The Truths Behind My Photographs

photo of woman holding silver camera

( Advanced Level )

As I look through the lens, I think, if only they listened. If only they knew how I felt, maybe things would be different. Maybe the outcome would be different.

My future was planned for me. I did not have a choice. I was expected to be much more than I could be. I tried. Studying was not easy for me.

I was easily distracted by the world around me. The sky. The trees. The flowers. Those children are running to catch a butterfly.

I saved all my money to buy my first camera. I was elated that now I could capture what I saw and keep those memories forever.

My mother said I should have saved my money for something much more important, like my future. She didn’t understand that I wanted photography to be my future.

I dared not disobey my parents. I was raised to respect and listen no matter how I felt or what I desired. This was accepted and being the only child, I wanted to make them proud.

I didn’t have friends that I could talk with and my mother was way too busy with her professional career to listen to an idle teenager.

So I turned to my camera. Somehow, when I looked through the lens, all the troubles went away. My mother’ comments, “Why can’t you do better? You need to study more.”

I express myself through my photos. On those sad or frustrating days, my photos expressed just this. As of late, they showed flowers wilting, shriveling on their stems, or a baby bird that fell from its nest clinging on to life.

On those better days, my pictures were pleasant. The sun shining through the leaves or a bird hunting insects, happy to bring the prize back to their young.

The one who really understood me was my father’s sister, my aunt. She had traveled to other countries and seen how the world was different. It was ok to express yourself or be yourself and follow your dreams.

We talked when she visited our home, which wasn’t often. She was a self-made businesswoman. She created an international clothing line for working women. She laughs now at those who didn’t believe in her.

One day your parents will understand that the world around us has changed. We are free to choose our own destiny. Until then you must listen to them. You will be an adult soon and you will be free to make your own choice.”

My aunt’s words comforted me, for a time. Then the words faded into an abyss as I struggled with my studies. It was my last year of high school and my mother expected me to major in medicine or education when entering the university.

“How could I tell my parents this is not what I wanted to do?”

Final exams were less than one month away, not to mention the entrance exams for the university. The competition to enter the top universities was fierce and and a few openings having full marks was of utmost importance.

As much as I wanted I couldn’t get the marks needed to enter any of those top universities they had chosen for me. It wasn’t in me.

On final exam day, I found myself very anxious. I knew if I scored well, my parents would insist on the majors they picked for me, and in my heart, this isn’t what I wanted.

If I did poorly then my parents would be ashamed. It is all about what grades your child gets, their looks, and their parent’s status. I didn’t understand this. “Why couldn’t we be judged and loved for who we are?”

I took a deep breath and headed out to the school. “Do your absolute best, I expect nothing less,” mom said as she saw me leave. My heart was not into this. All I could do was try.

I sat there as the instructor said, “Open your exams and begin.” I wished I was somewhere other than here. I opened my booklet and began.

The time was up. It seemed like I had just begun. The instructor asked us to put our pencils down. I took one last look and realized I had finished half a page out of five. I passed my test to the front of the room and left. The scores would be in a week from now.

I didn’t have to wait for the results to come in. I knew I had done poorly. Before I heard the wrath of my parents, especially my mother. I called my aunt. “Hi Auntie, I want to talk, I was wondering if I could come over?“Sure, what’s the special occasion?” “I just want to talk”

I arrived at my auntie’s house thirty minutes later. She noticed the overstuffed backpack that I hurriedly packed with what clothes I wanted, and commented, “Hey kiddo, what’s all this? Are you running away?

With a huge sigh, “Yes. Not running, just leaving. I took my final exams and I just blanked. It makes no sense for me to take any university entrance exams. I would fail them also.

“I want to be a photographer. Can I make it in this world? I am not sure. I may fall flat on my face. I want to at least try. I want this more than anything.”

My aunt looked into my face and saw I was serious. She knew she couldn’t convince me to stay. I didn’t want what my parents wanted for me.

” I will not advise you either way. I will say to you that I totally understand. I had the same pressures on me as you have. Eventuall,y my parents came around and accepted my choice. Maybe yours will do the same.”

“If you are going to do this, put all your heart and mind into it and when you have success please invite me to your first showing,” she hugged me and I knew at that moment she really understood me.

“You have a deal auntie. Do you think my parents will forgive me?”

“It may take a while kiddo but I am sure they will. You are their daughter and their only child. They just cannot forget that.”

I listened to my aunt’s advise and put all my heart and passion into my photos. I bettered myself year after year. My parents never looked for me as I brought shame to their family name. I expected this.

Finally, I did succeed after years of dedication. My talent was requested by many top magazines and agencies. I missed the opportunity to share my journey with my parents.

I eventually had a showing of all my photographs at a prestigious gallery in New York. I sent invitations to both my aunt, as I promised her, and to my parents hoping they would come. I hoped after five years they would have forgiven me.

I stood by my photos, on opening night. My pictures were hung on the walls around me. The lights captured their essence perfectly.

Many people greeted me as they passed me, from dignitaries to the ordinary. I was beyond excited that all these people came to see my work.


“What an eye you have for detail.”

I simply love your work”

My aunt arrived a little after the opening. “I am so glad you made it!” as she kissed her aunt on her cheek, “Mom? Dad?” hoping she knew if they were coming.

“I am sorry. I don’t think they are coming. I tried to talk to your mother but she shut me down. She didn’t want to listen to me. Enough of this. It is your night so show me your exhibit!”

The ones I wanted to come tonight, didn’t. I could let this tear me up inside, but I won’t. I am proud of myself and I will always remember they wanted nothing but the best for me but my best and their best are on different pages.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angels’ s Thoughts to Pen

And coming soon: August 2022!!!

Thoughts from Angel:

Parents, please listen to your children. They have dreams that may be different from your dreams. If they make a wrong choice it is ok. Just be there for them when they need you.

Wisdom comes from failure. You stand back up and brush yourself off and move forward once again. Hopefully with you by their side.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to donate to support my efforts:


outcome – noun: the way things turn out, end result

distracted -adjective: unable to concentrate

elated -adjective: overly happy

disobey – verb: fail to obey rules

idle – adjective: without purpose or effect; pointless

frustrating – adjective: causing annoyance or upset 

as of late – idiomatic: lately, recently

wilting – verb: become limp through heat, loss of water, or disease; droop

self-made – adjective: having become successful by one’s own efforts

destiny – noun: fate

abyss – noun: deep or seemingly bottomless, never-ending

fierce – adjective: aggressive

utmost – adjective: most extreme; greatest

anxious – adjective: worry, unease, or nervousness

poorly -adverb: inadequate

ashamed – adjective: embarrassed

wrath – noun: extreme anger 

convince -verb: persuade

advise – noun: guidance or recommendations (not to be confused with advice)

prestigious – adjective: having high status

forgiven – verb: stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone

essence -noun: indispensable quality of something

dignitaries – noun: a person considered to be important 

shut me down – verb: reject, strongly discourage, or prevent one from continuing

tear me up – phrasal verb: to make someone feel very unhappy or upset

Question ( s ):

Have you or will you follow your own dreams? Or those of your parents?


green tree photo

( Intermediate Level )

Can you imagine searching your family tree to discover your branch was broken? Does the trail just stop? You are not connected to anyone? Or are you?

Recently, Ryan’s history teacher assigned the students to illustrate their family tree. “The world is a big soup pot. Let’s see how many families originated in another country, and when or if they emigrated here.”

Try to go back as far as you can. Tell us the colors of eyes and hair in your family. Who looks like who. It will be fun to hear your stories!”

Ryan was very excited. He knew his family tree would be immense since he had such a large family. He wanted to use the largest paper he could find to make his tree.

To impress his teacher, he drew a large tree with roots running deep into the earth, signifying the strength of his family.

Both his parents had four siblings each, who married and had children, and as far as he could count, providing he hadn’t forgotten anyone, he had twenty-seven cousins.

He had a few days to complete this assignment so he took his time. He did as much as he could with the information he knew then asked his mom for help with the rest.

Ryan found his mom cooking dinner for the family. His sister was doing her homework at the table and his brother had finished his. He was in the living room watching television.

Mom, I will need your help filling in areas on our family tree. When you have time, can you help?”

Mary was a bit hesitant in answering. She looked at him then quickly looked away, pretending she had to keep her eyes on what she was doing.

“Yes, of course. Tonight I still have a few things still to do so how about tomorrow, after dinner? After your dad comes home. What I cannot remember he may remember.”

“Sure. It is not due until Friday so I have another two days. Thanks.” He turned and headed into the living room to watch TV with his brother.

Mary was deep in her thoughts that she hadn’t heard Bob come home. She knew this day would come eventually. She and her husband never told Ryan he was adopted.

They felt at the time it would be easier for him to understand what adoption meant when he was older.

When Mary and Bob married and wanted to start a family they had difficulties. The doctors told them that Mary had only one ovary producing eggs so the likelihood of getting pregnant decreased dramatically.

After four years of trying and wanting a family, they adopted Ryan. He brought so much joy to their life. To Mary’s surprise, she did get pregnant two years after the adoption of Ryan and then again after one year.

All the children were treated the same. It never made a difference to either of them that one had been adopted. Ryan was theirs just as much as their biological children.

After the children went to bed, Mary spoke to Bob about the class project. He sat there listening to Mary’s concerns. “Maybe we should have told him earlier,” she told Bob.

“Mary, Ryan is a smart boy. He knows we love him and so does his brother and sister. I think he will be fine. We never showed any favoritism between them. So tomorrow after dinner, we will sit down with him and help him with his class project and explain why we cannot fill in some areas of his tree.”

That night Mary barely slept. She was worried that her son would be crushed. Finding out his family is not really his family. Would he hate her for not telling him sooner?

The children headed to school on the bus. Bob was about to leave and he turned to Mary, “Honey, it will be ok. Promise. I know you didn’t get much sleep last night so try to rest today. I will be home tonight as quickly as I can and we will sit down together to speak with Ryan.”

The day passed quickly and the children were home. “We are going to have an early dinner tonight. Your dad and I will help Ryan with his project. Don’t eat too many snacks and spoil your dinner.”

Dinner was uneventful as the children had other ideas on their minds. Ryan’s mind was on finishing his class project whereas his siblings had finished their homework and could watch television.

Mom cleared the table and put away the leftovers while Ryan went to his room to gather his project. Mary took a deep breath and looked at her husband.

Ryan came running into the kitchen and set his colored pencils and his neatly rolled-up project. He unrolled his masterpiece and held the four ends down with clean coffee mugs.

“Here it is!” showing his work to his parents. ” He looked up at his dad and said, “Dad who in our family has red hair and hazel eyes like me? I remember many names and filled in many areas but no one has my colored hair. I don’t think anyone on Mom’s side has red hair. “

Bob looked up at Mary and saw she was upset so he began,” Well Ryan, you are the only one in our family who has red hair and those beautiful hazel eyes. you are unique in this respect.” He smiled at Ryan as he spoke.

Bob sat down next to Ryan knowing his son was excited to get his project done before its due date tomorrow. He put his arm around Ryan as he began to talk.

“Ryan, Mommy, and I wanted to have children and start our family. For some reason we had trouble. So, we decided after a few years to go to a special place where we found you.”

Ryan was confused at this point. He looked at his mom. “A special place? What does this mean? I do not understand.”

Mary, who had stood quietly while her husband tried to explain now spoke up,” Your dad and I love you very much. You are our son from the first moment we held you. You didn’t come from my belly like your brother or sister but you are our son.”

Ryan remembered a movie he watched and said, “Am I adopted?” Mary looked at her son then to Bob, “Yes.” Those words sent a shudder through Mary. She never thought of Ryan as that. He was her son.

Their son quietly sat there absorbing everything that was said. He looked up and smiled. “I remember my science teacher explaining this before. Grafting he called it. This helps the new tree grow faster and develop more quickly.”

“Many farmers use this trick to have the best quality trees on their farms. I guess this is how I became part of your family. I was grafted onto your family tree.”

Mary sat down next to her son and slid her arm around his shoulders. “Yes, I believe you made our family better Ryan.”

Bob glanced at his wife as he sat down at the table across from the two. Mary looked up and he mouthed the words, “I told you.”

As Ryan looked at his project on the table he wanted to show his branch of the tree as being something special and unique.

He began to split one branch and show how he became part of the family. He knew once he gave his presentation to the class he would have to explain what adoption is.

With the help of his parents, his masterpiece was complete. Including his grafted limb. He took the news of himself being adopted well.

Ryan couldn’t wait to share this newly found information with his classmates. To know how special he was and how grateful he is to be part of this family.

Written by: Angel

If you appreciate what I do:

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5


illustrate – verb: explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, or pictures

originated – verb:  specified beginning

emigrated – verb: leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another

immense – adjective: extremely large

signifying – verb: indicating

assignment – noun: a task or piece of work assigned to someone

hesitant – adjective: tentative, unsure, or slow in acting or speaking

pretending – verb: speak and act so as to make it appear that something is true when in fact it is not

deep in her thoughts – adjective: preoccupied by thoughts, thinking very hard

adopted – verb: legally take (another’s child) and bring it up as one’s own

likelihood – noun:  probability

dramatically – adverb: in a way that relates to drama 

biological – adjective: genetically related; related by blood

favoritism – noun: unfair preferential treatment

spoil your dinner – idiom: eating snacks or food before an actual meal

uneventful – adjective: not interesting or exciting

leftovers – noun: something, especially food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed

unique – adjective: one of a kind

confused – adjective: unable to think clearly or understand

shudder– verb: tremble

absorbing – adjective: intensely interesting; engrossing

grafting – verb: insert (a shoot or twig) as a graft

glanced – verb: take a brief or hurried look

mouthed – verb: saying something in a whisper or no voice

presentation – noun: a speech or talk in which a piece of work is shown and explained to an audience

masterpiece – noun: exceptional art or work

Question ( s ):

Do you know anyone who is adopted?

If so, did they know at an early age?

Do you think it was a good idea to keep the information of adoption from Ryan for so long? Or should his parents have told him?