Scared

As a senior in high school I was very engaged in a creative writing class.

I lived in a foster home until my 18th birthday, January of my senior year. I finished it living with my then boyfriend, on my own, and out of the system. At 18, on my own, right or wrong, was so much better than in the system.

It was a hard place in my life. My step-dad had just died and I was in a foster home again. I wrote about it all of my senior year in that creative writing class.

I remember one weekday when the teacher, Mrs. Kort had asked me where I was going to college. Maybe she expected me to say I wasn’t going…I’m sure many assumed I wouldn’t be able to go.

I answered that I would be attending Hastings College. She looked at me with concern in her eyes and asked, “but, they don’t have a creative writing program? What about UNK (University of Nebraska Kearney)?

The truth was that I only had one choice. I lived in Hastings. I had no car. I could have never driven anywhere, even just 45 minutes away to Kearney. And even if I had found a ride, where would I have gone over summer and holiday breaks?

Honestly, I could have found ways around all of those questions, but I had no parental figures helping me figure those things out. I was just an 18 year old kid, doing the best I could.

Secondly, I never thought I was good at anything. I could have never imagined making it as a writer or anyone ever hiring me to write anything for them. Except, look at me now, I’m unemployed and writing a blog for free. Perhaps I should have tried a little harder at writing a little sooner.

I was looking through the things I wrote that year today. It stung to read some of them and a poem written about my sister that passed away last year, nearly made my heart stop.

I hope to share a few of the things I wrote over the next 30 days, but today I found one I titled “Scared” and in the notes from Mrs. Kort, it said, “Could we send this one for publication? N. Eng. Journal?”

If she thought it was good enough to send off, it is a good enough to share tonight.

Scared

I am scared.

I am scared, too.

I fear so many things,

things that are small, like

the spider on my floor,

things that are large, like

the depth of visible darkness.

I fear many things, too,

things that are small, like

dreams in the night,

things that are large, like

unrest and turmoil.

I want to live without fear.

I want to swim through every sea

and run in every field,

laughing freely without fear.

As for you–

you fear death; you want to live.

You cannot live without fear;

it is part of your mortal soul.

You need fear

so that you may live under the shine of the sun,

breath the freshness of the air,

and caress the satisfaction of overcoming fears.

-Betty Vertin

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One thought on “Scared

  1. Wow! I remember you! You are my “Betty”–the only Betty I ever taught. I’m not active on Facebook, but a friend alerted me to your “Scared” blog. I am all smiles as I think back on you as a student, a student with potential. So glad you are writing!!! And I’m so glad to know that I was able to make a difference for you with your writing–keep up the great work, Betty! And Betty, I have real empathy for you with regard to your sons. You are showing real courage and I can tell that you are a wonderful mother. I’ll be back to read more of your blogs. –Mrs. Kort

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