Seeing Clearly | Teen Ink

Seeing Clearly MAG

June 11, 2010
By riley1516 PLATINUM, Lake Zurich, Illinois
riley1516 PLATINUM, Lake Zurich, Illinois
26 articles 2 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman


Sitting at a table in my school cafeteria, I looked around, slowly taking in everything. For one of the first times in my life, I realized I had been seeing without really seeing for the past two years.

Student after student passed my table carrying a tray with that day's lunch special, but if you looked deeper, there was more to observe. There was more than just the uniform they were wearing, or the way they had styled their hair that day. It suddenly hit me as I cautiously watched classmate after classmate walk by, that I did not know much about anyone at my high school. Sure, I knew how many siblings some had or what grade school they had attended, or what their favorite movies were, but there was a lot more hidden under the surface.

Catching the eye of a girl in my grade sitting at a nearby table, I waved politely. She smiled weakly and then continued to pick at the pasta in front of her. If I hadn't heard recently that her mother was dying of leukemia, I would never have suspected anything was wrong. I may not have been as understanding and compassionate either, had I not known. But isn't that how it usually works? Don't we judge others too quickly, not knowing the whole story?

This is the crazy epiphany I had one day at school. I realized that everyone has a story, and everyone may have something tough they are facing in their lives. I suddenly understood that I was so caught up in my own life, I was forgetting to look out for others. We are all going through something, so why do we so often make it harder for each other? Why not support one another and create one less burden?

I have cystic fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. No one at my school knows – I don't show any noticeable symptoms except for a few coughs here and there. I go about my day like any other kid, but with the realization that I have a dark and terrifying future.

Before that day when I decided to look at the world with a new perspective, I pitied myself almost every day. I thought only about myself and my heavy burden. But I've now realized that I am not the only one suffering: everyone has their own mountain to face.

So, let me ask you, what if that girl or boy you made fun of yesterday was secretly battling a disease or losing someone they loved? Just take a moment to see others and the world around you each day. No one is perfect – we just need to accept each other the way we are.



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This article has 60 comments.


on Oct. 6 at 11:13 pm
WoodlandFairy BRONZE, Angels Camp, California
1 article 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and its worth fighting for."





























Samwise Gamgee

That was beautiful. Your story just came through and your right, we all need to treat others as kind as we can. I will note that to myself

Lida28 BRONZE said...
on Sep. 20 at 12:43 pm
Lida28 BRONZE, Thessaloniki, Other
2 articles 0 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
Respect your mothers, everyone.

It's really amazing

WolfGurl GOLD said...
on Jun. 15 at 10:36 am
WolfGurl GOLD, Not A Real Place, Indiana
17 articles 4 photos 138 comments

Favorite Quote:
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. –Anatole France.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. –Josh Billings

Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.- George Carlin

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never lose. Either win, or learn. - Me

Oh, wow. That's good.

on Jun. 14 at 9:43 am
stacy_berganza BRONZE, Flanders, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
I completely agree with your thoughts, sometimes the bully themselves doesn't realize what they are doing until after. Your writing shows that in a beautiful manner.

on Apr. 14 at 2:33 pm
Inspired_Writer, Henderson, Nevada
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I really agree to what your saying @ riley1516 I think that when people bully they don´t really think before they do or say.

on Apr. 1 at 10:23 am
chaysebarksdale BRONZE, Grandville, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
This piece is really great! I can really feel the emotion behind it and the message is very clear.

on Apr. 1 at 10:19 am
AnnaBabinski BRONZE, Grand Rapids, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I like the important message you are sending through this writing.

262368M said...
on Mar. 18 at 11:58 am
262368M, Greenacres, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
If you do not take risks then what are you doing with your life -Myself

I love the last paragraph! I think that it has a very important message inside, that I can really take into consideration.

Niyaa3 said...
on Dec. 4 2020 at 6:46 am
Niyaa3, Dearborn, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
¨Keep the company you trust¨

This is like I am watching Dhar mann.

NINJATREXYT said...
on Mar. 4 2020 at 12:45 pm
NINJATREXYT, Arvada, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
you don't deserve this so im so sorry

25rdashlock said...
on Jan. 17 2020 at 12:50 pm
25rdashlock, Glendale, Kentucky
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
you dont know until you try

that is really hard and nowone deserves a disise

25rdashlock said...
on Jan. 17 2020 at 12:48 pm
25rdashlock, Glendale, Kentucky
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
you dont know until you try

very touching and inspiring to help others

Robert214 GOLD said...
on Jan. 17 2020 at 6:01 am
Robert214 GOLD, Guangzhou, Other
11 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
Make the best of what is within our power, and take the rest as it occurs. -Epictetus

This article is touching and thought-provoking! I really like it!

JonKarlo said...
on Dec. 19 2019 at 2:39 pm
JonKarlo, Sacramento, California
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
This article is very good has very descriptive details and how you see your point of view for example when she was at the school table and explaining her point of view.

on Dec. 19 2019 at 1:40 pm
bulyosatotal BRONZE, Sacramento, California
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
you an excellent writer!!!

on Jun. 5 2019 at 10:22 pm
SydTheKid09 BRONZE, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance"

This was good!

BrookWilde said...
on Apr. 1 2019 at 2:43 pm
BrookWilde, Price, Utah
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is truly amazing! You are an excellent writer and truly inspiring!

on Mar. 25 2019 at 6:18 pm
ILoveToSwim BRONZE, Waxhaw, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments
That is all so true and amazing to read! Congratulations you are an amazing writer!

on Jan. 23 2019 at 1:41 pm
Cabanillas123, Moreno Valley, California
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
Sitting at a table in my school cafeteria, I looked around, slowly taking in everything. For one of the first times in my life, I realized I had been seeing without really seeing for the past two years.

Student after student passed my table carrying a tray with that day's lunch special, but if you looked deeper, there was more to observe. There was more than just the uniform they were wearing, or the way they had styled their hair that day. It suddenly hit me as I cautiously watched classmate after classmate walk by, that I did not know much about anyone at my high school. Sure, I knew how many siblings some had or what grade school they had attended, or what their favorite movies were, but there was a lot more hidden under the surface.

Catching the eye of a girl in my grade sitting at a nearby table, I waved politely. She smiled weakly and then continued to pick at the pasta in front of her. If I hadn't heard recently that her mother was dying of leukemia, I would never have suspected anything was wrong. I may not have been as understanding and compassionate either, had I not known. But isn't that how it usually works? Don't we judge others too quickly, not knowing the whole story?

This is the crazy epiphany I had one day at school. I realized that everyone has a story, and everyone may have something tough they are facing in their lives. I suddenly understood that I was so caught up in my own life, I was forgetting to look out for others. We are all going through something, so why do we so often make it harder for each other? Why not support one another and create one less burden?

I have cystic fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. No one at my school knows – I don't show any noticeable symptoms except for a few coughs here and there. I go about my day like any other kid, but with the realization that I have a dark and terrifying future.

Before that day when I decided to look at the world with a new perspective, I pitied myself almost every day. I thought only about myself and my heavy burden. But I've now realized that I am not the only one suffering: everyone has their own mountain to face.

So, let me ask you, what if that girl or boy you made fun of yesterday was secretly battling a disease or losing someone they loved? Just take a moment to see others and the world around you each day. No one is perfect – we just need to accept each other the way we are.

on Nov. 29 2018 at 11:46 am
diamondgirl2003, Costa Mesa, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
your story made me think about being this tuff girl that i'm really. Inside im this soft girl but i got hurt my whole life i don't know how to feel anymore i've got let down so many times. I'm a foster kid and every time i go live with a family they get tired of me to fast and they get rid of me and i'm all alone again and i've grown up being mean to people i'm in high school and im in 10th grade and its kind of hard to love so if you have any comments you can email me