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A picture of Xiomara Larkin, author of To See or Not to See

To See or Not to See

Xiomara Larkin

It’s Christmas. A girl in a beautiful golden dress is dancing back and forth as the bright light shines on her. This girl is from the suburbs. Nothing to worry about, no problems on her hands. Some say she has a perfect life—gifts, friends and a sense of royalty. But inside, she feels no emotion. She feels she threw herself into a hole and doesn’t want to come out.

Another girl that lives in the projects gets nothing for Christmas. She is dressed as if she just woke up from bed. But she is ready. Ready for her true and real friends and real family to come. She has nothing special or perfect in her life. But she is happy. She has nothing worth money, but she is happy. A girl that people say once you get in the project life, you can’t come out. But she is still happy. She is nice and kind and cool; but mostly she is happy.

What is the difference between them—everything or nothing? One girl has everything people dream about. Another has nothing. Which one is happy? Who should be happy? Does society choose, does social media choose, does life choose, or do we choose?

People who don’t get to see both sides may never know, but people who do get to see both sides appreciate whatever comes to them. Good or bad, they are happy. Sad or mad, inside they may be happy. Their eyes are wide and awake, and their thoughts are free.

So I ask which side do you choose? No one can choose for you. Only you. If you don’t want to see the truth and are blinded by lies, that is you.


 Xiomara Larkin, age 12, wrote “To See or Not to See” as a ten-minute freewrite while waiting for her karate class to start. Her plans include an elite prep school, then college, then an MBA and her own business. Unlike many neighborhood kids who also have dreams but lack resources, Xiomara has the support to attain her dreams. She is the daughter of Jim Larkin, Jr., who teaches Larkin’s Bukido Karate at the African American Arts & Culture Complex, and granddaughter of Jim Larkin, Sr., a legendary singer, karate expert, music producer and community activist. He nurtured many local musicians at his Hayes Street music studio and is now bringing soul music to Indonesia as Jim the Saucy Soul Man.

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