Used To by Maggie Nez
I used to have a good life when I was real little. Then my grandmother died because we didn’t have the money to buy medicine. We stopped giving thanks in the morning and began complaining a lot. Mom started drinking a lot and we ate a lot of chips and soda. No one ever asked what school was like so I stopped going.
Then I started hanging with the wrong people, those who didn’t care about anything. For a long time I stopped dreaming.
When I was invited to the Spirit Journey Youth group I didn’t want to go because I thought it would be a lot of religious crap about how bad I was. When I walked in, they were watching the Simpsons on T.V. So I stayed thinking it couldn’t be that bad.
We had a book of quotes that different people would read aloud and ask for comments. One of the teens read this one from Tecumseh: “When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.”
I blurted out without thinking that I don’t give thanks anymore and I don’t have a vision either.
Everyone waited to see if I was going to add to it. I didn’t say anything.
When I walked home with my friend, I told her that I missed our family giving thanks every morning and scattering the corn pollen. She told me that I could do it. I didn’t have to wait for my family.
That shook me up. Later, I secretly started to say the morning prayers. It must have been a year before my family caught me. They told me that I had changed.
After that I stopped doing it in secret. I now have vision for my life and am earning my own living and doing things that are good for me.
I’m walking in beauty now.