Assemblage Personified

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When I was in 8th grade, I had to make an assemblage to describe who I was for art class. So, for mine, I made the background out of printed and cut out album covers, adding glittery flower stickers, a CD, a picture of Audrey Hepburn, some drawings I had done of clothes, a picture of myself playing flute, a Sox symbol, some miniature glasses, and an Angelina the Ballerina sticker among other things. I remember, when I showed the things I was going to put on my assemblage to my teacher, she told me that I had “too many clashing themes,” yet once it was all put together, I got an A on it and it was hung in the hallway. My assemblage was an accurate representation of who I am because it somehow managed to make so many random pieces exist together functionally that seemingly should not be able to coexist.
I cannot put one word or label to describe myself. That’s not because I feel that I’m “oh so unique,” just that I’m a combination of different little pieces of so many things. It’s easier and makes more sense to not label myself into one category. Sure, it could be said that in some ways I’m a geek, a bandie, a rocker… but what does that really say about me? Well, I like to read, I try hard at school, I’m in Wind Symphony, and I can’t imagine my life without the music I listen to. But those things could be said about any number of people.

I’m not graced with confidence when speaking in public. When I was in 8th grade, my class put on a Shakespeare play and everyone had to audition even if they were planning on just participating in crew. Being mortified of public speaking, I, of course, was planning on being crew and was unhappy to say the least when I found out that I would have to audition anyways. I braced myself though, volunteered to go first, stepped to the front of the class, made sure I focused my gaze out the window to avoid looking at my classmates’ expressions, and recited my piece. Naturally I looked stricken through my whole performance, surely messed up the rhythm of the piece and rushed back to my seat as soon as I was finished. It would be a lie to say I was glad that I had done it because I was not, but it was certainly a relief to get it over with instead of prolonging the experience. It always takes effort for me to force myself to try, be outgoing and to speak to people who I might not be comfortable around, but does not stop me from trying. Maybe it’s because in a way, I feel like everything is a performance and the people around you are your audience. I am probably just paranoid, but I am always afraid to say the wrong thing or make some sort of mistake just like with my audition for the Shakespeare play.

Similarly, I’d consider myself to be a hardworking person. My mom always tells me I spend way more time and consideration on my homework than I actually should, which coming from a vice principal, should say something. It’s not so much that I want to be the best, as I want to do whatever I do as well as I possibly can. Of course, with my writing, in my mind nothing is ever the best it could be and I’m constantly wishing I’d done this or that and make revisions frequently. It’s frustrating because I wish I could be satisfied. Then I would maybe be able to feel proud of myself at the appropriate times.

Music is so much of a part of who I am that I have jokingly said that music is who I am. I bond with my dad over our mutual love for music and he’s truly influenced my taste in it. When I was little, I can remember driving in the car with my dad to swim meets and we’d listen to WXRT. The station played bands like the Beatles, U2 and the Verve. I’d ask him what song it was, who sang it as well as other music related questions. It eventually became a bit of a game where I had become so familiar with certain bands that I would try to guess who it was or which song was being sung. Even today my dad and I still play the game, but now when they’re newer bands my dad has to guess too.
When I listen to Radiohead, one of my favorite bands, I think to myself, “Gosh I wish I could play like Jonny Greenwood,” or “I wish I could write music and lyrics as powerful as Radiohead does.” That’s the reason I play guitar. It is not just because I love guitars, but because I want to be able to write songs that inspire me like Acquiesce by Oasis or console me like High and Dry by Radiohead. It’s just that there’s comfort in the music and the knowledge that someone else has experienced what you are however wonderful or awful. This sounds overly ambitious, but I wish if I could do one thing musically, that it would be to write a song that would tell someone else that he/she is not alone because I know how it feels to sit alone feeling down with no one to call and the only thing to hang on to is whatever song can remind me that I am not alone.
School band has also played a big part in my life as I’ve been in it since I was in 4th grade and most of my friends are in band or orchestra as well. Band is one of the best things I ever gotten involved with because it is such a good opportunity to meet people, make friends and is generally a great deal of fun. Most of my fondest memories from middle school are of hanging out with my friends in the band room just goofing around. Really for me, music, whether it is the bands I listen to for fun or the classical music I play at school, is the one constant in life and has gotten me through each day nom matter how difficult it might have been.

Family and friends help shape who I am, not only because of how important they are to me, but also because just like they learn things from me, I learn things from them every day. Thanks to my brother, I’m far more knowledgeable about black metal than I would ever care to be, but now I can say I’m a person with relative knowledge of black metal music. My friends are truly different from each other and while it sometimes can lead to disagreements, I would be pretty bored if all my friends were exactly like me. I must admit, I love how spontaneous conversations usually are with my friends, probably because I generally love spontaneity. When I was in 7th grade, my Girl Scout troop stayed at the Swiss Hotel downtown as our final hoorah and we had all brought our swimsuits so we decided to go check out the Crown Fountain. Upon arriving at Millenium Park, we found out the fountain was temporarily closed for the day to our great disappointment. So we went to the peace pond thing, but the security guards told us we were only allowed to sit quietly with our feet in the pond, which was not very much fun. So, as I’d watched the television show Friends one too many times, I suggested we go dance in the fountain next to the Art Institute. Mind you, this is against the rules and I believe there is actually a sign saying that it is forbidden. So naturally, after a bit of persuasion, the other girls in my troop and our leader decided that we would ignore the rules. I’m sure the people sitting in the park surrounding the fountain were a bit shocked to see six 7th grade girls dancing in a fountain, but it is one of the best memories I have simply because we were just being our crazy selves without caring about what those people were thinking about us.

The number of books I read has added to my imagination and even inspired me to write stories of my own. Cliché as it is, the Harry Potter series has had an amazingly positive influence on me. I credit J.K. Rowling with writing the books that inspired me to learn to read because I was practically illiterate until I was nine. While I tried to learn to read, the motivation just wasn’t there until I realized that being able to read meant not having to wait for my mom to have time to read Harry Potter to me. If it hadn’t been for a couple of books about a boy with an unusually shaped scar, I might still be on Go Dog Go and completing this essay would have been an impossible task.





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