A Mirror's Reflection This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   In the midst of my confusion and self-centered world, the miracle of life erupts. Of course, it's nothing to rejoice over (in my oblivious thinking). For what reason would a mother be excited about bringing an infant into this hellish earth where there is racism, crime, abuse, and injustice. Why seduce the innocent child from the mother's womb into the confusion of surviving in this world?

This is where my story begins. I'm dragging along the path of my life leading straight to the gutter. I have lost my self-respect, my heart, and worst of all my soul and spirituality. My head hangs down, watching my bare feet hit the frozen ground. All around me is blurred, but I sense they're laughing at me. That's OK, because I hate them too.

I'm getting into tremendous legal trouble. I spend my days not in school, but planning what rebellious fun I can have for the night time. Most people say it is a stage I'm going through, "a typical teenager." Well, that wasn't it at all.

I finally became so unbearable I was sent to a home after being in four institutions for depression, anorexia, alcohol abuse, and violence. But do you think that stopped me? I got arrested three or four times for assault, nothing to brag about.

Time repeated itself, with endless shrinks, teachers, friends, or any person who decided he or she was going to rescue me from my misery. All I felt was loneliness, almost subhuman. I was miserable, but I was the only one who could take myself out of this depression! So after endless sick relationships, too many hardships, and a bit of faith, I made the decision to turn my life around.

It didn't hit me until the minute they kicked me out of the home that I had changed for the better. I did learn a lot being there, and in a strange way I thought of it as my home, where I learned how to grow up. I started practicing these skills when I left. The first thing I noticed was how ignorant I had been to the world. My eyes had fully opened to what I have to offer to the world and what the world can offer me.

The change came when my mother asked me to be my brother's godmother. I thought of the trust my mother must still have in me, to choose me over other friends and family. I dragged my mother through hell and back. I would walk out the door and not come back for days, even weeks. Another thing you must understand, I am her little girl, her only girl out of four kids. So she is extremely overprotective. I would defy her in any way possible, just for the fun of seeing her angry at me. But this has, for the most part, changed. It was and still is a great honor being Zachary's godmother. Me, of all people, to care for her child, my brother. I know this is something that happens every day, but to me this wasn't like any other day. I felt special.

I can't really explain in so many words how it happened, but I can try. It's like I really woke up. I felt inner happiness rushing through my blood. Staring at Zachary, all I could see was a reflection of myself at his age. And I thought that it is a shame that as children get older they lose contact with their peacefulness. All the world is spinning, everyone's doing his own thing, but children pay no attention. Their only concern is the people who care for them. Everything else is taken care of. Now instead of "the older sister teaching the younger brother about life," he teaches me. I try and look through the eyes of a baby. Everything simple and non-judgmental, but fascinating. n


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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