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“You Can’t Use a Lyric, Nalah!”


“You can’t use a lyric, Nalah!”

That’s what I keep telling myself as I sit here brainstorming for this paper. Square one: the very first sentence. How can I grab your attention in one line? Nothing but song lyrics are coming to my mind, but I don’t want to use them because they are not my words. This is supposed to be a personal essay where I get to write all about me. With so many different aspects of myself, where do I possibly begin?

I write something down and then I scribble it away thinking, “AHHHH! No, that’s not right!” I’m constantly twisting my curls and staring off into the distance; thinking and thinking about what to write. “Okay, that’s enough,” I say to myself. “Let’s ask Google now. Maybe Google knows.”

I type in ‘college essay examples’ and see a common theme. Most people seem to have one story that changed their lives forever. Then I ask myself, “Do I have one?”

So I start listing:

I am a child of teenage parents who were unable to stay together.
The nonstop jokes about my crooked smile were only funny to those around me.
Going through puberty at such a young age made me so self-conscious that I didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror.
In the heat of our biggest argument, my mother tells me I wouldn’t care if she died.
My best friend almost lost her life in a car accident.
I had a relationship with a man that broke my daddy’s heart.
But then I stop listing, because that is not where I want to go with this.

I’m reading these essay examples and wishing mine would come out like theirs. Wishing I had one story to tell you that showed you who I am. I keep telling myself, “I’ll figure something out,” but nothing seems to fall in line. All I can think of are the first lyrics that floated into my head when I was trying to write my opening sentence:
Sitting in the studio thinking about which mood would go
right now, freestyle or write down whatever
And still I come up clever, I just need to free my thoughts

So that’s what I began doing after all the agony of trying to sum myself up into one snapshot of my life. I began to free my thoughts. Thoughts of confusion and frustration. Thoughts that evoked emotions I haven’t allowed myself to feel in a long time; emotions that made me want to breakdown and cry. Lastly, thoughts of fear because if I didn’t or don’t tell my story through a vignette of my lifetime, I would be writing this essay “wrong”.

“Si Dios quiere,” my grandma always says. It means if God willing and is a motto that has been etched into my mind. Whatever obstacles He puts in my path holds its own purpose. Everything happens to help me progress. Every day is a chance to be better than yesterday and learn something new. Whether it be from a mistake or in the classroom at the college of my dreams. Here, I’ll learn how to build my own corporation from business professors. This in turn will not only allow me to fulfil my philanthropic goals, but to give back to my parents. I have put them through havoc, but they have always remained there for me. They are my foundation and my motivation to succeed.

There’s simply not one given time that I could share in great detail with you. I’m a photo album filled with snapshots of my life that make me who I am. As the next months bring an abundance of change and new experiences, I’m going to continue to live life audaciously. Knowing that whatever happens along the way, for better or for worse, is all part of God’s plan for me. And when I don’t know which way to turn or what to do, a prayer and some song lyrics will get me back on track.



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