Draw my Life(Without a Pen)

a Photo Essay by Ahilesh

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What is life?

Life can be classified by many things. The word life could be used to separate organic matter from inorganic matter, or as a way to think about being energetic and vigorous. But the primary definition of life is the existence of an individual. Human use this definitition to think about how far they've come in what they consider to be "life". They look at their good times, bad times, accomplishments and embarrassing moments, all to make sure that they've achieved something that they're proud of before the inevitable comes, that being death.

I am only fourteen years old. I still have plenty of life left to live, but somehow it feels as if I've lived enough to last much more than fourteen years. I think I've had enough experiences to be able to share my life with the world, and how it looks through my eyes, and through the sweetness and subtlety that you can find inside of them.

So, without further ado, I present to you, Draw my Life Without a Pen.

(Author's Note: This is eventually going to become very personal. Just letting you know.)

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Early Childhood

On a cold winter's night, at 11:56 PM on November 19th, 2000, I entered the world. There wasn't much to say about me at the time, mainly because at that time I would be incapable of describing myself to you.

My family wasn't that big. At the time, they were living in an apartment in Lewisville, but by the time I was born, they decided thay we needed more space, so my parents hired someone to build us a house at 262 Lyndsie Drive, Coppell, Texas, 75019.

The first four years of my life were rather normal. Even for a toddler, I was very small. My parents tried to put these things on the doorknobs so I couldn't get into the rooms(top), but my hands were so small that I could just reach straight through them.

My family consisted of three people, excluding me; My mother is a very nice lady. She has always loved me has my interests at heart. My dad is a great guy as well, and he always makes it a priority to help me stay on top of things both health and education wise. My older brother is seven years older than me to this day. Nowadays, he gets mistaken for being my dad, but back then he acted like a real big brother. He always made sure I wouldn't miss anything, whether it was days of school, or problems on tests, or anything like that.

Elementary School

Those first 4 years rolled by pretty fast, and before I knew it, it was time for kindergarten at Denton Creek Elementary(left). I hadn't really been around too many kids my age until then, so I didn't know how to feel. The first real emotion I remember was feeling really intimidated by the other kids, as the first thing I realized was that they were giants compared to me. Suddenly being small was looking like a bad thing. All throughout elementary school, I did pretty decently grade-wise. My biggest problem was on a whole new scale...

I was bullied. A lot. Kids were constantly teasing me because I was really thin. They were always grabbing my arm and comparing it to theirs without my consent. I tried telling the teachers and even my parents, but no matter what they tried to do, it didn't really stop. The worst part was that I never really made any friends. But it wasn't just the kids who were messing with me. My third grade teacher was not very fond of me. Every time someone did something bad, she would always find a way to blame me, which I never understood, since I had never done anything to get in trouble before. Eventually, the other kids caught on to this and started framing me for things. That was the first half of my third grade year. As soon as Christmas Break started, I took matters into my own hands and worked with my mom on sending a professional email to the principal about why I didn't like the class. The principal was surprisingly lenient, and as soon as I went back to school, I was in a different class. My new third grade teacher, Ms. Fouts, was one of the greatest teacher I've ever had. She was really nice to me, and nothing like my previous teacher.

Seeing that I had no friends to hang out with, I turned to someone else to socialize with; my big brother, Avinaash. We had(and still have) a lot of common interests, one of them being online computer games. One game we played all the time was called Insaniquarium(right). We both had a estranged passion for fish(that my mom, for some reason, found to be adorable), which was the main reason that we played the game to begin with. It's a game where you take care of a fish tank by feeding your fish and collecting money from them, also while defending them from the occasional alien invading your fish tank. Even though I don't really play it anymore, that game means a lot to me because it helped me bond with my brother.

Eventually, 4th and 5th grade passed, and I was left at odds on one of the biggest shifts in my life. I had been going to elementary school for almost six years, and now it was time for a change. The big shift to middle school had ensued.

Middle School

I had spent the entire summer stressing about middle school, yet when I entered, I was completely unprepared and dumbfounded by everything. Still, that wasn't to say that I loved North(middle).

The first thing that I noticed was different was the class-switching. In 5th grade, they had asked us to move from room to room to prepare for that, but what that didn't account for was the sheer amount of walking you had to do from class to class.

The second thing was the work. There was a lot more, more than I was used to. My grades started to slip, and I was a nervous wreck. I didn't know what to do, as it seemed that the older I got, the less understanding my family became. They just told me that I had to put up with it if I was going to succeed. The moment my grades started slipping, my dad grew concerned. He told me that if I didn't pull them up, he had to send me to reform school in Malaysia. Ever since he told me that, I've lived my life in constant fear of it happening. I knew I was on my own, which didn't help my stress.

Thankfully, there was one thing keeping me going. One person would be more accurate.

Her name was Zara, and she was, essentially, the first friend I ever had. The first conversation we actually had happened while we were waiting in line for picture day. We were both more or less at the end of the alphabet and rather close to each other, so we ended up talking for quite a while. Through that conversation, I learned that we both had a brother, we were both learning the saxophone, and that we were both fond of old Hindi movies. Zara was the only thing that kept me going through sixth grade. She always knew exactly what I needed, which is what made her an amazing friend.

As soon as seventh grade rolled around, I started making more and more friends. I felt so much better about life. I had gone from down in the dumps to up in the clouds. All of my new friends were different in their own special way, but the one thing that connected us was band. I was in love with band. I made sure to practice every day, to always keep my saxophone clean, and always ask questions to the directors to become the best musician possible. My new friends respected my dedication to it, which is how I found most of them. I was on top of the world. Elementary School had been nothing but sadness and stress, but middle school was so much better. I was pulling my grades up, I had friends, and I finally felt that I had a life and that I could finally focus on other things.

All of that changed during eighth grade.

When I walked in to begin my eighth grade year, I figured that I was prepared for any scenario. It started great. By the second day of school, I had been nominated to be in Inifinity(right), which was an elite group of eight singers. Boy, was I wrong.

My main problem was with Algebra. I had been in all GT classes all throughout middle school, and it hadn't proved to be that much of a problem. Algebra was a whole different thing. In a way, it was my first taste of high school, and I was anything but prepared for it. I was so stressed trying to get my Algebra done, I completely blew off my other subjects, and before long my grades started to slip again. I was so terrified, I started to slowly lose myself.

Some of my friends stuck around and tried to help me. Others just left me where I was. I felt so bad, that I felt like I was developing strange characteristics about myself that weren't there before. All my parents really did to help me was constantly hold a sign over my head that said if I didn't pull my grades up, they were shipping me out to Malaysia. Then they dropped another bomb on me. My mom told me I couldn't take band in high school if I ended up staying. She said that it was too much work to stay after school all those days, and that she refused to let me do it. That meant I was going to lose all of my friends when I got into high school.

I was done. There were some nights I would cry myself to sleep, and have a wet pillow in the morning. My life was slowly descending into a bad place. The few friends who helped me through this are the people that I have to thank for not being a depressed nut nowadays. One of the people who stuck with me was Zara. We had stayed friends throughout seventh and eighth grade, and now I had something that I had never experienced before. Something I couldn't tell her. For the first time, I had legitimate feelings for someone. Unfortunately, I would never get the chance to tell her, because as soon as she walked in a week after Spring Break was over, she announced with a sad tone that she was moving out of the continent.

This didn't help my mood at all. Not only was I losing my grades and my sanity, but my best friend, too. I was so conflicted, I didn't know what I wanted to happen. But I realized something. Zara wasn't moving until the end of the year, so I still had time left. I decided that I wasn't going to spend all this time in the most depressing way possible. I was going to enjoy the time I had before high school. That mindset really helped. Now that I actually had the will to enjoy myself, I also had the will to pull my grades up again. I started making A's in most of my classes. I even got one in Algebra, which even I was shocked by. I was digging myself out of the ditch, and by the time the end of school rolled around, I was in a great place. I had friends, good grades, and as I walked away from the school on that fateful last day, I was certain that I was prepared for high school. I hope I was right.

The following day, we had a small going away part for Zara(left), and we took this picture so that she wouldn't forget us. Seeing her walk away for the last time was one of the most painful things I've ever had to do. But I've moved on. I'm ready for high school, and whatever else the future may hold.


Well, there you have it. I hope that this told you something about me. It was a little strange writing all of these personal things, but I'm doing it not only for this assignment, but because these are some things that I needed to get off of my chest. I needed to write this to relinquish all of the experiences I've had in middle school, so that I can start making new ones.

Thank you for listening,

Ahilesh(/Eli) Vasudaven

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