Up Until That Instant... | TeenInk

Up Until That Instant...

November 23, 2015
By Gabyhayes PLATINUM, Marysville, California
Gabyhayes PLATINUM, Marysville, California
22 articles 4 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you want, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr.Suess

A sharp gulp ceased to moisten my throat. Words seemed to blend together, appearing to me as foreign hieroglyphs. I stood alone, with this puzzling object: a book, trembling in my sweaty palms. A colony of hyenas remained in front of me, staring with their bulging eyes, mocking me with their grim smiles and giggles. I was not the best reader in my class; I would stutter at each line my eyes came across, stumbling and  mumbling repeatedly. Yet, I didn’t give up, silly me. If I had, this torment wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long.

These “books” were always an intimidating conundrum to me. My father enjoyed a good audiobook, but, for the most part, I grew up in a bookless household. As a child however, listening to a monotoned voice humming meaningless words wasn’t an acceptable introduction to literature. I quickly learned that I was the odd one out in school: no classmate wished to befriend me, or even talk to me. School had become a place I viewed as a twisted alternate-reality with no escape. I relived the same torture day after day with nothing new or exciting to look forward to. Hopelessness washed over me. I would think: ‘what is the point of trying to even get out of bed in the morning, or even, living?’ Only eight-years-old, and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

My parents took notice of my developing (or rather decreasing) behavior, and determined I needed some extra-curricular activity to pursue: theater. They decided it was a fantastic idea to place an introvert into a crowd of extroverts. “Acting will be fun, and a new change for you!” My mother had exclaimed. I didn’t understand what impact acting could make upon helping me comprehend these strange patterns in books. Reluctantly, I went to audition for a children’s show. I happened to land a minute part with one or two lines, but as they say in the theater world, ‘There are never small parts, only small actors!’ A wrinkled, thick stack of papers was thrust into my hands. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel panic when glancing through my used script. The pages seemed to come alive with colorful energy and playful vitality.

As odd as it may seem coming from a shy young girl, I discovered an interest for reading plays, specifically Shakespeare’s work. From King Lear to Twelfth Night (I didn’t particularly enjoy the sappy love story of Romeo and Juliet) I scanned each word and stored it in my mind like boxes in an attic. It felt as if I weren’t even reading, for the literature  didn’t seem as frightening or forced as it did in classes. I realized that these characters symbolized a part of me I wanted to be; whether it was brave, amusing, intelligent or charming.

Fast forward to eighth-grade. I hardly recall school during that blurry year, yet I do remember taking a creative writing class. A flock of irregular children pouring their imaginations out on paper. This was a new turn for me. Up to this point, I’d just read a script, act it out on stage, and enjoy the audience’s positive reaction. Whereas in that class, I’d write short stories that took place in the 1960’s or the 2070’s. I’d proceed to read them in front of these wide-eyed owls as they’d hoot and holler at me. I do not believe they were really listening to my stories, they just liked to be obnoxious.

Despite my efforts to excel in reading and writing, nothing seemed to work. I was barely passing Creative Writing, let alone English. But being who I am, I pushed myself to the limit. Ninth and tenth grade I took Honors English and eleventh and twelfth grade I pursued Advanced Placement courses. I wasn’t the best, but I wasn’t the worst. Perhaps it was result of me continuously taking theater courses, acting at a local theater, and performing for pure sport. It kept me sane, content, and focused. That was all I excelled in, but I wanted more, I wanted to be the one that was looked up to instead of being laughed at.

While I continued slaving away with creative writing and AP, I took a job teaching children's acting classes. Handing them a script was like passing on a baton. They’d look up at me, staring blankly like a deer in headlights, asking me “Why is this in parenthesis?” or “How come these letters are slanted and not normal?” I found I could give them pretty darn good answers; maybe I wasn’t so atrocious at English. That’s was it! Mixing English and theater together: that was my talent. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the moment and how it could shape my literary experience, nevertheless it was me, my essence, who I was and who I will be.

My mind began to connect situations and events to metaphors and similes.With this, my writing improved with one swift stroke of the pen, and suddenly I had discovered my personal style, my niche. I just had to be myself, and write exactly how pictorial and definitive my thoughts tended to be. Reading and writing concerns had become a thing of the past, and I was ready for a new obstacle. Thus, my senior year I worked tirelessly on a piece of art I’ve never created before: a script.

After months of tedious work, I turned in my bundle of words for a theater competition. Furthermore, to my surprise, it was accepted! In addition, after years of battling depression, the script had turned out to be a comedy. I had carefully foiled each of the characters so that no one was like the other, making it ultimately hilarious.  I gathered a company of actors, and directed the show myself; we took it to the stage. Of course there were obstructions: actors getting sick, dropping out, not being able to make rehearsals, props were lost, lights didn’t work, or the audio tracks broke down. Despite these hindrances, it all lead up to this moment…

I stand, in a humid spot light, looking out to the hundreds of tiny faces before me, this time not alone. Their eyes glimmer and seem happy and excited like a pup’s. Oh, my dear companions. “Thank you,” I stated clearly into the metallic microphone, “I couldn’t have done any of this without you.” Typical speech, but sincere. I just won an award for best original script, and my actors, sprinkled throughout the audience, barked with enthusiasm for my award. I had done it. I had pushed the limit, through demanding and strenuous times. A notable smile crosses my face; all’s well that ends well.

The author's comments:

This was my literacy autobiography for my college freshman year. Everything in this essay is true I am proud to say. I hope you enjoy reading this jouney as I have through living it!

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