FREMONT HIGH SCHOOL, PLAIN CITY, UT. 2018-2019.
Please consider sharing your American Experience project in the comment section below. As we work together to construct a collective American identity, let it be one that recognizes us as individuals and values our experiences as part of the narrative.
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
*This is in addition to posting on Canvas. I will grade your project/essay through Canvas.
** If you did a creative project instead of an essay, email a picture of it to me saying you would like to share it on this post. I will then upload it. (Sorry, comments are restricted to text only & I can’t change it).
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE CREATIVE PROJECTS
by Elise Machen
by Anna Anderson
Words float around on the white page
The black letters run together,
The teachers words float in the air
I try to catch them,
Only a few words stick.
These things sound like gibberish to me
Words that don’t compute.
Just let me write
And let me film
So that I may learn the skills I need
To grow in my career.
These things I learn in school
Don’t normally register within me.
I leave the classroom wondering why
I can’t understand what the teacher says.
Leave me questioning why
I can’t get good scores on the tests.
Hold the noose above my neck
As I sink lower and lower
In not understanding
And teachers thinking
by Justin Thompson
3 thoughts on “YOUR AMERICAN EXPERIENCE FHS, 2018-2019”
From your Friendly Neighborhood African-American
If you take this personal, I recommend some self-reflection.
I didn’t always mind letting people touch my hair. For the record, don’t touch my hair unless you’ve asked me or you know me well enough. And if you have to question if you know me well enough, the answer is no. I cannot explain how infuriating it is. Yes, we are all aware that it isn’t something that you are used to and we fully understand that. But just because you were unaware that my hair grows up out of my head instead of down, personal space and respect doesn’t go out the window. Touching my hair is creepy, makes it dirty, and can get an elbow to the face if you touch the wrong person. From me, your friendly neighborhood African-American to you, it is in your best interest to ask first. Most people will say no because unless you come up to my waist and haven’t passed the first grade, it is just nauseating and inappropriate. So unless you are one of my closest friends, or have hair like mine, do not touch my hair.
I didn’t always mind letting people say the n-word. And in the next ten seconds I need to decide if I need to censor myself, which doesn’t make a ton of sense because lots of people around me seem to be incapable of doing the same thing. So I will not be censoring myself. I will not apologize or rationalize that. Do not call me your nigga. Do not make jokes about me being your nigger. Substituting the r for an a does not change anything, and whoever told you that has grossly misinformed you. Let me do a little educating. You are calling me a lazy animal. And before you tell me that the meaning has changed, that change does not apply to you if you are white. I would normally feel hesitant to be so straightforward and brazen, but not today. Because that is just another version of me being complicit and not educating. So before you casually what up, my nigga your friends, ask yourself the following questions. Are you yourself an African-American? If the answer is no, stop yourself. That was simple. If you are confused on what to do when there is a song that uses it, another simple fix! Censor yourself. Millions of black teenagers manage to censor themselves around their strict black parents with music in the car, so I think that you should be able to do it just as well. I can’t speak for every black American, but let’s just go with majority ruling. We are not your anythings. When a black person says that to a fellow black person, it means family or friend. It is an established acknowledgement of one another. You just look like an idiot otherwise. No one can stop you from saying it, but before you do consider what position does that leave you in. You might have just lost the friendship and respect of someone without realizing it. You might have just made yourself look like a fool. And for some people, you might’ve just invited them to punch you in the face. And if you say it in the wrong place around the wrong people, you very well could have. So from your friendly neighborhood African-American, you really shouldn’t say nigga.
I didn’t always believe racism was still a thing. Besides the few rare clumps of active KKK and racist politicians, I thought we were past that. I was naive. I was close to recording myself saying this section. But paper is probably the best route. I haven’t quite curbed my temper completely. Emotions through text are completely up to interpretation, so do with this as you wish. Call it sarcastic, or maybe from a place of education and good intentions. I would argue it is a healthy mix of both. But make absolutely no mistake, that I’m angry. Arguably, generationally angry. Some geneticists argue that blacks have something called Legacy of Trauma, a mistrust and anger towards something that may have only affected their ancestors, rather than something that affected them personally. Which honestly makes a lot of sense because slavery makes me angry. And not just empathetic anger, the real personal kind. Whether that’s true or not, that does not change the fact that my grandmother was living in the south during the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. My mother, was alive (although a white Westerner) but this wasn’t hundreds of years ago for people like me. And just because I wasn’t alive at the time, doesn’t change anything. These are my people. I’ve always grown up with Pan-Africanist sentiments, so not just black Americans, but blacks everywhere. But somehow to some people that’s not enough. But how ludicrous is it, that just because I wasn’t a slave or raising my fist in the 60’s, I don’t know what I’m talking about or I can’t be angry? I feel slighted. I didn’t always feel this way. I tried to be fake-white for a while, and I blame that entirely on assimilation, but now that I’m older I physically cannot let things slide. There is a disconnect inside of me that I just can’t. There’s so many things. I could go on and on about black stereotypes (I don’t like Watermelon by the way, so keep that to yourself.) But as Americans, have so many really gotten to the point where you can really say all that to my face and be confused why I’m angry? How is it a question why we kneel? Small acts of racism, at any age and in any situation contributes to the big stuff. Rodney King big stuff, Sandra Bland big stuff. And for some of you, you’ll have to just take my word for it. So from your angry neighborhood African-American trust me on this one.
By Nadia Moellendorf
In today’s society, people only see one side of a person life. Most of them see the good things like they finished school or they got promoted. On social media they only show the good stuff and not the bad stuff. An example is my life. People assume that I’m a funny, smart twin who just likes to have fun. All of that is true. What some people don’t see is my other side of my life. I have been suffering from depression and anxiety for years. I also am sensitive for people saying things to me. Here is how it started.
It started when I was the age of 13. When I was 13 I did something that took me years to forgive myself. It was so bad, that I had a time that I wanted to kill myself. I was in my closet and I had my pocket knife. I was going to kill myself but I didn’t. I knew it was bad for me not to live. I then told my parents and they took my knife. It was for a good reason but at that time period I didn’t understand.
They took me to a therapist who was crazy. She would make me do these assignments which I did, but I only lied saying it helped me. She would also swear and made the situation worse. I didn’t like her that much. At the same time I had to take antidepressants everyday. Sometimes it would make me happy but it side effects such as sleep in the day, forget stuff, more suicidal etc. I kept taking that medicine until 4 years later, I switched my medicine and my therapist.The next therapist was a little bit better. She was nice but she was a wake up call for life since at this time I was 16. She told me you need to know your own medicine and you’re almost an adult. She scared me about my future and how I wasn’t going to school. It really put me into a depressed, low self esteem mood. It mostly occur to me thinking about it in marching band which I really had low self esteem and I took stuff literally. I then kept bullying myself thoughts saying “ You are lazy.”, “Why are you even alive?”, “You are the worst person ever.”, “You fail at everything”. Taking this new medicine made things go worse. I only lasted it for 2 months.
Going back to the thing I did at age 13, I told my cousin and only her at that time period. It took me until my junior year of high school trying to hide it. She helped me tell my parents the truth. When I told them I was so relieved. My dad was disappointed but my mom was glad that I said it. For me on the other hand I was scared for the future to come.
One night it changed my life. I had this thought that was really bad. I started screaming on my bed saying “ I’m sorry! I’m really sorry!”. Couple days later I was at the hospital thinking about killing myself. I didn’t feel good and I really hit myself hard in the head against the wall. It was at the point that I emailed most of my teacher what happened. I was in the hospital for a couple of hours. I started thinking about the bad things in life, like my past that I didn’t forgive myself. The pain would not go away. I feel weak. I felt useless. I felt that I wasn’t special in this world, that I only make problems for myself and for others. When I had a chance to look on my phone I was some teacher reply back. They said I hope I get better, and that they know that I am a good kid. I didn’t feel like a good kid at all of what I did. When I was reading my emails, two of them hit me. The first one was my band teacher at that time. He emailed me back saying “ You have been a wonderful light in my program, and I have been so proud of how far you’ve come. You ARE a good person and that you are valuable. Please don’t ever forget that.”. The next teacher who inspired me was my English teacher. She said “I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I hope you know how much I value having you in my class! You have frequently bring a unique perspective in our discussions of literature that no one else brings– I think we really desperately need different perspectives these days.. how I want you to know that I think your voice and perspective is really important and while other people in our sometimes wild and crazy class don’t see it right now– it’s so important. Please let me know if there is something I can do to help you– with anything!!”. On that day that I got them, it felt weird at that time. I didn’t have any emotion but it was sort of nice getting an email from two of my teachers. It was all depressing yet strange. I was not in the right state of mind. So after that event I was out of school for four months straight.
During most of the four months, I stayed at my house with either my mom or dad. Mostly my mom stayed with me. It only lasted for a couple of weeks, until she had to take me to my grandma’s house. Everyday I would sit on the couch either doing nothing or playing my guitar, if I was ever in the mood. I still had homework to do, but most days I would not even care. Depression during that time period hit me everyday. I didn’t know when I was going back to school or even going to Fremont. I was thinking about either going to online school or go to Weber which scared me to death. It was really worse that I became sensitive to what people were saying. One person asked me if I was not going to Fremont and if I was going to Weber. I replied saying I don’t know. I really didn’t know what I was going to do in my life.
For me going back to Fremont was the worse. On that day when I would walk in the school, I would have this memory of something that previously happened to me. The reason why I went is because I had to go to an appointment for my IEP check or in other case ,if I was still going to Fremont. I didn’t feel like going. I remember going and being depressed. Not even answering questions. Soon the person who holds my file and my mom decide that if I ever come back to school, I can go in her room and do homework. I didn’t like the idea at first but I also didn’t care. I just felt like life was hard for me, and that I can’t handle the problems.
When I was at my grandma’s house, she would either try to talk to me or do something with her like go out to lunch but I didn’t want to. When I would get home, I would go to my room and restart the day all over again. I would say bad names to myself, and cry myself to sleep and never tell anyone. One day it was different for a day. I then had to go to another doctor in the morning. My grandma and aunt knew this lady and said that she will help me. At this time period, I didn’t care about the doctor. I knew it was going to be the same old trick where they think they know you, but they don’t. I got in and was really depressed. I wanted to get it all over. She talked with me and she seem nice, like every other doctor or therapist I’ve been to. One thing she did different from the other doctors was that she predict what I was dealing with and she was right. She said “You have been depressed and you think that nothing matter and you don’t want to be here. You have been to therapists who didn’t help you. You don’t know what to do in life.”. I was taken back for a while and wonder how did she know. I have never met this person in my life, yet she knew my life more than my mom even knew. I was drawing a blank until she told me how she knows. It wasn’t that she was a magic person or hid cameras in the lobby. She dealt what I was facing when she was my age. She told me she had dealt with depression for about 34 years, and she didn’t find an answer until she read a book. It change her life and now she helps people who have depression. It was amazing how she knew what I was dealing with, but I still didn’t trust her that much. A couple of days later I had to be tested for my blood sugar. I didn’t get results until later on. Then it was back to grandma’s house again.
One day I couldn’t deal with it. I told my grandma why I was suffering. She then went with me to her room and got out a journal of hers. She wrote times where life was hard for her. One page specifically she turned to was when I was in the hospital in 2nd grade. I remembered that event, but I forgot how a struggle it was. All that I could remembered was that my bowels were paralyzed and they didn’t know what was wrong with me. My parents were scared because if no one knew, then I was on the edge of dying. Luckily they figure out what was wrong with me. Snapping back to the real world, we then went to the store to get myself a journal and for my sisters as well. I wrote in it and it made me a little bit better, but still in the mood of not doing anything.
I then went to a hypnotist. At first I like it. I was calm and I sort of let things go. It was all good until my mom said something that offended me. She told me that it was expensive and that through me off badly. I never return back to the hypnotist.
At sometime period I got my result from the blood test. I learned that I have polycystic ovarian disease. It means that I am borderline with type 2 diabetes and it basically explain why I was like this. I also had to take more medicine which I hated taking medicine especially a new kind. I was devastated. To here that I can’t that much sugar was like a truck hit me. Not to have desserts, some fruits, or even candy was the hardest part. It just had to be like that. I was still at my grandma’s house eating nothing but meat or some other type of protein. It was hard to see my grandma eat stuff with sugar. For the most part there was a lot food that had sugar so it was hard to find something to eat. It was at the time period where I started thinking if my life can get any worse. Fortunately things did get a little better.
It was now in the middle of February. My mom asked me if I was still attending Fremont. I didn’t know but I gave it a shot and went to school. I then stayed in a room for the whole day, and soon it became every day. The goal was to go back to school and when I was ever comfortable to go to my class. However there was a situation. I dropped out of some of my classes and some had to be switched. I was somewhat sad but I didn’t care. I did change my perspective on life but was still in that depressive mood. A thing that would helped me cope problems was music. Music to me is powerful. I would listen to rock and roll to deal with either my anger or anxiety. Furthermore, another problem during that time was that I really didn’t care about my friends. Honestly it took me a while to remember them since it felt like forever even though it was a couple of months ago. I stilled bullied myself and try to forgive myself, but it didn’t happened yet. A new thing that happened is that when I stressed really bad, I could hear sounds in my head, and like a sound wave was in my head with other sounds around me.
Around March I started going to classes. One of the first ones that I went to was English. I thought that the teacher was nice enough to understand why I wasn’t going. Another advantage was that the class was easy to me. I would come random days and soon I just started going everyday. It did take a while to get use of it, but I got used to it. I then went to seminary and that was about it. I was still in a depressive mood but it got better later on.
With going to classes and trying to get use to it, I was very sensitive to students and teachers’ comments. There were nights where I would cry, say bad names, and bullied myself because of the phrase they would say to me. The things they would say wasn’t even bad. I was so sensitive and kept saying in my head “ Why did you go back to school? You know life isn’t going to get better. You’re too sensitive.”. Not only did I feel sad I also dealt with anger issues. With the new medicine that I was taking, it made me hot sometimes and make me show my emotion more. I didn’t know how to deal with them. For years I never shown my emotion. I would get upset when I would cry or more upset if I was mad at nothing. I am my own worst enemy. It was hard weather or not to show those emotions because for years I kept it inside me. Not wanting to share or have other people know and help me. It was a huge struggle in my life. I would always get mad at my mom and my twin sister, who was my best friend for years only to get mad at for no reason. Every time I felt mad the aftermath I would feel guilty of what I said or did. I then would bully myself more. Cry myself to sleep most nights and still not tell anyone about that problem. I didn’t care about my sleep. I just wanted to not be here.
In April I had to go to another doctor appointment with the doctor who diagnosed me. She asked me if I was ever better. I told her yes but I don’t like my emotion that the medicine has shown. She then lecture me saying that is good. I somewhat believed her but not that much. Then out of nowhere she starts crying. She says to me “ You might not be at your best state but you have improved. It is hard for you to see but to others, they have seen a huge changed.”. One thing she said that really changed my life was it’s okay to cry and show your emotion. It is better because you are dealing with it instead of hiding it. After talking for a while I got a little bit better. The reason why I didn’t see it in me is because I looked at the negative stuff in my life. I tried looking at the positive stuff in life and think about how I am lucky to be alive in this generation.
Well this is coming to a conclusion. Today I still get my moments in life where it is hard for me to deal with. I do cry at moments, and still get into arguments but that is how life is. Some days you just have to deal with it. Right now I am still going to class and still in the room doing homework. I still connect with my friends and we are still cool with each other. However I still get offended and a bit of sensitivity of what people say. If I had to give advice to people who are also dealing with depression, is that let your emotion out. It doesn’t help if you keep it in and hiding it from people. If you have a problem letting it out, that’s okay. Have patience with yourself but not too long. If that doesn’t work, then go see a doctor to check your thyroid if it is low. That was the problem with me and now I feel way better. In addition cry more. It is hard in America to act tough in front of people, especially in high school. If you feel like you will get embarrassed or teased at, then do it at a place where you can calm down and cry. I have done it in my car and when I am done I feel much better. Listen to music. This was a huge change with me dealing with depression. I always have my headphones on me whenever I ever need them. It doesn’t matter what type of music you listen to. I go to rock and roll, to rap, to future bass, or something random just to either calm my nerves down or to get the anger out of me. One last tip is have patience with dealing it. It doesn’t happen overnight. It took me years to figure out what was wrong with me. It might not be your blood sugar or something else. You need patience and don’t give up. I gave up multiple times but my mom didn’t. She always has faith in me. If you know someone who will be with you until the very end, it will really help you not give up.remember you will be happy again in this life. I promise you that. Anyway that was my struggle with depression and how I overcome it.
By Sandia Moellendorf
Throughout the whole year in class, I have had a fun year this year. However, there are pros and cons to everything. One of the cons to my life is going through the steps of being a U.S citizen. It all starts out as when I was 15 years old my mother insisted me to get my permit and I told her no. As time went on when I got to the age of 16 years old I wanted to get my permit. However, when I got to the DMV they told me that I had to had a U.S citizen certificate to prove I was a U.S citizen. Unfortunately for me I did not have that certificate even though I lived in America for 14 years. It turns out when I was adopted from
Madagascar a year later after I was adopted they switch the rules and laws about U.S citizens and my parents never got notify about the new laws so we never knew about anything. Thus making myself go through the steps of being a U.S citizen.
The first thing we had to do is pay for the certificate. Unfortunately I have a twin so my parents had to pay 15 grand each so that is 30 grand. To help with this my extended family helped on raising the money. I kinda felt bad that my parents spent so much money on me. The next step was to sign all the paperwork and it wasn’t just a little stack it was a huge stack. After we signed all the papers we then had to wait for the government to pass it off. I probably waited for months and months. It was so hard to hear in my sophomore year that kids in my grade got their license and I had to wait. I had to wait so long that it was the whole year in my sophomore year. I had to say that was the worst time during this process is to hear people have their license when you can’t have it. Today, I tell people to get their license as fast as possible or if they don’t get it when they are 16 I tell them at least you have the time and chance to get it because I didn’t at the time.
As time and time went on we waited and waited until my sister got an invitation in the mail to do an oaf to become a U.S citizen. However I didn’t get an invitation to do the oaf. My parents then me maybe it is just in alphabetical order. I this point I was calm and said okay. Days and days past my invitation to do the oaf was not coming to my house I started to get worried. On June 14th was when it reach the day for my sister to do the oath, my parents thought that if they would find mine then I could do the oaf with my sister. As we reach the building to do the oaf my family and I sat in the waiting room with other people who had to take the oaf. My dad then went to this man and told him if I could do the oath. The man said I am sorry but she will have to in September. At this point I was so sad that I was about to cry on the ground. I felt weak, sad, and most of all hopeless. Time went on and I saw my sister do the oaf. I was so sad when she said the oath. After the oaf my parents talked to the people who were in charge of the oath and told what happened and how I have to wait until September they said I think you on the top of the next list so we can do it today. At this point I was so happy with it. My heart was racing and I was filled with joy. We then had a 2 hour break and I did my oaf after that. On my sister’s oaf she had to repeat it with other people who was getting their U.S citizen certificate. With me on the other hand, I had to read it by myself on a piece of paper which wasn’t that exciting but it was still awesome. To celebrate that my sister and I were U.S citizens we went out to eat dinner. It turns out that we got our certificate on National flag day which was so cool.
The next day which was on June 15th I tried to get my permit. At first I was kinda nervous. When we walked into the DMV, I went through all the signing and all that jazz. It turns out that my parents knew someone at the DMV and she said that it will probably be better if you use earbuds. I said ok and then I took the test. Time and time past by and it was hard questions to answer the questions. After 30 minutes I finally got my result. It says that I didn’t passed. Again this crushed me so hard. I had another chance to take it for free. I calmed down and took the test again. The second result was that I passed in fact I was the only one who passed while other people were taking the test. Some kids got so mad that they stormed out of the DMV. Unfortunately my sister did not pass which was sad but she later did pass on a different day.
Going through this experience I think that this was one of the biggest conflicts I have had in my life. I would say that if you don’t have a license get it now because you never know what could happen. I felt so happy and accomplish when I became a U.S citizen. I would also say that I think we take things for granted and one of the things that I take for granted is being a U.S citizen. Before I was I thought I could just get my permit or license in a matter of seconds but I didn’t realize how hard it is to become a citizen when you thought your were. There are millions of people who want to go to America but some people can’t or they have to sneak out of their country and hope that they don’t get killed. I was lucky to be adopted and live in America my whole life and go through a process that spends a lot of money and my parents have jobs in America. I think it is sad that other people have to work for years to be a U.S citizen when I have my parents who get money easier than them. I hope you like my American experience and what I went through to overcome a conflict in my life.