The Neighborhood

I step out of the house to go on the dreaded walk to school. The walk which every neighborhood kid despises. The walk where you feel the piercing glare of eyes of hawks from people in the lovely, rich neighborhood. They act like policemen and observe every move we make as if we’re criminals. Look at her clothes, one woman says. Those kids are nothing but trouble, the other woman says. A mother walking by whispers to her child, who’s the same age as me, Stay close to me. Those people are dangerous. We just walk with our heads down, making sure to not look anyone in the eye. That’s all we can do to defend ourselves.



Winter has fluffy, ethereal clouds from a Renaissance painting that turn the blue sky pure white. 

Winter has crisp air that brings the musky scent of rain. 

Winter has puffs of air from people’s breaths. 

Winter has warmth from puffer jackets and good company. 

But winter only lasts for three months. 

Then comes spring. 

Spring is fresh, vibrant colors. 

Spring is a spark of warmth after winter. 

Spring is the awakening of wildlife (when all the animals emerge from their winter hibernation). 

Spring is picnics on the grass under shade from green, lush trees. 

But spring only lasts for three months. 

Summer comes next. 

Summer brings heat and opportunities for water activities. 

Summer brings a much-needed long break for students. 

Summer brings lots of traveling, sunny skies, and sunscreen. 

But summer only lasts for three months.

After that is fall. 

During fall, there are warm, brown colors in trees, clothes, and candles. 

During fall, there are pumpkin patches to visit with friends and/or family. 

During fall, there is hot coffee instead of iced coffee. 

But fall only lasts three months.

I wish beauty could last forever,

But it wouldn’t be beautiful if it did.



One of the worst feelings is giving your best effort into studying for an exam and you end up getting an unsatisfactory grade. Sacrificing sleep, time, and meals to study and getting anything less than an A doesn’t just affect your overall class grade. That disappointment grips you with its long, deep, piercing nails and it feels like it will never let you go. It weighs you down and makes you develop a fear of failure. You lose motivation to study hard for another test because if you got a bad grade on the previous one, what’s the point of studying for the next? You’re just going to fail anyway so might as well save yourself from even more disappointment. But then you feel more disappointed in yourself and wonder why you’re getting lazy with studying. You should study even harder to save your dying grade so why aren’t you? You then get angry at yourself because you feel like a failure and beat yourself up even more. You deserve to be in pain. You couldn’t do well on this test so you’re worthless. If you don’t have straight A’s then you’re a failure. Then the date for the next exam is announced. The weight of the exam crushes you until you feel the need to study hard and the heartless cycle repeats itself again and again and again. 


The Stage

The sweat accumulates, dampening my costume, and drips down my face. My soggy, sweaty feet burn from being in pointe shoes for so long and my toenails feel tender. My muscles are tighter than the lid on a 

pickle jar and it hurts to point my toes. I don’t need to think about what I’m doing because my muscles remember the choreography from countless rehearsals but I still review it. My heart rate increases as the music gets closer and closer to when I go out until it feels like it’s pounding out of my chest. The butterflies in my stomach dance around not from nervousness, but incredible excitement. I stand on my left leg in a back tendu and count down.

5, 6, 7, 8…

It’s time. 

I run out, making sure my feet are turned out and I just feel. Feel the stage, the other dancers, the audience, and the music. I “think” about all the corrections without fully thinking about them. It’s like an instinct to think about them but I don’t have to process them; my body just does it. The pain stays behind backstage while I perform, waiting to flood my body when I finish and come back, but I don’t care. Nothing matters except for the performance I give on stage. Time passes so quickly because I don’t want it to end but so slowly because I savor the moment. No matter how many times I perform, this euphoric feeling doesn’t get any less thrilling. 


Everything I think about is a contradiction: I want straight A’s but I lack the motivation to study as hard as I can: I’ll like a subject but when I get a bad grade, it becomes my least favorite one: I want higher extensions but I don’t do exercises to improve them: I want to drink more water but I don’t: I don’t like feeling sad but I listen to my sad playlist every day: I say I’m cold but I don’t dress warmer: I want to draw more and improve but I never draw anymore: I want a stronger core but I don’t work out: I always say I don’t have time to draw, read, or exercise outside of ballet classes and yet I watch T.V. shows and scroll through my phone during study breaks or on the rare occasion when I finish homework early: There’s a lot of things I don’t like about myself but I never change them, including all these contradictions. 


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