When I am old and gray, with soft wrinkly skin, what kinds of stories will I have to tell? I will tell stories of Africa, and how I saw elephant’s bathing, and how I felt the warm sun on my skin. Maybe I will even tell of how I got to run smiling along the Great Wall of China. I will tell of how I sipped coffee, while gazing at the Eiffel tower outside my window. I will tell stories about the world I got to see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. Stories of my adventures, stories of my lessons learned, and stories about the people I have met; stories about my life.
I have learned much from White Swan, the good that things will help me through life. When times are down and I’m feeling low, I will remember the smiles of my friends and family back home our memories and all of our good times spent together. However, the bad will push me to life making me want to go for more than what’s expected of a girl from White Swan. I know the feeling of the sharp eyes on my back and the whispers of those trying to keep me down. All the disappointments and grief it’s more than enough to make me want more to want to be better not just for me but for those who I love or will come to love. My everyday life here in White Swan is something that I love and hate. I love it because it’s were I’m from my roots are here and will always be here. I hate it because it seems so many are consumed by this place, by drinking and barely being able to get by and worst of all thinking that it’s okay because were on the rez. I know that I don’t want to be consumed by the rez and it’s stereotype of fat drunken Indians living off percapitas, I don’t think it’s okay just because were on the rez. I know that water lilies grow in the mud, and so shall I grow being as much as I can be. Is it possible to grow as a person to bloom if you are in the same place doing the same thing? Probably not, I know that in order for me to grow I would need to go out and discover this world outside of my ordinary. I strongly believe in the wealth of experience being rich with texture and color of life’s lessons.
What will you have to say to your kids before your time comes to a close, what lessons will you have to offer them? When I am old with so many years behind me, being content with having lived a full life will be so important. I would hate to wonder what if, what if I had let my long black hair down and lived!
I come from the Yakama reservation and I am a young Yakama woman. I have seen and felt more than enough to convince me things can be better than what they have been. My fire has been fueled, fueled by the problems, fueled by the sadness, fueled by the tears. I know I want more for my family for my people, to set an example to set a mold would be such an accomplishment. Independent is a word that will apply to me. This big world, all those places to experience, all those people to meet. Clear blue water, soft wind so warm when it blows past you have to close your eyes and say ahh! Having to catch your kid while their running away from you when right when your in the middle of changing their diaper. Happiness, fulfillment, and accomplishment is something I want to touch, something I want to figure out how to get too. Someday my face will age and my body will get tired, what will I have to say? What in my life will I teach.
“Money makes the world go around” is what I hear. Who has money? Smart educated people have money, knowledge is power in this world and I realize that. So I figure if I get good grades, go to a good college, and get a good job I will have the money to experience this great world full of African elephant’s, belly dancer’s, green tea, and crème brule. I will have the fruits of my labor to offer my family; I will be capable of contributing to a husband and kids. There is so much out there that I need to see, so much that will fill me with excitement making me wish my eyes were bigger so I could soak everything in. I have to breath in and feel everything I am so determined to I not only want to I need to. When I am old and have so many grandkids to give me lot’s of gray hair and a lot more wrinkles, know that I have good experiences to share. We all get one life to live so it should be lived to the fullest.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.