Advanced Essay #1: What You See, I Don't

One of my goals writing this paper was to develop a story that many could relate to. I've struggled with many things as a child and I wanted to let the audience know where I come from and the person I am because of that struggle. Not only that, I also wanted to write something from the heart. My struggle may be cliche, though it is truly something that I was always insecure about. Just writing about something that I've experienced before is always easier, though it was difficult letting it out and showing it to the world. 
One thing that I think I did well in was going back and adding in memory scenes. I would make it seem as if that scene was actually happening, but then snap back out of it and jump into the reality of it. I could maybe improve it by making it more clear if it was not clear enough, but overall, hopefully it made sense. My essay is below and I hope you enjoy. 

New York city was where it was at. Bright lights, upbeat music, and a crowd full of people. I was backstage, peeping through the white curtains. It was like watching Gabrielle on High School Musical preparing for her duet with Troy. Only this time it was me, alone- getting ready to step out into the spotlight of thousands of people who had came out to see my show. The backstage organizer, who was dressed in all black wearing a black headpiece on his head, placed his hand on my back and lead me to the center of the stage. There infront of me, just about 3 inches from my eyes, I stare at a creamy, white, clean curtain. My mind goes blank and my eyes shut. All I can think about is how does my hair look? My outfit? What if I trip walking on these five inch heels? Next thing you know, a microphone is placed into my hand and my eyes open wide. All I hear and see is a man standing on the left side of me, just about ten feet away counting down with his fingers. “..3..2..and…” Suddenly the “..1..” disappears into the air and the curtains start to spread apart, allowing the bright lights to beam into my eyes.

But that was just all a dream. It was six-thirty in the early fall morning and my mother had just walked into my room. She spread the curtains wide apart allowing the sunlight to beam onto my eyelids, trying to annoy me so I would get out of bed. My alarm was still ringing I had not remembered or rather heard it going off. I squint my eyes shut and quickly rolled over to the right where it was much darker and less awakening. I stretch out my arms and legs, moaning. “Wake up, it’s time to go to school!” My mother exclaims. She picks up a few of my clothes on the floor and places them into the white basket in her other hand. Then she leaves the room with the door wide open and alarm still ringing. I eventually force myself out of bed and hit the alarm button off.

As I am brushing my teeth, I realize that my eyes are still shut; struggling to retain open. Then suddenly, I remembered it was picture day! I quickly rinsed my mouth and washed my face. I ran back into the room and slid my closet doors open; banging to the sound of frustration. I knew I should've woken up earlier. After I quickly picked out my outfit, black high waisted skinny jeans with a nude-pink blouse, I rushed over to my vanity. I then remembered that I left my makeup bag in my bookbag, so I rush down to the living room and quickly scrambled through my things. I grabbed the petite black bag and immediately ran for the stairs back to my room, but everything falls out. “Really?” I screamed aloud. This day could not get any worse! As I quickly shoved everything back into the bag, I look up. My grandmother’s photo comes across my attention and I stop.

I’ve never really paid attention to the photo. It was her alone, sitting in a stool, posing for the camera. It reminded me of exactly what I will be doing today. As I quickly examined the photo, I noticed her perfectly lined lips and smooth skin. She looked absolutely beautiful and flawless.

I ran back upstairs and unzipped my makeup bag. I spreaded everything out and stopped. I stared at myself in the mirror, wishing I looked just as beautiful as my grandmother. But as I quickly did my makeup, my mother calls me down. She tells me to hurry it up and leaves, grabbing her keys. I grab my black knee-high boots and sit on the couch. I slipped them on and stood up. The picture grabs ahold of my attention again and I smile. I grab my bag and I am out the door, hoping I look okay.

I’ve made it to school on time, exactly at 8:15. I run up the stairs, hoping I would not be late for Morning Meeting. But as I am making my way down the hall, I hear my classroom number being called on the loudspeaker. “Room 500, please report to the office to take your pictures. Room 500, please report to the office. It’s picture day!” I enter my classroom and everybody is in line. I had not expected to be taking pictures this early in the morning. I place my belongings down and I step into line. Oh lord, I think. Why today?

As we are aligned outside of the office, Teacher Andy instructs us to get into alphabetical order, starting from last names. That means I am the fourth person in line. My heart begins to pound and all I can think about is how do I look.

As a kid, picture day was always the worst day. I think to myself, this is just a replay of second grade. I close my eyes and for a second, I blank out.

I am sixth in line, waiting to be called. I look in front of me, noticing every girl nicely dressed with their dresses perfectly pressed and hair perfectly curled. I turn around with my head tilt down and eyes closed as I think, “Let this be over. Please.”

But that was all just a memory of second grade. Today, I stand fourth in line; surprisingly ready. My heart beat starts to slow down and I question why. What is this feeling?

Teacher Liz makes her way over and unexpectedly says, “Ashlye. You look really stunning today! I love the mature look.” I say, “Really? Thank you.” She smiles and enters the office.

I look around, a little embarrassed but relieved. Embarrassed because I was put onto the spotlight and relieved because I thought I looked absolutely awful.

Taking pictures was always an insecurity of mine. I was never comfortable in my own skin and I felt as if I always needed to look presentable everywhere I went. Standing in line, I realized that today was not a very special 8day. Picture day comes every year and I shouldn’t be focused on how I look. Although I wish to look just like my grandmother in the photo back at home, I have to accept my flaws to see the true beauty in me.

Stepping out into the spotlight, constantly concerned of the way I look, I know the world will always judge. But it’s the thought of accepting the judgements and turning them into my own beauty.

As the line continues to get shorter, I stand there, calm and collected. The first that I’ve ever felt confident.