Folded Wings

January 22, 2013
By Rachel Bradshaw SILVER, Rodeo, California
Rachel Bradshaw SILVER, Rodeo, California
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Not six inches from my foot, a gorgeous Monarch butterfly flaps its wings slowly, soaking in the sun. She’s not afraid of me; her wings are quick and she trusts her abilities. A butterfly lives a whole stage of life as a lethargic, hungry caterpillar, bound to the ground. A caterpillar can only see light and dark, shadowed shapes offering no clarity. Then one day, instinctively, it forms a cocoon and soon emerges as its true self. I spent a whole stage of my life thinking I was stupid, not trying hard enough and unable to see what everyone else could. I labeled myself and believed I was no more than my “defect,” dyslexia.
My mom went back to school once I was diagnosed with this “infection” as I saw it, and she worked with me as a severely dyslexic child who needed to be taught how to learn before learning any knowledge. My parents never denied my struggle; they accepted it and helped me overcome it. I, on the other hand, saw the burden as a “curse.” With the simple act of focusing on a sight word like “the,” dad would see sweat beading on my brow. I felt beaten, defeated and alone. I was a caterpillar, hopeless about what my life was. I didn’t think I would ever learn to read. My parents pushed me, supported me, and now I love reading and respect words more because of my original battle with them.
I’m almost a butterfly. Sometimes I still hear echoes from the past and feel daunted by all I have yet to learn and overcome. But I’m growing, each day more hopeful, more positive. I want to be a butterfly. I know how to become one, and I’m fighting against my cocoon, the one I wrapped myself in. I know I will break through this and be completely self-assured in my academic abilities, and my artistic ones. My heart yearns to fly in self-esteem, and shake off the labels clinging to my folded wings.
I’m almost there. I’ve already overcome so much; I can read two consecutive sentences without struggling with the same word both times. I read 300-page novels in one day without a second thought. I can write fluid poetry with structure and word play.
I’m not afraid of words; I’ve broken the locks off and have set them free from their cages. I’ve mastered the English language and am mastering my self-worth. While I wasn’t looking, words found me:
They were each a cage, locking their sounds and meanings up deep inside…
No one knew it was the voiceless, caged girl who needed to be freed~
I was found by words
I know what the caged bird does when she does not sing:
she writes
she reads
She writes.

The author's comments:
I wanted something a little different for my college application essay,to show who I am and what I'm becoming. I was accepted to all the college I applied to, and I encourage you to chase your dream even if it seems impossible. Going to college was a far away mirage of mine in middle school. I had the support of my family and friends to help me through my learning disability, and I'm grateful for the challenge I face. It's made me stronger.

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