Every word I say is heard and taken at face value. Every sentence overlooked be-cause of the path it has taken to reach the listening ears. Differences show in my actions, and though I speak in a voice unheard, and never receive a second glance I travel ever more looking for a way to be heard, to be seen. I travel ever more searching for an equilibrium that I hope will stand steady as a base to build my camp upon.
I wonder what a person sees when I’m looked at. I wish to know what causes the courage behind a smile to fail upon seeing my face. Am I seen as a creature inhuman, unjust or relentlessly unbearable to see? What causes the pity that causes the eyes to turn away? Can it be that the expectations that were raised weren’t reached, or have I yet to reach goals that aren’t my own? Do the eyes see the child that has yet to become worth mentioning, or do they see an adult unproven, confused and indecisive? Am I to be criticized for a past that developed through taking the path set before me, or will the map be tossed away and the road that lay ahead be the deciding factor?
Children grow every day, learning what it takes to succeed in life just through experiencing a taste of what is to come. Every accomplishment brings a child closer to an unseen goal, just out of sight or over the next rise. I build the bridges that will get me across the river. I choose between the diverging roads. I come to the climax prepared for what lay below. I stand ready to fight for my beliefs, whether wrong or right, and yet the differentiation between adolescence and adulthood stands as a wall before me.
Will the goal over the next rise differentiate between my youth and my maturity? In losing childish ideals and conforming to sociologic norms, is adulthood achieved? Do I give up childish things only to find them lost forever? Is it a segregation incurred by a lack of experience, or a wall built by a suppressor?
Identity is gained through personal experience. Lessons are taught concurrently. Is a child a vessel into which knowledge is poured or is it a flower meant to flourish with proper care? Does a fish need swimming lessons or does a person require a lesson to breathe? In living, can I honestly say I was taught everything without hesitation, or did I experience a touch of something deeper and thrive upon its offering? I am more than I seem, a preview of the future, but it is the path of self discovery that I take that will give me what I need. It is the first view of the road ahead with unshielded eyes that will allow me to begin. It is the first step on the longer journey that will teach me what I care to learn.
I stand prepared, ready for the precipice that draws near. Will the lessons be enough, or will the road prove itself the greater? I look down and tighten my bag, because I have seen just the first peak, and the first glimpse into what is to come. I have the lessons in my head, and the experiences of the first mountain are behind me, and with such tools I will begin the search for who I am and what I will become.
J.M. Revis is a senior at Skyview High School.
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