I wrote this for the fifth Common App prompt "Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others".
the fickle finger of fate
"Where are you from?" The girl, seated to my left, looks my way intently. I barely look up, refusing to make eye contact, allowing the pronounced seconds to tick by awkwardly. The question hangs heavy in the air.
"Texas...." I finally mutter, voice softer than necessary.
"Oh... why'd you move here?"
The the words leaving my mouth lay themselves out and form a repeated, worn-out answer. The scenario plays itself out over and over again - resembling a memorized routine. It's happened many times in the past, maybe it will again.
"My dad's job..."
If there were any added sentiments on the tip of my tongue they die out quickly, lost in the dizzying ringing of the morning school bell. The end of the brief exchange marks the start of another dreaded year of a new school, new teachers, new friends, "new beginnings".
It takes a solid three years of not moving out of a neighborhood to convince me - my family - that we were destined to find ourselves settling in suburban Illinois. There is nothing special about the relatively small town, situated away from the acres of Illinois farmland and towards the bustling city of Chicago, not quite close enough to be within city limits. It isn't quiet by any means, but quieter than it had been living at a three minute drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, or in a Kansas City Crown Center high-rise apartment building.
Being the child of first-generation immigrants, I was taught to accept life-changing situations with open arms and an open mind, and more importantly, to swallow the feelings of discomfort change brought proudly. It didn't stick with me. I allowed myself drown in self-pity and let the negativity dictate my worldview - until finally I was forced to confront my own destructive mindset. I remember sitting on the floor of a friend's room, shortly after our fifteenth birthdays, playing with the hem of my sweatshirt, and listening to them gushing about how it was so incredibly "cool" that I had the experience of living in many places, and the experience of starting over. It bummed me out, if not slightly angered me, but also added to a sense of understanding.
It took another year for me to accept the fickle finger of fate, and finally allow myself to think past what I couldn't change - what no one could change. It does not matter if I still could of have been living in Texas - or Missouri, or Kentucky, or Michigan, or Ohio. It does not matter that I was thousands of miles away and couldn't attend the funerals of friends I was knew. It does not matter than I wasn't there for the births of new siblings. It does not matter if I was the only one who had left out of my childhood best friend groups, if I was the only one, it seemed, who kept leaving. What matters is in the now. I am here now, and there isn't anyone to blame for it; just the one person who has to take responsibility of the choices I do have control over: me.
If you were able to read it thank you. If you're able to give some quick feedback it would be greatly appreciated.