The Power of Little Things
I see one every single day, and every single day, I use it. I can create things with it that have the power to inspire people, bring people down, entertain people, and cause people to experience a multitude of emotions. But when I look at it, I don’t always see these abilities right away. My eyes take in the smooth wood and the sharp point of graphite, and I realize that what’s sitting in front of me is a resourceful tool. I see the word Ticonderoga stamped in green and the number two imprinted into it, and I see endless possibilities. I hold it, and feel the hexagonal shape, and feel the weight of the words I can create. I see the bubblegum pink eraser, and see the way it can fix even my most stubborn mistakes. I can turn it around in my hands and see the way it can turn around my life. When I look at it, I see all this and more. I see something that can create successful careers, further education, and change the way information is processed. This is because I believe in the power of a simple wooden pencil.
When I first learned to write, I felt powerful. I thought I could do anything with a pencil and paper. I wrote all the time, making up stories about my family and telling true ones. In kindergarten, I wrote love letters to the boys I thought were cute and passed notes in class. When I touched the sharp point of lead to the paper, I felt like anything could happen. It gave me a sense of control and strength. I was in charge of the story; I called the shots. This was really important to me. I was a shy kindergartner, and I had a hard time making friends and participating in class. But on paper, I was the hero, the smartest girl in the world, the girl everyone wanted to be friends with. And when I wrote those stories, I felt more confident about myself. If I could be that person in my stories, why couldn’t I be her in real life?
When I was in the fourth grade, I flourished. Everyone in the class was required to write a haiku that included something about nature. I loved figuring out what to write and how to make it fit the requirements. I wasn’t painfully shy anymore, but I didn’t feel completely comfortable presenting my haiku to the class. Hesitantly, I did, because it was required to pass the class. I did fine, but I didn’t get a good grade. Then, I learned that extra credit was offered. The more haikus we wrote, the more extra credit we got. I did as many as I could. As before, I felt the same sense of power, something I was hungry for. Even when I couldn’t turn in any more haikus, I wrote other stories about nature. Some were silly, like how animals got their names. They also weren’t very creative; bottlenose dolphins liked to push bottles with their noses. But none of that mattered to me. All that mattered was that I had control. Unfortunately, I lost that control when I entered the 9th grade.
Throughout high school, I have realized how easy it is to feel a sense of helplessness. When I fought with my entire group of friends in my freshman year, I felt like someone else was pulling the strings on my puppet like life. When I fought with my best friend sophomore year, I felt vulnerable and weak. I stopped writing when I got into high school, and when I did, I lost control. I lost the only source power that I so desperately needed. But I couldn’t just go write silly stories about animals and nature or write letters to boys. I needed something different, something that would be beneficial to me, like haikus for extra credit, but also give me that power.
And I found it in the form of gel pens. At first, I added a little bit of color to my notes, but then I got more into it. I write most things in pen now, and each color means something else to me. It’s like I’m doing a different dance to the same song. I feel in control and I get better grades because I take better notes. But I also found that it’s okay to just write out my thoughts on paper and not feel any pressure about color codes and effective notes. When I feel stressed, I’ll write out what’s going on, and analyze my life. I’ll add questions to ask people and theories of what I did wrong and comebacks I should have made. And once I’m done, I look it over and let the satisfaction wash over me. Although my handwriting is horrendous and all my sentences are run-ons and my punctuation only exists in the form of at least 12 question marks or exclamation points, I feel better.
When I press that pencil on to the paper, and start writing, my thoughts become real. When I let the river of words flow out of me, they become something concrete, something real. When I don’t write things down, my thoughts are a mess I can’t clean up, animals I’ll forever be chasing after. After they’re on paper, I can corral them and control them. I once again have power.
When looked at, a pencil may be insignificant. It’s a piece of polished wood with a thin piece of graphite inside, and rubber on the end. But it is so much more. It’s thousands of words and millions of thoughts. It’s all the emotions that play on my heart and the made up scenarios that play in my head. It’s puns and wordplay and metaphors. It’s essays and books and articles, quotes and sketches and doodles in the margin. It’s definitions and synonyms and homophones, commas and exclamation marks and bullet points. It’s numbers and letters and math symbols. It is power.