Pittsburgh, PA: The Labs @ CLP

“A public library saved me from the depressing isolation of cyber school”

Cyber schooling was not among my top choices for the dream high school experience. It was the last resort after my mother and I discovered we could not afford to return to Orlando, Florida, and it was too late to enroll in Pittsburgh-area schools. I immediately despised the idea of being alone in the house all day to do school work. My mom suggested I lighten up and give it a chance. I listened to her advice and tried to enjoy cyber school. It was futile.

My mother was at work from dusk until dawn on weekdays, and I was not allowed to go out by myself. Sure, there were movies to watch, I had nail polish and journals to write in, but the lack of social interaction shackled my motivation to my bed frame. It got to the point where I would wake up for live classes, complete homework and go back to sleep. Nothing moved me forward; I continuously wallowed in depressing loneliness.

One day, I got a call from my sister, who is 16 years older than me and lives in California. We caught up on how life was going with her family, and I told her how I felt about my predicament. Being the problem solver she is, my sister sent me bus money and explained that if I pay for transportation, my mom would likely be more than willing to let me go out during the days. She was 100 percent correct. Shortly after the bus money came in the mail, I met with my dad. My parents are divorced, but he lives nearby.

We met at a cafe. He brought up the collection of poems I have written. They were collecting dust on my desk at home, and he thought I needed to do something with them. He told me about an awesome teen space at the Carnegie Library in Oakland.

There, I could bind all my poems into a chapbook. Using the transportation funds from my sister, I convinced my mother to allow me to go to the library.

original post // Nsai Temko, PublicSource
above image // poem by Nsai Temko // photo by Aaron Warnick/PublicSource