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NOW LOOK WHAT I’VE DONE I’VE RUINED MY TEM PLE WITH DRUGS MY MIND IS GONE.” A WHIRLWIND OF MEMO RIES STARTED TO PLAY IN MY HEAD—ALL THE NIGHTS I’VE WASTED HERE, DRUNK AND FALL ING INTO


were great because we were taught to take so much pride in what we did.” Mechanicsburg students feel the same way. Leaving the field after the Nationals


performance, the band gathered together to rate their individual performances and talk about what would happen next. As soon as everyone gathered together, Goldsborough shouted, “MECHANICSBURG, HOW DO YOU FEEL?” Te band yelled a collective “HOOHAH, FEEL GOOD,” in response.


Read the complete essay at www.theburgnews.com.


WITH CHILD A young mother faces stark choices. By Quadriya Cogman


In my school, I knew at least one student pregnant with her first child. Society would lump her into the category of “teen mom” and be more likely to judge and dismiss her without digging deeper into her story. Te notion that a teenager, pregnant or not, could be that easily dismissed bothered me enough to gather a panel of fellow teens to discuss teen pregnancy. One of the members of the panel appeared visibly nervous. When she noticed my notebook, she took a few deep breaths to prepare for the interview. Basketball all-star MW enjoyed life as a normal teenager, but a doctor’s appointment changed all that. During a routine physical, the doctor pronounced her to be eight-and-a-half-months pregnant. Denying that she had only a few weeks to prepare for a newborn, the 14-year-old didn’t know what to do. She said she had no symptoms whatsoever. Knowing only how to be a teenager— showing up for practice, studying, socializing—she didn’t know if she wanted to take on the role of motherhood. “When I found out that I was expecting a child in a few weeks, I started to think about my consequences. I started to wonder what people would think of me. I didn’t know if I could handle being judged,” she said. Teen pregnancy is defined by the University of Maryland as pregnancy of a


girl under the age of 20. Teen pregnancy remains the highest in industrialized countries. Almost 85 percent of these teen pregnancies are unplanned, meaning that 820,000 teens under the age of 20 become teen mothers each year. Tey have to drop some of the things they never thought they would have to let go of, so soon in their young lives. As I wrote down the young mother’s answers to her shocking story, she lowered


her head. I knew something bothered her because feelings of another participant during the interview became tense. “I had to sacrifice a lot in life to care for my child. Even if it meant basketball,


WORDS SENT SHIV ERS DOWN MY SPINE “HOW DID I GET THIS WAY? IT’S SO UNREAL I’M NO LONGER A PER SON. I CAN’T EVEN FEEL.”


friends, or being a party girl.” She sounded like a sad tune ready to burst when it hit the high note. “I chose to keep and care for my daughter,” she said. When a teenage girl becomes pregnant, she only has three options: abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. “Discovering and going through a pregnancy forever changes a woman, both mentally and physically,” said Dr. Stephanie Diamond, my pediatrician. “Many teen girls who believe they are not capable to care for a child will choose abortion or adoption. Looking from the outside in, teens who are so wrapped up in their teen lives don’t want to throw it all away only because they have a child.”


Read the complete essay at www.theburgnews.com.


QUIET IS OK Introverts struggle to be understood. By Grace Beatty Children’s voices pierce the air. Te sun burns bright in a crisp blue sky as they


play on the blacktop. A boy kicks a ball through the air before sprinting around a painted kickball diamond. Four square games host lines of students, chatting away as they wait their turn. Te swings creak, their seats full. Girls braid each other’s hair on the climbing rock, soaking in the warmth it absorbs. Away from this chaos, one girl sits alone. Underneath a black lamppost, she


shrinks into her bumblebee-colored coat, book in hand. Her little eyes dart back and forth, immersed in the story. Two kids walk past, ignored by the girl. Tis behavior could raise some questions. Is she socially developed? Is she mentally ill? Does she need medication?


Tey say the runt of the litter is the first one to die. Tey say it’s the weakest, that it won’t grow up and become strong like the other pups. At least that’s what my father told me. Me, the runt out of four older, tougher brothers who’d already learned to hold their liquor by the time they were 12. I shouldn’t have to tell you how hard it was growing up in a house dominated by this drunken, masochistic excuse of a family. It didn’t take long for me, the skinny little runt, to learn my place in the liquor-soaked patriarchy led by my father. I kept to myself most of the time, finding solace in taking long walks down the boulevard during the day and bumming cigarettes outside of Dega’s Play and Trade at night. Tuesday nights were the best at Dega’s. Five bucks and you could get in to see all of the city’s greatest underground folk acts. Not to mention that Dega’s was the only place that had a liquor license, booze always flowing and the tunes always rolling into the night. It was after a few of those intoxicated escapades when I started to realize how


consumed I was by the environment around me. I constantly offered to buy more rounds, refused to stop downing drinks when it was time to close; but there was something else, something a little smaller and nearly unnoticeable had I not begun to tap my foot along to one of the musician’s common-time beat. Stumbling closer to the stage, I drowned everything out and focused on his fingers picking away on his acoustic. Delving further into this musical bubble slowly encasing me, he began to sing: “Life used to be good. Now look what I’ve done. I’ve ruined my temple with drugs. My mind is gone.” A whirlwind of memories started to play in my head—all the nights I’ve wasted


here, drunk and falling into debt. His words sent shivers down my spine. “How did I get this way? It’s so unreal. I’m no longer a person. I can’t even feel.” His stage presence was haunting. I closed my eyes to delve further into the


music, shaping my fingers to each chord. I was in tears by the end of his set. A roar of applause erupted from the crowd, and it was at that moment when


I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I, the runt, was no longer going to wallow around in the filth created by my booze-laden household. I, the runt, realized what it was going to take to get me out of the shit hole life I was living.


Read the complete short story at www.theburgnews.com. 08.14 | THE BURG | 33


Or perhaps it’s normal, a part of her introverted personality. Introverts have often been categorized as shy, unconfident people, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not self-esteem that defines the introvert, but how they obtain and expend energy. Kate Bartolotta explains this well in her Huffington Post article, “What Is it Really Like to be an Introvert?” She compares an introvert’s energy storage to a cup. Each moment an introvert spends with other people, a little more energy is taken from the cup. Once it’s empty, they need to go spend some alone time to fill it back up. Te opposite is true for those on the other end of the spectrum. Extroverts need to spend time socializing to fill their cups and become drained when solitary. People can usually identify themselves with one type or the other, but some are an equal mix of both, called ambiverts. However, someone cannot be all introvert or extrovert. Carl Jung, the psychologist who popularized “introvert” and “extrovert,” describes such a person as “a man who would be in the lunatic asylum.” Introverts’ tendency toward being alone depends on the amount of energy they


can hold in their cup. Some introverts are able to spend more time socializing, to the point where they may be mistaken for extroverts. But there are others who aren’t as easily motivated by social stimulation, their cups holding a small fraction of energy. Tese people might want to take solitary trips to restaurants or libraries, or stay at home, in contrast to going out each night and meeting new people.


Read the complete essay at www.theburgnews.com.


I, THE RUNT A taste of gritty short fiction. By Kelsee Baker


DEBT. HIS


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