This I Believe: A Team of Triumph and Solace

Feb 25, 2019

A brain, a notebook, a pencil. The only necessities I carried with me, for it was the only necessities essential for my survival. I, along with my crew, drifted above a rock that managed to be salvaged from the lava that cursed underneath. 

My crew consisted of individuals with diverse shapes, textures, colors, and backstories. Despite the frightful setting of our location, blue skies surrounded us. We stood there and contemplated what the next step in our adventure would be. However, this was an altered reality. In truth, I was seated above my bed, with a red carpet underneath and blue walls surrounding me. What had once been my crew, was a stack of books that lay beside me. Within these walls, I sat alone, with only my thoughts to be heard. However, I did not feel alone. With a pencil in my hand, a notebook on my lap, and the books that surrounded me, I was accompanied by several lives.

Every book I opened, and every word I wrote, acted as a portal to a new dimension that was not my own -- but at that moment, it was my own. I had defeated Voldemort, fallen in love with Mr. Darcy, traveled through galaxies, and experienced the luxurious life of Jay Gatsby. I entered my history class more aware of Greek mythology than those in my grade, for I had lived through the perspective of a Greek demigod. Throughout my freshman year of high school, I struggled to form friends. I had a few,  and I considered myself lucky, but they had better things to occupy their time with than to talk to me outside of school. It did not help that my throat would clog up and my palms would start to sweat when I encountered public interactions. As a result, the times I was seen outside of my house were few. The questions “Do you get lonely?” and “Don’t you get bored?” were some of the most commonly asked throughout my teenage years. I never understood what they meant by these questions, for I believed my life was full of exciting adventures. It wasn’t until I read A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin that I found the answer to the questions. In Chapter 32 page 452 Jojen Reed says to Bran Stark, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” I did not feel alone because I was not alone. I not only had the comfort of the characters, but I also had the comfort of the authors that created those characters.

When I read, long were forgotten the ball games that had gone south, the chaos of having four siblings, and the stress of schoolwork. When I needed encouragement, I would do what Jojen’s name implies: read. When it comes to surviving the challenges life throws my way, writing is my weapon and books make up my crew. This I believe.

Camila Garcia reading her essay at the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise.
Credit TAMARRA NEWBERN / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Camila Garcia receiving her scholarship at the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise meeting.
Credit TAMARRA NEWBERN / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS