Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Makes You So Different?

In applying for schools, there were all types of essays I had to write. I'm home for the weekend since my baby sister turned 4, and I was looking on my desktop computer at all the old documents I have saved. One of the essay questions was what's the biggest experience I've been through, how did it affect me, and what did I learn? Wanna read it... here it goes: (and yes, I quoted a Jigga line for my college application- who else but me?)

"I just play the hand I'm dealt, I can't say I never knelt before God and asked for better cards at times to no avail, but I never sat back feeling sorry for myself.." Jay-Z

I did not win any medals; I did not have an outer body experience or survive a natural disaster. I outlived my mother.

In what way did this affect me? The word I find most appropriate to describe my growth is strength. Strength: because I overcame my fear of death. It was not an easy experience, but I learned to accept that dying is inevitable and uncontrollable. Strength: because I learned how to deal with my emotions/confront them rather then avoiding them. Running from my feelings was hindering my personal growth; once I faced my feelings head on I was able to progress. Strength: because I learned how to adapt to new environments. Being in unfamiliar territory made me uncomfortable, and that feeling can easily defeat a person. By learning to adapt, I learned how to survive.

Strength: because I learned how to communicate with people without getting defensive when they ask sensitive questions/show interest in my personal life. Learning this allowed me to open up to people and relate to them on levels reaching beyond the surface. Strength: because I learned the value of selflessness, putting others before myself, a value I consider one of the most important characteristics a person can obtain. A value I could have only learned by watching my grandmother care for my brother and me daily without regard to most of her personal needs.

Strength: because I learned how to get along with another female head figure in a household, my stepmother, that is not of my blood and appreciate her input or genuine concern for me. It was hard to accept punishment, restrictions, or discipline from anyone but my birth mother. However, once I realized my stepmothers' concern for me was not fabricated, regardless if came from her womb; I was also able to accept the love and comfort she could provide. Strength: because I did not let a negative situation consume me and determine the outcome of the rest of my life.

I could have written an essay about some charitable organization, my church youth group, or being born premature. However, I thought this experience was more personable. Most people write about things in life they have some control over or have chosen to experience; I chose to write about the unpredictable. At some point in life, we all must experience the death of a loved one. The way we cope with the death will determine the type of person we become and the character we build. You could let their death consume you and live the rest of your life in sorrow, or you could cherish their memory/the lessons learned and grow from it. In closing, the author Washington Irving once said, "Small minds are subdued by misfortunes, greater minds overcome them."

A Survivor... Still,

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