June 1, 2017
By Anonymous

I noticed a body lying on the side of the road one day; not a human (don’t worry) but a small, black and white animal with a puffed up stomach. As I grew closer to the body, it looked more and more like… a cat. Just someone’s pet lying dead along the road. Of course, being the emotional trainwreck I am, I refused to believe that the cat could be dead, so I called out to the limp body numerous times as I walked up closer to it.  Now, this next part is what really got to me and is why I’m even telling this story in the first place. So, I walked up to this casualty of road restlessness even closer, and upon my arrival I discovered that it wasn’t a cat, but a skunk. For the first, maybe, three seconds of this discovery, I felt a wave a relief wash over me. But after that feeling of relief, I began to feel a tsunami of sadness and anger. I couldn’t believe that I was actually happy for those few seconds that one animal had died over another.


That skunk didn’t deserve to have a premature death just as much as the cat I thought it was wouldn’t have. The skunk had its fate decided by something that didn’t deserve to taint it. And I think everyone can say that at least one thing in their life wouldn’t be that exact thing if it weren’t for someone else. For me, it just happens to be that a lot of things that turned into even more things turned into just one big thing that has been changed into something that I have no more control of. We’re given a life and told that we can do whatever we want with it, yet we have to fit the criteria society gives us like glove. And by society I don’t just mean social media and teenagers; I mean parents and siblings, and teachers and crushes, because what they think means so much to us. But why? Why do we have to live by their failures and flaws, instead of learning to make our own? This baffles me, because my parents are indeed who brought me into this world, but that doesn’t give them the right to shape and confuse me. It’s like we’re all stars and since they’ve never become a constellation themselves, they’re trying to form me into one I don’t understand. But if I become a constellation, what will my kids live up to be, and what will their kids be? You can only make someone so “perfect” to the point where it begins to not make sense. The pressure and stress we -and I- have to live by everyday is getting to be ridiculous because the ridicule we receive is not what will make us, us. It’s what will make us you, and I thought that’s not what they wanted.


They ask us at a young age what we want to be when we’re older but then they tell us once we get there. They tell us to be the people around us and to fall into their patterns.Take me for example; since before I could even walk I haven’t been my own person. I’ve been this combination of expectations with no acceptions of the word “no”. Now, I’ve grown up being the youngest out of my siblings, but I have never fit the typical stereotype like you’d expect. I’ve never been spoiled the most and my parents never favored me over any of my siblings. But boy, oh boy, the expectations never stop. I- and when I say I, I don’t mean me- have always had to be like my siblings to the “T”. I have to be tall, I have to be talented in some way, I have to talk to let my voice be heard, but by who when all they hear is white noise when I speak? White, there’s that word I always hear I have to be like, because my skin is too dark in my school of purity, and my hair is too curly for my town of waves. White, like the car my dad bought my sister because he can’t afford a new phone for I; I who have been so white my entire life by being a loving daughter and a straight-A student. White, because if you dig a little deeper into the white perfection of my family you’ll see no color. You’ll see full voids of oxymoronic adjectives built down within them. You’ll see bleeding hearts and spoiled sweethearts and carts and wagons dragging them, pulling the false accusations that I am them. So then, as I looked into the wrongly turned fate of that newly named “roadkill” on the side of the street, I lay an already dead, purple flower on that already dead, brittle skunk and shed my tear for the last time, because I'm the only one who sees the similarity.

The author's comments:

In my creative writing class, we were assigned to write a TED Talk (like the ones on the TED website) about an idea we had that we thought was worth sharing. I chose to write about the pressure we have to make our future a certain way, because I've been feeling like I have no control over my own lately. So, I decided to put my thoughts onto paper.

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