In short, high school has ruined me. After middle school I felt as if the world and all its possibilities were at my fingertips. Ninth grade created a crack in my bubble of childlike wonder. The kind you see in cartoons. Small at first, advancing towards the feet of the main character who then falls off a cliff or in a hole. By tenth grade however, this bubble had shattered. It’s hard to know whether or not the world had always been cruel, if people were dying while I was swaddled against my mother’s chest, while the ribbons in my hair came undone, while I learned how to ride a bike. I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that before I turned fourteen life was as beautiful for everyone as it was for me.
Of course tenth grade mathematics annihilated me but most of my cynicism arises from the world around me, rather than my academics. Though I did learn that no matter how hard I want to pass math, no matter how hard we all studied the most efficient way to succeed was through a whisper and pleading eyes on the day of a test. When I go home I’m meant to have a reprieve from my high school woes. No, instead it seems like every day a new video of an innocent person being murdered in public. People who are five years older than me being shot on what was supposed to be a night out. Things are meant to be easier when you go off to college. But how can I ever go to a club or the movies when even now my chest get tight when a man in a hoodie walk inside of a dark theater?
Trayvon Martin died when I was twelve years old. Of course my family was furious, as was I. Because I knew what it meant to be innocent and black. But I did not yet know what it meant to be sixteen years old, as I am now. From my newly gained experience I can say that I still feel like a kid. And my mom still calls me her baby. Furthermore, I can say that one of my worst fears is that one day my mother will feel the way that Trayvon Martin’s mother felt. Second only to death. I found out the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case in a diner. My greasy fingers were wrapped around a glass of Coke but my eyes were turned toward the TV in the corner of the corner of the room. How could he be innocent after he murdered a little boy? How could the murderers of kids like me, men like my brother, women like mom be…heroes?
The truth is, I’ll never know what it feels like to not go to school because I’m a girl. As a matter of fact I was raised with the moral that a child’s only job is to excel in school and respect their elders. Recently, I’ve watched a documentary called Girl Rising and I’m melodramatic enough to say that it changed my life. It made me ashamed to complain about math when in Nepal, little girls who were younger than me were being sold off as Kamlari slaves. But in all honesty I will continue to complain. I will complain because I don’t think that anyone who has power truly cares about my education. I will complain because whenever we, the students try to fight back everyone who has a nice office goes silent because their hands are tied. I will complain because everyone gets to vote for my future instead of me…and they always pick wrong.
If I am ever to have children I have to make things better for them. And for myself too. It’s so important for me to change something. Right now in Shakespeare class we are reading Macbeth. In it Shakespeare says, “All our pasts have lighted fools The way to dusty death”. Which means that the hate and absurdity that was regurgitated to as by our parents, grandparents and so on is just what I called it…absurd. When we die we return to dust anyway. In my opinion, it is the responsibility of all of us to leave the world better than we found it. This is exactly what I plan to do. One way or another. I think I would like to be a humanitarian. Usually I change my career goal every month. I think this one will stick.
Jordette Cummings is a Jamaican born junior at Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York. As much as she loves writing, she much prefers to immerse herself in stories that are not her own—as they contain dialogue, which she has yet to master. Her three true loves are fiction (film and television included), memes, and debating. She prides herself on having strong opinions and loves defending them. She tries her best to inspire political action amongst her peers without coming off as the pretentious know-it-all that she is.