In March, I wrote a blog post about grief and resilience, not knowing that my son John, a sophomore in high school, was writing an article about resilience in his English class at the same time as well. I didn't know that he had submitted his piece to a magazine for publication, encouraged by his wonderful teacher, Adrienne Wichard-Edds, until he received a notification that his article would be published in the May/June, 2019 Your Teen magazine. The magazine even paid him $35 for his piece! Here is John's article, which was part of the magazine's cover story on Resilience:
Stress and Resilience: For Me, It's About Overcoming Stress, Not Avoiding It
The chair I just threw at the wall makes a noise louder than a balloon popping next to your ear. I might’ve just broken school property, but damn, it felt really good.
It had only been two hours since all of my work was deleted. I had been editing my current film project, and the computer was out of storage when I needed to import new footage. My teacher mistakenly deleted my whole project while trying to free up space, thinking that he deleted something else. It was partially my fault for inadvertently saving my project to a folder for the middle school play our school put on two years ago.
I had no backup. I stayed after school with my teacher trying to somehow recover the files. Five trillion thoughts rushed through my brain. I’m going to have to re-edit that scene I worked on for three hours. The one that took so much tinkering to get right. How am I going to finish this on time now?
Should I just give up? Everyone thinks I’m an idiot.
Suddenly it was 8 o’clock. The teacher had left two hours ago, and I’d been trying to recover the files. Nothing came up. Every time I thought about all the editing I’d have to redo, I threw a chair at the wall. At the ground. I banged my fists on the table. It didn’t feel like I was in control of my own body. Then I got a text from my friend Ellie, who was there when all of my work was lost.
Did you find the files?
At least you didn’t lose your footage. I think you just have to accept the fact that you’re going to have to re-edit this thing.
She was right, of course. I needed to look on the bright side. Editing is one thing, but imagine if I had to reshoot the hours of footage I had! That makes the whole re-editing thing seem like a vacation in comparison.
It may have taken me a few hours to get to the realization, but I finally understood that it was time to adjust to my new reality. When I got home, I made a schedule of what I was going to edit each day. It was time to take this seriously.
I learned that maybe I actually can handle what life throws at me. I can be strong and put together. First I have to get out of my own way.
John Barnes is currently a sophomore at H-B Woodlawn in Arlington, VA. You can watch his newest (no longer deleted) film Reject and other projects at vimeo.com/johnbarnesfilms.
Ellice Halpern, J.D., is a Virginia Supreme Court certified general and family mediator.