As a preparation to reading my essay I just want to be as clear as possible, don’t pity, and don’t feel bad. I don’t need the extra attention. I am but who I am, I’ve dealt with this stuff before I’m past it. These events molded me into the young lady I am today. I don’t need the pity there is a lot worst going on in the world. As you read only keep in mind that I’m just another American teen.
My smile, my shield, the one aspect in my life that protects me from being alone. “Alone”, this word holds such power, only what does it mean? I never have been alone, yet I don’t remember not being alone. No one ever knew the real me. I’m not sure I know who I am. What really defines me? Is it being my mother’s baby, a little sister to my brother, a godmother of two, or auntie to my nephew? Maybe it’s being a Haitian – American going up in America. A friend someone anyone can turn to for advice for a shoulder to lean on. No, what I am I a pretender. I pretend to be perfect, pretend to be fine. Wanting most for not being “alone”, only I am. I’m surrounded by people who think they know me but I don’t know myself. All I know is that I smile.
Growing up I was a typical happy- go – lucky child. I had my mother, my brother and my dad. My biggest concern was keeping up with my heart conditions and trying to stay healthy because I was a sickly child. That was until the day that hunts me the most, the day my world was turned upside down, the day I found my smile. I was about 5 or so, my brother and I playing our usual game of wrestling then the yelling. A familiar voice screaming, I ran out my room my eyes must have been lying to me. It couldn’t be, my dad just beat her. She was lying there all bloody in the doorway of our apartment. Mom what are you doing get up. She yelled to me “Get Help!” I was 5 I didn’t know what to do. So I ran, confused, crying I ran. Thankfully my babysitter was 5 doors down. I didn’t know what was going on the man I loved the most, the one who I knew as protector of my whole family almost killed the women who I loved the most. The one I knew best. He made it so that I was scared at the hospital when I seen her. She was a monster to me. The only thing I knew was I had to smile. Had to make sure no one knew anything was wrong.
Back to my life, happy as can be, but now a pre-teen. Fitting into the stereotype of young angry black girl. I hated everyone, hated my dad for leaving me at such a young age to start his new family. One I wasn’t part of, I wasn’t invited. I hated my brother for making my mom so angry. I hated my school for trying to tell me what to do; they didn’t know anything about me. I was so angry but still I was smiling. Concentrating on anything but what was going bad in my life. I wanted friends, I didn’t want to be “alone”; again that word but still what dos it mean. Now he’s leaving. My only real friend, even though I hated him he’s leaving. Now I hated my brother more he was leaving me to be by myself. He left after his best friend died. I blamed myself. I made him leave just like my dad and my mother’s ex-husband. No one wanted to be around me. I couldn’t blame them. I circled around people that were getting into trouble, living reckless lives just because I knew if they got attention I would too. No one who I felt I hid behind my smile. Everyone thought I was as happy as can be. Really on the inside I was suffering, my brother left me, my dad left me, my friends didn’t know me, my mom was hospitalized because of her stroke. Everyone dear was leaving but still I held my head up high and smiled.
High School has started; time to make a fresh start. No one knew me as the angry black girl I was just a freshmen. The only thing I knew was that I had to make myself noticed, had to make a name for myself. No longer would I be living in my older brother’s shadow. Everything is going great. My brother came back. My dad and I regained a relationship mostly due to my cousin’s death; she was raped, tortured and murdered by her ex- boyfriend. I’m guessing my dad was too scared to loose me the way we lost her. The point was for once I think I was truly happy ready to live a new life. I joined clubs became an active member of Malden High. In doing this I slacked where it was most important not to, my school work. My viewpoint was just that freshmen year was my year to find myself to learn who I was get rid of my smile. The next year was semi-ok no real problems, excluding one or two deaths. Finally my year was here I was a junior. The people I thought were my friends I dropped quickly because their way of life just wasn’t for me. Everyone turned on me some how. Until the point I got my very first and last suspension. Suspended a legion I heard people getting all the time, but not me. I realized I wasn’t happy. Surprisingly my smile wasn’t there either. Still because I had my smile for so long nobody noticed. The Malden High Cheerleader, Dancer, Peer Mediator with so much school spirit couldn’t have anything wrong with her. I had to make changes, a scary thought at 16. Even scarier I had to make them alone, by myself with no help. It wasn’t that bad I got new friends who knew what my smile meant. Opened up to my brother and instead of helping everyone else I helped myself. Now a senior I’m ready to move on with my life. Become something great. Make my family proud. Make my smile mean something good for once.