A Description of How the House on Mango Street Changed Influenced Lives of Others
They say time does not last, but a memory will. Unfortunately, a memory does not always serve the positive requirements that we burden upon it. My memories serve only to haunt me of who I once was, and who I never will be. Home videos are the only trace left of the happy extrovert I once had known myself to be. In particular, one can see a skinny, blond-haired child dancing on the streets of Disney World and striking poses, like a runway model, for the passing strangers. I wanted to be noticed, for everyone to look at me, as I smiled and leaped off and on the curb of the sidewalk. Those days did not last.
When did I change? That question can never be answered. It has been so long since I have been able to remember being that happy child. Somewhere in middle school, a new identity arose within me. I became fragile to other peoples words. I was constantly on guard against the limitations and criticisms from people I once considered to be my friends. They were a horrible group of friends; the type that could condemn you for life just for wearing generic brand shirt, and not Gap.
Each morning I would wake up with the prospect of a new opportunity for happiness among my friends. Each day my hopes were shattered as I walked into the classroom, and with just one glance, shock myself back into reality. My stomach churned with anxiousness as the racing of my heart caused my head to become dizzy. I wanted to flee from the unbearable torture that awaited me and hide like a groundhog for all winter; unlike a groundhog whose only job is to sleep, I had to be in school. It was in this grou!
p of people I associated with that I lost my sense of self, my independence, and my childhood.
The torture did not stop there. The guys I chose to give my heart to, in hopes of restoring faith that someone could care for me, returned the favor with nothing more than empty words and absent appearances. I would share more about the pain I suffered from these men, but so much of what happened I have blocked out. All I recall are the feelings left over. No one but a fourteen year old girl understands the profound affects of what heartache can do on ones self-esteem.
It could have been a compilation of my past experiences or maybe a trace from my mothers side of the family, but I soon went into a state of solitude and depression. Regardless, the dismal feelings that generated inside me and the empty thoughts that festered in my mind ate away at my existence. I was slowly disappearing within myself and I felt as though there was nothing pulling me back. I felt utterly alone. My whole life I devoted myself to others just to be let down.
Now, there was no one left to turn to. It seemed like there really was not a purpose for me to live for all I ever endured was pain and suffering. I wanted to talk to people, anyone, about it, but no one was interested in hearing my problems. I certainly did not have friends I could open up to because they were all too preoccupied with their pathetic problems, like which boy to date. And I certainly could not turn to my parents because at that point in my life, like every teenager, I was revolting against t!
hem. All that was left was for me to drown myself in my misery to the point of suffocation. Fortunately, my sophomore year of high school I was introduced to a new style of literature, which reassured me that my life was not unnatural or disorderly. My teachers referred to these books as coming of age stories which eloquently captured the thoughts and incidents of adolescent girls struggling with life. I found myself skimming through the text with anticipation of learning more about the tribulations other girls, like me, went through. For the first time in my life I felt normal, sane. No one around me was available to understood my thoughts, but here on paper, a fictitious character was describing every emotion that passed through my timid body.
The one piece of literature in particular that changed my life immensely is House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. Through small vignettes, she poetically narrates the hardships a young girl, by the name of Esperanza, endures growing up in a Latin community. This powerful book is about Esperanzas storyof a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become. The words spoke to me like an epiphany; not only could I empathize with Esperanza, but the use of poetic language Cisneros uses captures the essence of the tone of the story beautifully.
By the time I was finished the book, a stir of questions twirled through my mind like a cloud of dust picked up by a high wind. I wondered what my purpose in life was? Why did I endure so much pain? Why couldnt I just be happy? The thoughts began to sensor my sense of reality and I could no longer focus on anything.
I needed an escape from the black whole of emptiness that lived in my chest. I could actually feel the whole as it inhabited my body. I could feel the emptiness penetrate my heart so that I no longer was allowed to feel. I was just numb. Afraid of what my thoughts would do to me, I knew I had to get rid of them, quickly. I needed to release them from me like a demon caught in my soul.
I recalled some of the last words Esperanza said in the book, I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much. I write it down and Mango says goodbye sometimes. She does not hold me in her arms. She sets me free. It then was clear to me that there was a way to cope with my pain. So, I picked up my nearest Bic pen and scrambled for a piece of scrap paper from my cluttered desk drawer, and began to write. The words flowed faster from my hand than they could leave my lips as I read out loud. Colors, shapes and designs all appeared on my paper as I began to paint with words the dis!
aster I called my mind. I pressed lightly at first, careful how I wrote each letter. Eventually my emotions took over my fingers and my letters became thick and hard. Hurt. Pain. Suffering. Torture. Empty. Depressed. Miserable. Nothingness. My handwriting was barely legible but the words kept on pouring out. There was a tidal wave of thoughts stuck on this paper.
The release. It ended abruptly, like a final climax. I left the pen on the paper and stared out the window toward the world of normal people who had no idea what I just went through. No longer was I alone. No longer could I be afraid of my thoughts. I finally discovered a way to lift them from within and release them to the cruel world. They were safe now, on paper, out of my head, away from me.
My body relaxed. My fingers slowly unclenched from the curled up position they were forced into to hold the pen. With a deep breath I could feel the calm swim through my veins. There was a slight breeze which tickled my neck and for the first time I was able to enjoy something external. I let the breeze pass by me and realized it had been so long since I had let the little things make me happy. For now on my thoughts could no longer posses my mind for I could liberate them onto paper. No longer would the ghost ache so much. I write it down and the pain says goodbye sometimes. It does!