struggles have made me who I am today
It was the night of the freshman winter concert. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shuffled upon the risers dressed from head to toe in black. The audience was full to the brim with smiling parents and video cameras. Excitedly, I scanned the audience for a face I recognized; I could not find one. I was crushed. I made my way through the entirety of the concert with little regard for the harmony I should have been signing during Silent Night or the how I should have been "smiling with my eyes", during Jingle Bells. After, I watched as my friends were showered with hugs and flowers. I waited nearly an hour for my aunt to take me home, while my classmates left on celebratory ice cream runs. When I finally returned home, I sobbed tirelessly, wishing that my parents, or anyone for that matter, had come to watch me perform. I desperately wanted someone to care.
This was not my first or last experience with disappointment. Growing up in Beverly Hills, one of the wealthiest communities in California, I was constantly surrounded by "picture-perfect" kids, with overly supportive families, and elaborate lives. I, on the other hand, ate cereal three meals a day, rarely went to the doctor, and never made it anywhere on time. So as a young girl, I envied my peers. Even inconvenient things, like when my friends were grounded, filled me with jealousy because my parents would never care enough to ground me. I craved the stability, the structure, these kids inherently had.
As time progressed, my circumstances didn't change, but I did.
I could not rely on my family for transportation, so I learned to be resourceful. I rode my bike to and from school each day, rain or shine, despite living several miles away. The school nurse still continues to joke about how I rode my bike to after school physicals. And now, as a licensed driver, not only am I extremely punctual, I always get my younger brother where he needs to be.
Nothing was handed to me. If I needed new shoes, I had to buy them. I joined the workforce at a young age, working desk jobs in tennis pro shops. When what I earned from my desk jobs didn't cover my car payments, I took teaching courses and became a certified tennis instructor through the professional tennis registry to increase my salary to a whopping twenty dollars an hour. While my friends are working on there tans, I'm working six days a week
The lack of attention I received, taught me not to seek out acknowledgment. I no longer scan the audience at my school concerts. My accomplishments are based solely on self-motivation. I study to further my education, not for my parents' appraisal of my report card. I practice tennis for hours on end, because I want to win a county championship, not to impress my peers.
While this essay reflects on the shortcomings of my family, they do what they can. Everyone has a different skill set; responsibility did not fit within theirs. I have learned to love my parents for the fun, forgetful people they are.
My outlook on life has become extremely positive. I no longer wish I was another one of the "picture perfect" kids. I do not pity myself anymore, nor do I envy my peers.
I am sincerely grateful for the struggles I've endured because they have made me who I am today. I have grown into a more resourceful, independent, appreciative and hardworking individual than I ever thought possible.