by EC3, 7th
I am not an only child. I have two brothers, both tall but that’s where the similarity ends. My one sister, whom I love maybe a little bit more than the others, also happens to be the oldest. Their ages are 17, 25, and 27, and I’m the youngest. While I have no problem with my other siblings, Christina is the best one. My siblings are forever filling me with knowledge and information, but only one of them stands out. My sister, she is my closest sibling and I admire her. She is the one person I want to be like. We share one thing, our facility with knowledge. From classmates, I’ve been told that I would never make it to college. I’m pretty sure she went through the same thing. So when she walked the stage and received her Master’s degree something inside me sparked.
It was crowded with people coming to see their loved ones walk the stage. We sat close to the front craning our necks every minute looking for her. People started walking in, but none of them were her. Then I saw her my sister, she was fully dressed in her black cap and gown with the gold tassel at the top, she got honors and I was so proud we had given her lots of lays with candy and money. “Christina Francis” called the man at the end of the stage she looked great walking the stage proud, confident, calm. She walked across the stage, received her master’s degree, and sat down. I was about to cheer and then the scene changed. Suddenly It was me walking in, wearing the gold tassel with the lays on my neck, I walked across the stage and received my degree. I sat in the same spot she did looking just as proud or maybe even more. Maybe it was out of shock but I couldn’t help feeling proud to see myself on stage. I know that that day was about her but I couldn't help but feel it was about me too.
I felt tingly inside. Like someone got a bucket of butterflies and poured it in my stomach. Was I in a new world I thought, did I finally get the power of teleportation? Why did it have to be a graduation? Then I see what I think is a bright light, wait am I in heaven? No, it was just my brother’s hand waving me back into existence. Apparently, I was daydreaming. “ Wait did I miss the graduation.” I ask worriedly. “No, you just missed the most boring 10 minutes of my life,” he replies back. Now everything looks so bright. I close my eyes and open them to trying to adjust to the lighting again. “Why do graduations take so long” I wonder out loud. “ Because they do,” my brother almost immediately replies. We sat there for what felt like 5 years (or maybe it was just me exaggerating). I love going to graduations but they are just so long. My back was even starting to hurt. Then finally the closing speech.
When the graduation was over we all took our pictures and made our moments. “Where do you want to go eat?” my mother asked Christina. “It doesn’t matter” she replied. “I’m just hungry”. “Ok then how’s Texas Roadhouse”. My mother asked her “Actually not there, it’s too dirty.” “Well, then what about the Sizzler”. “That's good”. When we got to the Sizzler me and my brother found a table while my mother ordered with the rest of the family. We ate until we were full and then I asked: “Christina what does graduation mean to you?” She replied “The end of childhood and the beginning of life”. Graduation is a meaningful word. Graduation - a ceremony at which degrees are conferred. That's the definition of the word Graduation. But this word means more than a ceremony for me. It means changes in life, to reach a higher stage of life, the time to become a new person, a time to grow up, and a time to follow dreams and separate responsibilities from fun. When I graduate I hope for this definition to still be involved. Being grown up doesn’t seem as fun as the idea of growing up.
As a young adult, all I can think of is growing up and getting to do grownup things. I’ve spent my whole childhood thinking of what I could do when I finally grew up. I’ve painted this pretty little picture in my head of what it’ll be like when I eventually do grow up. When it finally comes time for the picture to be taken off the wall and put into action, I don’t think it would be nearly as fun as creating the painting. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up seems optional. Even though you're growing up, you should never stop having fun. Because eventually you will be old and you will look back and say “I wish I was a child again” to go back and do all the things that you didn’t, to start your life over again.
Since I’m a young adult there are endless opportunities of where your life could take you. Although watching adults it seems they have one opportunity and they have one choice to take it or be a failure in life. As a young adult I can be fearless, not caring what other people think. I don’t have any responsibilities; I get to watch all the good TV shows; I can fail or mess up but it’ll be fine because we can try again. When you graduate from anything, college, a master’s program, medical school, or even law school your life then begins. You start fending for yourself in the real world. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Although if you get the most out of life as a child that won’t be the case for you as an adult, unless of course, it is. All I’m saying is when you're a kid be a kid because when you're an adult you won’t be able too.
by Dani, 11th
“The sun had gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky.” My legs picked up, with my eyes glued to the remains. My heart continued to yearn for his warmness and ability to elute my worries. Flashes of smiles enter my mind and memories of somber days are left in the trail behind. Still stuck on the traces, I only catch small glimpses of what surrounds me. A large body of water that calmly paces its waves back and forth, but then gets frustrated by the peace. I can lightly feel the effects on my ankle. It’s cold, but I don’t respond in shock, I keep my eyes on him. The trees wave so soundly, their gentle presence almost distracts me. I hear the branches of leaves speaking in bundled whispers, their arguments flow into my ears. They cry out the betrayal and his no return. As if almost persuaded, I am stopped by the clasp of the sand beneath me. The grains bury into my skin, unable to break through, but break out a grimace from within me. Hopelessness covers me like a blanket, my sorrow and loss make up two new layers. My neck faces the tidal waves, while my hair moves steadily with the current of wind. My body unresponsive and muscles sighing fatigue, I wonder whether the luminous moon can replace the emotions he gives me. It contrasts against the dark sky, but blends with the burning stars, giving me a sense of tranquility. He speaks to me with ease and understanding. It was almost easy to embrace him and settle with the new environment. I was almost consumed by his grace, until a medium of rays paint the sky subtly and my body revives. His remains reappear in the distance and my legs pick up once again. My pace increases and my eyes stay glued to the skies until I reach him beyond the horizon.
by Andie Stone, 12th
I got a Brain Disorder
My Dark Side trying to cross the Border
I need to get my life in order
I would put it in Check
But, Ships might wreck
All Hands on Deck
The Police still charge through a Door
Faster than a Cord to my Phone
The Government gets Rich
Citizens are Starting to become Poor
ICE still splitting Families apart
Because of Oscar Grant and Nia Wilson I’m scared of the BART
I might look slow but my brain works quick
Just send me home
7th Street is where I was Born
24th street is my life but not where I’m from
I’m Mental and Smart but not Dumb
My Life was a Symphony I Realize I’m half Phantom of the Opera
My Dark side is Airborne while my brain gets torn
I’m an Anthem with Trauma
by Nalli, 9th
What is your favorite color? Yellow. Why? I’m not sure. [Yellow was the color in my grandmother’s apron that she wore almost every day. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still feel her hand holding onto mine.] You are afraid of heights, right? No, I’m not a child. [Yes, when we went into the most beautiful glass elevator I couldn’t breathe the entire time I was on it. I don’t know why high places represent the fall but they do and I don’t know how to change that.] You talk about your mom a lot so you must live with her, what about your father? There isn’t much to tell. [Almost entirely true. I think I might hate him more than I love him and that makes me feel guilty. He’s the reason behind much of my trauma but he is still my father. I wish that didn’t matter.] You enjoy being degraded. Whether it’s by your own hand or another’s, correct? I don’t know how to answer that. [If I gave them permission to hurt me then I’m not allowed to feel pity for myself.] When was the first time you fell in love? I have never fallen in love. [I wish I wasn’t lying.] You’ve cut your hair more times than you can count this year, why? I felt like it, I guess. Change is good. [When I don't like who i’m becoming I chop off my hair because it's the only thing on my body that I can get rid of without raising questions.] Why do you eat so little? I have a very small appetite. [My appetite is bigger than my entire being. I feel like I don't deserve to eat and I don’t want anybody looking at me and thinking the same thing.] What do you consider home? The house I currently live in? I don’t understand this question. [I don’t know if a human is supposed to feel like home but he does and I can't avoid that.] Why are you so quiet? I’m shy. I’ve been like this my entire life. [When his claws dug into me he taught me how to be invisible. I’m 17 and I still can’t speak up for myself and it hurts to say no. I don’t want to be noticed if it comes with a price. I want to be background noise. The color beige. I don’t ever want to be a rainbow.] Who do you love the most in this world? Myself. [ Trying to work on it.] How many people do you see here? Five. [five] two. [two] zero. [zero]
Why do you want to die? [I don't]
I feel so alone it swallows me whole sometimes. [ I want to live. I swear, I do.]
Oakland Youth 6th-12th