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I walked into the A.P. Chemistry class and sat down in the front. My heart pounded in my chest and my brain slalomed down to my toes. The weight of no knowledge hammered me into a thin piece of metal. I had become malleable to the hands of this teacher standing before me.
I was born into a world not too long ago. Then I was thrown into an opposite kind of world, and now I have found myself in a world that clashes with my two previous worlds.
The first world I speak of, I like to refer to as: “Someone else’s reality.”
I was born in Kenya and put into the graceful hands of a woman and a man whom God had made his servants. My parents were missionaries and because of this my world had a strange mix. Because I lived and was raised in Kenya I saw firsthand the harshness of life but it was only through a window. Almost everyday I was exposed to what life is. I smelled poverty and tasted sadness every time I left my home. I fed the hungry and wiped the snotty noses of every child who tugged at the hem of my wrapped skirt and shouted “Mazungo!”
My parents would drive me through the Serengeti and I would watch the wonders of beauty. We would drive home through the slums and see beauty rubbed in mud. But what I will always remember is when we pulled into our drive-way and opened the doors to our humble mansion. Those sights of sadness in Kenya never followed me to sleep; not because I was heartless but because I held them to be surreal. Because I had never felt pain, it wasn’t real.
The seconded world I speak of I like to call “……..”
The Purple haze filled my nostrils and burned deeply inside my chest. In copious curls of ribbony steam it danced with my spine and kissed my brain and it had not even grazed my lips. I was 13, but not at all frightened. I had come with my friend Ginger, a girl who seemed goddess-like as she thrusted her bosom forward and walked with lustful strides that pulled all eyes in. I followed along in my short white Minnie skirt. We said our promises, you know “Don’t leave with out the other”
I followed her command into this uncertain world of hers. The music consumed my ears and rattled my teeth, curses flew off tongues, fist flew towards faces, and small blue beads fell to the floor like raindrops.
Jazz, as they called him came to my side and with a sly he suggested going outside.
Along I followed Ginger as she ushered me after him, we walked along until we stopped at a building. Jazz went inside and not soon after Ginger began to indulge her lustful desires into a tall guy with a “cute smile” as she said.
She soon forgot our promises. “I will be right back, stay here” she shot back over her shoulder as she followed the guy into the building.
I sat there on the front steps staring out into the beautiful night sky. Jazz came out of the building, two sodas in hand. “How sweet” I thought “to consider my thirst”.
The stars were bright that night. I was lying on my back on the cold cement; my hair had soaked up the puddle of water. My hand rose to my forehead and like a magical wand brought me to my senses…
My hand tore through the air like a knife, making a “whooshing” sound, clasping at my chest I felt the rips in my shirt sear into my fingertips and with a crying gasp I breathed in the night’s sharp air.
Reality hits hard, reality had hit me hard. My first world, I knew so well. I had danced with it all my life and truly believed it was the only one that existed. But, it had slipped past my fingertips. Because I was never exposed to anything sinful in this manner I had not a clue as to what had happened. Soon after I was introduced to “……..” I spent my days and nights doing two things: Trying to remember and then trying to forget. I never told anyone, not even Ginger. In fact, this is the first time I have written about it as it truly was.
I carried this on my back; it consumed the blood of my spirit and nailed me down.
At the age fourteen, I was an alcoholic. I could not sleep without drinking because I was too afraid I would have time to think. My life suffered a great deal, school was dreadful because teachers asked questions and I couldn’t think straight and I would often bury my head in a book all day to live the life of someone else. My grades went south and I was running straight for where the sidewalk ends.
I spent two years as a well read alcoholic, selling myself short and being confused.
Until one day, I was sitting on my bed with my mirror in front of me…I was 15 now, turning 16 in July. I looked deeply into my eyes. I didn’t see fear, and that scared me. I knew at that moment I was not going to live the life I wanted. I knew that I, not having fear would end up killing me. That night I didn’t sleep, I stared into my well known darkness and started to call myself on all my bad in order to find the good in me that was smeared in mud. In the morning I called upon my father and told him I was transferring out of my high school and into a new one, I was going to change. I was going to begin to travel upon a road that knows no mercy because carved into my palm is the word “success” I am going to study International affairs and take everything life has given to me and turn it into a means of power, motivation, and courage in order to mold our fast globalizing world into a peaceful and working society.
I walked into the A.P. Chemistry class, and sat down in the front. My heart slalomed to my toes and my heart pounded in my head. I felt fear wrap its warm arms around me and I closed my eyes and thought to myself, “Celia upon entering Herbert H. Lehman high school your average was roughly around 62, upon receiving your first report card at the end of the semester, you ran to the bathroom and cried because your average was up 20 points. You have missed many years of formal education. Being raised in Kenya you didn’t go to school, your mother home schooled you except she only taught you the fun stuff. The beginning two years of high school you were buried in books so you only passed English. In reality you don’t know anything except that you will always go forward” and I couldn’t help but smile. “How are you even a senior”?
I have embarked upon many roads and have experienced many aspects of life and I am hungry for more. I have found the world that nurtures me best. I am now taking Advance Placement Chemistry, without any previous knowledge of the subject. I’m taking it because I know what I’m capable of.
I have entered a new world, it’s fresh and brilliant. It allows for intimate thoughts and ideas that call upon action. This new world of mine has challenged me like no other, it’s not gentle and it can be quite painful, it’s full of whirlwinds and formulas I can never remember. It tastes like a lemon peel but it has a sweet after taste. I like to call my new world “Tranquility”