Exceeding Expectations

Ashley - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

I am a firm believer that you can rise above the situation that you were born into, but you have to do it for yourself. When my mother had me when she was sixteen years old, people thought the outlook was bleak. They didn’t expect her to become anything more than a teenage mother and I don’t even know what they thought I was going to become. One thing was for sure; when I was born, it was unexpected. The situation was less than desired and only complicated things.

As a child, I was aware of the situation around me. I took note of what was going on and recognized that, although my family loved me, I was not supposed to happen so soon. Growing up with this knowledge was painful.

We were not a rich family, but with help, my mom rose above her situation and they encouraged me in all my endeavors. My dad was not a constant presence in my life by any means, but when he was around, I wanted him to be proud of me. My dad was a musician, and at seven I took up the Violin and later the Cello just to get him to notice me. I thought it would make a difference, but it never seemed like it did. I remember my first recital. I wanted him to be there so badly, but he never came. Eventually I grew to resent him.

All my life I have been trying to please the people around me. I wanted them to be proud of me. I wanted them to know I was not just a stigma placed on my mother at a young age. When I was four, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I had big dreams. It’s only recently I realized something. Between working a part time job, volunteering, being in the IB program and trying to maintain some sort of social life I realized that I was doing everything for all the wrong reasons. I thought that I couldn’t fail, because if I did then everything my family did to help me would be for nothing. I realized that I cannot do everything. I cannot only want to succeed because I don’t want people to be disappointed. I have to do it for me. You have to live your life and do what you want to do. When I realized this, the burden that I had been carrying my entire life was lifted off me. I still strive to be the best that I can, but my intentions are different. I do it because I want to.

I’m going to go on and become something great. I have accomplished so much already that nobody initially thought I was going to. I’m grounded in what I believe and it’s thanks to my family for their support. I’m rising above the situation I was given, and I’m doing it for me.