ROTC (LET-1) P.9
ELIZABETH DOWNING: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
It was dark in Wailuku – or so I was told. Sunlight was no longer present in the sky for a number of hours now. Children had already taken to their beds. Little did they know that another of their kind were to join them. I myself was also experiencing the darkness, even if just for a moment. Not long after I viewed light – is it really rare for a newborn to experience this? Whether I did or not did not stop me from being part of this world. Part of this world I indeed became.
As standard, we continue on to a later year. I am no older than three years. The only thing I can remember is fortunately a good memory: my birthday. My mother came home from work and brought the pink-tinted package of balloons and baked goods. It was silly to think I had the cake while still in the bathtub.
Now that I remember, my parents always used to tell me that I had a strange fascination with butter. It was my inner childish motive to swipe the innocent butter stick from the refrigerator, mischievously persisting to claim it as my own. Luckily I haven’t retained that habit, but anything can be charming at that age.
The age of six is what I recall the most. I remember age six even more than I remember recent years. We lived in a considerably big house in California. It shames me so that back then I was such an overly pampered child. Being spoiled it was no surprise I had many gifts, some not even for special occasions. I was greedy and adored materials. Despite my shame, I still feel so attached to this year.
Then it’s one year later than that. We had decided to move back to Hawaii, except we took home on Oahu. For the first time I had to get used to new people and make new friends, especially those vastly different from the population I was surrounded by in California. Either way, I was still in second grade and very social and impressionable. It was not too long before I made friends and gained an absolute “best friend”. This continued on the same way with third grade. Life was good and I was young. Though then my life began to turn topsy-turvy…
I was taking a Japanese course at Hongwanji Mission School, but not going to school there. Since I wanted to try my hand at private school I decided to enroll there for fourth grade. It was not very long before I started feeling uncomfortable with my environment. Granted, the teachers were wonderful, the school was impressive, and I was fascinated by the religion of Buddhism and was at my prime in learning it. It was the students, especially myself, that caused me to become a complete opposite of what I used to be.
Many students were pompous and not afraid to isolate me. One was so cocky she decided to bully me. Worst of all, any shred of responsibility I had decided to fail me. And that’s exactly what happened – I decided to fail myself. My grades were plummeting dramatically, as well as my already mediocre self-esteem. I had given up in myself. That was when I started the habit that still catches up with me, even though I had learned to combat it.
Whether you can tell or not, I wear my hat for a reason: to hide the evidence of an old addiction. To hide the bald spots left behind from tricotillamania. It was during this time period of fourth grade that I began this act. I went to psychologist to psychiatrist to doctor to counselor, but nothing helped. Along with a nasty divorce of my parents, I was the rope they were tugging on. My life was to go downhill from there.
It is now August 13th, 2009. I am a junior at Roosevelt High School. I turned 16 just two months ago. During that summer I had taken remedial summer school for the first time. I never expected I would fail a class completely and have to retake it. It shames me more than any thing . . . and probably will for a very long time, on what class it was. Not only had I failed a class, but I failed sophomore P.E. Even as I am typing this I am painfully regretting making the mistakes that I carelessly decided on during that year.
Remedial P.E. was the perfect punishment. It was rigorous, more so than anything I’ve ever physically done. I’ve never ran a mile almost everyday for five weeks. I’ve never had to run two miles in 24 minutes only two weeks into the class. But something I’ve almost always done is show how much skill I have in physical activities: virtually nothing. It frustrated me that I was always the last runner. Not because I was lazy, but because my absolute best was a pathetic score.
However, I continue to type about this remedial class because it was able to knock a good lesson into my head: no matter how hard, no matter how tiring, no matter how bad you are, you are always the front runner if you don’t give up. With the wonderful support of my fellow classmates (even though they were younger), I had the inspiration to push myself when I wasn’t able to before. Yes, I didn’t make the two-mile run in 24 minutes instead making it in 32. I didn’t make the biathlon in 16 minutes but instead in 19, even when I tried again. I wasn’t given the opportunity to make a score for my team during a game, let alone even get the ball most times. But all the sweat and tears ultimately made my body, mind and soul stronger. Don’t expect me to be the one ringing up the gold medal for you, but will try my best.
And here I am, in my room, typing out an autobiography for ROTC. I hope to get active in it soon. Someday, I’ll stand tall a new person.