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My Hero

I am a bastard, do not pity me. That is, I am an 'illegitimate child.' Not a love child, as some
might say, because to say my father loved my mother is probably an overstatement. The line on my
birth certificate that says fathers name has been left unsigned for seventeen years. I have never
celebrated father's day, and I have never had a father to tuck me in at night, read me a bed time
story, or call me his little princess. I have never gotten to be daddy's little girl. On my
birthday I have never received so much as a card. My father has never once told me he loves me and
when I get married he will not walk me down the aisle or give me away. Yet I am the luckiest person
I know, because what I do have is my mother. Her name stands alone on my birth certificate. She
takes me out to ice cream and movies on fathers day. She tucked me in at night, and had me read her
stories. Every birthday my mom spends more than she can afford on me, and my mother tells me she
loves me every single day. My mother will walk me down the isle at my wedding, and give me away. My
last name is Viggiano, not Thompson, and for this I am blessed. Every day since I can remember, my
mother has woken up at 5am, made me breakfast, sent me off to school, and worked a nine hour day,
coming home in time to help me with my home work, clean the house, make dinner, and anything else
she had to do before beginning her customary five hours of sleep. Still finding time in between all
of that to battle the forces of bureaucracy, if someone was mistreating me, and entertain my short
attention span by shuttling me to soccer practice, soft ball, girl scouts, and whatever other
activity I deemed my passion that week. I have been raised by a super hero and, I would like to
believe, molded in her likeness. She has always taught me to value strong, independent women. Like
in second grade, when other girls were tying their hair up in ribbons and bows, watching My Little
Pony, and discussing which boys had cooties or not, I was sporting my Cowboys jersey, practicing my
karate, and admiring the pink Power Ranger, who not only had time for school and to look nice but
also to keep up with the boys to take down Lord Zedd and his minions. When I tell someone I don't
know my father they expect me to be troubled and it seems as though people have had lowered
expectations of me because I come from a broken family: their doubts simply fuel my desire to
succeed. I chose not to be a part of that 71% of high school drop outs that come from fatherless
homes. I fought the statistics, and I won. Armed with the super powers I acquired from my mother's
influence, I've accomplished high school better than many people who pitied me. I have learned
that the doubts of others mean nothing; they are simply kinder to my fire. Instead of giving in to
the expectations society has put on me, I thrive on proving them wrong. Throughout my life people
have said 'poor her' because I have had to live without the 'advantage' of a father. But I
say poor them. How can any one pity me when I live in the fortress of solitude? I have had a strong
female role model illuminating my path, allowing me to succeed on my own terms, teaching me to be
independent and confident in myself. I have had the advantage to not live in a patriarchal
household, and that has given me the self confidence that some girls may never find. The absence of
my father has bettered me in every way, by challenging me to excel and become a leader. I have had
to live life without the safety net a father provides, forcing me to become a stronger, more
confident, version of myself that I may never have become otherwise. His absence allow me to become
the person I am today, and for that I thank him.



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This article has 7 comments. Post your own!

TiffanyViggiano This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm:
I haven't been on for a very long time so this is my first time reading all of your wonderful comments. Thank you very much for the praise. You all made my day :).
 
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madu jezz said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm:
its nice....vry nice....
 
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Louis1191 said...
Aug. 18, 2010 at 11:00 am:
Wow that last sentnce was great good job!
 
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sundancer said...
Jun. 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm:
this is an amazing article. simply too good for words. thank you for posting this and giving us readers a sense of reading a hero's testament. for you are also a hero, not just your mother. keep on with what you are doing!
 
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jglove said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 8:11 pm:
That almost made me cry and im a dude and made me reflect on my life and your mom is a strong women and i think your goin to be a amazing strong women
 
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MadAsAHatter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm:
you sound so strong and amazing, its a really good essay
 
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Krystal J. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm:
This essay was beautiful and inspiring. You are a strong person, and I applaud you for proving that anyone can break the mold that people set. You are a great role model for everyone, including us fellow illegimate kids =)
 
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