"Your first word is yoga," said the proctor.
Yoga? How was I to spell yoga? I recalled hearing this world many times, but I had never seen it written. I didn't positively know how to spell it, so I went with my instincts. "Yoga, Y-O-G-A," I said doubtfully.
"That's - that is correct," replied the elderly man, as if even he was unsure of the word's spelling.
In the next few rounds, I spelled each word without the slightest hesitation. There were only ten contestants remaining. I felt the exaltation of possibly winning the spelling bee. I wasn't nervous anymore. I was relaxed and actually felt at ease on the overbearing stage.
"Okay. Your next word is ambiguity."
"Ambigooity," I thought what was "ambigooity"? A frantic rush hit me like a ton of bricks. Was I expected to spell a world that I could hardly pronounce?
It's funny, but at the time I was unknowingly thinking of anything I could, except for the arduous task at hand. I had thought of the loving support my family had given me throughout my life, my two best friends, the time I had spent preparing for the spelling bee, and all my schooling up to that point. It is safe to say it was then that the world came to me.
I had thought of the ambiguous case from my math course class. Was ambiguous a form of "ambigooity," the word I was asked to spell? I figured it probably was, so I removed the -ous ending of ambiguous and added an -ity in its place.
It seemed risky, but I was correct. So many substantial things had happened in just this one day, this one hour, that I realized it was unnecessary for me to be nervous about something for which I had thoroughly prepared. I will never think of giving up, because anything can happen, as it did that very day.
The spelling bee had taught me so much already that the outcome seemed irrelevant to my life. Although I continued to do my best, my thoughts on success were different from the way I felt at the start. One does not necessarily need to be declared the winner in order to feel the thrills of victory within oneself.
For me, it was not meant to be. The winner was a woman, of height five-foot-three. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.