Forever Growing

Olivia - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear
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Green seaweed. It is the tangy tasting salad I courageously order at Japanese restaurants. It is the fire pouring out of the mouth of the sea serpent molded out of sand. It is what makes my eyes burn salty tears when it brushes up against my leg while I am swimming in the ocean. It is what makes me beg my mother to come get me out of the water because my body is paralyzed with fear. But, my mind is moving- moving very fast. I am thinking of the pain I will be in when this man-eating monster takes a big bloody bite out of my leg.

It is just green seaweed. Most of the time I am wrong about the monster. I have thought incorrectly before, and I will think wrong again. But, this isn’t about misconceptions; this isn’t even about seaweed. This is, however, about growing past my fears and embracing them. I believe that I will grow, that my inner strength will grow and that I will rise above what could easily be ignored.

I have many fears, and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t. Only recently have I come to the realization that I need to push forward. I know that just a year ago I would never even open my Pandora’s Box, but I have grown and I have the strength to take on what I never would have before. I cringe at the thought of blood. I require eight nurses to hold me down when I a need a drawing; but, this summer I plan to become a doula, a birthing assistant. This is a big step in my life. But it is a step that I am ready to take.

I can see the changes in myself and in my strength. I am proud of the ways in which I have grown and developed. However, in many ways I have reversed back to myself as a toddler with no inhibitions running around refusing to wear shoes. But that was pure curiosity; my inner strength was just beginning to bloom. Without the past’s experiences and memories it is impossible to grow.

I remember walking through the gardens around a friend’s home. The flowers were all blossoming and everything was so green. As I walked across the driveway I saw elephant ear size leaves growing out of the ground. They were called butterbur plants. The roots had grown underneath the pavement and the baby leaves were strong enough to crack through the hot concrete. I have walked through the gardens in the past, and I remember seeing the butterbur when it was just chipmunk ear sized; it wasn’t facing the driveway. I am a butterbur leaf. I will stretch and grow in ways I cannot imagine now.

I am now ready to transform from the stiff piece of driftwood floating above the waves and into a young woman playing in the seaweed.