As I explored  Ariel Maldonado’s gallery, I appreciated the tribute to how we are taught at a young age to abide by rules and almost be scared. It inspired me to write a story about an anxious young me. I chose one of Maldonado’s pieces that reminded me of a brain and how sometimes it can be safe and have the “green light” or feel like it is in danger and be “red.”

Red or Green?

It’s recess. Handball. Okay, seems safe enough. It’s just a rubber ball. But Victoria hits it really hard. What if it bounces so hard and hits me in the face? Red. And all my teeth fall out? Red. And then I have to miss reading hour and go to the hospital. Red. I can’t miss reading hour, I won’t pass sixth grade and won’t ever make it to jr. high. Red. That’s when I am supposed to mature and get pretty and get a boyfriend. But what if I grow too tall? Get too fat? Don’t get a boyfriend? Red. Red. Red. My crush since second grade still doesn’t like me. There’s no way anyone will ever like me. Supervisor walking around. Okay, safe. If anything happens she can help. Green. She can call my mom if I get hurt. Green. If I go home I can just lay in my bed and watch Disney Channel. Green. That idea is sounding good right now. I can say I am sick so I can home. My stomach is actually hurting from all this bad thinking. No. That would be the third time this month. What if I just spend the whole recess in the bathroom and I will say there was a long line. Ugh lines make me claustrophobic…

“Chelsea, do you want to play handball or what?”

Red.

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