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You Don't Know Me

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(first of all, I'm a junior and this is one of many essays i'll be writing (all in different tones and with different topics) before I begin the application process...ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOME, DESIRED, AND APPRECIATED!)


Everyone has a story. That person you stood behind in line at the grocery store, the stranger in front of you on the bus, your coworker with the grumpy demeanor and sketchy glance...they aren't just bodies walking around with eyes to look and mouths to speak. They're people, each with their own fears, their own hobbies. Memories upon memories are stacked up like books on the shelf of their being. Thoughts, ideas, opinions flow through them just as miraculously and randomly as yours do. Every person near you, every stranger on the street, every face in a picture, is a miracle of personality, skill, dreams, and flaws. Wrapped in a body, protected by bones, given a face with which to utilize as he/she so chooses, a mouth to speak words, eyes to watch and witness, and ears to listen. Contrary to the social stigmas that appear in books, movies, and daily conversation, there is no such thing as a boring person. I'm not here to convince you that I'm the most interesting of your applicants, the most skilled, the smartest, or that I'm somehow a level above the others that have applied. I'm not about to criticize the general population by attempting to persuade you that everyone else is boring, and that my thoughts, ideas, memories, experiences, fears, dreams, flaws, and skills are in any way shape or form of a higher caliber than the next applicant you look at. I'm just going to tell you about one face, one pair of hands, one mind: my own. As simply and as straight-forward as I possibly can.

I don't trust you. And if I ever meet you, It's a pretty safe bet that I never will. I don't trust my best friend, my boyfriend, my foster-parents, my brother, even my therapist. And, truth be told, I don't think you trust anyone either. As cynical and pessimistic as this sounds, trusting someone 100%, in my opinion, is one of those things like PERFECTION...great to strive for, nice to dream about, impossible to attain. Try not to be offended for a minute, clear you head of images of loved ones, and think about it briefly. Do you trust yourself? Do you know what your flaws are and your defense mechanisms? Maybe so. Can you honestly tell me that you know EXACTLY how you'd deal with cancer (sadness, hysteria, anger, denial, accaptance), or having your loved ones all die in a tragic accident (depression, neurosis(???), suicide)? It's hard to pinpoint our own flaws and assets, to trust our judgements and reactions, and to have faith that we know every particle and miniscule pebble in the ocean of our personalities. Thus, how can we expect to fully trust someone else, when COMPLETELY trusting the brain inside our bodies, the steadiness of our hands, the clarity of our own toughts is so impossible?

I can't verbally communicate my thoughts nearly as accurately and as adequately as I'd like to be able to. The word "uhh" doesn't represent a space in my thoughts so much as a filler for verbal communication, used in the middle of sentances as thoughts continuously converge and connect, almost in place of a comma. "Like" is the same way. Thank you, decades of teen-oriented films, for giving the word "like" such a negative connotation that people that don't know me can so easily assume that I'm a ditz, an airhead with nothing important to say. Without the 2D world, I would be a mess. My ideas, thoughts, and bits of epiphonies and creativity would be a disaster, a mess of confusion just swimming aimlessly around the muscle that is my brain. Weather it's art or writing, I have plenty to say and a means of expression. Don't get me wrong, I'm a talkative young woman. But sometimes my thoughts are a few steps ahead of my mouth and so I talk at a pace that seems to require maximum attention of the people that find the energy to listen to me. With a pen in my hand, my brain slows down, everything melts into one stream of words or one line of ink and the process of expression becomes my only salvation. In this mode, I am untouchable. Unbotherable. Weather i'm in a crowded classroom or by the waterfall in the woods behind my house, nobody can see me, not a soul can hear me, and I am completely alone with my thoughts.

I'm gonna pull a trick from the ole' generic essay question hat and describe myself in three words. Although this always starts out with me describing six or seven characteristics that i'm (call me concieted) proud of and narrowing it down to three, I'm going to use the words that OTHER people have used in describing me. I hear the word "creative" more than anything else. People that have seen my portrait drawings will use that word, and people that hear my theories about the universe, religion, or the book 1984 might use that word. "Creative" is generally applied to something artistic in nature. I'd like to think that it also applies to a way of approaching life. A way of thinking, or perhaps a way of living. By striving to think outside the box and avoiding stereotypical patterns of thinking and reacting, I make a consisted effort to use and apply creativity in other areas of my life in addition to art. In some ways it comes naturally, and in others I have to stop and think about it. "Happy" is another trait that some people would use to describe me. Hard to beleive, isn't it, given the gloomy nature of my second paragraph? Happy. What a corny word. By definition, it is "characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy". I question the validity of my own happiness. I don't know if that is normal or if itn't, but I wonder at times if it's a facade or a side-affect of ADHD, a sort of mask or malfunction of the wires in my brain. I smile a lot, that's for sure. My ever-changing and loud laugh would be indicative of happiness but...I don't know. Small things bring me pleasure, if that's happiness. I smile when I see a baby laugh or witness someone's personal miracle, if that's happiness. I get excited about petty details in my life and make jokes left and right, if that's happiness. Whatever happiness really is, a large portion of it's meaning must apply to me, and i'll refrain from expressing my doubts and pointless criticisms and accept the compliment. My 8th grade teacher, who is now my foster-dad and has been for the past 9 months, once told me that one of my best traits was my curiosity. Last time he said this, I had just showed him a youtube music video of a band and told him to pay attention to the bassist/singer. At the end of the video, I told him that the man with the bass guitar and gruff voice was my biological dad, whom i'd sporadically researched for the past couple years given what little I knew about him. That was about a month ago, and I've since exchanged emails with him and his daughter (my half-sister) several times, shedding light on a corner of my history i'd always wondered about. The first time he used the description was in 7th grade, when he began to see how much of a "reader" i was in comparison with my classmates. It used to bug me how he'd use me as an example to the others. Praise feels good, there's no denying that. But I didn't see how my addiction to books was a sure-fire sign that I was "curious". In retrospect, I suppose it makes sense. Spending most of my life in a town with less than 600 residents, my only worldy experiences were during my toddler and small child years, when I lived in Toronto, Ontario. Given the opportunity, I would read for hours on end about anything from the Salem witch trials to the Holocaust to the fantastic world of Pendragon, a time-traveller. In more recent years, my interest in psychology, religious controversy, global warming, or the inner workings of the civil rights movement COULD be attributed to this alleged "curiosity".

And still...You don't know me. You've hardly grazed the surface of who I am as a person, having only basic knowledge of how I run, who I am, and what I enjoy. I tried to make it as clear and in-depth as possible, but the limitations of the universe don't allow me to send my memories, experiences, ideas, thoughts, personality traits, hopes, dreams, flaws, and skills in an envelope. As a writer, It's disappointed to read through this essay and realize that you STILL don't really know me, and probably never really will. You've read my story, and you know as much about me as the next person. I don't have to KNOW you to predict what you're about to do. You'll put this essay in a pile. That pile may be a GOOD pile or a BAD pile or a MAYBE pile. You'll then move on to the next application or the next essay, ready to judge them based on how well they present themselves on paper. I understand and I'm not criticizing. You don't have the time, the opportunity, or the ability to spend hours talking with someone, learning their secrets and fears, the tiny tidbits of information that are the fiber of their being. The best you or anyone else can do is give someone the opportunity to express themselves and illustrate who they are and what they're about as best as they possibly can, given an application, a series of questions, an opportunity to write an essay, and maybe submit a portfolio. I've tried my best to do this, and I can't honestly tell you I've worked any harder than the next essay you read or the next application you review. I can't rightly tell you that I am any better or smarter or cooler or more fashionable or more creative than the next guy or girl in line. But, in all honestly, I really can't see living any other way. Knowing everything about a person might not even be desireable. After all, the shreds of mystery that humans naturally retain is what makes us each interesting. Would we have it any other way?



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Kmarie said...
Apr. 19, 2010 at 11:06 am:
Hey this is extremely good. The only suggestion is for the book 1984, you should put the authors name in with it. Also, in the last paragraph don't harp so much on the fact that your essay isn't any better than anyone else's because you stated it in earlier paragraphs and it starts to seem repetative. Other than that it's extremely good and i enjoyed reading it. Definatly an A+ paper =D
 
Niki replied...
Apr. 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm :
Hey, thanks a lot!  Yeah, my english told me it was a bit repetative, but I wasn't sure which points NEEDED to be repeated and which i'd overdone.  And thanks for mentioning how I should put George Orwell, I always forget that the author is just as important as the story and to acknowledge that.  Thnks for the comment =]
 
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