By Aanya Agarwal
Millard North High School
Children laying on the floor, adults sitting close to each other to conserve space or leaning on the wall. Christmas lights twinkle and reflect their multi-colored hues on the energetic clan. The air was easygoing with no plan for the night other than to enjoy.
The Christmas reunion was one eagerly anticipated by the Rexing family, a few days where the world seemed whole and devoid of the complications of daily life.
That feeling, that sense of togetherness – that is one of Brody Rexing’s fondest memories.
“It was controlled chaos,” Rexing chuckled.
The same phrase can be used to describe his life, which has been a series of lofty highs and sunken lows. The lowest point in the Evansville, Indiana, native’s life was when his parents divorced when he was 5, and the once boisterous Christmas dinners were no more.
“My parents splitting up was one of the worst things that could’ve happened to me,” Rexing said. “It was a system shock. In that point it felt like everything was crashing down. That moment was the worst because it lead to the other hardships I’ve had to face in my life.”
Despite the hardship that came with his family breaking apart, Rexing continued to look at things in a positive light.
“At the same time, the divorce could be considered one of the better things that could’ve happened to me,” Rexing said. “That kind of gut punch set me up for dealing with hardships.”
The self-proclaimed “music aficionado” turned to theater as an outlet for his emotions and hopefully redemption as his home life got more and more complicated.
“The best thing that happened to me was when I was a freshman, I got a lead role in a school drama production for the first time,” he said. “It was the best thing to happen to me,0 not only because I got to enjoy the limelight for a moment but also because I could get over something I’d been struggling with, which was trying to prove myself to others and be respected.”
“I realized that the end goal was just to satisfy myself.”
The 17-year old rising senior at F.J. Reitz High School dreams of graduating college, but despite all his setbacks he is already well on his way due to his own hard work, love for reading and writing, and the support of his family. When – not if, when – he graduates, he will be the first in his immediate family to do so.
“The thing about me that distinguishes me from my relatives is that they were never the scholastic type,” Rexing said. “I’m the only one who’s really pursued college. However, I’ve had a lot of push from relatives on all sides of my family because I’ve gotten the closest to having a promising college career.”
Rexing is always trying to improve himself, a characteristic he believes will help him achieve his goals.
“The reason I get up in the morning is because I’m always trying to better myself so I never get to a point where I feel like there’s no reason to even leaving my bed,” he said. “I’m always trying to find new things to achieve and that’s my driving factor.”
As for those Christmas dinners, they still convene every holiday season but the feeling is different.
“Christmas now is separated and it doesn’t feel whole but there’s still a family Christmas feeling there,” Rexing said. “It’s still fun, but in a different way.”