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February 22, 2018
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Managing to escape my mother’s firm grasp, I charged. She insisted it would only hurt for a minute, and then it would be all over. But inside my four year old mind, all I could imagine was pain. I sprinted around the living room as fast as my short, stumpy legs would carry me. The couch cushions seemed like a perfect hiding spot at the time; however, I lacked the knowledge of how much time and energy I needed to reach the high surface. My mother scooped me up in what seemed like seconds. Fearful tears streamed down my light pink cheeks as she slowly lifted up my shirt sleeve. I thrashed around attempting to break free again, but she was clever and held me tight. She stared at the sticky, thin object compressed against my skin, urging me to relax and “take the drama down a notch.” She placed her well-polished index finger and thumb on my pale skin, and in one quick movement, ripped with pure intensity. I screamed.
Kenneth Eade once said, “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s kind of like ripping off a band-aid. Painful for a minute, but it has to be done.” Ever since that dreadful day twelve years ago, I have not been a fan of band-aids. Their purpose is to protect a wound, but is it really worth the suffering one encounters at the end of it? If one makes the poor decision to place the tenacious strip on their body, they must become aware of a couple things first. The two important qualities needed in order to tear away the monster’s ferocious grip are decisiveness and determination.
I have been called “the indecisive one” in my family for years. Whether I am asked to make simple decisions like what to have for dinner or what movie to watch, my response is typically a meaningless shrug of my shoulders. About eight months ago over summer break, a dilemma occurred. My family and I unexpectedly moved to a different city because of some concerning events. At that time, I was distraught because the school year was steadily approaching, and I knew I would have to make numerous decisions in the upcoming weeks. Stress and anxiety began to crash down on me like a wave thrusting me beneath the strong tide. Fortunately, while I was driving in the car one day, I stumbled upon a song. “Superheroes” by The Script created an enlightening and powerful feeling within me that fueled me to not be afraid of decisions. I realized that in past years, the trust bonds I formed with others had been broken which lead me to be indecisive and negligent of my surroundings. The faith and love I placed in my step-grandfather vanished after he repeatedly raped me. The dependence on my grandmother as she took his side against my words provoked my mind to build a firm wall of emotion. These miserable situations were band-aids that generated irritation and woe. Replaying the chorus over and over again, I made the choice to take control for myself and rip off the band-aid. But first, I needed to be mindful of one more trait.
March 18, 2010 is a day that I remember all too well. My father and I were fishing at Mammoth Lake when I needed to use the restroom. I mentioned it to him and began heading that way. I hummed softly as I skipped through the grass and dirt. Finally, the bathrooms came into view. I thought they had just survived a major earthquake or something because they looked awful. As I turned the knob and peeked into the darkness, an odor of raw eggs and waste consumed the air. The walls were covered in dust and cobwebs with spiders roaming the corners. The cold breeze sent a shiver up my spine as I looked at the disgusting toilet. It was covered in toilet paper and what I hoped was dirt. Something told me that I should not be in there for very long so I ran in to get it over with. The door was large and heavy and I had to use every ounce of my strength to close it. I slammed it shut, but a piercing sound hurt my ears. I tried to open the door back up, but it would not budge. I pulled on the handle, but nothing happened. I was trapped.
Tears began to cloud my vision as I began to pound on the door. I helplessly shoved it, wishing I was back at the lake looking for baby turtles and colored fish. I was about to give up, when I heard something outside. My father began scraping at the door with what I guessed was his pocket knife. I banged on the door wanting to be with him. I waited for my opportunity to come, but I was not positive it would happen. The scratching went on and on, and I wondered if I was ever going to escape that horrible place. Then suddenly, the door burst open! I raced into my dad’s arms and he held me tight.
Although those experiences were traumatizing and difficult, I did get something out of it. Along with a rainbow lollipop my father bought me afterwards, I learned the importance of determination. Having the courage and energy not to give up is essential especially when ripping off a band-aid. Everyone has their fears and trials, however in my case they are the same thing. Decisiveness and determination are required whether one is stuck in a Port-a-Potty or faced with being the new kid at school. It is obvious that it will not be easy and that pain does exist, but in the words of Kenneth Eade, “It has to be done.”

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