I have been told numerous times that my generation lacks a certain focus necessary to be successful. The older generations believe we are sheep wandering through this world blind.
This is what went through my mind when the dreaded day we were to write our narrative essays came. I had known this day would come, but it still seemed to catch my classmates and I off guard. As class began, I saw the second hand of the clock slowly and meticulously shave shave slivers off of the hour. The minute hand, sixty times more menacing than the second, took its sweet time stabbing me with fortuitous jabs to the gut. “Et tu Brute?” crossed my mind with the combined mutiny of the clock and the lack of words flowing through my head.
Four blank pages, discounting my name, sat menacingly on the cream desk. Four hungry giants demanding a meal, and I, armed with only a pen, was expected to serve it. My pen was a broken ladle that could that could scoop no soup nor slice any roast. In addition, my “inherited” sense of writer's block stood guard at the sweet cauldron as if it were protecting its own children. I felt an immense pressure in my chest. This pressure was not my own doing; it was a different feeling than the horrible ticking of the clock or the four blank pages waiting for me to tattoo them with the sacred ink that was supposed to be flowing from my pen. This new pressure was outside of the room, outside of the school. This pressure is found in the words “you cannot do it that way, as it has always been done this way.” This feeling has been passed from person to person, from mother to daughter, from father to son, from family to family, but one thing is always true: the burden of this guilt is always pressed on the young generation, the new generation.
This is what I felt when staring at my papers. I felt failure for my whole generation. After them minute hand kissed the five in an aggressive click, I decided it was best to start writing.
Words flowed through my pen like kidney stones, like a rock between the cogs of high dollar machinery. Words, like bricks and stones, painfully bombarded the giants. Sentence structure and word choice was utterly disregarded. The black ink began to slowly kill my paper. Beyond the words, I saw red.
I was scared. Scared of failure, scared of the pressure put upon me. I was scared that my pen was creating distorted and disturbing snakes of sentences that would make any English teacher, neigh any person cringe. I was lost, and I believed that I had no hope in the situation. I thought to myself that my elders might have been right. Maybe my generation is the burden of the human race; maybe we are unfit for the society that our predecessors created.
This brought me to my lowest. I had hit the rock bottom that is failure. However, this is exactly what they wanted, and I could not give it to them. They wanted me to fail. They made this a test of willpower, not to watch me succeed, but to crush me. They wanted and fully expected me to write a mediocre essay about a time in my life with a loose connection to an underlying issue. However, I had the perfect plan, a plan that would take the stereotypes and the low expectations and bring it right back to them. I thought of a paradox that could not be ignored or dismissed, a break in the system.
The four Angry, hungry giants lie crushed in the wastebasket. My next four sheets of paper were white with purity, with a sort of angelic sense of acceptance. As it has been said, my pen was truly mightier than a sword. It was a golden lance that struck the paper with gentle, flowing movements all around those angels that sat tickled upon my desk. Words flowed, bubbled, and came to life upon my paper. They laughed and lived and cried upon my paper. The words were more than words, they represented my triumph, my intellect. They represented my fight against those that believe that I can be no better than they were.
The clock was no longer menacing, the clock pushed my pen across the paper faster than ever before. Their weapon had become my tool.
As I began to bring my paper to a close, I admired the beautiful paradox I had created. A beautiful image that some may never see the deeper meaning of. However, they will surely see the look on the people’s faces as they read this very paper: a look of defeat that was most assuredly meant for me.