Here are a few essays I did in high school, for projects or for colleges. I thought it might be interesting to look back and see how things have changed
Everyone has a story. Some people come from people come from a family of money, some people are star athletes, some people just go to school and never participate in a single extra-curricular activity in their whole high school career. So what makes me special? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I have a good ACT score, and take AP classes, sure. But I’m not a star student; I can’t compete with my classmates. There is no comparison. I am average in band, I do okay because I am the only person in my grade that plays the flute. I am on the robotics team and in clubs like National Honor Society. But I’m just an average student. Nothing different or extraordinary about me. But there is more to me than what appears on paper.
I’ve been through more in 18 years than some people go through in their whole lives. When I was six months old, I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Whad it does is causes a thick layer of mucus throughout the body, but especially the lungs. My mother did not even know what it was when she found out. I lived with her until I was about three, then I moved in with my dad. She had decided that my dad could provide better for me with my medical condition and a more structured household. Because it’s always better for a child to have a male and female role models in the house, right? Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way.
My dad was in the Navy, so he wasn’t always at home. He worked at least one other job to raise extra money. I was at home with Lisa, my new step-mom. She treated me like I was her own child. Soon I was calling her mom. When I was five, she got the best news of her life; she was pregnant. Lisa always wanted kids of her own. After my brother was born, it became obvious that I was just a stand in. Once my little brother was born, I was nothing. I was no longer a child. By 7, I was doing all of the laundry, taking care of animals, doing all of the dishes, cleaning up after my little brother, and anything else I was told to do. But it wasn’t just doing everything in the house. Mom, was also an alcoholic. She had been for a very long time. I can remember when I was real young calling 911 because she was crying about being dizzy. Once when I was five, she broke for my leg. She was hung over from the night before, and was angry at me early in the morning. I had a soaked wash cloth; she snatched it from me and spilled water all over the floor. She slipped and grabbed me, causing me to fall on my leg. She then proceeded to yell at me for thirty minutes to stop crying and get off the floor.
Basically, this mother that raised me was a terrible person. My punishments were that I had to eat something I didn’t like for not getting down stairs on time in the morning. I would get books taken away from me. I couldn’t go visit my grandparents. I wasn’t ever allowed to eat something that was “someone else’s.” She used to whip me with a belt for stupid things like forgetting to change the litterbox or spilling a bowl that fell out of the fridge when the door was open. She would get mad at me and straight up smack me. And I was a good child. I didn’t have a choice.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with Diabetes. It was a miracle, because after that I started to eat, when before the doctor was considering putting in a feeding tube. Not even a month later, Hurricane Katrina hit. We stayed in my grandparents’ house that was basically beachfront. We swam out of the house filled with five feet of water into a category five hurricane. While I was swimming out, my leg got completely shut in the door. Somehow I fought through it to keep going. Luckily, after breaking into a house, we got hold of 911 and got to a hospital. I didn’t break my leg again, but everything in my leg (muscle, tendon, etc.) fused to the bone. I had to have surgery out of state the next year.
April 2007 was a very busy month for me. I had started to have these awful pains in my stomach. I couldn’t even move it hurt so badly. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and die. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with Intussusception, a rare medical disorder where your intestine collapses on itself (like a collapsible telescope). If I had not had surgery when I did, I would have died within 24 hours. What made my case so extraordinary is that it is usually found in infants up to 18 months old. I was nine. I had an emergency surgery to take out six inches of my intestine. The same day my brother was due to be born. Two days later he was born a healthy baby, and my dad came home from a nine month deployment.
I dealt with the abuse for years. It was physical abuse, yes, but it was mental and emotional abuse as well. To this day, I can’t bring myself to finish something off without feeling selfish and guilty. I had no confidence and was taught that I was not a good person. I was ugly and my hair was bad and I couldn’t pick out my own clothes because I didn’t know how to do it. School was my escape. It was my safe haven. I did very well because I saw what my mom and dad where and knew I didn’t want to end up that way. I loved to read more than anything. I was put in the gifted program in the 2nd grade. I enjoyed the program because I got to be around other people that loved school as much as I did. But still, books provided me an escape from reality through the years. I also had my grandparents there for me too. Lisa’s parents loved me just like any of their other grandchildren. Actually, I was their first. I visited every weekend and had a semi-normal childhood while I was there. I was very lucky to have some adults looking after me, because my actual parents sure weren’t.
As my brothers got older, I started to take care of them more and more. When I was in 7th grade my dad and stepmom decided to get a divorce. She had been cheating on my dad for around a year. I decided to go with her and my dad let her take me, even though she had no rights to me. He understood that I wanted to be there for my brothers; no one else would have been. Things got worse and worse. I was taking care of the house and my brothers. One day Lisa flipped out and told me I deserved to burn in hell and that I was not allowed in her house anymore. Her parents took me in while my dad was on deployment again. What kind of mother throws their own kid out of the house when they are in 8th grade?
I lived with grandparents for about a year until my dad got back. I loved being there and being appreciated as a person. But soon I realized that it came at a price. My grandmother controlled everything I did. Everything I wore was chosen by her, and couldn’t wear something if she didn’t like it. I’ve always been very modest, so it was based on personal preference only. She also always wanted to wear makeup, too. I was never interested anyways, and I had not gotten in the habit of wearing it because I would cry it off before I left the house when I lived with my stepmom.
When my dad got back I went to live with him. My grandmother still tried to control me even though I wasn’t with her anymore. I loved having the freedom to be myself, and with my dad during that time is where I found myself, my humor, and ability to just be happy. When my dad decide to move to go to school, I knew I wanted to stay with him.
So why am I here now? I moved back. I got really sick and had to stay in the hospital for almost a month. That was the first time I ever stayed in the hospital and I had to do it alone at that. I decided that I wanted to stay at my school and in my band. So I moved back in with my grandparents. But it wasn’t easy sailing from there.
Right now, my grandmother controls everything about me. Every time I leave the house she decides whether I wear makeup, jewelry, how my hair is done, and what clothes I wear. If I get sick, it gets blamed on me, even if it’s a virus. She pulled me out of robotics team last year because she didn’t like my grades enough; I missed a once in a lifetime chance to go to the worlds robotics championship. Every choice I make has to be approved. But at the same time, I have no support. I still feel like nothing because I don’t have a boyfriend like she would like. Every few months, I am asked if I am a lesbian. I should not be questioned about my sexuality because I want to focus on school and not a relationship. I get yelled at for ridiculous things and can’t say anything back. I can’t say I’m stressed because I’ll get told that I’m just a kid and it’s not like I have a job. So how could it get any worse? Well, six months ago my ex-stepmom and brothers moved in. There was constant fighting just like when I as little, and at least 75% of it was about me. She shouted at me that she wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow in front of my 7 year old brother. She had also told me that she had never felt the same way about me as anyone else, how much bitterness and hatred she had for me.
So how have I survived this long? It’s not faith, because I lost that a very long time ago. I always had the strength to keep going and knew it always would get better. It wasn’t friends because I never had any. I was always different from others and didn’t fit in. But one day I knew it would change. Now, I have several close friends that support me. Even though they are not blood they are family. I am on the robotics team; it is easily my favorite thing I’ve done in my life. It helped me to gain friends and find myself again. I also discovered a career field that was never even an option that I heard of.
I never want to go home, because I hate every minute of it. I enjoy every second with friends and robotics, as well as band and other extra-curricular activities. At home, my grandparents provide no support. If I ask for help for something like fundraising, I am told that it’s my job, not theirs. I have not been on a single college visit. Anything I do has to be completely alone.
I’m ready to move on, and college is the only option. I can finally be on my own and not be restrained by lack of parental support. I can be myself and anything that happens do me will be because of what I’ve done. I can decide to wear sweat pants and not be criticized for not caring about what people think about me.
So what’s so special about me? I am strong. I am a fighter. I have never given up and never will. I am an average person. Just a hardworking, strong, average person.