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The bell rings. She swiftly takes her seat in the back row of her English class. Nine months prior to that day an enthusiastic yet scared girl left the country she had known for thirteen years to take a chance in the United States. A girl from a small country where the beach was visible from her roof top and every other weekend was spent at the beach; and as may be obvious after speaking to her; this girl's first language was not English.

Her focus snapped back to class after the teacher called her name for attendance. The days in class were spent researching and writing for the most important paper of the year. Topic of the assignment: what would you like to be when you grow up? The girl found this simple, since she’s been little everything she wanted to be was a lawyer and work for the FBI. She had everything planned, from college to death. The girl was confident she could get a hundred on the assignment and in life, but none of that shadowed the fact she hated the most, her accent. Since the beginning of the year the only thing the girl heard were laughs, the only thing she saw were stares. The mispronunciation of a word could bring a class to laughs and her to tears. Her lunches where spent hidden in the library where no one could hear her practicing words to herself. She kept a high chin, but a broken spirit.

After one of her classmates asked her what she wanted to do, the answered came simple. She gave the same answer she’s been giving all this years, but this classmate just laughed. Not understanding she asked what was so funny, and without thinking he replied “don’t you have to speak proper English to be a lawyer?” The words resounded on her ears. The air felt light. People around them were laughing at what she now believed was the truth. That night like many others she cried herself to sleep, just thinking about every comment said to her. A teacher telling her she was “smarter than what he thought, for the accent and everything.” People repeating her mispronounced words in the accent she had to learn to live with, and a counselor assuring her AP classes were to “advance for her level.”

The pains of the first year build insecurities on her. She became paranoid of every word, every sentence, realizing mistakes don’t sleep. A small mistake sends her over the edge, and people keep on reminding her, an accent won’t take her anywhere. People still laugh at her words and she still minds them, because as strong as she appears nothing hurts more than words that in her mind are becoming true. Words people planted in her head to believe. That girl sits here writing memories that bring tears to her eyes, hoping her thoughts get as much attention as her voice, but this time bringing the positive one.



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