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"Miss Wordy" strikes again. I have to chop oh, about 193 words.


Jeannie 10 / 214  
Jan 4, 2010   #1
Please write approximately 250-400 words to discuss one to three important influences on your life to date. You may choose people, critical incidents, other more common but still meaningful events, or something else. Describe them and how they have helped shape the person you are today.

My own writing exhausts me...can you help me chop some words out? Also be on the lookout for passive construction (my nemesis). Thanks for any suggestions!

I was a little girl with the first dawning of innocence being slowly broken by years. I wanted so much to feel the Truth. I wanted to be free and untouched by ugliness. I would sway in the tree-tops for hours, bending the branch to the very cusp of its snap. I wanted to know that God was there. I wanted everyone to know that I was not afraid, but I was terrified. Not of the tree or of its branches breaking, but of living a life without hope of ever being good enough.

I have spent my life in a desperate pursuit of unattainable perfection. After abandoning that lofty goal, I finally found peace. Real peace, however, is always hard won, and there are events throughout my life that have tested my character, my strength, my integrity, and my ability to persevere.

After a difficult childhood marked by horrors few would want to know about, I left home. I call this my period of "apathetic emancipation;" I doubt my mother noticed I was gone. I hid at night in various friends' basements, and I continued to attend high school, but in the middle of my senior year, I was expelled due to poor attendance. Watching my classmates graduate was profoundly sad and demoralizing, and I sank into a depression that almost ended my life. I found myself in a very dangerous situation, dependent on a man 20 years my senior who took pleasure in devising clever ways of ensuring my emotional and physical suffering. There was only one way out; to sneak away and join the Army.

The Army literally saved my life. From a terrified, angry, half-starved girl, I was transformed into a healthy, confident, competent woman. They sent me to school, and they instilled values that remain the core of my beliefs: honor, integrity, empathy, teamwork, and will. However, one thing was still missing; faith.

Years passed and I married a wonderful man, we bought our dream home in the country, I was administrator of a large medical practice, and my roses bloomed like foolish fairies; I could not say what was wrong, but I was unfulfilled.

Soon, I found myself alone again - starting over from scratch. I was exhausted with trying so hard all the time. If I could not please anyone, what was the point of living? As I began to sink, once more, into that familiar and somehow sickly-comforting morass of despair, the wind seemed to whisper in my ear, "So don't sit there whining, do something that fills your soul!" So I did. I quit it all. I withdrew $13,874 from my retirement account, and on my 37th birthday I fulfilled the dream born in the tree-tops of my youth; I jumped!

Skydiving literally saved my life. From a terrified, angry, needful, woman, I was transformed into a woman of honor, integrity, and empathy, and I am part of a family who loves me despite my many faults. Most importantly, I have an ever-lasting faith in God that tells me I can sway in the tree-top, I can love with abandon, I can forgive, and I can learn everything there is to know. As long as I just put one foot in front of the other, I will persevere.

I believe I am wiser than most, and what comes with that belief is a realization of my profound ignorance and a giddy truth that all things are possible through faith.

PS. it's a Catholic school, so I am allowed the occasional and judicious use of "God." :D
OP Jeannie 10 / 214  
Jan 6, 2010   #2
Thanks Jennifer! I don't know why I can't see the words that need to go in my own writing...it's a phenomenon. Thank you! I cut out what you suggested and then some and handed it in still a bit over the limit, but I got an A! Yay!

:) jeannie
OP Jeannie 10 / 214  
Jan 9, 2010   #3
bloomed like foolish fairies ; I could not say what was wrong, but I was still unfulfilled. - Hm. .never heard that idiom before.

:) that's because I made it up! :D
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 14, 2010   #4
I doubt my mother noticed I was gone.

This sentence gives chills. It is very powerful the way you place it here. It's a very powerful and surprisingly unique way to express something that is (unfortunately) a feeling familiar to many: a child is so neglected that she leaves home and no one notices...

The Army literally saved my life. ...
Skydiving literally saved my life.

Did you do these the same on purpose? I don't know if it gets the effect you are looking for. It almost seems like an error! So, maybe that is something to revisit. You could write:

Skydiving represented the life-saving empowerment that I found in the military" or something.

You can cut out words by combining skydiving with the Army as if two sides of one coin, and present both in one excellent paragraph.


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