Friday, December 19, 2014

"This I Believe: Seals and Whales" by Martha



This December, Advanced Composition students studied, wrote, and recorded audio essays. Students wrote and recorded their own "This I Believe" essays inspired by the weekly This I Believe Podcast. While we're publishing the text of each essay below, we strongly encourage you to listen to each student's audio essay for a more intimate experience.

The first real cry I remember was while watching a documentary about Killer whales.The title, “Killer Whales: deadly predators” did little to clue my 7 year old self on what the show was actually about. My eyes began to water in sync to the whale's deadly dance through the dark waters of the ocean and my childish sobs were uncontrollable as three massive whales surrounded a seal that paced helplessly over the surface of a floating piece of ice. I sobbed for a while, asking my father why this had to happen, asking him what the seal's family would ever do without him, how would they recover? Did he have kids?

My father watched the waterworks from his spot on his recliner, curious and annoyed and for the first time I can remember, (and I reckon, the last time since then) he was speechless. He had no clue, really no idea as to why I was crying over a Discovery Channel special on whales and I really didn't either.

It's always been hard to put into words, this idea that I believe in, in a way that makes me think that maybe there are no words that I can string together to do it justice, but I believe in it just the same. It's that feeling I get when Simon crushes someone's dreams on American Idol, like a churning in my gut that makes me cringe and reach for the remote while trying to avoid looking at the heartbroken person's face, feeling as though the big fat no has actually been directed at me. It's that smile on my face that sometimes unconsciously spreads over my cheeks when the guy finally gets the girl, even if it's just a cheesy ABC family movie with awkward lines and impossible situations. It's like a love, unconventional and inconvenient at times that connects me with people and situations and sometimes seals.

It's a connection, an ability to relate, an understanding, a delight for the honesty of situations that are not my own. It's love and pain and fear and happiness that courses through me as it courses through someone else or through the surface of a screen. It's a different side of life that I experience through this attachment and fondness that I find impossible to ignore and impossible to describe. I believe in this, though, completely and unyielding. I believe in this kind of love for people and situations that makes it so easy to relate, that makes it possible to feel another person completely, almost touch them through our shared ability to evoke emotion, to feel tears running down our skin or disappointment churning in the pit of our stomach. I believe in this, I believe in it's value when it comes to appreciating my life. I believe that it makes me who I am.

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