Power in Numbers

Yesterday, I was bitten by a flea. A single flea. The instant I felt that sting, I looked down to saw that sucker feeding on my leg. You might be thinking, it’s just a bug. A single bug. What’s the big deal?

One in many.

One in many, yet power in numbers.

You don’t understand the feeling of horror and dread that coursed through my veins at that moment. In that moment, I was sent back in time to my freshman spring quarter of college.

I stayed in the dorms and lived with two other people in a cramped space. It was more of a closet than a room, but we all got along well and even remained roommates for the next year.

Well, I have a confession to make. Dorms do not allow pets; and crazy me, I adopted a little gray kitten that spring quarter. I know, I shouldn’t have broken a rule, but she was so cute and no one else wanted to take her in. Besides, I don’t exactly adore rules (which is ironic since I want to be a lawyer). Anyways, my parents wouldn’t take her and feeling bad, I kept her in my dorm with the approval and excitement of my other roommates. She was the stress-relieving fur ball that kept us sane throughout the 10 week quarter before I brought her home during 7th week.

We were happy, until the fleas came. Mind you, to this day I don’t believe Wally (my female kitten) had any fleas. She was clean, I swear! I believe it was the blankets we laid out on the grass for a midnight picnic that brought the flea eggs back in. Either way, these fleas came and came at us hard- all during finals week, and if you were a student then you understand how stressful that week had been.

These jumping, biting, sucking fleas grew fat from our blood. I slept on the bottom bunk, so I had it worse. My roommates not so much, but we each got our fair share of flea bites. I had thirty and more on my body. By this time, I was beyond anxious with finals testing and the fleas just made it worse. Our safe haven in the dorm was ruined. There was no relaxing or eating in there without that familiar sting on your leg. Our room was infested.

Back to the present, when I felt that bug bite me, my face turned pale with fear. This was only a single bug, but in time there would be power in numbers. It was happening again. Why me? I didn’t even bring a cat to my apartment this time (I suspect it is the new roommate).

That night I slept in the living room out of paranoia. That was a bad decision because at four am in the morning, my new roommate barged in with two friends making a large racket. They drank wine and laughed and cooked food. I was beyond tired and annoyed. I needed my sleep because I had class at nine am, but I couldn’t just go back to my room because that single flea might have friends. Strange how a single bug can have such an impact on my life.

Now, say that single bug was a single person? How much of an influence would that person have on my life then? My mother is only one person; and she is the one that gave birth to me. My friends helped me decide the kind of person I wanted to be. My teachers all played an important role in my education and morals. Every person I met and interacted with helped me become the person I am and shaped the decisions I made. I am only one person, but I have done the same for many others.

That little, annoying flea is only one, but in numbers there is power. You are only one person, but in numbers there is power. How easy would it be to make a difference in our world if we joined together for a lovely cause? Little ol’ me can make a difference just by myself. Yet with many others, there can be so much more influence in the world.

"Hands up, don't shoot." Vigil participants in downtown Decatur for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson. Credit: Evan Jang/WABE

“Hands up, don’t shoot.” Vigil participants in downtown Decatur for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson. Credit: Evan Jang/WABE

My point is, a community is a powerful thing. Take the French Revolution for instance. Or the American Civil War. What about the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s? Fascinating isn’t it? People joining together for a cause have had such an influence on our lives even today. We don’t usually pay much attention to the human interactions between ourselves, but every word and every action leaves an impact.

So, ask yourself this: What do I believe in? What action can I take to make a difference? And lastly, are there others out there like me? 

As for me, I believe that every child should have a loving family. I know that I can make a difference with my pursuit of law education. Finally, I know there are volunteers out there I can join to make a difference in children’s homes.

You are only one person, enough to make a difference yourself, but in numbers there is power. Tell me, what do you believe in and what can you do to help?

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“Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo.”


“Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo.”

In translation, it means time waits for no one.

These words flit through my mind whenever I notice the shadows grow longer and the stars grow brighter. Funny how time used to stand so still when I was a little girl playing in my cousin’s backyard.

Now, I’m nineteen years old going on twenty. In just a little more than a month, I will no longer be a teenager; and yet, how is it that I still feel like a child? I’m a little girl in a woman’s body. It is frightening how small I feel despite being an incoming junior at UCLA.

Time waits for no one.

Where have I been all this time wandering through life? It certainly was not the present. I find myself blinking back and forth from past and future. Thinking back on past mistakes and nostalgic memories, fantasizing about the future and what is to come- I’m no where near the present.

A while ago, my father had a heart attack. My mother called me three days after the fact when she knew I was finished with exams. Wise woman, she was worried it would affect my studies. She would have been right. The news dragged me out of my idle reveries and (somewhat) studious attitude. That was the moment that brought me to the realization that I had not been paying attention to the here and now. Looking at my father so frail and sick, it was a jarring contrast to how I pictured him as a child: strong, young, and healthy. He was growing old, and so was I.

Since then, I made the personal commitment to spend more time in the present, to really appreciate what was happening around me, and to notice life’s wonders as I travel through time. I walk through my days seeing for the first time how precious nature is, how wondrous human interaction can be, and how lucky I am to be here to be able to enjoy both.

Life is strange, life is beautiful, and life is fleeting.

One day my parents will no longer be here, and neither will I. And yet, I am not sad or afraid. No longer will I pass the days waiting for things to go my way, sitting still and wanting for more time.

Time waits for no one, and no one should wait for time.

Now, wouldn’t you agree?

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