Laugh, learn and create. My life revolves around enjoying every second.
Good amount of humor or too much?
Much too complicated sentences or no?
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Written By: Ksenia
July 14, 2015
I want to say that I don't quite remember the details, but I do. I remember running, sweat gliding down my back and under my jet-black uniform.
I remember tripping, my foot buckling under the pressure of my accelerating body.
I remember clear and defined thoughts orderly marching through my brain as time slowed, and yet I also remember them dashing ahead on a jet ski before plummeting into the water.
Karate was my way of redirecting spare energy and - let's be honest - feeling like a certified badass. This particular instance, however, was just a warmup. Touching the ground, fingers brushing the wooden boards, I lunged up to run to an opposite wall, but something went wrong. I lost my balance. I wobbled. Thinking about it now, I experience a peculiar mixture of bitterness and regret. It was such a small moment that could have been avoided - yet now it's a starring character in my narrative. What followed was a bloody towel and a trip to the hospital. But what I remember most is the look on other people's faces.
Now, when people ask, I always give them the short version: I was warming up, I lost my balance and crashed into a stage. I don't bother going into any further detail but simply point to the jagged scar above my lip. I know details will make them wince - cringe, even - and I don’t like people intently staring at my mouth. I don't like people staring, period. Embarrassment may be one reason for my grave dislike of this event. But slide the handle of the steel door and descend the dim steps of the vault and waiting for you will be a creature called fear. Pure childish fear.
That night, I remember people that looked at me, asking to see how bad, discussing what to do. I remember their eyes. They scared me. Mimicking the light-hearted person I usually am, I resorted to humor. If they see me laugh and joke around they will know that I’m alright; they won’t look at me like that anymore. My instructor gave me his phone while we were waiting in the emergency room and told me to be careful not to beat his high scores in Angry Birds. Five minutes later I was boasting a high score, eliciting a laugh out of him. He must have thought that he was amusing me, a kid, keeping me distracted. I, on the other hand, was focused on ejecting a continuous stream of jokes to assure him that he had nothing to worry about. That is not to say that I actually felt calm; panic was beginning to boil somewhere between my heart and my bladder. Those eyes, the eyes of adults pacing around the room, were full of uncertainty and doubt. And, I think I would not be bending the bar if I said that I also saw fear. Now, this may sound unlikely and very much like an author's attempt at adding dramatic effect. I assure you it's not. Fear can very easily be sensed, for it is such a fundamental feeling that we all know when those around us experience it. You shouldn't be so surprised when your dog does it.
In my little tween mind, alarms were going off. Adults are always supposed to have a solution, aren't they? They are not meant to look as helpless as me. Yet, they were lost. An accident happened and all they could do was discuss which hospital was the closest. Don't get me wrong here: I am not blaming them. I needed medical attention of the kind nobody in the room could provide. It was just such a hit to my expectations. Here I was, trying to push away any trace of fear from my own face, only to see it dangle from theirs. The way I see it, I was trying to appear calm so they could concentrate on doing their Adult Things instead of worrying about me crying all over the floor. I wasn't expecting their Adult Things to consist entirely of trying to appear calm and preventing me from crying all over the floor.
Now, I hear that the purpose of personal writing is to reflect on past experiences and draw out conclusions which can be used in the future. So years later I come back to this event chiefly because of its impact. I know that it's traumatic and I know that to prevent it from happening again something must change. All that’s left is to figure out what. What was it that I should have done? I realize now, with the wisdom of teenagehood, that the mistake was my over-reliance on The Adults. Reliance not just for material needs but also for specific instructions. Of course, as a kid, there was nothing wrong with it; that’s what parents are there for. They guide you along the way. But as far as evolving into an adult, I had to learn to transfer some of that reliance away from others and onto myself. After all, Teenagedom is the realm of experimentation, allowing you to test-drive Adulthood like a new car. You find out what is required of you and adjust. Rather that relying on ice cream as the main staple you transition to burritos. Rather than rely on adults to stay calm you decide yourself how calm you should be. See what I mean? Sooner or later we will all ascend from the category of kids to that of adults, at which point the doors will open and release us from our gentle nursery out into the world (trust me, high school is not The World). Let’s take this time to feel around the boundaries, cross them when we’re ready, find confidence in our choices and get used to freaking out because we don’t know what to do, not because those around us don’t know what to do.