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Playing with Ice

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The definition of ice is no surprise: water frozen in the solid state. There is not a person in the world who doesn’t know it.

All my life, even before I came to understand who I am, why I’m here, what my future will bring; all that time, I played with ice. Some part of me immediately knew that it would be safe. Go into the hot sun and it melts. Put it in water and it cools it down. Choke on it and it dissipates in a second.

Therefore, it has always been my favorite toy.

As a perfectionist, it’s all I can do to be perfect. This should have given me everything I’ve ever envisioned, but that hasn’t been the case. Practice makes perfect, they say. But how, if nobody is perfect? Even the ice, for all its smoothness and flawlessness. Sixteen years has shown me that.

If only my brain can grasp it.

When I was in kindergarten, I had one best friend. We’re still friends today, even though we attend different schools, even though our most common form of communication is facebook. I was shy as a child, quieter than all the other kids. My mother was the one who invited my classmates to my parties. I never tried to have more than one friend.

In my next school, I didn’t talk. I’ll never know the reason for that. Was it because I was too shy? Was it because that girl in my class pulled my hair and made me cry, embarrassing me into silence? Was it because I was just a loner by nature? Was it because I was scared?

If I were given a chance to go back in time, I’d want to know the reason, because I’m sure it had nothing to do with the reason I’m quiet now.

Here’s for some thoughts: I hate it when people assume I’m quiet because I’m shy. Alright, granted, it’s what I’ve told people before, but that premature time was before I came to truly understand who I am.

I first reached teenhood thinking I had some kind of social dysfunction, only this hypothesis got overrun by the fact that I had an easy time making conversation at home, with family members, with adults… When a young child is old enough to be left alone in the mall, that child is expected to be able to survive.

I was given this chance, though the mall was a school, a new school, where I could be whoever I wanted to be. And I messed it up.

Last summer, I went to camp. A strange fact occurred to me by the end of those two weeks: By then, I’d been at my school for four years, trudging through the halls in a daze, books in my heavy backpack, eyes analyzing everything in my path, with only a scant few I could call my friends. That was the consequence of my mistakes in sixth grade. In two weeks of camp, I had made thirteen new friends. Thirteen.

Perhaps, for most, this number is small, miniscule to the large groups they hang out with. So I do have a large group of friends I sit with at lunch. And I do say hi to several people as I walk pass them on the way to class. But did I connect with them as I did with those in camp? Not every one of them.

In such a large body of students, I sometimes feel like I haven’t found my place, that I’m an outsider, simply given a glimpse of what my life could have been like had I snagged the chances at friends in sixth grade.

If only I hadn’t been so used to solitude. Maybe then, I would start to take charge. Maybe then, I would stop being so analytical of the people around me and just let myself get to know them. Maybe then, I wouldn’t be scared.

Someone once asked me what my biggest fear is. I said spiders. That was a lie. In my years, I’ve come to realize a certain pattern in my way of living, even though it’s subtle. It does, however, have a reason: I fear disappointment.

If someone doesn’t live up to my expectations, I normally turn the other way. This is the reason so little people know me, and that’s because they don’t understand.

And I don’t blame anyone for not trying, because I don’t try either, and I hate myself for it.

I like taking risks: rock climbing, abseiling, hiking, roller coasters, etc. This should make me outgoing; it should give me a balance with others my age, like the fact that I am content with my life, but I want more, gives me a balance with others, even if, honestly, I’m not like others.

More than a few have described me as the powdery snow that falls on the coldest of winter days, never willing to melt, never bringing warmth to those who are made icicles in my presence. Am I the ice princess?

I can be.

Because, where others play with fire, I play with ice.

And when I play with ice, I don’t get burned.



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This article has 65 comments. Post your own!

IreneEYtonKratzThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 8, 2011 at 2:08 am:
I love how you take something from reality and weld it into something poetic and lyrical. You write distinctly and beautiful while still be accessible. *****
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 8, 2011 at 7:42 am :
Thank you so much :))
 
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dancemaniac said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm:
gave me chills at the end! even though its nonfiction it was very interesting!
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:20 am :
Thank you :)
 
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xelawriter97This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm:
It's been stated before in the comments, but your last lines are AMAZING and chilling and they gave me shivers. I LOVED it!!!!
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:20 am :
I'm glad you did! Thanks :)
 
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Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Aug. 4, 2011 at 11:12 am:

Marvelous!

 

You made me feel connected to the story , and your subject was interesting.

 

Love the last three lines :)

 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:53 am :
Thank you :)    
 
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gracegirl29 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm:
I really loved your honesty and emotion in this article. It had a great theme and great symbolism, and altogether flowed well. Wonderful work!
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm :
Thanks so much :)
 
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AgnotTheOdd said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm:

Last two lines made the whole thing worth reading.

I definitely understand the risk taking/quietness thing.

I go out of my way to avoid people (mostly because I don't know how to gracefully leave), and to long jump staircases.

 

Strong writing throughout

 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm :
Thanks so much!!! I'm glad you can relate :)
 
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Shayna121 said...
Jul. 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm:
I like the creativity of the title for sure. I also enjoyed the piece as a whole and I can really relate to the quiet person you are. The only thing I have to say thats "bad" (b/c its really not) is that if you like taking risks why not play with fire and risk getting burned? As compared to ice, which has no risk?
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm :
Yeah, I'm not sure of the answer to that. I guess I don't like people knowing I'm disappointed as opposed to just being disappointed. Haha--I never really thought about it before. Thanks for the comment though. :)
 
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julian This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 19, 2011 at 10:27 am:
Great job with this one! I like how you wrapped it all up at the end, making it more meaningful. But I have to say, if you fear disapointment, then writing is not the smartest thing to do. But then again, maybe it will help you overcome your fear, and embrace disappointment, and learn to look for the silver lining. But all told, this was wonderfully written, good job!
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 19, 2011 at 11:20 am :
Haha, I never really thought I could be disappointed by writing (because I'm kind of used to feedback/criticisms) I guess it applies to everything but that. Thanks for the comment. :)
 
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Annie.C said...
Jul. 19, 2011 at 4:35 am:
I love it! And I totally mean that... this is great! The way you brought the end back to the beginning is really good.  I loved the last line! It made the whole peice make sense... and left me thinking about it...
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 19, 2011 at 9:18 am :
I'm so glad you like it :) Thank you.
 
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whitstar27 said...
Jul. 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm:
I really liked this piece, especially the beginning and the ending. They were both really strong.
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 19, 2011 at 12:04 am :
Thanks so much!!! :)
 
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WishfulDoer said...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm:
"And when I play with ice, I don't get burned."...My gosh, that line gave me shivers. I love this piece in its entirety, and I can't say enough how much I wish I had your skill. Keep writing!
 
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