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From the Teens of Washington County, MD
Updated: 7 min 9 sec ago

In Your Dreams

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:45

by Isabella Paraiso

And She Ends.

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 08:57

by Mars

This story does not have a happy ending and neither did her life. If I were to tell you that she died happy or surrounded by loving family and friends, I would be lying, and if there’s one thing I hate more than this cold, emotionless void in my heart- it’s liars. But, believe it or not, this story isn’t about her life, or the little amount of life she got to live, this story is about my life and how it changed after she made the choice to end it all and how it showed me that sometimes it is alright to feel.

    She and I were close, closer than best friends but further than lovers, yet I couldn’t possibly find the words to describe to you just how desperately I wanted us to be that – to be more. In fact, in the moments following our last phone call, all I did was lie in bed and dream of what could have been had I just admitted my feelings. Unfortunately, now all I think about is the fact that I will never have the opportunity to admit anything to her, not unless I wanted to talk to a gravestone. And, in the moments following the phone call with her mother, all I could think about was the fact that, well, our last phone call really was just that. Our last. 

    Life guilts us into taking the blame for things that are not our fault and unfortunately, I was a victim of life. After that day, I was also a victim of severe and debilitating depression. Sobbing into my pillow late after everyone else had gone to bed, neglecting school work, extremely low self confidence, all things that were just “side effects” of losing her and losing sleep. A metallic taste was stained on my tongue and the once vivid colors of the world outside of my bedroom outgrew their welcome. I began creating an invisible wall between myself and reality, and only once I woke up at 12pm with my head in an old bowl of cereal did I realize that I had a problem. I was beginning to follow down her path, a deep and slippery slope that led to nothing but pain and darkness. 

    I was no stranger to that path, I had walked it many times before, yet this time it felt different. It felt wrong when it should have felt calming and familiar. I had changed in more ways than I thought. Her suicide made me feel guilty in more ways than one. I couldn’t save her and I also couldn’t follow her without thinking about the fact that those around me would be in a position similar to the one I was in, the one I’m still in. Was I a coward? Or was I braver, stronger than her? I suppose it could be either, but I never did come up with a definitive answer. 

    I wasn’t exactly surprised when she had committed and I knew that others wouldn’t be too surprised if I did it either, but in some messed up way, that’s what kept me around. I wanted to beat it, I wanted to prove to myself that I was strong enough to not hurt myself. Even if I was hurting mentally, I would not hurt myself physically. I would learn to accept the hurting if it was the last thing I did.

    Over the course of the past three months, I have hurt more than ever before and I have learned to embrace it. I have come to know its strengths and I have learned to now become a victim of it. Feeling is okay but becoming engulfed in bad feelings is not okay. The sadness that you feel when you lose a loved one is there to remind you that you are a human and you are hurting because you loved them.

    And as time went on, I learned to realize that the more you love someone, the more it hurts when you lose them. But, no matter how much pain I am in, I would still willingly do it all again if it meant that I could hear her voice even just one more time. This hurt will be with me for a long time and that is okay. 

Teen Collagist: Ella

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 08:19

by Liddy Eyombo-Bella


Thu, 09/09/2021 - 08:53

by AF

And Scene…

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 08:24

by Lidwina Eyombo-Bella

My methodical mother was raised in Yaoundé, Cameroon. She then attended medical school in Italy before moving to the US, where she met my father. They both then went to Howard to complete their education (my mother did her residency there). Every move from Africa to West Virginia was a step forward.

I had to figure out my steps. One place my family’s path has NOT been is anywhere NEAR Broadway, which I have embraced as my dream since I was 11. Raised by a driven adapter, I became one myself. I attended summer camps, seminars, and weekend programs in greater DC as my mother dutifully took long drives to rehearsals and performances. I sublimated a life on the Great White Way, becoming an avid New York Times reader, especially the Arts section. I journeyed to Georgetown to attend their two-week musical theater program, traveled to Haverford for a three-week literary program, and then drove ten hours to Michigan for their Classical Voice intensive at Interlochen for six weeks.

In order to reach my goal of being an actress my summer wasn’t the only thing that needed to be kept busy. During the school year, I volunteered with fundraisers, took on the challenges of heading clubs, became a public speaker, and a leader. I would spend plenty of sleepless nights studying Geometry in order to keep up my grades. I’ve always been moving, never still. I loved being occupied, but still, it’s nice every once in a while to take a moment to enjoy myself.

Theater has always felt like a break. A break from the hustle and bustle of my busy life that’s riddled with strict expectations and guidelines. At home, I’m an older sister, basically a second parent. It’s my responsibility to set a good example for my little brother. At home, I am quiet and respectful and usually don’t have that much to say. But on the stage, I can transform. Suddenly, I’m Grandma Addams and I can be as loud as I want. In Parallel, I could masquerade as Jane Watson for a bit and discover my love again for literature, spending hours in the library buried in Shakespeare.

Theater is a medium that transcends all cultures and people. It has a unique way of bringing everyone together, mainly it allows me to express myself in ways that I can’t at home. The theater has always been a safe space for me and I hope that I will continue able to expand my horizon as a performer and find my own path, just like my mom.

The Dead Saying Hello

Thu, 09/02/2021 - 08:32

by Alisha

Donkey Kong Country (SNES): A Retro Video Game Review

Thu, 09/02/2021 - 08:24

By Ethan Henesy

Donkey Kong Country is a very unique game. You start off with Donkey Kong, a gorilla, and also the main protagonist. With you is Diddy Kong, a spider monkey, and Donkey Kong’s sidekick. You collect bananas while trying not to get hurt by the other animals of the game. You can jump in barrels that send you flying from barrel to barrel, you can even get cool animals to ride on out of barrels, such as frogs and ostriches. There’s different worlds that you go to, and each level is unique, some requiring you to swim underwater. Overall, my opinion on Donkey Kong country is that the game is amazing, and I give it a 10/10.


Thu, 08/26/2021 - 08:31

by AF


Thu, 08/26/2021 - 08:27

by Juliana R. Maknata

Roses can be red

Violets however are blue

Be true to you no matter what they do or say

Whatever say cannot be unsaid

but you can walk away

Nature’s Beauty

Thu, 08/19/2021 - 08:24

by Ethan Henesy

My Journey Dancing to the Rhythm of The Tambourine

Thu, 08/19/2021 - 08:03

by Liddy Eyombo-Bella

There is a saying on Broadway to “look the part.” When I told a friend that I was in the spring musical of Brigadoon, her mother asked, with no feigned politeness, if I was “working in tech.” I stood my ground and told her I was in the ensemble.

          After a confused look, she… tried to convince me I was in fact not in the ensemble. This was despite the fact that I was IN COSTUME, a not-so-subtle mix of bright white bloomers, a Scottish sash, a long purple skirt, and a black leotard under it all.

          The world I come from, instead of being filled with colors, is filled with monotone grays. There are no superheroes, fan classics, no anime girls, and certainly no Parisian dancers. No sir, the town of Martinsburg, West Virginia is a town caught in limbo, overly filled with those who drop out of high school to start a life of work (if lucky), with little mobility.

         On the weekends, I would stow away to Bethesda and participate in weekend acting programs. I am a girl who loves musical theater in a world that, well, doesn’t fancy it. Besides, it’s hard not to realize that I don’t look the part. Even I think of musical theater as full of perky, lithe, lippy blondes like Kristin Chenoweth. Musicals do not look or sound like me in my daily life, as I take on the task of blending in as a black woman striving for a future on Broadway in a 94.4% white Congressional district overrun with opioid addiction problems where locals are baffled that I want to leave the state. For me, it is a matter of showing people what is possible.

         If you ask me why I started to cosplay, it has something to do with asserting myself, if not gaining control. Cosplay starts with a mindset and a vibe. So, when I decided to pick Esmerelda to show my love of Broadway and choral music, the first part of my outfit would be… Esmerelda’s hypothetical playlist. So, I settled on five Notre Dame classics: “The Chain” (Fleetwood Mac), “LEMONS” (the Cavetown Remix by Brye), “In This Shirt” (The Irrepressibles), and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” (All Time Low).

        I then set off to learn the choreography from… perhaps a bootleg copy of the musical I found on YouTube, mastering the tambourine solo.  Esmerelda’s profession is a dancer, so naturally, I had to ‘be’ her, as the standards for walking into Katsucon for Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center are high.

       This was all before the physical transformation. Esmerelda wears little to no makeup except for her eyeliner, which I had to learn how to do. I went through three pens before settling on using a stencil. I got green contacts and practiced putting them in and keeping them for an extended time. Then her iconic bouncy curls were next – a wig was required, as was a pink scarf around my head and topped it off with gold hoops.

      The clothes were her day outfit: a white peasant blouse, green/gold striped corset, a purple skirt, and nude ballet slippers (no bare feet for me). I used an actual belly dancing skirt, using my backpack, a lampshade, and a mic holder to create a decent body model for me to fix the skirt to the right length. The glue gun and scissors injuries were worth it. Metamorphosis complete.

      I then walk around, freed of expectation, owning each detail. Cosplay is like my Broadway aspiration – I dictate the terms, physically and mentally. No amount of comments matter; I know I’m not in a fantastical Disney production (or Brigadoon). But I get my dearest wish – just to ACT. The freedom to expand my life beyond Martinsburg into fantasy, music, or even just whim, and then bring back that hope, that defines my past, present, and future. 

Day 300 (aftermath)

Thu, 08/12/2021 - 08:54
Woman with protective gloves puts a medical mask on her face as a virus protection in a supermarket parking lot.

by Annabelle Smith

it’s been 300 days since the pandemic began. i remember telling my friends to

“be safe, i’ll see you in two weeks.” i wish i could apologize for not knowing better.

i’m living in the aftermath of insurrection, torn between i don’t want my children here

and i can fix this and how? i want to escape to somewhere that i don’t have to make better.

it’s been 300 days since i gave you a hug and just as long since i’ve seen you smile

without a mask. i miss that kind of happiness, honest and unhidden and so much better.

i long for answers to every atrocity, every terror, every stone thrown at the innocent,

but i fear that there are no answers that could begin to make this nightmare better.

it’s been 300 days and i’ve lived through history more than i should. every generation

has its WWII, its 9/11. mine has monday, tuesday, wednesday, and no day gets better.

i am told to pick a college and a political party, reminded to turn in my assignments and

wear a mask, asked to decide my future and fix it, find some way to make it better.

it’s day 300. my best friend is having their sweet sixteen alone. in four months, so will i.

i text them all my birthday wishes, but no matter what i do, i can’t make it better.

there’s no way to put enough words together to describe the sinking feeling in my chest, but

i will try anyways, a smith at play with shattered pieces that will never get better.


Thu, 08/12/2021 - 08:36

by AF

Photographer’s note: This picture shows tranquility: the clear sky, the nourished trees, the rippling water. We find peace in certain places like this because we are allowed to breathe and to take in the beautiful scenery.

Lonely Times During Covid-19

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 08:46

by Nitya Sharma

Puck’s Character Analysis

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 08:17

by Liddy Eyombo-Bella

Within the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the audience is introduced to Puck, the servant to the King of Fairies, Oberon. Puck is a  little mischievous sprite who enjoys playing tricks on humans as well as other creatures. However, everything he does is out of pure mindless fun. So when Oberon asks him to fetch a magic flower to play a trick on Titania he is ecstatic. Puck speaks, “Thou speakest aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon and make him smile-”(2.1.42-44). He plays tricks on people because he wants to see his king smile, nothing more, nothing less. The most interesting thing about Puck’s character is that he’s not malicious, the accidental hex he put on Lysander was just that, an accident that I’m sure will be solved later on in the play. I mean if we’re being honest it truly isn’t Puck’s fault the mistake happened in the first place, It was Oberon’s fault. He should have given more specific directions to Puck instead of going off a stranger’s clothes.


Sat, 07/31/2021 - 08:17

Courtroom Tango

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 08:15

Like a game of chess, strategy is the key. The script of this game was more of an outline than a guide. As a person who enjoys pre-planned thinking, this activity kept me on the edge of my seat every time. This is my art, this is my design, this is Mock Trial.

 Being a Fine Arts person my focus has always been on performance. I always found solace in my theater classes and fell in love with Shakespeare through my English and history classes, I felt safe in them. There was no element of surprise when reading Romeo and Juliet, you always knew what was bound to happen afterward. I liked not having to worry about the unexpected, it gave me peace of mind and a clear line of thought. However, joining the Mock Trial team, was a spur of the moment decision in order to help a friend out.  I had already participated in speech and debate for about 2 years prior, so it wasn’t that surprising that she asked me to fill in. Flipping through the thick case book she set on my desk I couldn’t help but Internally sigh asking myself what I had gotten into. I was so nervous. My attorney had made it clear that there were intentional plot holes placed in the case so that the other team was given a fair chance at winning. This is what I dreaded, the unprepared. Taking the book back home I studied it like any other script I was given. After a few weeks packed full of flashcards and cold brew, I had worked myself up to our first match. Taking a deep breath I mounted the stand, the nerves still freshly turning knots in my stomach. As soon as the questions started, my heart dropped. None of the questions I studied for were being asked, these were the unexpected holes. Taking a few seconds to collect my thoughts I responded swiftly as if I had the answers on my back burner the entire time. That case ended in a win, but I surprised myself that day. Up until then, the unexpected was something I avoided like the plague, but now it fascinated me.

I stayed on Mock Trial for the rest of the year and joined it again this year. This lesson though simple has changed my perspective on life. I need to embrace the great unknown, or else I’ll never be able to take advantage of anything new in my life. Wanting to major in something as rigorous as Fine Arts I understand obstacles I might face when taking classes, but rest assured I am ready for them. I am ready to take them on without a second thought and embrace them just like Mock Trial.

By Liddy Eyombo-Bella


Thu, 07/29/2021 - 08:12
By Bee


Wed, 07/28/2021 - 08:09


A feeling I have never felt before,

Truly being in love. 

Can you believe we met on an app?

Me neither. 

The first thing I had said to him was

“Do you like waffles?”

Then it turned into 

“If you say it first, then I will.”

Weeks, months, a year and some go by and we’re as healthy as ever,

Hoping it will last as long as it can.

Teen Collagist: Athena

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 08:06

By Liddy Eyombo-Bella