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Voices of the Nation's Future

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Wishing to be Weightless By Ja’Lisa Morgan

The weight that sits on my shoulders pushes me down and keeps me from moving in the morning. The weight of a thousand tons that keeps me from being me, the weight that keeps my smile from being real.  A weight that plagues my body daily and dictates exactly how the day will go. But then there is a voice that speaks in the back of my head, and this voice is a constant reminder of all the things that I can’t do. This voice is a constant reminder of the times that I have failed and tells me that I will never succeed. The weight and the voice are best friends that constantly discuss exactly how they are going to torment me throughout the day. They play card games in the back of my head and laugh at the pain that they cause every time they each win a game.  
When I was younger, the weight only weighed a pound or two and it wasn’t even noticeable. I was a happy kid with big dreams and hoped to be the best that my parents wanted me to be and get everything that I wanted. I was normal. I had no struggles that bothered me and kept me from being the little goofy and kind kid that I was. But then, as I grew up, the weight decided to grow along with me, and I started to notice how hard it was to get out of bed in the morning. I started to notice that I was constantly tired even with hours of sleep, I started to notice that it wasn’t as easy to smile anymore. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. But the more I grew, the heavier the weight got. So, by the time I was eleven, it was hard for me to stand on stable feet and my shoulders ached from the pain of the 100-pound barbell that sat on them. By that time, the weight had also introduced me to his kind friend, the voice that would live in the back of my head. I had two new friends that would never leave me, I was never alone.
When I started 6th grade, the weight and the voice were the best of friends, and they were always by my side. I had also picked up a nasty habit that helped me get through my toughest days. In sixth grade I also made real friends, friends who seemed to care about me and want the best for me. I got close with them and bonded with them. I told them things that no one else knew and that I didn’t want anyone else to know. I was brave and put myself out there for them and shared the deepest darkest thoughts that plagued my mind. I told them what the voice had told me. I let them see the me that no one else saw or knew about. In the end it all turned around and bit me like an angry dog. To further explain what I mean you would have to know what went down at the end of year trip in Washington, DC. 
At the end of the year in sixth grade our class went to Washington, DC, and at first it was amazing. I was amazed by the fairy tale land that was Washington and the weight that sat on my shoulders seemed a little lighter. The voice was only a whisper instead of a scream. So of course, you can imagine that I didn’t want to go back home where the weight was life ending and the voice was screaming in my head. Then my entire world came to an end and everything I thought I knew was gone. My friends had taken it upon themselves to call my mother and tell her EVERYTHING that I never wanted her to know. I had hidden everything because I didn’t want the crushing weight that was on my shoulders to be shared in my family. I didn’t want them to be crushed along with me. Suddenly the small, dark, and deadly part of my world that I had kept secret was exposed to the light of day, and it was blinding. 
Of course, after this, I was taken home early and the next few weeks was a blur of constant parental hovering, therapy, sleep crying and constant pain. But then, as time went on it got easier, and I learned how to not close off completely and leave my guard up. I figured out how to let my protective walls that were covered in barbed wire down. Now as a 14-year-old about to finish middle school who has finally found herself in some way, I can tell you that it gets better. Don’t get me wrong cause there are days where the weight is heavier than ever and the voice is blaring like a siren. There are days where I feel so empty yet so filled with despair at the same time. But now when I have those days it's easier to move past them. It's easier to keep breathing. You could say that sometimes I feel weightless.

© Ja’Lisa Morgan. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.