Personal Narrative Essay: America's Worst Mistake

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If I were to tell you that my nephew had been born earlier this week, how would you respond? Most likely, you would congratulate me and ask me for details about the new arrival. From the outside, it seems like something exciting to celebrate. However, if I were to elaborate and tell you that my nephew had died a few hours after birth, your response would change entirely. Excitement would shift abruptly into mourning and empathy. From one point of view, situations can appear cheerful; but from another point of view, the same situation can seem harsh and bitter. When I was in seventh grade, I wasn’t what people described as “popular.” I was overweight, smelly, and my hair looked like I had trimmed it while riding a rollercoaster. I skirted around…show more content…
We chatted, made jokes, and talked about books and movies that we loved. At some point during our conversations, I noticed something on the inside of Diane’s arm. There were multiple cuts up and down her forearm. I stopped listening to what she was saying and stared into her eyes. Surely, those couldn’t have been self-harm cuts. Diane could never have felt so depressed that she had started cutting her wrist with a razor, could she? Not Diane! As I looked into her eyes, I didn’t see sadness. I didn’t see depression. I still saw happiness. She stopped talking, realizing that I wasn’t listening anymore. I asked her if the cuts on the inside of her wrist were from self-harm. She nodded. My world seemed to have cracked open like a coconut. How many other people had I discounted as having “perfect lives” because they acted happy from the outside? A million questions poured into my mind, but I had enough sense to limit my questions. In an effort to avoid overbearing her, and simply said, “Please don’t do that.” It wasn’t comforting, nor was it sidestepping the matter at hand (or wrist.) It was a simple sentence that I had strung together nervously. I don’t remember how Diane responded, but I know that the outcome of our conversation was

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