All About Me

John Maxwell once said “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” I have met some influential people in my life, most of which have said things that have changed the way I act towards others, how mature I have become and how I act towards others. Growing up all my life in Oak Lawn with my parents and being the middle child, I had to find ways to be myself and to not get over shadowed by my older brother. I had to find ways to not be compared to my little sister. Thus I grew a reputation of awesomeness, mostly based off of how relaxed I am, how I just go “with the flow” and of how silly (in a good way) I was. At family gatherings I was the niece and cousin everyone wanted to hang out with. Unlike my older brother, who would rather sit by himself or my younger sister, who would through tantrums of epic proportions if she didn’t get her way, I was the girl who, at the same time being a follower was also a leader. I was the smart cousin that came up with cool new games, the reasonable cousin, and the loyal one. My other cousins have gone as far as saying that “even though she is funny and silly, in the end she is kind and courteous.” And even though I have suffered and have met impressive and influential people, I have never let that stop me from being that kind, courteous and funny cousin I was back then.

One of the many people that have in my life the one that influenced me the most was a woman I met in Europe. Over the summer before I started eighth grade, I was asked to be ambassador for an organization called People to People. I was very excited and somewhat nervous that all this pressure was put on me to represent our country. I went to Europe for three weeks that summer and met some great people. But the one that influenced me the most was a woman by the name of Baroness Berridge: the middle aged women, brownish- blue eyes, brown hair, who carried herself very well. I thought as she walked towards the podium at the front of the room: This is the type of women I want to be when I grow up. I wanted to be someone everyone could trust, could rely on simply on the fact that they don’t hide who they are. They shine with their personality. And when I started a conversation with Baroness Berridge, on a question brought up by another ambassador from another delegation, she would make one good point to which I would counter with another. All the while I was calm and collected, never even sweat a drop. When time was called for us to leave she told me that “You have a good strong head on your shoulders. That’s a great trait to find in such a young girl and at your age too. You are a very kind person, yet you never back down. Never let anyone tell you that that is a bad thing.” This brought a strong feeling of self-respect to my chest. Something I have felt before, but never on such a level like this. What she told me that day has been carried in my heart and is carried into everything I do. I refuse to let what people tell me stop me from being me, in all my kind silliness. And I have done just that. I have never let what people say about me get to me. I walk to the beat of my own drum because of what Baroness Berridge told me that day.

Someone else that has influenced me a lot has been my grandmother, a cancer survivor at the age of 68. Even though we, meaning my grandmother and the rest of our family, have suffered during her cancer ordeal, that same suffering helped us be stronger. Even when she had cancer, she would never want to see us cry, she wanted us be happy. Most importantly she never wanted the fact that she was suffering with cancer and its treatments at Palos Hospital, to change us in anyway. Me and my family would go there after school and visit for almost two hours every day. On weekend maybe up to four hours in a single day. Even though we, meaning my grandmother and the rest of our family, have suffered during her cancer ordeal, that same suffering helped us be stronger. Even when she had cancer, she would never want to see us cry, she wanted us be happy. Most importantly she never wanted the fact that she was suffering to change us in anyway. I was very upset at the beginning but when I got upset in front of my grandmother, she would scold me. She would say that I should never be upset for someone else, especially her. “You should make them feel better, make them laugh and smile.” That instead of making them feel bad about themselves, I should make them feel happy in a gloomy time. Hearing her say that I should use my personality to cheer people up made me happy. Hearing that come from my grandma, who was going through chemo and all this pain, brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother is the one person in the world whose thoughts matter most to me. So to hear her tell me to use my personality to be courteous to the way people are able to feel around me. ‘Cause I want my grandmother to be happy around me. What my grandmother said to me meant to me that I am capable of doing whatever I want, like cheering people up when they feel down, because I have the drive to do that. I carry that drive with me every day, and in everything I do. I carry that drive to be who I am. And let no one tell me otherwise.

Even though I have suffered and have met impressive and influential people I have never let that stop me from being kind, courteous and funny. What I have learned through all of this is to just be me, because that is what people respect the most. What makes me different from others, is that when in tough and stressful times, like holding your own in a conversation with a member of government or having to through a year of wondering if you were going to lose your grandmother, most would falter or crack under that pressure but I held my own. I let my personality shine through. I think that is what matters the most.





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