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Maslow's Pyramid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It is the eve of my first Psychology exam. One more theory and then I'm off to dreamland. "The pyramid of human needs" was developed by Abraham Maslow. There are certain basic needs humans must meet before they can be concerned with satisfying other needs. The ultimate need on Maslow's pyramid is the need for self-actualization - the need to realize one's innate capacities and talents." I, not wanting to worry about whether or not I have innate capacities, close my book, crawl into bed, and pull the covers up high.

"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mom, Dad, and Peter. Amen." Mr. Sandman arrives and the party begins.

The theater is dark except for two dim exit signs on either side of the balcony. I walk in front of the closed curtain, center stage, and clear my voice. A spotlight snaps on; and the strange, celestial Voice behind the curtain whispers, "You're on!" Two taps of my toe, and the jazz band shouts a tune that my soul cannot resist. I flick my wrist, and the curtain flies open revealing a set shaped like a pyramid. Five platforms, varying in height, are arranged from shortest to tallest. The ebullient grin on my face prepares the audience for the adventure ahead.

A single step up puts me on the first platform. Few objects occupy this space. There is a bag of groceries with popcorn and ice cream, a jug of water, and the primary essential for life, air. Everything I need to continue my timeless parade is here, but something inside urges me to continue onto the next platform.

With a spring in my step, I am able to land ever so gently on the second platform. This tier is smaller than the preceding one but contains more articles. My inquisitive eyes curiously inspect the objects. From left to right - arranged in alphabetical order - are my bedroom decorated in delicate blue, a favorite baby blanket, Dad, Mom, a paycheck from North Hill Nursing Home, Santa Claus, and my "Week at a Glance" appointment book. After carefully viewing these objects, a very secure feeling engulfs me like a warm blanket on a cold, icy winter night. With this in mind, I boldly face the next platform.

I need a running start to successfully pounce onto the third level. Suddenly, I am facing a crowd! On this floor, smaller than the second, are Scott and Lucy and Doug and Anne and Tom, Karen and Neil and Jeremy and Stephanie and Silas. All my dear friends are here to greet me with open arms. Together we form a great chorus; and with perfect timing, we all perform an in-credible routine of carefully choreographed dance and song that brings the audience to their feet. Our company can do anything! At first, I feel complete and satisfied, but after a moment's rest an anxious feeling arouses me. I have to know what is on the next level.

This climb is very challenging, but after several attempts, I make it. After I wipe the sweat from my brow and take a deep breath, I notice large sheets of paper with my handwriting scribbled upon them. The small floor is so crowded with the poster-like objects, that I can barely walk around, never mind skip and dance as I had on previous levels. These posters are of various pages in my diary. "September 30, 1987. Play rehearsals are going well. I'm still intimidated by all the seniors, but with every scene I'm growing more confident." I remember how scared I was playing Gwendolen in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." Other pages include nostalgia concerning my job as a student athletic trainer, singing in the school chorus, select chorus, and the church choir, finding a part time job at a nursing home and starting WNHS. All these accomplishments swell my head and drive me to believe that I can actually make it onto the final, and highest, platform.

For hours I try to reach the final height. Part of the audience begins to give up on me and leaves the theater. I think my attempts are a waste of time. No matter how high I leap or how hard I climb, I cannot place myself on that last stage. Just when I feel that all hope is lost, Mr. Maslow, from his first row orchestra seat, smiles and winks at me with a glow in his face that says, "Don't give up!" Then the divine Being behind the curtain appears. Softly, He grasps my hand, and with little effort, pulls me onto the final level. 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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