I was born in St. Louis Missouri on July 23 in the wonderful year 1998 when my parents suddenly realized they were parents! I grew up within the affection of my wonderful mother and father. Their love has consistently soaked through every memory I can scrape together from my first four years of life before my cunning and glamorous younger sister was born and all the years that followed after.
My younger sister, Addison, was born on August 22 at 9am and I recall my dad rushing me to the lemon scented and painfully white and bleach blue hospital while I proudly paraded around in my new silver and pink bedazzled “big-sister” shirt. Suddenly it occurred to me, at a very young age, that there were already hundreds of moments bubbling all around me like a pot of boiling water throwing heat into the air. Moments I couldn’t catch in my hands even if I wanted to moving too fast and exploding in the heat of life around me I grew frantic and almost obsessed with remembering.
I have this notion that writing these moments down will help me remember the variations of myself. That somehow when I get older and my life becomes twisted around my ankles I will be able to delve back into the life I have already lived. I will be able to remember the Laurel who lived in St. Louis until she was 7. The Laurel who was afraid of loud noises that came from the refrigerator and the fire in fireworks.
I will remember the Laurel who threw herself on the floor and imagined she would disintegrate there when she found out she was moving to NYC. The Laurel who made her first best friend in middle school with thick brown hair, gold laced eyes and long fingernails. I will remember the Laurel who lost her, and I will remember how different she felt on both of these days. I will remember how different these Laurels looked and felt and how the big the world seemed.
I write so I can remember who I was trying to be and who I really was. I write so I can find the one pebble of honesty within my day of fabricated excuses and exclamations to explain and find try the real root, the big and pulsing root that all of my of inexplicably happy or sad emotions stemmed from.
There are already so many days within my seventeen years of life that I cannot remember. There are already so many smells and sensations I will never be able to recall but in writing some of them down I have this innocent notion that my life will be like jars on a shelf. I will be able to unscrew the lid and throw the paint in the air and become immersed in the image of who I used to be. I will be able to commend myself for fighting for the person I want to be.
I write because I want to remember my strength as a 7 year old that left her home town behind and moved to and fell in love with NYC. I want to remember that courage doesn’t always mean jumping off the cliff. It also means raising your hand and saying what you are actually thinking even though you are fully aware of the fact that everyone else disagrees with you. I want to remember the girl who loved herself enough to fall in love at age fifteen. I want to remember the girl who always said thank you to her parents, because nowadays I feel myself forgetting.
I write because when it comes down to it at the end of the day all I have to fear are those tiny and annoyingly loud voices in my head that pull me back and down. I write because it helps those voices go away and clear the space in my head and my heart for the memories I can learn from the memories I can grow from.
I write because I want to remember how to appreciate the life I have lived and all the life I have left.
Laurel Clark was born in St. Louis Missouri and raised in New York City. She is 17 years old and attends the Beacon high-school in Manhattan, an award winning playwright, a half marathon runner, a MOTH story slam participant and a Poetry slam participant. Laurel has been an editor for her school’s literary magazine “Beacon Ink” for two consecutive years and her poetry and short stories. Laurel’s poetry and short stories have also been published in the literary magazine. Additionally she has been in her high-school’s art show for three consecutive years where they featured her films which have consisted of stop animation, a short documentaries, and monologues.
Laurel volunteered as a cashier for 75 hours at Housing Works a non-for profit charity that works to raise money for homeless people with AIDS, she also volunteered for 20 hours in Costa Rica with GLA this past summer. Laurel also started her school’s first plastic bag recycling initiative and has been on every leadership team her high-school offers. She is an avid writer and attended the Sarah Lawrence College creative writing week long summer program this past July where she worked to hone her writing skills and pursuer her passions.