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Carrying the Big Load This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I don't look tough. But these bony arms and birdlegs are deceiving - they need a test to prove themselves.

This summer, Iworked at our neighborhood's grocery store where I'd lug around 40 pounds of iceand salt and push carts. I did all of this by choice, to prove that thisaverage-looking girl is capable. It's a small version of my bigger outlook onlife - define your strength, its source, and nourish it. Use it.

No, I'mnot talking about radical bodybuilding, protein transformations, or appallingbrute behavior, although a bolder physique could help for softball tryouts. I'mtalking about the core, the pit, the rind, the seed of a person. The impetus thatdrives the rhythmic ticking of their complicated clockwork on every ordinary day.It's about the hauling of heavy stuff when everyone else steps back and says,"Whoa, are you okay?" There is something about that moment that createsa fuel that doesn't come from the easy loads. When people crunch their eyebrowsand look on in doubt and speculation, that's your cue toshine.

The heavy loads, they can be bad, but oh, they are like a gift inugly wrapping paper. Not to name anything specific, because there is an endlessarray of problems that come splatting onto life's windshield - dilemmas, stickysituations, restlessness, stresses, distractions, unfair expectations - they allare the messy, convoluted roadblocks that fatigue passion and joy and endurancein every task required of you. But the best ingredients for building strength? Noone said this would be easy ... but at your weakest moment, when the dailybattles seem to declare premature victory, you are at your very strongest - evenif the spectators look on in disbelief.

Flex that muscle that allowsyou to run through life's low points with tenacity and intensity, for thatmotivation and energy is yours forever; never let it hide or fade. With it, youcan scale a mountain or endure a storm or whatever else the poets haven't dreamedup yet - resolve and confidence will never fail you if you lean on the genuinestrength you are certain is there.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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