Posted by : Halima Khait Saturday, November 02, 2013

I've been in somewhat of a stalemate concerning my career lately.  It's caused me to think about what initially inspired me to want to write for a profession. And as usual, my inner voice would not let me rest.  This time it wanted me to dig up a paper I wrote during senior year of high school.  The paper where I proved to myself that four years of tears and two years of almost daily, after-school tutoring had paid off. 

I always loved English, but never learned to analyze a text or write a paper until high school.  For this reason, I struggled and consistently received Bs on my best efforts, until the day I received any assignment to write a stream of consciousness, William Faulkner inspired paper. 

The assignment was to seamlessly weave present with past to demonstrate how past informs present while giving shape to a seemingly spontaneous story.  Below is the result.  A piece my English teacher described as tighter and more electric than Faulkner - my own style.  A style worthy of publishing and possibly opening the door to pursuing study of Creative Writing in college (probably should've listened to her before I changed my major three times only to study journalism in graduate school). 

After finding and reading it, I feel reinspired by my younger self's potential.  I'm posting the piece below in hopes that my readers will enjoy it, but more so to remind myself if I was able to write this at the age of 17, I'm capable of so much more now.

I see the edge of the yellow curb approaching my feet, "Here it comes," I think to myself, and it does come.  The familiar dropping sensation in my stomach caused by the approach of the hill.  I see the three loops ahead of us.  I glance over and see my mother sitting next to me with her eyes closed.  I hear my brother telling her that it is important to get a high score on this test, for the sake of college...I have to get into my top choice.  I have to find it.  I ask my big brother to tell the teacher I lost it.  Our teacher looks up at the approaching middle school student walking with a crying first grader and appear to be wondering why am I so scared to perform this time?  I've never had to write with this penmanship before.  My handwriting was perfectly fine before, well at least it was legible although I guess I wouldn't consider it to be fancy. 

Soon we're all looking for my earring with the diamond center.  All I wanted was to look pretty on the first day of first grade at a new school.  I stand in the middle of the room crying.  After I tire myself out I sit at the desk and think about how my brother loves to scare me like this.  I feel myself being dragged into the line and I feel the people closing in around escape.  This has to be a conspiracy from the government in order to stress teenagers out.  The must like to hear me squeal.  Well maybe not, maybe he thinks it's a happy squeal.  I never bother to ask him but the girl standing in front of us told us it's not really that scary.  She said she had ridden it a couple of times and this time the score counts.  I have taken three practice SATs but this one was the important one, this was real.  Even so I am still nervous because this is the first time I have ever performed a jazz song and it is the first time I have ever done a solo in front of so many people.  I begin to think about the teacher that taught me how to write in cursive and feel as though something is being snatched away from me.  She taught me, it's really all I have left to remember her by now that she's passed and now he wants me to change it, it feels like a type of betrayal. 

Similarly burdened strangers crowd into the room and I begin to feel my arms and legs flail out in an attempt to stabilize myself.  I pray that he won't drop me on the back of my head.  The sound of "Super Duper Looper" fills my heart with terror.  I honestly feel my life is in mortal danger. I hate roller coasters all I want is to get into college.  Why does this process have to be so difficult?  It's like learning how to write again.  Besides, I'm too old to be relearning this, I've been writing the same way for six years.  Regardless, there's nothing I can do about it, if I refuse to do penmanship I get a bad grade.  I know I'm prepare but still Ifeel a sense of doom as I grab onto the bar, holding on for dear life.  My palms begin to sweat and I pray that the sweat won't make my fingers slip off the keys.  I walk onto the stage and feel my anxiety increase, I know if I don't do well I'll be extremely upset with myself later on.  I feel the eyes of all of GDS on me but if I look now this feeling of helplessness will certainly overcome me, so I reach up and grab onto my brother's leg.  I cling to him but the feeling of loneliness won't leave me.  I cry and watch as the world tips away from me, all I can see is the sky.  Tears begin to fill my eyes, I feel my body pushing against the back of the stroller and I wonder if I can survive all these loops, three to be exact.  My ribs hurt from my mother lifting me up and placing me in line,  I am too big for her to carry on her hip but still small enough for her to lift.  I gaze through my misty eyes and wonder if they will ever be able to find it.  I'm old enough to understand that it was an expensive earring.  I'm sure mommy will be upset by she knows this isn't normal for me I don't usually feel this nervous before exams.

This is different if I don't do well
he's goig to drop me on my head.  My hands squeeze the bar until the circulation is cut off.  I have to find it mommy will be so mad I have to do well.  Stop being nervous, you have to concentrate, it's essential.  Think college, think about how happy I will be to get off this ride.  I can't believe I got dragged into taking this test.  A conspiracy I tell you.  If you want to succeed you have to go through this type of stress.  It's inhuman, herded into this line.  Forced to ride a ride I'm scared to death of.  Forced to perform a solo you're not entirely comfortable with.  Why does stuff like this always happen to me?

I watch my teacher search for the earring, I cling to my brother's leg and think
breathe, we've been in situations like this before.  Breathing, that's what's essential.  We have to be calm, we're going to make it
through this ride.  I promise, we will live to say we made it through this day.  The world will level off again, it has to help me find my earring.  The ride will end soon, it wasn't really that bad and maybe the test wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  After I leave this tension ridden room I can write the way he wants in order to fulfill my penmanship requirement.  Naturally I will continue to write the way I'm accustomed to writing at all other times.  I can't dwell on the fact that my fingers slipped, it's ok I recovered and all four wheels are on the ground again.  A sense of relief overshadows me as I finally regain control of my body.

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