During my 16 years of life, I’ve had to overcome
In elementary school, I was I always told I was
too fat, too ugly, and that I couldn’t do what the skinny kids could do. Sometimes,
I was even told that I was too dark to play with the other white kids.
One of the things I’ve always struggled with is
reading — basically not being able to read as well as others. People would make
fun of me and call me stupid. I used to cry and run away from the situation. As
a young girl, I would always let those negative comments get under my skin.
Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to not let the
negativity bother me as much, but, truthfully, it still hurts. All of those
years of built-up comments started to weigh on me so much that I almost stopped
doing one of the things that I love the most: writing.
I’ve always wanted to become a writer. It
started with journaling (about the things I’ve done in life and how I’m
overcoming difficulties) and it has expanded into wanting to become a
journalist. But, recently, the negativity was starting to get me down.
Then I saw the movie “Hidden Figures.” It was a
class assignment, so I didn’t think I’d get much out of it, but the movie renewed
my sense of purpose.
Watching the film about three African-American
women who worked at NASA during a rough time for black people in America and
seeing them go for the things they wanted in life — despite the negativity they
received from people — including their own families, made me remember who I am
and what I want to do after high school. The movie has helped me to move with
more purpose and to walk throughout the world stronger than before.
Because of all of the negative remarks I’ve
heard throughout my life, I want to show everyone who I really am — to stop
hiding. I want everyone to see what a wonderful person I'm becoming and how I'm
overcoming my challenges. I also want to become successful for myself — not for
In “Hidden Figures,” Mary Jackson (played by
Janelle Monae) has inspired me to keep pushing for my goals and not to always
respond when someone says something negative to me. Mary wanted to become an
engineer, but it was her husband who was trying to discourage her. Her husband actually
believed she could become an
engineer, but he was scared to see her fail during a time in history when
African-American people were held back or denied opportunities because of the
color of their skin. However, she kept going and achieved her goal. She fought
for herself to attend night school to become an engineer.
Now that I'm a junior in high school, I believe that
I can keep pushing to one day become a great writer and share my life story.
When I achieve my goals, I want to go back to all of my previous teachers to
thank them for believing in me.
While parts of my story may be unique, I know
there are other teenagers (and adults) like me. If you are a struggling student
or an adult with challenges, I believe you should take time and watch “Hidden Figures” or read the book to learn
what these women had to deal with while working at NASA. They had to deal with
racism and sexism during a rough time in American history, but they didn’t let
that stop them.
I'm very excited that I learned about these
African-American women and how they overcame their challenges and never gave
up. I see in myself that I have the strength and courage, just like these women,
and it makes me proud to be who I am.
C. is a junior at Simon Youth Academy.