Reflection on Who I Am, Personal Essay Sample

Published: 2022-03-18 10:04:03
Reflection on Who I Am, Personal Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Personality
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1393 words
12 min read
143 views

Suddenly, the most ultimate question of my being seems impossible to answer, because of the general immeasurable nature of it. Oddly enough, I have asked myself this question too many times, so please go with me as I read my world from my mind's eye. I had to let go of defeatism and anger and adopt bold steps in order to recapture myself.

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I was born and named Janice Dawn Maria Christie, to my parents Sydney and Lyda. I was born in a little town west of Negril, in Westmoreland Jamaica. My Mother is African-Jamaican, and my father is East Indian. My father's family on both sides is direct descendants of the slave trade that brought indentured servants to the island of Jamaica in the late 1800's.

My father's grandmother and her sister were sold into slavery in Cape Town on the East Coast of Africa. They had originally come from India, an important colony then ruled by the British. Their last name was Azulah. I know very little of my father's grandfather because not much was said about him except for the fact that he was Indian too. I can only assume he was also a slave on the sugar plantation in my native country Jamaica. As a rule, the slaves would lose their family names and in return, they would take the last name of their owners. Hence, by this token, my maiden name came to be Christie. So, who am, to what race do I belong, where are my people?

When I was in the process of coming to the United States some thirty years ago, during the immigration processes, I was asked what race I belonged to. My answer to that question was "other." Puzzled, the immigration officer told me that I had to "have a race". Without much discussions and deliberations, he went ahead and branded me "Asian". I was shocked and then confused because it had never hit me that I had to belong to a specific race in order to be recognized as a person, nor did I think that I needed to be plastered into the already existing race categories.

I felt right away that the immigration officer did not appreciate the complexity of my heritage. I said, "no, I am not Asian." He was not bothered by my refusal because he went on, more assertive than before to explain that "from now on, you are (Asian)". It didn't stop there. During the immigration process, it was determined that my name was too long, and consequently, the name Maria was taken away (which is my grandmother's name) and I was left with the name Janice Dawn. So, who am I? What is my culture, race or ethnicity? I have formed my own opinion regarding these questions and my answer is that it's 'individualistic."

I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a mother, a widow, a friend and colleague. All these complex roles cannot be sufficiently blanketed by a simple word like "Asian." I have had setbacks in my life but I have never allowed negativity to define me or the paths that I have taken to get to this point. I am a realist, and this realistic part of me did not come overnight. I have had to work extremely hard be mentally and emotionally strong.

In particular, I have made it my duty to focus intensely on the things that matter, especially the things that I have the ability to change. In the course of life, I have come to accept that there are things that I cannot change and have had to make peace with them. I learned from early on that things like anger and defeatism would only hurt me and offer me nothing positive in return.

I became a widow at a very young age, causing me to accept a new reality and a beginning; a single parent. This experience has led me to a totally different path, a path that has created a lot of mixed emotions for me. I am now a widow, but first and foremost, a mother. I became more conscientious, persistent and goal driven because I realized that I had to become independent and a good role model to my children. From that moment onwards, it became clear to myself that I could only rely on myself and that meant achieving a whole lot of goals first, both psychological and financial. I became a woman of the element, a mother who would put her children's needs, desires, and goals first before hers. A mother who willed her children to succeed and they did.

My latest picture of a mother's joy is my middle-born son, at the age of 32, receiving the Nightingale award and his promotion to Director of Infection Control at St Francis hospital in Hartford Ct. I bring some joy to see that my efforts and decisions have led to happiness both for myself and my now grown children. His promotion and award mean a lot to him and to me too because it is the culmination of our hard work and sacrifices. I am a mother who has been able to raise three boys successfully without a father. The only support I received was from a loving community.

I consider all this strength and positivity as the greatest gift that my father who is also my hero was able to bestow upon me. I loved, admired, and viewed him as my source of support and courage every day of my life. Though he is gone now, his belief, morals, and values are the 'go to' tools that I have persistently relied on for much of my entire life for quite a variety of reasons ranging from decision making, beliefs, family values and morality among others. Therefore, I am my father's daughter with every fiber of my being. It is amazing how much impact a single person can have on your life and I can say without doubt that my father is the single-most individual who has had the most profound effect on my life

I have a great personality, attitude towards longevity and health. I am a constantly improving person because I believe that we should aim at becoming better versions of ourselves every day. As a result, I try to learn every day in terms of what I need to do towards my goals. In fact, wanting to learn and develop has led me to go back to back to school after thirty years! That is how long it has taken me to fulfill the promise that I made to my sons to see them through university before I continued with my professional career path. I fulfilled that promise now and that has given me a lot of confidence going forward.

My youngest son graduated from the university in May of 2014 and took this as the green light I had waiting for long to go back to school. I enrolled at Manchester Community College almost immediately. I graduated from the university as a disability specialist with an honors degree. Before the day of the graduation, one of my professors approached me with the suggestion that I should consider taking another course in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. She must have seen something in me, something that I had not identified myself. So, I went back to the community, the environment and the culture that I knew and have grown to be fond of.

Despite all these strengths I have discussed above, I do have some weaknesses, some of which can be viewed as strengths, depending on the context: it is like yin and yang. I care a lot about others people's wellbeing, sometimes too much. As a result, I sometimes find myself putting the needs of other people ahead of mine. While this gives me a sense of satisfaction, I find myself having to wait for my turn and this can be frustrating on top of making me miss on opportunities and happiness sometimes. Secondly, I have no tolerance for ignorance. Sometimes I come across a person who has found himself or herself in difficulty because of ignorance and while being sympathetic, I get angry with them. Sometimes I find myself almost yelling to such a person that they could have taken a moment to deliberate or ask someone for help.

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