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2015 submissions from the top ten finalists

Essay Nine

“Don’t worry, Chris! I’m going to come and see you! We’re going to the park, and get some McDonalds! You like McDonald’s, right? Ok, I’ll see you soon… Buddy, “said my father, a man who I have never actually seen.

Although my parents have been divorced since I was 5 weeks old, I clung to my father’s words with such hopes of finally having relationship with him. However, I would constantly be disappointed because he never came to see me. He reiterated those words verbatim when he would call once or twice a year. He  always added , “buddy “ at the end of the usual short conversation and though , I knew I was the son he neglected , I still wished he was really my buddy.

For most of my childhood, I believed that I wasn’t worthy of having a father who loved me. Although my Uncle Bill tried to fill my father’s void in my life, I always wondered while I watched television shows depicting families with two parents, what it would feel like to have that. I also wondered if I would naturally take on my father’s negative traits. My mother would always tell me stories that did not portray his malevolence and instead focused on his marvelous talents and qualities , She said he was well –spoken , intelligent , musically gifted , and well in politics , even planning on running for senator of new York state. She told me how he had a strong work ethic that he was persistent and that these were traits she was confident I had inherited. These stories became just stories for me after a while and during middle school I began to struggle with my own identity as a person and doubted my own abilities as a student. I neglected my homework and failed countless tests which caused me to nearly fail many of my classes. I arrived home angry towards my mother and my grandmother feeling depressed and alone in a new environment and situation where I could not seek a father’s guidance.

A pivotal moment in my life came when my mother and I were discussing grades several classes. She said,” just because you do not have a father does not give you the excuse to fail! I love you and that is all you’ll ever need.” hearing those words ignited what was already in my subconscious, that I was worthy of love and that I didn’t need a father figure to define me as a person. Hearing those words made me want to push myself to try my best in my academic studies and anything else I wished to accomplish. Hearing those words allowed me to discover the drive, determination, and work ethic I have today which I will undoubtedly utilize in my future. Hearing those words allowed me to discover that I am intelligent and well –spoken and I uses those traits to succeed in high school. I have learned to value and cherish the traits that make me intelligent , a hard worker , well-spoken and kind; the good traits my father left behind , I told myself I needed to let go of the self–pity and truly believe in myself . I realized I needed to look inward and focus on qualities that make me who I am. It was now or never.

Throughout my high school career I have tried my best and have excelled both academically and with my extra –curricular activities, such as Kenpo martial arts and tennis. Today I am confident, a black belt, doing well academically and a well–rounded individual. Most importantly, I am happy with being Chris. Aside from my mother and my grandmother’s love and support, I’ve learned to let go of the sad little boy who longed for his father’s love. Instead I celebrate the good traits of perseverance and intelligence that my father genetically passed on to me. The moment I recognized my good qualities and values, I arrived to the revelation that I no longer needed a father’s love to define who I am. I am ready to take on my college career and continue to pursue a great future as an accomplished man and a wonderful father.

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