Our Baby's Golden Hold

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I looked at the small glowing object in my arms, in awe by the fact that I'd had a hand in its birth. I had bled, cried, endured, and persevered for months for this tiny piece of me; and I regretted none of it. A sigh slipped through my lips as I caressed its smooth face, finally understanding what it was to work hard for what I loved. The world was a blur around me; people shuffled across the floor hastily, hugging and smiling while cameras flashed like fireworks. The mirrors on Pam's top danced as she walked over and told me it was time for a photo. I nodded, and we carried our second place trophy together to the front of the stage where the rest of the team waited for us and our baby.
As a child I was conditioned by my parents to study hard in school because the nail-biting stress and sleepless nights I endured as a teen would inevitably lead to a successful future. However, when I grew older, I was hesitant to believe their favorite maxim to be true. As the anxiety of one exam subsided, the anxiety of another took its place, and the cycle seemed never-ending. I did my best in spite of my apprehension, although my foundation shook as I made the grades but reaped none of their benefits.
With SAT's mounting the horizon, the summer after tenth grade looked as though it was going to reflect my pessimism until my dance coach approached me about taking part in a competition in Canada. Initially, my conscience faltered at his offer, but I decided to take on the challenge, and I vowed to do everything in my power to keep my lack of experience from holding the team back.
The next three weeks were pure bliss and utter anguish. Our team of 12 practiced for 4 hours a day, 7 days a week at a local college campus. Crunched for time, we speculated just how successful this venture would be with only three weeks to prepare. We experienced an even larger setback when one of the girls was diagnosed with tendinitis in both legs and I suffered from a torn ligament, but we both withstood the pain, working twice as hard as the others so as not to fall behind.
Twenty-one days passed in the blink of an eye. I struggled with myself the day before the competition, telling myself that what I was about to do was an utter mistake. I battled my nerves until the second the stage lights were set aflame and my limbs began to recount the story of my pain, my anxiety, and ultimately my determination.
In hindsight, the sheer exuberance I felt during our performance would have sufficed to convince me that a person can truly benefit from her travail. However, we were fortunate enough to hear our team's name as they announced second place, and in that moment I knew that the mental and physical tribulations I had faced had been worth it without a doubt. In the long term, this competition has made me a stronger dancer, leader, and role model for the girls at our dance academy. I never hesitate to offer a helping hand to those in need of guidance, and it's for that reason that I have gained an immense amount of respect among the children and their parents. My academic life has reached new heights because I understand why I must work hard. I'm certain that whatever trials I face and conquer now will benefit my future. No matter how arduous a task may be, surmounting it rather than avoiding it will be a learning experience—knowledge can only make me stronger.





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