Beauty from Ashes by Melissa Lewelling

Beauty from ashes

The pain entered like a shockwave to her nervous system. Starting in her chest and pulsating throughout her body; it felt as if a sharp knife had pierced her heart. It was a hot summer’s day, but the sky had suddenly split open before her eyes — her mother was dead. The one companion she had had since birth, her best friend, her protector, was gone. At nineteen years old, she felt the world expand around her, mocking her, waiting for her to give up or fail. “You’re just an orphan,” the voices in her head would say as the gaping chasm of loneliness widened. “How could you possibly stay in school?” It would have been easier to let them win, the demons in her head, but she knew more was riding on her future than just herself; it now carried the weight of her mother’s legacy in its midst. The woman who’d had the bravery to face the world alone for the sake of her child, now left that child alone in the world — and she knew it was her turn to be brave. To face the world as it was and not how she wanted it to be would be a difficult task, but she was up to the challenge; her mother had trained her well. One day at a time, she slowly rose from the ashes and began to unfurl her wings, choosing not to let her past define who she was or the legacy she would leave behind.


Melissa Lewelling is a senior journalism major at SJSU with a focus in digital media art; she will graduate in the Fall 2014 semester.


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