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Hadassah McGill Mrs. Thomas English 1103-010 20 Feb. 2013

I was honestly not sure what to convey in this piece. I wasnt sure what approach I should take in writing about my life. I didnt want it to be preachy, but I didnt want it to be boring either. I wanted my essay to captivate my reader as much as the Hunger Games movie or Harry Potter movies would captivate interested viewers. My title is a silly depiction of my dream job (that is, in the event that I am not famous for any of my other skills by the time I am 30), which is editing. I couldve done a much better job in conveying how events of my life helped to shape my life but I really had a hard time with writing this piece. Please take it for what it is worth. I hope you receive some form of enjoyment from it. Thank you for reading!!

Editing. My, Life!- Draft 3 I was given choices when I was born into this world, which is not what many of my ancestors have the privilege of saying. The choices I make will strongly shape the events of my life. I can choose whether I am going to go to school and learn a trade along with general education and be a successful business person. I can choose to live the life of The Godfather or the head of the Cosa Nostra (or the mistress Goomah/Goomar in my case, since I am a female). I can choose to be someones parent while I am still struggling to raise myself at a young age while still in school. Hell, I can even choose to be Godzilla and make my life into a scary fantasy. But the point is I still have to make a choice. For me, the choice has been narrowed down. I am either going to become famous for being a quadruple threat (singing, acting, dancing, AND writingyes, Im that talented!), or Ill just be content with my dream of becoming an editor for some widely recognized publishing company. I am certain my dreams will lead me in a more positive direction than the aforementioned dreams, but to even come close, I need an education. So, I chose to chase my dreams through first learning how

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to read and write. Nevertheless, it is my cultural background, religious teachings, and strangely entertaining upbringing that have bolstered my insatiable need to read and in turn, project my ideas on others and correct everything I lay eyes on, ultimately creating a passion for editing.

Growing up, I learned from the beginning that I was, well, different. Different from my siblings (by way of mannerisms, behavior, personality, and skill traits), different from my peers (by way of skin color, level of intelligence, interests, and skill set), different from most of the girls around me (by way of appearance, friendliness, popularity, the attention I received from the male companions, and skill abilities). I was categorized as different in more ways than one, and even though I felt just like everyone else, for the most part I could tell I was different as well. I had no problem getting my foot in the door because I was considered slightly attractive and I spoke up a lot and demanded a lot of attention. The ratio of black to white in my classroom settings was always 1:25 and so I gained a competitive edge that could not be misconstrued. I wanted to be the best at whatever the best was and it was this competitive nature that sparked my interest in knowledge and education.

Coming from a background of no money, no rights, no contacts or relations to get my foot in the door... People of color dont always have an easy time coming-up as the old folks in the south would say to describe the symbolized status of wealth that was seemingly gained easier by Caucasian folks. My African-American decent automatically put me between a rock and a hard place because times have been simply tougher on my race since the beginning of time. Wealth wasnt just going to be handed to me,

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opportunities werent just going to be knocking at my door, and educational advancements werent going to be lurking on every street corner. Every single day I have to fight for what I want. I have to bite, scratch, scrape and kill if I ever stand a chance against anyone who has the same desires as me, the same dreams as me and the same aspirations as me, but, different skin color than me. I have to challenge myself to become better than my adversary: myself. This means that I have to study a day longer, read a little faster, sing a little louder, work a lot harder, strive to achieve greater.

I quickly learned that being an African-American woman means more than just the surface difficulties or the challenges I face because of my skin color and my sex. It also means that people are watching more intently and more intimately to see if I mess up. One wrong decision, one bad step out of line, or avoiding what is supposed to be the black mans fate, would have my life going downhill quicker than sinking in quick sand. I chose to stay in line an follow a path that will lead me to success. I chose to read and reading was my way out. In my younger years, that even meant reading the Bible.

My family has emphasized the importance of faith and being successful. My parents, grandparents, and practically every African-American sage older than me taught me a metaphor for choosing to live a righteous or unrighteous life. They would say, you can either live in this world, or you can live of this world the choice is yours. This was a decision that determined whether or not ones actions were pleasing to the Lord. Back in the Biblical days, the metaphor to live of this world meant that one was living an evil life that would ultimately cause s/he to live in Hell amongst other demons who failed to live for the Lord. Living in this world, however, meant that you walked in

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line with Gods teachings and lived a pure life resulting in ones soul living on eternally with the Angels in Heaven.

In a modern sense, these terms take on different meanings. I came to understand that being of this world means that one is trapped with habits that were not going to help them to succeed and accomplish whatever God placed them on Earth to accomplish. In laymans terms, being of this world means being involved with things like drugs, gangs, violence, sex, theft and disrespect. In other words, was I going to run wild in the streets and be consumed by the wicked ways of the world? Living simply in this world means remaining pure and respectful and keeping in mind that ones body is the Lords temple. In other words, was I going to study the word of God, live the pure life that God intended, and be all that He put me on this earth to be? I chose to simply live in this world, because I dont want to allow someone or something else take over my life and my dreams. That would defeat the entire purpose of my ancestors fighting for my freedom many years ago. I cannot afford living up to my worst nightmares, having my life taken away from me by any means; that included being caged in a jail cell or having some drug lord dictate my every action and ultimately my future, whether I lived or died. I didnt want to make the same ruthless mistakes as many of my predecessors. No. Not I. That was not going to be my life! Education was my only outlet. And so with that I took to reading, which, unlike many in my position, I found most interesting.

It comes as no surprise that the first books I ever read and that were first read to me were childrens Bible stories. David and Goliath seemed to be the more dominant

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of my memories. I was intrigued with how well this tiny young man of God was able to defeat this ginormous giant-like creature, which represented all things evil, with simply a slingshot and a rock. How bizarre is that? I would like to know who had that much strength. Not even Hercules could defeat any of his enemies with a miniscule rock. But I guess thats why I was so engrossed. I even loved all the stories of Noahs Ark and how the animals and one set of humans came two by two, one male one female of every creature, to gather on this boat. The idea was that God was going to wash away all the destruction and the evils of the world and start all over again by allowing the members of the boat to procreate and create a new world free of sin and people who grew accustomed to living of this world. I often wondered if God was going to make it flood on Earth to get rid of the many terrible influences still here today. I quickly learned that every time I see a rainbow it is Gods promise that he would never flood the Earth again. Too bad, I thought, for those habitual sinners. Now they would just have to die and rot in Hell for all eternity. It was because of these Bible stories that I developed an interest in learning more. I was strangely enthralled and captivated. It wasnt until Hooked on Phonics that I truly learned how much I loved reading about every other subject in addition to religion. Hooked on Phonics taught me how to take my time and sound out words and spell things with individual letters that would eventually form words and sentences.

I wanted badly to venture out and explore this new talent that I was being faced with and challenge myself to the best of the best in all that I did. I picked up the oddest things to read, it didnt even matter to me because all I wanted to do was show off the fact that I could read. And show off was exactly what I did. I read everything,

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everywhere, in the smallest of areas with the biggest voice I could establish. The world is full of possibilities, that, I knew for sure. I attempted to read the smallest of things in the smallest of forms, from the LOreal shampoo bottles instructions, when I wasnt screaming from getting my hair washed, to the Ramen noodle directions, when I was nosey trying to figure out what hidden surprises laid in the pantry for me, to The Lords Prayer written on a clock set shaped like praying hands that I recited almost every night before I went to bed.

I slowly began to explore many new ways of reading. I even began listening to a lot of books on tape and on television, but the most interesting way I learned to read was simply by listening to my mothers voice. My mother was a singer. She sang a lot and she sang all the time. She would sing a book as she read it to me. I had never heard this before. It was the most interesting skill I couldve picked up from her. She loved to sing and I loved to hear her sing because she didnt have a raspy, irritating voice. She had a beautiful, melodic, and mellow singing voice which made story time all the more exciting. I loved to mimic my mothers skill and eventually I became good at it and started to sing my own stories. I would show off this newfound skill to my siblings and cousins and to my dad as he taught us girls how to defend ourselves with some basic kicks and punches. Everyone was captivated in how beautiful my voice was that they barely paid attention to my reading But I knew that they believed I read well for my age because I would always get rewards from my teachers in school.

When I was in Elementary school, I was even placed in the Accelerated Reader Program or AR. These avid readers were able to be pulled out of class to participate in

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a fun reading club. I loved it and all the attention that it carried from my peers. Sooner or later, reading became my favorite thing to do. Every time there was something that the teacher or Sunday school preacher needed help reading I would always squirm around in my chair and produce the biggest ruckus so that there was no mistaking my existence. I hooped and I hollered and I pouted when I wasnt chosen and then after a while my manipulative methods worked. More and more I was being called on by instructors to read this word, this sentence, this paragraph, this page, this chapter and eventually, this book to the class. As appreciative and excited I was that I had gained a knowledge and education that my race was not initially afforded, I slowly became annoying in that I wanted to correct people often to make sure that they knew that I knew that they were just wrong. My teachers and parents thought that it would be better to channel my snappy intelligence in a more positive direction and so editing became the path that I explored.

Each sign of growth in my education, each choice I have made, and each positive influence that surrounds my life have been a huge factor in my literary experiences ultimately prompting me for success in the field of editing. Had it not been for my cultural disadvantages, my religious teachings, and my musical interests, I would have never been so eager to try to venture out and explore the endless possibilities of success that awaited an intelligent, African-American, woman like myself. I guess my being different set me up for an opportunity to choose the path that would allow my dreams of becoming an editor to be one step closer to coming true! I now understand the significance of a rainbow appearing after a long period of rain, because my learning

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to read is demonstrative of a brighter day in the life and times of African-American women aspiring to be an editor.