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Family Dynamics

In: English and Literature

Submitted By azaidi96
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The Dynamics of Writing and Family
“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand."
-- Bruce Fairchild Barton, advertising executive and congressman Uncle would say, "There are certain inalienable truths you must accept." So when I raged about Atheists being disqualified for holding office in Arkansas or how it's illegal to carry a bible in Singapore, he'd say, "Write it down. Let it out." I've filled four journals. On an idle Thursday, when my mind was free of frustration, I read the crumpled, yellowed pages of my black leather journal and saw a natural progression from black to color. I had precisely captured all my experiences, but in an entirely aesthetic way. From then on, every time I opened my journal, I found myself in an unfamiliar environment writing to capture a mood or scene with creative language. It was my therapeutic getaway from reality. In the summertime, every Sunday, after taking a rattling cold bus, two smoky, humid subway trains, and picking up the best peanuts on 114th street, I would arrive at Riverside Park, New York. I wrote at least one piece every time I was there and shared my work with the same old man who perused the New York Times and the same skinny college student who sunbathed in her bikini. After noting any criticism they gave, I would return home, edit and embellish each piece. This is what I enjoyed most. This is what I wanted to do. But this is not what a first generation American son of strict Indian Muslim parents pursues. He is to become a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson—not a writer. My parents told me that I would either make it big or not make it at all, and no one knew for sure what was destined to happen to me if I were to choose the writing path. My parents required that I find an interest that could develop into a career that guarantees financial stability. Going back to my junior year of highschool, my writing had diminished dramatically. I had to focus on bigger things, like college, tennis and serious career path that I was interested and willing to pursue. Though my journal writing had lessened, when participated in activities, I realized my skill in writing allowed me to package my ideas in the most appealing manner. For example, in Model U.N., I would debate issues and present my country’s stance in the most stylistic and entertaining way. My peers appreciated and applauded my MUN performances because they were both captivating and concise. I was able to combine my passionate arguments for political actions and my creative ability. I had developed my skill in writing and used it as a tool to aid me. As an adept MUN delegate I have concluded that I want to engage in the study of international affairs, using my writing skills in foreign relations and international law.
One morning, my dad told me that he was satisfied with me, that he knew that I would leave a mark on either tennis or in foreign affairs. My dad was comforted knowing that I would not ruin the reputation of the family, in which my dad is a successful business man, my mom is a doctor, and in which my sister is a lawyer. That same morning, my hands landed in a puddle of water on the slippery wooden floor and I could feel a bruise on my tailbone. I was mortified but eventually joined my parents’ laughter while my sister snapped photos of me with her iPhone. I gradually stopped feeling the pain; the only thing I was trying to do was think of something to change the subject. Because their enjoyment wouldn’t allow me to do so, my smile slowly synchronized with theirs. I still had to clean up the broken pieces of the pitcher, wipe off the water and pick up the three ice cubes that were randomly spread across my kitchen floor.
As I was cleaning, I felt my body becoming warm. I squinted my eyes and looked out the kitchen window to see the crisp and golden fields past my backyard. I then saw the “Alex’s Lemonade” stand I had opened just that weekend. Because the sun seemed to radiate all of its heat toward my home, I wanted to return that warmth to my neighbors by selling some lemonade. I eagerly brought out and organized all of my materials. “I’ll have one glass dear,” said my exhausted, next-door neighbor, Mrs. Korsah.
I quickly poured her some lemonade with ice and, with a smile she thanked me. While I continued to anticipate more customers, I prepared more glasses of lemonade and added some ice in each cup. I watched the ice cubes swiftly hit the bottom of the glass and seemingly with a tinkle of laughter, quickly bounce right back. I pulled out my phone to take some photos of the cubes and made sure to capture the beauty of their resiliency. I noticed that after the cubes rose to the surface, they conspicuously sat afloat as accessible, larger, and more uniform structures. Their buoyancy was one more characteristic that distinguished their lightheartedness. Waiting, I observed and took note of the cubes’ paradoxical structures. Ice cubes are meant to be cold figures that crumble or crack, but as the sunlight shined through their translucent bodies, they seemed to embrace the sun’s warmth and return it into the atmosphere. While I soaked up that ebullient pleasantness, I tried to reciprocate that grace to my customers. Through the rest of the day, I could tell by my neighbors’ cranky attitudes that the heat was distressing; however, my glasses of cold lemonade obliterated any discomfort the heat had caused,
Hours later I closed up the stand. The aroma of brewing spices and my mother’s melodious voice lured me into the kitchen. I heard my father and sister discussing tennis stats and my mother shuffling through the cabinets to find the perpetually missing saltbox and spoons. Walking past the porch doors, I realized I had left a stack of empty glasses on the stand. When I walked outside, the nighttime chilled me with its light winds, and at the time I needed anything but a cold drink. Despite this feeling, I poured myself some lemonade and took a sip. The drink wasn’t cold; rather, it was just the right temperature.
My family has been much like these inanimate cubes, and I have become like one too, as my parents have imbued me with strength and a sprightly attitude throughout my life. Moreover, these qualities have encouraged a sense of stewardship, a cheerful affability, and an openhearted approachability in me that have made me the son, brother, volunteer and individual I am today. With my family, I realized that my journal had led me towards the right direction as well. Writing everything down, from my daily hardships and issues to my passions and goals in life, gave me the a clear understanding of the path I want to head towards in my life. Just like family, my journal created a system of checks and balances to ensure that my pursuits are well-defined, under control, and focused. Though writing in my journal and possibly pursuing a career in it seemed invaluable in my family, writing and doing what I did was paramount. It was a gateway into a field in which my family was happy with and in which I was in love with.
-By Adib Zaidi

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