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My Masterpiece(Hopefully!) October 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — charlottepierce13 @ 9:09 pm

The Columbia coach called me the other night and it is official, I’ve committed to Columbia!  Since I have a reserved spot in admissions, I can submit my application as soon as possible.  I’m trying to get it in this weekend but since I thought I still had a couple more weeks to complete the common app, it’s crunch time now!  I will have already submitted my application by Monday, so I decided I’ll post my essay on here.

 

                It feels the same every time- voices fading, eyes floating inside my head, heavy legs, a dull awareness that I am no longer conscious.  Then I cascade to a dark place-a nothingness where time passes and I feel relief from the panic I experienced moments before.  When I wake, dull sensations of sound and sensation come flooding over me and I start to cry.  Eventually, familiar faces will register and I realize what has happened.  Yet again-I’ve passed out.  And while this whole process is distressing to everyone else, I have become used to it.

                I come from a long line of fainters.  My sisters faint, my dad faints, and his dad before him fainted.  I recognize there is a genetic predisposition for it; it is categorized as vasovagal response but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept or deal with.  Added to the inconvenience and danger of it, I always faint in public and with flare.  Mid race, competing hard, next thing I know I’m waking up to track officials staring down at me.  Physics class, hit my tailbone wrong when I sit in my seat, and come to, with my head is in my classmates lap beside me.  I’ve fainted in Central Park, the doctor’s office, the YMCA lobby-and while it makes for a funny story, after the fact, I have been the cause of serious stress and worry to my family and strangers alike.

                This summer while reading a book on distance running, I learned about Kathy Ormsby, a would be famous college runner who left the most important race of her life, ran down a street and jumped off a bridge.  Everyone said she tried to kill herself, that the pressure to perform had taken its toll and she couldn’t face not winning what should have been her victory.  But I recognized, and the author gave her dignity, to identify what had really happened-she had a panic attack and lost control of her mind and body.  She wasn’t spoiled or a primadonna and nobody put pressure on her.  And when I faint, I’m not a weakling or intentionally checking out so I can avoid the situation at hand.  Fainting is a physiological response and not something someone can control per se.

                I have gained more than I’ve lost by being a fainter.  I’ve learned to recognize the limits of the human body-of my body-and that while we are mostly perfect, everyone has imperfections that require adaptations, coping, and acceptance.  I’ve learned to trust others-placing my life in their hands when I’m unconscious.  I’ve learned humility-that I can at one moment be at my all time high and the very next, laying in the mud, jerking like I’m having a seizure.  Most importantly, I’ve taken small steps toward accepting that I don’t have total control-over my life, my body, my fate-and despite that, I will always try my hardest, prepare for the best and the worst, and have hope for myself.

 

 

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