Creative Exercise #3

The Irukandji jellyfish, mostly found off the coast of Australia, are the most poisonous box jellyfish, and at one cubic centimeter, also the smallest. Another distinguishing feature is its sting, which produces what scientists call a “feeling of impending doom,' partially caused by venom triggering hormones connected to anxiety. Write a short piece  about a time in your past in which you felt intensely anxious about a situation, and were unfailingly convinced of a negative outcome. What were the circumstances and external factors that led you to this perspective? Did you overcome your fears and emerge from the other side with a new outlook?  Be sure to also comment on a classmate's post for full credit.

30 thoughts on “Creative Exercise #3

  1. Aubri Stogsdill

    ‘Hearing Aids’

    It was my seventh birthday and Papa Lex had died; not exactly my idea of a great birthday present. Mom decided that we would need to start driving to Oklahoma that afternoon so she could help with the funeral preparations. With tear-filled eyes, my brother and I packed up our bags. As we drove, mom cried a lot, which was understandable. Her father, whom she’d never had a great relationship with had finally passed after the cancer had raged through his body for months. I cried too, and so did my brother. Death is hard to understand when you’re seven.

    About an hour and a half into the drive, it began to rain. At first, it was nothing short of a slight drizzle, which was manageable enough and actually made me feel a bit sleepy. As I listened to natures soft and soothing lullaby I drifted off to sleep.


    Suddenly, I was jolted from my slumber by the sound of angry thunder. The light in the car had gone from a warm and bright yellow to a hazy dark blue. I looked ahead of me to the front seat where my mom’s chest was nearly touching the steering wheel. Her eyes were squinting and straining in a desperate attempt to see out the windshield. The rain was beating down heavily and the windows looked like they did during the soap cycle in an automatic carwash. We couldn’t see a single thing out of them. The windshield wipers screeched back and forth wiping over and over, but always failing to get ahead of the torrential downpour.

    A moment or two later, it became clear to me just how bad this situation was. Mom started to loudly beg God to make the rain stop. Between words, she’d release a sigh that savored deeply of frustration and fear. I grabbed my brother’s hand as I listened to her prayers, and began to pray to God myself, begging him to help us out of this storm. While driving on was terrifying due to the lack of visibility, stopping on the side of the road was not an option. This was a particularly narrow road with very little shoulder space. On top of that, it was a common route for semi trucks to pass through. Had we stopped, we nearly doubled our chances of being plowed through by an unsuspecting semi.

    Mom tried numerous times to get ahold of my dad on his cell phone, but there was no cell service out there. To say that I was terrified would be an understatement. It is cruel the way that time slows down when you’re afraid. I watched the clock on the car and every minute that the rain threatened to crush us to the ground, felt like an eternity. A little voice inside me began to question if we would make it out of this storm alive. Perhaps we’d run into a cow that had wandered into the street and the sheer impact would kill us all. Or maybe a car would hit us, head on, and I’d lose my mom. The worse part of all was that we couldn’t even call someone. We could very well die on this godforsaken road, and my daddy wouldn’t even know what happened.

    We continued on at a slow pace. Fearful of not being able to see what was ahead of us, but too afraid to stop considering all that was coming from behind. The rain raged on for two hours, and I wondered if God could hear us. After all, the rain was painfully loud, maybe our prayers weren’t loud enough. Then, without the slightest warning, the rain stopped and we seemed to emerge from the stormy fog back into a beautiful evening. I heard a sigh of relief come from my mother. My little brother looked over at me with his big blue eyes and screeched, “Finally!” After my seventh birthday, I knew that unlike my Papa Lex had needed when he was alive, God didn’t need hearing aids. After all, if He could hear us through that storm, I was sure He could hear anything.

    1. Michelle Cordova

      Losing a loved one at any age is difficult, but I hate that you had to experience that so young. I lost my grammy when I was in middle school, and we drove from Alabama to Ohio to help as well, so I can relate to a long drive with many tears being shed. You did a great job explaining that storm and your emotions, wondering if God could hear you. I think it is such a common concern for many of us, especially in dark times, but I think that if we’re patient, he will let us know that He is there when the timing is right!

  2. Michelle Cordova

    It was a brisk Friday morning in Fort Riley, Kansas- April 3, 2009, to be exact. I was 9 months pregnant and swollen from head to toe. It was roughly 4:00 a.m., and my husband was sound asleep, comfortably laying in any position he wanted to, without care. Unable to sleep and anxious about the upcoming events pertaining to childbirth, I rolled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen, excited about, if nothing else, the hot cup of tea that my body recently began to crave.

    It seemed as if hours had passed that I sat there in silence, but in reality, it had only been 20 minutes, give or take, when the sound of my husband’s footsteps on the stairs snapped me out of my trance. “Are we having a baby today?” he asked, excited about the possibility of getting out of a battalion run that was scheduled for that mornings physical training (PT). “Not that I can tell” I whispered, swallowing my tea and my fears together in the same big gulp.

    I was terrified, though. Terrified about becoming a first-time parent, about complications, pain, and being at an Army base hundreds of miles away from my family. Up to this point, I had spent countless hours reading online articles on labor and delivery, trying to prepare myself as best I could, unintentionally turning one of the most exciting times of my life into one I wished would just go away. I would have even settled for staying pregnant forever, feeling little baby kicks daily along with morning, afternoon, and evening sickness, fatigue, and heartburn that would make anyone else want to have the child ripped from their stomach just to make it all go away. To me, however, those were all signs that my baby girl was healthy and well, and I wasn’t quite ready to potentially change the state of our current affairs.

    Naturally, with no baby on the way, my husband threw on his gray Army shirt, black pants, and tennis shoes, kissed me on the forehead, and reminded me to give him a call should anything change. After about 20 minutes, there was change. It was time! I quickly grabbed my phone, and made the call he had been waiting for. “I think you should come home,” I said, and before I knew it, he was rushing back into the same door he had just left from.

    At the hospital, I was checked in, poked on, and, finally, put into a room. A room in the same hospital that a dear friend visited just weeks before to give birth to a baby girl, only to return home empty handed as complications arose, resulting in a stillbirth. My heart was still broken from her story, and I was nowhere near ready to have a story of my own. However, it was out of my hands. No amount of anxiety, stress, or tears could pause time and make me feel ready. For 22 hours, I laid in that hospital bed as nurses came in and out, checking on me and baby. 22 hours of no sleep, no food, and no comfort, aside from a gentle kiss or caress from my sweet husband, who could finally feel a sliver of my concern as our daughter’s heart rate dropped.

    I prayed, a lot, and I pushed even more. At 3:36 a.m. on April 4, my first child, Olivia, came into this world, and just like that, we were officially parents. It was terrifying and satisfying all in one, but we did it- two more times, actually! I was young, 21, and now had a new human that depended on me. And, as luck would have it, there are still stressful situations and times when my little blessings cause my anxiety to shoot through the roof, but I would not have it any other way.

    1. Aubri Stogsdill

      What a lovely story! Childbirth can be such a frightening thing! I’m so glad you and your baby were safe through it. Your story was interesting and engaging! Great job! (:

  3. Caitlyn Williams

    Caitlyn Williams
    Creative Exercise #3
    31, January 2018

    The Move

    It was mid-August of my soon to be Sophomore year, and I had decided that I was going to move in with my dad. My parents were split, and I had lived with my mom all my life. I didn’t meet my dad until I was about 12 years old. It was an interesting time in my life; me getting to know my dad. I didn’t know what to expect, and that made me anxious. He had sent me letters for my birthday, some gifts on Christmas, and care packages during holidays. (Valentine’s Day boxes were my favorite). Although I did not know the face of my father, I knew he was a very generous, kind, man. I longed to meet him while growing up, and when I did it was fulfilling. I had traveled 1,000 miles all alone to meet the other half of my family. It was a cold day in December when I walked through the terminal and met him. I had mixed feelings of anxiety, happiness, and emptiness when I met him. I didn’t expect him to drive a red two-door cavalier. I’ll have to say, It was pretty impressive. I learned gratefulness at an early age, and I was beyond grateful to meet the side of my family I hadn’t met before.

    Fast forward two years, I am 14 and a freshman in high school. Up until then I had been going to school in Akiak, a small village of 300 people. Everyone knew everyone, and everyone had a place in the village. I grew impatient with my teachers at this point. I had always been ahead of my classmates, and I grew tired of waiting and helping my classmates understand the material. It was summer, and I was headed to my dad’s. We had planned a family trip to Canada, and I was beyond excited! We got there and it was mid August. I had talked with both sides of my family, and we agreed that I was going to finish high school in Ketchikan, Alaska.

    I was excited, but I didn’t have any friends besides a few family friends that I didn’t connect with well. I was anxious; I was also contemplating moving back to Akiak. I decided I was going to grow, and start a new adventure no matter how hard it was going to be. On the first day of school, I was thinking at an unhealthy 200mph. I was afraid I wouldn’t meet anyone that wanted to be my friend. My anxiety held me back, but I broke free. I offered a clipboard to a girl named Martha. She seemed nice, and we connected easily. I had made a new friend. We got along easily and she introduced me to others. I had found my clan that I would stick by throughout high school. The anxiety died down, and the feeling of being accepted flourished.

    1. Katherine Whelchel

      Hey Caitlyn!
      What a great story! I have never moved before, so this seems like a crazy adventure! I am so glad that you were able to make friends and eventually come to enjoy Ketchikan.

  4. Katherine Whelchel

    I was sitting in a classroom in Chapman, staring at a black and white photo of Mars’ surface. The various craters and wind streaks were not registering in my brain. I was pretty sure I was having a mini panic attack instead. Did my teacher really expect us to be able to find enough material in these pictures to write a 13 paged paper? Now don’t get me wrong, I can usually write a paper of this size any time. However, we weren’t allowed to use any other research, only the scientific observations we made ourselves from these photos could be put in the paper. We had to choose a specific feature found on Mars’ surface and create a research question about it. Then, search through a huge stack of photos to conduct the research. After writing down our findings in a freaking 13 paged paper, we had to present them to the whole class. To top it all off, it was our final.

    This was technically my fault. I had chosen to take English 213. Rather than learning how to write fiction in 211, I had to figure out a whole new style of citing references and learn how to write scientific papers about Mars. While my classmates were circling features in the photos, I was just trying to get myself to breathe normally. I was only a senior in high school with three credits left to graduate, so this class was my main focus for that semester.

    To understand the anxiety I was feeling, you have to know that the very next day, I was leaving for New Zealand for two weeks. I had prepared and let my teacher know ahead of time that I was leaving. My plan was to get ahead on the final project, but she didn’t respond to any of my emails requesting the material ahead of time. So here I was, freaking out. When people started asking questions about the paper and the presentation, her main answer was,

    “Don’t worry, I’ll be teaching you guys everything you need to know in these next weeks of class.”

    My mind was screaming, ‘but I won’t be here!’ I was beginning to think that she didn’t mean it at all when she said she’d help me stay on track for my trip. I was absolutely blank; I had no idea what write my paper about. When my friends next to me started brainstorming, all I said was,

    “What the heck does she expect us to do?!”

    I have always been good at school. Usually, things don’t overwhelm me, and I can figure out what is wanted and perform to the best of my ability. You can imagine that this was an entirely new situation to me. Staring out the window at the cars pulling in and out of the Chapman parking lot, I allowed myself to zone out. I couldn’t look at Mars any longer; I would surely fail.

    When the class ended I silently packed up my books, then walked right up to my teacher with clenched fists of anxiety. I wasn’t going to be rude, but I was freaking out and she needed to know. As I approached her I was startled by her smile. Before I could speak she said,

    “Hey! So don’t worry about anything until after your trip. Just enjoy yourself, and then we can meet after and create a new schedule with new due dates for the paper and presentation. I have printed out all the handouts for the lectures you will miss so that you will know what to do ahead of time. I hope you have a great time in New Zealand!”

    She handed me a folder full of the handouts while continuing to smile. My absolute worst expectations were dashed, and the best scenario possible had been set in its place. By the time I walked out the door, I couldn’t breathe for an entirely different reason. How could I have expected anything less from her, when she had been such a great teacher in the past? I still had no idea what to write my paper on, but as I pushed out a gush of carbon dioxide, I didn’t really care. New Zealand was my next focus, Mars could wait.

    1. Monica Gallagher

      This is great! Those situations are the worst and also the greatest. I’ve had plenty of those where you’re getting insanely worked up about something, thinking and overthinking it. Then out of nowhere the bubble pops and you realize that there was nothing to worry about. To be completely honest, I do this quite a bit in my relationship, mars and venus. I love that writing can help as an outlet to sort of release the thoughts that you have had in the past about those certain situations. Makes me wonder if I could use writing actively in those moments of overthought to help me not get so built up with anxiety. We’ll see, may give it a shot!

    2. Ben Knapp

      Thanks Katherine!

      I really enjoyed your essay. I feel like you really captured that feeling of growing anxiety over a project, as well as the feeling of relief when your load is lightened. Your essay connected with me and it was a fun read.

    3. Cassidy Kramer

      Wow this is great. I also start to doubt people when I am counting on them in high stress situations, but thankfully they almost always seem to pull through for me. Thank you for sharing this story!

  5. Monica Gallagher

    We moved to the beach. I was determined to surf. Flying down the mountain on skis since the time I could walk and eventually switching to a board I was determined that I was going to be a rock star surfer. I forgot I was deathly afraid of sharks. This would be different, I would be on a board. It was not different. You can’t see through the water on the east coast, it’s blurred with sand. Not that I would want to see through the water anyways. The thought of what is underneath me in the vastness of the ocean is horrifying. I am masochistically obsessed with watching shows on sharks and those bizarre deep dark creatures that I am pretty sure are aliens. But, then again I’m also afraid of seaweed so I really have no excuse. Basically if anything touches my legs or feet while I am in the water I automatically assume that it’s a shark and I start replaying the movie soul surfer or the trailer for that recent movie with Blake Lively. The mind is not a fearless thing and it is a bitch about replaying things that you don’t necessarily want to think of in inopportune moments.
    So, I’m basically having a panic attack and I’m finally on the board and the ice cold waters of the Atlantic are rushing over my body and I’m thinking I am going to die. At that very moment I get pushed out onto the tiniest little wave that can barely even pick my fluffy arse up. I stand up for a few seconds and slowly digress down like an air mattress that has a slow leak. I’m freezing and I’m terrified. I want so badly to feel this deep ethereal connection with the ocean, but at the same time I’m fully aware that there are multiple things out there that can kill me. I try not to think about it and the more I try not to, the more I do. I’m pretty sure they call that anxiety. The fact that there are actual realistic shark attacks that happen and jelly fish stings and riptides and drownings and deep dark aliens, really do not help. I keep thinking I’m going to get over it ya know? Like one day, I will just wake up in Hawaii and be this amazing little fish swimmer that goes out and catches massive waves and I end up magically getting sponsored by Roxy.
    But it ain’t gonna happen honey.
    I still think that I’m better for it though. I’m honest enough to be able to tell it like it is and I will probably continue to try because like I said, masochist.

    1. Jessica Honebein

      Monica I would totally have to agree with you that the ocean is so huge and there are so many crazy amazing creatures out there! I am insanely afraid of anything that touches me when we go on vacation as well. I have gotten a little used to the fact that the ocean is going to have seaweed, but I still do not love it. I think it is awesome that you are battling your feels, and maybe one day you will get out there and surf!

    2. Aundrea Pierce


      I enjoyed your short story! I’m a beach baby, but I’m also afraid of those “aliens” in the ocean. I felt that the tone in your writing was honest and straightforward. I also think you’re talented for painting a good piece in a short amount of words (if that makes sense). For instance, I find myself rambling on and on about details and before I know it, I’m at 1,000 words! I like some of the word choices for imagery you used, “I stand up for a few seconds and slowly digress down like an air mattress that has a slow leak.” Very nice! I will definitely be taking more notes from your writings in the future assignments ahead.

    3. T Gordon

      You brought a lot of humor and realism to a truly fear-inducing activity! I like how this read like a racing mind, going back and forth between detailing your desires to partake in the sport like a professional, enjoying the connection to the natural world, and the innate fear humans have of the ocean. Your honesty makes for a fun read–keep it up!

  6. Jessica Honebein

    Jessica Honebein- Creative Exercise #3

    The engine roars as I start the truck and go grab the halters. It was an unusually hot day for Seward so the horses were lounging in the shade under the trees. I halter all the horses and begin to load them all in the trailer. The first horse to go in is Max, he is a Percheron cross weighing in at about 2,000 pounds. He is the lead horse of the pack, but he is also the oldest. After Max the other seven horses load in there normal order squishing in the trailer like sardines. Once all of them are loaded a coworker and myself hop in the truck. I am the driver since she refuses to drive the truck with over 10,000 pounds of cargo. This is a normal job for me since I am the one that hauls the horses to the trail head everyday. We pull up to the train tracks as the train passes by and onto the highway we go.

    The breeze swam through are hair as we drove down the highway. I rounded the corner and my heart fell to the pit of my stomach. There was a jeep sitting dead still in the middle of the road, and we were hurling right at it at about 55 mph. Compensating quickly I pressed the brakes as gently and quickly as I could. My body wanted to slam down on the brakes to stop us, but my brain stopped my reflexes telling me that the trailer might jackknife. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, I try to assess all the options possible. I can’t swerve into the other lane because the traffic that was coming and swerving into the ditch was not an option either unless we wanted to roll over. The only option we had left was to brace ourselves and accept the fact that we were going to hit the jeep.

    I managed to come to a controlled 10 mph before we smashed into the jeep. My body hurled forward on the initial hit and my coworker screamed at the top of her lungs. The horses were shuffling and swaying making the horse trailer follow in motion. I quickly jump out to check on them and notice that Max is down in the trailer. The biggest horse, and of course the one at the very front of the trailer. Traffic around us stopped quickly and I was shaking, I wanted this to all be a nightmare. I told my co-worker to get ahold of the boss as quickly as possible and tell her to get down to the scene. I was ready to break down in tears but I knew I had to get the horses out and access them as quickly as possible. Opening the trailer door the first four horses stubble out as I handed the lead lines to those that offered to help. The second four were in the first section separated by a gate, my heart was beating as I unhooked the gate. The first horse pushed his way out, regaining his balance and making the others shuffle for theirs. The next two are released and run out of the trailer in relief. Max is just dangling from his halter, I could see his heart beating and his nostrils flaring. Tears began to feel my eyes, I knew he was hurt, leaders try not to show their pain especially when they are hurt. They want to keep everyone calm and collected, but he just laid there with a despaired look in his eyes.

    Finally the owner arrived and my panicked voice called her over. I knew that it was going to be hard to get Max back up on his feet. I released the tension in his halter that was holding his head up and he just layed there. Max was down, panting from the heat and exhaustion. We began to encourage Max to get up, it took him a couple tries but then he was able to get back onto his hooves. A sigh of relief left my mouth and I began to assess him, moving every joint in his body and tracing his fur for wounds. He stepped out of the trailer will only a little nick on his back leg, and went straight for the grass. The fear of injuries was over when my boss embarrassed me as tears ran down my face. I asked how the person in the jeep was and she said not a scratch on her body. The lady in the jeep came running over and began to apologize saying that she was picking up a hitchhiker and did not see me coming.

    Honestly I was so flustered by the situation I said everything just to get her to leave me alone. I reported the accident to the troopers and answered all there questions. It was finally all over, everyone was fine only walking out with a few scratches here and there. The situation has played over and over again in my head since it has happened and everytime it opens a bottle of emotions for me. The anxiety I felt that day will never leave my head, but it will always help me be more cautious on the road rather I am hauling horses or driving alone.

    1. Corbin Knapp

      Wow! that was an amazing piece! I felt like I was there. That must have been hard to see Max in pain. After that experience I would have been nervous about driving too. Thanks for the great essay.

  7. Corbin Knapp

    One of the many instances that I felt a feeling of impending doom is when I first got my learner’s permit for driving in Alaska. I had been driving with my parents for several months, and I was starting to feel really confident about my driving skills. As a sixteen year old, I thought I knew how to drive without getting in an accident. Soon I would prove how wrong I was.

    The whole summer my parents had let my brother and I drive from place to place while they advised us from the passenger seat. I had been nervous when I first started driving around the neighborhood, but after a couple weeks of driving we started driving to town. Week after week my parents gradually increased the difficulty and distance of the drives until I had driven around most of Fairbanks. This is what led to my swollen ego when it came to driving

    At the end of the summer, my brother and I were moving some truckloads of wood from our woodpile to our workshop that is located farther up from our house. I had driven up to the workshop and back several times and I thought my driving skills were flawless. I thought I was almost as good as my parents at driving. My family has a fairly steep driveway that leads to our house, and there is a little outcrop of dirt that we use to turn around to back up into a parking space in front of our house. Surrounding the outcrop there is a ditch that leads to some birch trees. After bringing the last load of wood up to the workshop, I turned the truck around and started back down to the house. Before I got halfway down the driveway, my Mom signaled me to stop the truck so she could talk to me.

    “Be careful when your driving, I noticed that your being cocky, drive more slowly.” she said with a worried look on her face.

    “Okay Mom, I’ll be careful.” I said with a grin as I put the car back into drive and started back down. As I pulled up to the outlook, I realized I had driven too close to the edge. Panicking, I tried to put the truck into reverse to get out of my predicament, but as I put my foot on the gas I realized too late that I had the truck in drive. As if in slow motion, the truck lurched forward and off the outlook into the trees below. With a crunch the truck slammed into the birch trees. As I sat there in shock, I suddenly felt sick as I realized that I had just crashed an expensive vehicle into a tree and it would probably never run again. As I opened the door to survey the damage I had caused a feeling of dread filled me as I walked slowly around the side of the truck to look at what I thought would be a twisted ruin.

    Fortunately, I had just dented the front of the truck, but it still was wedged between the tree and the ditch. After being scolded by my Mom for several minutes, we started to try to pull the truck out of the ditch. What I learned from that experience is to not be cocky and always tell yourself that you have more to learn.

  8. Ben Knapp

    Impending doom is not a feeling I feel often. In fact, I try to never feel it, except for occasions when I have to write about it, such as with this essay. I understand that I have had a good life and it might not be so easy for everyone to avoid feeling impending doom. However, I will say that in most circumstances, I try to keep an optimistic point of view.

    I feel like for me optimism or pessimism is a choice. If something bad happens, or it looks like something bad is going to happen, I could feel disheartened, or worried, but I really don’t want to! If I’m in a bad situation, probably the worst thing to do is to start feeling miserable. It just makes it harder to make a bad situation into a good situation. I believe I can choose whether or not I feel down.

    Once, a couple of summers ago, my family and I were out woodcutting, and we got stuck in the mud with a truck full of wood. I’m not going to lie; things were looking pretty bad to me about then, sitting in the cab of our truck with my brother while our parents went outside to assess the situation. It was getting dark, darker than we usually like to go when we get wood, and the dark clouds that we had noticed as we drove to our usual woodcutting spot had started to rain on us just as we finished loading up our truck. Now the downpour had turned the road into a river of muddy water, and we were stuck in the worst of it.

    So yeah, it wasn’t great. The road was quite literally flowing away, the skies were flashing with lightning, the ice cream we would always eat after our woodcutting trips seemed far, far away, and we were here, in a two wheel drive truck that wouldn’t move, miles away from the highway and with no cell service. It had started to get cold, like, hypothermia cold, and we were started to get worried.

    After a while, we realized that there was no point feeling glum about our situation, so we got out and started cutting down branches to layer in front of our rear wheels. Then we would push the truck while we got sprayed by mud from the tires. All of this was happening in the cold and rain. Over the course of a couple hours, we slowly worked our truck out of the mud. Sure, it wasn’t great, but in the end keeping a positive attitude and working together made the whole experience into a fun memory.

    I don’t pretend to be some precious little spark of happiness that always enjoys himself no matter what, but I hope that in the future I can use the same attitude to look at my situation a little differently. I don’t always have to feel impending doom if I don’t want to. I mean, I got this essay written, didn’t I? When I started I didn’t think that was ever going to happen.

  9. Aundrea Pierce

    We were driving from North Carolina to Georgia, just mom and me. Unfortunately, it was to go to my 32-year-old cousins’ funeral. I didn’t know him, but I wanted to be there for my mom, to keep her in good spirits. She was sitting in the driver seat and me in the passenger of her yellow Subaru Baja. This car looked like it was a result of inbreeding. You either loved it or hated it, and everyone that drove by us would let us know what they thought with their scowls or smiles.
    We were navigating through a timeworn town somewhere in South Carolina. I caught sight of something that stood out like a sore thumb.

    “Mom, look at the big brown arch up there, what is that?!” I said sharply.

    She hunched down a bit and glared out the front window. It was about six miles ahead and off to the side of us.

    “What the heck is that? A monument or a bridge, that’s neat!” She whispered in her twang.

    I replied, “I don’t know; it can’t be a bridge it looks too narrow and tall.”

    It was a foggy day, so we couldn’t make out exactly what it was, but I couldn’t help to notice we were getting more near it.
    Moments passed, and we became entangled and twisted in some old buildings, we lost view of the giant arch but knew it was nearby.

    “Maybe we’ll get to drive by and see what that thing was,” I told mom.

    She looked at me with a suspicious grin, and I immediately knew I wasn’t grasping whatever was funny at the moment.

    “What?!” I barked, my eyebrows raised.

    She spoke calmly, full of sarcasm, “Auna, I think that’s a bridge honey, and I’m not sure, but we might have to go over it.”

    “Nuh-uh!” I shrieked “Don’t say that!” Just then we turned a corner of an red bricked BBQ Pit and we got an immediate scene of the top half of the arch. The dome was, in fact, a bridge! A bridge that should be closed and illegal even to touch! My heart began to race just looking up at it. I hate heights. Therefore, I hate bridges. My hands began to sweat, and my butt cheeks clenched as our vehicle approached closer and closer.

    “Mom, you think cars are allowed on that? It looks too skinny and old, like the crypt keeper of bridges!” Mom knew I didn’t like bridges, and it wasn’t comforting that we both shared the same fear.
    We turned another corner, and we realized the map was directing us to go on the wooden bridge of death, which was now half a mile straight in front of us.
    We must escape this trap I thought! “Mom, pull into that gas station! Ask if there’s another way around, this isn’t safe!” I ordered, desperately.

    She took my advice, and of course, it turns out the best way to get to the next town was over the bridge.
    After we got back into the repulsive Subaru, we took a few breaths and discussed what we should do. We felt helpless. However, we decided to face our fear and cross the bridge.

    “We can do this” Mom assured me, “We will go slow, and I’ll just look straight ahead.”

    She drove us out of the gas station, and we headed for the skinny one-lane wooden roller coaster. This thing was made many years ago with dense wood and rusty bolts. My toes were wet and curled tight in my socks and shoes. The few cars in front of us slowed down and awaited their turn to board the scariest ride of their life. I clenched the chest strap of my seat belt because my heart was beating so fast and hard, I had to loosen the restraint.

    Ga-thunk Ga-thunk!

    Oh shit, it’s our time, we’re doing this, I thought. Based on the five miles per hour speed that all the cars were going, it was evident everyone thought this was madness! Our wheels climbed higher and higher, and with each, Ga-thunk, from the tires and wood planks, I was embracing for a CRACK and CRASH. I prayed the noisy pattern would continue the whole drive through.

    “Are you okay mo-”
    “Yes, I’m fine” she interrupted, “let me just concentrate for a second.”

    You didn’t have to tell me twice; I even held my breath just to ensure any sound that came from my body was not in any way responsible for our deaths. We reached the top of the Ferris Wheel, and my God it was high! I was sweating so profoundly that I had to turn the A/C up just a little bit. The fresh soft breeze felt terrific as I inhaled deeply, just to hold my breath again.
    Moments went by, and we hit the last thud. We did it! We both caught our breaths and regained our composure.

    “Honey we won’t be coming back through this way, you believe you me.” Mom stammered.

    And we didn’t. We never saw that nightmare bridge again. To this day have never seen another bridge like it. I gained an appreciation for overpasses and our modern bridges. I feel a sense of safety while driving over them, how funny is that? A few months later my mom informed me that the city had closed that treacherous bridge.

  10. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    It was my senior year of high school. The weather was warm and I was looking forward to softball practice. I had just got home from school, having finishing my clases for the day. I had time to kill so I let loose a low whistle. My blue heeler, Jasper, comes sprinting into the house, breaking the screen door in the process. My eyes shoot out of my head and I run to hide the screen door to explain to my parents later that night. I shake my head at my dog and walk away forgetting my plans to go get coffee. Instead I throw on my practice gear, grab my Hydroflask and head out. Once I’m in my car the AC blasts cold air into my face. A smile appears and I begin driving to my school. As I’m about to pull into the parking lot, I receive the worst call of my life. My mom tells me not to panic, but my breathing increases and my mind is racing. When the words come out of her mouth I freeze. My grandma had overdosed.

    My worst fear came true. Slamming on the breaks I turn my car around and race down the street. My heart is pounding. I grab my phone with shaking hands, texting my coach that I will be missing practice due to a family emergency. I have no idea if sh is alive or not. My chest tightens and everything is numb. But I continue to speed to the hospital she is at. I hung the phone up before I knew if she was still alive or not. Panic had taken over my entire body. I don’t even bat an eye at the police officer I sped past. I take every back road I know avoiding traffic, taking every turn quickly.

    After what feels like hours the hospital comes into view. My car screeches into the parking lot and I frantically try finding a spot. Anger builds up in my chest, why does everyone have to be at the hospital today? Finally I find a spot way in the back, relief washes over me. I throw my vehicle in park and jump out, slamming the door in the process. I sprint through the parked cars passing my mom and grandpa’s cars in the process. Finally I reach the doors. The hospital is i kaos. About fifty people are sitting in the waiting room, moaning from pain. Standing on my toes I look for my family and see them quickly. I make my way over and ask one simple question “Is she okay?”

    My mom smiles up at me “She’s okay” I fall back into the chair across from the both and let the tears fall down my cheeks. I never thought this day would come. This has always been my worst fear. But the fact that she is okay makes my mind and body completely relax. Everything is going to be okay. She is going to be okay.

    1. Mekayla

      I had something really similar to this happen with a family member. I was so absolutely relieved when we got good news back. I’m glad that your grandma made it through!

  11. Cassidy Kramer

    The score of the fifth and last set is 11-11. First to 15 points wins the region championships. The crowd is roaring in my ears, forcing me to yell with all my might to communicate with my teammates. It is the other team’s serve, and beads of sweat are trickling down my face both from working hard and the nervousness I feel. My body is so weak that I feel like I won’t be able to pull my feet up to take a step. The ref whistles, waves her hand, and the serve comes over the net. I watch it hit a teammate’s arm, but instead of going towards our setter, it bounces off towards the crowd which makes them cheer even louder. The ball goes back to the current server, and she serves it over the net again. This time, the ball hits the floor, and the two girls that the ball was between look at each other with disgusting faces and look away. I am too tired to care about the attitudes of the other girls, so I look away disappointedly and get ready for the next ball coming over the net. Unfortunately, the ball does make it over to our side, but thankfully my teammates are able to make a perfect pass towards our skilled setter. Ok Cassidy, you got this. Don’t let them down, I think to myself. I watch the ball leave our setters hands at the perfect height, and perfect distance for a perfect hit. I start my approach, jump as high as I can, and swing with the most power I can muster up. I am watching the ball start its journey to hit the floor on the other side of the court, but a girl’s arm gets in the way of its path, and they somehow get the ball that I smacked as hard as I could back over the net. My spirit dies when I see my teammates struggle to get the returned ball back over to their side. That’s another point for them. My head is pounding and aching from the loud fans that seem to be yelling right next to my ear, but they are yards away up in the bleachers. It is game point for the other team, and although I know we are going to lose this, I still have this fire in me to keep going. My heart pounds with nervousness. My team, my coach, my family, my town is counting on me now, I cannot mess this up. The server throw the ball up and hits it with perfect timing, form, and pressure, which causes it to cross over the net onto our side. The passer gets it right back to their side with one hit because she is nervous that someone will mess up along the path of our third hit. Her easy over gives the other team a perfect pass, set, and their best hitter hits the ball down to our court so hard, that the volleyball resembles a bullet. It hits our floor, and the crowd goes wild. I am completely heartbroken, and I slouch over to our benches while the other team and the crowd is cheering with joy. My mom comes down to hug me, and she whispers in my ear “that was amazing babe, the best you have ever played. I am so proud to be your mom.” The second she says this, the tears that I have been holding back start pouring out of my eyes, and I feel satisfied with myself knowing that I gave it my all. Not everything I work hard for can come out with the results I want, but I can feel content with the effort I put into it, and keep working and praying for the best next time.

  12. Ben Knapp

    Impending doom is not a feeling I feel often. In fact, I try to never feel it, except for occasions when I have to write about it, such as with this essay. I understand that I have had a good life and it might not be so easy for everyone to avoid feeling impending doom. However, I will say that in most circumstances, I try to keep an optimistic point of view.

    I feel like for me optimism or pessimism is a choice. If something bad happens, or it looks like something bad is going to happen, I could feel disheartened, or worried, but I really don’t want to! If I’m in a bad situation, probably the worst thing to do is to start feeling miserable. It just makes it harder to make a bad situation into a good situation. I believe I can choose whether or not I feel down.

    Once, a couple of summers ago, my family and I were out woodcutting, and we got stuck in the mud with a truck full of wood. I’m not going to lie; things were looking pretty bad to me about then, sitting in the cab of our truck with my brother while our parents went outside to assess the situation. It was getting dark, darker than we usually like to go when we get wood, and the dark clouds that we had noticed as we drove to our usual woodcutting spot had started to rain on us just as we finished loading up our truck. Now the downpour had turned the road into a river of muddy water, and we were stuck in the worst of it.

    So yeah, it wasn’t great. The road was quite literally flowing away, the skies were flashing with lightning, the ice cream we would always eat after our woodcutting trips seemed far, far away, and we were here, in a two wheel drive truck that wouldn’t move, miles away from the highway and with no cell service. It had started to get cold, like, hypothermia cold, and we were started to get worried.

    After a while, we realized that there was no point feeling glum about our situation, so we got out and started cutting down branches to layer in front of our rear wheels. Then we would push the truck while we got sprayed by mud from the tires. All of this was happening in the cold and rain. Over the course of a couple hours, we slowly worked our truck out of the mud. Sure, it wasn’t great, but in the end keeping a positive attitude and working together made the whole experience into a fun memory.

    I don’t pretend to be some precious little spark of happiness that always enjoys himself no matter what, but I hope that in the future I can use the same attitude to look at my situation a little differently. I don’t always have to feel impending doom if I don’t want to. I mean, I got this essay written, didn’t I? When I started I didn’t think that was ever going to happen.

  13. T Gordon


    He spoke it rather than yelling it, but there was a perceptively nervous lining to the word.

    Our minds acknowledged the threat before we looked up to see it.

    My two field partners and I were on day two of our geological mapping mission in the rock outcrops adjacent to a massive glacier, and we were tired from winding our way through a jumble of boulders and misplaced rock layers. I don’t know about the other two, but my chest tightened up instantly at the word.

    My fellow geologist and I were too busy staring at the mess of rocks below our feet, on our hands and knees, to notice the black bear and her young cub grazing in the shrubs that broke through the outcrop above. Our other field partner noticed the bear as he was doing his due diligence as the bear watch.

    It took a minute before the bear figured out that we were there also. We grabbed our never before used, never wanted to use canisters of bear spray, and kept our eyes square on the mother bear.

    As we backed up, hands up high to make ourselves look bigger, speaking to the bear, I went through everything I had ever learned about bear safety in classes and conversation. Now was not the time to get the black and brown bear distinctions twisted. What I did remember was that black bears would not fake you out with a false charge like brown bears would; with black bears, you had to be prepared to fight. I just hoped that our adrenaline and survival instincts were good enough.

    We happened to be positioned on a ledge–what kind of shit luck is that? If the bear charged, we would have no choice but to back down the slope full of displaced rocks, hoping for good footing. If we stumbled, perhaps we would eventually stop rolling once we reached the piles of glacial till lazily dropped by the glacier. Beyond the till was a deep, roaring river fed by the suddenly not so romantic looking glacier. Suddenly, it seemed obvious that we were intruders to this ancient landscape.

    As we could not back up any further, we decided to stand our ground and hoped that the black bear cub would not decide to rush down towards us in innocent curiosity. This would surely piss the mother off, and we would suddenly look like the bad guys standing right near the cub. The mother stepped a few feet closer to us to get a better look, though she was still yards up from us on the slope. She stood up on her haunches and took a big, long sniff at us. This would be as bold as she would get.

    Much to our relief, the mother bear decided that we were a paltry threat and dropped back down to the ground, bowing her head back down to graze. I figured that cluelessness must have a smell. Having survived this encounter, we decided that the rocks could do what they damn well please for now. Figuring out the geological storyline would have to wait until tomorrow.

    As we trudged back to our camp, we again saw the black bear and her cub stumbling across the outcrops across the valley from us. From this comfortable chasm, we could admire the tenacity of the bear cub as he or she stumbled over the loose rock, exploring a bit as the mother bear waited some yards ahead, her head turned to check on the cub. This time, she didn’t even look our way.

    1. Naimy Schommer

      LOVE how you just get right to it and push the reader to the edge of their seat right from the first word. Thrilling! What a great story!

  14. Mekayla

    The small plane jolted. My eyes were clamped shut, but I could still imagine ground, so far away and the distance only growing. I imagined myself falling, helpless and screaming, just to jolt myself back to reality. It’s okay, I told myself again and again. Calm down. Appreciate this. Turn the noise off. So I did. I was crammed into the smallest plane I had ever been in. My feet were touching the pilot’s chair, and I was practically sitting on the lap of the man behind me. I was seated on the floor of the plane with three others, and we surely felt every bump, turn, and gust of wind as we sailed higher.
    I stopped listening to the engines roar, and ignored the turbulence that tossed me from side to side. I focused on deepening my breaths, and tried to remember how truly lucky I was to be doing this. I looked out the window and took in the amazing scenery just outside of Palmer, Alaska. The mountains cascaded around me, and in the distance, I glimpsed what I believe is the Matanuska Glacier. I hadn’t known it was there before the flight.
    “Everyone Ready?” Yelled the pilot.
    I refused to acknowledge this, because no, I definitely wasn’t ready.
    I watched as the pilot shifted in his seat, reached over, and pulled open the door. The change in pressure was surprising and instant. Everything had changed in that moment. I finally felt the magnitude of what I was about to do. The fear I felt was so real, so primal, and so amazing.
    Without even having a moment to really react, I was being pulled to the door by my tandem instructor. I can’t even describe to you the feeling of standing in an open doorway of a moving plane.
    Then I was falling. I thought I’d scream, or even feel afraid, but the moment my feet left the plane, I felt more alive than ever. I smiled with joy, and freedom, and amazement as i succumbed to gravity. The freefall was so overwhelmingly fast, and the wind was so strong, but still I managed to take in the nothingness around me, the mountains that surrounded me, and the fields below. I’d been falling for a few minutes now. I knew that it was time to check my altitude. I struggled to bring my hand close enough to my face to read my altitude watch. I knew I had to pull my schute very soon, so I readied myself and watching my altitude as I got closer and closer to the ground.
    I pulled my shcute. Instantly, me and my tandem partner were jolted back. Everything was so suddenly still and strangely quiet without the roaring wind in my ears. Adrenaline coursed through me as we drifted to the ground, our descent now soft and slow.
    This is the most alive I had ever felt. Sometimes it pays off to face your fears.

    1. Josh Hartman

      This reminds me of the first time that I had been flying in a small engine plane. At the time we lived in a neighborhood with a bunch of rich people. One of our neighbors was a commercial jet pilot and was only around in the summer because that was his second house. Our other neighbor owned two single engine planes that he flew for fun. My family was very clearly the odd one out but I still got to ride in my neighbor’s plane several times.

  15. Josh Hartman

    The Descent
    by Josh Hartman
    David, Ben and I peered down the slope. A loose dirt path wound down several hundred feet – sharp rock walls protruded into the path.
    “We can absolutely make it,” David said.
    “What,” I said.
    “If we just kind of slide down the dirt we can make it,” David continued. “And we can use the outcroppings as rest stops in between.”
    “But if you lose your footing you’re just going to roll all the way down into that boulders at the end.”
    “It’s not that steep.”
    “It’s pretty steep.”
    The three of us had been hiking for several hours now and we were on the other side of a small range of mountains from our car in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. The plan was to go up one side, go along the ridges, then down the other side. There were three paths down, one that was a near vertical climb, one was a steep grassy slope and one was this dirt crevasse.
    We passed the grassy slope first. It’s steepness and the fact that we couldn’t see where exactly it ended warded us off from taking it immediately. Upon seeing the cliff that we would have had to overcome if we took the climb, we turned around immediately.
    We took a break to consider our options.
    “I think the earlier path will be the easiest to climb down,” I said.
    “We don’t know what’s at the end of it and it might be difficult to get back up once we get down there,” David insisted.
    “But there’s so many obvious risks to taking the dirt path,” I replied.
    “Yeah, but we can see them.”
    “I don’t like the dirt path either but David is right,” Ben said.
    I held fast to my assertion that the dirt would be too slippery to stand on safely.
    “Okay, I’ll go first.” David said. “Then once I’m at the bottom one of you can start coming down. That way we won’t accidentally knock any rocks loose onto each other.”
    Then David started down. Sliding slightly at first he kept his hand against the rock face to steady himself. Ben and I looked on. I clenched my teeth. David was nearing the first large rock that jutting out of the ground. His foot slipped, kicking up dirt and causing him to move down faster.
    He caught himself on the first rock though.
    “See, it’s not that hard,” He said, looking back up at us, dirt latched to his shirt. It was clear that this was going to take longer than he anticipated.
    “Okay,” I started. “While you guys are going down this path, I’m going to head back up and check out the other path. If it works I’ll be able to see you guys from the bottom and let you know.”
    “Unless we’re already there,” David said.
    “Yeah, okay.”
    “You’re an idiot,” Ben said, still smiling though.
    I turned my back on Ben and David and went back up to the mountain a short ways. Looking down the path now it seemed a little more daunting, although still easier than the dirt slide.
    I started to make my way down the slope using small rocks and the grass to stabilize myself as I went down. It was steep enough to ramp my heart rate up a few beats every time I moved from one stable position to another. I could see the end. It was just a small jump down, maybe four feet. Eager to be off of the steep path I continued to where the grass turned into larger boulders. The cliff walls were narrower here. The slope was steeper as well.
    Coming to the edge I saw that it was more than one small jump, although it was still only a serious of small jumps. Ones I could easily make.
    On the edge I carefully let myself down onto the first large boulder. It was sloped so I only maintained my footing by holding onto a crack in its face. I could feel my heart beating again, I didn’t want to fall here when I’m at the end.
    As I fully settled into my position on the boulder I looked back down. My arms began to feel very cold. What had earlier appeared to be a small jump was actually much larger. The fall from where I was to the bottom was easily 10 or 15 feet. In theory it would be possible to make the jump safely by rolling. That idea was immediately dashed against the theoretical rocks as I saw the very real sharp, dense rocks at the bottom of the fall.
    I looked back up to where I had come. The rock that I had grabbed onto to let myself down seemed much farther away now that I was actually down.
    Ben was right, I am an idiot, I thought.
    I looked for anywhere else to grab to lift myself up. I could reach the handhold but I would have to fully stand up and I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to pull myself up with only one hand. I began to think that maybe jumping down as carefully as possible and risking a few broken bones was preferable to falling from where I was now.
    Then I realized that I could use my knife as a handhold if I reached over the ledge and stabbed it into the dirt. I reached for the ledge and hoped that the grass’s roots would give the dirt enough tensile strength to hold me up.
    After testing the strength of my new handhold a few times I strained to lift myself up the edge. I was was able to move up a couple feet and brace myself against the wall. I pulled the knife out and stabbed it back into the earth and pulled myself up a little farther. I was back over the edge.
    I took a moment to consider the possible consequences of what had just transpired.
    I crawled back up the slope to the ridge. I took a breath and walked back to the dirt path. David was at the bottom. Ben was still near the top scrambling to keep his footing as he descended.
    “No luck over there,” David shouted.
    “Uh, no.” I replied.
    “This sucks,” Ben yelled adding a few expletives.
    “I’m going to give that other cliff path one more look guys,” I said.
    “Alright, we’ll be here,” David responded.
    “Try not to die,” Ben said.
    “Yep.” I figured I would fill them in on how that later.
    I walked back over to the cliff. I peered over the edge. Upon second inspection I realized that there was actually a clear path down it where other hikers had climbed down before. I stepped down off the ledge. There were lots of handholds and the footholds were sturdy. I made it down in only a few minutes.
    From there I ran back along the cliff to the bottom of the crevasse. Ben was nearly at the bottom. David raised his eyebrow at me as I approached.
    “That other path was actually pretty easy,” I said. “There was a pretty clear path down that other hikers have used once you looked over the edge.”
    “Huh,” David responded. “I guess it might have behooved us to have a look around.”
    “This is why we should stay on the path,” Ben yelled down at us. “When we leave the path this is what happens.”
    David and I laughed as Ben made the final slide down to us.

  16. Naimy Schommer

    A Surgical Attitude Change
    Naimy Schommer

    Last March, I found out that I’d need extensive, mirrored hip surgery if I wanted to walk past the age of 30.
    I’ve been a professional athlete for ten years, and my team was looking to 2018’s season as a heightened, pivotal time for collective development, and a tangible shot at a World Championship. After nursing what I thought was just a groin muscle strain for a few weeks, I sought the amazing (sarcasm) sports medicine expertise Fairbanks offered, and was told that my joints were, verbatim, “just angry” and that I should do physical therapy for six weeks. During those six weeks, I deteriorated at an alarming rate; when I started PT, I was walking uncomfortably but normally, at the end of the six weeks I couldn’t get in or out of my car much less stand for more than a few seconds. My physical therapist was the one who suggested I see a hip specialist.
    In March of 2017, I flew down to Anchorage for an extended weekend to see Dr. Prevost. Within six minutes of his PA looking at the x-rays the previous doctors had sent down, I was told that my hips were drastically deformed in two places, and that I would need extensive surgery. I would be out definitely for the upcoming season, and possibly forever.
    Tears hit the paper-covered examination table before I even realized I was crying. I remember being so embarrassed that this PA, a young woman with her engagement ring turned inwards, was watching me crumble into something I never realized I was: a crier. She pointed to the misshapen femoral head of my left hip and said, “See here where it juts out a bit? Its supposed to be smooth there. That’s what’s causing all the pain–you’ve worn away all the cartilage in your hips.” I silently accepted all the paperwork I was handed in a blue embossed folder and left.
    It goes without saying that this was crushing. When I returned to campus the following week, I couldn’t focus, couldn’t eat, and didn’t bother trying to sleep. It was overwhelming. I would spend over a year in recovery hoping for my hips to reclaim half of their previous abilities. All the plans I’d made for the summer, for the upcoming season, and for even the next year were demolished. Everything I’d worked towards for ten years was gone in an instant. It was like finding out someone I loved dearly had suddenly died; my dreams took something from me when they left. For two weeks I was miserable. I was angry at God and myself and my healthy teammates and my parents and everyone. I was the most dedicated athlete on my team! I took care of myself! I had literally JUST met my weight goal for the season! Why was this HAPPENING?! It consumed me; I couldn’t think about anything else and ended every night crying over the phone to my best friend.
    One night, after dialing the familiar number and hearing her pick up, I sniffed and said “I’m having a rough night. Just want to talk,” and I heard my best friend in the entire world audibly SIGH at me through the phone. I was furious, and cut the call short to cry myself to sleep.
    Something wonderful happened that night in spite of my tearful pillow-rage. Since I had seen the first doctor in Fairbanks, my prayers had been very angry and quite deluded. I was struggling against the plan preset for me and was not happy about it. I knew best. I had it under control. I had already figured it out. But metaphoric shit was still hitting the ever-whizzing fan.
    That night, I shut up. I was too tired. I was broken and weak and wanted someone to just smother me with my tear-soaked pillow and put me out of my misery. I hadn’t slept well in weeks and certainly hadn’t eaten anything more than saltine crackers and gatorade in a few days. I was done. And so, face first into the pillow, I said out-loud in a curt, slobbery voice, “Fine. I give. ‘Uncle’ or whatever,” and laid there listening for whatever God was trying to get through my thick skull.
    He didn’t say anything–instead he gave me what he knew I needed: sleep. I slept until 5pm the next evening, and when I woke up, I was starving. I changed, brushed my teeth, and met a few friends at the cafeteria. That night I decided I was sick and tired of being sad and stressed, so I decided to not be (Side note: I understand that this is not the way everyone grieves and I certainly understand “choosing to be happy” is not the cure-all for depression, but it was for me and that’s all I can speak to). From that day on, I actively chose to be joyful in spite of my circumstances.
    That day, my outlook on the upcoming summer changed. Previously, I’d looked at its “impending doom” and resigned myself to it being the worst thing that’d ever happened to me. I now saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with my family (since I’d be moving back to my parents home in Anchorage for the operations), learn new things, see my best friend (who also lives in Anchorage), and snuggle with my dog a lot. I ended up helping my little brother study for his driver’s test, and after he got his provisional license, I sat in the passenger seat as he drove through his first fast food drive-thru. That was really special. My got to listen to my little sister talk about boys and lockers and French class while being pushed around the block in a wheelchair. I pioneered a new and mature relationship with my mom, who remembered me as a teenager but got to know me as an adult. I learned how to poach eggs and knit corners. Also, The Office is so much funnier on prescription painkillers.
    My first impressions of that summer were wrong because I decided they were. I’m still recovering and don’t plan on ever playing competitively again, but I’ve filled my time with other things that I’ve never had the time to explore. This year is a year of firsts, and I intend to figure out what will take the place of sports in my life.

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