“It hurts!” She gasped and sobbed as she stumbled along behind me. “It hurts!”
“It’s OK, I know. We’re almost back. We’ll be OK, you’ll see. You can do it.” I kept up what I hoped was a soothing monologue, all the while ignoring each new scratch and cut tearing at my legs. I was hurting, too, but I knew her pain was worse, so I kept calm for her.
It’s the first time I remember having to be strong for someone else. I was in middle school at the time, spending a week of my summer at an overnight camp. I’d befriended two girls named Ashley and Hannah who had come to the camp together. The three of us became good friends over the week – though apparently, we didn’t try to keep in touch at all after camp was over.
One day, the counselors took us all out to an island in the middle of a lake. I’m sure memory is skewing the size of the island in my head, but it seemed quite large to my pre-teen eyes. The counselors had organized a game of capture-the-flag over the whole island, and soon we had all fanned out, roaming the land and trying to get past that invisible center line. Of course, my two friends and I stuck together as we explored. We weren’t the most aggressive capture-the-flag players, but we participated with the best of them. However, that day, we soon forgot all about teams and flags and trying to be sneaky.
Keep reading to find out what happened!
Alright, I’ll take the bait. I wasn’t going to write about Miley’s and Robin’s infamous VMA performance, because quite frankly, I didn’t want to give it an ounce more recognition than it deserves. I realize I live in a world where I can’t walk through a grocery checkout line without learning something new about one of the Kardashians or the latest member of The Bachelor cast. What I haven’t figured out is why I should care about that stuff. But this particular event has crossed the bounds of gossip magazines into even my pop-culturally-ignorant consciousness. And so, since this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge is about this topic, and since I’ve built my platform on the potential for greatness in young people, here I am, adding my two cents to a topic that I’d rather let slip quietly into oblivion.
Miley Cyrus left a mark on the world with her performance that day. She made people notice her and talk about her. It may not be positive attention, but no one can deny that the eyes of the world are fixed on her for the moment. In America’s outrage, they’ve plastered Miley’s twerking body all over the news and in front of my eyes. I didn’t watch the VMAs, and yet I’m still inundated with her tongue-wagging image. But to those outraged at her performance, I have a request.
Keep reading, and I promise to only say Miley one more time!
I’ve always liked the blog posts in which authors write letters to their past selves. I like the glimpses of life experience, the nostalgia, and the lessons learned. And I really enjoy Brad Paisley’s musical version of the same idea. In fact, that song has inspired more than one writing prompt given to my students, and every time it comes on the radio it makes me think about my high school experience. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll give you a minute to listen to the song so the rest of my post will make sense (and also because Brad Paisley is just plain awesome). Enjoy.
Holy 24 hours, Batman! Since my post yesterday, I’ve received three different phone calls and multiple e-mails and facebook responses, in addition to the comments posted here. I ask you all to bear with me, as this whole “blogging about a potentially controversial issue” thing is new to me, and definitely a learning process! The responses to my last post have run a wide range from full support to complete disagreement, and everything in between. It’s interesting see all the different perspectives that different people bring to this topic from their own life experiences. I sincerely appreciate all the interest people have taken in what I have to say.
I think I should have been more careful about what I’m not saying, though. I’m not saying that to be considered an adult, all the pieces of your life must fall completely into place by age (fill in the blank). I took longer than four years to graduate college. I’ve worked seven jobs in three states in the last four years, and my husband and I are far from being settled. We both are experiencing career shifts that require spending time in grad school, and he’s much further along in that process than I am! I have dear friends that are single and still live with their parents for very valid reasons, and I know that they are responsible adults. Adulthood has become less of a list of outside requirements and has more to do the individual’s maturity and sense of responsibility. Continue reading