“You are my perfect grandson,” my grandmother says. It comes out as a whisper, like everything she’s said in the past few weeks. Gray hair finally starts to show, a delayed indication of her old age. It’s hard for me to hear her, even harder to think about her more visible mortality.
There are different versions of perfection. Mine entails that every action I take has a purpose. Continue reading
I had to screenshot this.
Hi everyone! This is just a quick little post to thank all of my readers for being radiant and splendorous individuals. Either last week or two weeks ago this blog got its 400,000th view and last week it received its 3,000th comment. I’m so incredibly thankful for everyone who’s taken the time to lurk or comment or stalk or spend any amount of time with my writing. Reading and responding to every comment widens my perspective, and I hope it enhances my readers’ as well. Continue reading
One of my favorite essays I wrote freshman year about the film An Education. Writing it was one of my happiest moments in high school.
It’s all about money.
That’s what my mom taught me. She’s taught me that if I can get an SAT score in the 99th percentile and a GPA that puts me in the top 10% of my class, I should be a doctor or a lawyer. She’s instructed me that success is measured by my income, the costliness of my car, and the economic value of my home. She’s told me that she will only be proud of me if I can surpass her and my father in the amount of money I make.
Here’s a secret: I feel safer at school than I feel at home. Continue reading
My handy dandy suitcase.
Floss, Latin textbook, ratty T-shirt, notebook. As I threw these things into my suitcase, I wondered whether I would survive that day.
I ran out of my house. Wearing shorts and a thin jacket, the cold cut at me even though the sun still shone. Shouldering my backpack and holding my suitcase in both arms, I felt like a fictional character, running away from home. Except this time everything was real.
I made it a few blocks down until I saw her car approach me. Contemplating whether or not to make a run for it, I knew I wouldn’t escape – no mile time was fast enough to outpace an angry mother. Her beige car pulled up alongside the road, and she lowered her window to yell at me.
“Get back in the house, now!” my mother screamed.
Minutes before, she had threatened to kill me. Inside my house, she had started one of her angry outbursts, but it felt more dangerous than all of the other ones. In that moment, standing on the sidewalk of the road, heart racing, I defied my mother for the first time. Continue reading
My inbox after being freshly pressed. And that’s only the first page, after deleting all of the “like” and “follow” notifications…
I planned my victory. Write a slightly controversial rant targeting America’s favorite past time, publish it under the guise of an innocently idealistic teenager, and sit back and watch the WordPress editors do their job. It was almost too easy. After two years of toiling away, I have finally won. Continue reading
High School Football/slapstix55/CC/flickr
I have attended every book club meeting at my school. I’ve never missed a National Honor Society meeting, a Math Honor Society meeting, a Social Studies Honor Society meeting, or a Latin Honor Society meeting. But when I tell people that I’ve never attended a high school football game, I am always asked the same question: what’s wrong with you?
What’s wrong with me? Let’s take a look at what’s wrong with America’s schools first. Continue reading
I remember sitting after school with a female friend of mine. I was helping her with some trigonometry homework and decided to bring up another problem – one unrelated to the unit circle and pi.
“So, comparative government has been kind of crazy lately, don’t you think?” I asked, turning to look at her.
“Yeah, with the election and everything everyone’s been kind of politically charged,” she replied.
I ventured on, “Do you mind if I ask for your opinion on a couple of risque subjects?”
She put down her pencil and said, “Sure, no problem.”
Let me make myself clear – I’m not the type of guy who makes assumptions without evidence. But, to put it bluntly, I thought that maybe – maybe – this female friend of mine might have had a teeny crush on me. Me, as in, a homosexual. From inviting me to Homecoming, to casually consistent brushes and touches, to other questionable remarks, the evidence added up. I wasn’t sure, and I’m still not sure, but after months of waiting I wanted to establish the firm boundary of friendship before things got ugly.
“What do you think of abortion?” I asked. Continue reading
I’m seventeen and I don’t know how to drive a car. Every time I see two parents talking to one another without screaming, I gaze in awe. I haven’t gone to Prom and I doubt that I will.
Sometimes I wonder how my childhood would have been if not for my mom. What would it have been like to grow up in an environment entrenched in caring as opposed to cruelty? Which friends might I have met, who might have I turned out to be, what might I have done? With only a few months left before my eighteenth birthday, every chance I have to experience an average life is slipping away. Continue reading
The year isn’t even over yet and I’ve already won! Victory.
Two nights ago I submitted all of my college applications. I can’t pinpoint the feeling that followed – it was a mixture of hope, anxiety, euphoria, and relief.
I remember that at the beginning of high school, I had no idea who I was. I didn’t know my passions and I had no plans for the future. Self-deprecating thoughts consumed me and my fear of my mother made me anxious to escape, even though I had no idea how I would do that.
But I’ve made it so far, as cliche and conceited as that sounds. Continue reading
A few nights ago, I wondered what it would feel like to cut off my ears.
I remember thinking something similar when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in the car with my mom, sitting in the passenger seat as she screamed at me. This I was used to – what scared me was how she had formed her hands into fists and was punching the leather of her seat as well as the surface of the dashboard. While I cannot claim to remember exactly what had caused her anger, I do recall that it was something insignificant. Perhaps I had closed the car door a little too loudly. Maybe I looked at another boy who walked by for a little too long.
But, as she spewed poison and purged her anger, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if we got into a car accident right now. I wonder how much of myself I would be willing to give away for her to disappear. I proceeded to bargain mentally – would losing an arm be worth not having to put up with the abuse anymore? How about an arm and a leg? All of me?
Looking back, I realize how melodramatic and shallow those thoughts were. Continue reading