Who We Are
- Portrait of Tien Nguyen in class
Tien Nguyen, from Lincoln, Nebraska, participated in an 8th grade Language Arts writing project that explored how photographs can illustrate a true experience or event and also reveal an unspoken reality behind the image.
Yesterday, I was cleaning my room and a photo from my old Japanese book dropped on the floor. I bent down to pick it up and examined it. “It’s a picture from third grade class,” I voiced out loud. The me in the photo was quite irritating. I felt rage building up inside of me just looking at the picture. In the photo was me, and plastered on my face was a tooth-aching grin. I wanted to scream out why was I grinning; I wanted to but I did not. I just sat there, clutching the photo as if it were my lifeline.
Coincidentally I had found a picture of me that was taken last month. I had a fake smile, the one that I showed at school. Both photos had a nostalgic feel to them, except the more recent photo was a lie. Every second that I looked at my old photo made me want to ask, “How are you smiling so openly?” When I look at the other photo I ask, “Why can’t you show your true emotions?” I was snapped out of my thoughts when I heard my parents coming home. Well brooding won’t do anything, I thought as I got ready for bed. “Maybe I don’t have . . . to . . . know . . . ,” I thought, as slumber claimed me.