“While the world feels big and scary when you’re small, when you grow up, the world feels so much bigger, and you realize just how small you are –but it’s not so scary anymore.”

***

Ten years ago the shattered fragments of this decade-old handheld mirror would have represented seven years of bad luck –each shard of glass its own unfortunate event waiting to unfold.

My fingers worked to collect every piece of not-so-unfortunate misfortune, and I thought about what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed over the years.

I thought about the superstitions my gullible self once believed. Don’t open umbrellas in the house; don’t drop the spirit stick; don’t sing at the kitchen table (el que come y canta, loco se levanta). They all seem so silly now.

While the world feels big and scary when you’re small, when you grow up, the world feels so much bigger, and you realize just how small you are –but it’s not so scary anymore.

You start to figure out what’s important, what really matters to you. Maybe you believe you’re a small part of something larger, or maybe you realize that life is short, and all that matters is that you wake up doing what you love every single day.

Just as the cells in our body are replaced with time, so are our beliefs, values and attitudes because of the experiences we live through and the people we encounter through them.

When I try to imagine who I’ll be ten years from now, it’s like trying to distinguish the features of a blurry silhouetted form. I think of my character as ever-evolving, and I’d like to believe that’s true for all of us. With every new experience, my present self becomes more defined. It’s hard to predict who I’ll be in the future, but it’s nice to figure it out along the way.

-Melissa Martinez

This is an excerpt from Labyrinth, a zine by Tough Cuts created by Pearl Tiffany Shin, Writing Center tutor and senior in English, and her friend Cassie Moore.

Melissa Martinez, former Writing Center tutor, graduated from UIC in December with a BA in communication. To read the work of other UIC writing tutor contributors including John Clucas, senior in English, and Frida Sanchez Vega, UIC alumna in English, download Labyrinth here.