes and put it all on crates to make it easier and faster to move into the truck. The buyer arrives ahead of schedule, but it’s alright because we were already done packing and their shipment is ready. They load it up and they’re gone in minutes. That’s the first run of the day and we have many more scheduled.”

“Dad, what was what it..coke, meth, marijuana?”

“Son, it was chips.”

Potato chips…Listen son. I need you to understand that Mexico isn’t really how it’s portrayed on tv or the news. Mexico is a land of beauty full of amazing scenery, rolling hills that go on as far as your eye can see, covered in lush tall grass, and trees. classic architecture beautiful rivers and amazing cities. There’s more to it than the resorts that most people are afraid to go away from. It’s a land where a small town is just a big family, where you can find a friend at every corner. It’s the land that raised me. Every country has its rough spots but even then it can still prevail. There’s more to a lot of things than what’s seen on the surface. You need to learn that not everything you hear on tv or read on the internet is true. You need to see it first hand.

So I went.

I spent six weeks living with my grandparents…across the street from that chip factory my dad used to work at….. the same place he met my mother…in front of where my grandfather and great grandfather kept all of their livestock…right down the street from two beautiful towns and amazing hills where you could see kilometers on end. I stayed in the same room my father grew up in, but my perception was still clouded up by my previous thoughts. I believed that beyond the towns and hills down the road and the chip factory and all of the farms there was terror. There was danger. It was not until I began to explore outside of these boundaries that I began to realize that it was more that could have ever been explained to me. I saw the rolling hills, the rivers, the architecture. I understood finally. I was so thankful that I got to experience something most people are scared of.  

Untitled-Junior, South Lyon High School

In the morning, the smell of fresh bacon snuggles up into my nose as I am wrapped up in my bed feeling as warm as a cup of coffee. The stairs creak like an old haunted house and I’m a gentle ghost slowly making my way to the kitchen where my dog wakes me with the slobbery kisses of an overly excited grandma.   All my small, fragile mind understands is whether I want to take a nap that day or not. My parents are a lighthouse, pointing me in the right direction no matter what the situation may be. Today the sun feels as warm as a bonfire pushing against my skin, the sky was an ocean was just above my head. Even when the nerves tried taking over my body heading toward my first softball tryout growing more and more like bacteria, my parents swept in and free my mind like antibiotics. With them, I had the courage to stride onto the softball field and be successful.

Then my dad fell and the world changed. The fear of him falling again makes things different. Rather of  being the gentle ghost that I used to be, I now change gears and become a guardian angel watching every move that my father makes, making sure he gets to and from a location safely. Even when I am not with him I want him to feel my presence resting upon his shoulder.. The creaky stairs that I once knew have turned into a loose floorboards that have become hazards. I’ve not only become his guardian angel, but I have returned the favor and became his own personal lighthouse. The new normal in our house has been slowly growing on all of us.Though I try to act like I am bigger than my dad, he still finds a way to assure my mind that I am still his little girl. My father tries to hide his weakness like a mask, but I know that it’s still there. He finds comforting words to show me that everything will be okay, even if that is the truth, there is always danger. He manages to have a special place in his heart that gives him the strength each day to live his regular life. When he leaves the house, I feel chills running through my spine, the warm cup of coffee has suddenly gone cold. What used to be a small and fragile mind has turned into a strong and big one. I am not a child anymore. This experience has made me have a clearer awareness of the lessons life has to offer. While the days have been passing by, time has made its way to contribute with the healing process.

Growing up as a child, I never realized the things that my parents would do for me. It is still hard for me to believe that I have experienced an unexpected tragedy in my family. My dad took a hard fall at his work and hit his head on the ground. The collision had caused him to have a small seizure as well as a concussion. The freak accident had also caused severe problems with my father’s spine, if he were to have another accident it can end up paralyzing him. Seeing my dad lay weak in a hospital bed made me open my eyes that the unexpected can happen at anytime. Never take anything for granted, no one knows what the next day has in store for us. I’ve always seen my parents indestructible, but they are only human just like the rest of us. Though this has been hard for me to deal with, it has made me stronger.

Untitled-Junior, South Lyon High School

You can’t believe you’ve made it all the way to the top of a mountain. It took a great deal of time and effort and now you stand overlooking the glorious and triumphant view. You stand with the clouds shoulder to shoulder as you are at one of the highest points in the world. It’s something you’ve never seen nor felt before. Miles upon miles of wilderness in the snow and the crisp air make you shake. Everything is so small, the pines that stand  eighty feet taller than you are now bitesize. When you’re at the top of a mountain you find yourself reflecting on yourself and what led you to this moment. The view from such a high elevation rips your heart out. Suddenly your worries vanish like the trees getting swallowed by an avalanche, and you begin to see all of the things that you never realized until just now. You, only you, standing at the top of a mountain with impaired vision from the tears about to leave your eyes. The metaphor of your life and the struggle to know reality is clear.

I climbed this mountain in search for nothing. I didn’t know what or where to look for anything. I wandered hopelessly after my parents had made the decision ….. I had been lost for so long and following the same trail my parents had been taking me on since I was born. It wasn’t until just six months ago my parents ditched me on that trail and I had nowhere to go.

Here’s the thing when you’re lost: your gut feeling tells you to get to a high elevation so you can see where you are. You have to take every little ounce of courage you have to go someplace new and all by yourself. Little did you know that that journey away from what you were always taught defines you.

 

Someone

    who wasn’t prepared

  at all now has to do this crazy,

         wild thing that she’s never had to do

     before and you’re wondering what got her here and why

         they would leave her just like that and every elevated step makes her

      more and more tired and confused as to why this had to happen to her and

    thinking about what this means for the future and if she should have hope and her

mind floods with sad thoughts and feelings and the air gets thinner and thinner and now she’s

 

out…

of..

breath.

 

Finally when you get to the top of the mountain you suddenly know where you are. All hope is not lost. It’s here that you noticed that you need to break free and do these kinds of things more often. The combination of pure, white snow hugging onto the ground and the branches of pine is one thing to see in pictures, but another to really see it. Everything is bare and quiet. Now that you’re at the top of this mountain, you can hear, see, smell, taste, and feel the bigger picture. No more worries in this moment. You were so brave to make it all the way up here alone. It’s here where you realize you can’t live a life under the influence of others. It’s here where you have to accept that nothing will ever be the same ever again.

But that isn’t always a bad thing.

 

You can’t believe you’ve made it to the top of this mountain.

You are stronger now than you’ve ever been before.

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What’s lost but never taken

Blends of orange and yellow pastels no longer lazed over a dominant sect of the tiring soft sky. These very strokes, with their kind glow and promise of yet something greater, had even charmed Piers at an age before she could understand their true calling.

How times have changed. A fleeting warmth that danced atop the weak churning of the lake water, as it ever on tried to mimic this very display with distorted reflections. Were there words capable of describing such a picturesque scene? Certainly. Piers had drawn such a conclusion long ago: harbinger. A harbinger of an even grander display; a fleeting moment comparable to Heaven itself. True beauty to be seen for but a moment, yet no lens of eternity could even hope to capture more than just the surface of its allurement.

Now at visibly high speeds, the setting red sun approached this time of enrapturing climax: moments before civil twilight. With a typical slight anxiety, the young woman began yet another one of her passionate dotings.



The sky’s warmth now subsided to a grander contrast of colour: a fierce crimson border to the, now blackened with shadows, horizon line burned with deep amber and mango above. Serving as an almost non-existent buffer, traces of a still radiant seafoam green submitted to a deep mitten purple, while above that, cold black loomed endlessly westward.

To her, this time of powerful contrast, both a graceful shining and fading perishment of a minute’s time, held an inexhaustible charm not through her eyes, but through the depths of her longing heart. This was a special moment to share with a special someone, where she should be met with his warm, protecting embrace in the surrounding cool night’s air.

Reality will always continue.

To anyone watching, all that remained was a lone, shadowy silhouette perched on the dock’s small bench.

Although grated, its hardwood surface perturbed her bottom as she held the hem of her dress, protesting the cool surface breeze that attacked her clothes and bare skin alike.

She frowned. At the end of the dock ran a particularly eerie stretch of water. Contrary to what she knew, it looked far from the shallow beach water she stood on just earlier in the day. Just where sandy bottom that used to show through clear water sat, an abyss now stretched out and under the dock, trapping more than just light with a looming presence.

Should she set her foot in the cold blackness, she felt it not unreasonable for a certain gloomy outcome–sinking into its endless domain, with nobody as a witness, nor saviour.

No, such a thought is too morbid. Neither gloomy, nor wishful thinking bring fruitful results–only the breathless pursuit of one’s deepest desire, and perhaps the world’s blessing wouldn’t hurt at all.

 

 

Piers is no extension of reality. Something so picturesque–so charming–is found by simply looking at the sky, and yet we choose to pass up the beauty of everyday life.