When someone asks me how I would describe my family, I tend to say things like enjoyable, fun exciting. However, if someone truly asked me how my family was I would say a train wreck. My parents do not deserve to be together; for when two people do not truly love each other, it is more painful for them to be together then it is for them to separate. I understand that this is an idealistic viewpoint; that is not actually realistic in today’s society, however an idealistic viewpoint does not make it impossible, many of the things that we as people viewed impossible have indeed now been made possible. Neither of my parents seem to truly grasp this idea, and due to this, continue to be together, although it would be best if they weren’t. My mom is an undiagnosed bipolar parent, who has random rages and highpoints before dipping down into her uncontrollable rage at whomever is closest. Ironically, she hates rollercoasters, even though that is what describes her emotional fluctuations best. My father is a man diagnosed with depression, and takes daily pills to deal with it, however sometimes the pills are not enough to keep away the anger and frustration that he deals with daily. The rest of my family: my older sister, my younger sister, my younger brother, and myself all have ADHD, and ADD to varying degrees. As parents you want the best for your children, you want them to succeed, and grow old with vast riches. However, where is the set margin of success, where does the line begin? You see that is the problem, there is no setline no proof that one path makes you more successful then another. This is one of the several problems my parents faced with four children. How to see where the degree of success is administered. My parents are from South Africa, and therefore are unaccustomed to the American way of dealing with success in a more lackadaisical manner. As parents they were okay at best, if you did well you got an okay if you did poorly you got an okay, no change between the two. For me especially this was the case, my parents like to believe that they pushed me, however they did the opposite. Whenever I would succeed but not to a degree of perfection I received the same sort of okay as I would if I had received a C. However, failing was an entirely different story, even at a young age, failing was administered with a shoe, or a whip, as was custom in Africa. Even when I was in 3rd grade, if I had failed even a homework I would be beaten by a shoe or a whip, this taught me at a young age to do two things. Study hard and hope for success, and also to lie as much as possible when I failed in order to avoid the shoe or whip. When I would fail on occasions, I would still get the shoe or whip, regardless of how hard I had studied, this taught me that studying regardless of difficulty was not good enough if I failed. However, I do not want his college statement to be about me in my early years or for a college administrator to take pity on me. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is taking favors, or the easy route. I decided even at a young age that I would rather fail and take my punishment then cheat or take the route to success. When I first entered high school, my parents where the ones that helped me decide my classes, moving me away from the classes I would truly enjoy to the more rigorous ones that I had no interest in. Now during this time I would work hard, play little, study a lot, and swim daily. However, to my parents this was still not enough. I would also get a job, and start doing community service. As a parent this may seem like a reasonable idea, however even now when I am reflecting upon my parent’s decisions I can still not say they were correct. My parents had decided my life for me and deemed it would be extremely systematic, with no variability; me missing a single day of swim practice was regarded as taboo in my household. I had no room to grow into my own, or to express myself for who I was. I had no room to mature, or to have fun, no time to enjoy being a kid while it lasted, all under the oblivious eyes of my parents on how well they were messing up their child, not letting him have any way to change himself for the better. My older sister went under a similar route to me, however, my parents always loved her. I had to work for their affection and care. My mother to be honest hated me, and still does; now many may think that when someone says something like this that they are over exaggerating I am not. My mom truly does hate me, she has deemed me a mistake a problematic child to which there is no solution, to her I am a failure. Imagine being a boy of 10 years or less, and on a daily basis being called worthless, or useless. That is what I had to experience growing up as a child. My father was not much better, due to my mom’s extreme dislike for me, my father idly sat by watching as his son was mistreated, you see in nature the alpha is typically the male. In my house it is the opposite, whatever my mother says goes, it is law, so to my father who would try to stop my mother from being verbally abusive, he would just cause more trouble for me in the long run. This ended up causing me more problems then it helped, even now my mom still has deemed me a failure, and nothing I have done, or will ever do will change her mind. This is something I have grown accustomed to, and the idea neither bothers me nor upsets me anymore. Now back to my older sister when she was first entering high school, she was the perfect student, one that always stuck to the rules, joined the nerdy clubs, etc. However, as years passed she tried to stray from this path, and became more individualized. She started doing drugs, and alcohol, all of which I still believe was a ploy for her to get more attention from my parents. This caused more tension in my family then had previously existed; it was like a crater that had just been hit by another meteor, disastrous. My parents try all they might, could not stop her from experimenting with drugs and disobeying her. So then who else could the put the blame on, as one might have guessed, I was the one that was burdened with the rage of my parents for my sister doing drugs. This caused me to realize that the world is not at all fair, how can a child that is born being taught that he is worthless, then also be blamed for his sister’s drug problems? How can all this happen in a family that is supposed to be caring and nurturing? This problem was one that I had to deal with daily, and then still go to school with. School for me was a place to start a new, be a different person. It didn’t work, as much as I would like to say that in school I worked hard and succeeded in order to prove my parents wrong and show them that I wasn’t worthless, I didn’t, I couldn’t. How is a child supposed to succeed when they have no one helping them along the way? All of my teachers knew I was gifted, even at a young age, however they just couldn’t understand how someone so gifted could perform so poorly. Then again what I have gone through is not something that you can easily explain to a teacher. My sister when she finally went away to college, my parents were relieved, and thought that they would make an example of my sister a martyr in sorts of what not to do. From there on in, it was like a jail sentence, my parents would not let me do anything, and I was deemed even more worthless then ever before. I was deemed a disgrace to the family a shame of genetic makeup. All this time though I still wondered if this is what every child went through, I later would find out its not. No child should ever have to go through the pain that I have been forced to take. To suppress ones emotions is not an easy task, but it is one that you need to learn in order to not continuously get hurt on a daily basis. My parents think that I don’t succeed in school because I don’t try, I would like to say that this is not the case. I am not naturally lazy; I enjoy learning I find it a break from my usual life, a way to break away from my family. This is much the same as how I find out about reading. When I was entering 1st grade I could not read and did not know my alphabet. However, upon leaving 1st grade I could read chapter books, not because I was an excellent reader, but because it was an escape from the reality that surrounded me. This is how school was to me as well a break from my typical life at home a way to be free, my teachers saw me as a kid struggling to succeed I saw myself as someone deep in thought and expression. A child that was able to learn new concepts and ideas, although I didn’t always like what I was being taught or agree with it, I still went along with it as I was taught to. However, it is difficult to succeed when your parents never admit see you as successful. That was my underlying problem throughout my years in school; I have always known all the information that has been taught to me. I have never had a problem learning new concepts and ideas it is instead that I have never felt success for what I have done so I have never needed to try. I know that as a college admissions reader, you are thinking that this is a bad idea for a person that is trying to explain problems, in the hopes of getting accepted into college. However, I find this more of a calculated risk, a gamble one in which I have a greater chance of success then of disapproval, because I believe that you want a student that isn’t cocky with how much he knows, but instead a student that will challenge himself to prove to others how much he is capable of.
June 9, 2012