The Empty Man

Luciano Maniaci

Professor John Wolff

English Composition 1

18 September 2017

The Empty Man

Beep… Beep… Beep, a noise penetrated my ears whispering softly. I slowly opened my sealed shut eyes. My head was throbbing, and my whole body ached with a numbing pain like someone had spent hours hammering 5 inch long nails into my body. I blinked slowly looking around a blurry white room. All I can remember is absolute blackness a void in my life that will never come back to me. As I peered around the room I saw a shiny metal sink with medical tools scattered around it and a statued structure of a brain. I could very faintly smell rubber. As  I glimpsed down my nose. A skinny clear tube was protruding out of my nostrils. Both of my arms had what seemed to be I.V.’s sticking out of them. My hearing came to me in what felt like hours. An array of noises around the room consisted of beeping and shouting. I turned to my right and saw my mom wearing her violet work shirt, and her black work pants, her hands were covering her face almost like she was crying, so all I could see was her shiny brown hair. I opened my mouth with what felt like my entire body’s strength and managed to mumble, “what happened” and then quickly slipped back into eternal darkness.


I was stepping out of my mom’s shiny black Buick with wonder in my eyes. Everything was painted so vividly. The new buildings were popping at me with their red bricks and white sides. Everything was standing so perfectly still. The grass was calling to me with its perfectly trimmed edges and the sight of smirking college kids scurrying around, beaming about their new adventures, was almost overwhelming. I grabbed my big blue suitcase stumbling slightly as I tried to walk. Burgers and hotdogs were dancing through the air coming from the grill. Bum bum bum I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I walked to the building, everything seemed so flawless. Maybe it all seemed so good because of the drugs I was on.

Although I was in college, something that was a huge goal for me. I felt empty deep down inside. It was the same feeling I’ve always felt. I wanted something, but I couldn’t figure out what. So all I could feel was emptiness. I dreamed of college parties and adventures, thinking it would fill the hole in my heart. I started taking more drugs than ever before thinking they would fill the emptiness, but instead, it only dragged me further behind. I didn’t know how to handle my time or stress. I was making friends, but I felt lonely. I went out to parties, just to come home more distraught than before. I thought living on my own would be a fun experience. It turned out more destructive than I could’ve imagined.

  I heard a loud and obnoxious knock at my front door. As I looked out my window. The sky was crying a soft sprinkle of rain . The dark clouds that covered the campus matched the emptiness I felt. Everything looked so bleak, unlike when I first arrived. I walked across my apartment with slouched shoulders. Opening my thick wooden door, chills went down my spine. My eyes sprung open and Nervousness swept through my body. Two cops were patrolling my doorway. A fierce blonde haired lady quickly stuck her foot in my doorway and glared deep into my eyes. All I could see was a fire burning in her bright blue eyes. Next to her was a goofy looking Mexican with a beer belly and a stupid grin on his face, looking down at me. The two searched my apartment and confiscated my weed. They left me with a court order, telling me everything will be fine. That I’ll only get probation. I watched them, with a cold stare, walk away. I was already on probation.

 Turmoil and confusion filled my mind, my thoughts were scattered. The night before my court date I was up late drinking and popping Xanax. I couldn’t sleep my mind was racing I just sat in my room alone staring at the citation.

Beep Beep, I slapped my alarm clock off and rolled out of bed. My head was pulsating inside my skull and my whole body ached. I plodded over to my desk and grabbed a Xanax pill and swallowed it in one gulp. I was heading off to court with my joint behind my ear. When I reached the courthouse I lit it up.

My head was throbbing as I opened my eyes. The stench of piss was surrounding me. I stared up at a white cement ceiling, everything was hazy. I quickly sat up and looked around me I was in a bright white and blue room with a large green metal door. I looked through the dirty window and saw guards walking around. They were sneering at me with contempt. I looked around and I was alone like usual. Self-loathing filled my entire body.

After 30 days my cousin lawyer got me out of jail. Pure white snow fell as I walked out of jail. It was winter break at the university. I spent the holiday carefully avoiding the impulse to use.

Even though I was getting clean, I felt more lost than ever. Bags formed under my eyes. Society seemed to be in a different dimension. One I couldn’t reach. I glanced around my room with lifeless eyes. Clothes scattered the floor, my grey sheets were crumpled on top of my bed. My desk was a mess of papers, pens, and notebooks. The white walls felt as though they were closing in on me. I glared into a mirror and saw an empty shell of the former me. My hair was a mess, my clothes were wrinkled and sadness was written on my face.

I couldn’t stay away from the drugs. On campus the next day, I scored some Xanax and Molly. I was in my own little made up world. I was so high that I scampered around the school. Everyone looked like monsters. My vision was distorted and I was shaking profusely. I walked into the bathroom stall, and pulled out two more of my Xanax, and tossed them back. I got as far as the lobby when they hit. Everything went black. My body collapsed under the darkness.


My limbs felt tight as I turned in the hospital bed. My vision was cloudy and my temples were pulsating. All around me was medical equipment. A huge curtain was wrapping itself around my corner separating me from the outside world. I tried to sit straight but my body felt like it weighed 1,000 pounds. “Are you okay?” I heard a voice to my left. It was my mom, sitting on the chair next to my hospital bed. “Yeah, I’m fine. What happened?” I asked. My mom’s face was filled with worry, “You overdosed, you almost died!” The words hit me like a rock to the side of my head. I was in pure denial and disbelief. I looked at my mom with complete seriousness and said, “That can’t be true.” She just turned her head out the window. I could see the purple and red lights from the sun setting on the horizon.

I’m a failure that’s all. Every bone in my body felt it. I have to do something to change. “The court called too, you have to show up the day after tomorrow.” My mom said, still looking out the window. My heart was about to pop. Laying back, the hospital walls closed in tight on me and started screaming failure. I shut my eyes wishing everything would go away.

Two months had passed since I overdosed. I was staring out of the small window in my cell. Men dressed in orange jumpsuits were scattered around outside smiling, and joking around, nobody had a care in the world. They were gambling their meals away playing cards and taking their minds off of their problems by watching T.V. and working out. My eyes had become lifeless sitting in the cell I had lost all hope in myself. I only had one goal in my heart, to get out of this hell I trapped myself into. I called my mom and told her to get me into rehab. I need to change my life. Next to me was my roommate vomiting in the toilet from his withdrawal symptoms begging to get out and get high. I Stared coldly at him knowing deep down that’s not where my life was heading. My name got called on the P.A. system, but I already had my stuff packed. I coolly and slowly opened the huge metal door and walked down the stairs with a stern face. People were hooting, and cracking jokes as I walked by. I never turned to look at any as I walked past the last door.

When I arrived at the rehab I was in shock. I looked around me to the most disturbing image ever. Crackheads, and heroin addicts with missing teeth welcomed me into my new home. My stomach churned at the sight of the old rotten wooden house with ominous eye-like windows. My path to life was lost. I was just walking forward into nothing, with nobody next to me. I felt more empty than ever. “Hey, stupid kid!” a deep voice growled behind me. “ You just gonna keep playin’ the game or what?”  

“Why does it matter?” I asked back as I shifted my head towards the voice. It was Ronny, the guy who relapsed while in the program. He had a tattoo across his neck saying “THUG LIFE” he was twice my size and had lines of anger wrapped around his face. “So you’re just gonna be like me, huh?” “A fucking gangster? Well you better grow up cause you ain’t gonna be shit. Life’s on you little homie.” His fierce eyes penetrated my soul. I looked at him and my heart sunk. I knew he was right I had to make the stand. It’s up to me to make a difference in my life and nobody was going do it for me. Ronny turned away in his white tank top and baggy jeans, nodding his head slightly, and walked off. I turned the opposite way not knowing how I was going to start.

Why am I here

Micah Wood

John Wolff


23 september 2017  


India… Wow

Why am I here


When we landed the smell of rotting caskets filled the air mixed with alcohol and cigs. Most people ran to their loved ones to head home. We stood there petrified in disbelief. The lights, sirens, honking, cattle roaming, kids screaming, parties raging, more smells of manure, and something dead. Then the question popped in my head, why am I here? Russ and I looked in fear at each other, we were not ready for this. I thought about the training, the rigorous daily routine we went through, at that moment it was not enough.

“Ok, where is our ride?” Nick managed to say the first word. His face was cold with fear. I could tell he was not ready to lead this. A man pretty short and scrawny came up to us. “No thank you,” Nick said to him. “But I here for ride for Americans”. The roads were loud with sirens, screaming, and extreme ranges of smells. There was no order in the driving, you either went for it or you just sat there and waited forever. The driver stopped and said, “this is where you stay”. I looked out the window and saw a skinny 20-foot wide brick building in a neighborhood that put any of my past thoughts of a bad place to shame.  People washing clothes in tents across the dirt street. Naked kids running around with the smell of alcohol and fireworks in the air.

Raju got out of the car, or truck, whatever they call it, and took our luggage inside. Cautiously making my way inside walking up stairs made of tile that was broken from age. I thought we are the first people to stay here in forever. Every floor had two rooms and there were three floors. For myself, I thought I was ready, ready for the culture shock and everything that comes with it, and ready to do any job. But just the ride from the airport put me in my seat and told me to rethink everything. Talking with my buddies when we got to the room we were weary and smelled like construction worker clocking off. In the bucket shower, every drip of water that went down my back felt like a needle threatening to penetrate my skin, Giving me goosebumps.

   The following morning the arrival to India, we left for an orphanage a few blocks away. Later finding out it takes thirty minutes of walking to get there. Lochi the orphanage mother, so to speak, walked us past meat markets filled with hungry flies ravaging for food, like starving wolves chasing after a wounded deer. We walked past humans pissing in the street, feral dogs walking freely, and millions of cars on the road. The air was like a dense fog on an early Sunday morning in April. But it was gray and dirty, which made your snot black as coal. Our legs were tired from walking, but the farther away from the place we were staying we went the more people stared at us. Lochi said that we were white, caucasian people, and the Indians never have the privilege to get out of the country and see other people. “So you are like celebrities to them”. It felt like they were staring into our souls searching for ways to get to know us without saying a word. But at the same time they smiled as if to say, welcome. The smells were horrendous. Some places you would smell amazing things, but in other places, you would smell like you went to the dump in the back of hell and picked up what has been there the longest.

We stepped foot inside a small door that was unlocked twice like even the door was nervous of letting us in.  Peeking in we heard multiple giggles and squeals. Little kids and teenagers ran toward us to meet us. I remember 30 kids that day. When we ate lunch, we ate a type of chicken that had a green curry sauce on it and rice. A king chili pepper was offered with a smirk. It was the second hottest pepper on earth and with sweat dripping down my face and my drooling mouth open wide I had no idea the kid’s lives were more painful than the peppers pain in my mouth. When the kids left to go home, we asked who the kids are, where they came from, who are their parents, and what do they do when they are not there.

   Lochi proceeded to tell us more than we wanted to know. Their fathers were gone from conception, and their mothers are or were prostitutes in brothels. Their mothers were sold to the pimps by her parents at the average age of 13. They are at the bottom of the caste system and do not know it. They think this is the life, this is what they will always be. It hit me like a freight train with no breaks and the throttle stuck. Those kids have to live like that for the rest of their lives. They are fed one meal a day and that is the meal we gave them earlier. They live in the streets with thousands of others in the same boat, the boat made of wood, rotting at the seams and bolts rusting away. After that our team went back to the hotel we were staying at. Petrified and scared, we didn’t know what to do. This was our first day of the trip! Why-why-why did I chose to do this. Some of us were mad at the system. Some of us were sad, crying rivers of pain, sobbing beyond what I thought possible. And some were in a different world, not knowing what is real anymore, Shocked that this place even exists. I layed in bed that night in agonizing pain. Trying to process what I saw and heard. “ what if they take my sisters!”, “what if they take my mom!”, “what if they take my brother!”.  They take boys of any age and chop off their genitals, going through the whole process of becoming a transgender, so they can be used as well to make money.

One day we walked to the front door of our four-room hotel and met Lochi she was going to take us to the brothels where the kid’s mothers were. We walked to the corner walking past dogs laying on the side of the road. You could see every rib and it layed there every day. Finally, we got a bus. We walked on and immediately the smell hit me. The hygiene of the people was so bad the bus smelled like a fermented pig sty. Every time someone would talk to you, it almost made you vomit from disgust. But there was one moment before we got moving that the sun poked through the smog, just that moment was all I needed to keep pushing forward. The bus ride felt like an eternity. We were worried and huddled together because pimps could be anyone. They are looking for the next target to make them big money, and white people are at the top of the list.

We walked a few blocks down after the bus ride and there was a closed door mixed in with other doors. But this one was old looking and felt like moss when you touched it. We pushed open that door slowly, creaking every inch. You could not see past your hands inside. We found a stairway and went up. This stairway was made of clay and mud. Very skinny like they didn’t want people to go in and out very fast. A lady younger than I was sitting on a wood bed with a blanket on it for comfort In a small room at the end of the hall. Lochi said, “this is one mother of the kids that we saw”.  And then Ponchu crawled out from under the bed. I didn’t know what to do, that was the kid I held onto and didn’t want me to leave when we were in the orphanage. We talked to her for a little while but all I remember is hearing a man come up to us and say in Hindu, “You need to leave now!”, “there is a client here!” so we left realizing that the man that was her client was going in there to have sex with her, with the Ponchu under the bed. It made me even madder when we went back to our pace of residence. I went into my room, screamed and punched the walls. Why does Ponchu have to live like that, under the bed of her mother’s business!

   I lay there in bed listening to my music, that was my only escape from the pain, the fear, the agony, the hopelessness. Once again I said, “why am I here?”. I went to sleep that night hoping it was all a dream, that it would all go away, and that it wasn’t real. I woke up hearing nothing. For a moment I was at home listening to the birds sing and the cow’s moo, smelling fresh cut grass on the farm, coffee brewing begging to be drunk. Then the sirens and honking came back. The smell of shit on the road baked by the sun. The smog so thick you could not see anything. I got out of bed, walked to the window, and looked out. I saw the chaos all around me begging me to give in. But peering through the smog I could see a mother swadling her new born, and then a smell of incense coming forth like an ocean breeze cleansing my nostrils. I realized I am here to give these people a glimpse of what it is supposed to be like. Love, hope, peace. No more fighting or pain anymore. This is why I am here.


I Found Myself Again

Finding yourself while being out in the open

December 1st 2016: To think that I almost gave him another chance out of the many other chances I’ve already given him, I still don’t see any change that he promised to me. To think of letting him push me around anymore than what he has already done. To sit here and have him manipulate every thought I have. No longer am I  going to have him control everything I do or be questioned for the things I have done over and over as if it’s some kind of punishment to re live my mistakes. No longer am I going to be told who can and cannot be my friends, who I can and cannot talk to. No longer am I going to be broken down to a person I know I’m much stronger in being . I’m growing weak and I’m tired of these 4am panic attacks crying myself to sleep waking up to not only to the black mascara and tear stains left on my pillow and the swollen red eyes as if I had tried every drug possible in this world, but to wake up to yet another heartbreak over and over again. To think that everything was my fault for the way things were. I’ve had enough of the emotional, mental abuse that I know I don’t deserve, but for some reason he thinks I do. I have to get out before it gets too dangerous, if it hasn’t already.

I remember writing this in a journal I had had beside my bed filled with nothing but empty blank pages just craving to be written, in as if it knew the deep painful thoughts I had embedded into my brain wanting to be set free. It took a lot from me to indent the pages with my thoughts, almost two years to be exact. It was like any other night I seemed to be having lately at the time, late nights in bed wondering what I have done wrong to deserve all the painful, mean things he would say. Replaying the words “I hate you”, “go fuck  yourself”, “You’re a fucking slut” over and over as if I had a strip of film being rewinded in my mind. Laying there not being able to breath as I would cry into my pillow remembering all the good memories we use to have, but what seemed like digging through a box of dusty old photo albums to recollect those memories. The times where his hands would be entangled into mine and there was completely no space between us but as time went on there was nothing but long empty space mentally and physically. The times were gone, in the past, and that’s where they’re meant to stay. I’d make sure I didn’t let my parents hear me have yet another heartbreaking, gut twisting attack. I didn’t need them to be any more worried than what they already were. It wasn’t fair to them to have to see their daughter like this, unhappy with herself just crying away all her feelings and thoughts wondering if her existence was even worth being. Wondering what would accrue if she were to damage herself like she was a smoker and knowing the cigarettes capability of destroying her. He was my cigarette and like most addicts, I was addicted.  

Everything about me was fake, my smile, my happiness, and at times I’d like to think my whole life was fake. That this wasn’t actually happening to me, that I was living in a very long nightmare and I’d soon wake up to the life I knew when I first had met him. But as the months went by I think Kasey had found his independence as he became more comfortable being around me, he started revealing who he really was as if he had pulled away the mask I’ve been seeing since we started dating. Whether it was getting upset at the minor things, or the constant fights we had that were becoming more known as months of dating went by. Stupid fights that could’ve easily been prevented but it was “I” that always brought it up he would say.  I should of seen this as a red flag and should of ended it there while I had the chance. But I craved  the past, the unconditional love, endless laughter, and all the great times we use to spend together back. I wanted the feeling of being able to get lost in each others eyes and not fear what’s actually there.  I wanted to be able to wrap my arms around him feeling safe and comforted instead of being felt like I was being held against my will as I would beg for him to let me go. I wanted the “I love you’s” and the kisses to be real and not be like I was forcing him to show affection. I wanted his comfort the most especially the times when I needed him, the times that he had promised me he’d be there for me no matter what. The times I had my attacks from hell being felt like I was stuck in my room not able to leave, feeling like I was in a haze as I would look around the room and see nothing but flashbacks as I would catch glimpses of the pictures I had of us plastered on my walls. Grasping for a breath of air and his comfort around me, but sitting there disappointed as I would realize he wasn’t coming.

When I speak the name of Kasey it only makes me cringe as he was the one that changed me as a person, he made me over think things, hate things, and most of all made me to become this unhappy person I never thought of myself being. Before I had met him I was this happy- go -lucky girl that had seen the good in everything and everyone, and that’s probably why I choose to date him in the first place. I loved to laugh, be happy, and just enjoy the little things in life and not have to worry about anything. But dating Kasey I started to see a change, I was more stressed, had anxiety I never had before, where at times it felt like the walls were caving in on my soul. I got mad easily, I cried often, and I was just not happy.  But not seeing the direct picture that was in front of my face all along I blamed all those problems on school, sports I was involved in, my friends, and even my family. Why didn’t I blame any of this on Kasey? It’s a  question I’ve often ask myself. I didn’t blame anything on him because I was preventing myself to think that so I wouldn’t lose him. I didn’t want to blame him because I loved him, I wanted to believe he made me happy and that he would never do anything to hurt me.

There was a time  Kasey was over for the day; everything was great until we had gotten into a very big fight, now what that fight was about I don’t remember to say the least seeing how there were many fights before. But after a few days we sat down and talked about everything. He had promised me that he was going to change and that he wanted to work together at being what we use to be. Something I heard a lot often as these words would slip off his lips more often like an alcoholic taking their last drink promising it’s their last. He wanted to see me happy and wanted to continue growing together as a couple. But that’s not the only thing that he has mentioned, he had mentioned that he wanted me to get help from a doctor to be taken off a medication that I was on because it was causing me to be “bipolar” and that’s what his mother and him believed to be some what of the problem between us. Now for a girl at seventeen years old at the time being told that she is bipolar from a medication that helps her with some medical problems that she can’t help with is quite devastating and just completely turns your world utterly upside down. I didn’t know what to think at the time, I just grew completely blank as if I was starting to believe everything he was saying putting in consideration that “what if they’re right”? “What if this is all my fault”?

I allowed for all of this to happen to me, I allowed him to push me around and cause nothing but pain. I couldn’t let him go because I loved him so much, yet I disliked him in many ways. I’d rather have the anxiety attacks, stressful nights crying myself to sleep to wake up to massive headaches to the point I couldn’t even stand, and the swollen red eyes, then to wake up and find that he had done something to himself that he said he would do if I were to ever leave him. What I didn’t understand was how come if we both loved each other so much, why was it hard to show that to each other. Why did it take everything in him to show caring and affection? Why was it hard for him to come comfort me as I would be on the phone crying asking for him to come but only being disappointed as I would hear the words “I hate you, it’s all about you. I’m losing my fucking friends over you and it’s time I start saying no. You’ll be just fine”. How did I make myself stay in this situation?

My mom knew what was going on between us, she hated seeing me so unhappy all the time. I even caused pain in her eyes as she found me on the bathroom floor, sobbing and vomiting as I was dealing with another anxiety attack. She told me then that it was time to end it and that I have to stop putting up with the twisted love that shattered me.  That I need to free myself from the misery. That’s when I grew the courage to end it, knowing that my mother and all of my loved ones that I pushed back had my back all along and that I wasn’t going to be alone. I had ended it with Kasey shortly after, feeling like the world had lifted off my shoulders, knowing this is going to better me in so many ways. It was then that I need to start being happy again and find who I once was. It was hard in the beginning but nobody said a break up was easy seeing how we’ve been together for so long. But I had seen a huge difference in me right away, and I would think to myself why haven’t I done this sooner? I guess it was in the fear of being alone and thinking I wouldn’t have anyone after I lost my what use to be everything the only one I thought of and less of others. It was me not putting in consideration I have so many people that love and care for me and I have been doing nothing but shoving them aside as I only cared for Kasey and what he thought and cared about. As my relationship with Kasey had ended I grew a new and better one with my family and friends as they finally had their, daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, and best friend back.

Now the worst wasn’t over, it wasn’t even near being over. He tried contacting me in so many ways, he would show up at my work, school, he would even be desperate enough to say hurtful things to me on my school email. The battle was still an ongoing thing, I still had the anxiety attacks and I was still being verbally assaulted, the only thing I could resort to then was a personal protective order and that was probably the best thing we could’ve done to completely end everything. I hated to stoop that low in getting a PPO on someone that was my pure happiness but it was something that had to be done so myself and my family wouldn’t be affected by anymore. That it was time to move on once again.

It’s been over a year since all this living nightmare has happened and I can say the least that I’m doing quite well. I made the best of my senior year, I got a great job in the medical field, I grew even closer relationships with my family, and most of all I learned to love myself once again. I may have anxiety attacks still and I may think of what ifs but I look at the past as a learning lesson. I still have trust issues and have the fear of being hurt again but that’s something I just have to live with until that someone special shows me how I should be treated. Until then I am focusing on me, my family, and my future goals. I’m just glad that I got out when I did, I couldn’t even imagine what I would do if he were to ever doing anything that hurt me or himself. I was free and that is something I haven’t been able to feel in a very long time.


Olivia Selbee

Professor Wolff

English Composition 1

25 September 2017


Sitting down outside, in the middle of the damp and dismal night, I cried with no hope for happiness. The cold, unwelcoming weather of autumn struck my skin like lightning with goosebumps as the bitter, salty, tears staggered down my pink cheeks. “Why me?” I asked myself. “Why?” I repeated. “I’ve done nothing wrong, so why?” So many questions that will never be answered were asked.

Not much earlier, I was laying down in my boyfriend’s bed, relaxing, drawing on some lined paper I had found with a red ink pen, and minding my own business, until he entered the room. His face was grim as he tread across the worn out wooden floor towards me. He started to sit down on the bed next to me and spoke, and for the first time in years, I cried.

I cried terribly because the first words to slither like an uninviting snake off of his lips was: “I don’t think we should be together”. How could it happen that I was just broken up with by someone I trusted not to do so? It was so unexpected to me. It all flooded into my mind at once. All the negative thoughts that I didn’t think were possible flew into my mind like an owl out of the sky, about to catch its prey. He gave me so many promises and broke every last one. He lied to me and took my gullibility as an advantage against me. I know I have done nothing wrong – nothing to deserve what I was given. How could someone be so cruel? How could someone be so inhumane? How could someone be so selfishly horrible? My denial of all that occurred just then turned into waterfalls of tears.

I felt everything, yet felt nothing, for my mind was in shock. I somehow reached a point further into the depths of depression than I ever thought was possible. I looked into his eyes, while mine watered and I didn’t have anything to say and I got one last embrace. The embrace was the saddest, but it was the most meaningful embrace I had ever felt. It was a reassuring one, but in the end, it was a lie regardless.

What else was I supposed to do after that occurrence other than take my stuff and leave? My denial told me otherwise. I instinctively pleaded like a fool to try to make it work. I wanted to be with him more than anything else, even though the relationship was horribly toxic. Soon enough, however, I managed to drive myself and return home. It all happened so quickly and was such a blurred moment. I still continued to mourn, mourn as if someone just died. It sure felt like that was the case.

It was almost the end of dusk when I arrived to my driveway, shaking, sobbing, and gripping onto the steering wheel of the vehicle. My breathing became heavy and forceful. My chest hurt and throbbed in the most unusual way and my throat became incredibly tight and dry as I left the vehicle and ran past the gate to the backyard. I screamed into the setting sun a few times to no avail. My depression and anxiety has never been worse than what I felt at the moment. Everything was pure chaos. I clenched my fists and punched the nearby blue spruce tree and kicked the damp ground, both as hard as I physically could. The physical pain caused by the actions was quite scary and they didn’t help any. I didn’t know what else to do and continued to pathetically act on impulsive behavior.

Time finally started to calm me down a bit. I cried for a bit longer, alone and outside, until the sun was no longer visible.

Aside from the pure darkness of the night, the somehow visually soothing dim orange light of a street light not too far away was blurred in my vision by the tears stuck in my eyes. I then wiped away the tears and looked up, past the street light, into the starry sky. I inhaled and exhaled slowly and begun to truly think of what just happened. My arms wrapped around my legs and clasped into one another as I sat in somewhat of a fetal position to keep myself both comforted and warm.

I cleared my throat and sniffed a few times and kept looking up to the sky, as the stars called for me. Their dim light in the pitch black sky sparkled ‘The sky is so beautiful,’ I thought, ‘…so aesthetic and visually pleasing…so artsy…’

At that moment, it finally clicked. My lifelong passion became reality to help me through trauma. Art has always been there to calm me and get my mind off things. I have heard people tell stories of how they found a special thing, their solace, that helps them through their struggles, but I had no idea what mine was or what it ever could be. It was always there right in front of me and I was blind to it for years. How could I not see it sooner? It was painfully obvious.

I clenched my cold fists, picked myself up from the cold, wet ground, and headed up the stairs, in my house, to my room. I eagerly stumbled my way into the room, grabbed for the nearest sharpened number 2 pencil, some special black ink pens of various sizes, and with no hesitation, grabbed another one of my sketchbooks and started drawing vigorously. It brought peace of mind and relaxation to me immediately. I drew as if it was going to be my last time drawing. I drew as if drawing was the only thing I knew. My stress and depression, with every stroke of the pen, diminished drastically.

Now, with art, nothing can put me down. I am at peace because I discovered something that was there for me all along. I am at peace because art is my solace.


Hi everyone, I am Elise. My plans are to stay at west shore for this year as well as next year then once I get all of my general education classes taken care of I will hopefully be able to transfer to GVSU to gain my teaching degree in special education. I have always been fond of teaching and now I am finally on the path to becoming a teacher. I look forward to the rest of this semester and the rest of my time at west shore, so far I am very happy with my choice of staying here for an extra two years to get basic classes out of the way.


My name is Aaron Facundo, I graduated from Shelby High School, class of 2017.  Fun fact, my graduation date happen to be the same day as I was born.  So wishes do come true…

I wanna share some inspirational stuff that I’ve put together oven the years; I believe that if you tell yourself everyday that you can accomplish something it will be accomplish.  Over the years I was able to conquer great obsolesces in sports and even academic subjects; just by thinking you can, you will, because our thoughts can become things and those things can be our dreams.  I also believe that big goals require little goals; everything is a quarter mile at a time.

My short term goal is to have legitimate career before I’m 25 years old; my long term goal is to own my own gym were I’ll have little departments with physical therapy, personal trainers, and a rehabilitation department. So whole fitness health organization.



Hello my name is Tiana Hill and this is my second semester here at Westshore. My major I’m pursing is veterinary medicine. I currently live in Baldwin. If I’m not working on my free time then I’m usually binge watching a show on Netflix or playing video games with my sister.


Hi everyone, my name is Taylor.

Outside of school and work, I love to write, draw and read while hanging out with my Siberian Husky or friends. I’m currently doing my Gen Eds before transferring to most likely GVSU for their criminal justice program. I’m testing the waters of Psychology to see if that is the second major I want, if it is I will go on for my Masters.

Hi my name is Erica, I graduated high school from Manistee High. I enjoy hunting, fishing, being with my family, and working hard. I’m a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) working at a nursing home. I’m going to school to become a dental hygienist transferring to Ferris next year!