Best Personal Essay

I tried to walk, but I couldn’t move. My arms and legs froze. I couldn’t feel anything. Thoughts racing through my head. I tried to breathe. Nothing came. I tried again. And again. The air slowly eased its way into my lungs. My body started to slowly come back. My mind as well.

Then I was aware of where I was, standing in the middle of the hallway. Supposed to be on my way to my 9th grade History. What had just happened? I felt my entire life flash before my eyes. I continued walking down the hall until I made it to my seat. I inched my head onto the desk. In that moment I couldn’t stand. My body was weak and tired. My legs shook. What just happened?

Eventually, I came to understand that I had an anxiety attack. Not my finest moment. Didn’t realize what it was  until I was told by my parents weeks later. My whole life got to my head. School, family, friends. Everything. Everyone always says the things you care about the most will hurt you. To be specific, what affected me so much was the constant changes in my daily life. In school I would be on track one minute, then the next I would miss a major assignment. Family is just too complicated to keep up with. Friends’ drama makes me want to never talk to them again. I wonder what it would be like to leave all those things behind. Throw it all away, and focus on myself. All of these things try to define me, and determine what I am supposed to be. How do they know who I am supposed to be if I don’t even know who that is?

Determining who I am is extremely important. I feel hellish heats roll over me when someone tries to tell me who I am, and tries to show me who I should be. Nitpick at me like some kind of play doll. Well guess what buddy, I’m not. This is my life. No one else's.

I remember sitting there. Hearing the loud voices in my ears. Not knowing what they were saying. Not realizing who was saying what. Until I found myself sitting in my bed regretting everything. Slamming my hand back and forth. Making little dents on my wall. Thinking about what just happened over and over again. I need to get my life together? What is wrong with me? My life? I am really that bad of a son? That bad of a person? Who are you to tell me any of that? Who is anyone to tell me? I am who I am. Deal with it. Instead of trying to improve myself for later, I just make it worse by resenting everyone and everything..

Everything may seem fairly confusing. I know it may not be making a lot of sense. Trust me, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s hard to walk through life not knowing who you are, what you are going to do, and how you are supposed to turn out. It really doesn't help when you have everyone around telling you who you are, what you are going to do, and how you are supposed to turn out. They have to make it as difficult as possible for you to make a decision for yourself. What if I don’t want to do what you tell me to? What if I want to do my own thing?

They say because you care about them you have to stand down and listen to them. I can’t just do that.

I couldn’t do that for anyone. Including my friend from middle school. He wanted me do what he told me, and I had to be who he wanted me to be. Except he moved away. When he left. I didn’t know what to do. I worshipped him. He was like a brother to me. I fell apart at first. Didn’t think I’d ever have another friend again. I tried to talk to him as much as I possibly could. Fell into a rut in the process. I didn’t talk to anyone else. Didn’t socialize. My friend ruined my life.

Eventually I had to move past the fact that he moved to the other side of the country. At this point I was completely introverted, and didn’t see the point. I was ready to live out the rest of my life like this. Until I found a new group of friends. Kids that didn’t care who I was. Guys that will treat like an equal. So, I stayed in that friend group. We hang out everyday. I noticed a significant change in myself. I wasn’t afraid to do what I wanted to do. Didn’t have to listen to my friends. It was all me.

The summer before 10th grade my old friend came to visit, and check in. He came over and we hung out for a while. Did some stuff we used to do. He seemed to have changed. He was a kinder person than he was before. I was happy for him. I had the feeling that he found what he was looking for in life. Just wish I could do the same.

The last day he was here, we took a walk to his old house. The air was warm, and sweat poured down my face. We walked for hours. Until finally he was picked up by his parents because he had to catch his plane. We said our goodbyes. It was funny actually. The last thing he said to me made me laugh. He said, “Lose my number, I don’t like the person you’ve become”. The engine of the car slowly turned out, and drove away. Blowing all the dust in my face. I stood there. Couldn’t feel my legs, my arms were motionless. My breath slowly came out. All of a sudden I started to laugh. I couldn’t stop. I fell to the ground. What had just happened? I remember thinking that after almost three years of growth, I still am being told what I am doing wrong. People telling me who I am supposed to be. I thought my friend had changed. Had grown into a new and better person, just like I had.

Nowadays. I couldn’t care less about that kid. Don’t even consider him a friend. I haven’t spoken to him in a good year. I get the occasional text from him asking how I am, but I never reply. Friends and Family are an important element of finding who I am supposed to be. However, their job is to support me. They shouldn’t judge me. Family and friends will almost always be there, but if they cannot stand back and let me choose then I don’t want them there.

I have no clue who I wanna be. The kinda person I want to grow into or the kind of life I want to pursue. Just because I don’t know doesn’t mean it should be handed to me. If you don’t like how I act or talk then don’t talk to me. Or like my old friend, move all the way across the country. Doesn’t matter who I am as long as I’m the person I was meant to be.

Comments (7)

Ameer Johnson (Student 2019)
Ameer Johnson

I learned that Matt has not always been the man that I thought he was. For better or for worse ;) I thought the reflection bit was done well although I would have slowed down with the repetition. Gj bro

Shamus Keough (Student 2019)
Shamus Keough

I knew about the whole anxiety thing, but you never told me about the "friend" story, and what happened after that, so that was a new thing I learned. I did notice you trying to use repetition with the phrase "What just happened?", but maybe you could have tried to add the phrase a little more. I feel like you used reflection well, with at the end how you showed certain things about you that changed from when you were younger, like the relationship you had with the "friend."

Taylor Green (Student 2019)
Taylor Green
  1. I learned a lot about how you are still trying to find yourself and you don't let people tell you who you are anymore. I can really relate to that because there are times when I'm unsure of myself.
  2. I feel as though your use of repetition and your reflection really gave insight on how you were thinking and what you think of yourself now. In a way, it shows that you have already found yourself.
Sydney Rogers (Student 2019)
Sydney Rogers
  1. I learned about how Matt has changed in the past year. I related a lot to the essay because for a while I was in the same place where everyone was telling me who I was, but I didn't even know who I was. I learned a lot of interesting things about him.
  2. The strategies he used did work. He asked a lot of questions in his essay which added diversity to the sentence structures. The repetition worked too and the part where he reflected about how he and his friend had changed was also good.
Julia Furman (Student 2019)
Julia Furman
  1. I really learned a lot about your past, and I actually found it kind of relatable. I don't remember having that kind of friend, but I always worry about how others perceive me. Seeing your "It's my life" view was really interesting.
  2. I think both of the strategies really worked in amplifying the tone and meaning of the passage.
Javier Chueca Bosch (Student 2019)
Javier Chueca Bosch

With that essay, I discovered a totally new you and I got surprised in a good way when you talked about your thought. Nice job. However, I would love to see more of the reflection and the looking back in the past since I feel one of the main points of your essay and you could use it more and probably better.

Matthew Reed (Student 2019)
Matthew Reed

I tried to use Repetition because I thought it made the essay a lot more effective and meaningful. I repeated things in my essay to show I thought. Because when these things were happening I thought the words and phrases I repeated. I repeated the question "What just happened?"

I also used Reflection to look back on my past experiences and presented how I outgrew them. I explained how I have become and knew and better person, and I don't care what people think.