3 comments

Coming of Age Teens & Young Adult Inspirational

As I sat backstage at the biggest auditorium I had ever seen, I remembered that night in my backyard. Laying there at 2 a.m looking up at the stars, wishing for more. More than what that tiny town gave me. My whole life I saw my neighbors all following the same path. The women would finish highschool, where they peaked. They would marry their high school sweetheart, move into a house that was paid for by their parents and given to them at their wedding. The husband would have a steady office job, probably a lawyer, accountant, something with insurance, or finance. And they would have 2 or 3 kids, who would grow up with their parents trying to live vicariously through them, because they have never really been as happy as they were in high school. And after these kids graduated, the cycle would start all over again. This ideal was forced onto me my whole life, unspokenly. It was just assumed a “pretty girl” like me would live this life. Until I grew up, went to college, got my Bachelor of Science, and moved out of that horrible town. All of my old peers looked at me in shock, saying I was off the rails, crazy, and I was making a huge mistake. They acted like they all hated me, but deep down, they envied me. Because they weren’t happy, their husbands drank way too much every night to “take the edge off”. And their homes were white, quiet, and lonely. Their kids hated them for controlling every aspect of their life, and were never home because they were out with all the other kids who felt the exact same. When I was little, I thought this was just how it worked, there was nothing else. Until the college brochures arrived in the mail. “We want you!” they exclaimed. And I looked at those campuses, that list of majors, and I realized there was more. So that night, in my backyard, I wished for that, that was more, and that was enough. When I got to college I emerged into a whole new world. A world where my opinions mattered, where I was allowed to have an original thought, and be free from the bonds of that town. I started meeting people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, financial situations, and parts of the world. Them sharing their experiences with me made me angry that I had spent my whole life thinking I lived how everyone else lived. It made me angry that I was so entitled, privileged, and blind. Hearing stories of people getting their lights turned off because they couldn’t pay for new light bulbs. Not showering for days and weeks because they couldn’t pay their water bills. Hearing about how hard these people had to try to get scholarships because they could never afford a good university any other way. Hearing about cultural gatherings that went on for hours and hours and the memories that were made there. These things made me realize the bubble of my town damaged me in a way I never thought it did. I thought I knew what was going on in the world. I was so wrong. And that was the day I knew I would never go back. I would devote my life to educating myself and others. And I would never stop doing all that I could to help this world. I took classes in psychology, philosophy, education, social work, and anything else that I thought would bring me to my goal. And when I graduated with my BS in psychology, I basically sprinted to enroll in the peace corps. I then started my 3 year journey. My first location was Eastern Europe as a youth in development volunteer, then to Africa for a public health educator position, then because of my spanish education I was eligible for an english educator position in South America. After a rewarding but long 3 years, I headed home to my corner of the world in the United States. However, after doing this for 3 years, I was kind of lost coming back home. I felt myself longing for more once again. But I knew I needed time to reset, so after buying an apartment in the West Village in New York, I tapped into my savings and found the money so I could settle for 6 months and reflect on my experiences. But I kept going back to my wish to educate more people in this country. I found that my ideal way of doing this was to write about my experiences. The words came flooding out of me like water in a waterfall. I wrote and wrote for 3 months. Every detail, every mess-up, every time I fell, and everytime I got back up. I started pitching to publishing companies right away, and I quickly started getting offers. But I decided to keep my copyright. It was my story, something I held so deep in my heart, something so raw. I couldn't bear to have it belong to someone else. Despite my greatest fears, I released the book and suddenly I was planning a book tour. Except this wasn’t just any tour, it was huge, country wide, in venues I have heard the people I’ve wanted to be my whole teen and adult life speak. I couldn’t imagine giving a speech there. Not the girl from a small town in Texas. Not the girl who spent her whole adolescent life thinking she would grow up to be nothing more than everyone else in her town. But that girl grew up to be more than she could have ever imagined. She was standing waiting to deliver a speech in front of a huge number of people. At the end of the day I do believe I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the way I grew up. I am grateful for everything that has happened to me, good, bad, sad, and everything in between. So as I step out onto the stage, I remind myself of my life, looking back on it fondly, and prepare to hopefully change the lives of the people sitting in front of me.

February 08, 2021 02:55

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

3 comments

Palak Shah
23:33 Feb 18, 2021

Great story with vivid description; the message you have presented is wonderful and I wish more people would know it. Well done !!! Can you please read my story and share your feedback on it. It would be appreciated a lot. Thanks ~Palak

Reply

Cam Weppler
15:58 Feb 19, 2021

I will read it right away! Thank you!

Reply

Palak Shah
18:51 Mar 12, 2021

Can you please check out my recent story. ~Your friend Palak

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply